I started stargazing during my first year of uni where the night sky was crisp and clear, as living in London beforehand, I hadn’t been exposed to many stars and had no idea there were so many. At first it was confusing but with the help of some amazing physics students (who knew exactly where everything was) I was able to get on my feet in the world of astronomy.

For anyone who is into art, science, geography or genuinely intrigued by the wonders of the world, star gazing is a great hobby to take up. The feeling you get from being able to see constellations and planets mentioned in great myths & classic literature is truly indescribable and gives you a whole new perspective on the world (and your place in it)… Now that its autumn and the sun sets earlier, stargazing can be done earlier in the evening and is therefore a lot easier. There are tons of constellations, planets and sky activity to see  all year round but during autumn, the planets: Venus, Mars and Jupiter can be seen (I thought they’d look exactly the same as in photographs but if you’re using your naked eye to observe they will look like really big bright stars with a possible hint of colour), the constellation of Orion is clear as can be (I was in complete awe during the very early hours of this morning), as well as Taurus, Pegasus… Not to mention galaxies and shooting stars- sounds too good to be true right?

It can be confusing at first but there are some really helpful apps (star tracker and the night sky app) that can help you pinpoint constellations and planets in the night sky using your location. And once you get used to the layout, you could even use a sky map to locate them by yourself! – Tonight, according to skyandtelescope.com, Mars will be visible to the lower left of the moon with an orange glow. Why not give stargazing a try tonight?

Try something new, stay blessed

 

The fashion industry at the moment is definitely buzzing with young, designers and models of colour making their mark. From streetwear and bespoke clothing to fashion week and elite designers, Black Brits are paving the way and setting great examples for future generations of fashion forward individuals (not only here in the UK, but on a global scale). Who to look for? Well there are tons to choose from, but as each brand promotes different individual styles and overall concepts, these 3 are definitely worth looking into!

 

1. Blaque Ribbon.

poster
00:00
--
/
--

Click to play.

Blaque Ribbon is a bespoke fashion brand created by London fashion designer Leona Simms. Simms has had her brand featured in Vogue magazine for a shoot with Naomi Campbell as well as having many of her pieces travel the world. The brand is inspired by vintage, 1940’s style gowns with an afrocentric twist, using organic fabrics to create flattering styles for people of different shapes and sizes. Proud of African culture and heritage, Blaque Ribbon is a truly inspiring brand and one that is a constant reminder to love and celebrate black history all year round.

 2. 1Figures

1Figures is a streetwear brand established by Hackney’s ‘Chris Figures’. The brand is widely recognised by its bold ‘1F’ logo and has evolved from stocking T-shirts to retailing exclusive collections in jackets, two pieces, jumpers, hoodies and more! 1 Figures is recognised as not just a brand, but a movement focused on celebrating the success of others while expressing character and individual style in the best way. As well as having a strong presence in the UK rap scene with artists such as SNE, Frenzy and Ghetts all repping the brand, US Hip-Hop artist Tory Lanez has also rocked some 1F! 1Figures has been a huge example of how you can excel in anything if you remain hard working, consistent and true to yourself.

3. MiH

img_7244

If you’re all for girl power and classy style, Mih is a brand definitely worth looking out for! Mih is a UK based up-and-coming brand created by 3 ambitious women, specialising in elite style pieces that every woman dreams of. The ladies at Mih are very focused on catering to all body shapes and sizes, targeting young women who are transitioning between the ‘teen’ age to womanhood. With plans to influence areas other than fashion in the future, Mih are a fun, innovative collective who want to display that ‘team work’ makes the ‘dream work’ as they ‘Make it Happen’. For more information on the brand and their ethos, follow Mih on twitter and Instagram at @Mih_thecompany

Stay inspired,

 

Over the past decade we have seen a number of talented Black-British actors and actresses grace our TV screens from Idris Elba and Thandie Newton, to more recently Naomi Harris, John Boyega, Malachi Kirby and many talented others. On 31st October 2011, 1.1 Million viewers were introduced to a young man called Malcolm Kamulete who played the role of Ra’nell in the East London-based trilling drama, Top Boy. Last Sunday, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Malcolm, for an interview about his journey as a young actor in hopes of providing an insight into the industry for aspiring black actors.

09/10/16- The Interview.

The first thing I notice about Malcolm is his great energy and at this point, I’m reassured that I am sitting down with the right person for the interview. Aside from being a positive, down to earth individual, Malcolm is a young man clearly dedicated to his career with promising plans to work overseas in the near future. Curious to know where all this energy is coming from, I get stuck in with questions and Malcolm eventually explains that the positive energy comes from “the positive out-comings of other people” – an unexpected but equally pleasing answer as it relates to the main purpose of this interview…

Top Boy

“I’ve been a conflicted person for a while and I think they liked it”

So, who was Malcolm at the time? Well, I’d done some research and wanted to know how someone who had no prior knowledge of acting became one of the leading characters of a BAFTA award-winning TV series. Was it simply luck or technique? Well, to my surprise, Malcolm tells me that during the Top Boy auditions he “wasn’t really bothered…” his laid back and somewhat nonchalant attitude at the time is actually what landed him the role. He adds ” I’ve been a conflicted person [like Ra’nell] for a while and I think they liked it”. So to answer the question, I’d say there were multiple parallels between Ra’nell and himself at the time from aspirations to be a semi-pro footballer, to the family dynamic, making him perfect for the role.

Top Boy Season 1

“I just want to open up opportunities for the rest of us”

What gems can Malcolm share with us? Plenty! There is no one message that can be taken from the entertaining and emotionally gripping series as real life scenarios are explored from a multitude of perspectives, adding to the show’s realness. Speaking about the message of the show makes me curious to know what message the young actor is eager to share with not only his peers, but eventually the world. Malcolm confidently explains “I have a very clear message, I just want to open up opportunities for the rest of us, I’m coloured and I want opportunities for the rest of us.”  and I truly believe he is serious. With the limited opportunities in the UK acting scene, Malcolm sees the importance of branching out and really honing in on your craft while you’re young and able to put in the levels of commitment. He adds “my most important message is not about race, it’s about showcasing talent” which he clearly possesses, and as we delve deeper into the topic we’re both laughing as we realise like Top Boy, Malcolm also has more than one message, finally adding “I just want people to smile at my performances and feel genuinely proud [of what they see]”.

“You’re a fucking good actor, never stop”

Throughout the interview I am becoming more intrigued to know how (besides motivating himself) he continues to push himself along the difficult journey. He makes it clear that rejection is something young actors will become familiar with, but must never let it define or discourage their entire journey. Without discrediting his achievements, Malcolm explains “I’ve been on auditions for Hollyoaks, Tarzan… and you’ve only seen me on this [Top Boy]”. For most, the list of auditions isn’t always going to be directionally proportional to the number of successful projects (a similarity that can be drawn with anything in the creative field) so auditions should be used as a source of motivation and an opportunity to gain experience. There isn’t always an easy way to break through, especially if you’re starting from the ground up so “you have to persevere” says Malcolm. On the same topic, I want to know if the show’s great reception also motivated Malcolm to pursue acting and he confirms that it did -a memorable moment for him was when the late actor and director Alan Rickman (who most of you may know as Professor Snape) told him “you’re a fucking good actor, never stop”- A huge compliment!

“300% dedication”

Keeping in line with the purpose of my Black History Month posts, I ask Malcolm what he thinks a good approach young people should take in terms of acting and channeling their energy into positive activities and his advice is “we [as a community] need to be more directly enthusiastic about what we want to do.” I agree, he goes on to say “find what you want to do and get straight into it. Acting classes, offering yourself out for casting ‘extra’ roles, get into university projects – university media students create opportunities” but ultimately, “it’s about perseverance and drive” In terms of becoming a successful actor, Malcolm says “300% dedication” is needed. ” The minute you get the script you need to be bombing it down [ which basically means constantly going over it, researching characters etc]”.

With that being said, I hope all of my readers continue to work hard, stay dedicated, and most importantly, stay inspired.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This year has definitely been the year of the break through artist here in the UK,  we’ve seen both upcoming and established artists from Skepta, Stormzy and Craig David (whose made an amazing comeback) to Ms Banks, Avelino and SNE take the lead in their genres. Last week I shared my sit down interview with the very talented screen play writer, director and producer, R.M Moses and this week I’ll be sharing 4 UK artists whose dedication and achievements will hopefully inspire you to chase your dreams.

1. Wretch 32

The 31 year old lyricist has blessed the UK music scene over the years with a myriad of tracks from emotional numbers like ‘Don’t Go’ (and more recently ‘6 Words’) to more risque anthems such as ‘Traktor’ and the infamous ‘Hulk Hogan’. Wretch is an inspiring artist as his story is so relatable to a lot of youths in the black community; he opens up about real life struggles he faced growing up from poverty, to police brutality but it is very clear that those very struggles have made him the driven man he is today.  Whether he touches upon childhood anecdotes, makes use of clever caribbean lingo or captivates us with his hypnotic flow, it is clear that Wretch is an artist who remains true to himself. (something we should all aim to maintain) Wretch has also racked up a significant number of musical achievements including MOBO and BET awards- Truly inspiring!

2. Nadia Rose

You may have heard the charismatic south London rapper Nadia Rose’s distinctive voice on the most recent Lucozade advert but that’s just one of many achievements under this young lady’s belt. Rose, in her twenties, is a rapper whose unique style and confidence have taken her from height to height, signing deals with Sony and earlier this year landing a performance on the main stage at the Wireless Festival (where an estimated 15-20,000 attendees showed up, per day). She’s definitely held her own as a young female in the UK grime/rap scene with savvy punchlines, lyrical ambiguity and bags of flare, making herself one to watch out for. Breaking through as an established artist almost instantly, Rose is a real representation of girl power and guts, demanding respect, thus making her a great role model for young females who may also be aiming to ‘breaking out’ in industries predominantly influenced by men.

3. WSTRN

The Wstrn trio made up of Akelle Charles, Haile and Louis Rei are an inspirational bunch, properly emerging on the scene last year. Also performing on the main stage at the 2016 Wireless Festival, they dominated the charts this summer and have rapidly grown their fanbase in the UK and in the States!  Their debut single ‘In2’ reached number 4 in the UK charts (I’m sure we all know the lyrics by heart) launching the group as serious contenders in the music industry. The group are bringing back cheerful, charming R’N’B vibes with Louis Rei adding in his signature rap verses for that extra personality. I think Wstrn are collectively a great role model(s), as they’re bringing something different right now, slowly paving the way for a more up-beat UK R&B sound. All in all, the group promote good vibes and great energy in their music which is always a win!

4.Lola Rae

Now, just when the Afrobeats scene really grew to popularity two or three years ago, Lola-Rae found the perfect opportunity to literally catapult her music career to a whole new level. Some of you may recognise her from Britain’s got Talent 6 years ago but since then, her undeniable raw talent, persistent hard work and perseverance with her music has helped her gain the recognition she deserves. Fast forward to 2016 and Lola-Rae is now considered one of the UK AND Nigeria’s most acknowledged Afrobeats artists with the likes of Tiwa Savage and others. Since releasing her debut single ‘Watch My Ting Go’ in 2012, the sweet voiced singer has kept the momentum going with a number of singles and performances, showing the world she is a force to be reckoned with. As Lola-Rae has continued to kill the scene, her hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed with her racking up nominations for ‘most gifted newcomer’, ‘most promising female act to watch’ and ‘Diaspora artist of the year’.

Each of these artists have something in similar: they demonstrate confidence, passion and drive, but most importantly allow who they are and what they’ve experienced motivate them and give back to the world through music. This month, I challenge you to think about what makes you feel confident, passionate or simply motivates you, and how it can be used to contribute positively to someone else’s life.

Stay inspired,

 

 

 

This year has definitely been the year of the ‘hard-worker’ as we’ve seen some of the UK’s most talented and determined, young black icons to push through. So what better way to kick off Black History Month than to inject some positivity and inspiration back into our lives, and share them with you all!? This week we will get to know the multitalented, R.M. Moses.

Who is R.M. Moses?

press

 

In his words he tells me ‘I’m an artist, visual storyteller… Writing is my first love so I’m always going to be a storyteller.’ The very humble and driven young man, only 23 skipped uni and dived wholeheartedly into his passion at a young age and is already reaping some of the benefits. Selling out movie theatres, winning awards overseas (3rd place best short film and best screen play) and working with his ‘childhood crush’ Jennifer Freeman (commonly known as Claire Kyle – My Wife and Kids) are some to name a few. Remi’s passion for writing started when he first received an A* after giving 100% of his attention to a creative writing piece in english literature ‘My ONLY A*’ he tells me, before developing interests poetry, photography, filming music videos and starting a youtube channel where he learnt to edit videos. Remi now writes, produces, films and directs, his own screenplays and is currently working on two screen adaptations of novels by other authors. I can tell his artistic background contributes significantly to his ability to beautifully translate complex storylines through multiple mediums at once (written screenplays, sound and visuals) in his work which always leaves viewers emotionally connected to whatever he creates.

r-m-moses-collage

“writing is my first focus if you see my work you know I’m going to make you cry, make you laugh…”

I am curious to know why Remi focuses so much on topics such as mental heath in his work, he does explain that his work is reflection of humanity, but I still want to know what fuels his need to shed light on what he describes to be issues with ‘mental health’ and people in ‘underprivileged situations’. And much to my anticipation he explains that ‘being in a digital age people rather text than actually check up on how we are… [it’s as if] people are becoming desensitised’, therefore it seems his aim is to humanise us again by provoking emotional responses to situations that we’ve become somewhat unintentionally apathetic towards. At this point I’m nodding in agreement as in this day and age most of us are guilty of texting someone we should probably pick up the phone and call, or harmlessly mistake tapping through our snapchat feed for actually checking up on those who are important… But after you watch one of Remi’s films, you’ll feel emotionally charged and compelled to call everyone in your phonebook- trust me!

aa-reflect-behind

“You can do things without permission of other people…Be your own boss”

In an age where traditional careers and ‘jobs for life’ are slowly becoming extinct it can be hard for us to stay inspired but learning to adapt and utilise what is available now, could possibly be the next step in starting the journey to success. We are seeing this more lately with a rise in the number of successful entrepreneurs who have used the internet to maximise their earnings, as well as websites set up to help provide job opportunities like ‘Linkedin’. Remi explains that in terms of creativity ‘because of the digital age, everything is accessible, so you can do things… without the permission of other people’ and I agree, the possibilities are really and truly endless- Remi has even had the likes of Meagan Good (Actress) and Malachi Kirby (Actor) messaging him about his work and showing love through social media!

According to this young inspiration, ‘the key to life is gratitude’ which is a message I’ll leave with you today. Once gratitude is applied to daily practises, you really can change your whole life in the long run.

Be sure to subscribe, follow me on twitter and Instagram by clicking on the social media icons for exclusive content & more information!