Mentor In My Head – Mara Brock Akil

Girlfriends, The Game, Being Mary Jane, her credits are endless. Whether she’s listed as creator, executive producer, or writer Mara Brock Akil does it all. And she slayyys when she does! I knew we were kindred spirits when I noticed her company logo was eerily similar to my Andinkra tattoo of The Wisdom Knot on my wrist.

“wisdom knot” symbol of wisdom, ingenuity, intelligence and patience

I believe we’re destined to work together. MARA, CALL ME SIS!!

In any event, I wanted to start highlighting people who I truly admire, and Mrs. Akil is one of those people. Scouring some interviews she’s done I decided to make a list of wisdom, did you catch that, that I’ve gleaned from her. She’s truly a mentor in my head~

On femininity “For me, being from a family of strong women with the strong Black woman image and “I’m not bowing down” thinking – I had to learn that the power of femininity is far greater than any masculine power. I’ve embraced my femininity, and I have let go of a lot of some of those fighter habits.”

On Media – “Any form of media is an opportunity to be a mirror and reflection of what we are experiencing more in the details of our life,”

On Death – “Death can be so many different things.  Death doesn’t have to be in the coffin.  A lot of us are alive, but we’re not living.”
Below are some pictures of Mara at various events, isn’t she stunning? Her smile just radiates warmth. She says that her husband is her stylist and I must say he does right by her!

Image from – FashionBombDaily

Image From – ClutchMagOnline

Image From – ClutchMagOnline

Mara with husband Salim; Image From – BeautifulBrownGirls

It’s always nice to see women of color, and women period in powerful positions in Hollywood. Its also refreshing to see more and more husband and wife duos fruitfully working together and inspiring others to do the same.

Mara is beautiful, talented and comes across as being very down to Earth. I hope one day I’ll have a opportunity to work with her. I’m hoping, I mean that tattoo and logo situation got to mean SOMETHING, right? lol

 

Flawless Has Many Faces…

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I’ve started rehearsals for the multimedia performance of Raw Death, the true story of Anthony Ray Hinton. I play his new defense attorney, as “Ray” was without representation for 13 years. This is the first project that I’ve really had to research. Its rather disappointing reading over his deposition and seeing the amount of suppressed evidence that never made it into the court room. Ray has been on death row now about 3 decades for a crime he did not commit. The evidence fully supports this. His case was recently heard at the Supreme Court which did rule that Ray had “constitutionally deficient” counsel. I am honored to be bringing awareness to this case and hopefully aid in getting some discussion going about our criminal justice system and the racial bias it continues to perpetuate. Below is a picture and a couple of videos of our recent rehearsal. Karen, with the fro is playing Ray with the writer and director Vassilea Terzaki.

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Other than preparing for this project and finishing up the NBC Comedy Playground one, I’m just chill-in like a villain. Enjoying the beautiful weather we’ve been having and preparing for my 1st Vparty.

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No matter what comes your way, enjoy the day!

 

 

 

Slay Your Giants

Was it just me, or was last week busy as hell? It was very productive for me though, I had a call back audition yesterday morning and killed! I knew I did a good job when I looked over at the CD and she was in tears. It really touched me, shucks I almost cried myself. I did a monologue from By The Way, Meet Vera Stark, I might put up the video audition I submitted which got me the call back. Or maybe not, not sure yet. In any event, I got the part…which one I don’t know. Because after the audition I was asked if I’d be interested in playing another role, a man. I said HELLLLLLLLL YESSSSS. You know my MUTHA, Barbara Streisand played a man once. Yup, in the movie Yentl. Not only did Barbara star in it, she also directed it and received the Golden Globe for Best Director for it! First time for a woman!

Matt and I are still working on our NBC Comedy Playground pitch, it’s coming together so well. I’m so glad we decided to just go for it. What could it hurt ya know? Matt treated me to brunch at Saraghina for getting the part and we read our script out loud. Its funny. We were really inspired by those late 70’s and early 80’s comedies. I actually forgot Saraghina did brunch, so this was my first time having it. It was pretty good.

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After I wrapped up with Matt I headed home…and then Jesus tempted me. I could not resist stepping inside… Shirley and Alice was a great shopping experience. The store is filled with all kinds of vintage goodies. I chatted for a while with shopkeeper Demar Braxton from BKBOYEEZ. Such a cool guy, he also has a gorgeous line of bow-ties, all hand-made which are sold at the store as well.

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This is Demar he’s also a creative director and choreographer, and super cute! We had a lot of fun.

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Demar’s tie line…

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He was kind enough to indulge me some, and we had a little photo-shoot.

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My fav!!!

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Aside from the great clothes, they had a sweet selection of accessories, and a nice curated group of indie designers.

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After I left my heart and a $50 deposit on a couple of items I went on my merry way.

A little shadow play…

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A little face…my “intellectual” look

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Have a awesome day!

Looking Like Sex & Love At First Sight

Oh don’t mind me, I’m just getting mentally and physically prepared for another New York summer. Watching this Sex and The City episode where Carrie is wearing the slinky, white dress for her “date” with Mr. Big. The one where Samantha let it be known that Carrie wasn’t interested in HAVING sex, she merely wanted to look like it. Lately I’ve been grooving to Lauryn Hill, and Fiona Apple, The Roots, Zhane, plus a little Janet. Drumming up wardrobe ideas for the summer. Check the images below, don’t you love how bronzed everyone looks? Fiona Apple’s ‘Criminal’ video is one of my all time favorite videos.  If only NYC weather would get consistent, the closet switcheroo I did a couple of weeks ago would make sense. Instead I’m still pulling out down coats for evening chills. I am ready for slinky dresses, layered jewelry — lots of bangles, wild hair and attitude!

This video Break You Off by The Roots is another all-time favorite. Home-girls braids are taking me BACK!

In other news, I left my favorite pair of melanieDIZON shoes on the subway. I was all up & through my phone and almost missed my stop; I jumped up off at the last possible second, FELT my load was light, turned and saw my shoes continue on their journey. Meanwhile I had just picked them up for the 4th time from the cobbler. They’d got the works: new soles, heels, tightened straps and polishing. There’s some lucky SOB in Coney Island having the time of their life in my damn shoes. But on a fro-yo run — to numb the pain I stopped into the Telco and fell in love. Sure they’re NOTHING like the shoes I lost, but aren’t they sickening!!!

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Some work, some play. My friend Matt  and I are participating in the NBC’s Comedy Playground contest. We met up at Saraghina for lunch, he took some quick flicks of me outside the restaurant. My feet look ashy, but I assure you I Shea buttered down that morning! lol

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I was NOT in the mood for pizza, so I got the grilled eggplant sandwich, I added a side of fries and Matt and I churned out our pilot episode.

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When I was a teen I watched A LOT of Katie Brown, and Rachel Ashwell’s show Shabby Chic.  I love the shabby chic aesthetic.  And I love the decor inside Saraghina. It has a very rustic appeal. It’s low-key, minimal and yet very warm. Plus its quite sexy at night, even at the communal tables. The next time you’re visiting Bed-Stuy check it out!

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Bloop!

I have my 2nd audition tomorrow for a feature film that I sent in a video for earlier in the week! I am super excited about it!!!

So I’ll be logging off now to continue preparing! Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

Live The Moment

Last week I worked on the crime reenactment show – My Dirty Little Secret

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Myself and the unsuspecting victim, in happier times.

The show airs sometime next year. I was originally signed on to play a congregation member and when I got there the CD asked me if I’d like to take on an  additional part. I said YASSSS Jesus! It was so much fun, the cast and crew were great. All the actors talked about what else, acting, and giving tips on getting more work. But, it was a long day. I took 6 trains to get there,  3 of them were different 6 trains for various issues. It was hard to keep it cute though. The delays made me late to set, but I made it, and got FAVOR!

Last week I also finished The Essentials of Burlesque. I learned the history of Burlesque, came up with a on the fly name using ONLY a cheese and a flower – I came up with “Muenster Rose”. We also Tassel Twirled ON. THE. FIRST. DAY!

It was a lot of fun and I’m glad I did it, after the tassel twirling, wasn’t nothing to it. Our headmistress Jo even let us play with her HUGE red feather fans when she taught the Art of Fan Dancing. I felt like a showgirl.

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Get into THIS girl, and check out The School of Burlesque’s tumblr here.

Out here in these streets with friends and family last week.

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Lastly, I just can’t stop listening to Gabriel Garzon-Montano. I was on THE Spotify, which I love, and the cover art caught my eye and I started listening. I fell HARD!

Bishouné: Alma del Huila

His EP is so worth the money. It’s perfect for every part of the day, and this video for ‘Keep On Running’…WOW! It really, really puts the lyrics into perspective. Speaking of lyrics, I searched for a couple songs and came up empty handed, I am sooo pressed (eager) to connect with them. Cause I know they’re all ovah (fantastic)! OMG, and I just checked his website and he’s coming to NYC 3 times starting this week! JESUS. IS. REAL! Now I really NEEDS these lyrics, so its authentic when I’m sanging in the crowd, waving my lighter and what not. Please check out the video and let me know what you think. I am really interested in hearing from you.

 

 

Editorials I Love – Elle, November 2012

It’s consistently been over 60 degrees in New York and with this long holiday weekend, I decided to switch out the drag (wardrobe)!!! Plus my mother sent me a huge box of clothes, shoes and other accessories and I’m excited to revamp my look for Spring. I actually love when the Seasons change, any season. I love going through my old clothes and seeing what stays, what goes, what has lasted year after year and deciding what new to add to my wardrobe. In any event, I was at the laundro, flipping through an old issue of Elle magazine and fell and in love with this spread. Leather vest, jewel tones, bold patterns, decadent jewelry and fringe…its everything a girl needs, Enjoy!

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Its All About: Studio Sessions

“Can you come to Harlem today? I want to show you something special.” @sirjacobs

I donned my best superhero costume, a vintage terry jumpsuit I got at a secondhand shop in Instanbul and went on my merry way!

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That camel toe though…

It’s not often that you get an opportunity to look through the lives of legendary, iconic performers. I had no idea what Randal was setting me up for, however if you know Randal, then you know he’ll take you on a cultural journey. From Randal hosting brunch parties that turn into voguing parties in pre-war buildings that overlook the Hudson river, to him curating art/fashion exhibitions in Detroit museums Randal really does it all. He’s got a great sense of style, and an eye for decorating with elegance and ease. He’s a true class act! Check out Randal  here in these beautiful shots by Weston Wells.

Imagine my surprise and shock when I got to Harlem and he tells me who’s space it was, and his newest project regarding it all! Unfortunately where we were, must remain a secret, but know that the pictures below do not do justice to the archival heaven of the space we occupied. While Randal and I caught up on his recent European excursion, I soaked in all the culture that was at my fingertips. Later we got a surprise drop-in by way of Olu from Streetlevelculture  who was also in need of some inspiration.

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Reference Magazines

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Randal and Olu

Randal and Olu

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Olu and Jesus...reading

Olu and Jesus…reading

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Randal…in work mode.

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Fashion Stylist Lonnie McQuarters

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Husband and wife, and living legends in the world of American Dance

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Black Mammy & Aunt Jemima Cookie Jars

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There was so much to see, including all the costumes from The Wiz, yes, THE Wiz. And when Randal told me this was only 1 of 3 other spaces filled with relics I almost died.

Afterwards we headed to a little sushi spot in the neighborhood and then I made my way back to Brooklyn, while they went to a Housing Works $20 all you can stuff sale.

And, here’s message from Olu…

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