SHE ROCKS: Founder, Timea Gaines Shares the Vision Behind Creating a Platform for Elevating Women in the Arts

Timea Gaines is a leading PR and entertainment professional, enthusiastic about promoting positive people, brands and ideas. She is also the founder of the SHE Rocks Awards and Artist Showcase. As the CEO of Love Life Media she aims to bring positive Entertainment; Inspirational Pop Culture and so much more to the forefront.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Timea’s idea for She ROCKS all started with the desire of putting together a short documentary for Women’s History Month. The documentary was to be directed at highlighting women working in specific fields and industries that she admired. As she researched different professions, she came across the fact that less than 30% of female visual artists across the world, do not have their artwork displayed in museums, as much as their male counterparts. Being that Gaines had a professional background in theatre, this struck a chord with her and she felt as though she wanted to do more. Gaines also took note of how many of her female friends, in the music industry, had expressed that people tended to make bias comments on their abilities. Some frequent comments they would receive were phrases like “she was killing it for a girl or you play bass real good for a girl”. It was through this awareness that Gaines decided she wanted to create the SheROCKS event.

We had the opportunity of speaking with Timea about her vision for She ROCKS, check out more of what she had to say:

Timea’s Street Intell:

“Women don’t get enough recognition as it is but its just not solely in the professional industry but it is also in the arts. And I feel like they need to be highlighted and recognized and know that that they are celebrated. I want women to know that they are not just good enough being a girl or women but they are good enough period.”
 
 
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Art in Action: Tatyana Fazlalizadeh

Tatyana

Just in time for women’s history month…

Brooklyn based illustrator, muralist, and social entrepreneur Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, will be hosting her very first speaking engagement on March 1st at the Brooklyn Museum. At the event Tatyana will be sharing more insight on her on going public arts project,’Stop Telling Women to Smile’.

Stop Telling Women to Smile is a street art campaign that boldly addresses the issue of gender based street harassment; of which more than 80% of women (and young girls) are subject to worldwide. The series is composed of portrait illustrations of women that have shared their experiences of street harassment with Fazlalizadeh. Their illustrations are combined with compelling phrases like “My outfit is not an Invitation” and “Critiques on my body are not welcomed”. The portraits are then designed into posters and plastered with wheat paste all across neighborhoods in New York and various states such as Chicago and Philly.

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STWTS started in Brooklyn in the fall of 2012. It is an on-going, travelling series and will gradually include many cities and many women participants.

Street harassment is a serious issue that affects women world wide. This project attempts to take women’s voices, and faces, and put them in the street – creating a presence for women in an environment where women are a lot of times made to feel uncomfortable and unsafe.

 

 

 

Statistic Source: StreetHarassment.org Photo Credit: tlynnfaz.com

Blurred Lines: Filmmaker Nadia Sasso explores the challenges of being African and American in her new film ‘AM I’

DMV native of West African origin, Nadia Sasso is an independent filmmaker, writer, director, social entrepreneur, and award winning community leader. This 24-year-old luminary is currently a graduate student at LeHigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania; pursuing a master’s degree in American Studies with a concentration in African Studies and a certification in Documentary Film .

As apart of her thesis documentary she has crafted a phenomenal film (alongside cinematographer, Corey Packer) highlighting the struggle of truly being an African and American. In the film ‘Am I’, Sasso and Packer embark on a journey to bring the African diaspora to the forefront, by sharing the stories of 6 different women treading the thin lines between their American ethnicity and African cultures.

We’re looking forward to the official release coming soon later this spring [or summer] and will keep you all updated on the dates and screening locations. In the meantime preview the ‘AM I’ trailer below:

In a brief phone interview with this emerging filmmaker we received a bit of insight on what impact she feels the film will leave with her audiences. Sasso expressed that she hopes the film will enlighten people by shining light on the complexities of being caught between two different worlds. Through this film she also hopes to build more understanding of African cultures in Americans and migrating immigrants by opening up the dialogue. No matter if you’re from West Africa or Washington, DC Sasso wants to cultivate better African relations. Everyone will take away something different but Sasso hopes that her film will leave a lasting impression and impact the lives of Africans in a positive and inspiring way. If you wish to support Nadia’s efforts you can contribute to the film’s campaign by donating here.

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By Any Means Necessary: Howard University Student Resorts to Crowd-funding her Education

lbLe’Naiya Blackwell is a second semester sophomore originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania trying desperately to return to Howard University. The first of 3 children, and a first generation college student, it was never even a thought that she would one day be pursuing higher education. In a phone conversation she described the conditions afflicting her family and other people around Pittsburgh.

“My Mother has MS and was battling cervical cancer for much of my childhood so when we had money most of it would go towards making sure we had a mom still around. Growing up there were happy times, but I’ve lived everywhere in Pittsburgh… from the Hill District, Hazelwood, Homewood, the Northside, North View Heights, the Burrows… literally everywhere. I grew up in these communities; where only 5% of people living under the poverty line even thought about college, much less planned ahead. When you’re eating ketchup sandwiches, what money do you have to save for college?”
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Le'Naiya B.

In 2010, Blackwell began her college career at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg. Struggling to find her passion, for two years she studied visual and performing arts. Throughout those years, Blackwell realized she really had an appetite for music and wanted an in-depth understanding of Jazz. She researched different programs and came across Howard University’s Jazz Studies program and decided that was the best option for her.

In the fall of 2012 she auditioned for the program and was accepted. The first year and a half at Howard was “filled with so much bliss” recounted the now Jazz soloist. Blackwell attributes her maturation of musical knowledge of famous Jazz singers and even the development of her confidence as an artist to the program. In her time at Howard, Blackwell has done exceptionally well. She was accepted into the SAASY Jazz ensemble in which she was afforded the opportunity to tour through cities like Chicago and Detroit. As a result, she was even able to meet Reverend Jessie Jackson and Opal Staples, daughter of one of the Staples Sisters.

With help from the Trio scholars program, grants; need-based scholarships and working, Blackwell was doing fine in funding her college career. Unfortunately, even with filling out scholarship/grant applications and daily trips to the financial aid office, taking out loans, and working sometimes two jobs at once, all while being a full-time student, she was not able to come up with enough money to stay in school. Therefore, she has started a campaign to raise the remaining 3,065 dollars. Many people have been attacking her on social media asking “why doesn’t she just quit going to college… Why is she begging for money?” She has even received hurtful comments from ignorant and arrogant people not empathetic to her struggle. However, with an upbeat spirit she is determined to push on towards her dreams of graduating from Howard University, building a career as a Jazz singer and one day owning a children’s art center.

Fashion Photography: Meet Isaiah Headen of Les Joueurs Photography

DC photographer, Isaiah Headen completed his visual media degree at
American University. With a background in dance theater he combines
his passion for photography and video to energize his audience with
bold colorful visuals that tell a story. His interest in the
versatility of fashion has led him to create Les Joueurs Photography
to shoot editorials for magazines and designers.

“Les Joueurs” which means “Players” in French is a homage to the
French New Wave directors of the 1960s. Their hands-on approach to
filmmaking is a testament to the value of ingenuity and of a cost
effective production. In the same way Les Joueurs Photography utilize
a network of creative artist and models to produce stunning
photography and video with an emphasis on colorful high end fashion
that is affordable. Les Joueurs wants to buildup the landscape of
fashion in Washington DC.

Isaiah and Les Joueurs have partnered with us to bring you a fun instagram contest: SIFashionKiller.

LesJou

Website: lesjoueursphotography.com

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Inside Computech Web: Founder Tchee Kum shares his vision of success as a business owner & leading IT professional (Interview)

Tch1Nana ‘Tchee’ Kum is a Senior level Technology strategist and architect residing in the Northern Virginia area. He is also the owner and founder of Computech Web. Mr. Kum is an active member of the esteemed Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, Inc. and Phi Sigma Pi national honors fraternity. Mr. Kum demonstrates these organizations principles of service, through his consistent engagement in activities geared towards uplifting his community. We had the pleasure of speaking to this Street Intellectual and dove into a few key factors to his success as a business owner and leading industry professional. Here’s what he had to say:

Can you tell us a little bit about Computech Web and why you decided to start this business?

Ever since I was 7 years old, I have always loved computers. It all began in 1994 when I first set my eyes on a Packard Bell Legend 18CD, running Windows 3.11. There was something exceptionally heart-rending about this piece of hardware that sparked my interest. As my curiosity began to grow, I developed a profound interest in starting my own IT company in the future, in efforts to contribute to our world’s technological advancement. At age 12, after pondering on the idea for some time, the name Computech came to mind, and it was at that time I decided to name my first IT company “Computech.”

During my college career at Radford University, I worked under the Freelance alias “Computech Industries” to provide technical support to campus students, as well as the neighboring communities surrounding the New River Valley. Upon graduation in 2009, I made the decision to centralize my core focus within the realm of web development; thus Computech Web, LLC was born.

Since its inception, Computech Web, LLC has specialized in website design & development, graphic design, application development, and hosting services. Living up to our motto “Your business, our passion,” we consistently deliver creative, scalable solutions that reflect the personality, needs, and vision of our clients.

What are a few of your current life and business goals?

I have always maintained a single life-goal, which has served as the true testament to the success I’ve been blessed to receive in life. By pursuing this goal, I always have a guarantee that everything in my life will fall into place.

The life-goal I speak of is one that many are familiar with. It is an important instruction that is presented to us in the book of Proverbs, which reads: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”(Proverbs 3:5). I believe that by continually seeking wisdom through The Bible in efforts to live my life in accordance with The Word, I will be able to maintain a profound relationship with my LORD and savior Jesus Christ. By putting my trust in Him and allowing Him to guide my every step, I can always guarantee that His will for me in this world will always be met; therefore enabling me to reach a state of contentment with any event that occurs in my life.

How do you balance working full time and managing Computech Web?

Contrary to popular belief, working full time and managing a startup company (no matter the size of the company) is not a simple task. In all honesty, it has actually been one of my greatest challenges. However, throughout the course of the years I have been able to develop some key time management strategies that have equipped me with the tools necessary to balance both hats.

One of the basic secrets to time management that has helped bailed me out multiple times is “prioritization”. No matter how daunting the work load one might have, I believe in order for a person to truly know how much effort is involved in completing multiple tasks, they must write out each task on paper and prioritize them in order of importance. After prioritizing your load, you may come to find that some of your tasks can be accomplished concurrently; thus, giving you back extra time to devote to other tasks.

How has owning your own business helped you grow as a person and professional?

Owning my own business has stimulated my thirst for knowledge by continually encouraging me to stay abreast of past/current/future technology trends. In turn, it’s has helped me to evolve into the technology strategist I am today.

As computers continue to revolutionize our world. What are some key things consumers should take note of?

Consumers should keep in mind that Technology has already reached more heights then we could ever imagine. The only question that technology will always impose on society is whether or not our world is ready to receive it. We often tend to forget that we as consumers have complete control over how fast technology will grow. I always say that there is a time and place for everything, just as Apple Inc.’ s time was in the 21st century opposed to the 20th century. When the time is right, and we are ready to accept new technology into our natural realm of existence, it will surely present itself.

As a young IT professional has there been any challenges that you have encountered while working in your industry? If so, how do you deal with these challenges?

I believe a unique challenge that many IT professionals face is rapid growth of technology. Due to this growth we are constantly required to stay on top of leading technology trends. However, my thirst for knowledge and my continual curiosity within this realm has helped me to stay on top of the latest and greatest; thus reducing the challenge.

What’s your Street Intell?

We must keep in mind that there is more than enough time in a given day to make a positive impact. It’s not a lack of time one often suffers from, but a lack of desire. As long as you maintain your drive, coupled with a great sense of humility, you can achieve your ultimate goal of success.

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Tchee’s favorite quote: Success is the best revenge.”
 
 
 
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Emerging DC Filmmaker: Be Steadwell (B. Steady)

Be Steadwell is a master craftsman of a category of performing arts dedicated to promoting her own representation of “pop arts” for queer people of color and individuals who struggle silently.

Simultaneously, as she pursued a career in music, Steadwell began a career in film. Shooting and editing her own music videos, Be explored rhythm and texture in experimental film. Be is currently completing her MFA in film at Howard University, facilitating songwriting workshops and touring internationally. Over the past two years, her short films have been showcased at festivals in Oakland, London, New Delhi, Berlin, and New York. In her films she opens up the world of emotion and experiences in the lives everyday people.

Lots of remarkable talent surfacing in the district including this brilliant filmmaker and songstress. She has craved out an divine aesthetic not only in her music which she describes as “queer pop and soul”, but also through her cinematography. Her pieces draw you into the experiences of her characters and allows you to explore love, racism, social injustice, passion and more through the eyes of minority LGBT Women. Her films grant you candid access into different aspects of life for LGBT individuals and are captivating enough that you feel directly connected with her body of work. She is a true Street Intellectual on the rise and someone to watch out for in the near future. Preview some of her pieces below and connect with her online for more.