Celebrities hit the red carpet for the 2019 Breaking Barriers Awards Gala at the Los Angeles Convention Center on August 4 in Los Angeles hosted by actor/producer Obba Babatunde’. The awards gala was produced and presented by fashion designer Stormyweather Banks. Celebrity attendees included Ogom “OG” Chijindu (VH1’s Basketball Wives; Lingerie Football League), Tonya Banks (Reality TV Star “Little Women LA”), Aaron Frazier (HBO’s Ballers), Jordyn Curet (Disney Channel “Raven’s Home”) and many others.
This year’s event highlighted the achievements of those who have broken barriers in the fashion industry. Honorees included Academy Award Winning Costume Designer Ruth Carter, Supermodel Beverly Johnson, andCross Colours Clothing Line Founders Carl Jones & TJ Walker. Beverly Johnson received the “Icon Award”, Carl Jones & TJ Walker received the “Influential Award” and Ruth Carter received the “Triumph Award”. Walker received Carter’s award on her behalf in her absence. Actress Kellita Smith was in attendance to present the “Icon Award” to Supermodel Beverly Johnson.
Immediately following the awards gala, LA’s emerging fashion designers showcased their ready-to-wear pieces during the gala fashion show to a crowd of fashion goers and enthusiast, hosted by 102.3 KJLH Radio Personality Adai Lamar.”
Desi Banks, Atlanta native is an actor, comedian and digital influencer with 2.8 million followers on Instagram and over 3 million followers total on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter combined. He recently rose to the Top 3 of the The Hollywood Reporter’s Top 10 most popular comedians joining Kevin Hart. Desi recently landed a role in the upcoming Will Packer Production film, Little starring Regina Hall and Issa Rae and created Desi Banks Production in which he curates digital content, short films, and creates opportunities for writers and actors. We had the chance to speak with him and take a look inside his world to learn more about him.
1) Tell us how you got started in your field I started my career on social media back in 2012. I started on the Vine platform where we could come up with some of the most creative funny videos in only 6 seconds. I was able to go viral not only once but multiple times, which helped me in building a following where 100k plus people were able to watch. I switched over to Instagram in 2015 after my college years and that’s when things got serious for me. 15 second comedy clips took me to different stages. I focused so hard and found my purpose in acting and comedy and it has opened up so many doors for me! The doors that opened for me, allowed me to be able to share my gifts and talents not just on social media but also on television live stages.
2) Talk to us about the initial startup stages with your career In the beginning stages of my career, I started taking acting classes with with Atlanta coach Dwayne Boyd. Through those classes it taught me the professin of acting outside of social media; from scene study, breaking down scripts, improv, to how to navigate in-person auditions. The biggest thing acting taught me was to find who I was an actor. I also started stand up comedy, and in the beginning the stages were a little tough LOL! As far as stand up the more you stay on stage, the better you get. It took me time and I’m still learning to this day what jokes work and what jokes don’t work, the process is different from social media because with stand up its only one chance live and that’s it lol. I had to learn to be confident and know the gifts and talents I have are good enough as long I believe they are.
3) What is the most rewarding part for you about what you do? The most rewarding thing about what I do is seeing how happy people are when I share my gifts and talents with them. To be able to inspire others to tap into their purpose makes it so rewarding!
4) What has been the biggest lesson about overcoming obstacles and failure that you have learned throughout your business journey?The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that every time you fail its not a failure it’s a learning step. What don’t kill you make you stronger.
5) Tell us about upcoming projects you are working on
The Purpose comedy tour featuring Desi Banks Banks + Friends. I am also starting the audition process for the Desi Banks Web series coming very soon! I’m auditioning, touing and launching a series of merchandise.
6) Leave us with some words of advice you can offer to aspiring and current entrepreneurs/entertainers Find God, find your purpose and you will be happy and free!
7) What are 3 fun facts most people don’t know about you I don’t hold back, what you see is what you get. I am very calm at times, not always joking LOL. I love GOD!
The MAKO Girls dropped their hot new single “Day 1” on January 1, 2019. The go-getter, spirited track entitled “Day 1” is geared to inspire January 1, 2019 as Day 1 to start your journey towards your destiny. MAKO Girls will release their upcoming sophomore EP in 2019 with “Day 1” as the second single released. The video for “Day 1” will follow the single and can be viewed on MAKO Girls YouTube page and www.makogirls.com. The group released their first single “Worldwide” from their upcoming second EP in August 2018. All MAKO Girls music is available for download on Spotify, Tidal, iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Music and Pandora. The MAKO Girls music style is matched to an R&B sound with a pop feel. Their second EP is definitely a feel good, teenager appeal with an Atlanta production sparkle. The group is known to “turn up” any audience with their up-beat dance moves, synchronized vocals and sizzling tracks. Stay tuned for more new music released from the MAKO Girls by following the pop sensational girl group on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter (@makogirls) and YouTube (MAKO Girls Atlanta). About The MAKO Girls Meet Atlanta’s own pop and R&B group MAKO Girls!
Deemed to be as legendary as the great TLC. MAKO Girls have been setting their own trends and creating their own opportunities. Meet Mimi (17), A-Ni (15), and Kena (19) Ochoa known to most as MAKO Girls. They are three sisters that took their love for singing and dancing to a professional level. Inspired by Missy Elliott, TLC, Aaliyah, Katy Perry, and Mindless Behavior, the MAKO Girls wanted to do more than just sing and dance, they want to entertain the masses. With the upcoming release of their second EP, the MAKO Girls are making waves in the entertainment industry and it’s a dream come true. The MAKO Girls have performed at over 120 youth inspired events and shows in the past two years. The group is striving to break barriers with their clean music and introduction of a professional platform where other artist that possess the same drive and passion can become a part of the movement. The creation of the MAKO Girls Annual Glow Party and now the MAKO Girls Carnival Glow Party Tour has completely changed the dynamics of MAKO Girls placement in the industry. The introduction of their teen cosmetics line with Kissable Lips Cosmetics put the group directly in front of the lime light and the sisters embrace it. MAKO Girls have been featured on top tier blogs such as FreddyO.com, Black Celeb Kids, Drama Like The DJ.com, This Is 50.com, TripleHQ.com, CeeSoDope.com, and Vh1’s Delania Dixon’s Diva Gals Daily. Magazines: Presidential Style Magazine, My Time Magazine, Urban Spice Magazine, Blaze Magazine, Game Changers Magazine, Hype Magazine as the featured “Next To Blow” artist, mentioned in Hip Hop Weekly, as well as gracing the cover of Teen Aman Magazine. Live interviews: Arise360 Entertainment TV, K100 Radio, 108 Praise Radio, and additional radio, magazine and media outlets. FOLLOW @MAKOGIRLS ON SOCIAL MEDIA AND YOUTUBE: MAKO GIRLS ATLANTA. Contact: Management: Bookings@makogirls.com|404.454.6636 Media: Cotrina@thecjayegroup.com|470.207.3808 Website: www.makogirls.com
In 2015, Tuskegee University graduate Pharoah Kirk announced the creation of the CHRISTIAN HENRY brand. Headquartered in New York, designer and founder Pharoah Kirk brings a dynamic approach in men’s suiting by pairing classic Italian and English tailoring techniques with modern silhouettes. Kirk scours the globe each season and finds innovative materials to experiment with, providing designs for the modern, successful man who loves to make a bold statement in every room he enters. Read more of his journey below.
1) Tell us how you got started in your field
Bigger named brands and businesses may have swept the country of every professional dressed across the country, but there has been a need of extra care and quality. After bootstrapping the business with $25,000 in personal capital, I set out to create an international luxury brand that would help to not only educate those about custom suiting but to meet the needs and wants of every man internationally. After noticing that there was a lack of Blacks within the fashion industry of custom clothiers, it has become a mission of mine to revamp the spectrum of how the world sees designers.
Raised under parents that were entrepreneurs of dry cleaners in Detroit, Michigan, this helped to shape my entrepreneurial spirit at an early age. The setting provided a foundation for me to not only learn but also for me to gain tutelage learning how to service customers. From an early age, I aspired to present the confidence and uplifting self-esteem to others that I knew clothing could provide.
2) Talk to us about the initial startup stages with your business
I’d be dishonest if I painted a picture of happiness and say that this was me at all times. The initial stages were a tad bit challenging at times. But there was perseverance. There was determination. I knew that I had a burning fire like no one else simply because I wanted to be successful. Like any other startup company with no investors, startup capital, or funding, it can be an overwhelming feeling at times to wonder where sales were going to come from or how revenue should be spent to continue growing the business. There has been a great process of internal business maturation, but also a self-reflection, prioritization and a firm understanding that not everything needed to be tackled at once.
3) What is the most rewarding part for you about what you do?
There is no greater joy to see the excitement and smile on a man’s face once he is trying on his new suit that he helped to create, design, and be apart of as far as the decision-making process. A client once told me that, “I had low self-esteem previously, but knowing that I have on clothes that actually fit my body properly, and it helps that random strangers give me compliments as I walk down the street. It’s so uplifting to my spirits.”
That compliment along with other similar compliments that I have received over the course of my business career has helped me to know that business is not just about how much you’re profiting, but it’s about how much you’re making an impact to the individuals that you service.
4) What has been the biggest lesson about overcoming obstacles and failure that you have learned throughout your business journey?
Overcoming obstacles and failure is monumental. It’ll either make or break you as a person. The biggest lesson that I have learned is that you cannot allow yourself to have negative emotions in the world of business. It can be detrimental or catastrophic to your business if you allow these emotions to be seen, heard, or assumed. I operate with a strong level of positivity. Positivity is infectious because it allows the world to witness vibes that genuinely make someone beautiful inside and out.
5) Tell is about upcoming projects you are working on
Currently, there are two focal projects that I am currently working on. 1. Because we have recently entered into the “red carpet” season (Oscar’s, Grammy’s, etc.), my team and I are working diligently on making sure that all of our clients look their best on the red carpet and after-parties with never seen styles and designs before. This means that we are partnering with celebrity stylists and professional agents to make sure all provided clothing is prioritized and perfect for every signature event. 2. We are creating educational curriculum for the symposiums of the NFL that will help to educate rookies on the importance of their attire. This is extremely important to the building of their brand but also to the adherence for their employers.
6) How did your experience at an HBCU prepare you for your current entrepreneurial endeavors?
While attending Tuskegee University, the institution and student life helped to prepare me for battles of management of personal funds, proper etiquette of business meetings, and punctuality of time management. A lot of HBCU graduates often share stories of their unique experiences, but after all stories are told, there is a sense of “togetherness” in the air. It’s a feeling that individuals whom have never attended an HBCU can feel. No matter what HBCU you attended, that bond is truly something unique.
7) Leave us with some words of advice you can offer to aspiring and current entrepreneurs?
There are three key elements for aspiring and current entrepreneurs that are critical to their success.
1. Organization – Without this, your business will fail. Look into utilizing all resources that can help you to stay on top of organization. There are various apps and software that will be your best friend during your journey.
2. Education – Look into your local cities for programs that are offered for aspiring and/or current entrepreneurs. These programs may be in the form of incubators, workshops, and seminars. These are a wealth of knowledge not only from the material that is given, but to the individuals that you will meet.
3. Networking – This is a key element. Putting yourself out there to meet individuals whom you may or may not know is extremely important as it helps to bring awareness and future services or sales to your business.
Songstress & soulful songwriter Arika Kane is one of the music industry’s leading pioneers of substance. With over 50 billboard charting positions under her belt and multiple best-selling singles and albums, Kane is ever growing in her accomplishments.
Arika Kane is known to many as the VH1 Songstress. She has had over 80 synchronization placements within the Viacom network on various shows that include VH1, BET and MTV with multiple features on shows like “Love and Hip Hop”, “Basketball Wives” and “Single Ladies”. Kane scored 2 major theme songs on television with her song “Make It” that you heard on VH1’s TV series “Hollywood Exes” and “Atlanta Exes”.
In 2014, Arika Kane lit up international radio with her song “It’s There”, an epic collaboration with the legendary Brian McKnight. This timeless ballad climbed the U.S. sales charts reaching #1 in R&B. It also climbed the Billboard charts reaching #8 in Billboard Sales and was quickly cherished by music fans of all-genres worldwide.
We spoke to Arika Kane about her new single “Chains,” women empowerment, mental health and more.
Known for her excuse-free, self-rewarding work ethic, the founder, and CEO of 3K9 Productions is mastering the art of maintaining a successful career as an independent artist. As a native of the Southside (Roseland area) of Chicago, Aina Brei’Yon personifies strength. Since her conception, she has made it very clear that boundaries do not apply to her. Early on in her career, she understood the importance of being true to who she is and embracing idealism. Her reality is defined by her beliefs; a message that transcends through her music. As the second to youngest of 10 children, self-expression and showing any type of emotion was simply non-existent in their family. She says, “I found an outlet with music at the young age of nine.Writing was the only way I knew how to express myself.”
Listen to our full interview with Aina Brei’Yon below
As Eugenie gets ready to become married, this sibling couple is one that doesn’t get a lot of the light shed on them often. This is starting to become apparent, but one thing is for certain, they have a strong fashion sense that should not go unnoticed. As fashion designers in the world of high end fashions and elaborate pieces, they have to find ways to design royal or noble pieces worthy of wearing outside the palace.
They’re Always Marching
One of the biggest things that can be noticed or mentioned is that when they design something and then show it off while leaving their palace, it is always something that coordinates with the other. You will never see them together out of sync. It is unheard of.
They compliment one another and so many are hoping to see many of their fashions come the wedding since they seem to have a good eye for choosing fashions that stand out, that are brave, but also that fit in with the times and with each other. Finding out if they can do the same for the wedding party is also going to be something worth mentioning.
With the fashion that any fashionista would want and an eye for detail, this pair has been sure to be spotted in many places rocking their own choice of fashion around. As fashion icons, especially in England, they continue to inspire and dazzle the crowds with their choices of color and their flair for choosing something well worth the look.
The wedding is going to be one that is going to do the same. With the changes being shown about, their fashion sense is one that continues to be shared globally, with many wonderingwhere they can grab some of these one-of-a-kind fashions.
In the midst of his now decade-long steady climb to international R&B notoriety and prominence, he’s been the singers’ singer a consummate ladies’ man, the fellas’ fella an the “go to” modern-day R&B /soul crooner with sensibilities simultaneously grounded in the past and the present.
RAHEEM DEVAUGHN has been many things to contemporary music culture and his ever-expanding core audience, for which he’s amassed a combination of prestigious award honors/nominations and multiple chart-topping releases. “There’s a lot of talk about ‘King of R&B’ and ‘King of Soul,” but I’ve got enough music for the next ten years,” says the three-time Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter. “I literally have enough music for the decade to release. If I stopped recording now and said I wouldn’t record for five years, I’ve got enough music for ten. So I can’t wait, because I’m just warming up.” Hence, on this soul-steeped occasion of his sixth highly-anticipated full-length release, we’ll officially proclaim it as the Decade of a Love King.
We got the opportunity to the speak to with the music artist and talk about his new album, his evolution as an artist, and mental health. Listen below. Interviewed by Tianna Maxon.
Those that are always curious to know what the fashions around the world are like can benefit from seeing what is being offered inside one San Francisco fashion museum. One of the biggest pieces of the fashion that is worn by these women is the head covering that they put on. Covering almost everything but their eyes, it is something that is thought of as restricting, but it does not have to be for those women that prefer to wear it.
This new exhibition shows that these women can express themselves with the right fashion, while also being able to conform to the standards that they want to uphold.
Dolce and Gabbana have some of the most beautiful scarves and when a woman wants to pair one of these with her outfit, she can do this to cover her hair and face. Adding a beautiful hood to a dress is also easily done. Going with lighter colors, yellows, roses, champagnes, can also bring more light to their outfit. There is no restriction on what she is able to do when customizing the outfit, she puts on. She can still feel beautiful, which is what the display aims to show those that come out to see it.
Being shown as the “Contemporary Muslim Fashions” it is going to show off around 80 different ensembles that come from 60 designers. They have put together something really special for those that want to either come see the ways they can show off their fashion, or just those interested in learning more.
Some of the designers are from the countries where these fashions are actually worn, which makes them more ideal for those that want to wear something beautiful, but also that follows the law and rules of their religion.
Muslim women should feel beautiful and not targeted. With many options being put on display, they have something to look forward too.
Presenting her first runway show of the year after having complete control of her design house, she is back being who she is and what she is known for. This is all very good for the fashion world, or those that don’t mind going fur-free.
After buying out 50 percent of the stake that was once held by the luxury giant, Kering, she is now the only owner of her design house and label and is ready to make a change in the world of fashion, runway by runway.
Going back to her roots and sparking her independence as a designer, she has been showing off those moves that were once being held back. She can now freely let everyone know how she feels and one of the biggest issues on the table currently is the use of animal hides and furs in fashion.
She feels like they are so close and so many designers have banned with her on this. However, not everyone has taken the full leap and this is where she is going to come in and hopefully change their minds and make them move forward.
As the runway was bold, fresh and washed away those colors that might have been dragging everyone else down, she was able to make a change in the way that she strutted those models down.
Being able to be a designer is something that empowers her. Now that she has complete control over everything that is done in the powerhouse of the company. Being able to make decisions, but also getting other designers to go along with her can prove to be one of the best moves she has done.
Everyone is interested to see where this designer house is going to go. Off or on label, the activists for animal rights are happy to have her onboard.