As an Asian-American, I know that my culture is not particularly considered to be part of Hip Hop or Rap. But I grew up loving the whole Hip Hop culture and have always tried to learn more about its roots. Anyways, I'm trying something new by sharing some of my thoughts on Spike Lee's autobiographical book - "That's My Story and I'm Sticking to It" (As told to Kaleem Aftab). I read this because I really liked watching "Do The Right Thing and "Malcolm X" and I wanted to learn more about what goes on behind the scenes.
One of the more remarkable things I learned from this book is how Spike Lee's character "Mars Blackmon," helped bring the sneaker brand Nike to its current stature amongst its competition. NIke's owner, Phil Knight, reached out to Spike Lee to have his Mars character do a commercial with Michael Jordan. This would be one of the first media projects to show the unique relationship between basketball street wear and Hip Hop style.
Another interesting thing to read about was how in most of Spike Lee's 90s era movies, the Mars Blackmon character seemed to be often altered into other characters in different movies. First, Mars was introduced as a basketball and rap-loving black teenager in "She's Gotta Have It," then Mars seems to be very similar to Mookie's character in "Do The Right Thing," and then Shorty's character in "Malcolm X" could have been Mars and Mookie's grandfather.
Lastly, the book addresses the inequalities regarding "black media and entertainment." I'm not trying to claim another race's struggle but as an Asian-American, I definitely recognize the misrepresentation and/or lack of representation of Asian actors and actresses in the media in general.
Overall, this was a great read and I recommend it to anyone wanting to learn more about the media/entertainment industries and even some Hip Hop history.
No other animal has mesmerized humans quite like the king of the jungle- the lion. In her own concrete jungle, Jae "The Lyoness" comes with a mighty roar, viscous bite, and innate ability to lead. She has proven herself time and time again as a skillful lyricist, spiritual poet, and all around voice of power and reason for those facing their own struggles. Her resume highlights gigs like two Apollo Theatre performances and winning a Rep Yo Grind Award as the Best Femcee of the year. Most recently, she earned her spot as one of Team Backpack's Mission Underground Los Angeles 2015's top 3 winners, notably the only female of the group.
A strong and proud 25 year old woman, Jae represents hard for the city of Baltimore. She uses music as a way to express her great sensitivity for her community and social conscious regarding issues like racism, homophobia, inequality, etc. Take a look at her stellar performance in the latest Team Backpack Cypher and you'll see that she is more than meets the eye. Whether it's on a beat or acapella, she brings a unique mix of raw delivery, intellect, and insightful poetry into every verse. Her "Barz & Poetry" video illustrates Hip Hop in its purest form, in a modern setting.
With many notable projects and credentials under her belt, the grind never stops for this phenomenal feline. She has independently released a number of projects that are available on iTunes and Spotify as well as a number of productions on her YouTube channel. Currently, she is working on two separate projects- an independent mix tape entitled "Murder was the Case" and an EP called "A Soul on the Rise" hosted by Team Backpack. She has also joined a female music empowerment group called Female Lyrical Assassins (FLA).
Although often underrepresented in Hip Hop and the music industry in general, artists like Jae "The Lyoness" give other females a strong role model that will inspire them to lead their own dreams, whatever that may be. When it comes to music, Jae advises aspiring artists to "Do your homework, and remember that nothing comes overnight. Female artists especially have to work even harder than our male counterparts but don't let that discourage you. It's all about persistence and passion." She continues to give thanks to God for enable her to accomplish her goals, her single mother for raising her to be a protective and prideful feline, and her spouse for managing the daily grind of their independent music life. Check out more of Jae "The Lyoness" on social media and on other music outlets.
Try ft. Evon Uniique Single off "God Save Me"
Try was written and inspired by my first Apollo Theater Performance. I wrote "Try" to tell the world that it is okay to keep going no matter what happens in life. People will tell you no and some wont like what you do but, as long as you TRY things will eventually work in your favor. People always tell me how this song inspires and starts their day.
OTDHipHop is an independent music blog and network, curated by Rapper/Blogger Jehzan Exclusive.