Friday, December 30, 2016

Why Bungalow Heaven stands as Pasadena's most significant neighborhood

Pasadena, California. A nation leader in historic preservation. Lets forget tha fact that Bungalow
Heaven is home of ThaWilsonBlock, today's source for the city's local music scene. According to the City of Pasadena and a federal registry, Bungalow Heaven stands as arguably tha most significant neighborhood in Pasadena, CA as far as architectural preservation is concerned. Dating back between 1888 - 1929, tha 16-block neighborhood was developed with one and two-story residential homes. Fast forward to the late 1980's, Bungalow Heaven has impressively managed to sustain and uphold it's intrinsic value.

Most bungalows built in Bungalow Heaven were during the Arts & Crafts period of the early 20th century. Because there was growing demand for industrialization during this period, tha individual craftsman had to hone his/her own creative skills. The typical bungalow is one-and-The Gamble House is the most prominent example of Arts & Crafts architecture in Pasadena, homes in Bungalow Heaven reflect the way typical families lived during that time period.
a-half stories high with open floor plans, wide verandas, and sloping roofs. Inside of these prestigious works of art feature many amenities that were built-in to the property like cabinets and shelves.

If you were to ask the Bungalow Heaven Neighborhood Association or anyone down at Pasadena City Hall, chances are that they would confirm the neighborhood's boundaries are roughly bounded by Mentor Avenue to tha West, Orange Grove Boulevard to tha South, Washington Blvd to tha North, and Hill Ave to tha East. Though this may be technically true, today's residents have accepted the entire community from Lake to Hill, Washington to Orange Grove as part of Bungalow Heaven. The neighborhood features McDonald Park which covers approximately 4.9 acres.

But, why are we saying BH is Pasadena's most significant neighborhood? Aside from the fact that they boast a whopping 800+ Craftsman-style homes, it is Pasadena's largest landmark district that is  listed in tha National Register of Historic Places. Although Pasadena has many landmark districts, very few of them have been listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Bungalow Heaven, nestled in the North Central area of the city, is also recognized by the Office of Historic Preservation. To help readers gain a bit more clarity, let's quickly read about these agencies and what it means to be recognized by them.

Landmark District: A landmark district is a grouping of contiguous properties that is united by plan or physical development and represents a specific aspect of the city's history. Residents of a neighborhood begin the process by proposing a district and working  with city staff to define the boundaries of the district and organize a community meeting to inform property owners of the effects of landmark district designation.  The residents then submit an application to the City for designation of a landmark district.  At least 51% of affected property owners must sign the petition in support of the designation.  Public hearings are held before the Historic Preservation Commission,
Planning Commission, and City Council.  The City Council has the final authority to designate an area as a landmark district. For historic buildings, the City is authorized to use the State Historical Building Code, an alternative code that allows limited modifications to current building code standards.  The use of this code can save a property owner money (e.g., a porch railing that does not meet the current standards for height could be kept instead of replaced with a higher railing).  Landmark district designation also makes it possible for property owners to access professional consultation, free of charge, from City staff who have expertise in historic building rehabilitation. In addition, houses in designated landmark districts are eligible for a property tax reduction under the Historic Property Contract (Mills Act) program.
The National Register of Historic Places: The official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.

Office of Historic Preservation: The idea of an Office of Historic Preservation (OHP) began in 1953 with the establishment of the History Section of the Division of Beaches and Parks (the precursor to today's California State Parks). Eventually, in 1975, the Office of Historic Preservation was officially established within the offices of the Director of California State Parks. The formation of the OHP was an outgrowth of the passage of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, which called for the creation of a state agency to implement provisions of the law, including the preparation of a responsibilities of the OHP have grown to encompass a variety of federal and state preservation laws and agencies.
comprehensive historic preservation plan and a statewide survey of historical resources. Since its inception, the
The cool thing about Pasadena's amazing neighborhoods is that every landmark district has some sort of unique heritage. The Historic Highlands is one of the city's newer formed neighborhood districts, but it's awesome how their community spans into Altadena. Garfield Heights also covers some pretty cool ground. Orange Heights, a very small landmark area, is where Chris Holden is from, a California Assembly member for the SGV region.

If you would like to see these Bungalow Heaven beauties up close & personal, they host an annual home tour event of tha neighborhood to educate people and potential home buyers on the rich heritage and significance that dwells there.

Learn more about Bungalow Heaven and Pasadena's esteemed landmark districts

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

5 Inspirational Sports Movies Your Kids Should Watch

Movies are a great way to send a message. Whether for good, bad, or plain ol' entertainment, you can count on Hollywood to deliver. But, even though explicit movies have their respective audience, Hollywood manages to bring us inspiration through films like Coach Carter, Freedom Writers, The Blind Side, etc...

In tha early-mid 2000's, I've noticed a trend of inspirational movies hitting tha box office in January. More times than not, tha inspirational flick usually has to do with some type of sport. Personally, I think it's a great angle. Tha dynamics surrounding sports and how they are played demonstrate values and principles that are useful in everyday life. Team work, dedication, humility.

In today's world, children don't stand a chance. Please excuse my figurative speech, but the negative influence of mainstream media is not giving our children viable options. They need something that encourages them to work IN their best interest. This is why it's good to involve your kids in socially athletic activities. Something that can occupy their time in a positive, productive way while instilling things in them that can open their minds and hearts.

We want our children to be critical thinkers, not mindless consumers. In this article, we list 5 sport-related inspirational movies and summarize how they can have a positive lasting impact on your children. Because if children are our future, then we need to prepare them.

#1 "Coach Carter" - Coach Carter is such a great movie. For anyone with a heart, this awe-inspiring , played by tha legendary Samuel L. Jackson, was tha best man for tha role. A humble sports shopCarter correlates basketball with education that teaches his student players self-discipline and structure. Coach Carter goes to tha length of sacrificing his job as Head Coach of the basketball team to send a message that he wants his players to go to college. Through it all, tha student players gain understanding and a newfound respect for Coach Carter. This movie underlines tha importance in getting an education and developing a plan for your future. If there was one word I'd use to describe this movie, it would be "Excellent".
#2 "Remember the Titans" - Denzel Washington delivers a heartwarming performance as head coach of high school football team who struggles with racism, segregation, and getting along. This movie shows us why we should value each other's lives while we have tha opportunity. To understand how critical it is to communicate and work as a team to achieve tha common goal. Denzel's role exemplifies tha quality character leadership expected from a coach. This movie is a triumphant win!
#3 "42" - This movie is nothing short of incredible! Of course, you're always going to hear people complain that tha movie wasn't a fraction of Robinson's life. But, lets regain perspective here. Before I saw this movie, I had a vague idea of who Robinson was outside of being an African-American baseball player. But, when I saw tha movie, I was struck with so much inspiration that I started what I call tha Robinson Boulevard Initiative, an initiative to ultimately rename Washington Boulevard in Pasadena, CA as we know it to tha nation's first ever Robinson Boulevard. Suddenly, I realized I was a living testament to tha impact his legacy has left on Pasadena, CA. And so I led a 42mile Walk for Love, Peace, & Unity in honor of Jackie Robinson from East Pasadena to Leimert Park. Today, as I reflect, any movie packing that much power and influence over a young person such as myself deserves a street named in his honor. So that his story may inspire tha next generation of leaders, athletes, and artists. Trust, I can talk to you all day about this inspirational stuff lol.
#4 "Ali" - The people's champ. Truly tha Greatest of all and out tha ring. Tha movie about tha life and career of Muhammad Ali is riveting, compelling, and retains a high replay value. Ali displays strong character under pressure and through major opposition. He stands firm in his beliefs and was very vocal about his stance. He's coined quotes that encouraged generations after him to recognize tha power they have within themselves. He was a warrior. Having won and lost multiple times, Muhammad Ali is a great example to teach kids tha virtues of becoming a true champion.
#5 "The Blindside" - Everyone knows how great Sandra Bullock is. In a way, she reminds me of an on-screen Mariah Carey. The Blindside is a great movie that shows tha potential of inner-city youth... Youth that usually never get a shot at being that which they envision for themselves. It showed me that YOU gotta believe in YOU. Hard work, dedication, and perseverance will yield results. It goes to show that even if you come from tha roughest neighborhood, you have a purpose and something very special to offer tha world. This movie also showed how everyone is "worth it". When your environment operates at a low frequency, people around you intentionally try ti kill your dreams because they have no outline for their own lives. When there are nothing but negative influences around. When you have a hard time trusting or being social. Just hang in there. You will break through. And it will be real...and justified. This movie yells compassion, a quality trait we should all have for each other.

These are 5 movies I would recommend any parent or kid reading this to watch. Give yourself a chance to know that tha world is a big enough place to broaden your horizons. Feed yourself positive, uplifting information that will carry you through adverse situations. We're drowning in a rapid flood of information, so choose your food wisely.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Teena Marie's Legacy Lingers in Pasadena's San Rafael Neighborhood

Mistah Wilson locates R&B Legend Teena Marie's Pasadena,CA Residence
 Update: The original article claimed Teena Marie's Pasadena home was located in Linda Vista. Correction: Teena Marie's Pasadena, CA residence was located in the San Rafael area @ 1000 Laguna Road. Pasadena, CA 91105

Although the Ivory Queen of Soul and Rick James protege wasn't born in Pasadena, California, the fact that she lived off Laguna Road right here in Pasadena's San Rafael neighborhood means a lot for the local music scene.

As you think about what Pasadena has been to the County of Los Angeles, you can only imagine the type of things that have transpired on the local music scene with Hollywood being so close. Pasadena has been known as a place Hollywood comes to when they are trying to keep a low profile. Even so, it's also a place Hollywood shoots a lot of their highly esteemed TV Show sitcoms, movies, commercials, and more.

Percy's Portrait Photography
But, let's get back to Teena. It has been no secret that she passed away in her Pasadena home on
December 26th, 2010. Teena was one of the many famous musicians who made some type of establishment for themselves in Pasadena, California. So, what does that mean for the local music scene? Well, let's take a look at who she was and what she accomplished in her career. The classic Motown recording artist followed the footsteps of funk legend Rick James.

Born in Santa Monica, California, Teena Marie was no doubt a one-of-a-kind musician. She began singing in her early childhood at local churches, took piano lessons, and dibbled in musical theater as well. She landed a role in The Beverly Hillbillies, credited as Tina Marie Brockert. After living in San Fernando Valley's Mission Hills, she moved to the Oakwood neighborhood of Venice Beach where she would begin taking the necessary steps to pursuing a career as a musician. She took numerous buses to Hollywood and would walk Sunset Boulevard shopping her music. She put a musical group together, however, when she was granted the rare opportunity to actually meet Berry Gordy, he didn't see the need for a group dynamic with her skill set. So he signed Teena Marie to Motown Records as a solo act.

In the early 1970's, Gordy moved Motown Records from Detroit, Michigan to Los Angeles,
Percy's Portrait Photography
California. For the first few years of Teena being on Motown, she struggled with their producers. Then, already established musician Rick James, who was also signed to Motown, gets wind of Teena's talent and it wasn't long before they collaborated. From that point forward, Rick James and Teena Marie would develop a close relationship on and off the stage.

Teena's debut album Wild & Peaceful scored her first top ten R&B hit with "I'm A Sucker For Your Love", a duet with Rick James. It wasn't long before Marie was credited with being more talented than other African-American Blues singers. Although that qualifies as an opinion, Berry Gordy claims," When I go to see her, (the audience) it's about 70% black." Not to take away from the great Afro-American singers of that time, Teena was just one of those musicians who really had the blow. So much to a point where you listen to it and have no idea she is Caucasian.

Percy's Portrait Photography
When Teena's relationship with James began to take a dive, she wanted to do her own thing. However, when she attempts to go off and do her own thing, she got into a heated legal dispute with  Motown Records that ended in Marie winning. Her win changed the music industry by balancing the power between record labels and their signed artists. The lawsuit resulted in "The Brockert Initiative", which made it illegal for a record company to keep an artist under contract without releasing new material for that artist. It was a huge win. Teena Marie commented on the law in an LA Times article, saying, "It wasn't something I set out to do. I just wanted to get away from Motown and have a good life. But it helped a lot of people, like Luther Vandross and the Mary Jane Girls, and a lot of different artists, to be able to get out of their contracts." She left Motown as the label's most successful white solo act. And that is when she was rumored to have bought her house on Laguna Road in Pasadena, California's prestigious San Rafael neighborhood.

Since then, Teena has had a great career. An electric performer who could satisfy the arena. She's worked with great artists such as Rick James (of course), Faith Evans, Snoop Dogg, Domino, Eve, George Duke, Gerald Levert, & more. "In the studio with Teena was a little intimidating," says Faith Evans who was honored to work with her. 

Mistah Wilson located Teena Marie's Pasadena residence by finding the coordinates here. Once the here. When he arrived at the address, he spoke with the current owner of the home who was able & willing to give a little more insight into her living conditions that some blame for her seizure.
Percy's Portrait Photography
When the coordinates were found, Mistah Wilson was able to see exactly where Teena lived in Pasadena, California. When Mistah Wilson discovered the address, he decided to pay the home a visit to see if it matches with pictures of her Pasadena home featured here.

The owner informed Mistah Wilson that she strongly believed that many people took advantage of her. We're talking people from Rick James himself to her pool man. The current owner also mentioned that when she moved into the house in 2011, she didn't sleep in Marie's bedroom for 3 years because that was the room she died in. The owner claims that when her house flooded the day after Christmas in 2010, it filled her entire downstairs including her home studio. The current homeowner believes that the flood caused stress that led to her seizure.

"She's still relevant after 30 years because she's good," says Gordy in TVOne's Unsung. It was nice to know that Marie took parenting seriously. She claims that she didn't want to raise her daughter with a nanny so she made some career sacrifices to make a life for Alia Rose, who goes by the stage name Rose Le Beau. "The thing I'm very proud of is my child," says Teena Marie.

According to Wikipedia, In 2004, while Teena Marie was sleeping in a hotel room, a large picture frame fell and struck her on the head. The blow caused a serious concussion that would cause momentary seizures for the rest of her life. On the afternoon of December 26, 2010, Teena Marie was found unresponsive by her daughter, Alia Rose, at Teena Marie's home in Pasadena, California. On December 30, 2010, an autopsy was performed by the Los Angeles County coroner, who found no signs of apparent trauma or a discernible cause of death, and concluded she had died from natural causes. She had suffered a tonic–clonic seizure a month before.

A memorial service was held at Forest Lawn Cemetery on January 10, 2011. Among those in attendance were Smokey Robinson, LisaRaye, Sinbad, Tichina Arnold, Stevie Wonder, Deniece Williams, Shanice Wilson, Queen Latifah, and Berry Gordy, Jr.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

ThaWilsonBlock Magazine Issue46

ThaWilsonBlock Magazine's 46th Issue features #BringingItTogether November 2016 Free Artist Photo Shoot (Official Photo Album) + 734 Coffee + Exploring the Intersection of Hip Hop & Social Justice + Dave Chappelle + Snoop Dogg + Colin Kaepernick + A Tribe Called Quest + Mos Def + Mark Whalberg + Taffey Champion Exclusive Interview + A Father & Son Explore Latino Culture Through Photography + An Asian Student Society Responds to Racism with a Riveting Photo Series + so much more...

Friday, December 9, 2016

Nipsey Hussle talks Hip Hop in LA, Compton, Long Beach, & Inglewood

“My music is influenced by L.A. culture,” Nipsey says. “L.A. hip-hop is so different, it’s so diverse. Out here it’s like funk-inspired, it’s like ‘70s skating rink-inspired at times. It’s Zapp and Roger-inspired, it’s house party era-inspired. The production is like West Coast, ghetto rap music.”

Besides detailing the sound of the music, Nipsey also drops names of the artists who have come out of Crenshaw. “Music-wise, Battlecat is from over here. He’s probably one of the biggest names to come out of [Crenshaw District],” he shares. “Kurupt, when he came out of Philly, he ended up coming to this community and being embraced and really showing love and building a bridge over here also.”

Compton’s impact on hip-hop is recognized by the “FDT” creator too. He goes on to mention the influence of Compton rappers including YG, Kendrick Lamar, N.W.A, The Game and Dr. Dre. “I think Compton got a unique culture also,” Nipsey states. “Kinda like Crenshaw, it’s different over there. They got their own style. It’s authentic, it’s West Coast and it’s specific. The world is curious about those types of places. Compton got such a legacy in hip-hop.”

Watch Nipsey Hussle also talk about locales like Long Beach, East L.A., South Central and more. The rapper even touches on his own music and how he shows love for where he comes from in his raps.

Read More: Nipsey Hussle Discusses His Connection to Hip-Hop in Los Angeles for Boost Mobile 

Rain Couldn't Stop DENA Artists from #BringingItTogether in the November 2016 Free Artist Photo Shoot

After the success of the #BringingItTogether October 2016 Free Artist Photo Shoot, Mistah Wilson &
Percy Johnson were excited for next month’s event. This time, they put a little more love into it. With only a couple of weeks to make it happen, they went out to get a photo backdrop with the logos of ThaWilsonBlock Magazine, Percy’s Portrait Photography, and a hashtag of #DENA to represent where the movement is taking place.

Before the October 2016 shoot, the news was forecasting rain on the day of the event. That would be tragic since everyone is meeting up outside in McDonald Park. As the day grew in, it was almost cancelled. Mistah Wilson decided to go along with it and it turned out to be a beautiful sunny day. For the next event, the news forecasted rain. Mistah Wilson decided to call the weather’s bluff. But, this time, the weather was for real.

After much preparation and money spent to put this event together, we were expecting a much bigger turnout than the first one. On the morning of the event, the sun beamed life onto La Pintoresca. But, by 2p at Jefferson Park, the clouds were coming in fast. It was unbelievable because it was such a
sunny day to begin with.

The event started at 12p and it hadn’t yet rained. DJ AJ was holdin’ it down with local, Pasadena music, neo-soul, & funk jams. The photo backdrop was against the sidewall of the restrooms and nobody had any problems coming together for the cause. Soon enough, it starts to rain sideways! The people who came stayed through the rain for the most of the event. I mean, these artists were troopers. But, once it did start raining, we believe it deterred a lot of people from coming out.

“People were pulling up to the event, but kept going once it started to rain,” says an attendee. Although it rained, we were fortunate enough to have a few large trees over everything. They were still able to eat the BBQ & Teriyaki chicken wins, Pizza, Salad, & Cookies.

“We strongly believe that the rain deterred people from coming out to participate in the
#BringingItTogether November 2016 Free Artist Photo Shoot. We’d still like to thank everybody who had interest and wanted to come out. We’d also like to thank all those who came out and those who won raffle prizes. We can’t do this without you,” Mistah Wilson says after the event.

During the event, the backdrop was moved under one of the large trees. Even though it rained, a few people still showed up and participated. It was truly amazing to see these artists battle through the rain to be a part of their community. It still turned out to be a great event with about double the amount of photos taken. While it was going on, it felt like a failure. But, in hindsight, it’s pretty admirable to see artists endure the rain for the cause. That’s a great milestone we achieved together that we can reflect on later to inspire us moving forward.

Close to $1,000 was spent to put this event together only for their parade to be rained on! Mistah
Wilson takes responsibility for the lack of preparation on his part and says the next series of event(s) leading up to the Summer will be held indoors and will be taking place in the evening time. For this event, it wasn’t so much about who they were as individuals, but who they are as individuals coming together.

Mistah Wilson’s vision for this event is slowly taking form. He knew that October & November’s shoot had to be done informally so that he could gain some momentum to brand the event through the Gold Carpet. On Friday December 30th from 8p-12a, Mistah Wilson & ThaWilsonBlock Magazine will be bringing you the #BringingItTogether Open Mic Gold Carpet Photo Shoot & Drum Circle! Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Q&A w/ SoCal artist Khriz-Z about the Advantages of being a Bilingual Rapper

Mistah Wilson: Honored to have you here with us for this exclusive interview with ThaWilsonBlock
Magazine. What you been up to?
Khriz-Z: I've been well. Just focusing on music, work, and family. Everyday I’m one step closer to success.

Mistah Wilson: For our audience reading this, could you give us a quick background on yourself?
Khriz-Z: Well, I was born in Mexico City. I came with my mom, to the U.S.A, when I was 10 years old. Now I’m 22 years old. In between those years, I lived in a couple of cities. Pomona, Corona, Riverside, Colton, and San Bernardino.

Mistah Wilson: You came thru tha #BringingItTogether October 2016 Photo Shoot @ McDonald Park. How was tha experience?
Khriz-Z: I had a good day at the photo shoot. I met new artist and it was a good experience. I enjoy being able to go and expand my work all over the SoCal.

Mistah Wilson: Tell us about what led you to become an artist.. 
Khriz-Z: Since I was 13 years old, I would always be writing lyrics, poems, quotes, etc. I enjoy all music, but I would listen to hip-hop even more. Then I started getting into rapping. When I turned 18 years old. I went to Art Institute, for Audio Engineer. I wanted to know how to mix, what are the best microphones to use, how to use plugins, what's the best software, etc. I just wanted to know everything that had to do with music. I have a mixtape called " El Despegue" which was my very first mixtape. I also, have another mixtape called " Somos Pocos Pero..." which, it was a project with the "r.s. clika" Now I’m promoting my new mixtape " NI DE AQUI... NI DE A.K.A“ Already working on a new project.

Mistah Wilson: Where do you get inspiration to write new music? 
Khriz-Z: From life. everything I've been thru, all the struggle, good times, and bad times. Also, my girlfriend, Jackie Valadez, encourage me every single day to keep doing music and she's always pushing me to do more and not stop. Being a bilingual rapper, what are some of tha advantages you have compared to rappers who speak one language?

Mistah Wilson: Being a bilingual rapper, what are some of tha advantages you have compared to rappers who speak one language? 
Khriz-Z: I feel being a bilingual rapper has opened several doors in the music industry from both sides, speaking Spanish and English. By being bilingual, I have more opportunities to approach to a bigger audience. Also, my music can be listen to, not only in the U.S.A and Mexico, if not all North and South America and hopefully one day in Europe.

Mistah Wilson: Where can people keep up with you online? 
Khriz-Z: My IG is " khriz.z " and my personal email is;

Author Taffey Champion's writes a Must-Read Fantasy/Romance
Click to Order
Taffey Tawanna Champion is a small-town girl, born and raised in Greensboro, GA, educated at GTCHS in Greensboro, GA and further educated at Elon College which eventually became Elon University. This is the university where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. She excelled in writing as a young child; even earned merits and won awards for writing ability, including a “Passport to Excellence Award" plaque for Best Essay. Reading and writing also were Taffey’s first loves before drama and music, which of course, came after.

Before, during and after college, Taffey became a world traveler, even electing to live in London, England for one semester whilst studying at Elon University. She traveled several times to Paris, France at this time. Taffey also met and encountered celebrities in London, England which served to make her experiences even more special. Added to her world traveler status, she lived in South Korea for a short interval. This experience, including her fascination with various Kung-Fu techniques and martial arts films aided in her ability to create The Mystery Arts in The Mystery Alliance: Evian’s Saga.

She also worked in Marina, CA as an Americorps VISTA for MCHOME (a division of Interim, Inc.)
under the Coalition of Homeless Services Providers. During this time, she became acquainted with the various artists of Breakthrough H’ART (a program synonymous with MCHOME) and also with noted Austrian Artist/Painter, Hans Kindel. It was here, under the tutelage of Hans Kindel and Bill Donnelly that she discovered her talent for Abstract/Impressionist Art. This is where the cover (Paradise Underwater) of her E-book originated.

THE MYSTERY ALLIANCE: EVIAN’S SAGA was created initially as a copyrighted action/adventure screenplay, however, Taffey decided to adapt it into an E-book: the first in a series of E-Books actually. THE MYSTERY ALLIANCE: EVIAN’S SAGA is available for sale at,, and will be distributed via Smashwords to many online retailers. This E-book is also made available for Libraries to obtain.

Manyang Reath Kher launches 734 Coffee to Empower People of Sudan
Manyang Reath Kher is nothing short of genius! Against all odds, tha young striver survivor continues to evolve into tha inspirational figure he's known to be. Through the Humanity Helping Sudan Project, Manyang Reath Kher has been doing some amazing things to bring awareness and sufficiency to the Sudanese region. From the #Feed50k campaign to Donate-A-Prayer, HHSP is proving to have a sincerely genuine concern for the displaced refugees who are/were victims of war.

In a climate where refugees are often times categorized with the stigma around 'immigrants', it's challenging to hear tha voice of those who advocate for them. However, in this case, with Manyang's compelling story of adversity & triumph, he has clearly broken through tha spectrum. And Today, he is raising money to empower the people of Sudan through a new and exclusive coffee that is actually harvested in African soil.

Let's not forget, South Sudan is tha world's newest country. With that said, tha things that Kher is doing for his people is critical. Not to discredit other activists and advocates for their people/country, but Manyang has put his entire country on his back. We're not talking a city block or state. We're talking a whole country to help bring to self-sustainability. It's a lifetime mission, but Manyang has definitely been taking all tha necessary steps in tha right direction. 

In an effort to stimulate fundraising so that tha people of Sudan may become self-reliant, Manyang
launched 734 Coffee, a coffee harvested by the people of Sudan so that they may enable themselves to grow. When asked why tha name "734", it was explained that 734 (or 7.9220°N and 34.1532°E) are the geographical coordinates for Gambela, a region in Ethipoia where over 200,000 South Sudanese citizens take refuge. The refugees of Gambela are in desperate need of aid, so tha Humanity Helping Sudan Project is dedicating excessive time and energy to provide a sustainable future for them. Every 8oz bag purchased provides funds to raise chickens, create fishing nets, and grow crops. Through the sale of 734 Coffee and your help, the refugees may be able to learn the skills necessary to live a life untethered from donations and aid.

Humanity Helping Sudan/Ethiopia Project is a charitable organization that creates awareness of the refugee crisis. Their mission is to educate refugee groups and individuals to achieve self-sufficiency so that camps can become communities.

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."

Read Full Article & View Gallery

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...

Read Quote & Full Article

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...

Friday, December 2, 2016

Pasadena Hip Hop Charts: Top 10 (as of 12/2/16)

Rey Avalon finally releases California Blend 3.0 "Originality was the key with this one"

Southern California Independent Artist, Rey Avalon, releases his 3rd installment of his creation, the “California Blend”
series, which features sounds, soul, and groove, on his take of what California sounds like. In this Project you hear sounds from various genres including : Hip Hop, Electronic, Jazz, R&B, Oldschool Pop, Reggae, and many more! This version comes more advanced, hence the (3.0), and not (Vol. 3) or (Part 3). 

The addition of Electronic in the project was exactly what took this album to the next level with the modern sounds, vocals, drums, and claps. Rey Avalon was also a big part of the production on this album producing 7 of the tracks.

“When you are able to take full control of the music, taking an idea, then making the beat, writing the lyrics, and engineering, it gave me a very powerful feeling. Basically a lot of the album came from me, my mind, spirit, & soul. Originality was the key with this one and I just went in the studio and did what I wanted to do”.
-Rey Avalon

Another producer who was active on this project was Scott Swush, who has also produced for the likes of E-40, Ya Boy and other talented California artists. This Album is sure to catch ears with Avalon’s unique voice, great lyrical delivery, and choice of sounds.




released November 25, 2016

Producers : Rey Avalon / Scott Swush / Ricky Andez / FunkHouse

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Los Angeles is getting a Transit System to rival New York’s

It’s been a rough week for many Angelenos, who voted overwhelming for Hillary Clinton only to see her lose the electoral college and, in effect, theelection to Donald Trump. There were bright spots, including the legalization of marijuana, the expansion of park-space, and the election of whip-smart Kamala Harris as senator. But maybe the best news was the passage of Measure M, which will remake the city.

The half-cent tax increase required approval by three-quarters of the electorate and was supported by nearly 70 percent of voters. Metro will now have $120 billion to build new rail lines, busways, bike paths, and new roads. Measure M builds on the momentum of 2008’s Measure R, which made possible the Expo Line to Santa Monica, the Gold Line to Azusa, and the forthcoming Crenshaw Line, Regional Connector, and Purple Line extension.

So, what are we getting, and when? Well, Measure M doesn’t kick in officially until next year. But it will allow certain projects to be accelerated, like the Purple Line extension, which could open to Westwood in 2024, instead of just to Miracle Mile...

Mos Def (aka Yasiin Bey) Announces Surprise Album Before Retirement

Yasiin Bey – formerly known as Mos Def – has had quite the tumultuous 2016 (haven’t we all?). All year long the Brooklyn hip-hop legend, outspoken political activist and silver-screen actor has been caught up in legal troubles. He tried to travel out of South Africa under a fraudulent “World Passport” document , and as a result, he and his family were detained in January. (He’s now on the country’s “undesirables” list, apparently unwelcome to return…)

Whether his legal troubles had anything to do with it or not, they coincided pretty closely with the rapper’s announcement that he would be retiring from the game unexpectedly. In a statement posted to Kanye West‘s website just a few days after his detainment, he wrote:

“I’m retiring from the music recording industry as it is currently assembled today, and also Hollywood, effective immediately. I’m releasing my final album this year, and that’s that.” 

Read Full Story 

An Asian student society responds to racism with a riveting photo series

Last October the editor in chief of the New York Times, Michael Luo, wrote an open letter after a
woman told him to “go back to China”. He started the hashtag #thisis2016 on social media, inciting Americans of Asian descent across the US to respond by sharing their own experiences of everyday racism.

The Asian student society at the prestigious Bowdoin College in Maine decided to respond with a striking photo series. The students posed one by one, facing the camera, carrying a sign describing the kind of racist phrases they hear on a daily basis. Racism is an everyday occurrence in our country, with clichés and stereotypes being thrown about with little consideration.

This photo series is the occasion to take a look at these backwards societal interactions, and to remind ourselves that even in 2016, the way view each other still needs to evolve.

View Full Gallery

Oakland Street Artist Eddie Colla’s Works Explore Fear, Alienation And Oppression

Street art’s ability to raise consciousness and act as a catalyst for political and social change were the motivation behind Oakland-based artist Eddie Colla’s transition from photography to defiantly altering existing landscapes with his wheat pastes and stencil images since 2005.

At the heart of Colla’s commending work is the exploration of conformity, freedom and the threat of oppression.

His raw characters, often donning face masks, are the embodiment of these themes and Colla hopes they spark a dialogue among the urbanites that spy them in the Bay Area, Los Angeles and Miami streets.

His work aims to compete with the pervasive advertisement in urban environments; which Colla believes can foster submissiveness in inhabitants. He counters that passivity with provocative and challenging commentary. As Colla shares on his website:
“I can interrupt their conversation and change the subject. That’s very appealing to me.
Advertising perpetually alters our environment without the permission of its inhabitants. The only difference is that advertisers pay for the privilege to do so and I don’t.”
In 2008, his meditative work gained national attention when he incorporated images of then-Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. His designs were turned into stickers, t-shirts and even magazine covers. It wasn’t long before the rebellious artist became a celebrated street phenomenon...

5 Wedding Photographers Reveal Their Biggest Pet Peeves

Your wedding photographer adores you, and couldn't be happier to photograph your wedding day — there's no two ways about it. But that doesn't mean the guy or gal behind the camera lens isn't hiding a grimace when a guest steps in to steal the shot, or a family member goes MIA right before your well-timed portrait session.

So if you've ever wondered what annoys them the most, five wedding photographers are here to reveal their biggest wedding-day pet peeves — so you can avoid them, of course.

"By far, my biggest pet peeve is when everyone at the ceremony has their phone, iPads, and cameras, out. In this day and age, we're hard pressed to find anyone actually absorbing the moment in front of them. As a photographer, it breaks my heart to see every person in the audience viewing the wedding through their screen, and when the bride walks down the aisle, the groom sees a bunch of phone screens blaring in his direction instead of being able to focus on his bride." — Laura Neff, owner of Laura Lee Photography

"I would have to say it is gathering people together for the family photos. After the wedding is over, it is so tempting for family members to head out to the cocktail hour, so I totally understand. However, to keep things running smoothly, we truly need them to stay seated and wait as the other guests head out so we can being the group family photos." — Michelle Horn, owner of Horn Photography & Design

"My wedding-day pet peeve is couples who cling to each other so tightly on the dance floor for their first dance that I can't see both their faces. In this day and age, no one wants to go back to the old-fashioned, obtrusive photographer who would tap a bride and groom on the shoulder during the first dance and ask them both to look in the camera for a shot. But as a wedding photographer, you realize there's a reason this old-fashioned method was so tried and true — for couples who rock back and forth without any space between them, all you can get are shots where either the bride or the groom's head is barely showing in the shot." — Faith West, owner of Faith West Photography

See More: Photographers' Tips for Ensuring Picture-Perfect Wedding Photos
"Guests who get in the way of the photographer because they want to have their own photos on their own phones or cameras, sometimes ruining very special moments that cannot be re-done. Most of what makes up a wedding day are one-time things: The first time a couple sees each other on their wedding day, their vows, the kiss, the first dance. There are no do-overs. The guests who step in front of a photographer to get their own shots are caught on camera and now face the wrath from the couple." — Meredith Moran, owner of Meredith Moran Photography

"My biggest wedding day pet peeve is when the bride and groom don't do a first look, or don't allow enough time for portraits. If you don't want to do a first look, make sure your ceremony time is early enough that you have at least a good hour of sunlight left, so your photographer has time to get all the portraits done. Remember, you've got family formals, bridal party, and bride and groom. I've had so many bride and grooms refuse to do a first look, and then be rushed for portrait time — or be so hungry/tired that they don't want to do photos after the ceremony." — Chelsea Royse, owner of Chelsea Kaye Photography

A Father And Son Explore LA’s Latino Culture Through Photography

Estevan Oriol discovered a love for photography after the gift of a camera and a no-frills explainer from his father.

“My dad said, ‘Here’s a camera. This is the speed of the shutter and this is your depth of field,'” he explains, in a steady tone. “Here I am with my Ph.D. in photography… and Ph.D. means ‘push here dummy.'”

Estevan’s journey as an artist was undoubtedly shaped by that first lesson. His father had already made his name behind the lens, and the old man’s intuition that Estevan had something to add to the cultural conversation was spot on.

Eriberto Oriol started documenting the forgotten corners of Los Angeles in the 1980s — shining light on graffiti, homelessness, and protestors of state power. In 1989, he launched the first major graffiti-photo exhibit in Los Angeles to wide acclaim. He was a fresh pair of eyes, examining issues that had been ignored up until that point.

Meanwhile, Estevan was managing the hip hop acts Cypress Hill and House of Pain. When life on the road began to wear on him, he turned to his dad for guidance. Eriberto asked his son why he wasn’t documenting his famous friends. It was a eureka moment. Estevan pointed his lens at Latino low-rider culture and began capturing candid snapshots of the acts he was working with.

Eventually, this led to a collective called Soul Assassins formed with Cypress Hill, which highlights Angeleno art, photography, and music with a social conscience...

Dave Chappelle's $60 Million Nextflix Deal Speaks Integrity

It's no joke how much Dave Chappelle is reportedly making on his new comedy special deal with Netflix.

According to The New York Post's Page Six, the comedian is making a total of $60 million for delivering three comedy specials to the streaming company in 2017.

"Dave was offered $20 million a special," an unnamed source told Page Six. "Netflix basically has a war chest for this kind of content. Whether it's a loss or not, Dave Chappelle's specials will get a lot of press and bring in new subscribers."

That would place Chappelle's deal on par with the reported $40 million deal Chris Rock secured with Netflix last month for two comedy specials.

The concert specials are Chappelle's first in 12 years. Two of the specials have already been...

Tech N9ne & Smoke DZA Freestyle On Sway In The Morning

Tech N9ne crashed the party during Monday’s (November 28) episode of Sway In The Morning, but ended up freestyling with Smoke DZA as famed producer Pete Rock provided the beat. Smoke DZA and Rock were there to promote their upcoming album, Don’t Smoke Rock, while the Kansas City indie rap king just happened to be in the area.

“The show was wonderful as always because Sway is family and he always makes me feel at home,” Tech says. “I wasn’t as nervous as usual under pressure so I thank him for that and Pete Rock as well.”

Tech also has his own album on the horizon, The Storm, which drops December 9. Watch the freestyle below..

Sunday, November 13, 2016

All Artists & Musicians Encouraged to Attend #BringingItTogether Free Artist Photo Shoot (November 2016)

This is a peaceful event where artists come together to network, build their presence, and win prizes!!!

ThaWilsonBlock Magazine & DENA Music Scene are hosting the #BringingItTogether November 2016 Photo Shoot for artists & musicians who are interested in networking while building their portfolio and brand presence.

The purpose of the #BringingItTogether Photo Shoot is to grant artists an opportunity to be recognized by their local scene and to provide them with a platform that enables them to grow.

$50 Prepaid Visa Debit Card
$25 Target Gift Card
$10 Starbucks Gift Card
$10 in Dollar Scratchers

Artists who attend are expected to participate in taking photos with other artists.

Artists who participate will receive:
-One Free Professional Portrait of themselves for their own use
-Certificate of Recognition
-Optional: Audio/Article Interview
-The opportunity to win one of our prizes!

We are also doing Artist Introduction & Freestyle Video Drops!

Feel free to bring promotional material (flyers, CDs, postcards, etc...) {no booths or tables allowed or provided}

Thursday, November 10, 2016

ThaWilsonBlock Magazine Issue45

Click to Download
ThaWilsonBlock Magazine Issue45 covers Seattle rapper Scribes One is an exclusive interview about his hometown and music career. PLUS: Khriz-Z + windchILL + #BringingItTogether October 2016 Photo Shoot results + Beginner's Guide to Buying Camera Equipment + National Geographic's 2016 Wildlife Photographer of the Year announced + Phife Dawg + John Leguizamo + Archie Green + Prince Ea + DMX + Papoose + DJ Quik + Eminem + Murs + so much much more...

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Seattle artist Scribes One talks Albums, Shows, & The Local Music Scene with Mistah Wilson on WilsonBlock100 Radio

Seattle rapper Scribes One recently sat down with Mistah Wilson to discuss the challenges and rewards of pursuing a career as a musician, his latest projects, and life growing up in Seattle, Washington. Tha HipHop/R&B fusion artist has been on his grind for years now, climbing beyond tha walls of his city to find his way. In tha exclusive interview, Scribes talks about his collaboration with Macklemore and how they know each other. Scribes also speaks on the pressures of his local music scene and what is expected of him by his family. Mistah Wilson spins some of Scribe’s latest tracks such as “Backseat”, “A Little Lost”, and “Roll My Way”. This interview lasted over an hour long as Scribes gives us insight into what he’s been up to over the past few years. Shout out to Mr. McStrange for bridging tha connection between Scribes and ThaWilsonBlock. ∙∙∙

ThaWilsonBlock Magazine Issue65 (July 2018)