Featured Soul: Charles Esperanza

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Splish! Splash! Sploosh! An Afro-sporting little kid decides to paint an Elephant bright Blue! EleBooyah was the Elephant’s name and she wants to help paint too! Pretty soon the kid and her elephant are playing with all the colors of the rainbow. What do blue and yellow make? A funky green frog! And red and blue? An enormous purple octopus king! Discover all of the whimsical things one can create with a splatter of paint and be amazed by a twist ending that you’ll never expect!

Amanya Maloba: Why children’s books?
Charles Esperanza: My decision to pursue children’s books is very influenced by my former professor and mentor, Eric Velasquez. I realized how awesome children’s books could be—they are basically like very detailed, rendered movie storyboards. Through children’s books I could fuse my love of poetry with my love of painting. Also, I felt like my voice and ideas were very different from anything else in the children’s book field and people would recognize that and give me lots of money for it!

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Love Crime (Ishmael Reed x Frank Ocean)

Ishmael Reed x Frank Ocean: Love Crime 

I only just realized that these two poems (one musical and one written) share the same title. I happen to love them both. It’s a total love crime experience to listen and read at the same time (although I hear for some people those are conflicting tasks)! I chose this dark poem, breaking with the overall celebratory theme of the month, since it would be inaccurate to portray love without the shit that threatens it or makes people act to defend it righteously.

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February

Photo: Amanya Maloba
Photo: Amanya Maloba

I am absolutely delighted that February is finally upon us. I’ve always loved this month because of the colors—red, pink, and black. Throughout February we’ll be featuring posts that fit within the colorful umbrella of the month with a good combination of interviews with young black talent, short biographies of black leaders and pioneers, editorials, and maybe even a love poem or two 😉

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-M-E-

It’s so funny to me how I can’t die
I’m already too tangible, too
much flesh.

IMG_7900I’m already exhaling oxygen
through my green green leaves.
I been breathing for
near about 13.8 billion years now
(whatever that really means).

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New Release: “Ride or Die” by Das Leune

I spend a lot of time with this guy, so I’m a bit biased, however this new one, “Ride or Die,” by Das Leune is epic! Dude’s the only one I know who can start a song screaming punk rock style and end it rapping. Many artists like to hop on bandwagons with musical styles and fashion, or feel frustrated when halfway through their career they receive criticism for organically shifting their direction. Das Leune transcends both of the aforementioned categories by simply refusing to stay in one lane. As the opening lyrics state, “Fuck race. Fuck class. Fuck sex. Fuck genre…ahhhhhhh.” This guy’s got a lot of cool things coming up so stay tuned. In the meantime you can listen to his album Intro to Krul on iTunes or Spotify.

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In My Shoes: Red Converse

If you’ve seen me at all, chances are you’ve seen a pair of Converse on my feet. They are hands down my favorite type of shoe to trek in—and I do quite a bit of trekking. I always wished I was a sneakerhead, but I’m too clumsy and adventurous to keep any shoe un-scuffed and unsoiled. Therein lies the beauty of Converse—the more grody they get, the better they look. I love that these shoes have been with me on three different continents and 10 different states and are still going strong! Below is a photo compilation of some Northern California adventuresjust one of their many.

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Featured Soul: Ivan Lopez

Photo: c/o Ivan Lopez
Photo: c/o Ivan Lopez

A few months ago I had the pleasure of stumbling upon Artillery Apparel Gallery in the Mission district of San Francisco. I was immediately captivated by the T-shirts and sweatshirts decorated with hand-painted, colorful depictions of animals. Even more lucky for me the maker of these shirts happened to be painting another one of his creations in the front of the shop. I’m thrilled to introduce artist Ivan Lopez as this month’s Featured Soul. Check out his views below on Mother Earth, artists’ education, his influences, aesthetic, and more. If you are in the Bay area be sure to stop by his shop, Artillery AG, on December 13, 2014 7-10 pm for a special event, M.E.WE,  marking five years of production painting supported by the San Fran and Mission communities.

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