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Meet Rob Charles, Owner of The R. Chvrles Brnd!


I first met Robert Charles or Rob, as I call him, through a mutual friend (Hey Peter!) at a New Orleans social gathering. We chatted it up, shared a few laughs and quickly became good friends. Rob is one those people that has a magnetic energy. If you’re not drawn in by how gorgerous he is, then you will definitely notice his incredible sense of style. Either way, you will want to know who’s that guy and what’s his story? A trait Rob believes has helped advance his career as a designer and stylist.

In the matter of a few years, Robert Charles has gone from an up-and-coming New Orleans designer, to a solidified style-maker that has had his designs worn by artists like Daley to Xscape. His career is a true example of what can happen when you not only tap into your greatness but also own the hell out of it.

Recently, Rob took some time out of his busy schedule to discuss his brand, ideas, and clothing company R. Chvrles with me. Be sure to read my interview with Robert Charles now. I know it will leave you feeling incredibly inspired. Enjoy!

*Robert Charles and I on-set for the “Dev Takes LA” DATC photoshoot.

Deveney Marshall: Tell me about your journey as a fashion designer, what was the inspiration behind the R. Chvrles brand?! 

Robert Charles: My journey on this road of fashion & design has been a very long one. In the beginning, I can honestly say I don’t think there was any real inspiration behind the brand I just knew i wanted to create & maybe tell a story with those creations.

DM: When did you first know you wanted to be a designer? 

RC: I learned at a young age how alter clothing from my great-grand mother (may she Rest In Peace) thats when I was taught how to hand sew. It wasn’t ‘til I was in high school and coming into my own (as we all do as we get older) figuring out what works for us and what doesn’t as far as looks and styles. I always loved the suited tailored look and still do. I got my start by making bow-ties as time passed, getting the reaction I got I knew if I could do this I can definitely make and construct full garments…that’s when I knew.

DM: How did growing up in New Orleans influence you as an artist? 

RC: Growing up in New Orleans was possibly the best thing that could’ve happened to me besides being born *laughs*. New Orleans has a vibe that really can’t be put into words. I believe we are a different breed of people almost like telling a story but you had to be there to really get it ya know? It has influenced me as an artist in many ways from the music, the art, the food, there’s no place like it so when I create I do it in such a way that you know you like it but you don’t know why. It’s intriguing and it’s doing something for you but you really can’t place your finger on it.

DM: You are someone I would consider to be a grand fashionisto! How is your personal style reflected in your designs?

RC: Thank you I really appreciate that! I push boundaries with my personal style, I feel like I reflect that in my designs when you see not so ordinary pieces like the jacket I made with fabric made of roses, a fabric that’s traditionally used for wedding dresses I just saw something different in it.

*R&B singer Daley wearing R. Chvrles Brand.

DM: Speaking of that fabulous piece, r&b artist Daley wore it for a few of his performances, which was huge! That is a testament in how much your career has truly blossomed. You’ve also designed for Dawn Richards and her back-up dancers, and most recently you designed for the legendary r&b group Xscape, how did those opportunities come about? 

RC: Although I do feel like there’s much more to come (I hope *laughs*), I honestly feel like I was granted those opportunities by speaking up for myself. By not being afraid to speak on my talents and laying myself on the line. I’m a firm believer that you are your own biggest supporter, outside of family & friends no one can or will grind for you like YOU can. So I believe if you want to be in a certain place you have to work for it put yourself in THAT place.

DM: Amen to that! I know for sure there is more to come for you, but how does it feel to know your career has grown to such a level? 

RC: Honestly, sometimes I’m still in shock as to how far I’ve gotten. We all want a seat at the table, we all want to make a name for ourselves, but it only makes me want to work and push harder to not only get to the table, but not have to introduce myself when I get there. I want to be known I want my name to ring bells in many ways there’s much work to be done.

DM: Your “Heaux Is Life” apparel makes such a bold political statement, what lead you to designing those?

RC: It started as joke. [Well] really [but] not really, because it’s such a real statement to be applied to life or at least life the way I view it. Basically I was leaving out for work one afternoon and before leaving I said “time to go be a heaux for the man, and heaux is life when your on the schedule everyday” *laughs.”


DM: What does “Heaux Is Life” mean personally to you?

RC: I know normally when you hear the term “hoes”’or “heaux” it is usually associated with the lights of a prostitute or someone selling their body, but thats not what I meant. For me “Heaux Is Life” is getting up working that 9-5, it’s selling yourself so others can buy into that brand that you’re trying to build, it is doing what you have to do to get what you want. Something like a “hoe” or “heaux” would do.

DM: I love that! If no one understands that, I definitely do. What advice would you give someone looking to get into designing? 

RC: Simply don’t give up, trust in yourself and vision because not everyone is gonna feel it but it doesn’t mean it’s not good. In many ways some people don’t like or don’t support what they don’t understand.

DM: That is one of my favorite sayings, it’s beyond true. So what can we expect next from the R. Chvrles brand?!

RC: I’m working on putting together a pop-up shop in New Orleans as soon as I can, but as far as designs all I will say is stay tuned beautiful things are in the works.

*To learn more about the R. Chvrles Brand visit www.rchvrles.com and follow the brand’s IG: @rchvrlesbrnd

Xo,

*follow thedevandthecity.com IG page: @thedevandthecity

Last Call for This Twenty-Something, Part 2


I woke up to the combination of grease, chocolate, and sulfur, from the saliva released throughout the night, swirling my taste buds. Quickly, I head to the bathroom releasing a massive somewhat impressive piss in the toilet. As the fluids flowed, my stomach toned up. I lifted my shirt midway to view the results in the mirror.

After brushing my teeth and wiping the red washcloth that removed the remnants of coconut oil from my face, I took a moment to study my reflection. The observation became judgement as yesterday’s attempt to seal my youth resulted in coming in before ten o’clock laughing at a situational comedy about being old. With a nasal exhale, I raised my inner white flag, accepting that I and the universe royally f*cked me.

“Hey, my son!” a text stated. “Call me soon. I know you’re excited for your birthday!” my mother concluded. Rather than lie, I decided to call. “I’m going to be 30!” I said in a dramatic tone. If anyone would understand my exhaustion, my mother would. “Oh, me too!” she replied. I raised my eyebrows and released an exhale silently. “What’s wrong? You sound bad.” She added. My mother only allotted me five minutes of pity with groans and discerning exhales at my current anguish.

“You’re my child. I claim you. You’re the spitting image of me and thank GOD for that.” her confident tone sent alarming vibrations in my mind. The words “spitting image of me” rained out my drought of cynicism. At the age of 32, my mother returned to finish her college education, obtaining her master degree within a few years. Moreover, she graduated with honors. The passion my mother had for law was eclipsed by her newfound love for teaching. Thus, before 40, my mother became an asset to the education profession winning accolades for top standardized test scores and innovating methods of motivating her students. My mother’s timeline was my checkpoint.

“I love you, Mama!” I responded with my words dipped in sap and mushy feelings.

“I know!” she ended the conversation with a hearty laugh.

The fear of my thirties wasn’t removed. However, rather than being a detrimental fire to my existence, the fear became this unknowing warmth fueled from motivation and experience. I didn’t have all the answers but intrigued with questions, such as what if and why not. Maybe the attractiveness of twenty-somethings was playing with the gift of possibility while building a confidence from consequence.

The lights were up and my twenty-something themed party was over. Instead of Time bouncing me out of the fabulous land of make-believe the twenties offered, I was being happily escorted to the upper level of the authentic thirties. A party where the guest was learning how close one can fly to the sun without melting their wax wings or getting over their reflections before drowning in it. And unlike the previous decade where I had to fake it till I made it, at this party I was enough.

Happy 30th Bday, Herb!

 

Birthday Style!


Dress x H&M | Denim Blouse x Banana Republic | Sandals x Chinese Laundry | Sunnies x Fendi | Necklace x Vintage | Hoops x F21 | Bracelet x Hive & Honey

On this past Monday, I turned the big 2-7! I brought in this new year of life sipping on rosé and taking a soothing rose petals infused bath, I felt like such a queen. If there is any other day you should feel like royalty, it should definitely be your birthday.

I wanted to continue that feeling of regality throughout my entire birthday, so I made sure to wear an ensemble that reflected that. My navy, fine-pleated, satin finish dress was the perfect way to express that mood. I paired a bold blue lippie with my outfit to match my fabulous dress.

I spent my afternoon brunchin’ at Katie’s Restaurant with my fabulous mom and aunt. It was the perfect way to celebrate during the early part of my day.

My 27th birthday will forever be remembered as a day I felt good, I looked good, and I ate good too.

Xo,

Life’s Lessons: 5 Grand Things I Learned At 26.


*Me in Philadelphia, September 2017.

26 was a huge year of personal growth for me. There were several life lessons I was taught throughout it. It was the year where I truly had to boss up and become the adult my parental unit prepared me to be. I had to learn how to take charge of my life and be the bold, determined, and resilient woman that I say I am.  In honor of one of the biggest years of growth for me, I decided to list the top 5 takeaways I gained during year 26. Be sure to view the post below.

#1. Stop Questioning Your Gut. 

My mom always says “Two things that will never leave you astray are God and your intuition,” those words couldn’t be more true. I’ve always been very in tune to what was right for me, and had a great sense of assessing everything and everyone. However I would find myself constantly ignoring my intuition. I would tell myself I was over-reacting, which would lead to giving everyone (and thing) the benefit of doubt, knowing they were usually undeserving of that. It wasn’t until last year that I learned to stop being this way, and to trust what my first instinct told me. Your instinct, first mind, gut or whatever you choose to call it is the most accurate and comes for a higher being than yourself and should be listened to.

#2. Patience Is Truly A Virtue. 

I was always one to say things like “my patience is very thin,” or “I don’t have patience at all.” However, during the duration of 26, life taught me patience was something I needed to to have if I intended on being a successful creative and businesswoman. Nothing good comes from rash decisions, and greatness takes a lot of time. I had to learn to stop wanting to just get things done, but get them done within my standards, and my standards are not something that can be met in one, two, three.

#3. It’s Okay To Admit You’re Not Okay. 

When I say 26 was an emotional roller coaster of a year, it definitely was. Between the craziness of my life changes, to what will go down as one of the most historical elections in our country, last year was a lot. For the first time, I couldn’t just quickly process what was happening, pick myself up, and get over it. I needed time. Time to grieve, time to just be, and time to be alone with my thoughts. A lot of days I couldn’t be that girl people depended on to put a smile on their faces, I had to fully experience all of the emotions I was feeling even the ones that were downright ugly. I had to openly admit I was not okay and I needed to do something differently before I found myself in a sea of depression. I began to focus more on my mental health and take a self-care day at least once a week to insure my wellness was in order. If you are not at your best, you can not be your best.

 #4. Sometimes You Have To Cry It Out. 

From the moment my short film production didn’t go as planned a few days after my 26th birthday, I knew my need to control everything around me would be greatly challenged. I found myself in many predicaments last year that simply could not be helped. I had to go through them to gain the wisdom that I have now, but when you’re going through it the last thing you can see is hindsight. Crying, and I mean that ugly boohoo crying is what got me through a lot of tough times last year. It released all of the frustration and sadness this world can cause. After a good cry I would feel so much better and more capable of figuring out my next step.

#5. It’s Okay To Ask For Help. 

I’ve always been a very indendent person. I rarely ask for help, and if I do I still try to make it the most minute of task. Last year, I began to really brand myself, and whenever you expand anything in this life you can not do it alone. When I first began my production company last year, I tried to run everything by myself, which started off well but quickly went left. Between that, and still maintaining my other endeavors I began to drown. I was trying to be all great things to all situations and it was hard. I eventually had to delegate certain tasks and trust that I was putting them in capable hands. It wasn’t easy, but it was necessary for my mental health.

26 taught me a lot, and I am looking forward to putting everything I learned into practice in year 27. I’ve always known I was a strong individual, but I now know the magnitude of what I can handle and still come out on top.

I pray 27 will be a year of prosperity, happiness, and all of my dear dreams coming true. So here’s to surviving 26, and cheers to welcoming the beautiful year of 27!

Until Next Time,

*Be Sure to follow the DATC’s IG: @thedevandthecity

So, How Was 26?! 


I can remember being an adolescent dreaming of this current phase of my life. You couldn’t tell me I wouldn’t be driving my dream car and living in my downtown penthouse at this time. I envisioned by 26 I would be living my dream (at the highest level), traveling all around the world, and not have a care in this world. I guess you can say adolescent me wasn’t enitrely wrong, my dream job is actually my career, and I do travel often, however I work in retail to make ends meet, there’s no penthouse…yet, and my dream car has drastically changed, and on top of that, life has thrown me several curveballs within this last year.
I started year 26 on a high note, I brought in my Birthday partying the night away with all the people near and dear to me sipping on cocktails and smoking hookah. Then, on my actual birthday, my parents treated me to a relaxing massage followed by a family dinner at one of my favorite New Orleans restaurants. I just knew 26 would be filled with nothing but fun and fabulosity.

A few days after my birthday, I was scheduled to embark on my first journey as a filmmaker. After months of planning every single detail of my short film project I felt ready to take on this task head on. Well filming began, and it did not go to plan, if anything the plan became obselte and shxt went left. It was the first of the many times I would have to adjust within this new year of life.

As I mentioned earlier I work in retail to make ends meet, early part of last year I took on a management position at a job I had been at for 3 years, it was more money still part time, perfect right? Wrong. Between the film, working my main retail job, working my second retail job, running DATC and still trying to maintain my life as an actress, life became extremely difficult to keep up with. I found myself drained and anxious all of the time, because being all great things to all situations is not an easy task. In fact it’s the opposite of easy.

It was pretty obvious life was telling me I needed to scale back on something but what? Certainly not being a creative, the goal is to turn that into my only career so it would be stupid to scale those endeavors down. The only other choice would be to step-down at my main retail job but that meant cutting some of my money flow as well. After alot of prayer, that’s the decision I made. I went from being a manager, with a nice pay rate and hours, to working 20 hours a week with both of my retail jobs combined. I knew it would be an adjustment but oh how it was an adjustment.

Ultimately, making the decision to cut my retail hours forced me to really hustle, and build the hell out of my brand. I had to put my creative endeavors to the forefront. I could no longer view my creative work as a part-time career because the livelihood of my life depended on it. I live a pretty cool life, and I’ve become accustomed to living it that way; I wasn’t going to slow it down because I was too scared to boss up and put in work.

26 forced me to become a real adult. I had to learn how to effectively cope with all of the ups and downs that come with adulthood (and there are a lot of downs that occur). The moment you realize you are a functioning, able-bodied adult that is expected to efficiently contribute to society, shxt gets real. The important thing is to remind yourself that you can do this, and you have been prepared to handle adulthood (well hopefully).

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t happy chapter 26 has come to a close. It taught me A LOT. I was constantly reminded that I am a resilient woman that can successfully handle anything thrown my way. I often speak on the type of person that I am, but 26 taught me I am everything I say I am, plus more.

Until Next Time,

*Be sure to follow DATC’s IG: @thedevandthecity

The Birthday Playlist! 


♫ Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday to me! ♫ In case you didn’t guess the obvious, today is my *drumroll* birthday! Yes today is the day this queen first graced this world with her presence. Coincidently, today is also #MusicMonday on DATC. If you’re an avid reader of this website than you know how much of a music lover I am. So in honor of this celebratory occasion, I’ve decided to curate the perfect birthday playlist. It will be sure to put you in a festive mood, and make you excited about gaining another year of life. View it below.

#1. Party x Beyoncé ft J. Cole

#2. Golden x Jill Scott

#3. Birthday Bxtch x Trap Beckham

#4. Birthday Song x 2 Chainz ft. Kanye West

#5. Rake It Up x Yo Gotti ft. Nicki Minaj 

#6. Four Door Aventador x Nicki Minaj

#7. Liquorice x Azealia Banks

#8. Happy Birthday x Stevie Wonder 

I hope you enjoyed the list! What songs are on your bday must listen list?! I would love to hear about them in the comments

Xo,

*Be sure to follow thedevandthecity.com’s IG page: @thedevandthecity 💋

NOLA Made, NOLA Soul: 3 New Orleans Artists That Should Be On Your Radar


New Orleans is one of the most unique cities in the world. It’s filled with a magical essence, distinct beauty, and some of the most talented souls around. One of my favorite things about the city is all of the beautiful creatives you meet at every turn. From musicians to dancers to visual artists to actors, you’ll find them all here. New Orleans serves as the birthplace to greats like Fats Domino, Master P, and Frank Ocean and so many other artists that are on their way to becoming greatness.

Being a native New Orleanian and a music lover,  I am always scrawling the city to follow the careers of the next big thing, and there are 3 artists that I’m sure will be on everyone’s radar very soon.  These eclectic group of musicians are breaking boundaries, and bringing real talent to the music world. Recently, I got a chance to catch up with them and we discussed all things New Orleans and (of course) all things music. Be sure to view my interview featuring Willie Dropkick, THELIKWIDLIGHTEXPERIENCE, and Pernell Cook below.

Meet Willie Dropkick

I randomly meet Willie Brooks or Willie Dropkick in the mall one day. He was pushing himself as a new artist and told me I had to give his SoundCloud a listen. I remember thinking “Great another over confident SoundCloud rapper,” but after actually listening to his music I realized there was some real talent that lied within his confidence. Willie can actually spit, and to say he is a super talented lyricist would be an understatement. His raps cover a little of everything from the political climate to the typical “turn-up” lifestyle of a touring rapper. Back in April, Dropkick independently released his debut album “Legendary,” a project he calls a testimony of his life.

♫ “What A Day” x Willie Dropkick

Meet THELIKWIDLIGHTEXPERIENCE 


I’ve known LIKWID for some years now. He is one of those artists that you would call an all-around creative. Not only is a talented musician that sings, plays the piano and the guitar, but he is also a skilled photographer, songwriter, and producer. LIKWID’s artistry is just as his name says, an experience. His futuristic and funkadelic sound is not only sonically stimulating but he makes sure his listeners are visually pleased as well, as he’s currently working on a film to compliment his newly released album “Sex Droids.”

♫ “Washed Away (Acoustic)” x THELIKWIDLIGHTEXP

Meet Pernell Cook


I go as many people would say way back with Pernell, we both attended the same high school (Shoutout To Warren Easton). Pernell is what I would say is an artist through and through. Everything about him screams dope ass artist, from his style to his vibe to (of course) his sound. Pernell’s sound is sensuality embodied at it’s finest. He is the perfect mixture of Lenny Kravitz meets Maxwell.

♫ “Ready, Set, Go” x Pernell Cook

The Interview

DM: Tell me about your journey as an artist, what has it been like? What inspired you to become one? 

Willie Dropkick: My journey has been great the ups the downs all the late nights. I couldn’t ask for anything better. My dad [inspired me], he would always bump the 90s hip hop and r&b everywhere we went. I used to steal all his cds and bump it alone in my room. Growing up watching rap city, seeing artists freestyle in the basements seeing artists go freestyle with flex and sway. I always had a knack for writing, after awhile I started rapping to random instrumentals myself and developed a love for it.

THELIKWIDLIGHTEXPERIENCE: My journey as an artist has been one of constant learning. Music is a world with no end. Being from New Orleans I was inspired first by the local musicians and my surroundings.

Pernell Cook: I’ve always been a vocalist. My mom once told me that as a toddler, instead of yawning, in the morning I would sing. My family is full of singers and musicians; They first inspired me to want to sing. Though I’ve always loved to sing, I was super shy about it as a kid. My family helped me get over the bashfulness and I started, slowly, to embrace my gift and began to want to hone my craft as a musician. I’ve been singing for a while, but I’ve only recently-within the past half decade- began to consider myself an artist. The journey, thus far, has been self-enlightening. Personally, art is something that is supposed to take you out of your conform zone; in doing so, you learn a lot about yourself. It’s great that being an artists and my journey is allowing me figure out a lot about myself, which I feel reinforces my art. 

DM: Describe New Orleans in one word?

WD: Culture.

LLE: FREAKY!

PC: Gumbo!

DM: How has being a New Orleanian influenced you as an musician? 

WD: From from New Orleans can either make you or break you. I can guarantee it made me be a better man and a way better hustler. Seeing what I saw makes it easy for me to write songs. Always hearing and being around live music made me become way more creative.

LLE:  There are so many brillant musicians here I guess its made me push myself to be excellant in it. Im always trying to take things to the next level.

PC: Music is such a huge part of the city’s culture; it’s really hard to be here and not have music be apart of your life. Literally, there’s a musician on every street corner, when you’re downtown. It’s like the city is a huge stage. Being here has, for the most part, made me more comfortable with myself as a musician.

DM: Describe your artistry is one word? 

WD: Soul.

LLE: GENIUS!

PC: Transparent.

DM: What would you say sets you apart from other artists in your genre? 

WD: I may have a deeper feel than other artists, these songs I write comes from a lot of pain, problems, good times. You can really tell by my tone that i’m not just doing this music thing for a wave.

LLE: I’m crazy enough to do something no one else would think of or dare to try. 

PC:  It’s really easy to fall into being a “type of artists”. Just because I’m a RnB singer doesn’t mean I have to be what people perceive as an “RnB singer.” Simply being myself sets me apart from other artists. I’m putting a lot of my experiences, thoughts, and perspective into my music; those things are unique to me and will continue to set me apart from other artists because no one else can be me.

DM: Who are some of your big influences? 

WD: My biggest influence is knowing what failure feels like, knowing what I’m working toward…me taking that risk and following my passion doing what I love and remaining real. As far as a busines stand point artists like jigga, rick ross, curren$y, and some others just help me grow as an artist, a person , and just a boss period…from their music to their interviews.

LLE:  I would have to say Prince, James Brown, Meshell N’degeocello, Stevie Wonder and Bowie. I’d model my career off of James Brown and Prince; they took control of there business and revolutionized music.

PC: Most of my biggest influences are artists who have commanded their creative space and are confronting convention simply through their unapologetic sense of self and the earnestness in which they express themselves. Artists such as Jimi Hendrix, Little Richard, Andre 3000, Young Thug, Lady Gaga, Cher, Lenny Kravitz, and Solange are a few of the bigger names that I feel have done that and have inspired me to do the same. 

DM: What has been your experience as an New Orleans musician? 

WD: In order to be recognized in your own city you have to make your power moves in other cities first, do a couple tour runs, drop music on a consistent level. Yes, I do get love from my peers maybe not as much as other artists around, but it’s because i’m still under the radar. I’ll give it some time…my 1st album did drop only 5 months ago.

LLE: I overall have a good experience here. I’ve been for the most part well received but I know who my audience is and it’s not necessarily the locals.

PC: New Orleans is a great place to be a musician because of the general appreciation of music here. People here readily embrace new artists just out of their pure love of music, it’s extremely encouraging. Networking here has been really exciting because this same embrace is shown, even more so by other musicians and people in the music circles. I definitely feel I am being received well and I am super excited to push my music.

DM: The current political climate is heated to say the least, do you feel the need to reflect that in your art? If so, why? 

WD: Yes and no…I hate politics. I do talk about police brutality on blacks, I do talk about all the hatred being spread around between our own people, I do talk about the senseless killing going on in my city…but I know deep down it’s going to take more than me and my music for my people to come together.

LLE: Yeah I do! My lyrics were always social political and spiritual too. It’s just something I do when I fill a certain way about the world.

PC: I’m putting a lot of myself and my perspective into my music, so it’s difficult being apart of society [and] not to have social phenomenon be reflected in my music. I have an opinion, a voice, and I want to use my art to express my opinions and perspective. The political climate has affected me as a citizen, as a person and if I’m to be completely transparent in my art I have to let how this climate has affected me be reflected in my art. 

DM: What legacy do you want to leave behind as an artist? 

WD: I [want to be] the artist that made a difference. The artist that had a journey with a message saying that you really can do what you love and chase your dreams it just all matters on how bad you want it. For me it was either chase my dream or be 50 years old wondering what if.

LLE: When it’s all said and done I hope people realize the power and importance of my music as a tool for elevation. If I have my way i’ll change the whole game.

PC: I want my legacy to be that I was unconventional and unapologetic about it. Sometimes it’s hard to be yourself in society because we’ve been taught to be a certain way. I want my legacy to inspire people to be comfortable with themselves and not convention. 

DM: What can we expect from you next as an artist? 

WD:  More growth, more energy, and more stories I have yet to tell [with] more feeling. I’m dropping a joint album with my producer titled “Business & Women,” “Too Legendary” the album and more tour dates coming soon.

LLE: Films, a tech partnership and definitely alot more music. I hope everyone like surprises.

PC: I’m really excited about the projects I have been working on. I want my next project to really introduce who I am as an artist to this city. I’ve been curating this package of music and visuals to do so. I am my own creative director and it’s forcing me to do to a lot of things outside of just singing. I can’t wait to finally show people and let people hear what I’ve been working on. The beginning of next year will be an explosion of material from me and I’m super excited.

*To learn more about Willie Dropkick follow him on IG: @williedropkick 

*To learn more about THELIKIDLIGHTEXP follow him on IG: @thelikwidlightexp

*To learn more about Pernell Cook follow him on IG:  @__kravitz (double underscore)


*Legendary and Sex Droids available now on all digital music platforms. 

Xo,

 

Last Call for This Twenty-Something, Part 1


It was the end of an era. Events on the social scene would be an annoyance than a priority, requiring numerous pep talks on reasons to attend. Although, I would hit gay bars like 700 Club , Good Friends, and GrandPre’s, my fatigue would set in around midnight As an expensive drug that made me broke and forgetful, Cocaine lost its glamour. Moreover, white liquor became a foe. My latest dance moves were ghost on present dance floors of clubs. Lastly, whether great or grim, I was the future for late teens and early twenty-somethings. As Time was purging me from the party of youth and possibility, a question was plastered in my brain: When did I become fucking 30?

Terry McMillan had Stella reconnecting with her groove at 40 but I was adamant on sealing my youth within me. Though I had a 30 waist, I zipped up a pair of 29-waisted, denim shorts that cupped my ass and stopped at an inch above my knee. Next, I paired a white cotton and linen blended tank top which draped my upper body like a semi-transparent curtain. After applying a dab of coconut oil to my left palm and rubbing my hands together, I massaged my face and neck. In addition, I thoroughly applied coconut oil to my exposed body parts particularly to ankles, knee caps, and elbows. I smeared some lip gloss, checked for deodorant, and blow a kiss to the mirror. While in the mirror confidently mouthing incorrect lyrics to Azealia Banks Licorice, I built an armor of glamour.

‘Your Uber is here” flashed on my screen. After five minutes of riding, the driver wanted to make casual conversation. Questions about sports, music, destination, and other advances for small talk threw rocks at my armor. I was only interested in being the “IT” boy of Christopher Street flaunting loads of a glowing personality, utilizing comedic wit, and effortlessly having a strong presence. However, with slight traffic and his questions chipping at my armor, politeness got the best of me.

“I’m originally from New Orleans.” My first response, that strayed away from yes and no, raised the driver’s eyebrows. Luckily, the street signed read Christopher Street and Blecker. I got out.

After walking a few blocks passing a sea of side-eyes and obnoxious conversations on the cell phones, Christopher Street wasn’t becoming a place to retain my youth but kill it. Thankfully, I found a small bar that was decorated with rainbow flags. Inside, the size of a dining room, older men with sleeveless shirts stood or sat within their respective corners. Some sipped mixed drinks while most held onto their beer. Doing what the Romans do, I ordered a Jamison and cranberry cocktail.

“May I see your ID?” the silvered- hair bartender asked. It was an ego boost.

I grabbed my drink and found a free space on the wall. I stared at the rainbow-colored streamers that hung from the ceiling. At that moment, I was convinced that the streamers were the most interesting thing at this bar. Next, my eyes scanned the bar hoping for a friendly invitation to conversation. Though I caught eye contact with a few, my impulse went to my phone and check Facebook. The connection was lousy and no wi-fi. I felt like I walked into a member’s only club and I was the janitor. However, my ego wanted to stay clutching the fact that I was the youngest at the bar. After five minutes, my ego released that notion and I left.

There was a moment of relief unzipping my shorts that became a constraint on the train ride home. Now, with my upper body spread on the bed and feet on the floor, turning 30 felt worse. I was desperate for attention and bloated from alcohol.

Eventually, I got a burger, fries and chocolate shake from Five Guys and watched a marathon of The Golden Girls.

“The Labor Day” Playlist: 5 Songs That Will Help You Say Goodbye To Summer! 


Photo | mariefrance.com

Happy Labor Day! Cookouts will be taking place all around the country on today. People will be feasting on BBQ, sipping on their favorite fruity cocktails, and taking dips in the pool today. I’ve always looked at Labor Day as the official end of summer. Today, I will be relaxing, soaking up the remainder of the chill summer vibes in the air, eating lots of BBQ, and of course listening to awesome music! Below I’ve listed 5 songs that will help curate the perfect Labor Day playlist. Just put these songs into Google Play,  Pandora, Tidal, or Apple Music, hit radio and enjoy! 

#1. Rake It Up x Yo Gotti ft. Nicki Minaj

#2. Bam x Jay-Z

#3. I Get Around x Tupac

#4. Party x Beyoncé 

#5. Before I Let Go x Maze 

Have a happy and safe holiday!

Xo,

TAXING.


Photo | Urban 75 Series

$2.75 was a luxury that I couldn’t afford. An emotional mixture of anxiety and embarrassment bolted through my veins. $2.75 was my ticket home and I had a Negative balance of -14.69.

I proceeded to try my card anyway hoping the universe would be kind. Insufficient funds popped on the screen as I felt my dignity evaporating through my pores. Suddenly, I remember the MetroCard tucked in between miscellaneous business cards in my wallet. Finally, I exhaled. I slipped my MetroCard into reader awaiting access to the subway. DENIED! With My lips caved into my mouth and my eyebrows crept lower making wrinkles on my forehead , I quickly maneuvered through the impatient bodies.

I was back on 23rd street. High stress morphed into a numb state. People and cars shifted shapes until all I could see were complexions , yellow, blue, and reddish brown. The inner soundtrack of my breath masked the lively sounds of 23rd street. Suddenly, the buzz from my phone brought me back to reality. It was an email from chase bank informing me that I received $20 with the message: ” friends do for friends!”

As I got on the semi- crowded subway, I was filled with relief. The guy playing an original song an acoustic guitar didn’t annoy me. Instead, I actively listened. I became aware of numerous positions people held while riding. SENATOR MCCAIN WILL VOTE was printed on a newspaper adjacent to me. Mocha skin with a faint rose tinted cheekbones lingered of floral nodes a strong musk came from a man with blotched peach skin and brown beard.

I was going home. It was the first time in awhile I was grateful for having enough.