Ashley Renea SmithWhat do you do when you can’t find a forum to showcase your artwork and the artwork of your contemporaries? You go out and create one. That’s exactly what the amazing young lady featured in this article decided to do when she couldn’t find such a forum for her work. It is said that necessity is the mother of invention and creativity, and out of that need to find a place to display her art, the “Young Black Artists” movement was born.

Curvy womanIn 2014, it was the Ice Bucket Challenge, followed by the “pretty face challenge”. This year, the latest craze floating around is the “Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge”. I don’t think there are very many people that don’t know who Kylie Jenner is, but for the benefit of those who don’t, she’s the youngest sibling of the famous Kardashian women, and the not-yet-legal girlfriend of rapper Tyga.

For those of you who haven’t heard about this “lip challenge” currently breaking the internet, it involves young girls (and even boys) sucking shot glasses or bottles to deliberately proliferate their lips, in an attempt to emulate the young Ms. Jenner’s now popular pout. There is an entire Facebook page dedicated to this strange new craze.

Photo - Latasha 1Hey beautiful people! I’m excited to share my FIRST taped interview for Soul Reflectionz TV with you. I have featured JustLatasha’s videos on my site before, and just knew she was the perfect person to kick off this new endeavor. Check out Part 1 and 2 of this hilarious, heartfelt and honest interview with the woman behind the JustLatasha YouTube channel.

Here are a few of the highlights:

Romanic photoIt is rapidly becoming an age-old idea that chivalry is dead, and, in the black community, our men have long been criticized about their romantic capability (or lack thereof).

I was absolutely appalled recently when I stumbled upon a blog post from a popular online magazine (I won’t say which one) in which the blogger claimed that, had she not been in relationships with white men, she would not have been able to set the “high standards” she now has when seeking out a black partner.

mukii-yellow-fever-imageI am interested in the concept of skin and race, in the ideas and theories sown into our flesh that change with the arc of time. I believe that skin and the body, are often distorted into a topographical division between reality and illusion. The idea of beauty has become globalised, creating homogenous aspirations, and distorting people’s self-image across the planet.

​In my film, I focus on African women’s self-image, through memories and interviews; using mixed media to describe this almost schizophrenic self-visualization that I and many others have grown up with.

The Miss Global International PageantIn 1999, Trinidad and Tobago made history as the smallest and first Caribbean country to host the prestigious Miss Universe Pageant. T&T is about to make pageant-industry history a second time in October 2015, when the Miss Global Trinidad and Tobago Pageant, a pageant that showcases beautiful, intelligent young women with Trinibagonian roots from all over the world, will be hosted for the first time on the island’s shores.

The Miss Global Trinidad and Tobago Pageant was founded in 2006 by Jamaican-based entrepreneur Lachu Ramchandani. The pageant, initially dubbed “The Miss Commonwealth Pageant”, had its title changed to “Miss Global International” when individuals outside of the commonwealth umbrella expressed interest in participating.

amandla youtubeActress Amandla Stenberg gave me every bit of LIFE with her Tumblr video that recently went viral asking, “What would happen if the world loved Black people the same way they loved Black culture?” (Mind. Blown!)

girl-in-the-mirrorI was born in Trinidad and Tobago, a tiny, cosmopolitan island with an enormous heart and soul. With Trinidad and Tobago’s multiracial makeup, you would think issues such as discrimination and stereotyping based on color of skin would be nonexistent; our national anthem says “here, every creed and race find an equal place”, after all. But believe it or not, it was here, on my own little island, my own birthplace with the big heart and soul, that I was introduced to a little something I call black-on-black racism.

walter-scott-south-carolina-shootingAnother name. Another hashtag. Another innocent, unarmed black life murdered in cold blood. Walter Scott is etched into our memories for being another victim of police brutality and systematic racism. The video of his gruesome death is one that we won’t soon forget. The same way the images of Eric Garner being choked and screaming “I can’t breathe” is a memory that evokes chills and sadness every time it comes to mind.

holiday-billie-5377d1e3426ffJazz has always played a major role in the African-American community. It’s a musical form developed by both African-American culture and European tones through the harmonic structure and African rhythmic perplexing details, characterized by blues and speech inflictions. The art form of Jazz was birthed on the plantations with brass bands as early as 1835. When troops were touring during the era of Ragtime it was developed from work songs and spiritual music.