Posts tagged with "blm"

Black Wall Street via Big Hassle Media for use by 360 Magazine

Nikara Warren – Black Wall Street

Vibraphonist, composer, arranger, and educator Nikara Warren is excited to announce her debut album Nikara Presents Black Wall Street, due out November 12, 2021. To ring in the announcement, Warren has shared the jazzy, rap-centered single “Run Ricky.”  Stream it on Spotify HERE and Apple Music HERE. Warren has several performances slated through the rest of the year, not least among them the Nikara Presents Black Wall Street album release show at NYC’s Rockwood Music Hall (Stage 2) on Saturday, November 13. See below for the full list of upcoming performances.

The granddaughter of towering piano legend Kenny Barron, Warren has labored to solidify the album as a celebration of Black excellence in music, a joyous celebration of cultures, genres, identities, and resilience. While she is an accomplished vibraphonist and a true student of jazz, Warren’s music is an ecstatic celebration of many musical styles, from soul and funk to rock and rap, and everything in between.

Nikara Warren is a true Brooklynite. Born and bred in the eclectic and electric enclave, her family, her friends, her band, and her musical pedigree are a microcosm of the county at large. Her grandfather is world-renowned jazz pianist Kenny Barron, and she’s the daughter of a half Trinidadian soca/dancehall lover father, and a classic 1990s “Brooklyn Round the Way” girl mother. 

“I would wake up hearing Dizzy Gillespie; get in the car with my mom and listen to TLC; be dropped off at school and listen to System of a Down or The Who; play Charles Mingus in band; hear Biggie on the way home, and listen to Trio de Paz or some Brazilian music while eating dinner. Rhythm was always key,” she explains.

Today, Nikara celebrates Black excellence in music with her triumphant debut album, Nikara Presents Black Wall Street, out November 12. The provocative and evocative title commemorates the horrific Tulsa massacre when white mobs in Tulsa, Oklahoma attacked Black residents and their destroyed homes and businesses. It’s a day that has cast a dark shadow on Black achievement, though Nikara prefers to honor her Black ancestries’ splendor with a joyous celebration of cultures, genres, identities, and resilience.

“Back in 2012, when Trayvon Martin was killed, there was a lot happening in the news. I grew up in Brooklyn so it wasn’t uncommon to hear about people being assaulted and killed by cops, but it was uncommon for it to be televised,” Nikara recalls. She continues: “Around this time, I learned about Black Wall Street, and I started to understand the greatness of being Black through music. With my album, I wanted to get across the excellence of our heritage and create something new and modern from the Black Diaspora music culture in the West.”

As a composer, a musician, and an educator, Nikara is reimagining vibes. She is taking the instrument to the people with her infectious compositional sense, her post-modern patchwork of influences and cultural signposts, and her fearless musicality. Her bold quest comes from being well-versed in the vibraphone lineage, but seeking to adventure beyond it. 

Nikara earned a scholarship to the esteemed Berklee College of Music, and she was selected for the prestigious Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program for original composition in 2013 and 2014. Nikara has performed as a part of SF Jazz’s “Women on The Rise” program, highlighting notable upcoming women in the jazz industry. In addition, Nikara has performed Black Wall Street compositions at NYC Winter Jazz Fest and at The Kennedy Center. 

Nikara grew up with her grandfather in the house, so naturally piano was her first instrument. Around the age of 14 Nikara switched to bass. She first heard vibes being played at the legendary Village Vanguard in her grandpa’s jazz ensemble, featuring the masterful Stefon Harris. Nikara was always a percussive person, and the vibes percussive and melodic capabilities instantly appealed to her. 

Despite her passion for the vibes, Nikara had her sights set on being a music business mogul. She landed a promising job after college, but soon found she craved more creativity than the 9-5 grind offered. In 2012, Nikara started shedding the vibes relentlessly, and by 2015 left her job to dedicate her life to becoming a composer and an artist. That fateful year was the dawn of the Black Wall Street music and artistic perspective. 

All of Nikara’s personal, cultural, familial, and musical journeys converge on Black Wall Street. Here, she explores an abstract sound-collage: hip-hop, jazz, neo-soul, Afro-Latino and Afro-Caribbean rhythms, and more. Her vision is cohesive but eclectic, just like how people’s identities are a product of their various heritages and associations. 

Black Wall Street, the album and the musical vision, has become synonymous with the band, in fact, Nikara performs under the Black Wall Street moniker. The musicians are bonded together mainly by being Brooklynites, and what a Brooklyn upbringing represents in terms of cultural references and musical pedigrees. The album features Nikara Warren on vibes, Kenny Barron on piano, Paul “bae.bro” Wilson on keys, Hailey Niswanger on tenor sax, Stephen “Khemestry” Fowler on trumpet, Parker McAllister on bass, Corey Sanchez on guitar, and David Frazier, Jr. on drums and spd (sampling pad demo). 

The 10-album explores topics of race, gender, body positivity, personal-revelation, and acceptance. These weighty subjects are contextualized within a feel-good sensibility. “There is so much pain associated with the Black experience and within Black music. It was important to me to offset this by expressing joy, and making the music fun,” Nikara notes. 

Select album standouts include “Heather Gray,” featuring Kenny Barron, “Run Ricky,” “Mona Lisa,” featuring Nikara’s sister Be.Be, and “Womb Woes.” “Heather Gray” is the closest thing on the album to a jazz composition. It features an infectious groove and a spare chord change so the players can have fun blowing over it. “Run Ricky” is a politically-charged, dancehall-tinged hip-hop joint with a stinging narrative. The story arc is a modern tragedy of a Black artist unjustly killed by police. “Run Ricky” feels all too real, and it features glowering lines such as: Looked into his pocket they figured his vision/Blood stained fist with an eye drawn on some loose leaf/Photo went viral on Newsweek.

Nikara explores smoldering neo-soul on “Mona Lisa.” This is a love lost ballad of, and it features cinematic lyrics such as: She can never be like me/I’ll give it time for love to end/My solitary cigarette/Is all I have us have/Is this me? The track is sung by Nikara’s younger sister, Be.Be, a promising artist in her own right, and it gets a satiny reworking later on in the record with vocalist Melanie JB Charles. On the ensemble jazz piece, “Womb Woes,” Nikara addresses womanhood, female identity, and gender struggles. The song is made that much more potent by its screaming tenor sax solo courtesy of Hailey Niswanger. 

It took 6 years to realize the vision of Black Wall Street. Nikara says: “It felt like it was important to take my time and get everything right. When it was finished, I remember I was super amped up and screaming in my room listening to it. It felt like it came out so purely with a momentum all its own.” Up next, Nikara is raring to get back in the studio and flex her arrangement chops, possibly on a repertoire of classic R&B.

Just Fine Image via Interscope Records for use by 360 Magazine

Kitty Ca$h × Kiana Ledé – Just Fine

Producer, DJ, innovator, and cultural curator Kitty Ca$h reemerges with her new single “Just Fine” featuring platinum-selling artist Kiana Ledé via LVRN Records/Interscope. This track comes as the first in a string of new releases on the way for the Love Renaissance staple act.

“Just Fine” starts with an airy yet mesmerizing rhythm that draws you in accompanied by jazzy trumpet notes and piano keys. The rhythm quickens as the lyrics intensify when Ledé’s smooth and sultry vocals are paired with a heavy base and steady beat. The track invites you and your partner to the dancefloor while the lyrics add a layer of desire and complexity to the song. Ledé croons “You’re coming closer, reading your mind again. Follow me, follow, let’s go.” As the instrumentals remain a fixture for the background of the track, the chorus transitions from English to Spanish as flamenco style guitar enters into the key notes of the record. “Mírame a los ojos, mientras bailamos” not only sprinkles more raw desire on the song, but also reflects the upbeat melody since she is talking about dancing together while looking into each other’s eyes.

“When I first heard this song, I was so excited Kitty Ca$h asked me to be on it because it would be my first time singing in Spanish,” said Kiana Ledé. “I’m Mexican but was never taught Spanish, so I love that Kitty Ca$h gave me a chance to connect more with my culture on this song.”

“I’ve always wanted to see the growth in my artistry and as a DJ I feel like there is a natural progression to wanting to create your own records,” said Kitty Ca$h. “I’ve been able to play so many records I love around the world and I wanted to experience that same feeling with my music. I loved working with Kiana, I’ve been a fan of her work and she is so talented. So I’m so thankful that she took a chance on me and was down to bring this to life. Being in the studio together and experiencing in real time the magic was surreal. “Just Fine” is about that reassuring love. The love you can’t stop giving into. The love that stops time and the world around you and makes everything just fine. I hope this song evokes an effortless vibe of freedom and moves you to feel good. Whether you’re home with the fam or out with the girls I wanted to make a record that you could make memories of and dance to!” 

About Kitty Ca$h

Over the past few years, Kitty Ca$h has made a name for herself as one of the most prolific cultural curators. From DJing for the biggest brands and celebrities, releasing original projects with music’s hottest artists, to overtaking the fashion scene, and creating an animated talk-show, Kitty’s World. Kitty represents a new breed of creators unbound by any specific medium or media.

Kitty’s musical projects represent a cross section of popular artists alongside new up-and-comers handpicked by Kitty to receive the type of attention that only a co-sign as prized as hers would afford. Earning this respect through her unique taste and knack for uncovering new music trends, Kitty has become one of the industry’s most in-demand DJ’s. While maintaining an underground authenticity, Kitty has executive produced her own releases at the levels of legends like DJ Khaled, DJ Drama, and Funkmaster Flex and continues to create innovative media content. She has previously collaborated with Rihanna, SZA, Solange, Kali Uchis, Doja Cat and more.  At the cross section of music, fashion and tech, Kitty Ca$h creates a platform for black voices and creatives with an important message to be heard.

MLWXBF chapter 4 illustration via Alison Christenson for use by 360 Magazine

Ivy League BLM Courses

By: Emily Bunn

Ivy League Schools to Begin Teaching “Black Lives Matter” Courses

Proving their commitment to diversity and understanding, several Ivy League colleges will begin offering courses on the Black Lives Matter Movement. Whereas other Ivy League schools, such as Cornell, have created Africana Departments that focus on the centrality of Africa and the African Diaspora to the modern world, BlackLivesMatter classes are situated in a specific cultural moment. Though, of course, the Black Lives Matter falls under the umbrella of contemporary African history, it is positioned in a more concentrated, modern application. Princeton and Dartmouth are the two first schools to begin accrediting this intersectional coursework. While Princeton most recently enacted their BLM coursework, Dartmouth has been pioneering this change since 2015.

Dartmouth’s Black Lives Matter course discusses topics such as The Ivory Tower, understanding St. Louis and its racial history, race and class, racial violence, and systemic and unconscious racism, among other topics. Part of Dartmouth’s course description reads, “though the academy can never lay claim to social movements, this course seeks in part to answer the call of students and young activists around the country to take the opportunity to raise questions about, offer studied reflection upon, and allocate dedicated institutional space to the failures of democracy, capitalism, and leadership and to make #BlackLivesMatter. Developed through a group effort, this course brings to bear collective thinking, teaching, research, and focus on questions around race, structural inequality, and violence.” The course is taught by a wide variety of professors from different academic disciplines and social backgrounds. Taught for ten weeks by close to 20 different professors, Dartmouth’s Black Lives Matter coursework stands as a comprehensive example of a cross-disciplinary concentration that recognizes and situates history in a contemporary, American context.

Princeton’s #BlackLivesMatter class looks to examine the “historical roots and growth of the Black Lives Matter social movement,” and is “committed to resisting, unveiling, and undoing histories of state sanctioned violence against Black and Brown bodies.” Princeton’s #BlackLivesMatter’s course description reads as such: “This seminar traces the historical roots and growth of the Black Lives Matter social movement in the United States and comparative global contexts. The movement and course are committed to resisting, unveiling, and undoing histories of state sanctioned violence against Black and Brown bodies. The course seeks to document the forms of dispossession that Black Americans face and offers a critical examination of the prison industrial complex, police brutality, urban poverty, and white supremacy in the US.” The course’ sample reading list includes selections from Angela Davis, Claudia Rankin, and Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor.

Princeton’s course will be taught by Professor Hanna Garth, who has previously taught “Race and Racisms,” “Postcolonial and Decolonial Theory,” and “Theories of Social Justice.” Garth’s self-defined interest in “the ways in which people struggle to overcome structural violence” and past experience has well-prepared her for teaching this class. Garth remarks, “All of my research, teaching, and mentoring is designed around my commitment to feminist methodologies and critical race theory.”

While some have aggressively asserted that Princeton’s course readings are from a former communist party leader who once made it on the FBI’s Most Wanted List, their negativity further highlights the necessity of this course. While these assertions may be true, it is telling that certain critics commonly overlook the individual’s many (more recent) accomplishments. The author in question is Angela Davis – a revered, respected, and well-educated civil rights activist, philosopher, academic, and author. By painting Davis as an unpatriotic, dangerous criminal, it distracts from the important lessons that are to be learned from this influential leader. Similarly, Fox News’ article on Princeton’s new course links their mention of the “Black Lives Matter” movement not to an explanation of what the movement is, but instead to a page on US protests. As opposed to creating an educational resource for what the BLM Movement is, conservative critics are quick to jump to claims of Black violence and riots.

Especially in 2021, as the United States grapples with the fight for racial and civil justice, discussions surround race, policing, prison reform, and politics are more pertinent than ever. It is absolutely essential that our nation’s college students are exposed to critical race theory and critical thinking. By shielding America’s youth from the necessary history of this country – which is still being experienced today – we are only putting them in a position of increased vulnerability and ignorance. Knowledge is power and educating oneself on society’s issues is the only way to efficient work towards progressive social change. Hopefully, as the most prestigious academic institutions begin to model examples of intersectional and anti-racist coursework, other colleges and universities will soon follow suit.

Missing JP Ramirez

Very esteemed make-up artist, JP Ramirez (42 year old Chicago native), who has worked with many people in the entertainment industry, including 360 Magazine, was found dead a few days ago.

Ramirez was last seen in Hell’s Kitchen this past week.

Recently, family and friends held an evening vigil in his loving memory. If anyone has information relating to his disappearance or death, please contact the authorities.

360 Latinx Editor, Javier Pedroza says, “To know JP is to love JP! Juan Pablo was one of the most sweetest and creative souls that I had the honor of knowing and create magic with. Growing up in New York City as young adults, we were discussing our future and how we would help humanity. JP had a sense of community and was always there for anyone who needed him. I will miss dancing ferocious salsa, styling together and laughter with our friend, but we will never forget his heart and soul. Rest in power amigo and thanks. Love you.”

“He was a beacon of hope, with a positive spirit that penetrated the room. We met JP on a special music presentation for our agency as a makeup artist, featuring LaJune. He will be missed but not forgotten,” says Vaughn Lowery (President of 360).

Newly appointed 360 Creative Director, Armon Hayes says, “Having had the pleasure of working with you [Ramirez] … his openness and willingness to collaborate on short notice was unparalleled. I knew I was seeing somebody special. Talent beyond what the eye can see, we’re really going to miss you and you made an impact on me.”

According to the 360 brand ambassador LaJune says,” JP was a brilliant light, his energy was exhilarating and soothing at sight! He was really talented yet very humble. I am so fortunate to have had to opportunity to meet and work with him! Losing JP is a reminder to enjoy every beautiful soul you encounter. Pray to turn the page and send light and positive vibes to your loved ones.”

Find out more about JP Ramirez and his talents from a recent interview.

A celebration of JP Ramirez’ life will be held at 7pm on Friday, August 6, 2021. The ceremony will start at 7:30pm and take place at Tito Murphy’s (346 W 46th St, New York, New York 10036.) Guests are invited to come dressed as you are, as JP loved for you. The celebration of JP’s life will include both a bar and DJ.

Juan Pablo celebration poster image via Vaughn Lowery for use by 360 Magazine
Cartooning While Black cartoon via Will Brierly for use by 360 Magazine

Cartooning While Black Gallery Exhibit

Black cartoonists from The New Yorker present their work at the Cartooning While Black Gallery Exhibit at ChaShaMa.

Chashama and Art To Ware present Cartooning While Black, a preview of the art from the upcoming One Idea Press title release, The Anti-Racism Activity Book. Art from the volume, written and illustrated by cartoonist and comedian Victor Varnado, will be shown alongside fellow black New Yorker cartoonists, Yasin OsmanAkeem S Roberts, and Jerald Lewis II. This exhibition is curated by Rebecca Mills.

LOCATION: ChaShaMa Gallery, 320 West 23rd Street, NY, NY

WHEN: Thursday, July 15, 2021, to Thursday, August 5th.

The Anti-Racism Activity Book is a social satire created in the style of a children’s puzzle and coloring book. The exhibit will feature crosswords, word finds, and other nostalgic activity book throwbacks, combined with original cartooning work from Varnado, all using humor to illustrate how dumb racism is.

“Traditionally, very few black cartoonists have appeared in the New Yorker, but recent efforts by the magazine and the cartoon editor Emma Allen have made an exhibit like this possible,” said Jason Chatfield, president of The National Cartoonists Society and New Yorker cartoonist.

“Yasin Osman, Akeem S Roberts, Jerald Lewis II, and Victor Varnado’s illustrative works shown together in the same exhibit will be the first time such a presentation has ever happened,” he added.

As a comedian, Victor Varnado has appeared on Late Night With Conan O’Brien and Jimmy Kimmel Live. His writing and cartooning work have been showcased in MAD magazineVICEMarvel Comics and Salon. Varnado was born legally blind and is albinistic. His New Yorker cartoon created in response to the national unrest following the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police was one of the magazine’s most engaging pieces of content in 2020. Like Floyd, Victor also grew up in Minneapolis.

360 Magazine bottle illustrated by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Good Vibes

By: Emily Bunn × Vaughn Lowery × Gabe Majalca

360 Magazine has revealed a new, bedazzled brand bottle in collaboration with Integrity Bottles. Decorated with approximately 6,040 Swarovski crystal gems, this lavish flask radiates glamour and elegance. The shimmering container was created by artist Gabe Majalca of Good Vibe Gliders, who constructed the piece in over thirty hours of dedicated craftsmanship. Thousands of glimmering gems encase the container, creating a luxurious, polished and sophisticated look, as 360 Magazine represents. The bottle is to be debuted at the upcoming 360 Magazine Immersive Bodega Pop-Up.

Chrysolite, which is Greek for “gold stone,” sheaths the outside of the gleaming bottle in a rich yellow-green hue. For the “360” design on the side of the bottle, Chrysolite AB was utilized. Further, the cork is detailed with Electric White DeLite. The construction of the flagon took 30 hours in total. Overall, the process in creating this custom Swarovski-swathed bottle was time consuming, but the end result is an incredible feat of precision and dazzling artistry.

On 360 Magazine’s website, the popular Summer Sip List showcases some of the magazine’s favorite alcohol brands and drinks, all of which can be enjoyed in the new container. Cocktail recipes like Pinnacle Vodka’s Apricot Honeysuckle Spritz, Santo Spirit’s Hibiscus Smash, D’USSE’s champagne sparkler, and Cavit Wines’ Rosjito all invite readers to host a happy hour of their own. 360 Magazine is sure that the new pitcher will bring good times spent together enjoying fine sips and spirits. Now that the careful process of creating the bottle is over with, we will be sure to use this bottle in our everyday lives, whether we’re trying out new cocktail recipes, transporting drinks on-the-go, or simply displaying the container’s magnificent beauty.

This isn’t the first time 360 Magazine has worked with Integrity Bottles. In November of 2020, Integrity Bottles unveiled the 360 Magazine collection of glassware. The collection features seven products, including decanters, a refillable bottle, a stemless wine glass, a whiskey rocks glass, a 16 oz pint glass, and a Gibraltar beer mug. As with the previously released products, the new bedazzled carafe can hold your scotch, vodka, tequila, gin, rum, or any other desired sips. As the two brands look to their most recent collaboration to create the Swarovski-coated container, Integrity and 360 Magazine gleam with pride and assurance in the highest quality of production.

Integrity Bottles started as a small business between friends, but has blossomed into a thriving online store and studio based in San Diego. The company is run by military veterans and former law enforcement officers who always place integrity and honor at the forefront of their business practices. Having sold more than 3,200 bottles and earned 100% positive reviews on Amazon, Integrity Bottle products are sure to bring more merry making into your home. Integrity Bottles’ website can be accessed here, and customers can use the discount code “GIVEBACK” for 5% off their purchase.

Gabe Majalca, who constructed the 360 Magazine × Integrity Bottles’ bottle, spoke about the design process. His brand, Good Vibe Gliders, provides custom, crystal-encrusted creations to suit customer’s vibes.

What was your process of decorating this brilliant 360 Mag bottle?

First thing was choosing the right color. We wanted something that resembled sacred water or a magical lagoon. Chrysolite and Chrysolite AB Swarovski turned out to be the color most true to my vision. Next, was construction. It’s most important to keep your lines straight at the beginning, starting with the foundation. So, by the time your pattern reaches the top, your lines will still be straight!

How long did the process of decorating the bottle with Swarovski crystals take?

It was a tedious 30-hour [long] project. The thing is, you’re not just laying stones in a line–eventually you need to fill in the 360 Logo–and that right there was a massive challenge. It’s similar to a jigsaw puzzle. Putting the right stone in the right place is paramount to the letters looking clean [and] uniform. Lots of mental energy went into the letters. I’m very pleased with how it turned out.

What did you think when Vaughn first came to you with the idea?

Vaughn’s the homie and I knew he had worked with Integrity Bottles before. So, naturally, I was stoked to hear 360 Mag was getting themselves an iced-out bottle. I’ve always wanted to complete a Swarovski bottle–so the project made perfect sense to me and I jumped right on it. Anything for Vaughn.

How do you feel after seeing the original vision tangibly come to life?

It feels great! Looks like a magical lagoon! Something to keep in mind–it’s always a marathon when doing this artwork, so seeing something come together, completely finished–well, that makes me really happy inside. This was a challenging but very satisfying project, no doubt about that.

What was your first thought when you viewed the finished bottle product?

“I’m done! I’m finally done!” Haha No really though, I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what I said. This bottle was a deceiving hard project to complete – so many elements. Since this was my first try at a something like this, there were many twists and turns to the design that I simply did not foresee. In the end, it was like someone giving me an XL pizza and sa[ying], “you can’t get up until you finish it.” Not that it wouldn’t be totally delicious while I was eating it, but eventually you slow down at about half way through [when] you’re getting full and your stomach starts to hurt, but your tastebuds and your will power keep saying MORE! That’s what this project felt like… right up to the point when [I] took the last delicious bite. Worth it.

What do you think would be the best use of this bottle? Do you have a drink of choice you imagine drinking from it?

Easy, tell Vaughn to make me a Caramelized Citrus Smash! This refreshing summer cocktail is equal parts vodka and grilled citrus juice with sparkling water or lemon-lime soda. Vaughn will need some ruby-red grapefruits, lemons, limes, and navel oranges. Slice your citrus in half, brush the cut side with some honey, and dip the cut sides in sugar. Throw your fruit cut-side-down on the grill to caramelize the sugar. Once grilled, let it rest until cool. Lastly–the booze. Mix 1.5 ounces vodka, 1.5 ounces juice, and 1 ounce of water or sparkling water.

Hey V, I’m on my way!

360 Magazine x Integrity Bottles bottle image by Gabe Maljalca for use by 360 Magazine

Vaughn Lowery, President of 360 Magazine, spoke about the concept and creation the 360 × Integrity Bottles design:

How you originally come up with this idea of encrusting a bottle in Swarovski crystals?

Not too long ago, Victoria Secret had embellished some lingerie in diamonds for a runway show. Shortly after, Joe Boxer mocked the idea with boxer briefs for a stint during NYFW in Bryant Park. As the former spokesperson for this brand [Joe Boxer], I struggled in these uncomfortable underwear (the rhinestones literally dug deep into my skin causing several scratches on my thighs).

Over the years, Gabe has bejeweled scooters and e-bikes for Good Vibe Gliders. Once we saw that he’s ventured out into sneakers with various customizations, we knew that he had to lace one of our Integrity Bottles with Swarovski crystals, adding a touch a glam and panache. This meticulous process took more than 30 hours and was executed by a total of 4 craftsmen with close to 1000 dollars of materials (not to mention intensive work).

Did you come up with the Chrysolite colorway?

We wanted the bottle to embody a monochromatic color palette to reflect today’s modern and colorless society in celebration of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Why were these gems/colors specifically chosen?

We provided Gabe with a water theme and the end product represents clarity and purity, mimicking our eclectic mantra of transparency. After all, 360 readers are permanently celebrating their uniqueness along with this masterpiece.

Does the vessel actually cost $1,000,000?

No, not at all. But Swarovski crystals are the closest thing to a blood diamond without destroying the lives of people like in the Congo. They refract light as a prism, showcasing almost all the colors of the rainbow (thus paying tribute to the LGBTQ community).

Why did you choose to work with Integrity Bottles again? What is working with them like?

Integrity Bottles is a veteran-led business and provides opportunities for people who have proudly served our country. The[y] [are the] same people who return from a period of service to find themselves displaced in society, especially [from] the work force.

How do you envision using this bottle in your own life?

We will exhibit the container in our workspaces and activations though out the world where guests will be able to witness its unforgettable beauty.

Furthermore, several team members mentioned that we could auction the carafe in the hopes of helping to raise awareness and offer them some financial support for their efforts.

How do you view this product as representative of 360 Magazine?

Everything in this made-to-measure bottle embodies 360. Similar to life’s circle, we start our journey into this world as a fragile piece of glass. Over the years, we have evolved into something bigger and better than we were before.

360 Magazine x Integrity Bottles bottle image by Gabe Maljalca for use by 360 Magazine

360 Magazine x Integrity Bottles bottle image by Gabe Maljalca for use by 360 Magazine

360 Magazine x Integrity Bottles bottle image by Vaughn Lowery for use by 360 Magazine

*This bottle is dedicated to our near and dear friend Chris March.

BLM via 360 Magazine for use by 360 Magazine

Tennessee Deathrow Inmate Pervis Payne Should be Freed

Dr. Charles Steele, Jr., the president and the CEO of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the organization co-founded and first led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said today that the legendary civil rights organization will launch a global movement for the freedom of Pervis Payne, a Tennessee man with intellectual disabilities who was sentenced to the death penalty for the 1987 murders of a 28-year-old Tennessee mother and her two-year-old daughter. With the announcement, the SCLC joins a growing number of organizations seeking Payne’s freedom. The campaign has led to a massive movement with nearly one million people signing a petition for Payne’s release.

“We feel that Mr. Pervis Payne has been caught in a system where a miscarriage of justice is taking place in terms of him being sentenced for over 33 years and all of that time, he has been on death row,” Dr. Steele said. “It is a miscarriage of justice in terms of his situation. We have researched it. We have talked to the experts. We have talked to the people involved who have worked with this case for many years. We know beyond a reasonable doubt, Mr. Payne is innocent and should be exonerated.”

For the first time in about a decade, Mr. Payne appeared on Friday in a Memphis court for a hearing on his case that could be decided in December. Dr. Steele was in Memphis on Thursday and Friday to support Mr. Payne. The focus of the SCLC’s effort, he said, is to raise global awareness and drive public pressure to free Payne, other innocent death row inmates and to force the U.S. to end the practice of the death penalty.

According to a 2020 report by the Death Penalty Information Center, there are 2,553 people on death row in the U.S, and, of that number, 1,076 (42.15 percent) are White, and 1,062 or 41.60 percent are black when Black people make up less than 14 percent of the U.S. population. Texas leads the nation with 572 inmates on death row. There are 13 in Tennessee. Zane Floyd of Nevada is due to be executed on July 26th.

“First of all, I do not believe in the death penalty,” Dr. Steele said. “Who are we as human beings to take a life when God gave a life? I believe people who have been involved in crimes and those who perpetually commit crimes, should be punished, but not at the hand of the death penalty. Give them life without parole. This gives an opportunity for those who really know the facts and have researched the facts to bring about the exoneration of people, preventing them from being executed. What if Mr. Payne had been executed prior to his 33 years on death row, then that would have been an innocent man killed just because of the discrimination from people who said he wanted to have a sexual encounter with a white woman after he looked at an issue of Playboy Magazine. Many people of color have been lynched because of the stigma surrounding… white woman.”

Dr. Steele said Americans and those of influence internationally cannot sit idly by and allow this miscarriage of justice to continue. Of the people on death row, five percent are innocent, and no innocent person should be executed.

“We have a right to protect and a right to educate in the court of public opinion that what took place over 200 years ago as far as lynching and unjustifiable executions of people of color is still happening today,” Dr. Steele said. “It is just another form of slavery and modern-day lynching. Memphis, the state of Tennessee and human beings around the world must be accountable. The Jim Crow mentality is why Mr. Pervis Payne is up for execution.”

Dr. Steele added, “If you believe in fairness, you need to get behind this movement on Pervis Payne. You need to march right now. You need to understand what Dr. King said when he said, ‘Silence in the face of evil is evil itself.’ You are just as bad as the prosecutor and people who want to execute him if you do not open your mouth and support this movement. Free Pervis Payne.”

About The SCLC

Established in 1957, the SCLC, whose first president was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is an international organization made up of chapters and affiliates with programs that affect the lives of all Americans: North, South, East, and West. Its sphere of influence and interests have become international in scope because the human rights movement transcends national boundaries.

protest via 360 Magazine for use by 360 Magazine

A Letter to Vice President Harris

Below is a letter sent to VP Harris and congressional leaders, calling for the inclusion of a permanent broadband benefit for home broadband service in any final infrastructure package passed by Congress and signed into law by President Biden. The letter is signed by more than 294 Black Church leaders.

This coalition, Black Churches 4 Broadband, includes many notable black civil rights church leaders who are activating their congregations to speak up and engage policymakers. You can find them on Instagram and Twitter as well. 

The Letter

Dear Vice President Kamala Harris,

As Black Religious Leaders across a range of denominations and religions, we continue to pray at this critical time for the Biden Administration team as a whole, and especially for you as Vice President of this country. We are happy you are leading the White House’s push to expand broadband access in this country.

We write to let you know we believe now more than ever in the need for a permanent broadband subsidy to help more low-income households connect to home internet service.

Getting everyone in the country connected to high-speed broadband (internet) at home is a civil rights imperative. Internet access opens the door to so many pathways critical to our advancement: educational and economic opportunities, family and church connection, health care services, greater civic engagement and activism. Unfortunately, only 71% of Black families and 65% of Hispanic families have broadband service at home compared to 81% of white households (Pew studies).

We are pleased that earlier this year Congress authorized the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) that provides a $50 dollar subsidy and up to a $100 dollar device during the pandemic emergency period. This groundbreaking effort builds on the proven success of private sector adoption programs and public-private partnerships that have connected millions of families through free or discounted service. But the EBB is not a permanent solution.

The Federal Communications Commission reported 2.5 million households have signed up for the EBB since it was launched in May. As a nation, we cannot leave these neighbors hung out to dry when the EBB expires. School-age children, the elderly, and job seeking adults in these households will still need home connectivity even after the pandemic ends. We need a more permanent solution to the issue of making broadband accessible to all.

Black Religious Leaders have played a pivotal role in helping this country live up to its constitutional creed as it relates to civil rights, human rights, voting rights and economic justice.  Our churches and houses of worship have been ground zero during this pandemic teaching Black families not only how to access prayer and worship online but also how to access voter information and how to navigate remote learning, telehealth services, job searches, e-commerce, and family hook-ups. This is the work of the Black church in the digital era which does not get the attention of the media.  

We can end the digital divide once and for all with a permanent subsidy. We have subsidies to feed those who are food insecure. We have subsidies for those who need help with childcare, home energy and other essential needs. We need a similar program for the internet. We now stand ready to help the Biden team mobilize our communities around digital and information literacy. The future of our families and community depends upon it.

To build a more just, equitable, and hopeful future, every member of our community should share in the opportunities of home internet access.  

We are hoping you will help lead this effort.

Rev. Dr. Renita J. Weems

Coalition Leader for Black Churches 4 Broadband

Co-Pastor of Ray of Community Church

image by Sara Davidson for use by 360 Magazine

CHARLOTTESVILLE REMOVES STATUES

THREE YEARS AFTER UNITE

By: Clara Guthrie

On Saturday, the university town of Charlottesville, Virginia removed four controversial statues from its public grounds: two of Confederate generals and two that depicted Native Americans in a distinctly disparaging way.

The first bronze statue to be lifted from its stone pedestal was that of Robert E. Lee, the infamous commander of the Confederate Army, which stood in Market Street Park. This public park was once named in the general’s honor until June of 2017 when it became known as Emancipation Park; one year later, it was yet again renamed as Market Street Park.

As the crane was put in place to remove the statue of Lee, the city’s mayor, Nikuyah Walker, spoke to onlookers. “Taking down this statue is one small step closer to the goal of helping Charlottesville, Virginia, and America grapple with the sin of being willing to destroy Black people for economic gain,” she said.

Two hours later, the statue of Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson—who gained his enduring nickname after successfully commanding a brigade in the First Battle of Bull Run—was taken down from its place in Court Square Park. Similar to the tale of Market Street Park, this spot once boasted the name of Stonewall Jackson, was renamed Justice Park and has since become Court Square Park.

In response to the removal of both statues, associate professor of religious studies at the University of Virginia Jalane Schmidt said, “I literally felt lighter when the statues came down, it was such a relief.”

According to CNN, both statues have been placed in storage while the city pursues different places to preserve and, more importantly, contextualize them such as museums, historical societies or Civil War battlefields. The city has reportedly already received 10 offers, six of which are out of state and four of which are within the state of Virginia.

This ultimate removal and push for contextualization came after nearly five years of heated court battles and protests. Back in 2016, then-high school student and current student at the University of Virginia, Zyahna Bryant, launched a petition to get the statues removed from their dominant positions over the city. Early the following year, city council voted to take down the statues, but this action was thwarted by a legal challenge. During the summer of 2017, “the statues of Lee and Jackson—and threats to remove them—served as a rallying cry for the far right,” as NPR said. On August 11 and 12 of that summer, this tension boiled over into the horrific, violent and racist riots of the Unite the Right Rally. On the second day of rioting, white supremacist neo-Nazis came to a head with counter-protesters when one man drove his car into a crowd, killing one woman, Heather Heyer, and injuring 19 others, only a few steps away from the statue of Robert E. Lee.

It was not until April of this year that the Supreme Court of Virginia overturned the original challenge to the removal of the statues. On June 7, the city council voted once again to remove the state-owned statues.

The racist legacy of these statues and the necessity of their overdue removal goes deeper than the obvious immortalization of individuals who dedicated themselves to the perpetuation of the enslavement of Black people. These statues are also artifacts of the Jim Crow era in Virginia, seeing as they were not erected in the immediate wake of the Civil War, but in fact decades later. The Robert E. Lee statue, for example, was not dedicated until 1924. NPR described the unveiling ceremonies of these statues:

“Charlottesville’s statues of Lee and Jackson were erected in the early 1920s with large ceremonies that included Confederate veteran reunions, parades and balls. At one event during the 1921 unveiling of the Jackson statue, children formed a living Confederate flag on the lawn of a school down the road from Vinegar Hill, a prominent Black neighborhood. The Jackson statue was placed on land that had once been another prosperous Black neighborhood.”

The programs coordinator from the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society, Sterling Howell, said on the installment of Confederate memorials, “This was at the height of Jim Crow segregation, at the height of lynchings in American history. […] There was a clear statement that [Black people] weren’t welcome.”

In addition to the removal of these bronzed Confederate generals, the city also took down two statues that included harmful depictions of Native Americans.

The first statue was of Revolutionary War general George Rogers Clark on his horse in front of three crouching Native Americans and two frontiersmen behind them, one of whom was raising his rifle. This statue sat on University of Virginia grounds, across from the popular dining and shopping area called “The Corner.”

The second statue depicted famous explorers, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, standing tall and looking outwards while Sacagawea squatted beside them. The statue stood outside a federal courthouse downtown.

Just as Zyahna Bryant opened the door to the conversation around removing Confederate statues across the city, Anthony Guy Lopez, a University of Virginia graduate and member of the Crow Creek Sioux tribe, started a petition to remove the Lewis and Clark statue back in 2009. “If art can be evil, these were evil,” Lopez said. “What this says to American Indians is that violence is a part of our lives, and that we have to not only accept but glorify it.”

According to city council member Michael Payne, the council voted in favor of the removal of the Lewis and Clark statue in the fall of 2019. The process of removal was significantly sped up, however, after the contracting company that removed the Lee and Jackson statues offered last-minute to take down the George Rogers Clark and Lewis and Clark statues at no additional cost.

While these four statues no longer loom over the busy streets and passing-by residents of Charlottesville, Virginia, the fight to come to terms with the racist history of Virginia, the South and the entirety of America is nowhere close to over. In Charlottesville alone, ties to this dark past are enduring. As just one example, the man who commissioned all four of the aforementioned statues, Paul Goodloe McIntire, is still immortalized across the city, including as the name for the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce.

Vaughn Lowery illustration by Allison Christensen for his book Move Like Water x Be Fluid produced by 360 MAGAZINE

Move Like Water × Be Fluid

By Katrina Tiktinsky

Vaughn Lowery, founder and publisher of 360 MAGAZINE, is set to release his first book this month. Move Like Water × Be Fluid is a stunning memoir documenting the author’s journey from a childhood in the Detroit’s subsidized, section 8 housing to a successful career in fashion and media. The arc of this remarkable passage twists and turns in surprising ways, ensuring readers will believe in the concept that this life truly is what you make it. The text will debut as an exclusive multi-volume installation within 360 MAGAZINE and marks the inception of the brand’s foray into publishing.

This provocative coming-of-age story explores the power of branding strategy, a technique the writer developed at an early age and carried with him throughout his lifetime. Lowery, from the time he was a young child, is able to comprehend that one’s innate, individual self is their greatest commodity in life. Through the highs and lows that inform his experience, he stays true to that ideal. Lowery puts forward a raw and compelling narrative of a child, and later a man, who repeatedly picks himself up, reimagines his life, and finds innovative ways to move forward. The self-empowerment so emblematic in Lowery’s character and story promotes readers to adopt the author’s tactics in their own lives.

The influence of prominent civil rights leader Joseph Lowery, the writer’s grandfather, is prevalent in this work. A beacon for both hope and progress during the Civil Rights Movement, the legacy of Joseph Lowery weighs heavily on the narrator. This, along with his upbringing and existence as a black man in America, make Lowery both introspective and contextually aware when it comes to race. Moreover, draws parallels between the movement his grandfather championed and led, and the Black Lives Matter movement of today, exposing the failures of our system and calling for meaningful, systemic change. Both Joseph and Vaughn Lowery are members of the first intercollegiate historically African American organization Alpha Phi Alpha. Lowery simultaneously considers the work he can do, as a singular human being, to forward social justice causes in his day-to-day life and interactions with others. 

In 1920, his grandmother, Agnes Christine Moore Lowery (the little girl in the blue dress, also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha), came with her grandmother to become the first black to vote in Tennessee. The kids’ book, The Big Day, depicts their journey the day she voted, now available on Amazon here.

Photo of LaJUNE by Armon Hayes for 360 Magazine

Photo: Armon Hayes, Talent: LaJUNE

360 Magazine is also now selling one of a kind home goods via Chairish, a curated marketplace for the best in vintage and contemporary furniture, decor and art. Check out this piece designed by 360’s founder Vaughn Lowery.

In the year 2020, which has been afflicted with an overwhelming amount of change, there has never been a timelier moment for insight from a man like Lowery. As mentioned, Lowery’s deep ties and connections to racial justice in America feels incredibly relevant, as do his thoughts on digital media, something Lowery pioneered years before COVID-19 forced the world hurriedly online. Constantly at the forefront of social change, Move Like Water × Be Fluid offers an understanding of the current moment, yet looks forward to the possibility of an evolved, cosmopolitan world. One that Lowery aspires to through all his works, including this installation and 360 MAGAZINE.

As we follow the author through grade school, high school and on through Cornell University, we collect advice from a myriad of powerful secondary characters. From all walks of life, these secondary support systems offer Lowery the push he needs to continue on striving towards something better. We watch Lowery model the work ethic of his admired older sister, gain confidence from an encouraging teacher, change the trajectory of his life due to a neighborhood mentor, and learn from the critique of a Residential Advisor. This self-help-book stands apart for never failing to appreciate the importance of an individual’s support system. Fittingly, while the book catalogues Lowery’s journey to success, it inspires and encourages readers in the same way Lowery’s community uplifted him – to take action towards a meaningful life.

Comparable titles to Move Like Water × Be Fluid include other stories of individuals who later turned to publishing their experiences in self-help books. Numerous celebrity examples include Becoming by Michelle Obama, Shoe Dog by Phil Knight, or The Path Made Clear by Oprah Winfrey. These titles, as well as Lowery’s first book, all feature introspection and explanations regarding the course of the authors’ lives. 

The following descriptions outlines the chapter-by-chapter journey within Move Like Water × Be Fluid.

Chapter 1: The beginning of Lowery’s journey is marked by his complicated childhood in Detroit, distinctly connected to his sense of place and community. Financial struggles and surroundings reminiscent of the song “Gangsta’s Paradise,” as well as the author’s early experience with assault contextualize the course of Lowery’s life.

Chapter 2: A childhood mood, coupled with the realization of his intelligence, swiftly changed the direction of Lowery’s life. Following a move to New Jersey to live with his older sister, Lowery’s early experiences of racism shine a light on his passion for racial justice today. The opportunity to participate in an honored education program again changes the trajectory Lowery follows.

Chapter 3: This chapter offers insight into the ups and downs of high school, a narrative many are familiar with. Yet, Lowery’s poised observations throughout the chapter reflect his early understanding of the world.

Chapter 4: After a remarkable yet complex journey through high school, Lowery achieves the first of many dreams by gaining the chance to attend Cornell University in New York. At Cornell, he is able to expand his understanding of self and what he hopes to accomplish.

Chapter 5: Saks Fifth Avenue recruits Lowery to work in their corporate office, marking Lowery’s first foray into the world of economics and fashion. The advice he gains from mentors in the field prompts him to shift towards a career in acting and modeling, supplemented by working in the Medicare Department of U.S. Healthcare.

Chapter 6: New York, in all its hectic nature, pointed Lowery west towards California where he could further capitalize on his talents in the entertainment industry.

Chapter 7: This chapter details one of the events in Lowery’s life for which he is best known: his commercials as “Joe Boxer Guy” that overwhelmed the nation. Following ups and downs in Los Angeles, this success cemented Lowery’s understanding of his own talents as well as his ties to L.A.

Chapter 8: Following an offensive home invasion, Lowery pivots to continue embracing what life throws at him with appearances on NBC’s “Scrubs” and “America’s Next Top Model.”

Chapter 9: With plenty of capital and the space to complement his next steps, Lowery founded 360 MAGAZINE in 2008, powering through the tidal wave that was the recession all due to his own brains and the belief in his product and brand.

Chapter 10: After another painful reminder of the inadequacies of the justice system in America due to an unjust prison stay, Lowery’s comprehension of what is truly important is once again realigned. Despite his negative experiences, his magazine is able to be on the cutting edge of the Los Angeles scene.

Chapter 11: The number 360 is ubiquitous to Lowery – one embodies the other. His appreciation for both his own capabilities and expertise, as well as the ones of others, assures his magazine and brand are constantly evolving. 

Chapter 12: Thinking on the future following the tragic death of a friend, Lowery is nowhere near finished and is more than ready to continue is many metamorphoses. He now exists in a space where he strives to empower others, all around the world. 360.

Move Like Water x Be Fluid, by Vaughn Lowery, is available this month exclusively on the 360 MAGAZINE’s website. 360 MAGAZINE has received numerous accolades, and has recently been featured on Dancing with the Stars. Stay in touch by following both Lowery (@vaughnlowery) and 360 (@360magazine)

Additionally Vaughn has an audio book titled, “Say Uncle: The Story of Vaughn Lowery” which loosely based on his childhood. It is available for here on Amazon Music. For additional info on Vaughn Lowery visit Wikipedia and IMDb.

Move Like Water x Be Fluid hard jacket on Blurb.

Move Like Water x Be Fluid is available in hard copy format at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google Books and Target.

Move Like Water x Be Fluid audio book available on Audible.

Signed copies of Vaughn’s memoir,  Move Like Water × Be Fluid, are available in our shop.