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December 5, 2012 A Thug's Redemption  No comments


Hey everyone! I know it has been awhile since I've posted a blog entry but I have been so busy with school and book shipments along with promotions and PR work. I will try to do better at updating this blog more frequently. Since my last blog entry, I recently decided to utilize my YouTube Channel at the suggestion of a good friend of mine. I've had this YouTube channel since September 2011 but never really put it to use until today. I had been racking my brain for so long as to what I could put up. I didn't want to do the typical "comedy" rants on YouTube because that is being done to death in some of the most tasteless manners. I do have a special project in mind for my YouTube Channel this upcoming year but for right now, I am mostly using it for my poetry and the occasional snippets and teasers that I post for my book. So earlier today, I uploaded a recording of myself reciting a poem that I did in high school entitled "Why Tyrone Can't Read". I swear, this poem is going down in history LOL! I can't believe 13 years later, people still remember that poem and recognize me as the girl who did it. I still remember the moment I recited it. I was so nervous and so scared, but when I heard my friends cheering for me, it was on and popping from there. Here is the video:

I will be posting more videos of myself reciting some of my other poems as well as a few videos reading snippets from my debut novel, A Thug's Redemption as well as the sequel A Thug's Redemption 2: Jamal's Return. I hope everyone enjoys. Don't forget to subscribe, click the like button, leave comments, questions or suggestions. Here is the link to my Youtube Channel Click Here


Reminder

My book signing is next Friday, December 14, 2012 at Black & Nobel located at Broad and Erie. It will start at 4pm and end at 7pm. Come out and support. I'll be taking pictures of my readers also!

That's that ish I don't like

I am naturally the kind of person that likes to help others whether if it's giving directions to someone who is lost, extending a kind word to lift someone's spirits, coming on the run when family needs me, etc. I've been getting requests from people wanting me to help them write a book and I am all for that. I love being able to point hopeful writers in the right directions and help them tap into their creativity so they can put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). I've even been contacted to help with a possible local movie script for an up and coming director. However, what I don't like is people contacting me and wanting me to write the book for them and they reap the rewards. Who does that? Anything that I write will have my name attached to it and I will hold all rights. There is no room for negotiation. The last person who contacted me actually had the nerve to say "I think you have talent outside of that Thug shit you wrote..." #PAUSE. Wait, this person wants me to collaborate with them but insults my work? That Thug Shit?? So I asked, "Did you read it?" They said "no". I said "okay...did you at least read the synopsis?" They said "no". I asked, "Do you have any idea what the book is about or all you just going off of the title and automatically assuming that it is the typical hood story about Thug Willy, Pooky and Black standing on the corner, pushing dope, smoking dope, killing their rivals while fucking a few bitches in between?" They had no response. I'm not expecting everyone to like my book. That would be unrealistic. But if my work or talent is going to be slandered, at least take the time out to READ it before you call it "Thug Shit". So yeah, they can toss the idea of us ever collaborating together out of the window. So for future reference, before you come for me, make sure you read the book. And then when you read the book and still feel a need to come for me, make sure you come correct. I can humbly pick a person apart...with a smile. :-)


Speaking of which. I recently received a review for my book on amazon. I'm surprised that Amazon posted it because I've been having trouble with my reviews being deleted. But this is what the young lady Tierra had to say:

OMG!!! I purchased this book last month for my everyday 5hr commute to and from work and I must say this book is a serious mouth opener!!!! I freaking loved it from cover to cover! Towards the end I found myself almost in tears on the train! The characters were so easy to relate to! I'm desperately waiting for a sequel!!! This is definitely a must read!!! Go cop up people!!!! Yani you did great!!!!
When she texted me last night, I could feel how much she enjoyed my book just by how her text messages came through. That is why I write. I love entertaining my readers and pulling them in so deeply that they fall in love with the characters, and become enthralled with the story. Thanks so much Tierra!

Okay this was a very long blog post. LOL! Sorry guys! I just had so much to say. But real quick before I go; I have been working dilligently on the sequel A Thug's Redemption 2" and I must say, I amaze myself. This story is more ruthless than the first and all bets are off. I don't want to release it too soon because I want the first one to marinate and leave a lasting impression. But I am having so much fun writing it. Okay, that's all for now. Thanks for reading! PEACE!!

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Fan’s Favorite Scene from “A Thug’s Redemption”

October 23, 2012 A Thug's RedemptionPhilly Support Philly  No comments

I was going through my emails when I came across this message from one of my readers. I'm not sure if I'm more moved because she said she was a fan (head rush...OMG I have fans!) or if it's because one of the scenes that made her heart race is one that still makes my heart race as well (as if I didn't write the book LOL). You know you have talent when you can look back on your work and read it as if you didn't write it.


"Hello Yani
I read your book a Thug's Redemption and it brought me back to when I was in high school- Benjamin Franklin Electron C/o '97- growing up in North Philly and hanging with my friends. It was so funny and made me think of me and my girlfriends when we were teenagers. But the part that let me know it was about to get real was the scenes when everything came out about the gun with Shawn, Jamal and Samir. My eyes were glued to the pages and I swear I held my breath when the secrets started coming out! I think you're very talented and I wish you a lot of success as a black woman and author. Your site and blog is great. Philly Support Philly!
From Aisha"


Thanks so much Aisha, it means a lot to me when I hear from my readers and I'm told how much they enjoy my work. For those who have not purchased the book yet, here are the scenes that Aisha was talking about:

Check out an Excerpt from my debut novel "A Thug's Redemption"

Shawn was sitting in his room still pondering his situation. He knew if he did the favor, he would risk losing Chanda and could possibly go to jail. He also knew that if he didn’t do it, he could go to jail for murder or Samir was destined to do something stupid. He tossed his ball in the air trying to find a reasonable solution.
Jamal came in his doorway and looked down at him. “What’s wrong?” he asked Shawn.
“Nothing,” Shawn said flatly.
“I know that look. I see through your little ass like glass nigga. You’re worried about that gun situation, aren’t you?”
“Yeah man, this is some bullshit,” Shawn replied as he tossed his ball in the air repeatedly.
“Look, it’s only for a couple weeks. Once it’s over, we go off to college and move on with our lives,” Jamal told his younger brother.
“You really think Samir is just going to let this shit be over and done with? Now the cops are trying to muscle Samir and get more out of the deal by bringing in shit for the Columbians. This shit ain’t gonna stop after one shipment and you know it. They’re not going to let us slide. They’re going to keep hanging this over our heads so they can get us to do what they want us to do for them. This shit ain’t about helping us. This shit is about helping them and getting more paper,” Shawn shook his head and threw his ball at the wall angrily.
Jamal thought about what Shawn said. He knew his younger brother was right because it was a thought that crossed his mind quite a few times since this all hit the fan. He was beginning to understand what Samir’s motives were and how he damned himself the minute he asked for help with carrying out the hit on Khalil. Samir wanted him to be his soldier, not a part-time help. He wanted Jamal sucked into the game simply because Jamal was so ruthless when it came to certain matters. Jamal was trying to humble himself and move past all of that. Unfortunately, Samir wasn’t trying to let him go.
The damage that he had done by killing Khalil was becoming clear. Family or not, Samir was never going to let him go and that murder was his leverage to control him. The only problem was, now his brother was paying for his need for revenge though he had nothing to do with the situation. Anger took over him quickly.
“You know what? Fuck this shit. I lived that street life, not you. And I’m not about to let Samir keep thinking that he can control me behind some shit that happened three years ago, trying to make it seem like I owe him because I don’t owe him shit. When I talk to him, I’ma let him know to leave you out of this. I don’t want you or nobody else to pay for what I did. I pulled the trigger, not you. And if it comes down to it, I’ll take the fall. Don’t worry about it. I got this.”
“Alright,” Shawn replied, not really knowing what else to say.
Jamal left and went straight to Samir’s house. He knocked on his door and waited patiently for an answer knowing that he was home because it was collection day.
Samir opened his door and peaked out. “What’s up, Jamal? I ain’t know you were coming by.” He opened the door wider so Jamal could come in.
“I’m not going to stay long because I have a lot of stuff to do at home. I just wanted to say that y’all need to leave Shawn out of this, for real. He didn’t have nothing to do with Khalil getting killed, that was all me. Just leave him out of this and let me do this like I always do. He’s trying to go to college, just let him chill.”
“What the fuck does that have to do with me? Now I know that your little brother is trying to do his thing with his basketball and everything. But that shit he pulled taking that gun just brought on more problems than I was trying to have to fucking deal with. I got fucking heat on me now ‘Mal! The muthafucking pigs is looking for a reason to pinch me and because of that shit I got to do business with these spick ass Columbians, bring their shit in on my turf and on top of that shit, divvy out more of a cut to keep muthafuckas quiet. Shawn doesn’t know what fucking trouble he’s causing right now behind that shit he pulled last year. So I don’t give a fuck what he’s trying to do. He can either man up on this shit or…” Samir trailed off.
“Or what?” Jamal asked, having an idea of what Samir was thinking.
“Let me just say if y’all had been any other niggas on the street, I would’ve saved myself the aggravation and killed both of y’all,” Samir said with a straight face.
Jamal looked at Samir as if he were crazy. “You’re really going to come out of your mouth and say some shit like that? We’re supposed to be family.”
“Fuck that family shit, Jamal. This is business. Everybody is expendable.”
Jamal became furious. “It’s the fuck like that? How about we do the shit like this? I’ma turn myself in and tell the cops I killed Khalil, fuck it. And when they ask how, I’m telling everything. Fuck that family shit you say? Since it’s fuck me nigga, now it’s fuck you, too.”
Samir snatched Jamal up by his neck and pushed him into the wall. They struggled with each other in a grip pushing back and forth until Samir managed to pin Jamal down on his dining room table. “You're a snitch now, nigga? Huh?! Is that what the fuck you just said, pussy? IS IT!?” He pulled a gun out and turned Jamal over so he could face him and pushed the gun into his face. “I’ll blow your muthafucking scalp off right here, nigga! After everything I did for you, you’re whipping your dick out and telling me to suck it by trying to snitch?”
Jamal looked Samir dead in the eye and said calmly. “I ain’t scared of you, Sa. You’re just another motherfucker off the street.”
Samir cocked his gun. “You ain’t scared nigga? Yeah, just like your fucking pop. That nigga was fearless, too. Ready to ride at the drop of a hat and had niggas shook around here. But unlike you, the nigga was reckless and sloppy until I shut his shit down.”
Jamal looked at Samir wide eyed making sure he understood what Samir had just said to him. He just admitted to killing his father. A man he vaguely remembered. A man that he thought had just upped and left his mother struggling to take care of him and his brother. The room swam as Jamal tried to process what Samir just said.
“That’s right. I got him the fuck out of here so what makes you think I won’t get you and Shawn the fuck out of here too? Y’all niggas ain’t shit to me,” Samir said in a low and threatening tone. Jamal trembled with anger. “Now dig this shit and dig it good, muthafucka. I cleaned up after your punk ass too many times for you to come in my face talking about some snitching shit. Talking about that shit alone is enough to body your bitch ass right now. I’ma leave Shawn out of this. But you nigga, I own your muthafucking ass like I’m your daddy, nigga. I’ma even be nice and let you wait until the end of the school year. Because the more I clean up after you, the more your bitch-ass is going to owe me.” He took the gun away from Jamal’s head and smacked Jamal on the cheek slightly as he smiled. “So we’re cool now? We have an understanding?”
Jamal looked at Samir angrily. “Yeah.”
“Good,” Samir said as he put his gun away. Jamal started walking to the door. “You know, Tamera is too gorgeous to be caught up in something like this. It would be a shame for something to happen to her. After all, danger isn’t for pretty little girls.” He looked at Jamal with a sly grin on his face when he turned to face him. “I’m just saying.”
“You better leave her the fuck out of this. You got a problem with me. Leave the shit with me.” Jamal said through clenched teeth. He swore if he was carrying he would have blown Samir away right then and there.
Samir smiled but then his expression became very serious. “You heard what the fuck I said. If you even try some slick snitching shit, I’ma kill you, Shawn and your fucking wifey.”
They stared daggers at each other for a moment and then Jamal left. He was beginning to think that he had just made matters a lot worse.
Maurice stopped off at Shawn and Jamal’s house to hang out so he didn’t have to be at home when his mother returned.
“Hi Maurice,” Ms. Keyona said when she opened the door for him. “Are you here for Jamal?”
“Yeah, how are you, Ms. Keyona?” Maurice spoke.
“I’m hanging in there. Jamal’s not here. Do you want to see Shawn instead?”
“Yeah, that’s cool,” Maurice replied.
“He’s upstairs. He hasn’t come down almost all day. I don’t know what’s wrong with that boy. I don’t know where Jamal is either. He shot outta here like a bat outta hell earlier without saying one word to me. I swear these boys think they can just come and go as they please and don’t say a word to me. They swear they can handle their problems on their own. That’s why their asses stay in so much trouble. Come on in.”
Maurice came into the house and stood in the living room. Ms. Keyona went to the stairs and called up to Shawn. “Maurice is down here to see you!” She went into the kitchen to finish cooking her dinner. “So how’s school coming along, Maurice?”
“It’s alright.” Maurice replied.
“Have you started applying to colleges yet?”
“Not yet. I’m still looking for one that has my name on it,” he told her.
Shawn came downstairs and gave Maurice a handshake. “What’s up, Mar?” he then whispered. “Is my mom in there?”
“Yeah,” Maurice replied. Shawn motioned for him to come up to his room.
“Shawn, do you know where Jamal went?” Ms. Keyona asked as she came out of the kitchen.
Shawn hesitated. “No, he just said he would be right back. He probably ran to the store or went to see Tamera real quick.” He looked at Maurice and they made a grand exit up to his bedroom. Shawn closed the door behind them once they were inside.
“What’s up with you?” Maurice asked as he sat in the chair at his desk.
Shawn leaned into the wall and told Maurice the entire story about the gun, Samir and the cops that he had on the take and the kind of trouble they were in. “Now Jamal is at Samir’s house trying to see if he can get us out of this shit.”
“Y’all stay in more shit than a little bit. I thought you just told your mom you ain’t know where Jamal was?” Maurice replied.
“If I would’ve told her he was with Samir, she would’ve started bitching and I don’t feel like hearing her shit.”
“I feel you. That’s why I left my house.” They heard the door close downstairs and listened. Jamal exchanged a few brief words with his mother and then came upstairs. He knocked on Shawn’s door and then came in.
“What’s up, Maurice?” Jamal spoke. Maurice nodded his head at him and Jamal closed the door.
“What did he say?” Shawn asked.
Jamal was quiet before he said anything. He was still trying to get over the shock of finding out that his cousin, whom he had trusted all of these years, had murdered his father. “I’ve got good news and I’ve got bad news. And I got some shit that you won’t fucking believe. What I say in this room doesn’t leave this fucking room.” He looked at Maurice and Shawn both so they could see how serious he was. “Shawn, you don’t have anything to worry about. I got this. But that nigga put a gun to my head and told me he doesn’t give a fuck if we’re family or not. He straight said he would kill me, you, -and get this- Tamera, all because I told him I would take the fall for Khalil’s murder, rather than see you go to jail for some shit you didn’t do, or have him keep thinking he can jerk me the fuck around like he’s been doing these last three years.”
Shawn’s mouth was partially open in disbelief. Maurice shook his head. “That’s some fucked up shit yo,” Maurice commented.
“Yeah, he’s on our ass now. So it’s two things we gotta do: stay outta the way and get you and Tamera the fuck outta here after graduation. Or our asses are gonna be dead before we see college.”
Shawn buried his face in his hands. “This shit ain’t cool, man.”
Jamal looked at his brother for a moment debating on whether or not he should tell Shawn that their father was murdered by Samir. He cleared his throat. “Shawn, it’s something else.”
Shawn looked up at his brother. “Does it get any worse than this?”
Jamal looked at his brother as his eyes watered. He shook his head and then blinked his tears away. “Samir killed our father…”
The silence in the room was loud and painful as Shawn and Maurice looked at Jamal in disbelief. Neither could believe the words that came out of his mouth.
“How do you know? What the fuck do you mean Samir killed our father? That nigga told you that shit!?” Shawn said loud and angrily.
“Shawn, calm down. I don’t know the details. But when he put that gun to my head, he basically told me it wouldn’t faze him if he killed us just like it didn’t faze him when he killed our dad.” Jamal shook his head.
“You can’t be fucking serious, Jamal. Y’all cousin killed your fucking dad? Does your mom know?” Maurice asked.
“That’s a good question,” Jamal replied as he thought about how much their mother hated Samir. It was beginning to become clear.
“We need to go fucking ask her then,” Shawn said as he moved towards the door.
Jamal stopped him, “No. Let me talk to her first. Something is going on with this family. It’s a bunch of secrets and shit going on that’s about to hit the fan and blow around. If Mommy knew all this time that Daddy got killed and Samir did it but she didn’t say anything…” Jamal trailed off unable to finish his thought. Too much was going on in his mind. “I’ma talk to her Shawn, alright? But you need to calm down and chill.”
Shawn was fuming but he took heed to his brother’s warning.

Later that night after Maurice went home and Shawn had gone to bed, Jamal knocked on his mother’s door.
“Yes?” she answered, sounding tired.
“Mom, I need to talk to you,” Jamal replied through the door.
“Come on in Jamal,” Ms. Keyona told him.
Jamal opened the door and came into her room. He closed the door behind him and then leaned onto her dresser. He stared at her for a long time.
“What’s wrong, honey?” Ms. Keyona asked him. She could tell that something was deeply troubling her son.
“Tell me about my father?” Jamal asked in a low flat tone.
Ms. Keyona looked him in his face and then looked away. “What do you want to know?”
“Just tell me about him. I want to know who he is. I want to know his name. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll find him,” Jamal studied her facial expressions to see how she would react.
“There’s nothing to tell. His name was Andre Williams. When Shawn was about two years old, he left and never came back.”
Jamal stared at her quietly before he said anything. “You know what? It’s a damn shame that I’m 18 years old, Shawn is 17 and you still won’t tell us the truth. You still won’t tell us the whole story about our father.”
“Watch your mouth!” Ms. Keyona replied.
“Where’s my father?” Jamal asked again.
“I don’t know,” Ms. Keyona replied.
“You don’t know?” Jamal took a couple steps towards her. “Tell me why you never liked Samir, mom?”
“I never said I don’t like Samir. I just know what he’s into and I don’t want him in my house,” Ms. Keyona answered. She was becoming nervous.
“Mom, all these years you let me and Shawn believe our father left you. You let us believe that our dad was this no good bum who walked out and didn’t give a fuck about us. But you knew all along that he was dead.” Jamal’s voice cracked as he continued to talk. “You knew Samir killed my father and you never said anything.”
Ms. Keyona looked at her son wide eyed. “Who told you that, Jamal?”
“How come you never said anything, mom?” Jamal asked. The pain could be heard in his voice.
Ms. Keyona put her hands to her face and started sobbing. “Jamal, I couldn’t say anything,” she sobbed unable to say another word.
“Mom, what happened to my father?” Jamal asked again.
Ms. Keyona wiped her face. She waited a moment before she began speaking. “Your father was out there in the streets hustling. He worked for a man named Smitty but he was like his right hand man. I never really nagged him about his business because he told me from the door that as long as I took care of home, he would take care of us. So I stayed in my place and played my part as you kids would say today. He was respected because he didn’t take any shit. Just like you, Jamal. I swear, the two of you are so much alike, it frightens me.” Ms. Keyona cleared her throat and continued.
“Samir was trying to come up in the streets under Smitty’s rival, Kristoff. Out of no-where, Smitty got locked up one night so your father started taking care of business for him. There was a rumor that someone snitched and that was how Smitty got knocked. A lot of people said Samir snitched to the cops to take the heat off of him and Kristoff. Out of no-where, Smitty was killed in his cell. Knifed in his sleep if I remember correctly. I think they figured if he was dead, that would give them the opportunity to take his territory. But your father maintained things. Samir wanted your father to work for him and Kristoff. Your father turned him down and things got heated. There was supposed to be a truce. One night, Samir came by the house. I remember I had just put Shawn to bed and you were sleep. You were about 4 and Shawn had just turned 3. I remember they were getting loud and normally I would stay upstairs when he was conducting business but I never trusted Samir and had a feeling he was going to do something dirty. I never would’ve thought that he would kill your father, I mean at the time he was only sixteen at best.
“I heard your father say something that alarmed me and I came downstairs. I saw Samir pull the gun. I screamed out something and before I knew it, he shot your father in the chest. He killed your father right in front of me. Kristoff was there too. They told me if I wanted to see both you and Shawn grow up, I’d better keep my mouth closed about what I saw.” Ms. Keyona became silent for a moment. “And so I did.”
“Your father was everything to me. And Jamal I swear you are the splitting image of that man. Seeing you in the streets like this scares the hell out of me because I don’t want the same thing that happened to your father to happen to you. I hate Samir for what he did. God knows I do. And I wish something could have been done but he has too many cops in this city at his back.”
Jamal looked at his mother with mixed emotions. A part of him was angry that she had kept that kind of secret from him and his brother. Another part of him was furious that all of this time Samir had been playing him, using him. The man he trusted and admired for so long was really a back stabbing fraud that murdered his father right in front of his mother and had her living in fear and living a lie for so long.
Jamal walked over to his mother and gave her a hug without saying anything. He kissed her on her forehead and said, “Everything will be fine, mom. Don’t worry.” He went back to his bedroom and sat down. He didn’t want to do anything rash that would cause his brother and girlfriend to be killed. But one thing was for certain and two things were for sure, Samir was going to pay for what he put his family through.

For purchasing options, visit www.anitbeetproductions.net/purchase.html Thanks for stopping by! Peace!

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Feature Friday- Victor Bunn for ViBu designs

October 12, 2012 Feature FridayPhilly Support PhillyRespect  No comments


Feature Friday is among us again, folks! This week is a special week for me because I have the honor of featuring my older brother, Victor. In my PSYCH class on Wednesday, my professor stated that it is quite possible for a parent to have a favorite child. Well, I have a favorite sibling. I love all of my siblings equally, but it was always something about Victor that made me take to him more.
We grew up in Blumberg Projects, and I can remember so many days where my brother would sit on our porch under the yellow awning and draw. I remember watching him and saying "I wanna do that, too". I remember Saturday mornings he would wake me up early and bring me into his room. He had posters of almost every cartoon and video game you could imagine: Mega Man, Metroid, Mario Brothers, Transformers, Sonic, ThunderCats. And he had this old air hockey table that he converted into his space to draw on. He would sit me down, give me some of his sketch pad paper, point to something on his wall and say "Draw that." When I started out, I was heavey handed; dark lines in my sketches that left a residue behind no matter how hard I erased. He would say, "What are you doing? Man..." and then throw the paper in the trash and hold my hand to show me how to sketch lightly so the dark residue wouldn't be left behind whenever I needed to erase. I used to get frustrated because my work didn't look like his. But he would still tell me that my drawings were good and encourage me to keep going. I remember the first AWESOME sketch I did was of Mario jumping in the air with the mushroom power up in his hand and it looked JUST LIKE HIS POSTER!! (It was a little slanted lol but my talent had advanced far beyond that of a typical 8 year old) From then on, I kept drawing. If he drew something, I would sneak a look into his sketch pad when he wasn't around and try to draw it too. Not recognizing my talent, I stopped drawing because my work didn't look like his. It was almost as good as his, but not quite, so I stopped, not realizing my brother had been drawing longer than I had been alive, so of course his work would be better than mine. I didn't get it then. But I get it now.
To me, this blog post is the most inspirational and informative that I've done so far. I only wish that my brother and I could have spoken so the conversation could be recorded like my previous posts, because I know without a shadow of a doubt that the conversation would have been what a lot of people need to hear. Though my brother is very busy, he was kind enough to do the Q&A via email, as well as send me links to the music that he's done and samples of his art work.


Yani: How old were you when you knew for certain that drawing was something you wanted to indulge in?
Victor: I started when I was 7 or 8 years old. My father was teaching my brother how to illustrate and I was watching from a few feet away. Unfortunately, our household was typically dysfunctional and the times when my father wasn't there I'd look at his old sketchbooks. My father inspired me to learn to draw even though he never taught me anything first hand.
Yani: Where would you say your creativity comes from?
Victor: My creativity comes from the world around me and sometimes, it comes from what the world could be as opposed to what it is. It also comes from the desire to master one's craft. Many artists are struggling to find their own immortality. They want to be commended for their work while they're still alive and praised for it long after they're dead. My focus on these ideas were heavy in past, to a lesser extent, they still apply. But these days, my creativity is definitely fueled more by the desire to master the craft. The more I learn, the more I want to learn.
Yani: What inspired you to pursue animation in college?
Victor: I used to love Japanese Animation. That was a definite inspiration. I always believed that Animation was the next logical step after comic book illustration and video games design. But Animation wasn't mainstream during those times as it is today. It was a niche field of study and only a few schools offered courses for it. Fortunately, University of the Arts (UArts), here in Philadelphia, offers a four year degree in Animation so I jumped on the opportunity. By comparison, I also had the option to attend The Art Institute for Animation, but UArts offered so much more; not just in terms of the course study, but in terms of the university as a whole. So my choice was clear. The negative of pursuing Animation in college is I almost completely lost my love for Japanese Animation. Understand, Animation students are making their own animated shorts in class. Creating the characters, the concepts, the motion...the whole process, using some of the same tools that are standard in industry. Once you learn how to do this and learn it well, it becomes very easy to see the lack of quality in many anime. It was an eye opening experience.
Yani: What are some of your favorite software programs to use for graphic design and why?
Victor: I use many industry standards that one would expect; Adobe CS series of creative applications, Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign etc, are the tools that many firms use by default. There's not too much a person can't do using these tools. But the applications are cost prohibitive for the average artist/designer to own independently. So, for less extensive work, I use Sketchbook Pro, Photoshop Touch, Google Docs and Polaris on Android tablets. I also use Pixlr Editor, Sumo Paint, Google Docs and Harmony on Chrome OS. There's also a level of convenience of being able to work directly from my tablet as opposed to carrying a cumbersome laptop and extra power supplies. I've learned that sometimes it's better to not reveal which tools were used to create a piece. A high quality product that was created using software that's not industry standard will sometimes be viewed negatively. I've met those that believe that the technology is the end all-be all of a person's talent as opposed to understanding true talent being used in combination with the technology. A horrible product doesn't suddenly become excellent because it was made using a $3,000 creative suite. Skilled designers can still create great work without the $3,000 creative suite.
Yani: When did you begin to develop your musical talents?
Victor: I was very lucky growing up. My family lived in a bad part of Philadelphia. But it was during a time when there were many opportunities for kids to participate in after school activities. In the mid 80's, Ms. Virginia Lam was a teacher at my elementary school, John F. Reynolds in North Philadelphia. She produced musical productions and plays starring local kids. These productions taught kids many of the fundamentals of music production. It caused the spark so to speak, as the productions became big media covered affairs after a time. As with most things, these productions ultimately came to an end. But the spark was still there.
Growing up, I listened to the radio like everyone else. Hip hop, Pop and R&B were the standards. But I grew tired of most of it because it all started to sound the same, so I branched out and started listening to Rock, New Age, Jungle. I was looking for compositions that were different, sounded different, but still well thought out. I joined the school band while attending Robert Vaux Jr. High. There I learned to read music and I learned to perform on stage as second clarinet under Mr. Dubin. This helped strengthen my foundation. When I arrived in high school, I hit a wall. I still listened to music but I no longer played. Coming from a poor family, there was no money for instruments and there was no mental encouragement for the pursuit of music or art outside of school. Even though my father has a great love of music, he wasn't around. My mother didn't really understand the point of pursuing any of it, so I was on my own.In 1992 or 93, I heard Echoes Radio for the first time and I was awe-struck. Its exactly what I was looking for in terms of feel and library of sounds used to create. Echoes played alternative music that one would never hear on mainstream stations... Ambient, New Age, hard to describe music. Shortly thereafter, I was given an Amiga 500 computer for my birthday. Ahead of its time in terms of music production and graphics, I used it to explore digital sound in a way that wasn't possible on any other platform at the time and listened to Echoes in conjunction. This kept me going until I arrived at University of the Arts where the real fun began. In my freshman year, I met a student named John Bowles. We shared a lot of the same love for graphics, animation, computer technology, and gaming. We spent the next four years piecing together digital music equipment and sharing ideas. It was fantastic times. We came up with some excellent songs even though our gear was extremely limited. My first major purchase was a Boss DR-5 drum machine from 8th Street Music that I later used with a Korg - 05RW sound module through MIDI. I've been producing my own music ever since.
Yani: What music groups or bands influenced your own musical style?
Victor: I still have an appreciation for older Jazz, Blues, Rock, Funk, Soul from the 60's, 70's and 80's, but these days, my main influences would be Solar Fields, Vincent Diamante, Vince Dicola, Austin Wintory, Hans Zimmer, Graeme Revell, Clint Mansell, Yoko Kanno, Meshell Ndegeocello, Prince, Marcomé, Lisa Gerard, Dead Can Dance, Recoil, Future Sound of London, Themroc, Gein, Tripnotix and many others.
Yani: What are some of your favorite music instruments that you like to use when making music (ie: keyboards, drum machines etc)?
Victor: Currently, I'm having a love affair with the Roland Fantom G6. I bought it a little over a year ago and it is a truly amazing keyboard. My prior favorite was the Roland XP-50, which I still own. The XP series of keyboards have very steep learning curves but they were some of the best during their time. Using the Fantom G6 after using the XP can be a bit overwhelming at times because of the increased power and flexibility the board gives when playing parts, mixing, remixing and just from general use. It's so robust that I don't feel the need to use anything else really. It's not perfect of course, but if a person is struggling to get results with a Fantom, then they're just not trying.
Yani: Do you think creativity is lacking in todays music such as hip-hop and R&B?
Victor: Yes. Without a doubt. As I mentioned before, I stopped listening to Hip Hop and R&B on a regular basis many years ago because it just all started to sound the same; or worse, when producers would sample someone else's music while still claiming their song is original. I've never been a fan of sampling the way it's used in Hip-Hop and R&B. There's no skill in it. Sample weird sounds, unique sounds to be played later, but wholesale rip offs of other songs are pathetic. Even when it comes to remixes, the only exception to the rule is if a person's remix is better than the original. If a remix can't do the original justice, then what's the point? Rhymes aren't creatively written anymore on average. Hip-Hop used to be a creative outlet that featured well written verses and urban poetry that carried a message in a powerful way. Today, more often than not, it's a man or woman rambling about nonsense on the mic for an hour with a featured list that's as long as movie credits. In some cases, Hip-Hop doesn't even rhyme anymore, which is just sad.
Yani: Could you see yourself doing music for films, plays or cartoons?
Victor: Of course. If you look at some of my favorite artists, many of them have produced albums and soundtracks for films, animation and games. It allows for more creativity and freedom than doing the usual mainstream genre releases. Soundtracks have inspired me for many years.
Yani: For a young boy who is heavy into drawing, graphic design, music and animation but lacks resources and support, what advice would you give him?
Victor: Keep practicing and try to surround themselves with people of similar interest. They have to become strong enough to defend their craft against the "crabs in a barrel" scenario. Meaning, some people would rather destroy a person with talent than see them realize their potential and succeed. The saddest part about a lot of kids interested in these creative fields are, their parents/families have no interest or understanding of them. They refuse to take the time to learn enough to be supportive of their kids and simply leave them to their own devices. There's no nurturing or support, so a lot of kids will ultimately just give up. The logic being, "my own family doesn't care, so why should I?" Just as in the "crabs in a barrel" situation I mentioned, some families will even revel in a talented kid's failure. To see a young family member strive to excel is believed as making the other members of the family look bad because their parents gave up on their dreams or never had similar talent. Maybe the siblings aren't as talented or they just hate the attention the dedicated sibling receives. Whatever the reasoning, the result is the same, no support. The laws of comparison can be damning and the concept of families being more destructive and vile than enemies on the street still holds true in some cases.So a young boy or girl that has a strong interest in creative fields but has no support, has to develop the tenacity to continue to practice and learn despite the lack of support. Learn to do more with less. Find people of similar interest and be willing to learn as much as possible about their craft. When the support isn't there, these kids have to understand the importance of being self sufficient in gathering their own knowledge and inspiration. Depending on family or people that aren't supportive will only lead to disappointment and failure. Through it all, they have to practice. It's the only way to get better. There's no shortcut for this.I want to thank my brother Victor for allowing me to feature him on my blog, Philly Support Philly. To check out his music as well as his art work, click the links on the right side of the widget.This has been another Feature Friday brought to you by Anitbeet Productions and Philly Support Philly. Let's continue to support each other, uplift one another and keep Philly in a positive light. Thanks for reading! Have a safe, positive and productive weekend! PEACE!!

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Feature Friday: Uptown Crown- Prime City

October 5, 2012 Feature FridayPhilly Support Philly  No comments


Feature Friday is among us again folks! I get so excited when it's time for me to post these. I was asked by someone why I do the Feature Friday each week. The answer is simple. There are a lot of positive and creative things going on in Philly, and the talent is remarkable. We're always hearing about the shootings, killings, rapings, police brutality and injustices that occur in what is supposed to be the City of Brotherly Love. It's on the news, it's in the paper, it's on the internet and radio. I would like to shine the light on people who aren't letting the negativity over-rule our city and they continue to strive for better. I also do this because it's fun for me and my own personal way of making up for ignoring my calling for being a journalist.
This week, I have the pleasure of featuring Prime City, who in my opinion is a lyrical genius. I watch most of my twitter followers from a distance. But I pay close attention to those who I can tell have straight up talent and I can honestly say Prime City has some raw, lyrical talent. I'm not as heavy into hip-hop as I was when I was a teenager. I feel as though Hip-Hop has turned disastrous and has been flooded with garbage mascarading as good music. The sampling of beats mixed with the jibberish played on the radio in my opinion is NOT Hip-Hop. But when I first started listening to Prime City's songs I said "Hey, I think we have something here." I'm not B.S'ing when I tell you that I literally was in my house HOLLERING as I listened to "DC 2 Intro" and watched the video on Youtube. If someone were to ask "What is Hip-Hop missing?", my honest answer would be: "Prime City. So if y'all asses are sleeping on him, wake the hell up, do your ears a favor and let his music flow through your speakers." His talent is undeniable and it is clearly shown on his latest CD release "King of Pressure" which you can find in Black in Noble on Broad & Erie (Cop up!!!). One of my favorite tracks on there is "My Moment" as I feel as though he touched on a lot of things that some people (not just rappers) just don't have the heart to speak on and I truly dig that. He is apart of the fast growing, popular Entertainment group- Elite Klass along with Kotta Man, (who I am trying to track down so I can feature him as well so if you read this, get with me ASAP. Don't make me shout you out by your government LOL) Bryant Jennings, who was my Friday Feature two weeks back, Relly Rostein and a few others.


I had the pleasure of speaking with Prime City yesterday and he was kind enough to allow me to do a Q&A with him. To listen to our conversation fully, you can either click here, or check it out in the widget on the right side of this blog entry. This was one of the most interesting conversations I've had in a while when it comes to Hip-Hop and I may have to snatch him up again for what I believe may be an interesting debate on what Tupac's views on Barack Obama would be if he were still alive.


Yani: I want to thank UpTown Crown for allowing me to feature him on my blog Philly Support Philly

Prime City: I want to thank you for having me and for reaching out.

Yani: Your stage name "Uptown Crown Prime City" is interesting. Where did the name come from

Prime City: Prime City comes from when I was in high school it was "Prime Time" then I just got a little too old to be called Prime Time so I just changed it up to Prime City. Uptown Crown is a series of mix tapes...my 1st CD is called "Uptown Crown" too which is a continuation of a mixtape so the mixtape was an advertisement for the album...so I figure why not promo the CD name on my twitter name instead of my regular name so that's how that came out

Yani: What inspired you to become a rapper

Prime City: Just everything around me. I just became a rapper from writing down stuff that was going on around me. Ramsquad was one of my biggest influences. One of my early influences were Tribe and Wu...I just wanted to be that voice for people who don't have it so yeah that's the reason.

Yani: How would you describe your rapping style

Prime City: Aggressive but not street aggressive...a lot of times the most aggressive people have the least to say. I've got the street edge but kinda more complex lyrics than, you know, the typical street rapper...I would describe my style as like a '98 street rapper with a rare flare of consciousness

Yani: What do you think of the latest rappers in the industry and how do you feel hip-hop has changed in the last decade

Prime City: From 2002 'til now...it used to be that you couldn't steal somebody's style, you can't steal somebody's swag, you can't take that and run with it. Now it's just like all you have to do is copy somebody else. I would say that originality is at an all time low right now. Even people who say they are original are not original. I don't see too many individuals in hip-hop from then to now. In 2002 we had Blue Print 2, the beef with Jay-Z and Nas was just getting over...that's the biggest thing for me, it's way less originality now than from 10 years ago

Yani: Tell me a little bit about your new CD King of Pressure. Which tracks are your favorite

Prime City: Wow, my favorite tracks on King of Pressure...definitely "My Moment" free style... "uptown finest"...that kinda described my style context...I was going in on it and definitely the Meek Mill intro I wanted to get a street one...it's like 30 hip-hop street sites where I can get a lot of numbers so that was cool. Those were my favorite 3

Yani: On your Instagram, I noticed you post a lot of pictures of people who purchased your CD. Where would you say most of your support has come from with your release of King of Pressure

Prime City: It's been all throughout Philly but I gotta say my neighborhood is backing me 100%  25th Street 25th and Master, Blumberg Projects they all support me 100%. Shout out to 58th street too.

Yani: If you could collaborate with anyone in the industry at this time, who would it be

Prime City: I honestly never thought of this question but it would have to be Pusha T. Even though I'm not as big of a drug dealer on a track as Pusha T, Our styles...our voices...he's probably the most similar to me. If I had a track with him on my album, it would definitely be my favorite one. I haven't even heard it yet but it's dope in my head.

Yani: How has hip-hop impacted your life

Prime City: It's kept me from doing a lot of dumb stuff. I knda always knew this is what I wanted to do. Just having a goal and a purpose just kept me out of stuff that my friends around me were getting into. Of course I've done stuff that everyone else has done but for the most part I just stayed in my hip-hop lane. It's definitely kept me away from the BS. That's like the most important thing...Even if someone doesn't become a hip-hop super star, they're staying out of the way. So that's what it did for me.

Yani: I listened to "Lean with it" freestyle and "DC 2 intro" & loved those 2 tracks as well as the videos. Is it easier for you to free style without a beat or do the rhymes come easier with a beat

Prime City: It depends on the setting. If I'm in the studio, then (it's) the beat but if I'm on a street corner then I don't need a beat. I don't want anything I just feed off of the raw energy. What we talked about what's missing, (from hip-hop) that element is missing. I don't think too many of these dudes can sit on a street corner and give you 40 odd bars out of no-where.

Yani: I have to ask this question because it never gets old and I personally like hearing other views on this topic. Tupac Vs Biggie, in your opinion who was better than who

Prime City: With them it's like playing with fire because you can't say too much about either one of them but you know, I'm just honest. Growing up, it was no comparison because I was more into the lyrics so there's was no comparison, Biggie was hands down better. It used to be to the point where I just didn't get it. I remember stopping a whole classroom. I used to live in L.A... it was my 11th grade year and I stopped the whole classroom by saying Tupac wasn't that dope. Even the teacher just started breaking it down. I mean, I changed the whole thing from Math to Tupac just saying Tupac wasn't that dope. So you know how it is on the West Coast but, as I got older, I just loved a lot of stuff that 'Pac stood for and that really transitioned into his music too, I'm like- he was dope all this time. My favorite is still Biggie but I definitely got love and respect for Tupac

Yani: Do you feel as though hip-hop is part of the reason for the dysfunction in this upcoming generation or is it a part of the ongoing violence and sexual promiscuity

Prime City: Maybe the mainstream hip-hop...I mean of course the hip-hop culture has a heavy influence on whatever it touches and it's all over the world. But how can I say that when...hip-hop is in the suburban neighborhoods but nobody is being killed there. They love Gucci Mane and Rick Ross just as much as they love them in the 'hood. I think it just comes down to your circumstances. People look at stuff and don't break it down like it should be...you can say it's been 300 murders but they're not looking at the cause...when somebody gets killed for something, that's an individual thing, not that it doesn't group into a big thing as a whole but...still I'm not looking at it like hip-Hop can hypnotize people into being a bad person... the biggest thing that hip-hop has is over seas and they're not having any of those problems...So no...I can't say that

Yani: How has your talent as a rapper, producer progressed since you first began

Prime City: I've just been getting progressively better...knowing that I don't know everything is probably what makes me what I am. I never ever settled for anything so if I'm in the studio and I hear something...say I use a new plugin that I just got off of the internet as Im engineering a track, I'll go back and make all of my other ones like that...just improving everyday and then looking back saying "I'm way better than last year." It's just a day by day, (process) getting better each day

Yani: What advice would you give to a younger male hoping to get his foot in the door to hip-hop

Prime City: Know somebody. I don't like selling that "work hard" dream to people. Like "work hard and you'll get there". Yeah, work hard because it's hard work involved. But you've got to network. I remember I was looking at this thing and it was about money...the guy on there, it was like this brainwashing thing about how you can get it but he said something that makes sense. He said "where does your paycheck come from?" your paycheck comes from a person and their paycheck comes from a person so network. Get out there and know somebody...it's hard work but you gotta get out and mess with the people. Around the time I had the CD coming out, I had to go and hit the streets and mess with the people. Get in the right circles, that positive energy and you will track the right thing.

SHOUT out to "Reek, Charles LV, Lady Lyric, n Leel Mamba from Elite Klass Sports! For more information on Prime City, you can follow him on his Twitter. Check out some of his awesome videos as well as his music on his Youtube Channel. As I mentioned, he is apart of the Entertainement venue,

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Feature Friday- Mr. & Mrs Q. For Q-Touch Photography

September 28, 2012 Feature FridayPhilly Support Philly  No comments


Feature Friday is among us again folks! I don't know about you, but I get excited every week when it's time to post this entry because so far I have featured some awesome people! This week I am pleased to feature the fabulously talented and gifted dynamic duo from Philly, Mr. and Mrs. Q of Q-Touch Photography AKA Tyisha and Lamar. This married couple and owners of their own photography venue were kind of enough to allow me to feature them on my blog, Philly Support Philly and I must say, it was a pleasure speaking with the both of them.
I have know Tyisha for 20 years. Yes 20 long years!! It's amazing how time flies! We came up together in North Philly's Blumberg Projects, went to elementary, middle & high school together and I can honestly say it is a pleasure to have known someone as humble, well rounded and kind as this young lady. I could see Tyisha being a model in middle and high school because of her striking beauty, coupled with her height and great fashion sense so seeing her engaged in a photography business is quite fitting. I had the privilege of doing a photo-shoot with Mr. & Mrs. Q in 2011 and it was an excellent experience. The two of them were very professional, they opened their home to me to do my photo-shoot, my photos were returned to me in a timely fashion and they worked well with me considering how nervous I was LOL! I wholeheartedly recommend this couple to anyone who is looking for a photographer who demonstrates great professionalism, has excellent pricing and their work speaks for itself- grade A quality!


I had the chance to speak with Mrs. Q earlier this week and was able to do a Q&A with both her and Mr. Q, who was able to join us near the end. I also was able to record our conversation with her permission. To listen to our full conversation, you can either click the link here or check it out over on the right in the widget


Yani: This is a quick Q&A with the Fabulous Mrs. Q. Can I have the name of your photography business?

Mrs. Q: It's Q-Touch Photography, Videography and Event Planning

Yani: First off I'd like to Thank Mrs. Q for taking time out of her busy schedule and allowing me to feature her on my blog Philly Support Philly For those who aren't familiar with your remarkable work, could you tell us a little bit about your photography business?

Mrs. Q: My husband and I, we started our business...it was 2 years this September and it basically wasnt planned. Event planning was something that I thought of but photography and videography was definitely not something we planned to get into it just kinda happened. How it all got started...basically I complained to Lamar about the camera that I had (laughs) I probably shouldn't say the name of the camera. But the camera that I had was giving me too many problems....when it comes to pictures, my pictures are everything. He purchased a new camera unbeknownst to me. And he said if we're going to spend all of this money on a camera we need to step it up a notch and get a camera that will perform at its best at all times...From there it just kinda took off. Again, it wasn't our intentions, it's just that we bought this camera and invested in this camera and we just said hey, we bought this camera...let's see what we can do with it. Our first test shoot was Labor Day 2010 with my family at a block party. we took the camera out, took a couple shots. Played around with them in photoshop lightroom and...Q-Touch became...

Yani: Back in the day, we had peaches and Herb, Ashford and Simpson, Ike and Tina and now we have the fabulous Mr. and Mrs. Q. What influenced the two of you to start your own photography twosome?

Mrs. Q: The demand...like once we started playing around with it and little by little we started purchasing equipment, learning what the camera can do, showing the stuff that we were doing especially what Lamar was doing like with editing, he was really going hard with it. From there the demand just started to grow and grow and grow

Yani: What kinds of events do you normally photograph?

Mrs. Q: Everything from kiddy parties to weddings block parties, proms...photo shoots, promo photos, advertising, corporate and business...graduation. A couple of months ago we did my cousin's..he graduated from Edward Waters college...The possibilities are endless for different types of photoshoots...any and everything

Yani: photography seems to have become a huge industry where more and more people are trying to get into it. How does your work differ from the many other photographers who are trying to surface?

Mrs. Q: I'm sure any other photographer would say they try to be different. We definitely want to always think outside of the box. So far we have a couple of weddings under our belt and a couple of maternity shoots under our belt. Every photoshoot and every event that we do, even though we've done plenty of those shoots, with each one we get we say lets look at the last ones we did or the last 3. We've got to come up with some stuff. We're always talking and browsing the internet to see what others are doing and we say we have to do what they're not doing. We try to keep up with the trends. We try to keep it different, fresh and think outside of the box.

Yani: Do you & Mr. Q plan to branch out into mainstream like runway, fashion, maybe even photo journalism?

Mrs Q: Yes most definitely. However far we can go with this thing, we're trying to get there. Like I said, how this came out of no where, Q-Touch came from nothing. We didn't plan it,God just dropped it on us. So yeah, we're trying to take it as far as we can.

Yani: Between working and doing photoshoots, does it ever get too busy for you two to enjoy being a married couple?

Mrs. Q: no, never because even when we're working, we're still being a married couple because we do this together, we work together, we enjoy it...so it doesn't take from us being a married couple because we do this together.

Yani: Was it hard for you to build up your clientele when the two of you first started out.

Mrs. Q: In my opinion for us, no it wasn't hard. Our first photo shoot was Labor Day 2010. I post those pictures on Facebook after Lamar played around with them in Photoshop and...my sister's husband's cousin within five minutes of posting the pictures, she IM'ed me asking if we do pictures. Just from posting the pictures from the first camera, we said yeah. Shd asked us to do her wedding and we said yeah. So for us it wasn't hard.

Yani: What are some of your most favorite types of photo shoots that you like to do?

Mr Q: I like to do the baby pictures. It's very interesting.

Yani: For those who view your photos and are interested in modeling or doing photography, what advice would you give to them?

Mr. Q: It's a very interesting business you know, it's so many different kinds of pictures that we can provide for them. If you have a business always speak about it, talk about it. Tell the photographer the types of pictures that you want.

Mrs Q: That's my big role here, doing the booking. I don't think Lamar has done any bookings. If he gets any he'll tell them let me refer you to my wife. I like to get an idea of what they want, get a feel for their personality, try to build a relationship with them so when they come to do the shoot we have an idea of what kind of person they are and the kind of pictures they want

Mr. Q: For a person that is trying to become a photographer I would say You're not going to get better unless you take pictures. You can look up a whole bunch of videos on-line or watch people do it but you have to do it yourself. You're going to make plenty of mistakes, but just keep trying and keep practicing. Eventually you will learn. The main thing is not with your camera but always the light...start looking at light and seeing how it reflects off of people...you'll get a better understanding.

Yani: When people start their own business, they have an ultimate goal that they would like to reach. What would and Mr. Q's ultimate goal be for your photography venue?

Mrs Q: We want to take this as far as we can possibly take this. I could say that we want to get into doing photography for celebrities or doing journalism. I feel like that's putting a limitation on it because we want to get to this point and when we get there that's it. ..We definitely want this to be like a family thing we do plan on having children soon and this could be something that we pass onto them. We may have some little photographers and videographers (lol)...We do want to be our own bosses and make it so this provides for our family.

Mr Q: Another thing I already feel like I've accomplished alot already. My goal was to have pictures for my family. Now that I am as far as I am now, I can provide my family with whatever pictures they want and they can be passed down to my family.

Yani: I want to thank you, Tyisha and Mr Q: Lamar for allowing me to do this Q&A and allowing me to feature you on my blog Philly Support Philly. One last question I forgot to ask, what is the name of your website for anyone who wants to book a photoshoot with you?

Mrs Q: qtouchphotography.zenfolio.com
I had an awesome time chatting with Mr. & Mrs. Q. It is great to not only have Philly Support Philly, but to have Blacks support Black owned businesses especially when they are owned by a powerful, loving and supporting MARRIED couple such as these two. Please check out their awesome work on the above mentioned website. You can find the fabulous Mrs. Q on Facebook. Enjoy the mini photo gallery in the widget over to the right of this blog entry.
This has been another Feature Friday brought to you by Anitbeet Productions and Philly Support Philly. Let’s continue to support each other, uplift one another and keep Philly in a positive light. Thanks for reading. Have a safe, productive and BLESSED weekend. PEACE!!

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My First Amazon Review for “A Thug’s Redemption”

September 25, 2012 A Thug's Redemption  No comments

A Thug's Redemption

Today is a super awesome day for me because I received my first review on Amazon.com!! I've made many sales on Kindle and sold out my first 50 copies of A Thug's Redemption within 48 hours of releasing it earlier this month. I honestly was not expecting such a turn around. I know I had supporters, but I had no idea they would have my back so heavily. I thank each and everyone of them for their support. What sucks is, those who purchased on Kindle, I cannot see who they are so that I can thank them individually. To some, it may not be a big deal, but with me, I would like to have contact with my supporters to let them know "I see you, and you are appreciated." I have had the fortune to have some of my readers send me photos of the book once they received it. And those photos I posted on my Fan Page on Facebook. Anyone who wishes to send me photos of themselves with my book, please feel free to either tag me on my Facebook page or you can email them to me at yani@anitbeetproductions.net and I will put them up promptly.When I first began selling my novel, I asked for people to leave feedback. But after talking with my dear friend "Kytten", she advised me not to do so; that it would be better if people did it on their own so that the feedback is genuine and seems real. What Candice wrote for my books' Review was genuine and overwhelmed me. I remember how the book Be More Careful snatched me from the very first page, and to be compared to that sort of attention grabbing experience is remarkable. So to Candice, I thank you!People have been asking me when will I be doing book signings. Soon very soon! Since I am self-published, I am pretty much a one woman army, sending out press releases, marketing my book to make sure it is available to as many outlets as possible; not to mention I am a full-time student and a full-time single mom. But I promise my readers and supporters that I will be having a book signing very soon. Once I have booked my first one, I will post about it on My Twitter as well as on Facebook. That's all for now folks! PEACE!!!

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Feature Friday- Boxing Sensation Bryant “By-By” Jennings

September 21, 2012 Feature FridayPhilly Support Philly  No comments


Feature Friday is among us again folks, and this week, I have the pleasure of featuring a former classmate and Heavy Weight boxing Sensation, Mr. Bryant "By-By" Jennings. As a child, if someone had told me that Bryant would be an undefeated heavy weight boxer (15-0 7KOs), I would have believed them. From what I can remember, Bryant had a tenacity as a child that was uncanny. I joked with him on how much of a bad ass he was, but his "take no sh!t" attitude coupled with his aggression, hard work and dedication, is why he has made it to the incredible position he is in at this time.
When I first heard (in 2010) that Bryant was boxing, I said to myself- "I'm not surprised". As I said previously, I could see him kicking ass on a daily basis. What's cool about it is, he's doing it on a professional basis. The moniker "By-By" is quite fitting. As shown in his last fight against Chris Koval, his opponent said "bye-bye" after only 35 seconds into the match. The 6'2 230lb boxer is definitely a force to be reckoned with. Heavy weight boxer Bryant "By-By" Jennings
The knock out champ not only is an on the rise boxing sensation, but is also a father and still holds down a 9-5, showing his ability to not only be a man of strength in the ring, but outside of the ring as well.
And no, the talent does not stop there; as Bryant also has a lyrical gift that he proudly showcased in his recent single "Picture That", which did numbers on Youtube in just a short time of being released, and is also apart of the popular entertainment venue, "EliteKlass". To view that video, you can check it out on the widget.
I had a chance to speak with Bryant earlier this week and was able to do a Q&A with him.
Yani: What made you want to get into boxing?
Bryant: Just being a competitive person. Once I started, it felt good and I couldn't turn back
Yani: Coming up, did you ever imagine or see yourself as being this growing sensation in boxing?
Bryant: Never before, but once I started boxing, I immediately accepted my dreams and set out to accomplish my goals.
Yani: How did you get the moniker "By By"?
Bryant: It came from my nickname "B-Y". After I got my first knock out, people wanted to call me "by by". "Once you get hit, you go "bye bye"
Yani: What was your first big fight like? How did you prepare for it
mentally and what was going through your mind when you first stepped into the ring?
Bryant: My first big fight was 1/21/12. I knew I was ready mentally. I was in shape, I don't drink or smoke. And it was also my break-through fight. But I felt very confident with my ability and I knew my opponent had no chance to beat me. He had nothing.
Yani: Who would you say is your biggest source of inspiration and motivation?
Bryant: Other boxers like Floyd Mayweather and Andre Ward. Jay-Z also, because he is a person who dominates and has a lot of ambition. He is consistent, has a lot of determination and is proficient. He mastered his craft. He's a perfectionist.
Yani: Your last fight against Chris Koval resulted in a knock out in only 35 seconds. Were you disappointed that it didn't last longer or was that pretty much your prediction?
Bryant: I didn't predict that it would happen that fast. He was just caught with that first combo and then I caught him again. But I was confident that I would get the knock out.
Yani: I also got a chance to hear your track "Picture That" and saw the video on Youtube. Is it safe to say that we may get to see just as much of you on stage as we do in the ring?
Bryant: Yes it's coming. That was my solo release with EliteKlass and there's more coming
Yani: If there was anything that you could change about the Boxing industry, what would it be?
Bryant: The consistency of fighting. I would like to see (boxing) go back to 15 rounds. I would also like for the industry to be more wide spread in areas like Philly and B-More. I would also like to fight more often. But I also think fighters' names blow up prematurely before they are given a chance to show what they can really do.
Yani: Did you ever see yourself here, being one of the hottest entities in Boxing, being asked for your autograph? How does that weigh on you?
Bryant: I would never deny kids an autograph but, I'm aware of people who try to bootleg and come up from other names. It's very exciting when I'm asked for an autograph. Sometimes it does get crazy and the attention becomes unbearable. But I stay focused on my goals and mastering my craft more. I stay clear of people focused on trying to live off of me and the ones who forget about the hard work I've put in. I try to keep my mind off of everything and try to remain the same person that I am.
Yani: I'm sure in your old North Philly neighborhood, there are kids who see you as their hero or someone they truly admire. For those who hope to get into boxing when they are older, what advice would you give to them?
Bryant: Don't drink, stay away from drugs, stay disciplined and focused, and you can accomplish anything.


It was great speaking with Bryant. I have some advice for his future opponents. PROTECT YOURSELF AT ALL TIMES! This man has an 84" reach and a nasty combo that is sure to make you go "By-By". LOL!
For those who haven't had a chance to see any of Bryant's fights, go to Youtube, put his name in and watch him work. For his music video "Picture That", you can also find it on Youtube, or view it in my widget over on the right side of this blog. It's definitely HOTNESS!!

Feature Friday is brought to you by Anitbeet Productions & Philly Support Philly. Let's continue to support each other, uplift one another and keep Philly in a positive light. Thanks for reading. Have a safe and productive weekend. PEACE!!

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Football Sunday in Philly- Ugly Game, Beautiful Victory

September 16, 2012 Football sundayPhilly Support Philly  No comments


Back to back Sunday Football games played by The Philadelphia Eagles were ugly. Butt Ugly! Turn-overs, fumbles, interceptions. But the end result was a beautiful victory and The Eagles now have a 2-0 record to start off the Football season. It was a grueling process in week 2 of the NFL season, but Andy Reid's team pulled it off. One of my personal favorite moments in this game against the Baltimore Ravens was seeing Brent Celek hurdle over Ed Reed! Whoever said "White Men Can't Jump" needs to check their facts because my boy has some serious hops!!
In the first half alone, the Eagles had 3 turnovers. The first, being an interception that Mike Vick threw which was completely avoidable. (Mistakes happen). But in the end, the Eagles showed they have the potential, poise, and determination to be a better team than what was expected of them last year. Though they flopped offensively, their defense is what won the game in the final minutes against the Baltimore Ravens. I'm positive if they pull together offensively, cease with the excessive turn-overs, fumbles and interceptions, The Philadelphia Eagles will be a force to be reckoned with this season.
Opinions
Upon reading comments on the Philadelphia Eagles website, I noticed that a lot of Ravens fans were ranting about how they were going to stomp all over the Eagles and crush us. They referenced their first game in this season against the Cincinnati Bengals (Ravens- 44, Bengals-13). One fan went as far as to say that the Ravens were going to beat the Eagles 30-13, while another advised an Eagles fan to "wish upon a star" if they wanted The Eagles to win. Tsk Tsk Tsk!Facts
The Philadelphia Eagles had 3 turnovers in the first half however, the Ravens only converted 7 points from those turnovers. In passing, Mike Vick had 32 attempts with 22 completions while Flacco had 42 attempts and 22 completions. (smirking) In Rushing yards, Eagles McCoy's CAR was 16 for 81 yards while Ravens Rice's CAR was 16 and had 99 yards. But in receiving, The Ravens Pitta had 8 REC with 65 yards while my man Celec had 8 REC also, but he ran all over the Ravens with 157 yards.


At the end of the game, Eagles-24, Ravens-23. Need I say more? Yeah you can say we had fumbles, Vick threw interceptions, blah blah blah. But we closed out like we were supposed to and ultimately came out with the win
As I looked through some of those comments, I couldn't help but laugh my a$$ off. Sad predictions of the Ravens running all over the Eagles and what happened? The Eagles snuck up from behind and crushed the Ravens fans of all of their ideas of grandeur and glory. Who's wishing upon a star now? 30-13 Ravens? Nah more like 24-23 Eagles. Even after 9 turn-overs Vick showed doubters the smart thing to do against the Eagles is to BEWARE! HA! And on that note, I'm out PEACE!!!

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Remembering Tupac (2Pac) Shakur June 16, 1971 – September 13, 1996

September 13, 2012 Respect  No comments

I will never forget the day that Tupac was pronounced dead. It was a Friday, Friday the 13th to be exact. I was 12 years old and laying across my mother's bed with my oldest sister Sharmon, and my mother. We were playing "2500". I remember the 11 o clock news came on on Channel 6 and the "Big Story" was Tupac had passed away from gun shot wounds he suffered a week prior. I remember my heart sank into my stomach. The silence in my mother's bedroom after that announcement was deafening. Though I was not allowed to listen to a lot of his music because of the excessive use of profanity, his song "Dear Mama" & "Keep your head up" not only was one of my favorites, but my mother loved those songs, too. I remember she said, "Wow, that's the guy from the movie with Janet Jackson!" Yes, the critically acclaimed multi talented actor and rapper was gone. Who would have known the effects his death would have on hip-hop? I saw Juice when I was a really young kid but man, Tupac played the hell out of the role of "Bishop". And his role as "Lucky" in "Poetic Justice" was breath taking. You cannot deny the man had skills on the big screen when even Siskel & Ebert were giving him his props. In my honest opinion, his death along with the death of The Notorious B.I.G left a void in the hip-hop industry that has not quite been filled. Yes, Jay-Z is great. Sure, Eminem is awesome. But there was something charismatic about Tupac. He wasn't just a rapper. He had a commanding presence and had the heart to speak on some of the very problems we are still battling today.

First ship em dope let em deal to brothers
Give em guns step back watch em kill each others
It's time to fight back that's what Huey said
Two shots in the dark now Huey's Dead


Some people will argue that Tupac was an uncouth thug who only spoke of violence and degraded women. Yet some of those same people ride through the neighborhoods blasting the lyrics of new rappers who are either sampling beats & choruses from artists who came before them or incorporating lyrics from Tupac and other rappers from the 90s in their songs today. These little young thundercats may think what they're hearing is new. But it really isn't. I remember his song "You wonder why they call you B----". Pay attention to the lyrics. He's not calling all women b----es. He's speaking on women who go through great lengths to trap a man in hopes to gaining a big pay day. Women who have no standards- if the money is there, they do not care. If a zebra has stripes don't call it a cheetah. LOL! But he didn't just shine the light on those kinds of women. He paid homage to the everyday BLACK WOMAN who is the back bone and ultimate mother of our communities in "Keep Your Head Up".

And since we all came from a woman, got our name from a woman and our game from a woman,
I wonder why we take from our women, why we rape our women, do we hate our women?
I think it's time to kill for our women, time to heal our women, be real to our women
...And since a man can't make one (baby) He has no right to tell a woman
When and where to create one.
So will the real men get up?
I know you're fed up, ladies. But keep your head up...


You cannot deny that Hip-Hop would be a lot better if Tupac and Biggie had lived longer. Greatness was sure to come from both of them. So from myself as well as from every other fan who appreciates what Tupac brought to the industry poetically, through his music as well as on the big screen, Philly pays homage to one of the best to ever do it. RIP Tupac- my Gemini brother! And on that note, I'd like to leave my readers with his poem "Tomorrow"

Today is filled with anger
fueled with hidden hate
scared of being outcast
afraid of common fate
Today is built on tragedies
which no one wants 2 face
nightmares 2 humanities
and morally disgraced
Tonight is filled with rage
violence in the air
children bred with ruthlessness
because no one at home cares
Tonight I lay my head down
but the pressure never stops
gnawing at my sanity
content when I am dropped
But 2morrow I c change
a chance 2 build a new
Built on spirit intent of Heart
and ideals
based on truth
and tomorrow I wake with second wind
and strong because of pride
2 know I fought with all my heart 2 keep my
dream alive

Tupac

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Philly Support Philly! The Movement Begins

September 12, 2012 IntroductionPhilly Support Philly  No comments

Author of A Thug's Redemption

Oh My GOD!!! After 20 grueling hours, this blog is finallly finished! The madness that I went through with part of the design, the coding, re-coding, adjusting and readjusting, widget placements and widget cuts...MANNNNNNNN!!! When I tell y'all I need a drink, I'm not bull------- you LOL! Thankfully it is for the most part complete, with just a few more touch ups needed. I'm just happy to have finally been able to launch this blog. WELCOME READERS!!! PHILLY STAND UP!!! Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Yani, and I will be the admin of this blog. In this media playground (as I like to call it), you will find all kinds of updates on what's happening in Philly, whether it's in regards to Hip-Hop and R&B, up and coming writers from Philly, fashion designers, models, actors, dancers, scholars athletes, etc! I want people to know about it. Everyday, there is something tragic on the news about Philly. I want people to understand that there are still good things happening in this city, and those Good Things should not be overshadowed by the ugly evils that occur.I told one of my Twitter followers that as I climb my way to the top, I am bringing anyone along who was willing to climb with me. That's what I intend to do through my blog. I know how strong my desire was to not only become a published writer, but to be able to SELF PUBLISH my work. To me, that is the greatest achievement I could have made outside of becoming a mother. It is something that I've wanted since I was 15 years old. At 15 years old, I aspired to be the next Nikki Giovanni. Unfortunately today, girls at that age are aspiring to be the next Nicki Minaj. (To each their own *Yani Shrug*) Anyone who told me I would not become published and I should look into doing something else got the same response from me then that my doubters get from me now: Before I let you make a lie out of me, I'll make a believer out of you. And here I am. Do you believe me now? (smiles) I know that there are others here in Philly just like me who can't think of anything else in this world except for how strongly they want to do something. How badly they want to get up on a stage and sing, how badly they want people to hear and relate to their lyrics and rhymes, or to be able to transform on a runway or movie set. I used to say to my mom and my friends when I was a teenager, "The moment that would make me feel on top of the world is to see someone at the bus stop or on a train reading my book." It may sound silly to some, but to me, that is a joyous moment that cannot be stolen by anyone.My fingers have developed a mind of their own, I'm so happy to have this blog up LOL! Let me close this entry out by saying, this blog is here for anyone from Philly who wants to showcase their work. If you are a rapper, singer, artist, athlete, graphic designer, fashion designer, model or a person in the community trying to make a difference by educating and uplifting our younger generation and want another platform to broadcast your talents, efforts, and hard work, send me an email to yani@anitbeetproductions.net. You must include: Your Name What Part of Philly you're fromEmail AddressA brief introductionIf you are sending music, just send your file(files) as an mp3 or WAV file. If you have a video, please make sure it is no more than 3 minutes and if you are sending photos, no more than 5 images please and thank you! All are welcome to particpate. And on that note, I'm out! PEACE!! :-)

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