Ballin’ On A Budget

Unidays!!!! If you’re a college student register for Unidays all you have to do is register with your college email and they’ll give you a special code to use so that when you shop at sites like Boohoo, Missguided and Asos you will get your student discount

—> Link to the Ballin’ On a Budget Video

 

Moonlight *Spoilers*

So I just recently watched the 8 Academy Award Nominated film, Moonlight. This coming of age film touches on the important issues that tend to be forgotten about or people turn a blind eye to. Drug addiction, adolescence, and sexual identity are all issues that the main character, Chiron faced. This film really tugged on my heart strings. There was a lot of heartache, but there were some triumphs.

 

The film is told in three parts which follow the key points in Chiron’s life.

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Little:

As a kid, Chiron also called Little is constantly bullied at school and his drug addicted mother, Paula doesn’t help much. Juan, a local drug dealer takes Chiron under his wing. Juan and his girlfriend, Teresa provide Chiron with a sort of safe haven. Chiron struggles to come to terms with his sexual identity all while dealing with his mother’s worsening drug habit as a child. Chiron endured during his childhood. His mother was not always around and whenever she was coming down from her high she would be aggressive towards him. He learns early on what the slur “faggot” meant and that Juan is a drug dealer who fed his mother’s crack addiction. However, Chiron still continued to hang out with Juan and Teresa as they sort of acted as his surrogate parents. Throughout his hardships, he managed to have one friend, Kevin. Kevin always seemed to randomly pop up whenever Chiron was down or going through it.

moonlight

Chiron:

Chiron is now a teenager still struggling with his identity.He’s still dealing with bullying only that is different is that now he’s in high school. In class, he deals with constant verbal and physical abuse from a bully, Terrell. After school, he would typically avoid Terrell and his crew and go to Juan and Teresa’s. In the film, it is clear that Juan died, but not much is said about what happened. One day after coming home and having his mother take all of the money Teresa gave him he sleeps at the train station, but unable to sleep comfortably he wanders to the beach. At the beach he bumps in Kevin, his childhood friend. They sit, talk and smoke some weed. At some point their conversation, the mood changes. Chiron and Kevin shared a deeply intimate moment that stuck with Chiron for the rest of his life. Despite their intimate moment, Kevin gave into peer pressure just a few days later at the hands of Chiron’s bully, Terrell. this time the bullying was apart of a hazing ritual. The hazing ritual resulted in Chiron being brutally beaten in front of his peers. Chiron felt there was no point in reporting to the authorities he broke down in his principal’s office and just kept saying you don’t even know. He felt and knew that pressing charges wouldn’t make a difference so the next day he took matters into his own hands. He returned to school the following day and beat Terrell over the back with a chair. Consequently, Chiron was arrested and sent to juvie in ATL.

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Black:

Years later, Chiron is now an adult. He became a drug dealer after someone from juvie put him on to it. Everything in his life was pretty slowed down and consistent. There were no traces of the insecure Chiron from Liberty City up until he gets a surprising phone call in the middle of the night. He picks up the phone thinking it is his mother calling him from rehab, but it is actually Kevin. The call has Chiron lost for words, but Kevin managed to keep the conversation going. The phone call ended with Kevin telling him that since he works at a restaurant whenever Chiron decides to visit Miami he’ll cook for him.  Shortly after that conversation Chiron visits his mother at the rehab facility she lives at. They have a heart wrenching conversation about her lack of love and care for him as a child and how regretful she is. The next day, Chiron drives from Atlanta to Miami to see Kevin. They sit and chat for awhile with mostly Kevin talking because Chiron seems apprehensive and unsure of Kevin. Kevin closes the restaurant and Chiron gives him a ride home. Back at Kevin’s place they seem to beat around the bush, but Chiron finally opens up. He says that Kevin is the only man he’s been intimate with and that he has never been with anyone else since. The film comes to a close with them embracing one another and talking.

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Review: there’s so much about this movie that I love. I love the all black cast. I loved how passionate the characters were. An LGBT movie was needed for the black community. I love and feel like there are so many parts of this movie that resonates with a lot of people. The young men who played Chiron as a child and teen did a great job. They had a big responsibility of understanding difficult issues and portraying them for the world to see and grasp. It was also interesting how Chiron never came out and explored after the moment he had with Kevin. In one of the last few scenes, he tells Kevin when he left Miami he built himself from the ground up and wanted to forget the things of his past. However, he never pretended to be straight or have any relationships with other men. It seemed as though that trip to Miami made him bring all of things he tried to put in the back of his mind back at the forefront for him to come to terms with. The writers and production team did a good job depicting a situation where there is beauty in the struggle.

Rihanna: An Icon

By: S. Easley

—>Link to my video on Why I Love Rihanna

Rihanna is an innovative, iconic, and trendsetting woman. We all love and draw inspiration from her.  She made the list for Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2012 so it’s safe to say that she plays a big role in pop culture. The moment she posts a new picture on Instagram or steps on stage we’re all drawn in. She’s a fashion icon, businesswoman and most of all just herself.

Rihanna’s fashion sense and style is one of a kind. I always find myself scrolling through her Instagram or through her fan pages on Tumblr getting so much inspiration on clothes to wear or a different hairstyle/color to try out.

She’s gone long, she’s gone short, and has even worn bantu knots. She wore her hair wrapped up in bobby pins and that made headlines. She went topless on the cover of Lui magazine in 2014. Rihanna makes herself hard to look over.

In 2014, Rihanna received the Fashion Icon Award at the 2014 Council of Fashion Designers of America. From Bubble coats to fur bralettes anytime she steps out her outfit always has everyone talking. Rihanna definitely has a lasting impression on pop culture

There’s so much more to Rihanna that doesn’t get enough attention and praise. The Barbadian singer is so carefree, confident and most of all ambitious. The media mostly focuses on her choice of clothing and who they think she’s dating. I mean so what Drake got her a billboard to congratulate her on receiving the Vanguard award (Just kidding. That’s actually a big deal lol). Rihanna is an inspiration not for just her looks, but for what she does and has accomplished all these years in her career.

As a teen Rihanna decided to follow her dreams, she dropped her first album Music of the Sun when she was 17 years old. She started her music career as a teen and well the rest is history. She has won numerous awards. So far she has won 8 Grammy Awards, 12 Billboard Music Awards, and on August 28, 2016 she received the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award. She has sold over 200 million records worldwide, which makes her one of the best-selling music artists of all time. In 2015, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) had announced that Rihanna had surpassed more than 100 million Gold & Platinum song certifications. Most recently, her single “Needed Me” was certified 2 times platinum by the RIAA and her other single “Work” was number one on the Billboard’s Hot 100 for 8 weeks, which tied her with The Beatles for 59 weeks at number one. Honestly, the list goes on when it comes to Rihanna’s accomplishments as a music artist.


As a businesswoman, Rihanna has collaborated with Puma, MAC cosmetics, Stance and Manolo Blahnik. She has her own lipstick color with MAC called Riri Woo.

 2015 was a good year for Ms. Fenty she became a co-owner along with other various artists in the music streaming service Tidal, she became the first black woman to represent the popular French fashion brand, Dior and later on in 2015 revealed she has her own sock line with Stance. Earlier this year, she became a creative director and collaborated with Puma. Rihanna now has her own Puma collection, which consists of the popular fur slides, creeper shoes and Fenty trainers. Also, this year she has worked with Manolo Blahnik, the famous Spanish fashion designer. Fenty and Blahnik teamed up to create 6 limited edition styles of denim boots and heels which were released in May.



Rihanna is also a philanthropist. In 2006, she created her Believe foundation for children who are terminally ill. In addition, Rihanna and other celebrities/public figures designed clothing with H&M for H&M Fashion Against AIDS line in 2008.  Also, in 2008, Rihanna performed a series of charity concerts that were entitled A Girl’s Night Out to benefit the Believe Foundation she created. The charity concerts were made free for the public. The money that came from sponsors and advertisers were to donated to provide medical supplies, school supplies and toys for the children.


In 2012, Rihanna founded the Clara Lionel Foundation, in honor of her grandparents, Clara and Lionel Braithwaite. The current programs of the Clara Lionel Foundation are the Clara Braithwaite Center for Oncology and Nuclear Medicine at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Barbados.

The foundation even has education programs. There is an annual Diamond Ball held as a fundraiser event. In 2014, the first ball raised over $2 million and the second ball raised over $3 million. After Hurricane Sandy hit, Rihanna donated $100,000. In January 2014, Rihanna was part of the MAC Viva Glam campaign, which benefits and women, men, and children living with HIV/AIDS.

Rihanna is an empowering figure.  A couple years ago Rihanna was a victim of domestic abuse, but she never played the victim or used that as a ploy for attention. She went through that situation and grew from it. She didn’t let that situation turn her into a damsel in distress. Rihanna is someone that I think a lot of young girls and women can look to as someone to draw so much inspiration and courage from. She has been driven and focused on her career all these years. People may obsess over who she’s dating, but she has remained obsessed with her work. Going on numerous tours, consistently dropping albums, designing shoes, becoming the newest creative director at Puma and still she somehow finds time to spend time with her family and friends. She’s been through a lot and accomplished a lot. Robyn Rihanna Fenty is an iconic, inspiring, and innovative woman.

My Favorite Netflix Original Series

By: S. Easley

Narcos

Narcos goes back in time to follow the rise and ultimately the fall of  Colombian drug lord, Pablo Escobar. Most of the show is in Spanish so if you like watching movies and shows with subtitles like myself you’ll love this show. It’s interesting to get a little history lesson on who hip hop culture seems to love referencing. Season 1 is already available to watch and season 2 will be available this Fall.

 

Sense8

This sci-fi series follows 8 people from different parts of the world who somehow begin to connect with one another. They begin to share thoughts and visions which comes in handy when they all realize their new found ability is now a threat to their existence. I really enjoy this show because it connects cultures and people that would typically be seen as apples and oranges. It even focuses on sexuality, gender and religion.

 

Master of None

This show is something pretty much any young adult can relate to. It follows the story of Dev living in New York who is just simply trying to figure out life like most of us are. He’s trying to navigate through work, his parents, friends and his relationships. Life is one big juggling contest and this show depicts it pretty well in my opinion.

 

Stranger Things

A new sci-fi series set in the 80s that focuses on the disappearance of a young boy named Will. He mysteriously goes missing on his way home from hanging with his friends. Will’s disappearance causes a series of strange events and even uncovering things that were hiding in plain sight.

Hiking to the Hollywood sign 101🌄

By S. Easley

So last week I took a trip to California for vacation. One thing that I wanted to accomplish was making it to the Hollywood sign.

Boy oh boy did I underestimate that hike. So from my own experience I decided to share some pointers and photos with you guys.

Here’s some major keys🔑 that’ll help you reach the top safely 

  • The key is go early to beat the heat and the sun otherwise it’ll be unbearable AND dangerous!🆘
  • Stay hydrated. Bring multiple bottles of water. Freeze them the night before. 💧
  • Stretch. Stretch. Stretch. 🏋🏽Especially if your body isn’t used to walking long distances
  • Pay attention to the signs because you’ll easily end up taking a wrong turn because there’s so many other trails↗️⬇️↙️↘️↖️
  • Take breaks. Stop at a rock or in some shade and stretch🌳
  • Always go with another person or in a group the more the better 👫👯👬👭

I also wanted to add that you can’t get as close to the sign as you think lol. Hope my tips help💕

Below are pics📸 taken during my hike 👇🏾

NYC for the weekend 

By: S. Easley

So this weekend me and my BFF decided to take a trip to NY just to do it. We had both been to NY but never really got a chance to explore and experience it really. While we were there we visited the 9/11 memorial, times square, a park, NYU, got some delicious pizza in Greenwich, went to the Tonic Bar in Manhattan for wings & music and then went to Milk River for drinks which is a restaurant and lounge in Brooklyn.

Here’s some pictures

 Pizza Mercato located in Soho

 9/11 memorial

Washington Square Park

Chinese New Year performance in Times Square

Milk River a popular lounge/Bar/Restaurant in Brooklyn

Sweet & Spicy wings from Tonic Bar in Manhattan

Blizzard Movies/Tv Shows

If you live on the east coast I’m pretty sure you’re experiencing this blizzard. We’re all snowed in and bored so with that being said I’ll be spending my weekend watching movies and tv shows all day so I thought I’d share a few of my “must watch” movies and shows with you guys

  • Top Boy – British series following drug dealers in London
  • Girlhood – French movie about a Black teenage girl looking for acceptance and a way out of her troubled home life
  • Mississippi Damned – A movie that follows different members of an African American family that are struggling to get by in the south
  • Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2 – Follows a woman as she seeks revenge on those that have wronged her
  • Sense 8 – supernatural series that focuses are 8 people who are somehow connected through a newfound power

By: S. Easley

 

New Year, New Me.. Well Kinda

Happy New Year, guys! I hope you all brought in the new year with loved ones and enjoyed yourself.

So I’m writing to this post to share my thoughts on new year’s resolutions. So typically people have this notion that with the new year they can revamp themselves and become this new person while coming up with all of these unrealistic goals and etc. that they swear they’re gonna achieve and stick to. I’ve come to realize that associating the new year with things you want/should do is not a good idea… However I think it is a good idea to incorporate the new things in your daily life meaning instead of saying “I wanna lose 25lbs. this year.” make it a regular thing to go to the gym. Also, I think it is important to consider your goals and how realistic they are. Is it feasible for you to accomplish them? Don’t go beyond your means. Will you have time do it? Will you stick to it? You could always just plan to do something it doesn’t all have to happen in one year. Go at your own pace.

I just say all of this to express that I suggest that you  should want to do these things long term depending on what the goal is. I think it is important to consider that you want to continue doing this thing rather than for a short period of time and constantly continuing the cycle of coming up with something new every year. Just consider what you want to do as improvement rather than becoming a new you.

 

Happy New Year again,

S. Easley