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

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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. ∙∙∙

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

John Leguizamo to Present Hip-Hop Inspired Play ‘Othello: The Remix’

The 52-year-old actor is no stranger to adapted plays since he’s already taken on roles in reimagined plays for two adapted films, Moulin Rouge! and Romeo + Juliet. Now with his 80-minute spin on Shakespeare’s tragedy, Leguizamo will be back at it again at New York City’s Westside Theatre. And he’s letting other actors get their shine: GQ and JQ, who also wrote, composed and directed the play, will take on the roles of Iago/Brabantio and Roderigo/Loco Vito/Bianca, respectively. Postell Pringle will play Othello, while Jackson Doran will take on the role of Cassio/Emilia. Not sure yet who will play Othello’s wife, Desdemona. In a promo clip for the show, Leguizamo shared that the show is for fans of hip-hop and Shakespeare. “If you love hip-hop like my kids do and if you love Shakespeare like I do then you’re going to love this show,” said the actor. However, the official website promises that Othello: The Remix will be an “exuberant spin on Shakespeare’s tragic tale proving that the Bard himself was the original master of rhythm and rhyme.” 

Local hip-hop artist Archie Green raises awareness about mental health

Hip-hop artist Archie Green listens to music all day long. He doesn’t even like to walk between his car and apartment without listening to music.

“It’s therapeutic for me,” Green said.

Finding a song for his mood is better than grabbing a cigarette or drink. It also helps him deal with what’s going on in life.

“Basically, I score my life,” the 31-year-old Shaker Heights resident said.

Green knows listening to music isn’t always enough to get him through tough times, though. He openly shares in his own music – and in conversation – how he turned to therapy to help with depression.

“It’s not talked about in the black community,” Green said. “That’s the mentality a lot of us have.”

Green hopes his transparency can help break down the stigma surrounding mental illness.

After graduate school in New York University, he struggled to find a job. He left the city and returned to live in Northeast Ohio with his parents.

In 2013, he was cited for driving under the influence after a night out with friends and lost his license.

“I felt like I’d be a burden (asking for rides),” he said.

He also felt isolated.

After Thanksgiving dinner with family in 2014, he said he felt like he had to be alone. It was then he decided he had to seek help.

“After going to therapy I realized I had depression,” he said.

He wrote the song, “Layers,” about this experience.

“You know as an artist we are charged with being authentic and telling a true and real story,” he said. “That’s really the only way people connect with your music.”

Hip Hop Hall of Fame Unveils New Design Concept for Manhattan

After two decades of development, the Official Hip Hop Hall of Fame (“HHHOF”) is poised to become “the Hip-Hop institution of record for the 21st century,” as reported in Billboard Magazine.

The organization kicks off November 2016 ‘Hip Hop History Month’ by unveiling its long awaited ‘State of the Art’ Hip Hop Hall of Fame + Museum & Hotel Entertainment Complex design concept for its Manhattan location in New York City.

The Hip Hop Hall of Fame was Established in 1992 by Founder J.T. Thompson, who created and executive produced the first Hip Hop Hall of Fame Awards Induction Ceremony & Concert on the BET Cable Network in the 1990’s to be the annual fundraising catalyst for the establishment of a Hip Hop Hall of Fame Museum in New York City; modeled after the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame Museum which produced 20 years of awards shows before eventually opening their Museum in Cleveland, Ohio.

The Hip Hop Hall of Fame + Museum and Entertainment Complex vision of the design concept is to include the Hall of Fame, Museum, 5 Star Hotel, Retail Stores & Gift Shop, Arcade, TV Studios, Sports Bar, Restaurant & Concert Lounge with a goal of serving up to 1,000,000 local, national, and international visitors annually including music fans, tourists, students, culture enthusiasts, and families on educational & entertainment excursion tours.

The facility will produce permanent and part time jobs, provide valuable internships and community volunteer opportunities, with a goal to host up to 150+ live events, shows, concerts, and educational programs annually for people of all ages. The project is expected to yield a significant socio-economic financial impact in...

Friday, November 4, 2016

#BringingItTogether October 2016 Photo Shoot Sparks Inspiration for tha Future!

It was planned about 2 weeks in advance. Mistah Wilson, who's developed and honed relationships with residents in tha greater Pasadena community, collaborated with a local portrait photographer Percy L. Johnson to bring you the #BringingItTogether October 2016 Photo Shoot. For those who don't know, tha #BringingItTogether movement was created as a way to unite tha local music scene by having artists takes pictures together demonstrating values such as love, peace, & unity. By doing this, we have tha power to influence our future in a positive way.

When the photo shoot was initially announced, it still felt like
Summer in Southern California. Tha night before tha event, tha news reported that there was a high risk for a rainstorm, something that would compromise tha photo shoot since it was held outdoors in McDonald Park. "Just my luck," said Mistah Wilson, who began to feel tha pressure of failure. But tha powers of a positive mind outshine tha darkness.

Everybody remained positive, and tha sun came out! One after another, artists started showing up. "Their craft services were on point," says Butch Thompson. We served pizza, cookies, clear and dark soda, water, and ice. Pasadena artist Gangsta Ric brought his daughter and everyone genuinely enjoyed themselves. Tha vibe felt like one big studio session. Artists who showed up for tha #BringingItTogether 2016 Photo Shoot were Khriz-Z, who came all tha way from San Bernardino to participate, Scribes One from Seattle, Jangles, Butch Thompson, Moe Grams, Sweet Tee, Concept, Chrishawn Frierson, Percy Johnson, Ms. Jeanine, Carl Walton, Jackie Valadez, and Bing Bing.

Tha beautiful thing about this event is that even though nobody really knew each other, we were able to come together for a common cause and embrace our differences," explains Mistah Wilson. As a token of our appreciation for artists who participate in tha movement, every artist gets ONE free professional portrait of themselves to use for their own purposes. Artists can show up every month and get a free, professional picture to build their portfolio. It was a good turn out. It was so good that tha anticipation is building for tha next one on November 26th, 2016. 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Young Jeezy defends Lil Wayne's comments about 'Black Lives Matter'

Lil Wayne was blasted across the internet after the Young Money boss made some controversial comments about the Black Lives Matter movement.

“I am a young black rich motherf-cker. If that don’t let you know that America understands black motherf-ckers matter these days, I don’t know what it is,” stated Wayne in a Nightline interview.

Hot 97’s Nessa spoke with Jeezy about what his “Bout That” collaborator had to say about BLM.

“Everybody has their opinion, but at the same time, people just might not understand. I’m not definitely coming to his defense because he is an adult. He understands what he’s doing,” said Jeezy. “People have to understand he’s been a superstar so long.”

ThaWilsonBlock Magazine Issue65 (July 2018)