Written by Sabine Démosthènes
When I first listened to Kanye’s “The College Dropout” album, I felt like I was rekindling my love story with hip-hop. It was during the era of Ja Rule, DMX and Nelly. I wasn’t feeling the love anymore and had not been discovering new artists.
And then, Mr. West came into my life in an epiphany kind of way.
With his sophomore album, I was still in Kanye’s land. Until this day, listening to both his albums, I had the feeling he was one of my big brother’s childhood friends and I was listening to their conversations discussing the greatest NBA players to who shot Mr. Burns in The Simpson’s (we all know it was Maggie Simpson).
On those two albums, Kanye was saying some pretty hard cold truths about life in a very clever way. I have to applaud his song writing during that period.
But, as the years passed and the social media empire took control of so many things, including the option of thinking before writing or saying something that could end up being the stupidest thing you read, not of the day but of the minute! Kanye seemed to have been more lost and less focused.
He married a woman whose entire empire and fan base was in big part due to social media creations (and that is okay) but I always expected Kanye to be with a woman of substance. Someone with more going on in the brain department, more an academic girl (hmm hmm like me) or an intellectual. But, it wasn’t the case.
And then, he goes from someone that was not afraid to tackle the subject of slavery in a very smart and clever way, like in his song “We Major” featuring Nas The Great and Really Doe to supporting the current president of the so called free world (I really don’t see what the free world stands for anymore).
In my mind, something seems odd. Last week, Kanye brought up the subject of slavery again. It was as well put, just as he sang in his first two albums. This is what I thought at first, since I didn’t see the video but read the headline on a website that I won’t name because I’m ashamed. I was just numb.
But then, (and of course my brother tried to make see his comment in a different light), I realized the problem with Kanye is that he takes himself way too seriously. When you are really listening to what he said, it’s not almost crazy. The way it came out was damn crazy! As the very black girl that I am, I know that this subject always brought us into discussions.
Actually, in a funny kind a way, Kanye is making us think about this delicate subject. My problem is why do you go to TMZ (of all organisations) instead of having a very intelligent conversation with Christiane Armanpour at CNN or Gayle King at CBS. Those journalists would have pushed the envelope and asked him to be more clear.
No, he went to TMZ.
For him to be a supporter of the man that is the so called Commander-In-Chief of the Free World is so weird. Especially for someone that had blasted George W. Bush. But, can we assume that maybe he is supporting this person for a very selfish reason?
Maybe, because he is going to be less rich, he needs this person?
It’s only a question I’m asking.
Please, don’t throw the first stone at me. I am innocent.
The weeks to come will be something!
We will listen to the upcoming albums and maybe after one song, we will be so mad at ourselves for even listening to it, or maybe, it will be another masterpiece. For the masterpiece part, I wrote it because one of his collaborations will be (if it’s still happening) with Nas. So, it could really be good.
In the meantime, let’s hold our breath for the next Kanye moment.
And let’s not throw the first stone at Kanye… Yet.
Written by Sabine Démosthènes
While I’m enjoying a big cup of tea on my train ride into the city of a thousand bells, the sun is shining brightly and it feels like a new season of hope and change is coming.
Speaking of change, or should I say of brand new beginnings, Becky Hammon is being considered for the new head coach of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks. This is fantastic news! She was the first woman ever to be appointed assistant coach in the history of the NBA with The Spurs.
But, like in everything unconventional, there is some controversy about this consideration. Again, we are moving forward, but why is there is still stigma around a woman being the head coach of a national sports team?
For example, it would be great to see more men having positions like school teachers, nurses, or receptionists that are professions known for being filled more often by women. So, when a man gets this job or this career, it shouldn’t be a surprise. For me, it goes both ways. Right?!
Becky Hammon didn’t get into talks for this position straight out of college. First of all, she was a professional basketball player (yeah!) for the WNBA.
I can hear some people saying “that doesn’t mean she is qualified.” On top of that, she was the righthand woman to probably the best coach in the league for four years! She had the opportunity to learn from Gregg Popovich and that is to be taken into consideration.
For both this argument, my opinion is that when you have the best mentor and you are a born leader, why not take the plunge?
Like every head coach in the whole world, she is well equipped and she will still learn and improve.
But let’s ask the real question – I would like to get back to my example: if a male nurse was appointed to be the head nurse at one of the best hospitals in the country, and he had graduated from a graduate-level nursing program 7 years earlier, was an assistant head nurse for 4 years and the people around him saw him as a good nurse and leader, would we be having the same conversation about whether or not he is the right person for the job?
Mrs. Hammon should be considered for the top job such as the nurse regarding their gender.
Oh, I can hear voices saying “we’ve seen so many former NBA players fail as coaches.” But, why don’t we talk about the ones that have succeeded even when they were not ballers to began with…
I do believe that everyone has a chance to succeed at their ambitions.
Can’t we just help them achieve instead of throwing stones and saying, if they do fail, we told you so?
This is a special week in the tech world. New Orleans is the place, not only for its festive atmosphere but also for the 2018 edition of The Collision Conference.
How to start this special week with Beatie Wolfe? She is a very special singer-songwriter that is not afraid to be curious. She is an innovator and sound creator. The perfect musical scientist in my book!
I couldn’t be there in person for this year conference, but Beatie and I managed to squeeze in a really fun interview.
Let’s enjoy the ride.
SD: What are you looking for this year at the Collision 2018 Conference?
BW: Meaningful connections and conversations with like-minded people who wish to inspire and uplift.
SD: Every time I listened to your album, Raw Space, I feel like I’m in a bubble. It’s a very pleasant sound environment.
Can you explain to us how you created this special atmosphere?
BW: That’s very kind. I honestly don’t know. I think that I give an intense amount of focus to the songwriting, arranging and production process and I really do believe that God is in the detail.
I was also aware that the stage for the album would be the Bell Labs Anechoic Chamber (the ultimate raw space!), which absolutely makes you feel like you’re in a bubble, so I think that influenced the recording/producing process too.
SD: You are the co-founder of a research project that is looking at the influence of music on people that are living with dementia. What inspired you to take part in this amazing project?
BW: I was inspired by neurologist Oliver Sacks and his incredible work looking at the power of music to heal and move us, even when nothing else can.
While reading Musicophilia, I felt that there was no greater application of music than that: pulling people back from the most extreme neurological states, and when I heard that some of my family members had developed dementia, I felt compelled to start applying what I had been reading about.
The amazing thing about the ‘Power of Music & Dementia’ study is that it was the first study to prove the power of music, outside of memory, (new music) for people living with dementia and this was something that Sacks had theorised but not yet tested, stating that “…music does not have to be familiar to exert its emotional pull…” and “…music is a necessity for those with dementia.”
SD: As a very proud Montrealer, I can see some of Leonard Cohen’s inspiration in your lyrics. Other journalists and bloggers can see it too. Are Leonard Cohen’s poetic lyrics what inspired you to be a songwriter?
BW: It is a funny story because Cohen did become a big influence on me, but only after I had played a number of shows and people in the audience would come up and say: “Are you a Leonard Cohen fan? Your music reminds me so much of his.” And back then I had no idea who he was (this was when I was about 16/17).
Then, one guy from a show in Portugal gave me a CD mix of his favorite Cohen songs and from the first time I listened, I was hooked!
I realized that there was someone else who cared as much about the words as I did, someone who was so true to the story, that the music had to serve it.
Cohen was such an incredible wordsmith, poet, and writer in his own right, that I ended up doing my dissertation on him for my English Literature degree, even though the University advised against it, thinking he could not be classed as a writer.
Writing that paper, even against the advice of my professors, was what ended up opening a dialogue with Cohen and his team and at one point, just before he passed away, there was a conversation about him adopting one of my musical formats (the intelligent deck of cards) for “I Want It Darker.”
SD: When you see the words “Musical Innovator”, what kind of emotion does that bring to you?
BW: I think it’s definitely something different to just being a musician or singer-songwriter. For me, the music is always at the core, it is the reason I do everything.
But I love creating worlds for each of my albums and allowing people to feel some of the old school magic that I felt for records at a kid, by creating new formats that combine the best of the old and the best of the new.
So in that way, I am happy to be a musical innovator!
SD: Can we expect a show in the near future in Montreal?
BW: Yes… 110%!! It is a place I have been meaning to visit and play in for so long.
Leonard Cohen’s city welcomes you, Beatie, with open arms!
Written by Sabine Démosthènes
Photography credited to Beatie Wolfe
Thank you Collision 2018
Written by Sabine Demosthenes
It’s been a while since I wrote a fashion Chronicle.
Today is your lucky day! The warm weather is slowly coming and along with it more smiles since we had one of the crappiest Winters ever.
Ok, with those pictures, you will said probably not but wait…
To mark the season of hope, aka Spring, I’m rocking my fabulous Totally Tala fringe earrings!
Yes, it’s damn true. You can even see it.
I have to be careful because Mr. Whisky seems to want rock them too.
Tala is a pure artist. With her creation, you can see the artistry in her and she is not afraid to be bold.
Here a picture of her sister rocking those earrings too.
Actually, I really love the fact that she is a daredevil regarding fashion.
I’m more the minimalist type, but I wish I was more willing to be bold.
But with those earrings, I feel bolder than ever! And, it’s such a good feeling.
Tala will officially launch The Totally Tala website in 2018 and you will be able to see her products. I’ve got my eye on a special fringe bag.
For all the fashionistas and the fashionisters (new word I just created), get ready to be totally swept away by this cool artist.
Written by Sabine Démosthènes
I have loved fashion since I was young, from the time I realized it was a thing.
Watching my sweet Mamma glamming up for our ritual house parties in the 80s, while she likely wished she was more of an Alexis Colby Carrington because she was a fierce and career-oriented woman a that happen to be a fashionista rather than a Kristle Carrington from Dynasty, our favorite show, was a joy for me.
I was in awe of all of her stilettos, pearls necklaces, giant gemstone rings, and dresses. I couldn’t wait to play with them. I wasn’t the only one in that situation.
My mom worked a 9 to 5 job in a clothing manufacture earning a hourly wages while going back to school to have a better career for herself in the 80’s.
She worked so hard during the day. She wasn’t a lawyer, a journalist, a doctor, or a scientist, but she did her best to provide us with the essentials. And yes, fashion was part of that.
I never took my mom less seriously because she loved to have fun with her style and enjoy it. It was the contrary. I admired her more for not taking herself too seriously and she encouraged me to have the same disposition.
In the 80s, everyone had fun with fashion. From executives (those shoulders pads – uh uh!) to the neon leggings seen on fitness enthusiasts.
Women like Oprah, Jane Fonda, the girls from Salt’N’Pepa and Madonna, even my gym professor and elementary school principal (I loved Mrs. Nantel’s red suit) were having fun with fashion.
In the 90s, Grunge and the streetstyle of Hip-Hop were in full bloom. It was the decade of my ultimate fashion mentor’s style!
I’m still into it today, dressing like her, it is so me now.
Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy! The minimalist goddess of all time.
Did we judge her like we crucify some women today for their wardrobe?
So why do we do it in 2018? I read article that said, for example, you are a prominent human rights barrister, you cannot enjoy being creative with your outfit without being judged for not taking your role seriously.
What the heck?!
I find it ridiculous. People must have nothing better to do.
My clothes shouldn’t speak to my accomplishments but actually, my accomplishments should speak for themselves.
For an example, Diana, Princess of Wales had fun with her wardrobe, but it didn’t stop her from being considered the Peoples’ Princess.
I remember a few years ago, at a convention, I had my Gucci eyewear mixed with a Club Monaco T-shirt and a black pencil skirt. Simple, classic. I was given the look: “OMG you are so materialistic for showcasing your sunglasses”.
Someone actually came up to me and commented.
I wasn’t happy about it at all. I was thinking, I’m not judging anyone, why they are doing it to me?
After that, did I stop wearing my eyewear? Or, if I wanted to wear nice clothes, did I think twice?
We are so lucky to have the opportunity to have fun with fashion. Yes, some things can be pricey and some people may think we are pretentious. But, maybe try to take the time to learn about someone personally and then, maybe you won’t say or write such stupid things.
Ladies and Gentlemen, let’s not be those cynical, sad people that have nothing better to do than judge a book by its cover without reading it.
Let it be.
By Sabine Démosthènes
During last night’s game between the Cavs and the Knicks, you may have heard noises that were not exactly cheers for a particular player.
Instead, the fans were booing Travis Thompson. It was pretty obvious.
For some that may not know, Mr. Thompson is dating one of the Ms. Kardashians.
To make the situation a little more awkward, Khloé Kardashian is pregnant and Travis Thompson was being a little bit too touchy-feely with a woman that is not the mother of his child.
You can guess that his philandering nature and his indiscretions were plastered all over the web.
First thing is first. Everything that has a connection to the Kardashian’s brand will get major coverage.
Whether we like it or not, it is fact.
I’m not a fan of this Kardashian culture at all, but I do feel bad for Khloé and her having to deal with this issue before giving birth to their baby girl (Congrats!).
Oh wait, this family has the reputation of being fame-hungry… Maybe they aren’t very upset about it since they are being mentioned everywhere.
I take back what I just said, I don’t feel bad.
My question is should we boo players for the life they are living as civilians when they are playing?
My opinion on this matter would be no.
When you come to see a game, you come to actually see the game. You don’t go to see a game for some player’s personal life, but we were programmed (myself included) to admire and glorify these athletes. They should be good role models.
In fact, I do adhere to that thinking.
Alright, you probably think that I’m contradicting myself. You might be right, but I will explain my point.
If I don’t respect an athlete or someone else, I won’t boo them, but I will stay silent. I think being silent and indifferent has more weight than being noisy and trashy.
Throwing some garbage in a court, a ring, a soccer field is an act of disrespect. Disrespect to the other players and to the game.
Let’s be more like the Japanese in this matter: calm, collected, cheerful and respectful.
But I got a brain freeze when I realized wait a minute, they are booing because he is cheating on a Kardashian! Morally though, this family is not as white as the big snow we will be receiving this weekend in Montreal…
It’s like a double-standard type situation.
People are complaining about this family and their values and then, booing and slamming the boyfriend because of his dishonesty and fraternizing actions. But still, this family got famous because of a sex tape!
I need a drink!
I mean this kind of drink…