Vibes: Black produced Web-Series & Podcasts

Over the past few years I'm happy to see the rise of African American producers grow in the entertainment industry. When I found out Issa Rae was getting created Insecure for HBO, the proudness I had in my heart was enlarged knowing I was a fan of her web series. I caught on to web series late (after they were published) but early (before they became popular) and it's one of my favorite free time habits that I'll never change. I remember sitting in front of my computer my senior year of college, watching some of these series as I wrote my paper and praying that one day they'll receive all the praise they deserved. I told others about them. I made friends watch them with me. I was so happy to have found shows that were related with a crew that thought and acted just like me and the biggest one - produced and directed by someone who looked me like. 

Now the podcast wave I definitely caught on to that late. The list is still growing because I haven't figured out a way to listen to them as consistently as I'd like. I'm a visual person (must be the artist in me) so the just hear and now see something weirds me out a time. I get distracted and completely tone it out, I'm working on it. So, I dropped just a few of the ones I have listened to and would love recommendations. (Just leave in the comments)! Enjoy!

WEBSERIES

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First :Issa Rae Presents
Created by Jahmela Biggs

Issa Rae has been dropping gems in the YouTube world for years. Even though I think she started back in 2011, I didn’t get hipped into 2014 with a few episode of Awkward Black Girl. I never finished the series, but I’m planning on going back to enjoy every moment of it. First was the first series I caught on it. I actually just wanted to see more of Will Catlett after loving him in That Guy. A love story that shows that no one is perfect, the pride can mess you up and if it’s meant to be .. well I’m not going to spoil it.  
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HxX62WIX3SI&list=PLVo7nGot4fPjY4FdstC5d5DQ-4accPFIb

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Giants: Issa Rae Presents
Created by James Bland

Let me say, James Bland is amazing! Created, wrote and directed the series that has recently won Daytime Emmy Awards. I can’t wait for his talent to continue to be recognized and spread in the entertainment world. This series has sparked a lot of conversations between me and my creative friends shedding light on untalked about issues in the black community. Mental illnesses, STDs, depression, sexual preference and that’s just the surface of it. Nothing is forced, uncomfortable or over dramatic - it’s all authentic stories that many don’t talk about it. One of my favorites simply because it’s it gives me something to laugh at, cry about and sit with myself at the end.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1YgjugzXscg&list=PLVo7nGot4fPi_1MFfZSLROrc6BhjXSffI

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Tough Love: ToughLoveSeries
Produced by Caleb Davis

A multiple realistic love story from young adults from many different career paths and backgrounds I stumbled across Tough Love series on YouTube after finishing a slew of series and needed more to keep me going. I think I fell in love with the fact that the series was shot in the streets of NYC. That’s real dedication! There wasn’t one character that didn’t remind me of someone I’ve hung out with, dated or knew in some way. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCINXFFTenSrGCJPvNqrcDew

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That Guy: Black&Sexy TV
Series by Jeanine Daniels

I’ve been blessed enough to have a few conversation and support of my art by AuntieNeen after falling in love with every series she’s created and decided to introduce myself. That Guy is without a doubt my favorite web series ever to grace this earth! It’s funny, real, emotional and made for an artist yet hood young lady like myself. Again, I’m a support of Jeanine outside of this web series. She’s rides for independent artist, black own businesses and she’s hilarious! Jeanine now has her own production company and will be releasing new magic soon - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNc5afXq7b-ydo5078wSC4g
That Guy Seasons 1-3
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhyV-XBEIhM&list=PLF3E3F2DEB300F5DA

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RoomieLoverFriends: Black&SexyTV
Created and Written by Dennis Dortch & Numa Perrier

After I watched the entire Hello Cupid, RoomieLoverFriends was queued next and I though, why not?! I’ll admit, I was caught off guard by the many sex scenes the series contain but we’re grown and it wasn’t super dramatic. The title tells it all, following a life of a guy and girl who are roomies, lovers and yeah, friends. I’ve never been in this situation but every problem or sentiment moment seem pretty realistic to what could happen when you put a fine man under the same room as a beautiful woman.  
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jpsyeYgaYI&list=PLYgDk-qCESPeIvm-2b8PXxz2IbwrYUkgi

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Hello Cupid: Black&Sexy TV
Series Created by Ashley Blaine Featherson & Lena Waithe

Before Netflix series like Master of None & Dear White People, I was a fan of Lena & Ashely! The very first web series I watched in 2013 while using all VCU’s wifi to open my mind to things outside of regular tv. The concept of having a show based around a dating website starring black women living in California instantly drew me in. I see it as a story told from both a life of a brown skin women but also misconceptions of lightskin women in the dating scene. I also love how Black&SexyTV intertwined all their web series, which I’ll touch on a few more in this blog. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0eHcbez_LU&list=PLYgDk-qCESPdLExyrMuCiATtXC4MZqcuR

Others: Sexless, Chef Julian, Becoming Nia, & Yellow

I’ve watched most of series on Black&SexyTV. Because the characters cross over in different shows and get their own spin off it’s impossible to not want to jump onto the next series. That’s where Black&SexyTV wins! They make you want to come back for more to follow your favorite character. I linked their channel so that you can pick in choose which show you want to watch. There’s kinda a particular order you want to watch it in so that you don’t jump ahead of the characters life but no matter what you’ll love it.

I watched it in this order

  • Hello Cupid

  • RoomieLoverFriends

  • Yellow

  • That Guy

  • Becoming Nia

  • Sexless

  • Chef Julian

https://www.youtube.com/user/blackandsexytv/playlists?shelf_id=0&view=1&sort=dd

PODCASTS

It’s hard for me personally to review all the following podcasts because I haven’t consistently listened to them yet. However, I’ve been trying to listen to them more frequently so that I can give a full review later on. Check them out and let me know of more in the comments.

The Black Girl Bravado
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-black-girl-bravado/id1186583079?mt=2

Black Girl Brunch
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/black-girl-brunch/id1253201969?mt=2

Black Girls Being
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/black-girls-being/id1183244382?mt=2

 

Reintroduce Myself

Artist:Addie Rawr
(creator of Art & Ambition) 

Hello there. I'm sure you know me as Addie Rawr the artist but it probably ends there. Well let me start by saying I'm two completely different people all mushed up into one body, one soul. There's Addie Rawr and there's Adrienne Randle. Born and raised in Norfolk, VA I never thought I'd become someone other than myself as I got older. It's a blessing to be able to house so much energy and passion into the little (tiny 5'2) woman I am. 

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Long story short, I became Addie Rawr in 2014 after selling my first painting to a friend. I've always been a designer and actual received my Bachelors from VCU in Creative Advertising. I decided to finance, produce and execute my very first art show on August 21, 2014. A day I probably will never forget. It was the day I discovered this journey was going to be hard. Fast forward to Sept 2015 - I had just received a promotion at work and that same day decided to cut my hours down to part time. Only work 22 hours a week, my art and design became my first source of income. Then there was Art Basel Dec 2015 where I took a 14 hour drive down to Miami to showcase my work. Returning I hit my first $1000 sales week in art off of just Christmas Cards and ended 2015 with a bang. 2016 was all a blur. I honestly can't remember much of it. A lot of events, new products, a bulk load of customers and learning how to paint with watercolor. Jumping right into the summer of 2017 when I received my first big contract with Refinery29 and Adidas (still to this day have NO idea how they came across my work). It was a collaboration that would take me to outside of my comfort zone, painting a pair of Ultra Boost sneakers that would be auctioned off privately by Adidas. I'm skipping around a lot of the late nights, the heartbreaks, the waste of thousands of dollars, wanting to give up every few months and crying pounds of tear and a lot of other things that have made me the tough artist I am today.. but hay we can talk about that later this year. 

Here we are now in March 2018 and I just receive news after celebrating my 27th birthday (Pisces SZN) that I was accepted to vendor at Essence Festival this year. I'm still trying to wrap my head around such a huge opportunity! My journey thus far has been rewarding so I'm prepared to do just about anything to get all work down to New Orleans. If you're able to donate, please do. If not, sharing, reposting, tweeting, just about anything would be appreciated to get the word out. You can read about the entire trip on my GoFundMe - Get Addie Rawr to Essence Fest

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The Thin Line Between Busy and Productive

Keeping busy is something we all desire. We want to make it look like we aren’t lazy, living the #teamnosleep life and always working. The busier we are, the more important we are, right? It means that we’re doing something right. Preoccupied to the point that nothing else matters means that we’re accomplishing things our peers aren’t. Sometimes we truly are working towards our goals and achieving things we need to get done, but, we’ve all ran into the pattern of being busy saying we’re busy than actually getting things done. Society has taught us that busy is a status we must reach because busyness equals success.

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Sorry to burst society’s bubble but being busy usually means you’re not being productive. I’ve grown to hate the word ‘busy’. I rarely use the word even when I’m booked up from morning to night, I still don’t consider myself busy. I don’t expect everyone to be this way; I know I’m obsessed with being a better version of myself everyday and never seem to think enough is enough. I know when I say I’m busy, that in actuality I’m holding back, and that’s not effective. If you still don’t think this relates to you, try to remember the last time a friend called and you responded “Sorry, I’m busy” even though you were sitting on the couch binge watching Game of Throne. Or when you were invited to a networking event full of powerhouses in your industry and you immediately said “I’m busy that weekend”; when you really meant you only had an open bar brunch to go turned up at. I’ve trained myself that saying “I’m busy” was just an excuse to not go after things I really want to do, avoid hard conversations with someone or to just make it look like I’m doing all I can.

Some of my biggest influencers are Jay-Z, Diddy and Kanye West, not because of their musical talent but because their drive and use of their time. Even with multiple business ventures, a staff to manage and family to support, they seem to still find time to build their empire. A schedule of appointments, lunch dates, meetings and phone conference doesn’t necessarily equate to you being productive. Have you ever felt like you’ve been booked all week but haven’t accomplished anything? That you’ve been working all month but it seems like nothing is getting done? All the meetings and events you’ve attended and you haven’t found time to sit down with your mentor and go over your business plan. Sometimes is our job, life, family that’s pulling us left and right that we just haven’t found the time to practice our craft.

I’ll admit it, I use to get sucked into the busy train that I wasn’t truly getting anything done. There was a time that every weekend I was vendoring at events, out of town visiting family, and free time just didn’t exist. My time management skills were horrible and my body was exhausted daily. It took me being real with myself and seeing that I wasn’t really accomplishing anything. Sorta like a kid pushing around peas on their plate, I was just throwing things in my schedule so that I had things to do. Staying ‘busy’ plays off our fears of doing, trying and saying what we feel to avoid the true outcome. Whether the result are good or bad, sometimes being busy to try to kill time is better than trying and not getting the results we’ve dreamed of. We keep putting off submitting our work for a grant proposal, resume for the new position, or sitting down with a manager, brand consultant or mentor.

saying something out loud is a way of manifesting actions in your life

Like most things in the world quality over quantity is the best way to go. Keeping ourselves “busy” is how we get distracted and procrastinate on goals. Maybe it’s time to take out some of the busy work and start focusing our time on a few things to get where we’re going. Changing one’s mindset to be busy less and productive more is hard, but I have a few tips that can make it possible.

  • Schedule 45 minutes sessions of productivity. This is time you spend actually working towards whatever you had on your to do list. No distraction, just plain ole working.

  • Allow yourself 1 time a week to use “I’m busy” as a way of getting out of doing something. No ones perfect and every once in awhile skipping out on something is good.

  • Instead of saying you’re busy, say what you’re busy doing. Not only does it help you be accountable for what you’re doing, saying something out loud is a way of manifesting actions in your life.

  • Don’t overbook yourself. Give yourself time to recharge and refocus so that you can be productive.

  • Start saying ‘no’. Everyone and everything doesn’t deserve your free time. Time is money so start acting like it.

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You Are As Good As Your Squad

Happy late New Year! January was a productive month for me and I completely forgot to post for the month. This year I told myself that I will pick up more physical books and get the brain exercise I've been missing out on since college. I start reading I Am That Girl by Sophia Bush and it immediately gave me an outline of multiple topics I wanted to touch on this year. Our first stop is a sensitive one, but it's time to squad up and start surrounding ourself with people that are actually good for us. It's so easy to let weak, unmotivated and negative people linger in our circle due to circumstance and convenience. Being intentional with who we allow to influence our actions and mindset can make a difference on reaching a goal and staying stagnate. 

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When I was in college, I had a pretty amazing group of friends. The kind of friends that always had my back through thick or thin. I was a hot-head and having friends that would ride for me, even when I may have been wrong was essential. We partied, we laughed and we became consumed in each others’ lives. We were the life of the party, but with the fun came trouble and a heap of bad decision. I found myself sleeping in to avoid classes, getting drunk every weekend, worrying about dating way too much and struggling to keep a good GPA. At the time these were the girls I could see myself going on family vacations with in 10 years. These were the times I knew we would laugh about when we were sitting at our office’s desk, living the life we worked for.  It wasn’t until my Junior year when it hit me that I was doing opposite of what I moved away to do in college. I wanted to find myself and make my family proud. I wanted to figure out my passion and keep my morals at the same time. I was one of the few people in my group of friends who worked while in college. I had a part time job that I worked every weekend, on top of sitting on the Homecoming Planning Committee and my internship with the Visual Arts Center of Richmond. I started seeing my friends less, we started having less in common. I had to trade in my nights for weekly meetings with the committee and every free time I had between homework and projects was spent learning from my supervisor at VisArts.  

 

By the end of Junior year I had lost a handful of my closest friends. Without speaking negatively on them, I just saw that our lives were moving in two different direction. You know how they say ‘you start to become the people you surround yourself with’, well I didn’t want the reputation they had. I’m not the one to think I’m better than anyone, I just know I wanted more for myself.  Being a girl from the wicked streets of Norfolk, VA, I just had more to prove to myself when it came to my education and social life. So slowly, I started to distance myself. I became closer with people who were either where I wanted to be or going in the same direction of me. As hard as it was to start ignoring my old friends’ text messages, skipping out on birthday dinners and such, I knew it was a lifestyle change I needed to be a better me.

 

Your circle of supporters/friends are vital to your success! It’s probably is as important as what you’re doing and how you hold yourself accountable for doing it. I’m happy that I learned that lesson at just 22, because now I’m able to filter out friends that aren’t benefiting or impacting me in a positive way. Learning what friends you can involve deeply in your life and those who you should let be loved from a distance can be tricky. I guess the biggest part is identifying what you need in a supporter. I challenge you to create of list of what you need in a friend/supporter, kinda like a job description. Do you need a circle of friends who have the same passion as you? Does integrity and honesty matter to you? Do you need a friend who cheers on every decision you make or do you just need a friend who will be keep it real with you? Remember you this circle of support will directly influence your life. You will pick up habits from them, they opinions will affect you and your reputation will be based off of them.

 

Since it’s the beginning of the year, it’s a perfect time to reevaluate some influential people in your life. Are they holding you back from your goal or pushing you towards it? Are they bringing you joy and peace or unnecessary stress or drama? This is something we have to think about every so often. Who you are surrounding yourself with should be as a fastidious process as choosing what skin care products you use, what you consume or the things you put your energy into. I’ll admit that I’ve let relationships and friendships take up too much time and energy than they should’ve when they weren’t the most positive things. Sometimes it’s because of the history of the relationship or not wanting to hurt someone’s feelings, but this is when we should be selfish and selective. There are some things in life we can’t control, but who we allow in our life is one of those things we have full control over. So let’s start taking back that control.

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