Sunday, March 5, 2017

Taji Magazine Vol. 10 Launch Party in Brooklyn

Taji Mag is a magazine dedicated to African culture and fashion.
Last Wednesday evening, I exited off the Brooklyn bound train and headed to Sehiii Gallery for Taji Mag's Volume 10 launch party. I have always wanted to attend one of their functions and being off on Wednesdays made it all the more convenient to finally show support.
In the dimly lit gallery space, smelling of divinely scented candles, a young loc'ed DJ named Cornelio pumped out vibrant music that reverberated off walls and into excited ear drums. Lovely fashionable clothed and hair styled people sat around small round tables chatting with each other. Up front, a quiet girl sat alone drawing with pens and markers in a fat sketchbook. Others grooved to the beats, while seated, their rhythmic bodies begging for more.

Past Taji Mag covers hang on the brick wall, some are featured cover models and others are digital artworks.
Before the features and open mics started, the host had the audience stand in a wide, intimate circle and introduce ourselves to strangers. It was a rather nice way to remove nervous edges, to find a friend among low lights and chill music.

To catch Akinyemi, a main feature, one had to be faster than a cheetah. As he rapped his rhymes over boom boom rustic beats reminiscent of old fashioned hip hop, he moved so swiftly, that my camera only caught flashing essences of his energetic tenacity. He had that afro box hair cut and a rainbow sports jacket, speaking about realness in the mic.

Nosuh Foster's booming, powerful, thought provoking poetry brought the atmosphere to whole new heights. He had a finesse that was charming yet refined and intelligent. Plus when he smiled, showing pearly white teeth, the world looked brand new, promising as he spoke of being happy to be alive, alive past 25.

Rapper in camouflage Lyle Omolayo who spoke about roots roots roots.

Nay Marie is the creator/founder of Taji Mag. She is also a New York based photographer, vegan (yay!), and uniquely stylish.

Future painting inspiration.

The open mic segment started off with this cool rapper.

Caught in mid-spit.

This man crooned old school R&B beautifully. He sang Shai's "If I Ever Love Again." Women hollered like crazy. Yes. That we did. *swoons*

Another cool rapper, celebrating hip hop over slick beats, making the crowd wild.

On the left is the latest model winner for Taji Magazine Volume 11. She is Queen Bosa Bosa on Instagram. Her page is beautiful moments of gorgeous shots and dancing to African beats.
Segments introduced vendors selling their wares including cupcakes. When Lo of Sweets on the Lo gave a rundown of her cupcakes, saving the vegan option for last, it was definitely one of the huge surprises of the evening. Her site has a galore of vegan options including Aphrodisiac (a chocolate cupcake with raspberry buttercream), Hallelujah (a lemon blueberry cupcake with blueberry buttercream), and a drool worthy Taye Diggs Deluxe (chocolate caramel cupcake with caramel buttercream).
I had to try the Go Nanaz! cupcake-- a banana cupcake with cinnamon buttercream. The cake was moist with yummy authentic banana flavor and the sweet, lusciously whipped frosting tasted divine. Overall, quite the scrumptious treat whilst listening to music and poetry.
One of several photographers capturing this marvelous event.
I meet the delightful Awesum and her partner in crime. Their act started off quite humorously. He strums his guitar, reciting a humble soliloquy about poverty and survival. She is in the audience, laughing and smiling over his pain. I see a few confused faces in the audience. For a moment, I too am a little shocked. Suddenly,  still smiling rather infectiously, she begins humming like a vibrant bee finding the sweetest nectar and singing. She gets up out of her seat and saunters over to him, harmonizing. The duet is fresh and funky containing all the classical ingredients of soulful love and affectionate tenderness. After their song, someone had stood and clapped, boasting, "best of the night!"

Miss Blue, a twenty-year-old songstress from New Jersey took the audience away with her rendition of Alicia Keys' "No One."
In the gallery, many items whispered pleasant secrets. These fabrics were especially attention getting-- bantu knot profiled woman whose yellowed face arrests a teal circle repeatedly. The other is black and white with lovers kissing. They're both beautiful depictions. I have rarely seen such images on cloth, having always seen bold, colorful patterns. 

Close ups.

Many connotations came from this Africa continent shaped piece. It has an elegant design yet also a figurative quality. The ebony black against patterned zig zags and squares appears to be a cropped body, a piece of action that might have escaped a Kerry James Marshall work.

Other African continent shaped compositions continue along the wall sharing various stories of romantic love and self love, bold colors and stylized figures gifted gratifying dignity, grace, and beauty.
Giant wooden floor drum and smaller sculptures on white pedestal surrounded by plant life.
I not only have a gorgeous magazine to stare at forever and forever (and with future drawing inspirations along the way), I also won one of the raffles-- a beauty set from The Celestine Collection (Green Tea Body Souffle and body oil). I am super excited to review the products soon.
Inside the magazine are mesmerizing photographs of beautiful brown/ebony models (some discovered on Instagram), romantic advice, vegan recipes, and selected black owned businesses. I was happy to find this ad/article about Fruiggie, an eco friendly arts and crafts company that is fruit, vegetable, and plant based. They sell vegan paint, crayons, play dough, organic aprons, coloring books, and more. 
Tiffany Mack's 9oclockteeparty is a funky take on eyewear, featuring bedazzled sparkles on uniquely designed frames. 
Physical copies of Taji Mag's Volume 10 is $10 and digital print is $3. You can also purchase past issues, coffee/tea mugs, purses/totes, and even a photo session here.

A huge thanks to one of the photographers who caught me in action and shared this on the Taji Mag FB page. Behind me in giant pink Africa earrings with big poufy hair is a sweet woman named Babette-- whom I met and introduced myself to in the circle.
The party was killer fun. I wouldn't mind taking another escape from Philly back up to NYC for more vibing music, poetry, and art. There might be another vegan delight or two to sample.

No comments:

Post a Comment