Posts tagged with "empowerment"

Amaal_Honey Single Artwork from Brittany Peterson for use by 360 Magazine

AMAAL TO RELEASE EP MILLY THIS FALL

“These songs are an unapologetic celebration of my womanhood,” says Amaal. “They’re the sound of me reclaiming my power, my pleasure, myself.”

Listening to Amaal’s extraordinary new EP Milly (releasing this fall) you’d have little idea that the breakout Canadian R&B star was born in Somalia, or that she was raised in a strict Muslim community in which expressions of female autonomy and sexuality were considered explicitly taboo. The songs on Milly transcend language and religion and culture, tapping into the kind fundamental humanity and search for self that binds us all. Amaal writes with a vivid sensuality here, reveling in the power of both physical and emotional touch, and her performances are visceral to match, delivered with a mesmerizing intimacy that hints at everything from FKA twigs and Kelela to SZA and Jhené Aiko. The result is a quietly revelatory work of self-actualization from an artist fully embracing her true identity in all its strength and beauty, a bold, intoxicating collection that, by its very existence, serves as a radical act of feminine liberation.

“My art is my way of confronting the misogynoir and the old, oppressive ideologies that have constrained me for so much of my life,” Amaal explains. “Without music, I’m not sure I would have been able to discover the woman I’m truly meant to be.”

The fourth of ten children, Amaal began her remarkable journey in war-torn Mogadishu, where she and her family lived until they were forced flee as refugees in the early 1990s. Starting over fresh in Toronto, she embraced the poetic nature of her cultural heritage but bristled at the conservative strictures and customs that came with it, particularly the repressive expectations placed upon women. Though it was forbidden at home, Amaal found escape in modern pop and R&B music, and as she began spending more and more time outside of her tight knit immigrant community, she adopted the nickname Milly as something of an alter ego.

“Milly was a version of myself that could be and do whatever she wanted without fear of shame or judgment,” says Amaal. “When I was Milly, I was anonymous, which ironically helped me find myself.”

By the time she hit 20, Amaal had grown bold enough to begin making her own music, but she still felt limited as to what she could sing about, so she focused her creative energy on politically and socially conscious material inspired by the civil unrest in Somalia and the struggles her people faced as a result. It was powerful stuff, to be sure, but there was more to Amaal than being a refugee, and she longed to express the fullness of herself and her story in her art. 

“It felt like I was absent in my own music,” she explains. “I was just trying to do things that felt safe and that would make my community proud because I knew that the moment I strayed beyond that, the backlash would come.”

In 2019, Amaal finally worked up the courage to step outside of her comfort zone with the release of Black Dove, a surprisingly vulnerable collection that found her reckoning with love and heartbreak and desire in her music for the very first time. Though it felt incredibly risky, the EP was a critical smash, garnering a Juno nomination for Soul/R&B Recording of the Year, racking up millions of streams online, and prompting rave reviews across the board. Complex hailed Amaal’s “airy and ethereal vocals,” while Exclaim! dubbed her “an artist that demands attention,” and Vibe proclaimed her a singer “like no other.” Perhaps more important than any reviews, though, were the messages Amaal began receiving from women around the world who saw themselves in her story and were learning to find their own voices through listening to her music.

“I called that EP Black Dove because I felt like this bird that was finally being uncaged,” says Amaal. “It was the beginning of me stepping out of the constraints that I’d grown up with.”

If Black Dove represented Amaal’s first steps towards self-expression, then Milly is more like a flying leap. Written and recorded with GRAMMY-nominated production duo Nicky Davey (Beyoncé, Zayn), the collection embraces the wild sense of freedom and discovery that came with Amaal’s alter ego growing up, tackling sexual liberation and female empowerment in no uncertain terms. The arrangements on the EP are spare and spacious, fueled by sultry beats and hypnotic synthesizers, and the minimalist approach only serves to intensify the spotlight on Amaal’s captivating vocals, which flow from a deeper, more full-bodied register here than ever before.

“This project forced me to explore whole new ranges in my voice, which put me in touch with whole new parts of myself as a woman,” Amaal reflects. “I honestly didn’t know I could sing that low or feel that confident until we recorded these songs.”

That confidence is clear from the outset on Milly, which opens with the steamy “Heaven.” “Open up the gates of heaven / Holy water dripping blessings / My blessings on you,” Amaal sings on the track, elevating physical intimacy to the level of divine consecration. Like much of the EP, it’s a rapturous ode to power and pleasure, to flipping the script and centering the sexual experience on female satisfaction. The swaggering “Honey” minces no words when it comes to women knowing their worth in the bedroom, while the dreamy “Renegade” takes the reigns with dominance and authority, and the effervescent “Special” brushes off the dime-a-dozen men who don’t have what it takes to keep up. Even a sweetly romantic track like the understated “Lullaby,” which features Syd from The Internet, blurs the lines between love and lust in its portrayal of the kind of deep, committed relationship in which insecurities and inhibitions are a thing of the past. 

Watch the mesmerizing live performance of Amaal’s latest single “Honey” here.

“After a lifetime of being told how I could speak and act and present myself as a woman, it felt like some kind of spiritual experience to be able say and do whatever I wanted on this EP,” says Amaal. “Singing these songs felt so radical, but at the same time so natural.”

It’s that duality that lies at the heart of Amaal’s music. For much of her life, she’s lived between two worlds; with Milly, Amaal is creating her own.

Interview with Ooshma Garg

Meal delivery services have gained a lot of popularity over the recent years and there are now many different services to choose. I was able to sit down with Oosma Garg, founder of one of these delivery services: Gobble.

Given all of the meal delivery services on the market today, what do you think makes yours stand out?

Unlike other meal kit services, Gobble’s meals only take 15 minutes to prepare. Gobble’s army of sous chefs do the prep work; like simmering sauces, marinating meats, and chopping vegetables, so that members can prepare a gourmet meal at home easily and quickly. We prep complex ingredients for 18 unique dishes every week, which gives members variety and new flavors with every meal. 

With freshly prepped meal kit ingredients, Gobble simplifies the process of eating healthy, nutritious, and flavorful food, ensuring that members don’t sacrifice time for taste or vice versa. Convenience is at the core of every Gobble product and experience — The company even launched a text concierge service so that members can chat with a “sous chef” and get real-time, educated answers at any time, especially during their cooking experience.

What inspired you to create the 15 minute meal idea?

I have always been a tinkerer and grew up curious, constantly experimenting. Women have been wondering ‘what’s for dinner’ since the beginning of time. Other companies in this industry approached this question through diets or teaching women to cook. Gobble was encouraged to solve the real problem at hand and fit into the fabric of everyone’s daily life. Gobble’s already prepped and prepared meal kits do the invisible work of solving this timeless mealtime question, in just 15 minutes. Gobble’s 15 minutes philosophy was inspired by the importance of quality time with loved ones, and when dinner isn’t stressful or time consuming, this is made possible. 

Are there meal options to fit certain diets?

Yes there are. Gobble’s Lean and Clean meal options feature lean proteins, healthy fats, and are under 600 calories per serving. This meal plan also includes the same flexibility that Gobble’s other plans do, as members can easily add breakfast and lunch options, or skip deliveries with ease. 

Additionally, Gobble is a great option for picky eaters, as customers can choose their own proteins, grains, and quantities. And, Gobble gives the user full ingredient control. Gobble does most of the prep, but it leaves the final amounts of sauces and most other ingredients going into your dish up to you (unlike oven-ready, or fully prepped/cooked kits).

Tell us about Gobble’s ingredients.

All of Gobble’s ingredients and production are fresh, as if it was cooked in small batches at home, and the production is devoid of shelf stabilizing compounds or preservatives. This makes the supply chain evermore difficult as the company cannot store these complex and custom prepped ingredients from one week to the next. 

Tell us about being a female founder in this meal kit delivery space.

Being one of the only female founders in this space, I was inspired to solve a fundamental aspect of society, mealtimes. I saw my mom working 12+ hours a day while balancing her professional role alongside her role as a mom, that there was a void of solutions that allowed working women to provide for their families without sacrificing time or nutrition. Gobble is designed to solve a real problem and fit into the fabric of everyone’s daily life. I’m proud to be a female founder in this space, and am excited to continue to bring even more solutions to the table. (Literally.) 

How did the pandemic affect Gobble?

Gobble has seen a 200% increase in basket size of non-dinner menu items, as people are home all day and demand increased deliveries for all mealtimes. Throughout this pandemic, many Americans found themselves facing COVID Burnout, which led them turning to other meal solutions. During Fall 2020, Gobble ran a survey to better understand how COVID was affecting its members. 78.5% of respondents reported that the pandemic affected how they shop for and prepare food with 48% of people sharing that they order groceries solely online. We offer members the ability to transform one’s kitchen into a new country and transport one’s tastebuds through unique flavors and ingredients by implementing adventure into everyday life at home.

Rodney Ramlochan image via Vaughn Lowery for use by 360 Magazine

Rodney

Rodney Ramlochan is an executive, entrepreneur, and global business generator who has dedicated his career to empowering others, identifying strategic relationships, and building world-class organizations. Driven by his passion for technology, fashion, lifestyle, and culture, he serves as 360 Magazine’s global business manager. Rodney builds market position for 360 by locating, developing, defining, and closing business relationships with leading brands.

Alongside his role at 360 Magazine, Rodney serves as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Dev-Byrne & Company, a national technology expense management firm serving premier clients ranging from global not-for-profits to Fortune 500 firms. He is a highly accomplished leader known for laser-like vision in formulating and executing cutting-edge strategies to achieve business goals.

Over the years, Rodney has held multiple roles within the business sector over the past two decades. As Vice-President and co-founder of an award-winning telecom auditing firm, he garnered an elite list of clients, taking the startup from obscurity to highly profitable in under three years. At Verizon, he oversaw large business units responsible for service delivery for enterprise clients.

Rodney completed both undergraduate and graduate degrees, with honors at New York University. He is a published contributing author who has written papers on service delivery and Total Quality Management. In addition, he has served on the Alumni Board Committee of New York University and the chairman of the board for St. Frances Cabrini Academy in Brooklyn, NY.

Willow Kayne from Derek Sherron, Epic Records for use by 360 Magazine

Willow Kayne shares high-energy single – I Don’t Wanna Know

Please meet UK pop provocateur Willow Kayne, who has shared her new single “I Don’t Wanna Know” today. Listen here at all DSPs.

After releasing a slew of independent singles, Willow signed with Sony this year and released her major label debut single “2 Seater” just a few months back to buzz and acclaim, even receiving early love from BBC Radio 1. Now, the 19 year old is throwing her hat in the ring as one of the most vivid, genre-blurring pop provocateurs in music today. A keen visual artist with influences as far-reaching as fashion design giant Nigo and production mastermind Pharrell, she pools together the most lucid touchpoints of all her inspirations to build a sound as diverse as her creative palette. Willow can trace this eclecticism directly back to her childhood, being raised by a hip-hop and house-obsessed father and a mother who produced videos for the likes of Erasure and the Prodigy. James Brown, Nas, and MF DOOM were all significant early influences, and soon she was making her own musical discoveries, falling hard for artists as diverse as Tyler The Creator, the Sex Pistols, Gorillaz, and Portishead.

Teaming up with UK hitmaker Oscar Scheller, “I Don’t Wanna Know” takes all of the attitude Willow has started to become synonymous with and ramps it up to 11 – taking cues from the old school rave culture that she is obsessed with by sticking a middle finger up to trolls over a drum & bass indebted production. It’s a high energy example of just how unpredictable a talent Willow is, and how easy she makes it look; the track is packed with hilarious one-liners that cut those who have bullied her online to size. An empowering anthem that deals with real life issues with a sense of confidence that feels refreshing in the landscape of pop today. The official video, along with a debut project and a HUGE announcement are all coming soon…

Watch previous music video “2 Seater” here.

“…a future star…” – i-D Magazine

“…playful lyricism, smooth refrains, and ‘90s-indebted grooves.” – NME

“…the artists that stick out from the pack are always those who are willing to switch things up, and quite clearly, Kayne isn’t afraid to do so…” – Lyrical Lemonade

“The Gen Z talent links together huge opposing forces, creating her own potent brand of rebel-pop.” – Clash Magazine

“A sizzling rallying-call from the Bristol-based artist all about living your own life and doing your own thing, ‘Two Seater’ blends rap verses with 90s-tinged pop influences, resulting in an instantly catchy debut.” – DIY Magazine

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1500 Sound Academy x ASU — Music Program for use by 360 Magazine

SZNS Launch Swimwear Brand

Los Angeles based pop-quartet SZNS are set to launch their own swimwear brand SZNS SWIM. This news follows the groups recent Times Square billboard and feature in People Magazine for their newest single “Build A Boy.” SZNS music gives a fresh take on the classic 90’s girl group music we all know and love with blending elements of EDM, Latin-synth, and House inspired beats, incorporating the styles and backgrounds of all its members. Similarly, to their song writing process Winter, Spring, Summer, and Autumn have brought together their unique styles in collaboration with Brazil’s top active wear workshop São Paolo to create the vibrant SZNS SWIM collection. Just as they have with their music SZNS want to make a product for all to enjoy no matter who they are.

When asked about their new swimwear line SZNS SWIM, SZNS said, “SZNS aims to inspire women and girls everywhere with their message of self-love and empowerment! SZNS SWIM is a natural extension of this message as SZNS SWIM embraces all body types, shapes, and sizes!”

In order to better understand SZNS, one must first understand the unique personalities of each member Winter, Spring, Summer, and Autumn and how their names uniquely play into seasons they represent.  Winter for instance is your shoulder to cry on, a listening ear and your biggest advocate, someone who is there for you during those tough times. All Spring wants in life is to connect and heal people through her music, using her talents to help others grow through her art similarly to how the showers of April bring help bring the beautiful flowers of May. Autumn on the other hand is troublemaker of the group, some might see her tough exterior but those closest to her in SZNS know she’s a real softie, you may find her out on town on Friday night but you have just a good a chance of finding her curled up on the couch watching Netflix. While Summer is known for being the bubbliest of the group, and can be found dancing everywhere she goes bringing her energy that turns even your darkest times to a bright sunny day. Together these four personalities come together to create the fresh high energy sound of SZNS. With this in mind SZNS are getting ready to release a series of four EP’s each specifically crafted for each member/season, emanating power, vulnerability, wit, and reality ranging from bass dropping dance beats to sultry ballads! Stay tuned to SZNS’s socials (below) for more information on the release of SZNS SWIM as well as upcoming tour dates and new music releases from SZNS.

Marta Klopf photo from Grace Topalian for use by 360 Magazine

Digital Artist/Designer Marta Klopf QXA

By: Ally Brewster

Marta Klopf is graphic designer that works in web and brand design. When talking about her artwork Klopf says, “My projects focus on clear communication while highlighting the values, thoughts and stories behind a brand and translating conceptual ideas into cohesive visual worlds.” Originally from Italy, Klopf graduated from Minneapolis College of Art & Design and soon moved to New York City, quickly falling in love with the city and finding inspiration in it. She loves being able to help with change through her art and design. Klopf looks forward to getting back to creating art for local community focused organizations in the future. We had the opportunity to ask Marta Klopf about her artistic journey and what’s next for the artist: 

How did you get into graphic design? Was graphic design always the direction you wanted to go?

I wasn’t one of those people who know as children what they are going to be when they grow up: for a long time I didn’t see a path that seemed right for me. I was always interested in a lot of things, and always wanted to follow new ideas and start new projects. What I did know was that I was interested in art, and that I was passionate about communicating. So I discovered design, which is at its very core visual communication. I moved to Minneapolis to pursue my BFA in graphic design and have worked in the field since. And I think it worked out, because design gives you the opportunity to be interested in a lot of things, to approach different projects with different ideas and interests.

Do you have a preference for working digitally or physically? Why?

I love working digitally: I feel like the digital world is where a lot of people today go to find information, learn things, discover brands, buy things, make connections, and therefore it is a dynamic place that is always evolving, which makes it exciting to be a part of it. I also think digital projects challenge you in a different way, because they need to make an impact while also remaining flexible and adaptable.

You stated: “New York is vibrant and makes you feel alive. You always feel like you are part of something big. It always pushes you creatively because there is always something new to inspire you.” What initially drew you to work in New York? Do you have a favorite thing in New York you always go back to for inspiration if you ever feel burnt out?

I think that, at first, what drew me to New York was the sheer quantity of creatives and creative endeavors, which gives you the opportunity to really find a path that works for you and matches your interests. But I didn’t expect to really fall for the city as much or as quickly as I did: I met a lot of inspiring designers and creatives who were pursuing their passions in so many different ways. I think the people are what always inspires me: it may be a bit cliché, but the energy that comes from surrounding yourself with other creative people can be very energizing. I also love to take long walks: you always end up somewhere new, and getting out of your usual environment and what is comfortable usually helps.

You’re a freelance graphic designer “with experience in web and brand design.” What is your favorite aspect of being a freelance artist? The most difficult?

I work for an agency and also do freelance projects, so I get the best and worst of both. I love the freedom of freelance work. You are in charge of what projects you take on, and the directness of working directly with the person who will use your work makes it empowering. The most difficult part would be that you are alone: you have to be the one who does all the organizing, the designing, the coordinating, the email writing, the zoom calls. Which I like, but can be quite a lot.

How do you begin your process of starting a new project with a brand?

The first thing I do is learn as much as I can about the project, first to determine whether it’s something I am able to take on, and then to find out what makes the project special. I would then typically meet with the client, talk about big picture things (their ideas and needs, their philosophy, and so on) as well as practical things (timeline, other people involved in the project, etc). Depending on the project I would then come up with a few ideas and see whether they will work and are well received. From there, it becomes a matter of getting more and more detailed and continuing to incorporate feedback from the client until the final product is ready.

Of the projects you’ve worked on, which is your favorite? What about it makes it so memorable/special for you? 

I recently finished a website called letstech.at. It is geared towards kids 10-18 in age and is meant to be a science/engineering portal for them: get them interested in more scientific or technical subjects, present ideas through videos and blog articles, as well as show role models (especially female ones) who work in the field and be a place where they can find information about careers in engineering. I loved working on it both because it was a design challenge (trying to speak to a relatively broad age range), and because it truly is a great resource for kids: it feels great to be part of something that empowers them through learning and through highlighting female role models.

As someone who loves being able to help change the world through your artwork, which causes are you passionate about that you would want to design for in the future?

I try not to set limits on what want to do, but generally I feel strongly about projects that are of value to people: in the case of the project above, kids who want to learn, but also, for example, design for community based organizations who help women, minorities, or in any way empower people by offering them resources that may be otherwise difficult to access. As another example, I also was part of a mentoring program, where professional designers helped create logos for groups of high schoolers who wanted to pitch ideas to help their community to investors. I love being able to use my skills that way: making an impact through design.

With your artwork, what direction do you feel like you want to go in next? Is there any new pattern, style, process, person, media, etc, that you feel has grabbed your attention and inspired your work? Is there anything you’ve done in the past you want to continue with? 

I feel that style changes constantly, and the more we focus on style the less longevity a project has. What matters to me the most are good ideas, and I think the time of the pandemic (having to stay home and mostly focus on work) really reinforced the idea of wanting to make work that has an impact. I always look at the work of Partner & Partners (where I used to work) and Hyperakt in New York as inspiration for beautiful work that is backed by great ideas and also makes an impact on the communities and the world we live in.

Marta Klopf is currently accepting freelance projects here.

Marta Klopf design for LetsTech from Grace Topalian for use by 360 Magazine

Marta Klopf design for LetsTech

Fire in Little Africa artwork courtesy of Capitol Music Group for use by 360 Magazine

Fire in Little Africa Announces Tracklist

FIRE IN LITTLE AFRICA ALBUM ART & TRACK LIST REVEALED + CHARLIE WILSON ANNOUNCED AS GUEST FEATURE, SET FOR MAY 28 RELEASE VIA MOTOWN RECORDS/BLACK FORUM IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE BOB DYLAN CENTER AND WOODY GUTHRIE CENTER, Album Brings Fresh And Important Perspective To The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre And Celebrates The City’s Vibrant Hip Hop Scene

Visit the official Fire in Little Africa website here!

Fire in Little Africa, a groundbreaking album of original material, written and recorded by a collective of Oklahoma hip hop artists to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre, will be released on May 28 by Motown Records/Black Forum in partnership with Tulsa’s Bob Dylan Center and Woody Guthrie Center.

The 21-track collection gets to the truth of what happened on May 31 and June 1, 1921 when a white mob descended on the streets of Greenwood, then a prosperous Tulsa neighborhood known as Black Wall Street, and burned down the business district, destroying roughly 1,500 homes, killing hundreds and leaving thousands of Black Tulsans homeless. For years, this historic, albeit dire, chapter was left out of classrooms and textbooks as the city attempted to erase this part of its past. The artists heard on Fire in Little Africa get to the truth through urgent songs, recalling stories told and stories lived in hope to usher in a new era for Tulsa as they help the community process this generational trauma through music.

‘Fire in Little Africa’ is a powerful and timely project that provides a platform and outlet for the incredibly talented and thriving music community of Tulsa, Oklahoma, said Motown Records Chairman & CEO Ethiopia Habtemariam. Carrying the legacy of the Black Wall Street community, Fire in Little Africa is a body of work filled with purpose and prolific storytelling. I am honored and feel privileged to have Motown Records/Black Forum partner with Dr. View, the Bob Dylan Center and Guthrie Center to release this impactful hip-hop album.

Track List:

  1. Elevator
  2. City of Dreams
  3. Shining
  4. Descendants
  5. Regardless
  6. Party Plane (feat. Charlie Wilson)
  7. Been Through It All
  8. Drowning
  9. Our World
  10. Top Down
  11. Creme of the Crop
  12. Thug Town Skit
  13. Watchu On
  14. P.O.D.
  15. Reparations
  16. P.O.D. Pt. II
  17. Raw Cocaine
  18. The Rain
  19. North Tulsa Got Something to Say
  20. Brunch at the Brady
  21. Young & Free

I am honored to be a part of the ‘Fire In Little Africa’ album featuring the musical contributions of young talented local artists from my hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma. This tragedy has been suppressed for generations. Charlie Wilson continues, Growing up in Tulsa we named our band, The GAP Band, after Greenwood, Archer and Pine Streets, the wealthiest and most successful African American community in the United States in the early 20th century. I am proud to see a new generation of talented Tulsans continue to tell the story of our ancestors. They are opening the door for many generations to come by shedding light not only on the race massacre but the excellence of the Black Wall Street and Greenwood community.

Stevie Dr. View Johnson, PhD, Manager, Education & Diversity Outreach at the Woody Guthrie Center | Bob Dylan Center and the album’s executive producer added, ‘Fire in Little Africa’ has evolved into a communal hip hop movement and we’re excited that we get to share the flavor, history and legacy of Black Wall Street with the world, in collaboration with the amazing leadership of the Motown/Black Forum family. We’re grateful for Ethiopia’s foresight in providing us an opportunity to share our important stories with the world. There are Black Wall Streets across the diaspora and we unequivocally know that Fire in Little Africa will inspire many people. In the words of Steph Simon, ‘everything is us.’

In this feature, Rolling Stone noted, ‘Fire in Little Africa’ is poised to teach the world about that long-suppressed history, from locals who grew up in a community that still lives with the aftermath of the massacre. Just as important, the artists involved in the project also hope it serves as a launching-pad moment for Tulsa’s hip-hop scene, which has long flown under the national radar.

The album was recorded in Greenwood over a five-day period in March 2020. Studios were set up at the Greenwood Cultural Center and other locations, including the former home of 1921 massacre mastermind/KKK leader Tate Brady. The house is now owned by former NFL first-round draft pick and Tulsa native Felix Jones. The Tulsa World was on hand to speak with the artists involved in the historic sessions. Read the article here and check out the accompanying video here.

Fireside with Dr. View is a weekly podcast featuring Dr. View in conversation with thought leaders in activism, academia and culture, centered on the movement behind the Fire in Little Africa music. Listen to Fireside with Dr. View here. Hosts Ali Shaw and Doc Free sit down with Fire in Little Africa artists, Tulsa community leaders and national voices for conversations on music and culture in the Fire in Little Africa podcast, which can be found here.

Located in the Tulsa Arts District, the Woody Guthrie Center opened in 2013. The Bob Dylan Center is expected to open on the same block within the next year. Both are projects of the George Kaiser Family Foundation, the primary funder for Fire in Little Africa. The album is chronicled in a documentary film, which will be released later this year.

Fire in Little Africa marks the first new material released by Black Forum since the label’s relaunch earlier this year. Black Forum originally debuted in 1970 with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Why I Oppose The War In Vietnam, which won a GRAMMY Award for Best Spoken Word Album. The label reissued Dr. King’s influential speech earlier this year.

Make sure to follow Fire in Little Africa via their YouTube, Instagram and Facebook

Nao New Single and Music Video

Two years following the release of her Grammy-nominated album “Saturn,” Nao is back with a new single and music video.

Her new song, entitled “Woman,” features Lianne La Havas. It is a song focusing on female empowerment, as Nao sings, “if God is a woman on Sunday ima worship us.”

“Woman” is produced by Loxe, who co-produced four songs on Nao’s previous album. It is mixed by Manon Grandjean, who worked with Dave on the album “Psychodrama” and Stormzy‘s album titled “Heavy is the Head.”

Listening to this song, it’s pretty easy to see Nao’s confidence and stranglehold on her own power. Nobody can take that away from her, and she said she considers this song her anthem to empowerment.

“I want to send a message – to all women but especially to women of colour – that we can be in control, we can be leaders, we can have confidence in our minds and bodies,” Nao said. “There’s a lot of darkness in the world but also great things happening in response, many led by women and girls. For the first time in history there’s a global movement for equality, fairness and systematic change that seems to be delivering real results, both personally and politically. Me and Lianne really wanted to sing about that, support it and celebrate it.”

To listen to and see the video for Nao’s new song, you can click right here.

City Girls illustration done by Mina Tocalini of 360 MAGAZINE.

City Girls – Back to Work

Today City Girls release the fourth episode of a 5-part docuseries, CITY GIRLS THE SERIES. Watch today’s episode, BACK TO WORK, HERE. Produced by Quality Films, episodes feature honest footage captured throughout JT and Yung Miami’s turbulent lives and careers and will air in weekly installments. 

The road to City Girls’ second LP, City on Lock, came with struggles and the girls’ strength and support to overcome those struggles. Yung Miami shows you can be a woman and do anything, Period!

Being a City Girl or City Boy means to never fold, be it prison or pregnancy, losses or leaks. And with the triumphant reunion and release of City On Lock, the City Girls quickly trended on twitter, went to #1 on the Apple Music album chart, and are now #1 most added at the Rhythm Radio station format.

City on Lock speaks to individuals to do what they need to do to keep themselves moving and thriving in an unstable environment. The City Girls relay a consistent theme of Girl-Power, independence, and trying to have fun when the world feels like it can be working against you. Best friends since middle school, JT and Miami have made their way to the top with an in-your-face unapologetic swagger, demanding respect with a self-empowering message. As Billboard noted in their cover story, the ride-or-die sisterhood between the two is inspirational and exemplary in the way the City Girls wish to empower everyone.

Follow City Girls: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube

Community illustrated by Mina Tocalini for 360 MAGAZINE.

Renewal Award Winners 

A global pandemic. Racial injustice. Extreme political polarization. In an incredibly challenged moment for the country, extraordinary people in communities across America are working tirelessly to light the way forward. Community-based organizations have become essential lifelines, which is why five nonprofits that represent the brightest lights were chosen as recipients of this year’s Renewal Awards.

The Renewal Awards, presented by The Atlantic and Allstate, is a national competition recognizing organizations that use innovative solutions to create lasting change in their communities. This year’s winners are the 5th class of award recipients and were selected from more than 13,000 nominations. Each winner receives a $40,000 grant to amplify their mission of helping others, along with national recognition that elevates their profile and awareness for their work.

Despite facing significant funding and staffing challenges in this unprecedented year, the winning organizations continue to stay relentlessly focused on the most pervasive and systemic challenges affecting society—homelessness, educational equity, skills and job training, and children and families in need. Each organization serves different needs, but all are united by a core belief that defines our times—no matter who we are, we can lift each other up in times of need.

2020 WINNERS

  • Choose 180 (Burien, WA): Engages youth in critical moments and empowers them to make positive changes in their lives, especially when facing jail time or school expulsion. *Allstate Youth Empowerment Award Winner.
  • College to Congress (Washington, D.C.): Levels the playing field and fosters bipartisanship for congressional interns, providing both financial support and mentorship across the aisle.
  • Facing Homelessness (The BLOCK Project) (Seattle, WA): Integrates 125-square-foot detached accessory dwelling units in residential backyards to reduce homelessness.
  • Hello Neighbor (Pittsburgh, PA): Supports recently resettled refugees with mentorship, educational training, and community events.
  • More Than Words (Waltham, MA): Empowers youth who are in foster care, court-involved, homeless, or out of school by helping to run a bookstore.

The Atlantic’s Ron Brownstein writes about the work of this year’s winners, and the larger story they tell about the country, in a piece published today: “Real Reform Comes From Civic Stamina”. “We are proud to continue this critical partnership with Allstate, especially during the unprecedented events dramatically affecting all communities across the country,” said Hayley Romer, The Atlantic’s Publisher and CRO. “The generous spirit and relentless work modeled by these community leaders is inspiring and driving the progress we need.”

“2020 has changed our way of life, yet these five organizations continue to find ways to serve others despite the enormous challenges they face,” explained Stacy Sharpe, Allstate’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Brand. “These amazing community leaders should remind us all that anything is possible when you know your purpose and have the passion to create a lasting impact.”

Finalists were selected by The Atlantic’s editors and writers. Winners were evaluated by a panel of judges who include former Mayors Rahm Emanuel (Chicago) and Karen Freeman-Wilson (Gary, IN); Anne Marie Burgoyne, managing director of social innovation at Emerson Collective; Kate Nack, director of The Allstate Foundation; former Rep. Carlos Curbelo (Florida); and two past Renewal Award winners, Juedy Mom, director of The Compton Initiative, and Pamela Urquieta, CEO and Executive director of Let’s Innovate Through Education. Allstate selected the Youth Empowerment Award winner.

Started in 2015, The Renewal Awards spotlight grassroots solutions to challenges faced by communities around the country and the people making a positive difference. The awards are the flagship initiative of The Renewal Project, The Atlantic and Allstate’s broader partnership that covers innovation and celebrates change-makers in local communities. With this year’s award, 31 organizations have received more than $800,000 in funding from The Atlantic and Allstate to further their work. To learn more about the awards, and read about past winners, please visit TheRenewalProject.com.

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