Standing 6 ft. 1 with gorgeous ebony skin, a winning smile and distinctive facial features, Tamara Tatham could be a top model. She doesn’t work the runway, however; she works the court. The basketball court, to be precise. The Canadian-born pro-athlete has been playing professional basketball for the past eight years; a career path she credits to the cajoling of her parents.
“I began playing basketball at the age of 13, right around the time I started junior high. My parents were actually the ones who pushed me toward it, because initially I never really wanted to play basketball.” She added, with a laugh, “Once I started, I realized I absolutely loved it, so it’s a good thing they did.”
These profound words are the personal credo of artist Rahiem Milton, and from the looks of his work, he certainly approaches art with passion.
When I came across this young man’s art, I was awed by his ability to so masterfully capture expression and movement; as though his subjects would jump right off the canvas at any moment. Among his pieces I recognized the faces of black entertainment powerhouses like Pam Grier, the late Aaliyah Dana Haughton, and Michael Jackson. I also noted his fondness of recreating the ample figures and bold features of black women with his brush and ink pen. When I inquired about his preference for such subjects, Milton, who describes himself as shy and introverted, gave a mischievous chuckle.
We have seen the hashtags #staywoke and #woke consistently since the murder of Trayvon Martin and the countless killings of unarmed Black men and women over the last few years. But, I am sure some people are curious about exactly what it means to be #woke and why it is constantly being drilled into our heads. Here is my interpretation of what it means:
Renowned African American writers like Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison can rest assured that they are leaving black literature in more than capable hands, as the list of eager, driven young black writers keeps growing. The latest of these is self-published author of the 2015 release Out of Work, Chris Henry. Growing up in the tiny town of Palmetto, Georgia, Henry says the lack of ambition he saw around him made him strive to be more ambitious. “Palmetto, Georgia has a population of just about 2000 people. Very small. In such a small town, few people dare to set big goals or to have big dreams.” When he took a bite out of the big apple, however, Henry’s small-town ideas began to change. “I saw so much of a difference there in the way people aspired to do things; so much passion and so many people chasing their dreams, and that inspired me to pursue writing as a career.”
The youth around the world will always be the catalyst for any movement or any culture to prosper. American culture has many ongoing cycles that are both positive and negative, but what I noticed with young people in the Caribbean, is that they never seem to see the negatives. According to them, America is the place to be; an irresistible land of complete fun and foolery.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to come to America to better yourself and use the assets this twisted country has, but it is wrong to only want to come up here because you want to be like everyone else. I have cousins, all are younger than me, who know every verse to every hot song out right now. It confuses me. Every time I go to Antigua and spend time with these family members, they aren’t listening to music from the island.
In the Caribbean, we only have two seasons; the wet season and the dry season, the latter of which lasts for many months. The dry season is like the Caribbean’s summer, while the wet season is-you guessed it-characterized by rainfall. As a child, I loved the wet season. Something about it made me feel so alive. I loved that the rain seemed to bless everything it touched; the grass was lush and green, the mango and banana trees brought forth fruit; the poui trees turned pink, red, purple and yellow, lending a blaze of color to the island’s landscape. The wet season meant playing water wars with my siblings and the neighborhood children in the rain, and hot, homemade beef, chicken or lentil soup on days when it was especially showery. The wet season meant huddling together in a circle with other children and attempting to scare each other with supernatural tales, while the rains drummed steadily on the rooftop outside and the thunder crashed in heart-stopping peels every now and then.
The International African Arts Festival took place in the Brooklyn Navy Yard from July 2nd – July 5th, 2015. It was a celebration of all that is beautiful about African and Afro-caribbean culture. I love how this celebration falls during the anniversary of this country’s freedom simply because July 4th is NOT a day of celebration for Black people. We were still slaves in 1776. While everyone else celebrating the American flag, myself and others were celebrating our culture. Take a look at some of the beautiful sights from this cultural festival.