2018

Solange Honored at The New School’s 70th Annual Parsons Benefit

by Shantel Pass | published: May 22, 2018

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Yesterday, our own Solange Knowles was honored at The New School’s 70th Annual Parsons Benefit. With video presentations from Missy Elliott, Pharrell and Erykah Badu, the prestigious institution celebrated Solange as a trailblazing embodiment of “the university’s commitment to creativity and innovation.” Rapper and real-life friend Vince Staples was in attendance to present remarks on Solange’s impact as a pioneering figure in fashion and art. Dev Hynes and Kelela were also by her side for the special occasion where she wore an original from Parsons student Shanel Campbell and praised the promising designer for “continuing to shape and mold the way we see the world, being unafraid, disruptive, working through circumstances and pressures and fears unknown to us…”

Along with Marco Bizzarri and Jose Neves who were also feted, Solange joins the company of previously-honored fashion “it” girls like Rihanna and Donna Karan. This, the latest of Solange’s esteemed honors, is a salute to the artist (as well as Gucci and Farfetch) for her far-reaching impact within the fashion industry by way of her unwavering support of emerging designers and creating opportunities for inclusivity. Now with a Grammy Award, Glamour’s Woman of the Year Award, Billboard Impact Award and Harvard University Artist of the Year Award, we would like to once again say Congratulations to our leading lady Solange on this phenomenal honor.

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Photography by Getty Images for The New School

2018

Watch the Official Trailer for Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman

by Shantel Pass | published: May 15, 2018

Spike Lee‘s Jordan Peele collaboration BlacKkKlansman premiered at Cannes Film Festival over the weekend and its official trailer has finally reached those of us wishing we could have been there to see it. The film, which is said to have received a more-than-ten-minute standing ovation, stars John David Washington and is based on true events. It’s also Lee’s response to the Charlottesville events and the current president’s willful neglect and oppressive values. Watch the BlacKkKlansman trailer above and watch Spike Lee discuss the fervent activism behind the film in his Cannes press conference speech below.

2018

Stream Saint Heron’s Specially Curated “COLDEST WINTER” Playlist

by Saint Heron | published: Apr 30, 2018

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After its premiere in New Orleans and follow up showcase in NYC, we brought our “COLDEST WINTER” installation to the sunny state of California this weekend. The soundtrack for this Saint Heron original projection was revamped for the west coast’s warm weather with a new playlist specially curated by the Saint Heron team. If you missed us in Los Angeles on Saturday, you can invoke the essence of the night’s energy by bumping the playlist, now available via Tidal, below.

2018

Kendrick Lamar Wins Pulitzer Prize for ‘DAMN.’

by Shanice Brim | published: Apr 16, 2018

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Kendrick Lamar receives his latest esteemed honor in a Pulitzer Prize to his many titles. His third major label effort, DAMN. won in the music category marking the first time in history that a body of work that isn’t Jazz or Classical has been awarded.

Despite having been on the come-up for years, 2012’s Good Kid Maad City marked a turning point in Kendrick Lamar’s career. At the time of its release, there hadn’t been anything like it on the market for years. Its rich storytelling, deeply felt lyrics, and musical landscape seemed to tell not only Kendrick’s story, but the story of Compton and cities like it. Many wondered how he would possibly be able to top himself after such a stunning major label debut but, Kendrick Lamar has proven himself as a man with a lot on his mind. To Pimp A Butterfly, his sophomore project, became the daily soundtrack for Black Americans who faced police violence and racial injustices on the frontlines. The most recent, last year’s, DAMN. proved to be yet another stunning victory for the rapper. The album gave us more of Kendrick’s trademark introspection, observations about the human experience, and rumination on the trappings of success. As a long time fan, I can’t say that I’m surprised by this win. Kendrick’s work has always come to us feeling tangible, timely, and deeply felt so a Pulitzer feels fitting.

Lamar joins the company of previous winners Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Wynton Marsalis and more.

2018

Solange Debuts ‘Metatronia (Metatron’s Cube)’ at Hammer Museum

by Shanice Brim | published: Apr 15, 2018

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Our very own Solange has never been shy about visual creativity and her love of art. Just last year she performed some of her transformative album A Seat At The Table across the country at various art institutions and museums. Now, she’s at it again and this time at the Hammer Museum. Solange’s self created ‘Metatronia (Metatron’s Cube)’ explores the process, and mapping of creation.

“The piece is an exercise on following the intuitive force that guides us, helping us to create space, and silence the mind to create the work. Continuing my practices and interest in exploring the relationship of movement and architecture as a meditation, Metatronia centers around building frequency and creating charge through visual storytelling,” Solange said of the breathtaking piece. You can watch ‘Metatronia (Metatron’s Cube) (2018) now via Hammer Museum!

2018

Spike Lee and Jordan Peele’s Black Klansman Sets Release Date

by Shanice Brim | published: Apr 10, 2018

After the success of Get Out, Jordan Peele announced that he would be continuing to make social thrillers. So the announcement of a collaboration between Peele and the king of social films, Spike Lee, was met with much excitement. Now months after this announcement, the film mega-duo is presenting news that Black Klansman, will arrive in theaters on August 10th. Shadow and Act details the film’s description:

From visionary director Spike Lee comes the provocative story based on Ron Stallworth’s real life as Colorado Springs’s first African-American police officer who went undercover to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan. Unbelievably, Detective Stallworth (John David Washington) and his partner Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver) penetrate the KKK at its highest levels to thwart its attempt to take over the city. Produced by the team behind the Academy-Award® winning Get Out, Spike Lee uses his trademark take-no-prisoner style and humor to tell this story often missing from the history books.

2018

Black In The Day: Women’s History Edition

by Alex Hardy | published: Mar 29, 2018

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Welcome to Black In The Day, your monthly-ish serving of yesteryear’s magical, inimitable and unforgettable Blackety Blackness courtesy of Alexander Hardy.

With Women’s History Month coming to a close, on top of preserving our strength for an onslaught of April Foolery and tacky Easter looks, it’s important to gather to Hallelujah and Heel-toe in jubilation as thanks for all that womenfolk have done to make this swampdonkey-electing society less terrible while facing institutional hateration and structural inequality in the dancerie.

Let’s start the party with cousin Lena Waithe, the Chicago-born actress, screenwriter, and producer who happens to be the first female Chocolatey Wonder to win an Emmy award for comedy writing for her work on Master of None. While being honored at this year’s ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood event, she implored other members of the LGBTQIA+ community to live and love out in the open to inspire and be a support system for “lesbians in training” and younger queer folks who’ll benefit from the increased representation. There and in her Vanity Fair cover story, she stressed the importance of not hiding and being our whole-ass selves at all times. Let your soul glow, boo.

 

Remember that time when pre-gentrification Aunt Viv, hair braided like a hex-slinging Miss Celie, rolled up into that dance audition in a carnation pink freakum onesie and showed Miss Millie and Sourpuss Sally how they get down out in Bel-Air? Gym enrollment surged 144% among Black TV moms and teachers. June Cleaver could never.

 

As the first product of Lady Katherine Jackson’s majestic platinum-plated wombpiece, Maureen “Rebbie” Jackson is much more than the default babysitter and La Toya’s chief bodysuit bedazzler. Rebbie made her own contribution to the Jackson family legacy with the help of hits like “Centipede,” her legendary hot and steamy arthropod-themed two-stepper. Written and produced by and featuring background vocals of King Michael, this debut single will live on forever via grown-and-sexy white parties, cookouts, and linen suit-filled Tom Joyner cruises for decades to come.

 

Also, let us not forget that time Oprah demonstrated the meaning of sisterhood by reminding Gayle King to moisturize her elbows before hitting the red carpet at the 2018 Golden Globes. Being able to fill your closet with the flyest Parasuco denim sets and thigh-high jelly sandals means nothing if your homegirls will let you leave the house bound by the spirit of ashiness.

 

Twenty years after she and her bionic braided bob first Bankhead bounced onto the scene, Brandy rolled up to the 2014 BET Hip-Hop Awards with Yo-Yo, Queen Latifah and MC Lyte to remind us of the greatness of their classic remix of her single, “I Wanna Be Down.” Watching Moesha, Khadijah, Keylolo, and the official voice of Black award ceremonies perform this gem from the Skort Set Era always brightens my day. Shoutout to good living, great stylists, and graceful aging.

 

Never forget that Janelle Monáe conceptualized and masterfully executed a robust futuristic love story built around a messiah-like love- and justice-seeking android named Cindi Mayweather, and has brought us into her universe (Metropolis) over the course of three projects (and counting).

 

And because Black excellence is the gift that keeps on giving, shoutout the fourth novel by Tayari Jones, An American Marriage, which explores race, wrongful imprisonment, mass incarceration, and loyalty via a gripping Atlanta-based love story. Since its debut, Tayari’s book has become a New York Times bestseller and is so dope, Oprah both chose the title for book club and secured the film rights. Win upon win.

 

Tiffany Charmaine KaLinda Charlesetta Maude “New York” Pollard is an effortlessly captivating media personality, walking meme, and a gift to our undeserving society. Along her journey to claim the titles of Mrs. Flavor Flav and self-proclaimed “Head Bitch In Charge,” your girl contended with hateration and spit globs born of untreated chronic melanin envy. And though she spent two seasons pitching woo at your favorite becornrowed hippity hop grandpa, all that woo pitching and dagger sharpening wasn’t for naught. A decade after tongue twerking  with Sir Flavington, Tiffany can still be seen Blacking it up pon the tube for a living.

 

And finally, Queen Dominique Dawes being brilliant in the finals at the 1996 Olympics.

2018

Erykah Badu, N.E.R.D, Janelle Monae, Tyler, The Creator, The Internet and More Announced for Afropunk’s Brooklyn and Atlanta Festivals

by Shantel Pass | published: Mar 27, 2018

Afropunk did not come to play with any of this year and not only is everyone ready to go, but we’re ready to go to both the Brooklyn and Atlanta festivals. Held in Commodore Barry Park in NYC’s county of Kings, “The People’s Resist” themed festivities are going down August 25th and 26th. In artistic, “statement of purpose” style format, Afropunk’s organizers declared, “We, the people who have lived under the thumb of white supremacy, gender inequality, homophobia, environmental rape and economic apartheid have always known that when the world is an outrage, the sensible thing to do is defy it. Resistance is survival, not just a hashtag. But if it’s going to be a social media call to political arms, let’s make that fucker count!” Goers can expect to see performances from Erykah Badu, Tyler, The Creator, Janelle Monáe, The Internet, Willow and Jaden Smith, Smino, H.E.R., Daniel Caesar, Miguel, Jamila Woods, Lion Babe and many more.

Afropunk’s “Carnival of Consciousness” will make its way to Atlanta October 13th and 14th to take over at 787 Windsor Complex. N.E.R.D, The Internet, Noname, Little Simz, Kari Faux and more will take the stage with additional special guests to be announced. Check out the flawlessly crafted announcement above, grab tickets here and check out the flyers below for full lineups.

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2018

Solange to be Feted at the 70th Annual Pason’s Benefit

by Shantel Pass | published: Mar 23, 2018

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Almost a year and a half after its release, Solange’s A Seat at the Table and the various visual and meditative art series following it are still ringing in a host of accolades and praises in the form of prestigious achievement awards. The latest comes from Parsons School of Design whose Executive Dean Joel Towers is feting her “for her notable contributions to the music and fashion industries…

Solange will be honored at the 70th Annnual Parson’s Benefit on May 21st at Pier Sixty in NYC along with Gucci’s President and CEO Marco Bizzari and Farfetch founder Jose Neves.

For those paying attention, A Seat at the Table was a personal testimony in breathtaking expression more than it was an album. ‘An Ode To’ at the Guggenheim Museum and ‘Scales’ at the Menil Collection & Pérez Art Museum (as well as its special reboot for the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, TX) were experiences with vehement gravity moreso than performances. For that, we’re so proud to extend more congratulatory praise to our leading lady Solange on these well-earned and fruitful victories.

2018

Cleo Wade Announces ‘Heart Talk’ Tour

by Shantel Pass | published: Feb 24, 2018

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Poet and activist Cleo Wade‘s new book is on the way and she has affectionately described it as “the ultimate labor of love.” A collection of  poems, handwritten notes and intimate advice, Heart Talk is available for preorder now via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Target and all other reader outlets. Ahead of the collection’s official release on March 6th, Wade announces that she’ll embark on the Heart Talk Tour with some of her besties “showing up along the way to talk about how we heal, how we create, and how we take care of ourselves during these crazy times.

The tour will hit New Orleans on release day, March 6th before touching down in Brooklyn on March 8th, Austin on March 12th, Los Angeles on March 14th and San Fran on March 15th. Cleo has confirmed more dates and cities will be announced at a later date. For ticket info and additional details, keep up with Cleo’s Instagram.

2018

Solange Knowles and Toyin Ojih Odutola Cover Cultured Mag’s Debut Art & Music Issue

by Shantel Pass | published: Feb 19, 2018

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Solange Knowles and artist Toyin Ojih Odutola were just revealed as the cover stars for Cultured Magazine‘s inaugural Art & Music issue. With gorgeous images of the two creative powerhouses captured by Awol Erizku, the fellow activists/peers discussed sound, architecture and creating a visual language at The Noguchi Museum in New York. The conversation (which was more an invaluable exchange of thoughts from two brilliant minds than a standard interview) explains how both Solange and Toyin both aim to produce art that not only moves, not only inspires – but speaks. Below are some of the article’s highlights but you can read the full dialogue here.

Solange on the visual language of architecture in her own performances:

Well, I think being in the space to create a specific work provides the best environment for me because I’m approaching it architecturally, I’m approaching it mathematically, I’m getting the floor plans, I’m getting the layout and then I’m creating the experience. The Guggenheim was really phenomenal because there were all of these different ways that I could activate that space and one of my favorite moments was playing with the rotunda and working with its roundedness.

Toyin on the visual language of her color use decisions:

I started from a place of universality, and that is still a kind of erasure. I had to venture more into color because of that; I had to get at the core and expand blackness as a definition visually. And part of what helped in that was engaging with the space the work is presented in—I had to incorporate more colors, I couldn’t rely solely on the monochromatic palette anymore. When you visit a museum for instance, there’s a specificity to how artifacts are shown, because the narrative extends to how they are presented. And we both know there’s a very specific way in which African artifacts are shown that sometimes can be problematic. So, I took a cue from that: to explore and have more control of the narrative in the work and in the presentation.

On the Black woman archetype image tied to art with a political message:

Solange:On shoots that I’ve been on in the past, there was this idea that the strongest way to convey black women who make political work was to put them in the 70’s and to create a sort of caricature of the movement and the work that’s been done. Something that really stands out for me as a pivotal moment in my life and my career, was on a magazine shoot where the art director had really strong ideas about the direction. I walked up and I saw all of these mood boards with women who I have the utmost admiration for—women who have taught me everything I know about liberation and women who I have held up in the highest regard—who were reduced to an aesthetic. This creative director was making their hard work and their legacy a prop and I said, ‘sir, I don’t feel comfortable with this, I do not relate to this set design, that’s not what we discussed.’ And I distinctly remember him, in front of a room full of people huddling around, looking at me and saying, ‘minimalism does not look good on you.’

Toyin: “...it’s also indicative of how black womanhood is seen as inherently political. It’s not just limiting black womanhood to an aesthetic, it’s how projections usurp the truth of black womanhood overall. It’s not seen as multifarious, that it can include so many things. I was reminded of this growing up: how I would listen to a certain record or song from something that was deemed ‘not black enough,’ and I remember feeling really uncomfortable about that judgment because my mother liked that same music. I remember telling her one day, ‘Mom, everyone says so-and-so is white, and I can’t listen to it,’ and she would respond with something like, ‘It’s really strange how people would limit blackness to not include this. Why can’t your liking this be a part of our culture? Why don’t we have access to that?’ And that just hit me like a ton of bricks. There’s a one-drop rule when it comes to genetics, but that one-drop rule doesn’t extend to culture. You can’t access minimalism—WHY? That’s such a part of humanity, why should it only be relegated to one specific demographic? It makes no sense.

2018

Solange Named Harvard Foundation’s 2018 Artist of the Year

by Asia Burris | published: Feb 16, 2018

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Congratulations are in order for our very own and founder, Solange, for being named the 2018 Harvard Foundation Artist of the Year!

After the debut of her acclaimed album A Seat at the Table in 2016, Solange used her voice and creativity to advocate for representation, political justice, and diversity within the arts, including the growth and expansion of our platform Saint Heron. From a performance at the White House for President Barack Obama to occupying the art realm with performance art shows at the Guggenheim Museum, the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas, along with her art installation at London’s Tate Modern museum, Solange has enveloped themes lifted from her album of representation, empowerment, and healing throughout her artistry over the past year and a half, truly defining her career to date.

Solange will be recognized and honored at the annual Harvard Foundation award ceremony on March 3rd during the Cultural Rhythms Festival in the Memorial Hall’s Sanders Theatre. Previous Harvard Foundation awards have been presented to the likes of the multi-talented Viola Davis, Queen Latifah, Halle Berry, LL Cool J, Jackie Chan, Denzel Washington, Salma Hayek, and Eva Longoria to name a few.

Congratulations, Solange!

Photo: Surface Magazine