Posts tagged with "pride"

MARVEL’S VOICES: PRIDE

MARVEL PRIDE

Marvel’s newest celebration of LGBTQIA+ talent and characters arrives tomorrow! Honoring Pride Month, MARVEL’S VOICES: PRIDE #1 will include seven uplifting and thrilling adventures, including a Young Avengers reunion, Asgard’s first Pride, and the debut of a brand-new mutant hero—ESCAPADE! Fans can get their first look at these stories and more in the all-new MARVEL’S VOICES: PRIDE #1 trailer, featuring never-before-seen artwork!

In the Marvel’s Voices tradition, this diverse collection of tales is brought together by a lineup of new and established talent. It showcases characters from all walks of life and every corner of the Marvel Universe! Here’s a complete list of the stories fans can look forward to this year:

Artist duo and Eisner-nominated cartoonists Ro Stein and Ted Brandt continue this tradition with the debut of ESCAPADE! Readers will meet this all-new trans mutant superhero in a 20-page adventure that will introduce her career as a super thief and set the stage for her exciting future.    

Join the celebration with some of Marvel’s greatest LGBTQIA+ heroes by picking up MARVEL’S VOICES: PRIDE #1 digitally or at your local comic shop tomorrow! For more information, visit Marvel.

MARVEL × ASIAN PACIFIC/AMERICAN

Shang-Chi, Kamala Khan, Wong, Mantis, and Jimmy Woo headline MARVEL’S VOICES: IDENTITY #1 2022. The second Marvel’s Voices anthology honoring Asian Pacific American Heritage Month will showcase brand new stories crafted by both emerging and established Asian and AAPI talent. Arriving on May 25, MARVEL’S VOICES: IDENTITY #1 2022 will feature four action-packed and heartfelt adventures set throughout the Marvel Universe plus an introduction by Isabel Hsu, Senior Manager of Creative Development at Marvel Games and exclusive interview with longtime comic book letterer and industry pioneer, Janice Chiang. Right now, fans can get their first look at all four covers and preview each of the featured stories, including:

·       Writer Pornsak Pichetshote and artist Creees Lee take Shang-Chi and Jimmy Woo on a vital mission with some unexpected surprises

·       Writer Sabir Pirzada and artist Eric Koda teams up Ms. Marvel with Shang-Chi in a story that explore these two heroes’ differences and similarities

·       Writer Jeremy Holt and artist Kei Zama spotlight the Guardians of the Galaxy’s Mantis, diving into the iconic character’s fascinating past and gearing her up for a bright future

·       Writer Emily Kim and artist Rickie Yagawa showcase the power and expertise of master of the mystic arts, Wong, in an exciting solo adventure

MARVEL’S VOICES: IDENTITY #1 2022 continues the tradition of inspiring and uplifting storytelling that truly reflects “the world outside your window.” These stories celebrate Marvel’s ongoing, ever-expanding pantheon of heroes and the vastness of all Asian, Asian American and Pacific Island cultures and identities. Check out all four covers now and visit Marvel.com to see an exclusive sneak peek and hear from the creators themselves! For more information, visit Marvel.com.

To find a comic shop near you, go HERE.

Love is Love illustration by Heather Skovlund for use by 360 Magazine

GLAAD Nominees

GLAAD, the world’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, announced the nominees for the 33rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards. RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 13 finalist Gottmik announced nominees in select GLAAD Media Awards categories live via GLAAD’s TikTok channel.

The GLAAD Media Awards honor media for fair, accurate, and inclusive representations of LGBTQ people and issues. Since its inception in 1990, the GLAAD Media Awards have grown to be the most visible annual LGBTQ awards show in the world, sending powerful messages of acceptance to audiences globally. The 33rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards are presented by Gilead Sciences, Inc. and Ketel One Family Made Vodka.

For a full list of nominees, see below or HERE. A tip sheet with a breakdown of nominations by media and trends among the nominees is available HERE

The 33rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards nominees were published, released, or broadcast between January 1 and December 31, 2021. The GLAAD Media Awards ceremonies, which fund GLAAD’s work to accelerate LGBTQ acceptance, will be held in Los Angeles at the Beverly Hilton on Saturday, April 2, 2022, and in New York at the Hilton Midtown on Friday, May 6, 2022.

“Media can create positive change and this year’s nominees represent powerful projects, stories, and creators that positively shifted culture and enlightened audiences with new and impactful LGBTQ stories,” said GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “There are more nominees this year than ever before, highlighting a growing landscape of LGBTQ visibility, and serving as a reminder of the critical role that film, television, music, journalism, and other forms of media can play in growing LGBTQ acceptance in the face of ongoing attacks against our community.”

Streaming services saw a total of 63 nominees, with cable receiving 39 nominations, and broadcast networks receiving 17 nominations. HBO/HBO Max scored the most nominations of any network with a total of 19 nominees, followed by Netflix with 17 nominees. Hulu received 7 nominations, while ABC, MSNBC, and Peacock all received 4 nominations. In the Spanish-language categories, Univision and Telemundo both received two nominations.

During a year when anti-transgender violence rose and lawmakers across the U.S. introduced an unprecedented number of bills attempting to stop transgender youth from participating in sports and accessing gender-affirming healthcare, many of the nominees at the 33rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards centered on transgender people and issues in timely, nuanced, and empowering ways. Of the 30 television shows nominated across Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Drama Series, and Outstanding New TV Series, 18 feature trans and/or nonbinary characters, including: 

Other nominated shows and films featuring trans and/or nonbinary people or characters include: 

A large number of nominees at the 33rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards also include powerful and impactful stories about LGBTQ people of color. In the film and television categories, those nominees include: 

  • Port Authority
  • Cured
  • No Ordinary Man
  • Pier Kids
  • Pride
  • Saved by the Bell
  • Sex Education
  • Shrill
  • Work in Progress
  • 9-1-1: Lone Star
  • The Chi
  • Good Trouble
  • The L Word: Generation Q
  • Pose
  • Star Trek: Discovery
  • 4400
  • The Sex Lives of College Girls
  • Sort Of, With Love
  • Y: The Last Man
  • I Am Jazz
  • Legendary
  • MTV’s Following: Bretman Rock
  • RuPaul’s Drag Race
  • We’re Here

GLAAD announced 246 nominees in 30 categories, including two new categories: Outstanding New TV Series and Outstanding Original Graphic Novel/Anthology. As LGBTQ representation continues to expand across television and streaming, the Outstanding New TV Series recognizes scripted comedy or drama series in their first season that include impactful LGBTQ stories. The Outstanding Original Graphic Novel/Anthology category recognizes an original graphic novel or an anthology of short stories appearing in the same book released by a mainstream publisher and its subsidiary labels.

“After decades of LGBTQ characters being excluded, sidelined, or misrepresented on television, it is incredibly powerful to see how many series introduced fresh, impactful, and fully developed LGBTQ characters and storylines in their first season, many of which were some of the most beloved shows of the year,” said GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “The introduction of the Outstanding New TV Series category recognizes the shows and creators getting LGBTQ inclusion right from the beginning and encourages other showrunners to include LGBTQ characters and stories that enlighten and entertain in new projects.”

Each year, GLAAD presents non-competitive Special Recognition Awards to media projects that do not fit into one of the existing GLAAD Media Awards categories. For the 33rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards, GLAAD is presenting Special Recognition honors to eight media projects that spotlighted diverse segments of the LGBTQ community in innovative ways. The eight media projects include: All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson [filmed reading + performance]; “Alok Vaid-Menon” 4D with Demi Lovato (Cadence13/OBB Sound/SB Projects); CODED: The Hidden Love of J.C. Leyendecker (Paramount+); Jeopardy! Champion Amy Schneider; The Laverne Cox Show (Shondaland Audio/iHeartMedia); Life Out Loud with LZ Granderson (ABC News); Outsports’ Coverage of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics; and “Celebrando el Mes del Orgullo” (Telemundo). A full summary of the projects receiving Special Recognition can be found in the tip sheet with an additional breakdown of facts and figures about this year’s nominees available HERE.GLAAD’s Barbara Gittings Award for Excellence in LGBTQ Media honors a pioneering individual, group, or community media outlet that has made a significant contribution to the development of LGBTQ media. The award is named after Barbara Gittings in recognition of her groundbreaking work as editor of The Ladder, and for her appearances as an out lesbian on national news media throughout the 1970s and 1980s.

GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis serves as Executive Producer of the GLAAD Media Awards, alongside GLAAD staff Rich Ferraro and Anthony Allen Ramos. Spencer Harvey will serve as Producer, Juana Guichardo will serve as Associate Producer, and Wendy Shanker will serve as Headwriter.

LGBT flag illustration by Symara Wilson for 360 Magazine

Yuval David – Pride In the Living Room

Yuval David, celebrated and award-winning actor, host, director, and filmmaker will host and speak at The Aguda’s Pride in the Living Room event, in Hebrew termed Gaava Basalon, currently scheduled for October 17. Yuval will also be keynote speaker at an additional virtual event shared on Instagram Live on October 6, at 1 p.m. DC/NY and 8 p.m. Israel time.

Yuval’s creative mantra to entertain, uplift, and inspire transcends into advocacy, especially for Jewish, LGBTQ, Israeli, American and human rights, as well as arts initiatives.

The Aguda is the Association for LGBTQ Equality in Israel, and Israel’s pioneering LGBTQ organization. At their Pride in the Living Room events, participants, communities, and organizations come together to create safe spaces for dialogue about Judaism and the Jewish LGBTQ community.

The October 6 event will specifically focus on the challenges of Israeli and LGBTQ advocacy, especially amidst this past year, during the pandemic and with the rise of antisemitism globally. The intersection of Jewish and LGBTQ identity is filled with pride, but also the challenges of double marginalization.

According to Yuval, “Pride in the Living Room is a way to authentically share stories, express identity, and create community through bringing people into our homes, even if virtually.  This event also exposes those who don’t personally know LGBTQ+ individuals to have an opportunity to hear their story, as well as have an intimate discussion about LGBTQ+ and religious identity, and the intersection of both.”

According to Tomer Barash at The Aguda, “These events take place in Israel in living rooms in religious cities and the surrounding areas, Arab-Israeli villages, and more. These conversations lead to a growth of love and understanding in our society. For the second year, The Aguda is expanding the reach of this initiative not only in Israel, but globally through online forums, creating living rooms across the globe where the complexities of LGBTQ+ identity from all faiths are explored together, especially to promote understanding in all religious communities.”

Shira Banki, a 16-year-old who was murdered during the Jerusalem Pride March in 2015 by an extremist ultra-orthodox Jew, inspired the creation of Pride in the Living Room in 2016. The murder of Banki made it clear that there was a need for open dialogue between the LGBTQ+ community, the general public of Israel, and the rest of the world. Five years later, Pride in the Living Room continues to invite friends, family, neighbors, and the public to join in the conversation with LGBTQ+ speakers from their living rooms.

Yuval David finds it critically important to expand the reach of this initiative to people across the globe, including all religious groups. As the director of a feature length documentary exploring the intersection of LGBTQ+ and religious identity, Yuval has a great understanding of the positive impact that people of different faiths coming together can have on a community. The film, titled Wonderfully Made, focuses specifically on the aspirations and challenges of LGBTQ+ Catholics and their complicated relationship with the Church.

Beyond this initiative, Yuval advocates for marginalized communities through his creative work and social action, supporting the organizations below. 

Embassy of Israel to the United States: Keynote Speaker

Consulate General of Israel in New York: Speaker, Panelist, and MC for events and initiatives.

Shoah Foundation: Speaker and panelist for events and initiatives. Storytelling Fellow. Member of the Creative Council, creating new content incorporating testimonies filmed by The Shoah Foundation

Jewish National Fund: Host & Director of Documentary Content, Speaker and MC 

Jewish Council for Public Affairs: Speaker and Event MC. Host of video content.

–  Keren Kayemet: Speaker and panelist.

–  Stand With Us: Narrator and Host of documentary videos and social media content.  Speaker and Panelist.

A Wider Bridge: Speaker, MC, and advocate for the organization, connecting Israeli and American LGBTQ communities. Member of the Leadership Council.

– The Aguda, the Israeli LGBTQ rights organization: speaker, panelist, and host of events, including advocating on joint initiatives.

American Israel Cultural Foundation: Member, Performing Artist, and Speaker

– Chabad: Speaker and Panelist.

The Jewish Learning Institute: Speaker and Panelist.

End Jew Hatred: Keynote Speaker, Workshop Leader

Zikaron BaSalon: Keynote speaker

JewBelong: Speaker. Member of Board of Directors.

National LGBTQ Task Force: Speaker and Workshop Leader at annual Creating Change Conference; Advocate and Speaker at numerous events, including advocating to elected officials about LGBTQ initiatives; National Leadership Council;

Host and Director of Documentary Video Content

GLAAD: Partner for advocacy initiatives in press/media

Lambda Legal: Speaker and workshop leader.

Covenant House NY: Speaker at events for homeless youth

Beyond the roles mentioned here, Yuval is frequently a guest speaker, panelist, and workshop leader for Jewish organizations, LGBTQ Centers across the US and abroad, as well as LGBTQ organizations.

About The Aguda

The Aguda, the National Association for LGBTQ in Israel, is Israel’s pioneer lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender organization. The Aguda is a national grassroots, volunteer-based, nonprofit human-rights organization representing the LGBTQ community. The Aguda promotes and advances new initiatives and cultivates leadership and partnership with all sectors and groups within the community. The Aguda strives for full equality for gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender people. The organization aspires to create a public and social climate of acceptance and respect for the LGBTQ community and its individuals. 

About Yuval David

Yuval David is an innovative actor, host, and filmmaker with a creative mantra to entertain, uplift, and inspire. As an actor, Yuval plays major roles in short form and full-length feature films, television, theatre, web, digital media, and voice overs. These include What Would You Do (ABC), Madam Secretary, The Michael J Fox Show (NBC), Beauty and the Beast (Disney), in addition to productions with HBO, Comedy Central, DreamWorks, AFI, and theatres across the globe.

As a TV Host/Presenter, Yuval focuses on societal, humanitarian, and entertainment programming. As a filmmaker, Yuval produces, directs, and writes short and feature films, documentaries, web-series, digital and TV content, including the award-winning episodic series’: One Actor Short, Pranks of Kindness, Better World with Yuval David, What Makes You Beautiful, and numerous others.

Inspired by his Jewish and Israeli-American roots, Yuval advocates for all marginalized communities through his creative work and social action, including the Israeli Consulate, Shoah Foundation, the Jewish National Fund (JNF), Keren Kayemet, Stand With Us, A Wider Bridge, The Aguda, American Israel Cultural Foundation, Chabad, The Jewish Learning Institute, and #EndJewHate, among other organizations. Yuval is frequently invited to host, MC, and speak on behalf of cultural, humanitarian, philanthropic, social, and political initiatives and institutions.

DJ Koze Remix Artwork via Infamous PR for use by 360 Magazine

Lakou Mizik × Joseph Ray

Anjunadeep warmly welcomes DJ Koze for his Anjunadeep debut with his remix of Lakou Mizik & Joseph Ray’s ’Sanba Yo Pran Pale’.

One of electronic music’s most beloved artists, DJ Koze runs the acclaimed Pampa Records, where he puts out his own music alongside material from the likes of Mano Le Tough, Axel Boman and Robag Wruhme. His 2018 album ‘Knock Knock’, released on Pampa, was named as Pitchfork’s 3rd best album of the year, whilst his single ‘Pick Up’ was named track of the year by both Resident Advisor and Mixmag. Known for his inventive production style, he has remixed Gorillaz, Mount Kimbie, Moderat and Lapsley, and collaborated with Róisín Murphy, Bon Iver, José González, Caribou and Matthew Dear.

’Sanba Yo Pran Pale’ is Kosi’s first remix in two years and is typically eclectic. Reimagining the traditional Vodou song as a summer dance anthem, warping and stretching the original vocals from Lakou Mizik’s Sanba Zao onto a bed of catchy rhythmic synths and warm enveloping bass. Ten minutes long, the original mix has a nostalgic analogue warmth that feels perfect for an Indian summer’s day. To celebrate the release, Anjunadeep is pressing a limited run of white label vinyl, which are available for pre-order now.

About Leave the Bones

’Sanba Yo Pran Pale’ is the first track off Lakou Mizik & Joseph Ray’s album Leave the Bones, and is a traditional Haitian song steeped in Vodou tradition: “The Sanbas are the poets and keepers of Haitian history and culture. They pass on their wisdom through song and story. ‘Sanba Yo Pran Pale’ is an invitation to the Sanbas to speak their truth whilst paying respect to the Vodou ‘Lwa’ or spirits.”

Referred to by NPR as a “mesmerizing, haunting and uplifting journey into the heart of Haitian culture”, Leave the Bones has accrued 1M streams on Spotify and Apple Music and has garnered a wealth of global support from the tastemakers such as BBC Radio 1, 6 Music, The Times, Billboard, Crack Magazine, Mixmag, Songlines, The New York Times, and Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide FM. It is out now, available digitally and as a 2 x 12” LP.

miami beach pride flyer for use by 360 magazine

Miami Beach Pride

Queer Entertainment Line-Up and COVID-19 Prevention Protocols

Pride returns in September with eight days of event programming, celebrity entertainment and preventive measures to ensure the safety of all attendees, vendors and volunteers

Miami Beach Pride is happy to announce its legendary pride celebration will return on September 10-19, 2021 with a hotly anticipated Festival and Parade happening on the weekend of the 18-19 boasting a star-studded roster of almost 100% LGBTQ+ talent. World-class entertainers such as Walk The Moon, Carson Kressley, Tracy Young, Nitty Scott, and Ralphi Rosario are slated to headline the pop and latin stages this year as well as host other ticketed events during the week-long celebration. The Miami Beach Pride theme and mantra is ONE LOVE, inspired by Bob Marley’s iconic song encouraging us to demonstrate love to ourselves and others, and is also the perfect tribute to the tropical surroundings that only Miami Beach can provide.

“We believe that love has the power to unify us. By reinforcing solidarity and acceptance within our community and with our allies, we can truly begin to create more inclusive spaces that are representative of our amazing LGBTQ community. ” said Rich Walczak, Executive Director, Miami Beach Pride. “The foundation on which this week is built is the concept of self-acceptance and authenticity and why we want everyone to feel like they belong at our celebration this year.”

Miami Beach Pride, working in tandem with local leaders, announced its new COVID-19 protocols and prevention measures for a safe and exciting festival. The organization has been examining the various factors that can lead to disease spread and seeking to mitigate with a host of safety protocols including a campaign encouraging attendees to Stop The Spread and Register For Pride. Updates to the flow of the festival will follow CDC guidelines to include social distancing, sanitizer stations & distribution, frequent disinfection, increased VIP tent sizes and online registration. Free masks will also be available on-site.

Miami Beach Pride’s online registration portal is now available and ALL pride-goers are strongly encouraged to register. Registration enables the organization to communicate any changes more effectively in local, state and federal COVID19 safety guidelines and increases the accuracy of their contact tracing program. Please note: MBP Festival and Parade is FREE and open to the public.

To further support the health of the community, The Independent Medical Group will also be onsite to distribute thousands of COVID-19 vaccinations completely free of charge. Vaccination facilities will be clearly marked on the festival grounds and open to all attendees.

Weekend VIP packages and tickets to Sweet Spot feat. ULTRA NATE , SOAK Pool Party and Legends Ball are now officially for sale on our website. For more information on events related to Pride as well as the latest programming, please visit miamibeachpride.com and follow us on Instagram.

LGBTQ illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Miami Beach Pride Unveils Entertainment Line-Up

Miami Beach Pride is happy to announce its legendary pride celebration will return on September 10-19, 2021 with a hotly anticipated Festival and Parade happening on the weekend of the 18-19 boasting a star-studded roster of almost 100% LGBTQ talent. World-class entertainers such as Walk The Moon, Carson Kressley, Tracy Young, Alex Newell, Nitty Scott, and Ralphi Rosario are slated to headline the pop and latin stages this year as well as host other ticketed events during the week-long celebration. The Miami Beach Pride theme and matra is ONE LOVE, inspired by Bob Marley’s iconic song encouraging us to demonstrate love to ourselves and others, and is also the perfect tribute to the tropical surroundings that only Miami Beach can provide.

“We believe that love has the power to unify us. By reinforcing solidarity and acceptance within our community and with our allies, we can truly begin to create more inclusive spaces that are representative of our amazing LGBTQ community. ” said Rich Walczak, Executive Director, Miami Beach Pride. “The foundation on which this week is built is the concept of self-acceptance and authenticity and why we want everyone to feel like they belong at our celebration this year.”

Miami Beach Pride, working in tandem with local leaders, announced its new COVID-19 protocols and prevention measures (available online soon) for a safe and exciting festival. The organization has been examining the various factors that can lead to disease spread and seeking to mitigate with a host of safety protocols including a campaign encouraging attendees to Stop The Spread and Register For Pride. Updates to the flow of the festival will follow CDC guidelines to include: social distancing, sanitizer stations & distribution, frequent disinfection, increased VIP tent sizes and online registration. Free masks will also be available on-site.

Miami Beach Pride’s online registration portal is now available and ALL pride-goers are strongly encouraged to register. Registration enables the organization to more effectively communicate any changes in local, state and federal COVID19 safety guidelines and increases the accuracy of their contact tracing program. Please note: MBP Festival and Parade is FREE and open to the public.

To further support the health of the community, The Independent Medical Group will also be onsite to distribute thousands of COVID-19 vaccinations completely free of charge. Vaccination facilities will be clearly marked on the festival grounds and open to all attendees.

Weekend VIP packages and tickets to Sweet Spot feat. ULTRA NATE , SOAK Pool Party and Voguing Ball are now officially for sale on our website. For more information on events related to Pride as well as the latest programming, please visit miamibeachpride.com and follow us on Instagram @miamibeachpride.

LGBTQ+ illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

People Mourn the Loss of LGBTQ+ Activist James Hormel

Following the news of the passing of longtime People For board member, LGBTQ+ advocate, and the first openly gay U.S. Ambassador, James Hormel, People For the American Way President Ben Jealous and People For the American Way Founder Norman Lear released the following statements:

“Jim was a true hero, so full of courage, humor and generosity,” said People For President Ben Jealous. “As a longtime board member of People For the American Way, he understood that building power among young people was critical to the future of our democracy. Jim was a truly kind and lovely soul, and his loss will be felt deeply. Our hearts and prayers are with his husband Michael and their extended family.”

“I loved Jim Hormel deeply,” said People For founder Norman Lear. “Through the years he was an incredible asset to People For the American Way, a provider of ideas and insights and deep understanding. He was also a fighter, passionate about so many issues we hold dear, from voting rights to free expression and the fight against censorship. I will miss him tremendously.”

About People For the American Way

People For the American Way is a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and build a democratic society that implements the ideals of freedom, equality, opportunity and justice for all. We encourage civic participation, defend fundamental rights, and fight to dismantle systemic barriers to equitable opportunity. Learn more: People For the American Way.

Ballerina by Mina Tocalini for use by 360 Magazine

Bombazo Caribbean Skirts Featured at New York Fashion Week

By: Javier Pedroza 

Milteri Tucker Concepción is a busy and multi-talented Afro Boricua who holds degrees in Biology, Chemistry and a master’s in Dance Education. She is an author, a mother and was casted in Lin Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights the movie. As we approach #NYFW2021, Milteri puts on another hat, as designer.

Milteri is the founder of BOMBAZO and the artistic director of Bombazo Dance Co. The Puerto Rican-Bronx based non-profit dance organization’s focus is to educate, advocate, preserve and perform Bomba Puertorriqueña. As an author, educator and master Bomba dancer, she lectures across the United States and the world. I sat with Milteri and we spoke about Bomba, fashion and Puerto Rico.

Milteri, tell our readers, who is Milteri Tucker Concepción? 

Well, I was born and raised in Puerto Rico and grew up with a passion for dance since I was 5 years old. I  recall dancing in “la Sala”(the living room) with three of the most influential women in my life: my grandmother, mother and aunt. As part of my upbringing I remember dancing, planting and assisting my elders in the kitchen. I also vividly recall shopping for fabrics with my aunt and watching my grandmother Abuela Teresa, warmly referred to as “Mama” sewing. My aunt “Titi” Maria Concepción was a designer who attended FIT and designed clothes for top actors in Puerto Rico. I was blessed to have been raised in a household full of  love, and love for my culture!

As a teenager, I studied dance in La Escuela de Bellas Artes in Ponce, PR. At 17, [I] moved to NYC to pursue careers in dance and science. In 2006, I graduated with a dual major of Dance and Biology with a minor in Chemistry from Hunter College. I currently hold a masters degree in Dance Education from NYU Steinhardt. Today I am a renowned Bomba master dancer, choreographer, scholar, dance educator and author. [I wrote] the first bilingual Bomba children’s book, titled “Bomba Puertorriqueña” and illustrated by Boricua artist, Mia Roman.

I’ve had the privilege to perform in multiple venues across NYC and the world – from the prestigious Lincoln Center, Madison Square Garden, City Center, Summerstage, Pregones Theater, BAAD, The Latin Billboards Awards, dancing for Don Omar with choreography by Maria Torres O’Connor, to amazing community centers.

I am a cultural warrior (guerrera cultural) who safeguards our traditions of Bomba Puertorriquenas, via [my] 501c3 non-profit dance organization: Bombazo Dance Co, Inc and international brand of Caribbean dance skirts: Bombazo Wear-Bomba & Caribbean Dance Skirts®. I was recently  featured in Lin Manuel Miranda’s movie, In The Heights, as the Bomba representation.

How was your experience filming ‘In the Heights’?

Being invited to dance Bomba for In the Heights was a surreal experience and a dream come true! It was an honor to represent our African heritage through our traditional dances. However, one of my favorite memories came after the movie premiered…. I had the opportunity to open the 2021 Virtual National Puerto Rican Day Parade in NYC, where Lin and I danced Bomba together.

What is the history of Bomba?

Bomba is Puerto Rico’s oldest musical genre, dating back to the 17th century and created by the African enslaved and free people of color from the Caribbean. This was one of the ways they communicated in our coastal sugarcane and coffee plantations.  It is a secular practice, where the community gathers to sing, dance and drum.

Why did you create Bombazo Dance Company?

I founded Bombazo Dance Company to show the world that Puerto Rico has rich African ancestry, and that our traditions are very much alive. As a Bomba dance company, we communicate through dance and drumming. [This is] reflected in our traditional folk art dancers. It is also important to create a safe space to fuse Bomba with other forms of dance – such as ballet, contemporary, social dances and dances of the African and Caribbean diaspora.

What inspired you to create Bombazo dance wear? 

At the same time I started Bombazo Dance Company, I was teaching Bomba classes to the community and needed skirts. Believe it or not, it was hard to find a seamstress who could make Caribbean skirts or a location to purchase them. I wanted to create skirts that fit all Caribbean dance styles, because I am that dancer. And voilà – Bombazo Wear Bomba Caribbean Skirts was born! My mother, Dr. Margarita Concepción, and I are the CEOs and we sew the [skirts] too. Our skirts are handmade, custom[ized] and tailored to each client. A part of the funds go to aid families affected by the earthquakes in Southern Puerto Rico.

How does it feel to be invited to NYFW 2021 / Harlem Fashion Week?

It is an honor to have been invited to showcase for a second time in HFM! The organizers are truly showcasing diversity within their shows and providing  opportunities for designers of color to present their designs to the world. It’s important to me – as a woman of color, a Latina and AfroBoricua – [that] they understand my vision of dance as fashion. And my skirts have fashion written all over them!

Tell us about your upcoming collection “Resistencia y Libertá!” (Resistance and Freedom)

I am the creator of the Puerto Rican Bomba Flag Skirt®. A flag; its colors, represents a collective orgullo – pride for its people. Our flag was conceived and designed here in NYC. It was prohibited to fly The Puerto Rican flag in both Puerto Rico and New York at one time. Its pride is back after Hurricane Maria, [now] you see our colors in every town’s building and rinconcito (corner) in both Puerto Rico and the diaspora! Therefore, my new collection for 2021 is titled: “Resistencia y Libertá!” Where each skirt in the collection represents a social cause affecting Puerto Rico – such as the cultural resistencia by the people, No al Feminicidio, Boricua hasta en la Luna, Afroboricuaness, LGBTQ+ representation and support in the Bomba Community, ect. It is important to note that this is a brand and line designed and sewn by a Bomba dancer, a person from the community. These are skirts [are designed] with a mission. Part of the funds go to help families affected by the earthquakes in the South of Puerto Rico and organizations/community ensembles continuing the labor of safeguarding Bomba traditions in the island.

Any advice for the youth who want to connect and immerse themselves with their African roots and Culture?

Learn about all parts of you! That makes you unique and special. Speak to your elders: abuelas, abuelos, tias, tios and elders from your community. They have a lot of wisdom and years of experience you can learn from. Always connect to your culture, to your African roots! There is an African proverb I love : “Sankofa– in order to move forward you must know your past!” Know who you are, where you come from, so that you can pass the knowledge to your next generation! Ubuntu! (an African Proverb [that] means “I am because we ALL are!”)

For more information and to view images, please visit HERE.

Lakou Mizik × Joseph Ray – Leave the Bones

Few albums manage to evoke a time and place with such startling effect as Leave the Bones, the unlikely collaboration between the multi-generational Haitian band Lakou Mizik and Grammy-winning electronic music artist Joseph Ray. Out today, the album has already garnered support from global tastemakers NPR, BBC Radio 3, BBC 6 Music, KCRW, KEXP, CRACK, Afropunk, Songlines, Worldwide FM, and many more.

 The album arrives after the release of three incredible singles and videos, “Ogou (Pran Ka Mwen)”, ‘Lamizè Pa Dou” and “Bade Zile”, offering a window into the beauty of the rich and vibrant culture of the Haitian people. The album precedes a range of high-profile remixes and a feature-length documentary out later this year. In what has been a tumultuous year for Haiti, Leave the Bones provides a unique insight into the creative heart of the island nation.

 “Haiti” is a word that conjures up a lot of images. It is a country judged by many, most of whom have never set foot on its shores. But its history is rich, its people proud and defiant, and nowhere is that more evident than in its music. Culture is what defines the country, its drums and Vaksins (horns) are symbols of freedom and pride, liberty and struggle, and the joy of dancing.

 Leave the Bones paints a musical portrait, a fresh glimpse of an oft misrepresented country. Through Vodou chants, chest-pounding Rara dance tunes and contemporary protest songs, the record conveys the listener to Haiti’s spiritual heart, a place that remains a compelling mystery for foreigners and a source of pride for every Haitian.

 Since its inception Lakou Mizik has sought to re-define people’s conceptions of Haiti through its music. The nine piece band, formed in 2010, is emblematic of the melting pot that is Haiti’s musical culture. Lakou’s figurehead, Sanba Zao, one of only ten original Sanba poets left, played a central role in Haiti’s Rasin (roots) movement of the 1980s which sought to re-imagine traditional Haitian Vodou music through radical experimentation with modern instruments. This spirit of Haiti’s rich musical history underpins Lakou Mizik today; a multi-generational genre-blending ensemble that plays traditional Haitian music with a punk energy and a deep sense of their heritage.

 Joseph Ray, a Grammy winner and founding member of the pioneering Platinum selling electronic music trio, NERO, had never heard of Lakou when he arrived in Haiti in 2015, having volunteered to teach a course at Haiti’s only music production and audio engineering school, the Artist’s Institute. Ray stumbled on Lakou at a tiny beach side club in Jakmel; the scene that night was frenetic and ecstatic, evocative of the spirit of Ray’s early electronic music clubbing experiences. The band’s organic power entranced Ray, who saw the possibility of merging his cinematic electronic production style with Lakou’s own traditional dance rhythms. Their subsequent six year journey led to Leave the Bones, teaching Ray more about himself and music than any other period in his life.

Ray had initially wanted to sample the band, and overlay them on traditional 4×4 electronic beats, but he realized this approach would not evoke the spirit he was so captivated by. Lakou’s organic style needed more room to stretch and breathe, and the album became far more collaborative and deeper in scope. Ray was forced to rethink his approach, learning how to produce and engineer for a nine piece band. He incorporated new time signatures to capture Lakou’s complex drum patterns, lacing in 1930s field recordings from ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax and replacing synth sounds with Mbrias and conch shell samples that he stretched. 

By way of preview, Leave the Bones weaves us through the euphoric swagger of No Rival! and the the mystical underworld of Bade Zile (Under the Island), yet offers lessons for the living, reminding us we should not underestimate those who seem easy to walk upon on Zeb Atè (Grass of the Earth), and that we are all one people, Nou Tout Se Moun.

Leave the Bones is a record that sounds like it could come from nowhere else, and while its rhythms undoubtedly possess a universal danceability, their meaning and depth are also unique to Haiti. It’s powerful to imagine these tracks being played on dancefloors in Miami, London or Ibiza, transporting people from around the world, inviting them to dance, celebrate and get lost in the richness of Haiti, if only for a moment.