Posts tagged with "networking"

art illustration by Gabrielle Marchan for use by 360 magazine

Seven Powerful Graphic Design Tips

Being a graphic designer is so much more than what meets the eye. It’s about visual communication; it uses typography, images, textures, colors to transmit specific messages to social groups, with specific objectives.

Although every designer is not just a portrait hanging on the wall, is a specialist who has their own style and specialties, there are some principles of design and basic concepts that seem to span across all areas of design.

Accordingly, I asked graphic designers what design principles they follow and what they would share with their peers-designers.

By gathering a variety of different opinions and fundamentals of graphic design, I rounded up ten essential design tips that can help you create a better-looking design in no time.

What things can you do to help refine your skills and prepare for a career in graphic design? Keep reading for insights from professional graphic designers. 

1. Explore different learning methods

There are tons of resources out there for learning the fundamentals of graphic design – beyond books and traditional academic routes. You can learn so much from practicing on your own and checking out case studies from other designers.

Here are a few great resources:

  • Behance –Behance is one of the best sources of inspiration. But you can also learn a lot from the community by sharing and receiving feedback from other designers.
  • Skillshare – Watching tutorials is a smart addition to your learning process. Just remember it’s not all about learning color theories, or font hierarchy — tutorials on how to train your mind to think like a graphic designer and understanding customer’s wants and needs are also key.
  • Networking – Networking is a fantastic way to communicate with people with a common profession and special interest and with potential clients — this is equally important as the work you produce.

2. Look for inspiration outside of your niche

When making up a logo, it makes sense to look at other logos for inspiration, right? It does. But it also makes sense to look for inspiration elsewhere.

For instance, you might look to fashion for texture inspiration or paintings for color palette ideas. Look at the shape of furniture or the way various textures interact with one another for ideas on how to combine elements together effectively.

Looking for inspiration outside of your niche allows you to understand the core principles of what makes a design “good” without the boring conceptions you have about how a design should look.

3. The typography is a king

Typography has a profound impact on the way individuals perceive a product. The right typography creates an enjoyable experience, while a type that’s hard to read or doesn’t match the message of the product can negatively impact. That’s why it’s absolutely worth spending the time and effort to find just the right typographic fit.

If you want to learn how to choose the right fonts for your product, 3 most important considerations:

  1. Don’t overdo the number of fonts
  2. Use contrasting fonts to stand out
  3. Give each letter its personal space

Keep in mind that choosing the right typography for your product projects takes experimentation — expect to try different options until you find the perfect option. That said, the investment’s completely worth it: don’t underestimate the impact that thoughtfully selected type will make on your work.

4. Colors are powerful – especially in graphic design

When it comes to designs, selecting a stunning color palette is no easy feat—and it’s certainly one that any designer or illustrator could spend hours achieving excellence.

Here’s a brief rundown of insights and tricks:

  • Start with a limited color palette. When you’re just starting out, stick to 3 to 4 colors. With a limited color palette, you can see whether the colors work well or make your eyes bleed. Then explore more complex combinations as you go along.
  • Use contrasting colors. When your colors don’t have the right amount of contrast, your customers will not know where or how to look at your illustration. Worse, your audiences’ eyeballs could get strained, especially if your chosen colors all fight for attention. To check if your illustration has the right amount of contrast, add a black-and-white adjustment layer on your illustration. That helps you adjust the brightness and darkness, play around with the colors and see what works.

5. Understand color psychology

This is a well-known fact: color impacts a user’s perception and interaction with your design. Believe it or not, the right color can keep the customers returning, while the wrong one can scare the audience away.

These are the commonly accepted meanings in most of the Western countries for the most common colors (or hues):

  • Red: love, passion, anger, courage
  • Orange: joy, warmth, sunshine, creativity
  • Yellow: happiness, enlightenment, spring
  • Green: freshness, growth, wealth, balance, health, youthfulness.
  • Blue: freedom, imagination, inspiration
  • Purple: spirituality, the subconscious, dignity
  • Black: power, elegance, sophistication
  • White: purity and innocence

It’s worth mentioning that different cultures interpret color meaning differently.

6. Hierarchy

Visual hierarchy is a vital component of good design. If everything on your page looks like it has the same importance, that’s not a good sign. You need to use visual cues to tell people what to pay attention to first, second, third, etc.

Create visual hierarchy through things like size, perspective (that creates an illusion of depth), or color. Typographic hierarchy can be created by using different typefaces, sizes, and font weights.

The point is to give visual importance to some elements over others.

7. Practice, practice, practice

So what is one biggest piece of design advice for newcomers and veteran creatives alike?

No matter the size or scale of the project, or the trajectory of your career: “You’ve got to do the work.”

Practice makes perfect! Take time every week to create designs exceptionally for the practice. Pick a type of design, a brand, or a concept you want to scrutinize, and then make a design or two.

Consider redoing existing designs to see what you might do differently or enhance. This can be an excellent exercise in figuring out why designs work the way they do and exploring your own creativity.

Looking For Some Stunning Mockups?

Looking for some high-quality mockups to make your designs shine? We’ve got you covered.

Head on over to the site for a complete collection of beautiful mockups – for more details check ls.graphics, to find mockups – made for designers, by designers.

Whether it be for a client presentation or to enhance your design portfolio, use these mockups to present your designs in the best possible light.

Wrapping Up

Like everything else, skills take time to hone and sharpen. Trust your gut, go down a rabbit hole of researching things you like, use those things for your design content, and follow these 7 graphic design tips.

Armon Hayes image via Armon Hayes for use by 360 Magazine

Armon

Armon Hayes is an editor for 360 Magazine and the creative director for Ace of Haze Style of Ace (AOHSOA). Armon’s innovative eye for detail allows him to create long lasting partnerships with clientele as he helps them develop their personal brands. His design brand offers styling, design services, brand management, and lifestyle products. AOHSOA’s brand motto, “It’s not who you wear, how” encompasses the thoughtfulness with which Armon addresses each individual client to best emphasize their strengths and build their brands. This personalized approach to brand management and styling allows for AOHSOA to stand out in the field of design.

Armon describes his career aspirations regarding AOHSOA: “I’ve always dreamed of being an entrepreneur in the retail/fashion industry. In addition to feeding my own design sweet tooth, I enjoy developing design ideas and working with others to help them fulfill their own creative dreams. I have married these passions with the creation of Ace of Haze Style of Ace (AOHSOA) in 2017. My brand offers not only a street-luxe clothing line, but also styling and design services, home and children’s decor options, and brand management–all with the goal of motivating and empowering other creatives to look, feel, and produce their best. Our goal is to express creativity through fashion, art, and lifestyle, encompassing all creative endeavors. The focus at AOHSOA is elevating our lifestyle and transitioning our mindset. We live on the cutting-edge and believe that the key to brand success is being a part of–and influencers within–movements of change. Our motto is “It’s not who you wear, how.” This approach means that personal style should transcend past fashion trends to reflect your personality and your brand: you. Whether you’re getting back into the workforce or celebrating a milestone, when you look good, you feel good, and the world around you recognizes such. With this in mind, anyone and everyone can benefit from my brand. My clients include individuals, retail clothing brands, non-profit organizations, an independent recording artist, beauty brands and a pop culture and design magazine. Through our products, events and services, each client’s brand has been elevated. In turn, clients have been empowered to dream, create and develop their potential as they share their gifts with the world.”

Armon originally worked his way up in the retail industry, and now has created his own brand. He explains his journey to reaching his current achievements: “To me, success is measured as any opportunity from which I’ve had to learn and grow. In 2015/2016, before creating AOHSOA, I had the opportunity to participate in a spring product review when employed by True Religion as a store director. This experience sparked ideas in me for my future and gave me a raw understanding of the inner workings of a successful brand. My creativity and marketing sense was ignited in a way that I still look back on with gratitude. This experience led me to working as the assistant stylist for Toure Designs’ fashion show in 2018. At the fashion show, I had an idea that I felt would elevate a look just moments before the model was to walk the runway: having the model walk while shirtless. Fortunately, it was a very well received style suggestion. In that moment, I learned to trust my instincts, which has helped, and will continue to help, my endeavors with AOHSOA.

“More recently, I worked on several projects with independent recording artist, LaJune. As her personal stylist and creative director for three years, this is truly a passion project. During the pandemic, we collaborated on two live performances and two music videos. Additionally, we worked on an editorial shoot featuring Land Rover’s Defender to be featured in 360 Magazine. More recently, I hosted my second pop-up shop activation, The Bodega. The relaxed shopping event featured AOHSOA trunk options, and introduced a new assortment of blouses & dresses called “Onesie”. The one-size-fit-most offerings were a success, selling out of samples and having many orders placed. 2020 highlighted my need to develop a multifunctional living space, which has been an integral piece to my growth and development as a business owner. With the help of talented friends, family and supporters, we developed a space for myself and other creatives to come to develop their art and conduct business, with a twist. This living space has proved successful for both LaJune, AOHSOA, and my partners, as they may continue working, producing and creating safely during the uncertainty. The space, #360TRAP, has led to invaluable collaborations and partnerships.”

“While the pandemic has weighed heavy on small business owners, Armon found a way to take advantage of his downtime. He continues explaining how 2020 affected his career path and personal vision: “The pandemic has helped me realize the need for businesses and artists to pivot and evolve in order to overcome challenges. It became important to use the down time of lockdown wisely so that I wouldn’t lose the momentum I’ve generated, nor plateau creatively. I found myself unemployed and unable to operate AOHSOA in the traditional way. However, I felt even more committed to making AOHSOA successful and on the front lines of a movement of change. With the time the pandemic afforded me to commit myself to this passion full-time, I developed my administrative and brand management skill set in preparation for a resurgence. Additionally, the social justice movement gave people like myself an opportunity to reflect on the times and ways in which we can impact the world and its ecosystem. AOHSOA is committed to progress in diversity and inclusivity – it’s who we are. Expressing myself creatively supported me with a clearer perspective, and more importantly, an outlet for my process. I began sewing more, creating merchandise, and focusing on building my inventory and my social presence through blogging. I strategized around ensuring AOHSOA could survive and thrive in a pandemic, and set goals for the next six months. After creating a space, #360TRAP, in partnership with 360 Magazine, I developed concepts and ideas that mutually benefitted my business and my clients. I grew my client list and increased sales by $515 over this time last year. I honed in on social media engagement, adding a layer to my brand by sharing lifestyle aspects via my blog. On the blog, I discuss all things fashion, music and lifestyle, with elements of design. I am also working toward evolving this business into a bespoke brand with customized curations, as well as capsule fashion.

“As a precursor to World Blood Day and my birthday in June 2021, AOHSOA hosted a pop-up shop called the Bodega that featured several clients and sponsors. These collaborators included Respire by Design, The 6th Clothing Co., a local NYC tattoo artist,  Chinelos Tacos NYC food truck, CocoOil, and Zavor. The event was a direct response to realign and reconnect with my community post-isolation. I continued to develop concepts for LaJune, including a streetwear collection of merchandise for her third EP, Mind. The merchandise collection is titled #mindmerch, and has been made available to her fans and supporters of AOHSOA. Our partnership, live performances, and music videos led to a collaboration with Viacom and a video shot at Smash Studios. These challenging times have taught me to pivot (sometimes at a moment’s notice), adjust, and be consistent in executing my plans. Having a network of talented supporters and friends has allowed for delegation and shared responsibilities, and most importantly, resources. All of these efforts resulted in a 47% increase in site sessions over 2020, with 51% representing unique visitors retaining 38% of existing traffic. As we enter the fourth quarter of this year, at my digital shop we anticipate an increased in traffic shy of 26% of last year’s visitors. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, I committed myself to elevating my brand with proven success. I embrace future challenges with an open heart because I know they will only make me smarter and stronger.”

Armon continues to work to grow his innovative, fashionable design brand, Ace of Haze Style of Ace. Through conducting SWOT analyses and evaluating his business practices, Armon looks to the future with determination and his signature creative flair. He is committed to inclusivity and actively works to pay forward his successes. Armon looks to use the platform AOHSOA has granted him to continue to pursue his own dreams, and help others do the same. He looks to not only building his brand empire, but also giving back to his community through charitable endeavors and his design abilities. Through creating opportunities for and mentoring the next generation of future fashion entrepreneurs, Armon aims to aid other young creatives in finding their own personal brands.

In describing his brand’s business model, Armon remarks that ” I believe that newly formed corporations should add activations for their diverse team members to feel comfortable and accepted no matter their color, creed, belief, sexuality or religion, and I aim to have AOHSOA be a leader in this effort. I want to position my organization to reflect the “Ballroom” culture within the LGBTQ community, by fostering a movement in life & style and allowing creatives a safe space to hone their skills and talents while they build their network. I am also looking forward to becoming more active in charitable endeavors, specifically working with kids/teens to help them find their brand within.”

Follow AOHSOA on Instagram and check out their website.

Armon Hayes image via Armon Hayes for use by 360 Magazine

Artwork by and for use by 360 Magazine

New Studies Shows Polywork Trend

Millennials And Gen Z Choose ‘Polywork’ For More Exciting Lives, Half Of 21 To 40 Year-Olds Say They Do Five Different Types Of Work, ‘Excitement’ More Important Than Money For Today’s Professionals

New research out today reveals that nearly half of young professionals (47 percent) consider themselves people who ‘polywork’ doing an average of five different types of work – with one in ten (11 percent) saying they currently do more than ten types of professional work at the same time.

The majority of 21 to 40 year-old professionals (81 percent) say the pandemic has changed their attitude towards work forever with 45 percent saying they would not consider doing one single type of work for life, but would choose to polywork instead. Three quarters of all young professionals (72 percent) say virtual ways of working have opened up more work possibilities in the last 12 months compared to previous years.

Polywork, a new professional social network that has been created for people who do more than one type of work and cannot be defined by a single job title, asked over 1,000 US professionals about how they work and their attitudes towards modern working. 

Over half of all 21 to 40 year-olds (55 percent) said an ‘exciting’ professional life is more important to them than money with 62 percent saying the opportunity to learn more skills, more quickly through different types of work is more rewarding than professional ‘security’.

A Word from Peter Johnston, the founder of Polywork 

There is a new generation of professionals who do more than one type of work both in their regular job and outside of it, and they no longer feel a single job title reflects what they do or who they are. During the pandemic people have re-evaluated what they want to do, which in turn has accelerated the trend of polywork, using technology to connect with different and varied opportunities, whatever and wherever they may be. We do not see this trend disappearing, not least because Gen Z and Millennials see a variety of work as a way to achieve a more exciting life.

Meet The People Who Polywork

Cassidy Williams, living in Chicago, IL, USA, does more than five different types of professional work across multiple countries including software engineering, public speaking, writing, podcasting, investing, advising, and mentoring. She comments, Work is something that takes up such a huge part of my life, so doing different types of work keeps it more interesting and exciting. I love that I can work with people across the world to do fun things like design mechanical keyboards or more serious things like raise money for good causes. With technology being such an embedded part of our lives, I see this kind of work style being more and more common. People have the ability now more than ever to collaborate, create and just do things that don’t fall into one bucket. We’re past the age of being just one type of worker.

Richard Fearn, living in London UK, has three different types of work on the go at once: producing a musical; managing his technology investments; and running a non-profit company. He comments, I’ve never liked the idea of just doing the same thing every day. I have multiple interests that I’m passionate about and they’ve naturally become different streams of income for me. Modern working attitudes and flexible technology allows my generation to juggle a multitude of things in a way we’ve never been able to before.

To jtrenoin the waitlist for Polywork sign-up at their website.

Money illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Entrepreneur Skills You Need To Know

­ 5 Skills Every New Entrepreneur Needs (and How to Get Them)

Entrepreneurs of Success offers tips to help entrepreneurs be more successful

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there are nearly 30 million small businesses in the country. Many of them are started by entrepreneurs who have an idea or a dream but may not necessarily know what it takes to start or keep a business going. The good news is that the skills needed to do just that can be learned along the way. Taking the time to learn what they are and adopt them will help entrepreneurs to be more successful with their business ventures.

“Nobody knows everything right from the start, but if you are willing to learn along the way, then you will have no problem gaining the skills you need to be successful,” explains Sara Khoudary, founder of Entrepreneurs of Success and the Mentor Momentum Community. “Entrepreneurs are a special group of people who are usually willing to do what it takes to see their business through.”

Having the skills it takes to be successful can make running a business easier and keep it less stressful. It can also make it easier to find your way around challenges that arise, such as those we have had to deal with over the last year with the pandemic. Not having important skills can leave entrepreneurs feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and stuck where they are.

Here are 5 skills every new entrepreneur needs, as well as tips on how to get them:

  • Communication skills. Being able to effectively communicate is essential in every business, whether you are selling to the public or other businesses. Improve upon your business communication skills by reading books on the topic, taking an online class, or even joining a group such as your local Toastmasters.
  • Patience. Not everything is going to happen overnight. Even the most successful businesses take time to grow. Overnight successes usually have years under their foundation before they suddenly take off. Learn patience by being mindful and celebrating the small milestones. It’s important to realize that things take time, and to focus more on the progress being made along the way.
  • Stress management. Being an entrepreneur can be stressful. If you don’t do something to manage the stress, then you may quickly become burned out or it can lead to health issues. Do something regularly that helps you reduce stress, such as meditation, hiking, exercising, journaling, etc.
  • Networking abilities. When you have a solid network, you will be able to get advice from others. A mentor or group of people that you can turn to with questions, to vent to, or to hear advice from can be golden. Find a mentor or join at least one group, such as Entrepreneurs of Success, that will put you in touch with others who are successful. 
  • Hiring abilities. Many entrepreneurs need to hire people, but they are not familiar with such a task. Hiring the right people will make a huge difference in your business and can be the difference between thriving and diving. Learn hiring skills by reading books, discussing it with mentors, and attending conferences on the topic.

“Our mission is to help entrepreneurs be more successful,” added Khoudary. “When you have a support group that you can turn to, such as with our mentoring program, you will find that you get the answers you need to move forward, overcome challenges, and continue to grow.”

Entrepreneurs of Success offers a close-knit community for entrepreneurs. Members of the group are able to tap into unlimited support by a group of successful mentors, access special tools, collaborate, book club, network, and more. Memberships start at just $15 per month. The group also has a “Leaders of Impact” program that awards top mentors each year who are nominated by the community. To get more information or become a member, visit the Entrepreneurs of Success website.

Award illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

BESLA Honored by Recording Academy

THE RECORDING ACADEMY HONORS THE BLACK ENTERTAINMENT AND SPORTS LAWYERS ASSOCIATION AT THE 23RD ANNUAL ENTERTAINMENT LAW INITIATIVE EVENT

Today, the Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association (BESLA) earns recognition by the Recording Academy at the virtual 23rd Annual Entertainment Law Initiative Event & Scholarship PresentationBESLA stands out as a nationally recognized leader in legal education and professional development for lawyers and professionals in entertainment, sports, and related industries.

During a historic GRAMMY® Week among the nation’s most prominent entertainment attorneys, BESLA proudly received the 2021 Entertainment Law Initiative Service Award. This achievement highlights leading entities that have demonstrated a commitment to advancing and supporting the music community through service. Additionally, BESLA celebrated its 40th Anniversary in 2020 and commemorated the founding group of attorneys in Philadelphia during the First Annual Black Music Association Conference. Their actions sprung from a need to create a continual learning and networking environment for underrepresented attorneys in the entertainment industry, one that today reflects the incredible tenure adopted and developed over 40 years ago.

To continue elevating the trajectory for professionals of color, BESLA has recently committed to establishing an endowment that will support future generations of aspiring executives. This endowment serves as an acknowledgment of BESLA’s commitment to empowering and uplifting its community through service.

On the honorable mention, BESLAs Chairwoman Khadijah Sharif-Drinkard said, “We are honored that the Recording Academy has selected BESLA to receive the ELI Service Award for our commitment to creating an equitable, inclusive and diverse industry. While this award is in recognition of what we have accomplished to date, it is also a reminder that we must continue to create pathways for people of color to gain entry, access, and opportunities to excel in entertainment, media, and sports.”

As part of their mission to support and advance the excellence of professionals in entertainment and sports, BESLA has consistently opened doors for members via annual conferences, regional events, key initiatives, and most recently through the establishment of their endowment. Today, it continues to build on a 40-plus year legacy to advance people of color in the entertainment industry, as recognized by the 2021 ELI Service Award.

BESLA was founded by like-minded professionals who saw the need for an organization where collective experiences and knowledge could be shared for professional development, networking, and the advancement of people of color. Before BESLA, artists, athletes, lawyers, and professionals of color in the sports, entertainment, and legal professions were anomalies– exceptions to the rule. Black professionals like Muhammad Ali, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, Thurgood Marshall, and Hank Aaron all fought uphill battles for fair and equitable treatment and the rights of others, like themselves, who did not have the celebrity, platform, or voice to call attention to their respective struggles. They were agents of change. They challenged the status quo and forced society to reevaluate their preconceived notions of the skills, capabilities, and ‘place’ of people of color.

As a result, the Black Entertainment Lawyers Association (BELA), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, was formed in 1980. To incorporate growing opportunities in the sports arena, the name was changed to the Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association (BESLA) in 1986.

Keep up with BESLA on Facebook and Instagram

music Ivory Rowen illustration for 360 Magazine.

5 Strategies for Success as an Independent Artist

Being an independent artist is not easy. You have to handle most of the work yourself, and usually, pay for everything out of your own pocket. However, this also means that you can fully express your artistic vision and won’t be forced into engagements.

This is a great option for those who want to be artists for a living without becoming a commodity. This is also a good option for those who feel like they might have an audience already and don’t need to have a machine behind them, allowing them to bypass the middlemen and get better percentages. But to get there, you have to have a clear roadmap and strategy. Let’s take a look at a few strategies independent artists can use to become successful.

Network

This is probably one of the most important skills you’ll need to master as a new independent artist. And, unfortunately, this is an aspect many neglect. The music business is very much about who you know, and the more people you know, the more opportunities you might open yourself up to. Also, you never know who the right connection could be. It could be a shop or restaurant owner that would like you to perform at a certain event or a student friend of yours that wants you to perform at a party. These are all the types of interactions that could allow you to get the little bit of initial traction that you need. If you’re good enough, word will start to spread about you. The rest is about you being consistent with your efforts and cultivating your audience.

Start from the Bottom

If you want to make yourself known, you will have to be ready to work yourself up from the bottom, even if it means busking. You’d be surprised at how many major artists either started or were discovered while busking. Also, there’s the chance that you could end up on YouTube, and people love discovering obscure talent online. If you look on YouTube, there are plenty of videos of buskers getting millions of views, and if your talent is exceptional, you will get some attention. The best outcome here will be organic and inexpensive.

Work with the Right People

You also have to make sure that you have the right people in your corner. You will need to find yourself an accountant, a manager, a lawyer, and a road manager. The road manager will be essential for organizing logistics on the ground while the manager will be finding gigs and other opportunities for you. Working with a booking agency will also help.

Subsequently, you need to have good staff with you in the studio. Some artists will regularly rotate their sound engineers, but it’s also good to have a relationship with someone who understands your vision and wants to work with you. You want them to like your music too. This way they’ll be more involved in the project and will make more inspired recommendations.

It would also be a good time to start looking at studios. If you want something that will be easy to book and will have everything you need to start recording, we suggest you explore Pirate.com. They have studios in some of the world’s greatest cities, like their Hamburg recording studio or those in New York and Los Angeles. They offer affordable rates and give you a lot of free space to work. This is a great place for any indie act or group.

Hire Someone for Promotion

It would also be a good idea if you hired someone instead of trying to handle all the promotion yourself. Yes, you can interact with your fans on social media, but it would be better if you concentrated on the musical side and let a professional team work on the rest. You can hire someone to manage your social media for you; however, make sure that they sound in-character so that the voice can stay on brand. And, while much of the marketing is done online nowadays, you can’t neglect other traditional options. A professional could help you purchase media space, for instance, or help you gauge if the price would be worth it in terms of exposure.

Give and You Shall Receive

Giving material for free is also one of the best ways to get an audience. Even if it’s a free EP, know that it could pay back in the end. Just because the project was free, doesn’t mean that you can’t make money with it on the back end with performances or licensing, for instance.

These are all strategies that you can use to market yourself as an independent act and thrive in the industry without the backing of a major label. Understand that it’s still a business at the end of the day, and you’ll have to treat it as such if you want to be able to make a living from your art.

Cash and wallet illustration for 360 Magazine

4 Tips For Ambitious Young Women’s Careers

The COVID-19 pandemic proved to be a double whammy for young women eager to launch their careers.

Young people in general have had their job searches stymied by the recession. Meanwhile, women of all ages have seen their careers impacted negatively more than men by the events of 2020.

But despite the challenges, there is hope for ambitious young women just starting out who want to make a mark, even in male-centric industries, says Deborah Fairchild, president of Nashville-based VEVA Sound (www.vevasound.com), which verifies and archives projects for clients in the music industry.

“That doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy,” she says. “But if you can avoid becoming discouraged, and can face the world with firm determination, the opportunities will be there.”

Fairchild, who started her career with VEVA Sound as an archival engineer in 2004 and rose to lead the company in all facets of the business, has succeeded in an industry in which women are still underrepresented.

Just as an example, a study released in 2019 by the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative looked at 700 popular songs and found that women accounted for only 21.7% of artists, 12.5% of songwriters, and 2.7% of producers.

Fairchild understands the challenges today’s young women face, and she offers a few tips for those who are just now launching their careers and hope to move up in their organizations:

  • Be prepared to clean toilets. This could be viewed metaphorically, but in Fairchild’s case it was also literal. “When I started as an intern at a studio, I did everything they asked – even clean toilets,” she says. “To pursue a professional career in the music industry, you have to be prepared to pay your dues, starting at the bottom and working your way up. I imagine that’s true for a lot of other industries as well.”
  • Learn from everyone. Formal education is great, and it’s wonderful to have a college degree, but once you’re on the job you will discover how much more there is to learn from watching and listening to other people, Fairchild says. Just about anyone in an organization – from the lowest-paid employee to the CEO – has skills or knowledge they can share with you that will prove useful in your career journey. “Whenever you meet someone,” she says, “always assume they have something to teach you until they prove they don’t.”
  • Networking is a key, but not the key. Who you know is important. So is what you know. “A strong network will give you opportunities,” Fairchild says, “but your knowledge and capabilities will be what give you a long-lasting career.”
  • Know when to pivot. At every stage of your career, stay sensitive to when it’s time to pivot, Fairchild says. “The interesting thing about the music industry is that some things take generations to change, while others change on a dime,” she says. “The ability to discern when to move on or when to double down will set you apart.”

“The pandemic has made things tough for those just trying to launch a career, which means it’s more important than ever to stay positive and persevere,” Fairchild says. “Grab the opportunities that are there, and then make the most of them.”

About Deborah Fairchild

Deborah Fairchild, president of VEVA Sound (www.vevasound.com), started her career with the company as an archival engineer in 2004. In the past 16 years she has risen to lead the company in all facets of the business. She has grown VEVA into a global entity servicing major labels in North America and Europe, establishing offices in New York, Los Angeles, and London in addition to the company’s headquarters in Nashville.

Fairchild has kept VEVA at the forefront of technology and continues to evolve and adapt VEVA’s services and technology to assist the needs of their extensive client base. She advises many label executives, producers, engineers and artists seeking archival and asset management solutions.

Gabrielle Marchan illustrates Dianne Morales for 360 MAGAZINE

Dianne Morales

As of late, one of our team members had the opportunity to sit down with New York City mayoral candidate Dianne Morales for an interview. After eight years under Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York City will see someone new in the position in 2021, and Morales, a member of the Democratic Party, is jumping at the opportunity.

360: What are the major points of inspiration throughout your life, so far, that have led you to where you are today?

Morales: At my core is a commitment to community, and I learned community at home. I am the youngest of three girls and the daughter of Puerto Rican parents. My mother, a secretary for the Leather Workers’ Union, and my father, a building manager on the waterfront, created a working-class life for us in Bed-Stuy. But our home was not just for me and my sisters. My grandmother, Mami, lived with us my whole childhood. In fact, she and I shared a bed until the day that I left home for college. Our home was a resting place, a layover, a transition point for whoever needed it. There was always someone new sleeping on the couch or joining us at the dinner table. Whether they had just arrived from Puerto Rico, were in between jobs, had just returned from the military or from being incarcerated, there were always other people staying with us while they “got back on their feet.” My parents opened their arms and their front door to whoever needed it. I never questioned this way of life. I was taught, “If you have, then you provide.” We took care of each other. I saw, firsthand, the opportunity created when we each take responsibility, not just for ourselves, but for our neighbors and for our communities. This belief has spurred me on through 30 years in the public sector, as an educator, a foster care worker and a leader of nonprofits.

As I established my own home in Bed-Stuy as a single mom, my children and I recreated the dynamic my parents had built. We always have a few extra people living in our home – whom we often refer to as our “chosen family.” These extended family members have filled my home with love and reciprocal support. In a twist of fate, since the pandemic hit, I have shared my home with my parents and my children. I envision a New York City where we take care of each other, where everyone is welcome to the dinner table, where neighbors provide more support than extra sugar and all of us have a warm place to rest our heads. Although NYC is vast with diversity, we are all inextricably bound together and are only as strong as our most vulnerable link.

360: How can a mayor, as opposed to any other civic official, lead unique positive changes for equity?

Morales: Over the past several months there is a mantra I have been repeating consistently: a budget is a reflection of our values. The mayor has executive power over what gets funded in the city and by how much. Funding for services that contribute to true public safety (access to housing, medical/mental healthcare, economic stability, job training, education) will provide access and opportunity to those who have historically been left behind by our elected officials. Line by line, the budget reveals the values of a city and government. The NYC budget passed in June was a failure. It failed the residents of NYC, who have been raising their voices in protest and demanding a divestment from law enforcement since May 29. It failed those whose lives have been lost at the hands of the NYPD. It failed communities of color that have been disproportionately impacted by violence and brutality.

The budget highlights the need for NYC leadership to put New Yorkers first by investing in communities. The NYC Mayor also has the ability to work to desegregate public schools and impact the quality of education provided to over 1.1 million students, many of whom are students of color living in poverty. This alters the course of a student’s life and provides an entry point to economic mobility and a true career trajectory. New Yorkers deserve a bold, transformational leader who is unapologetically committed to prioritizing justice in the budget’s bottom line. I fundamentally believe that those closest to the problem are closest to the solution. Our city needs a mayor that is in tune with her people and provides a vision for and direction for what is possible.

360: What are some of the most pressing or urgent issues that need attention within New York City, and how would you address them?

Morales: New York’s problems all stem from structural oppression by Race, Gender and Class, so our solutions must go deeper, all the way to the root causes. Too many New Yorkers are living in a time of scarcity, and that’s been going on since long before the virus hit. The are working two jobs, just barely surviving and always one misfortune away from losing everything. Instead of this “Scarcity Economy,” we need a “Solidarity Economy,” and that requires bold action. First, transforming public safety in the city by providing access to the same critical resources found in wealthy communities will be a critical step toward creating the long-term change we need for all to live in dignity. True public safety includes ensuring that every New Yorker has access to “life essentials,” like quality transportation, affordable housing, excellent and equal education and human-centered healthcare. All New Yorkers deserve access to these fundamental resources in order to live in dignity, and it is the necessary floor needed to break through glass ceilings.

Next, we must enhance and overhaul vital infrastructure requiring multi-part, creative solutions that address the deeper issues embedded in the fabric of NYC. To break the racist cycle of poverty that divides our city into the “haves” and the “have-nots,” we will establish a guaranteed minimum income. We will push for universal healthcare and eliminate inequities in the health system faced by women, and especially women of color. We will work to address the persistent segregation of our schools and disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline by replacing school safety officers with trained mental health professionals. The driving force behind all policy initiatives is the experiences, needs and voices of women of color. Particularly, Black women. As the Combahee River Collective wisely wrote in its 1977 statement, “If Black women were free, it would mean that everyone else would have to be free since our freedom would necessitate the destruction of all the systems of oppression.” We know that if New York does right by Black women, the entire city will be better for it.

360: How can you use your personal experiences with serving as a single mother and observing the many other challenges that face New York City residents to enact policy reform?

Morales: So many of New York’s problems have impacted me directly, and so much of who I am and what I know comes from being a mom. My greatest joy is being the mother of my two children, Ben and Gabby. They constantly push me, teach me and nourish me. As a single parent, I share experiences with hundreds of thousands of other New Yorkers. A 2018 study found that single-parent households are the second largest household type in New York City. I navigated New York City’s systems – economic, health and education – on my own. I balanced a budget for my family each month, figuring out how to make it work. My greatest challenge was parenting my children through the NYC education system. The rigid and unforgiving education that my children received did not allow any space for their learning differences. They did not see themselves in the white-centric curriculum and we struggled to find support during their developmental years. Advocating for my children was a full-time job on top of my paying-full-time-job. Again and again I have stood with parents for a more equitable and life-affirming education for our kids. It is with this same community spirit of coalition building, advocacy and bettering of our social safety nets that I will push for policies that support all types of families in NYC.

360: What is one of the most significant components of your background or experiential knowledge that separates you from any other candidate?

Morales: I am, in so many ways, the average New Yorker. I was born and bred in Bed-Stuy. I am an Afro Latina single-mom of two children who survived the New York City public school system. I am a first generation college graduate who came back home to my city after school. I am a woman of color who discovered that I was not being paid the same as my white male counterparts. I’ve watched my neighborhood change, I’ve seen Starbucks replace the corner bodega, and I have spent my weekends marching side by side – 6 feet apart – with my fellow New Yorkers demanding justice for those killed at the hands of a racist policing system. Because I am the average New Yorker, my voice reflects the voices of thousands of others. We share our lived experiences, frustrations and joys. I love New York City because I see our full potential for all of us.

360: How does your previous extensive work with social service nonprofits inform your motivations and goals to serve as Mayor?

Morales: For decades, I worked within the community to address structural inequities burdening communities of color. I worked alongside those experiencing the symptoms of our broken system most acutely – poverty, lack of access to education, homelessness and mental health services. I witnessed firsthand the day-to-day struggles of New Yorkers that are perpetuated by cycles of poverty and oppression. I worked from the ground, up and from the inside, out. But as I hammered away, I recognized these structural and institutional barriers, and began to ask, “So how do we burn them down?” It felt as though I was only tinkering around the edges of the problem and providing Band-Aid solutions to deep, deep wounds. The core, perpetuating issues were centralized and foundational. I realized that if I want to create lasting, effective change, I must address these systemic and political problems at the root. As Mayor, I would carry with me the voices of those I have served.

360: In outlining your points of action and reform for New York City, how does the COVID-19 pandemic affect any of these potential strides for change?

Morales: As we know, COVID-19 is a catastrophe that illuminates all of the cracks and splinters in our broken systems. At first, many claimed the COVID-19 was a “great equalizer,” affecting all people, regardless of race, class or gender. Instead COVID-19 disproportionately impacts people of color and low-income communities. This is not a coincidence or personal failing, but rather the direct result of racist systems, putting structural oppression in stark relief. While some New Yorkers are able to escape crowded areas, arm themselves with personal protective equipment and work remotely, others, namely people of color, are on the front lines providing essential services to our city.

As COVID-19 has had devastating consequences that will leave a lasting impact for years to come, it has also provided us with a unique moment. As we saw after the murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police, being homebound and isolated forces us to pay attention. We have paused. We have slowed down. With fewer distractions and a center of focus, folks all across the country have had the veil lifted. People are noticing the interconnected webs of oppression I have lived with and that I have been fighting to dismantle my entire life. In this moment, we need leaders in office who are of, by and for the movement for social change. There is a momentum and hunger for justice that can no longer be ignored. As we overcome the challenge of the disease, I will never let the city forget who is truly essential. Together we will create a world in which front-line workers are truly valued as indispensable. A world where we accompany our applause and platitudes with a livable wage, unquestionable dignity and real community power.

360: What are some of the most rewarding takeaways you have gained from leading several momentous organizations?

Morales: I’ve learned firsthand about the barriers and challenges that people have to overcome in order to gain access to opportunities that are alleged to be available to everyone. I also have watched as community members care for one another to bridge the gaps in access to those opportunities. This is testament to the power of our communities to be true partners in determining the solutions they face when given the resources to do so. Finally, I have been able to bear witness to what is possible when people finally gain access and opportunity and how that has the potential to change the trajectory of people’s lives and transform families and communities.

360: Regarding the national and global movement, Black Lives Matter, how will you utilize your unique identity to empower minorities in the City of New York?

Morales: Like many people of color, I have lived years of my life trying not to take up space. I have seen the ways that my identities – my Blackness, my Latina roots, my politics, my womanhood – make people, namely white people, uncomfortable. In these spaces I would constantly ask myself, “Do I seem too opinionated, too articulate, too aggressive?” I would contort and deflate myself to fit into tight corners and small boxes. I would shrink myself so that others could feel big. When making the decision to run for Mayor of NYC, I decided it was important for me to run as my full, unadulterated, unapologetic, multi-hyphenated self. There would be no more shrinking, questioning or self-doubt. I recognize that by the very nature of stepping into this space, I am opening up a path of possibility. As the first Afro-Latina running for mayor of New York City, I recognize the awesome responsibility I hold. I know that when I speak, unfairly or not, I am representing all Afro-Latina women. Missteps become mass stereotypes. Accolades become communal achievements.

This is both beautiful and deeply terrifying. But in moments of fear, I am guided by a greater purpose to bring with me those whom have been devalued and made to feel small, as I have been; to elevate the voices of those with shared experiences and claim our rightful place in democracy and representation in leadership. People like me, individuals and communities of color, women of color, we must be at the forefront of our politics and policies. I am deeply committed to divesting from racist systems and investing in Black and Brown communities. I am committed to reimagining public safety on our streets and in our schools. I am committed to shifting wealth opportunities to those who have been historically marginalized. I am committed to redressing and repairing the wounds of oppression that scar our city. I am in this race to stand taller in the face of a world that tells me to shrink. I am here to tell them that Black lives are beloved. We matter today and every day forward.

360: To all of the NYC citizens following your efforts to better numerous communities, what are some of the best ways individuals can support your campaign?

Morales: The best way to help me is to join the campaign with a small contribution. I am not a career politician, and unlike other candidates, I have not spent decades cultivating a war chest of people, networks and resources to kickstart my run for mayor. I want to be responsive to the people, not the special interests.. My campaign was born out of my home in Bed-Stuy, out of conversations with my neighbors, friends and colleagues. Our campaign is 100% powered by the people, not the 1%. We are an intersectional coalition of Black and Brown, Latinx, LGBTQIA and working class New Yorkers. We are backed by the people being hit the hardest at this moment in time. I am so incredibly humbled that in the middle of a pandemic, without employment, people are finding a way to donate to our campaign. I know what is at stake and the choices they have had to make to do so. If donating to our campaign is not possible for you during this financially uncertain time, we understand. Visit my website, dianne.nyc, for information and volunteer opportunities. Spread our mission to your fellow New Yorkers. Reach out to join our team. Remember me in November 2021.

To learn more about Dianne Morales, you can click right here. To learn more about her stances and solutions, you can click right here. To support Morales through donations, you can click right here. You can also support her on Twitter and Instagram.

WITI * Virtual Summit

WITI Hosts Its First Virtual Women in Technology Summit June 23-24, 2020

WITI (Women in Technology International), the leading advocate for innovation,
inclusivity and STEAM, kicks-off its first virtual Women in Technology Summit tomorrow, June 23, 2020. Themed ‘Adapt and Innovate’, the two-day summit is designed to spotlight leaders in technology and innovation, boost critical thinking and inspire students to pursue STEAM careers. This year’s summit will also address the impact of the pandemic on women in tech and the job market.

WITI launched the summit 26 years ago when there were no conferences geared towards supporting women in technology and business. Today, the Women in Technology summit is a premiere global tech conference, where professionals come to learn about trends, develop new skills and grow their business network.

“We will continue to provide the skills and tools women need to navigate the new normal and succeed in today’s digital world,” said Carolyn Leighton, CEO and founder, WITI. “This virtual summit offers an even broader global platform, with more opportunities for professionals to learn and interact with each other, irrespective of their location.”

Featured Speakers and Topics:

Blue Shield of California’s Karen Xie: How emerging technologies are transforming the way we consume and deliver healthcare.

Deloitte’s Beena Ammanath: The impact of artificial intelligence on society.

Huawei Technologies’ Joy Tan: How brands can leverage modern media to deliver meaningful stories to the public.

IDC’s Michelle Bailey: Results of the women in tech survey.

PTC’s Kathleen Mitford: The impact of diverse teams on innovation and tips on advocating diversity within an organization.

Trans Sahara Investment’s Ngozi Bell: Economic opportunities in a post COVID-19 era.

Rene Redwood, creator of the bi-partisan Glass Ceiling Commission: How businesses can address systemic racism.

Janice Kaplan, author of The Genius of Women: Powerful forces that have rigged the system against women and celebrating those who have triumphed.

BrainCandyLabs: Spotlight students and professionals who have been inspired by STEAM, including youngest astronaut-in-training Alyssa Carson, Ph.D. student Jordan Harrod and host of FOX’s Xploration Outerspace Emily Calandrelli.

WITI Hall of Fame Alumnae Genevieve Bell, Sara Rushinek and Elizabeth Xu: Staying motivated, overcoming problems and traits great leaders should possess.

Take the 2020 WITI-IDC Survey

Summit Overview:

More than 100 speakers and coaches will inspire and educate the 10,000 professionals who will be attending the event virtually.

Topics range from innovation and technology to leadership and growth.

The summit is sprinkled with keynotes and workshops to interactive networking and career fair.

Review the full agenda at WITI Summit 2020.

About WITI:

WITI (Women in Technology International) is committed to empowering innovators, inspiring future generations and building inclusive cultures, worldwide. WITI is redefining the way women and men collaborate to drive innovation and business growth and is helping corporate partners create and foster gender inclusive cultures. A leading authority of women in technology and business, WITI has been
advocating and recognizing women’s contributions in the industry for more than 30 years. The organization delivers leading edge programs and platforms for individuals and companies — designed to empower professionals, boost competitiveness and cultivate partnerships, globally.

WITI’s ecosystem includes more than three million professionals, 60 networks and 300 partners, worldwide. To learn more, please visit HERE. 

South Africa

A Long Walk to Freedom

By Chris Phan, Krishan Narsinghani, and Vaughn Lowery.

Recently, 360 Magazine traveled to South Africa during one of the largest travel conventions on the continent. One hundred journalists from Northern America joined Indaba Media in celebration of Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday.

Nelson Mandela is respected as the “Father of the Nation.” He was an anti-apartheid revolutionary, political leader and philanthropist, who served as President from 1994 to 1999. Mandela also served as the President of the African National Congress (ANC) party from 1991 to 1997.

Mandela was the country’s first black head of state and the first elected in a fully representative democratic election. His vision was to dismantle apartheid (a system of segregation based on race) by tackling discrimination and fostering reconciliation. Mandela looked ahead and realized the law must change in order for a better future. Twenty-four years after the corrupt system was terminated, South Africa has been in overdrive to establish a firm democracy.

360, 360 Magazine, Vaughn Lowery, South Africa

Indaba Convention

The great city of Durban took the 360 team by storm with Indaba – a meet and greet of media and travel agents to express their lives views and attractions on what the city and South Africa has to offer.

Day one of the Indaba Convention, journalists met at the Maharani Hotel for an opening ceremony. Later, trade show floor booths opened for business at the Durban International Convention Center in addition to presentations from various industry professionals. During the press conference, it was said that the trip’s airline, British Airways would now offer direct non-stop flights between Heathrow Airport and Durban.

Indaba also touched on other tourist attractions. South Africa offers an unbelievable amount of restaurants, markets, bars and lounges, but take pride that they surpass expectations in their food & drink festivals. The Whisky Live Festival and South African Cheese Festival are two major events – just to name a few.

Human rights were another important topic discussed at the convention. The South African people continue to exuberate equality and fairness along with an effort to amend the ways in which the LGBT and minority communities are treated while traveling.

As the evening winded down, an opportunity for networking commenced. Soon after, journalists engaged in conversation while devouring traditional eats coupled with a small beer/wine reception followed by a brief fashion presentation.

On day two of Indaba, Durban Tourism celebrated a dinner cruise on La Vue Floating Restaurant. The 85-foot luxury catamaran (200-person capacity) features two amazing decks, two full bars and a dance floor. Cozy with great cocktails – it’s perfect for groups.

360, 360 Magazine, Vaughn Lowery, South Africa

Durban

Durban’s population is just over 595,000. The metropolitan area has a population of over 3.8 million and is known for its golden beaches, relaxed surf culture and vibrant culinary scene (some of the best spicy curry dishes said to rival India’s). Culture stems from the blend of Zulu, Indian, European and remnants of British roots that make up the city’s diverse heritage. South Africa’s Station Drive Precinct, once a rundown warehouse district has been transformed to a major tourist attraction with exceptional fine dining, drinking and shopping. Thanks to a collaborative group of artistic individuals, businesses range from homegrown distilleries and breweries to local art galleries. I Heart Market is a good and design market held on the first Saturday of each month. Presented with locally produced goods and artisanal creations such as ceramics, crochet toys and original prints – shoppers will not be disappointed. Nearby tourists can partake in an exquisite gin tasting at Distillery 031 along with lunch at Lion’s Match Factory.

The feasting does not stop there – Durban’s own, House of Curries restaurant, blends bold Indian spices and flavors for extravagant curry dishes. House of Curries has been a staple on the Florida Road strip since 1999 and a perfect attraction for relaxation on their patio deck.

Much like a market, BAT Centre is a place where local artists and crafters work on-site, exhibiting and selling their works in a vibrant complex. This nonprofit arts center is dedicated to the preservation, promotion and celebration of the visual arts, crafts, music, dance and literature of the Province.

Street art has found new life in redevelopment projects across various neighborhoods. These street artists were inspired by their surroundings with many exploring themes of politics and nature, all whilst using their work for social activism.

Travelers in search of nighttime adventures can visit Cubana Havana, a popular cigar/hookah lounge featuring handcrafted cocktails as well as a simple menu located on the highly revered Florida Road. Tourists shouldn’t miss Mahatma Ghandi Road in downtown Durban for an evening of fine music at a world – class Jazz bar known as The Chairman. Not only is there an assortment of signature cocktails and cigars, but also a gallery and sophisticated atmosphere that believes in justice for all.

Fun fact. Over 85% of all BMW 3 series vehicles are produced at the Rosslyn plant just outside of Durban and are shipped to various markets worldwide, including the USA, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Australia, Sub-Saharan Africa and Canada.

360, 360 Magazine, Vaughn Lowery, South Africa

Johannesburg

The expedition kicked off in Johannesburg aka “Joburg,” (approximately 8 million in population and largest city in the country), the epicenter of South Africa who’s currently in a state of revival. The team then headed to Nelson Mandela Square, a must-see tourist spot. The campus includes the DaVinci Hotel, indoor and outdoor shopping malls, upscale boutiques, a movie theatre, grocery stores, restaurant/bars and a casino.

In order to achieve a local feel, stop by Neighbourgoods Market for purchases of South African eats and assorted libations distributed from multiple vendors.

The following day we departed for Constitution Hill and embarked on a full tour of the visitor’s center. Constitution Hill was former fort site transformed into a prison. “The Robben Island of Johannesburg” included notable prisoners Mahatma Ghandi, Joe Slovo, Bram Fischer and Nelson Mandela. Mandela was imprisoned for more than twenty years at this location. “As an African American being able to stand inside the actual cell of Mandela was life-changing. The dark, ominous confined space gave me a newfound appreciation of what it means to be free. No human should ever have to endure such injustice because they yearn for social equality and justice for all,” says Lowery, President of 360 Magazine.

Lunch at Lebo’s Backpackers Outdoor Restaurant was set outside in various cabanas at a local Soweto hostel within its community park followed by the Soweto Tuk Tuk Tour. The team enjoyed riding in these three-wheeled taxis, while sipping on craft beers and witnessing the city’s rich history. Stops included Vilakazi Street, where Nelson Mandela’s house still stands, as well as Hector Peterson Memorial.

Art lovers be sure to drop by CIRCA Gallery which stands beside Everard Read headquarters, parading some of the most important contemporary art collections from around the world.

With regards to nightlife, music lovers can head to Taboo Night Club and News Cafe to discover local and international DJ’s. News Cafe combines its food, services and venue into a coffee bar, cocktail bar, restaurant and entertainment venue all-in-one. It’s the perfect destination for relaxation or clubbing with a modern aesthetic.

360, 360 Magazine, Vaughn Lowery, South Africa

Cape Town

From Johannesburg, the voyage shifted to Cape Town, a world renown entertainment and prestigious modeling hub for some of the industries top talents. With just under 4 million in population, it’s considered the second most populous city in South Africa. The group checked in at The Table Bay Hotel and visited Nobel Square for a photo opportunity followed by lunch at V&A Waterfront’s The Yard Restaurant. Just adjacent in the Silo District is the highly acclaimed Zeitz Mocaa Museum. It exhibits twenty-first century contemporary art from Africa and its Diaspora with over 100 galleries throughout 9 floors, showcasing art from still photography to moving art installations.

Our local guide incorporated “Footsteps to Freedom” walking tour Mandela in Cape Town: From prisoner to President. “Dinner at Crypt Jazz Club was a personal favorite from the team as they feasted into the night while being enamored by some of the nation’s most prolific local musicians.

Table Mountain’s Cable Car Ride offers 360 degree spectacular views of the coastal town while being hoisted to the top. At the summit, clouds draped the surrounding view while journalists snapped selfies for Instagram. On the other hand, if winds are too strong for the cable ride, adventurers can hike alongside of the mountains during park hours to witness this landmark backdrop engulfed by condensation – similar in type to dry ice bucket. Just below, you can take in Bo-Kaap township, an area filled with colorful homes and cobblestone roads. Subsequently, lunch was served by famed chef Abigail Mbalo (from MasterChef South Africa) at 4ROOMED Ekasi Culture. She’s widely known to take indigenous delights and fuse them into gourmet bites fit for the Food Network. The day ended with a night of laughter at the Cape Town Comedy Club, a must-visit for all who enjoy pizzas infused with locally sourced ingredients coupled with barrel of laughs.

360, 360 Magazine, Vaughn Lowery, South Africa

Port Elizabeth

At Port Elizabeth, history unfolded. In 1820, it was established to house British settlers and boasts a population of 1.3 million, as its now a part of the newly formed Nelson Mandela Bay. This Vegas-style resort town is home to Sun International’s The Boardwalk Hotel that includes tons of shops, eateries, bars and casinos within walking distance. Named The Public Art City Tour: Route 67, stops included a visit to Voting Line Sculpture and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum. Lastly, dinner at Asada/Fushin was a meal to remember. The restaurant fabricates South African fusion flare with scrumptious fresh seafood and sushi.

Within two weeks, we received a first-hand account of the history and culture behind Nelson Mandela and his legacy in South Africa. With an intricate four major city tour, we were able to experience an amazing arts and culinary scene in the ever changing country of South Africa. Given the plethora of outdoor activities, architectural gems, gorgeous landscapes and tender-hearted people, this destination should be at the top of everyone’s bucket list if it’s not already.