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ThaWilsonBlock Magazine Issue45

Monday, December 5, 2016

Mildly Disturbing Images of Gang Life in Early 2000's Brooklyn, New York























The career of the photographer known as Boogie is as diverse as it comes. He's known for shooting athletes like Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt and soccer star Mario Balotelli for high-profile companies like Puma and Nike—but he's also published six monographs that focus on the harrowing street culture of cities such as São Paulo and Belgrade.

Boogie was born and raised in Belgrade, and grew up around cameras; his father and grandfather were both amateur photographers. He didn't take an interest in the art until his country descended into war-torn chaos in the 90s. At the time, photography helped him to distance himself from the living hell around him. Boogie credits witnessing the turmoil in Serbia as the catalyst that defined the subject matter he'd continue exploring throughout his career, which gained steamed once he started shooting in Brooklyn.

In 1998, Boogie won the green card lottery and moved to New York. He worked all kinds of odd jobs to survive, while still shooting on the side. Through a chance encounter, some gang members in Bed-Stuy asked him to take photos of them holding guns, leading him down a rabbit hole into the underbelly of some of New York's roughest neighborhoods. It's All Good, his first monograph, published in 2006, was the result. The book features photos of members of the Latin Kings and other gangs, as well as drug dealers, drug users, and marginalized people stuck in destitution. But unlike the average street photographer who snaps away without getting to know his or her subjects, Boogie is a documentarian who actively enters the lives of the people he shoots, building trust and gaining access to their homes, their safe houses, their squats.

"People always say you shouldn't cross certain lines, but the deeper you go the better shots you take, and no one can tell you where those lines are," he told us. "Then, all of sudden, you're in the middle of madness and it becomes very interesting."

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Street Photography Of 1980s New York By Jamel Shabazz

At this point, who doesn’t want to go back to the older days? Well today Jamel Shabazz, a Brooklyn-born photographer does that with his latest collection of photographs. Today we get a look at some Street Photography Of 1980s New York By Jamel Shabazz. This brilliant and eye-catching collection features the style, the camaraderie, and culture of the era, which found the emergence of hip hop taking root.

The images showcase the style, the attitude and more of the city while providing an eye-catching look at the process. Speaking about his images, he shared with Vogue that “During the era of conscious rap and hip-hop, artists like KRS-One or Queen Latifah, Public Enemy, it was about culture, so I saw a lot of racial pride, I saw people wearing traditional African garments, kente cloth—celebrating their history and culture”. He went on to state “I thought that was a very interesting time. It wasn’t about a lot of the bling that would take place later on in the 1990s. People wore clothes to represent themselves, taking pride and care with their appearance, regardless of economic status”. Check out the images below and speak your thoughts on them after the jump. Check out more of Jamel Shabazz’s work immediately!

10+ Stunning Animal Portraits By Ukrainian Photographer Sergey Polyushko

Sergey Polyushko is a Ukrainian photographer whose portfolio includes everything from architecture and fashion to commercial and street photography. His beautiful and intimate animal portraits are perhaps his most eye-catching works however.

From domestic dogs and cats, to wildlife such as ducks, squirrels, and even an exotic caracal, Polyushko's pictures are as playful as they are captivating. Whether he's snapping squirrels in the snow while they're out foraging for nuts, ducks basking on golden sun-tinted waters, or curious cows looking for their own personal close-ups, the photographer, who has over 40k followers on Instagram, has mastered the art of bringing out the very best in each and every subject he chooses.

Here's a list of some of our favorites.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Snoop Dogg responds to Colin Kaepernick after "praising" Fidel Castro

Snoop Dogg just put Colin Kaepernick in his dog house, calling the San Francisco 49ers quarterback a hypocrite for protesting social injustice while praising late Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, and advising he choose between football and his ongoing National Anthem protest.

"He's sort of kind of hypocritical in so many words because he's pushing this, but at the same time he’s giving credit for this and this is the same abuse that [Cubans] been taking" the rapper said. Snoop Dogg added, "So it makes you hypocritical to be able to speak on this topic and that topic."

The "Lay Low" singer was referring to Kaepernick's recent comments about Castro at a media event ahead of the 49ers game against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

Mark Whalberg on Actors & Politics: "It just goes to show you that People aren't listening anyway""

In this particular election cycle, celebrities were more politically outspoken than ever. Between Chrissy Teigen trolling Trump and Susan Sarandon going hard against Hillary Clinton, opinions were flying fast and furious for many celebs. However, Marky Mark himself thinks that actors and other Hollywood types should keep their opinions to themselves. In a recent interview with veteran oriented magazine Task and Purpose, Wahlberg was pretty harsh on outspoken celebrities...

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Exploring The Intersection Of Hip-Hop And Social Justice

To understand the awesome shared history of hip-hop and activism you have to acknowledge that while music can shine a light on injustice, it can’t, on its own, heal the wounds of oppression. We’re not all waiting for that perfect anthem to save the day. The one that effortlessly samples from the heartache and the anger, the resiliency, and the mistrust, and maybe even the wilting hope found in the black community.
It’s important to recognize that while hip-hop is its own entity, it’s still just a part of a greater movement when it comes to speaking out against those injustices. Nothing and no one can stand alone in this fight.

People have long tried to reason with oppression. They’ve tried to shout at it, thrown bottles at it, cursed its name and lit the streets on fire beneath it. Hip-hop is on the right side of things because it’s about thought and emotion, not a violent action. It is inspirational and it can galvanize. It can open people’s eyes and reach them in a way that words gloriously composed and passionately shouted cannot — it cuts through the noise of the politicians and the pundits who think they know what it’s like and what people want to hear even though they rarely come down face to face with the street.
The beat penetrates and breaks down barriers. The poetry holds onto you and can be a dispatch to the outside world about the shape of oppression as well as a rallying cry that can advance progress little by little when paired with passion and controlled, non-violent rage. But the signal needs a boost from time to time.

Today’s hip-hop artists have the megaphone as rap stands as the beating heart of pop-music, but that hasn’t always been the case. For a long time, socially conscious hip-hop was a fringe segment within a fringe genre. In light of this boom in social relevancy, though, there are multiple questions begging for an answer: Are these artists willing to leverage their hard-won popularity to speak out against the unrelenting cycle of unanswered violence and police brutality, systemic racism, and a caustic economic reality? Can they live up to the awesome example of hip-hop’s socially conscious elders even if it means alienating listeners and fans? And most importantly, can these efforts help to not just spark awareness, but also real change?

We took a look at the long history of hip-hop and activism, examined its ability to be a force for good, and spoke to hip-hop legend Talib Kweli, hip-hop artist and St. Louis-based activist Tef Poe, and activist and Campaign Zero co-founder Johnetta Elzie in pursuit of these answers...