Although R&B may seem like it’s taken a backseat to other genres, the first lady of Dreamville Records Ari Lennox refuses to let it die. Her neo-soul sound and down to earth vibe gives her the relatable edge that many artists seem to lack these days. Lennox got her first taste of fame on YouTube, where she has 33 thousand subscribers, and used to upload covers of popular songs. She has remade songs like “Drunk in Love,” by Beyoncé and “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay,” by Otis Redding. Lennox would add her own flavor to the songs by slowing them down and changing up the beat. Her smoky vocals have a very wide range that allows her covers to sound unique and fit her soulful demeanor.

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Artwork can overwhelm you with emotion or bring up certain memories from your past. When I first saw artist Richard Hart’s painting of an individual, that seems to be a woman based on the facial features, gazing blankly into the distance with what looks like the weight of the world on her shoulders, I immediately felt her pain.

The painting was inspired by a picture of a sculpture created by author Malvina Hoffman. I couldn’t stop staring at this one particular piece of art. The eyes in Hart’s painting drew me in and allowed me to feel a sense of sadness and loss of hope.The simplicity of the colors blue, black and white somewhat represent a darkness that hangs over them.  Around her eyes, there’s a huge presence of the colors black and dark blue, demonstrating she’s tired and possibly feeling defeated. There’s a small amount of the color white in her eyes that could be illustrating just a small bit of optimism, that things could still get better.

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“In all that I do, I look to honor and obey God.”

Kareem “Biggs” Burke, a powerful entrepreneur, revealed his purpose in an interview with Black Enterprise. Whether it is through his work on the fashion scene and business world or with his philanthropic work with humanity, through his organization New Canaan Society, Biggs has found many ways to impact the lives of people around the world through his mission.

Burke has been active in the business world since the mid-1990s, with his former business partner, rapper and businessman, Jay-Z. Biggs and Jay-Z co-founded Roc-A-Fella Records and Rocawear Clothing, which are both a part of the Roc-A-Fella empire. With Jay-Z being the face of the companies and Biggs working in the background, their companies have been very successful in both the fashion and music industries.

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With more than 65 million views just five days after its release, Donald Glover’s “This is America,” has the internet buzzing. The video, which has been repeatedly called “genius, shows Glover as his alter ego “Childish Gambino” dancing with a group of African children while violent, terroristic and war-like incidents are taking place all around them.

Left open-ended and with little resolve, the video ends with Gambino running from the madness as a mob chases him (which resembles a scene  in Jordan Peele’s Get Out). It’s jarring and disturbing yet intriguing and compelling as well. The lyrics, like the video, tell a story of complicated contrasts. There are parties and guns, guerilla warfare and dancing, high-class consumerism and contraband, all in one video.  “What Gambino put together is a true picture of America where so many of us get to dance and sing and laugh and create,” journalist Isaac Bailey of CNN explained. “All the while others are largely ignored and trapped in the background, struggling and sometimes dying in a sea of ugliness that many of us would rather not acknowledge, knowing it would ruin the pretty pictures we’d rather focus on.” Evoking the transformative power of art and dance,  Glover as Childish Gambino puts America on display and instead of home of the free and the brave, we’ve become home of the ying and the yang.

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Since the 18th century, the industrial revolution industry has created a way of life that harms nature, from deforestation to air pollution. Many political advocacy groups, like the Environmental Defense Fund, have taken action to reduce industrial growth, while others have decided to let their voice be heard in a different way.

North Carolina based contemporary artist Brian Mashburn uses his artwork to express his feelings about the matter. Mashburn is known for his hyperrealistic oil paintings, which typically depict a post-apocalyptic world, in which animals habitats are encroached upon by human activity, and human beings are few in numbers. At first glance, his pieces portray beautiful scenes of nature, but the meaning behind his work runs a little deeper. The artist showcases the beauty of the environment by including animals and outdoor scenery in his paintings. He then brings you back to reality by displaying the negative effects of urbanization, while maintaining the fact that nature and industrial urban areas coexist. Though they exist in the same space, they appear to be on different scales.

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Chicago has been synonymous with gun violence for a very long time. The stories you hear about the Windy City have always been told by outsiders, though. You know, the people who’ve never hung out at the 31st street beach during summertime  time Chi, or the people who don’t know that there’s a difference in the mild sauce you get from Harold’s, and Uncle Remus opposed to anywhere else.

The negative imagery that surrounds the city is depressing and scary, but that’s because it’s being told by people who aren’t from Chicago. Emmy Award-winning writer and Chicago’s very own, Lena Waithe, has fought tooth and nail to bring a more humane depiction of the city we Chicagoans love so much, with her drama series “The Chi.”

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Composed of outerwear for women, men and kids the Carhartt brand has been dominating the retail industry for almost 130 years.  They carry something for everyone, including accessories like wallets, gloves, safety glasses, caps and knit hats with many colors to choose from.  They even carry dog beds. With very affordable options, there’s no way a shopper wouldn’t be able to find something they like.

Established in 1889 Carhartt has been able to make a name for themselves.  In 1910, Carhartt was able to expand to multiple cities in the United States as well as Canada and Europe.  Because Carhartt supported the war during international conflict, several facilities were able to create uniforms for the U.S. military during World War I.  Coveralls for soldiers and support personnel were produced along with jungle suits for Marines in the Pacific and workwear for women on the home front entering factories, during World War II.

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“I want people to know who I truly am…,” says Bebe Rexha on her official website, beberexha.com. After listening to Rexha’s candid lyrics, memorable voice, and provocative beats, we want to know more about who Rexha truly is too.

A self-proclaimed “Bad B*tch,” Bebe Rexha empowers others through her honest song lyrics and her powerful voice. The songstress/ record producer finds inspiration for her edgy, sultry style through nineties R&B music and modern pop. Rexha’s debut album, Expectations, draws from her own experiences with bad breakups and fake friends to inspire others with her candid lyrics and her hypnotic beats. This album marks her own personal growth through the hardships and turmoil in her personal life.

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Jazz is one of the few genres of music that has withstood the test of time, both with listeners and music critics. Colombian-born multi-instrumentalist, Jay Rodriguez, has been composing and performing music consistently for over 40 years. The musician also known as Hernan Ramiro Rodriguez-Sierra, began playing the clarinet at the age of 7 after moving to New York City. He later picked up the alto saxophone and the flute. The musician furthered his instrumental studies with Tito D. Rivera, a famous Cuban saxophonist and clarinetist. He also studied with musicians like Joe Henderson, Phil Woods, and Joe Allard.

By age 15, he was playing lead alto saxophone with Tito Puente, a famed musician, songwriter, and producer.  “I’d be coming home at 6 o’clock in the morning, then going to school. That was my childhood and I don’t regret it,” said Rodriguez on his official website jayrodriguez.com. After spending his high school years in performing arts schools, Rodriguez began making music professionally.

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