Here it is The Cheats Movement 2014 logo! Operating at the intersection of Community X Art X Culture. What do you think of the new logo?
It was such an honor to be a part of TEDXGraceStreet. My TED talk was about Defining RVA’s Community and the Community Week project we did right here on The Cheats Movement Blog in March. Take a look at the talk and please give me your feedback. I think right now is an important time in RVA. I encourage the community to use platforms like TEDX, social media, and of course, good old community involvement to make an impact on the future. THIS IS OUR RICHMOND – WE SEE IT!
CLICK HERE to see all the amazing speeches from TEDXGraceStreet.
I know that it has been a minute but I have so many photos from Fall Line Fest, I can’t drop them all on the blog. I will have them up on the Cheats Movement Facebook Page. Like the Cheats Movement FB Page and check out all the photos. Fall Line Fest was a huge success for RVA. I can’t wait until next year. Thanks to all that performed and supported. #WE SEE IT. This is exactly what RVA needs. Lovin my city right now!
The entire Cheats Movement X Fall Line Fest photo album will be on the Cheats Movement Facebook Page!
Why I Love RVA Today: The Horn RVA’s video on this weekend’s Fall Line Fest. There will be more recap and photos to come this week on The Cheats Movement and The Cheats Movement Facebook Page. WE SEE IT.
Today marks the 50th Anniversary of the historic March on Washington and MLK’s “I have a dream” speech. I’ve been following the coverage leading up to this landmark anniversary. There seems to be a consensus that when it comes to the “promise land” black Americans have made tremendous progress since 1963 and yet there is still a ways to go. How far we have to go depends on who you ask. Newsweek columnist Joshua DuBois wrote this week that “we” (black America) don’t have very far to go to be equal with non-Hispanic whites in categories like: high school drop out percentage (around 14% for blacks, around 12% for whites), life expectancy (72 for blacks, 77 for whites), he points out that while the incarceration rate of blacks today is worse than that of black Americans 50 years ago, Attorney General Eric Holder has targeted this issue and is working to lay out real solutions. DuBois writes achieving civil rights equality is more achievable today than ever before and all we have to do is take a few steps forward to realize it.
While DuBois’s picture in Newsweek is optimistic, there is another article that caught my attention and it paints a more sobering viewpoint of progress. A strong article in this week’s The Economist “Waking Life” really put in perspective the goals of King’s speech and, in Economist fashion, does the research to put statistical data behind their views. In short, the Economist points out the King’s speech laid out four major grievances: discrimination by private businesses and local government; barriers that kept black Americans from voting; unfair treatment by police; and what might broadly be called social mobility and economic opportunity. The Civil Rights Act 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 both went a long way to eliminate significant hurdles in the first two grievances laid out by King. While there are still issues with voting participation and discrimination by government bodies based on race, compared to 50 years ago I think it is safe to say the goals of Dr. King are being fulfilled.
Black Americans have made great strides in 50 years in reducing poverty and increasing college graduation rates. But the real problem is that we are not comparing ourselves to blacks 50 years ago, we are comparing ourselves to whites and other ethnic groups and there’s the rub. Like it or not black Americans lag behind whites in life expectancy and median income; we exceed whites in dropout rate and poverty rates. The Economist points out that the gap in median individual income between blacks and non-Hispanic whites rose a third, to almost $9,000 a year between 2000 and 2011. Black Americas were hit harder by the foreclosure crises, are more likely to attend a substandard school, and less likely to graduate from college, than white Americans. Black Americans are more likely to hold jobs with no benefits or retirement plan and have less money to save.
All of this without mentioning the criminal justice system; a place where, believe or not, black Americans – specifically young black males – are much more likely to be incarcerated today than 50 years ago. In 2011, 478 of every 100,000 white men and 51 of every 100,00 white women were imprisoned. For black men the rate was 3,023 per 100,000 and for black women 129 for every 100,000. Black Americans are more likely than whites to be arrested for the same crime. It’s truly a sobering look.
While it’s really easy to take a look at these facts and feel a bit discourage – or take it a step further and blame other people or entities; “The Man” or “The System.” We, as black Americans, also have to look within ourselves and our own communities – though there are less of them with growing gentrification (which may or may not be bad thing depending on who you ask). I have no doubt that the roots of many of these problems lie in the legacy of slavery and segregation. But we live in 2013 and we have to move now to fight our new battles in black America.
Marriage is declining and out-of-wedlock births are increasing throughout the country and black Americas are leading the way in both categories. In 2011, 72% of black babies are born to unwed mothers, and just 29% of black adults were married, compared with 60% in 1960. That is a problem in our community. Black on black crime is a real problem that needs to be addressed stronger; and I’m not talking about just in Chicago; it’s a problem throughout the country.
Dr. King is a true hero of mine for so many reasons: his faith, his courage, his logic, his fear, his leadership, so many reasons. I think it’s fair to say if he were alive today, he would be proud that a black man was elected President of the United States — twice. But I think he would also be concerned about the future of America. There is a sense that black America is losing sight of the dream and may even be losing the resolve to fight for it. I hope that is not true. I can’t speak – even better – I will not speak for others. I will only speak for myself when I say one of the good things about living in Richmond is that Richmond makes it very hard to forget the past, Monument Avenue makes it very hard for me to forget the past. Even today, the Virginia Flaggers make it very hard for me to forget the past. And while I struggle with some of the logic, I am thankful for the reminder that some people want to take me back. I don’t want to forget the struggles of the past. I don’t want to be tricked into the matrix of thinking there is nothing more to fight for. There is still discrimination, division, insensitivity and intolerance. I don’t want to forget the struggles that my grandmother went through. I don’t want to forget the fight that Dr. King waged. I don’t want to go backwards. So I do agree, 50 years later, we have come a long way yet there is still a ways to go and great work to be done.
I salute the homies over at YFD clothing on the release of their new Spring Collection 2013. YFD, similar to The Cheats Movement Blog, has been gaining a reputation in RVA through consistency. In the last 3 years, I have seen a few (more than a few) brands arrive and quickly disappear. YFD has been on a gradual climb through their hard work and dedication. Check out their Spring 2013 Collection consisting of 7 distinct pieces, with various sets of matching colorways. The collection features 4 t-shirts, 2 SnapBack Hats, and an exclusive accessory piece. You can check the rest out at YFDClothing.com #WESEEIT #FAMILY
I will short because as wonderful as this week has been, it’s also been a task to make sure everything got done. I must say a thank you to everyone that took the time to participate in this project. Community is about all of us and the fact that so many Richmonders participated (over 45) is the best indicator that “collectively” we can make positive change in RVA.
As I mentioned yesterday, I’m not sure what is next…I’m not BUT I know that something “kinetic” and “tangible” will be barnstormed moving forward. Books are cool – speaking panels are cool too BUT I would love to do something with this conversation that leads to some type of community-wide service project. I don’t know what that looks like right now, if you have suggestions – hit me up. I’m completely open. This is our project.
The final counts seems to be 46 – if there is anyone that submitted before the deadline and didn’t get up – hit me up – I will add you. If you missed the deadline – next time my friend. #WESEEIT Make sure to follow The Cheats Movement on Facebook – Support what’s happening.
“Community is where you have a voice and feel heard even though you don’t always get your way…” Alex Iwashyna, LateEnough.com…CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM ALEX
“To me, community means a group of people coming together for love of a certain thing, whether it be music, arts, sports, family or even a small but common interest…” Andrew Cothern, RVA Playlist, Style Weekly…CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM ANDREW
“Participating in community, within our own city, and in greater communities around the world that live and breathe like ours, is the only way to truly bring change to an otherwise controlled path. It takes a community to look around and notice that the scales are tipped, that the noise is louder than the change and reject it all for the sake of community….” Jameson Price, Silent Music Revival, Lobo Marino…CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM JAMESON
“..Its means the collective effort to live in harmony. To enjoy the various differences of ethnic backgrounds and to encourage and help where we see difficulties for each other….” Lorna Pinckney, Everything Verses…CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM LORNA
“I think community is the new family–family that you choose, with intention. It’s group of people working together, to build each other up and support each other for their higher purpose….” Peggy Myers Walz…CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM PEGGY
“Think about it, what in RVA “hasn’t” influenced you? Whether the quirky styles of downtown or the high scale luxurious ways of Short Pump we all seem to mimic our area but come together in the heart of the city for VCU games, Concerts, and events that bring the city together so we all take part in participation…” Roger Tyler…CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM RT
“Community is a concept that for me has centered mostly around “creative community” but I know for others it can define and spiral out in many directions. The common unity with us all is that it matters…” Todd Raviotta…CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM TODD
“While the word itself literally means and derives from what we have in “common,” for me, the beauty of community is that it is a curated collection of a lot of cool differences. Each of us brings something unique. Different and differences need not be dirty words. Differences are rad…” Ted Elmore…CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM TED
“Sometimes you wonder. Do people care? Do they share the same desires? Is this really a place where people want to come together? Involve yourself in the many volunteer needs around Richmond and you’ll see – Community is alive and well in Richmond!…” Vicki Neilson, A Giving Heart…CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM VICKI
That’s it…#WESEEIT #THANKYOU
The home stretch is here…tomorrow will be the last day of defining Community. I’ve already commented about how awesome this has been with such a wide range of diversity joining the conversation. In order to get the final post on the site I’m just going to post them as best as possible with no real rhyme or reason. People are already asking me about “next steps” and I have to be honest….I don’t have a great answer about “what’s next” just yet BUT something will be next and “Your” input is needed.
Today on the blog: Comments on Community by: Shannon Cleary, Fan Ran, BC Music 1st, Katie Holcomb, Brian Cannon, Keeley Laures, Malcolm Venable, and Isaac Ramsey.
“…Ultimately, community is more about unifying with each other to progress to the next level of success…” BC Music 1st…CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM BCMUSIC1ST
“Our RVA community is blooming beautifully! The transformation is palpable. What’s exciting to me is that so many more people are taking part in this transformation than are usually a part of moving Richmond forward…” Brian Cannon…CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM BRIAN
“Your community is made up of people you know and love and people you don’t. Either way you have to make sure you are doing what you can to better the lives of all of you” Fan Ran…CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM FAN RAN
“…Getting to know the people around you isn’t easy for everyone. You might have to come out of your shell a bit, or shake some preconceived notions you have about others. But in Community with a big C, your participation is essential.” Isaac Ramsey…CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM SWORDPLAY
“…There’s power in telling our fellow humans, “I’ve got your back,” because it makes you vulnerable, and it makes you just as much a part of their process as anything else.” Katie Holcomb…CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM KATIE
“I feel that I never really understood community until I moved to Richmond. While in Richmond, I found that no matter what there is always someone willing to help me get to where I need to go to better myself and my visions as an individual, a designer, a blogger, a person….” Keeley Laures…CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM KEELEY
“…Is a sort of puzzling notion because, Where exactly is this ‘community’ we live in? And, given that every individual is free to pursue in education or financial opportunity for himself, how responsible am I for someone else’s success?” Malcolm Venable…CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM MALCOLM
“…To me, the idea of any community is to consider the social contract at hand. It’s all about what you put in and what you take from it all.” Shannon Cleary…CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM SHANNON
Tomorrow is the final day…Check back – comment – post – tweet – let me know what you think. #WESEEIT
Like most of you…I drove, or walked, pass the VMFA a million times since October saying, “Yo…I have to check out the Chihuly exhibit…someday.” Well, I started with having, what seem to be, an eternity to, “Oh snap…it’s the last weekend.” Should I go and fight the crowd or sit this one out? I decided to break out the camera and hit the last Saturday of the exhibit. I’m so glad I did. Everyone in RVA should have seen this exhibit and judging by the very impressive numbers of the VMFA (nearly 16,000) so many of you did.
What impressed me the most about the exhibit was the imagination. Art takes all forms. With Chihuly, his work can never be put in a box because as soon as you do – he can change it up. It’s awesome. It’s freedom.
According to the RTD: “Chihuly proved to be a boon for the museum. Memberships reached nearly 40,000 — it was at about the same level during the Picasso exhibit at the VMFA in 2011 — and the Museum Shop had record sales in November, December and January.” I saw the Picasso exhibit (again on the last weekend), and I would say Chihuly was even more impressive. I know it’s not exactly comparing apples to apples but my read of the “Cheats Wow Factor”…Chihuly was a wow on the highest level.
Make sure you visit: The Cheats Movement Blog on Facebook to support the best in RVA. #WESEEIT
It has become very clear that the goal of The Cheats Movement Blog in 2013 is to do something bigger for the RVA community. What do I mean by, “bigger?” I mean the blog, myself, the entire Cheats Movement Family will deliberately take on the task of creating and presenting the type of Richmond community that we want see spread throughout this city. I think that has always been the underling goal of the blog, to present RVA as the positive, diverse, creative community that I see daily but is not reported in the RVA media. With the growth of the blog it has become clear, or should I say even more real, that this blog (with the help of a lot of amazing friends and supporters) can be a driving force to bring Richmond’s community together. If you were not there last month at Gallery 5 when Photosythesizers, JPS, and Glows in the Dark performed on the same stage, you missed the very best of what I’m talking about. The most diverse audenice in the city coming together to enjoy Cheats Movement Family, The Richmond Comedy Coalition and these bands, that may not have been billed together if it wasn’t for a platform like the one we created together.
It happened again last night at WRIR’s Party for the Rest of Us. Seeing such a diverse crowd, in a small room, grooving to the music of Ohbliv, and then turning it up with YFD and The New Juice Crew gives me a feeling that I can’t explain but I know I want to duplicate over and over again. Immediately following the showcase last night, as well as the Richmond Famous show at Gallery 5, and even follow the RVA HOT SAUCE show nearly 2 years ago, strangers come up to me wondering when are we going to do “that” again. How can we get that vibe again. I feel the same way.
HEAR IS THE POINT – I can’t do it – WE can’t do it without everyone playing their part. Step 1 – if you are not following the Cheats Movement Facebook Page – Click HERE and follow, share it with your friends. We need to spread what is happening in the city. Step 2 – If you see that The Cheats Movement Blog is hosting/supporting a event or cause – rest assured that it will be one that is worth attending or supporting. I am very clear that this blog is about positivity, creativity, diversity, and anything that lift up RVA. Feel comfortable knowing that while you may not feel every blog post, it all serves a goal. Step 3 – if you see something that this blog “should” be supporting, send me an email (CheatsMWC@gmail.com) and let me know. If it is positive and good for the RVA community, you have a friend in me.
I strongly believe that celebrating Richmond’s creative diversity will go a long way in healing some of the lasting bitterness of the past. It’s not the only answer but I can’t solve every problem with a blog post or event. I can take action to create a better city. We can together. I need you to be a part – will you help?
AN INTERVIEW WITH CHEATS OF THE CHEATS MOVEMENT BLOG
Words by Roger Tyler (RT) and Marc Cheatham (CHEATS)
ALL PHOTOS BY CHEATS (WITH THAT CHEATS MOVEMENT LOGO)
2012 appeared to be a bit of a rebuilding year for the Richmond area hip hop scene. While Street Art made unprecedented moves in our city’s mainstream with the G40 Street Art Festival and RVA Street Art Festival, RVA hip hop struggled to grab widespread public attention, while also dealing with the tragic loss of one of its own, super-producer Kleph Dollaz. “This year hasn’t had the media hype I expected following a groundbreaking 2011 but overall it has been a solid year for a lot of Richmond area hip hop artist,” said Marc Cheatham AKA Cheats of the ever-expanding Cheats Movement Blog. I sat down with Cheats in his living room, in a quiet neighborhood on the West End of Henrico, to discuss his new mixtape project with RVA Mag, the influence of his blog, and his views on the year that was in RVA hip hop.
Cheats just recently completed his first RVA focused hip hop mixtape titled, “RVA HOT SAUCE THE MIXTAPE, Vol. 1.” It features 11 songs from Richmond-area hip hop artists such as, Artik Phreeze, Noah-O, Michael Millions, Ms. Proper, Suburban District, Black Liquid and more, it also has Cheats’ own voice on the intro, interlude, and outro yelling, his blog’s catch phrase, “We See It.”
Black Liquid, Ms. Proper, Suburban District, and Artik Phreeze are all on the HOT SAUCE mixtape.
In just over a year of covering the Richmond’s hip hop scene, Cheats has become one of its most trusted writers, bloggers, and photographers. You know you’re in the right spot if you see the short guy with a backwards cap and camera strapped around his neck. Or just look at your Facebook newsfeed the day after he covers a live event – photos with the Cheats Movement Logo are everywhere. This year it even stretched to the mainstream – North Carolina rapper Phonte (who Cheats interviewed for RVA Mag) used a Cheats Movement concert photo for his twitter profile photo. And while his blog highlights RVA’s diversity – RVA hip hop has embraced his blog as one of its go to sites for reports on the best local shows in town.
Phonte (Little Brother & Foreign Exchange) used this photo as his twitter profile pic following the Happily Natural Day/Tuesday Verses Concert
Being a hip hop artist myself, attempting to interview Cheats is a challenge because before you know it – he’s asking the questions and I’m giving the answers but we had a fun and free-flowing discussion and below are some of the highlights:
ON THE RVA HOT SAUCE MIXTAPE (Cheats in his own words):
“This is just my opinion but the mixtape represents what I see as the best elements of RVA hip hop. I say that knowing full well that I don’t cover every live show or listen to every album or mixtape (though I promise to listen to every song or mixtape that is sent to me directly via email or Facebook). I don’t know it all and that’s why this is just Volume 1, there will be a Volume 2 and probably 3, until I feel like I’ve captured the culture.”
ON HOW THE IDEA FOR THE MIXTAPE STARTED (Cheats in his own words):
“RVA Magazine’s owner Tony Harris told me that he was doing a series of mixtapes with different bloggers and asked me about doing a mixtape collaboration between The Cheats Movement Blog and RVA Mag. I have a lot of respect for Tony and RVA Mag so working on a mixtape seemed natural. I never felt that I was in the position to do a Hip Hop 101 introduction article because I haven’t seen all the hip hop RVA has to offer but the way RVA Mag presented the opportunity – it gave me the opportunity to highlight what I have seen and highlight who I go out and cover regularly.”
ON HOW THE ARTIST AND TRACKS WERE SELECTED (Cheats in his own words):
“Most of the tracks on the mixtape are not new tracks but a compilation of songs that have been in my rotation throughout 2012. I picked 11 songs for volume 1 and reached out to everyone to see if it was cool that I use their work. Black Liquid, Sleaze, Michael Millions, Doe The Paperboy, Ms. Proper, Arktik Phreeze, Chance Fischer, Suburban District, Drano, Noah-O, are all on the tape. The late Kleph Dollaz has an influence on the tape through Noah-O and Chance Fischer. Though I didn’t know Kleph personally, you can’t cover RVA hip hop and not be aware of the difficulty the community is still going through with the losses of Kleph and another friend of mine Mr. Mason Jones.
The RVA community is still struggling with the loss of Kleph Dollaz and Mr. Mason Jones ( in color)
ON WHO MADE AN IMPACT ON THE RVA HIP HOP SCENE IN 2012 (Cheats in his own words):
“This is tricky because I’m going to leave people out but understanding that I can’t name everyone (I can’t name everyone) I will say, Suburban District as a group should be proud of the year they’ve had and individually, Octavion Xcellence. Tim Porter, and Fair, should be proud of what they did as solo artist as well. They headlined Epic Fest, released “Beer for Breakfast”, killed features and mixtapes, and performed at SXSW, it was a huge year for the Smooth Dirty Camp. Doe The Paperboy killed it this year and not just with his music, DoeNation 2 was released in 2012, he was everywhere, making an impact with his live performances, his videos are great (S/O Soul Live Media) and his merch game is crazy. My JPS brothers Sleaze and Drano should be really happy with the feedback on their albums – both, “Heavenly Devilish” by Sleaze and “City of God” by Drano are being slept on by RVA — come on now! WE SEE IT! They are both great albums. I think Big League and their crew should be real proud of what they did…I don’t know them well but T-Mac and Bravo, that whole crew, put in some major work. RT, I know you really like what Memph 10, So!lla, and Ms. Proper did this year, I agree. And Black Liquid’s album, “The Black Experience” was his best studio album to date, not to mention opening for a ton of big acts including DMX. I could go on and on but I won’t.
It’s hard to think of a camp that had a better year than Smooth Dirty…Suburban District (Octavion X, Tim Porter, and Fair) were everywhere…. Kleos and Phreeze – the entire camp did it big in 2012.
Doe The Paperboy had a huge year and not just in music, videos and merch game is crazy.
Just Plain Sounds and a great year but still underrated…Sleaze (pictured with James Dangle and Ohbliv) and Drano had great records this year.
Cheats and I sat down and talked the year in review – here is what we came up with – before the hate starts – this is just a list of what we came up with – we know we left some folks out….tell us who – make us notice.
Favorite shows of 2012:
- Epic Fest (2-Day Event) at The Kingdom presented by SlapDash
- Phonte (From Little Brother) Happily Natural Day/Tuesday Verses at The Canal Club
- The Klubhouse Krew Presents: The Kleph Dollaz! Music Charity Show at Canal Club
Epic Fest brought a great crowd to Kingdom for 2 night -despite the weather trouble – one of the best events of the year.
Must listen to Album(s) Of 2012:
- Sleaze- Heavenly Devilish
- Suburban District- Beer For Breakfast
- Black Liquid – The Black Experience
The Black Experience by Black Liquid is his best album to date.
Artist we are checking for in 2013:
- Chi Chi The Kidd
- Chance Fischer
- Bravo (The Big League)
- Dr. Millionaire
- Yung Yankee
Chance Fischer is one to watch in 2013
Must See Videos:
- -Bravo- “Harlot”
- -Doe The PaperBoy- “If I Had It”
- -Young Rell- “Letter to God”
Videographers on top of the RVA game:
- Aura HD and Imagery (Jay Aura)
- Soul Live Media (Robert Roby)
- No Name No Brain (Arya “Pat” Rossman)
Best RVA Blog covering local hip hop:
- Well….WE SEE IT – Cheats Movement Blog!
This article was written by Cheats and RT. If you disagree – don’t hate – email me and tell me why: TheCheatsMovement@gmail.com
RT is a hip hop contributor to RVA MAG and a hip hop artist. Check his work and see him with The New Juice Crew and UCubed. Click here for RT’s DatPiff profile.
I had the most amazing time in NYC on Saturday. I went up to interview one of my heroes, NYC legend Bobbito Garcia (more on that later this week). Troubling weather in Queens, and later in mid-town and Brooklyn, hurt some of the activities that I had planned for the evening but overall the bad weather led to an even better trip. I was able to visit some really great places and take some amazing photos. I often joke about how much I love Brooklyn, but my recent trips to NYC have led me to believe that I’m more of a Lower East Side guy. I love the LES from Reed Space to now End of Century. Yes the End of Century gallery that is currently featured on Bravo’s Gallery Girls. I stopped by and actually met one of the owners Lara. She was mad cool and treated us really nice for visiting. My favorite photos of the trip are the ones I took of cut throat handball action. It was so intense. I also took some great streetball photos but again that will be for later this week.
NYC is truly a photographer’s dream. I love the energy and hope to visit and shoot more in NYC and beyond. Hopefully, with the growth of this blog, I will have more reasons to take special trips out of town in the future. For now, let me know what you think of these new photos.
Handball action in the LES.
Kids will be kids in Washington Square Park.
End of Century is the one of the galleries featured on Bravo’s Gallery Girls (It’s the cool one).
The very nice gallery owner Lara. She was so cool to us Southerners.
A Long Subway Goodbye
We miss you.
Reed Space Reflection
Doin’ It In The Park
NYC Subway Mixtape!
I’m very excited to post my interview with Aaron Vazquez; better known as Aaronisnotcool. I first viewed an Aaronisnotcool video before I even realized it was him. I was blown away by Blu’s video for the track, “Jesus.” At the time, I just remember thinking that video is pure Cali, pure Blu, and pure hip hop. The song was on point (Blu is pretty much always on point) but the visuals really stood out to me as a perfect complement to the vision. It’s a video that I would have love to have witnessed being made. I played it on repeat for weeks but I didn’t notice or seek out the director. It wasn’t until I saw the stop motion video for Sene’s “Footprints” that I noticed the name Aaronisnotcool. I must have showed the “Footprints” video to everyone I knew. I just loved the concept and wanted to learn more about this “not cool” director.
The best thing about living in the present is that the power of the internet leads us to the right places and it wasn’t long before I was following Aaron’s work on vimeo and a regular visitor to his tumblr page. I checked out his entire catalog (you should too) and though Aaron is a young man (24) – he has learned the trade and is only getting better. He recently dropped the video for Backboards featuring both Sene and Blu. It’s one of the best videos that I’ve seen in 2012.
I shot Aaron a note for an interview on The Cheats Movement and he graciously took some time out of his schedule to rock with it….Classic Material right here WE SEE IT!
If a person walked up to you on the street and asked you what did you do for a living – you would say?
I’d say, “I make rap videos.” I think that sounds a lot more interesting than having to modestly stumble around calling myself a filmmaker/photographer. Now, while I don’t just make rap videos, I do consider myself as director/photographer, I really enjoy the reactions to the “rap videos” answer. Most people think “rap video” and the first thing that will pop into their heads is naked girls objectifying themselves in front of guys with cash and cars. But that’s not what hip-hop videos are about anymore (at least what I considered to be the good ones).
I knew I was in love with film-making when…
I convinced my English teacher to let me make a short film about George Orwell’s 1984 instead of writing a paper. I rounded up a group of my friends and over a few weekends we shot every major scene in that book. The short turn out to be really terrible. It was my first experience trying to tell a story, the camera was horrible, and we cut it using Windows Movie Maker. Everyone laughed the whole time during the showing but we all got an A for it. I didn’t make anything else for a few more years.
I first met Blu….
In sunny Los Angeles. At the time I was the only Blu fan I knew. Nobody had heard of him. I would later find out that he had an extremely passionate and loyal fan base but at the time, living in Austin, it was really hard to come across a guy like Blu if you weren’t looking. After making the one of my first music videos, I sent him a message with a long explanation about how big of a fan I was and a link to my best work so far, Understand by M.i.
A few days passed until I got a message back, saying, “Here’s my number. When can you fly out to Cali?” I pooled all the money that I had for a ticket. I hopped on a plane a few days later. Initially I thought I was making a video for Blu, but I’m happy I didn’t at the time. I wouldn’t have been able to handle it. With Blu’s vision and spot in hip-hop I was too inexperienced at the time to do anything I would’ve been proud of. I did end up doing a music video for ScienZe featuring Versis where they are CVS employees which was so much fun. Later that year I would end up making “My Sunshine” and “Jesus∆” and those both really helped me get where I am now.
Sene’s Footprints video took me (how long) long to make. The stop-motion video concept came from?
It took Sene and I about 8 hours to make. We did the whole project in one day at his place. We had originally agreed the night before to make a montage video because I had been following Sene and The Clubhouse around for so long that I had all this great candid footage that we were going to chop. Sene is a really creative guy. He likes to build things, go outside the box, try new ideas out, so the next morning he comes up with this Stop Motion idea and I’m all for it.
Neither of us had done anything like it, we didn’t know how long nor tedious it would be. It was risky as a hip-hop video. The viewer has to listen to the words and be patient with the vision. With everything being so on-demand and instant in our culture now, we were taking a little bit of a risk with making a music video like that.
Right now I’m working on….
A few different projects with fellow director Pace Rivers. One is a music video for “Doses and Mimosas” by one of the coolest bands out, Cherub. We are shooting a short film for the cycling brand Deux North in the next couple of days. We are doing a feature on education in September. Finally, we have about 8 videos finished and on hold just waiting for those artists to say the word.
My inspiration comes from….
Everything. Most of the things I want to write about are re-creations of situations that I’ve seen in real life. Like a moment on a subway between two strangers; that’s interesting to me. Also, being on Tumblr, or other parts of the Internet, you come across something like a photo or a song that just changes the whole mood or gives me a really good idea. I’ll just start writing. The most inspirational people to me (that aren’t my parents) are Kanye West, Tina Fey, Aaron Sorkin, Christopher and Jonathan Nolan, Jerry Seinfeld, Quentin Tarantino, Louis C.K. and Nabil Elderkin.
The best advice I’ve ever received….
I remember being in New York with Sene one afternoon and not really sure what direction I was supposed to take. At the time, I was stuck being the tradition: finish college, get a “real” job and be a full time director. He just told me, “Don’t go the tradition route, I can tell that is your “plan B”. Don’t plan your life around “plan B”. It’s not going to make you happy. Take a chance on yourself.” That was really one of the biggest reason for me to take what I do seriously and moving to New York.
Best night that I’ve ever had with a camera was when…
The #2 ranked Texas Longhorns played the Kansas Jayhawks in November of ’09. A lot of great things ended that night. I made a video of the whole experience. It wasn’t amazing, but it’s very personal and it’s still my favorite video I’ve ever made.
The best city for a young person to do what I do….
is New York City. LA is too spread out.
Before I go – I want you to know…
I love soccer. I work really hard. I usually have on my backpack. I want to create something that will be loved and remembered.
Keep it locked on The Cheats Movement – MAJOR MOVES WILL BE MADE IN AUGUST! RVA- WE SEE IT!
RVA Mini Mag Street Heat is here! You can get it at West Coast Kix and all over Richmond. Go out and get that free mini mag asap. It will go fast and it is a collectors item. Yes, I said collectors item. It documents the transformational Style Wars Summer happening in this city. It’s a dope mag – more on that tomorrow. Today, I have a special treat for RVA Street Art fans. Inspired by the kids I saw at the G40 Art Summit and RVA Street Arts Festival with their own tag books. I decided to buy my own book and get it tagged up. Here are some of the photos in my personal Street Art Festival – The Cheats Movement Book of Tags.
This defiantly a cool edition of, Why I Love RVA Today. I’m posted two amazing videos: The first is directed by my dude Robert Roby. He is doing his thing with Soul Live Media. He hooked up with Doe The Paperboy a while back and together they have killed 2012 with music and visuals. Rob dropped a tweet a few weeks ago telling RVA that the Picasso visual was going to be a game changer. He did not lie. It’s one of the best videos I have seen from any RVA artist. I’m looking up at it myself and shaking my head. Well done to both Doe and Rob on this instant classic.
The second video is courtesy of my friends over at Dirty Richmond. It was created by Bree El over at Style on the Move. I don’t make any bones about it – I’m a huge fan of Dirty Richmond. Brian’s site was once again voted the Best Blog/Tumblr in RVA by the readers of Style Weekly. It is very cool to see him grow and see how Dirty Richmond had grown in the last 2 years. This video is great example of how much of a force Dirty Richmond is in RVA. Both Brian and Bree have been featured on The Cheats Movement before and I am sure we will continue to work together in the future.
The crowd far exceeded what was anticipated last Saturday at Dominion River Rocks. There is no doubt the attendance was helped by another glorious RVA day. I must say, as much as RVA is a trending hippster town, there has always been strong support for hiking, climbing, running, and all the outdoor events that River Rocks brought to Browns Island last weekend. I was extremely impressed with the slack line competition. Slack line is definitely a reminder that I’m getting older and there is a generation of kids that are growing up with cool things that I never had. In addition to slack line, competitive wall climbing, and bike jumping, River Rocks brought a ton of cool things to RVA: air dog competition, mud runs, food vendors, and of course, live music. One of the best live bands in the world closed out Saturday night, the one and only Galactic from New Orleans. I was unable to make it back down to the island on Sunday so my photos are from all day Saturday. Check them out and let me know what you think.
I know – I know….I’ve been busy but RVA HOT SAUCE Episode 2 is coming soon. I’ve been working on it and thinking about it a lot lately. Here is a song from Caitlin and Erin AKA ManlyMan to hold you over until I have time to finish. If you don’t know about ManlyMan — read my original post about them HERE and like their Facebook page HERE…They are amazing!
Style Wars Summer Continues: Check out this great guest post from Jeanine Guidry, Executive Director of Arts in the Alley
With all the mural-painting taking place in Richmond this month, you may have missed one project: Arts in the Alley. Arts in the Alley is a project of local nonprofit Offering, and on April 14-15 we hosted our sixth event in Greater Fulton in Richmond’s East End. During Arts in the Alley, volunteers clean up a run-down alley or block and revitalize it by painting murals on its walls. Usually, we have between 75-125 volunteers – this time, we were blown away with more than 325!
Families are welcome at Arts in the Alley – our youngest volunteer was 24 months old…. she brought a crayon :). Our most dedicated one? Near the top must be little Mia – five years old, and already an Arts in the Alley veteran. Mia has been to the past two Arts in the Alleys (with her family, of course) and each time cleaned and primed and painted more than 7 hours. What Mia is teaching me? You are never too young, too old, too…. anything to make a difference.
Paint may not change the world, but people and paint can change things. They can makes dirty buildings prettier. They can make boring walls more interesting. They can make dark places brighter. They make a group of people who have never met before turn into a well-balanced team. They change a little girl into a community worker. Little boys, too. They brighten neighborhood and they brighten hearts. Together, people and paint can turn strangers into friends. Here are some photographic impressions (courtesy of the amazing and generous DJ Glisson at Firefly Imageworks. Want to get involved? Just click HERE.
Jeanine Guidry, Executive Director, Arts in the Alley
What Mia is teaching me? You are never too young, too old, too…. anything to make a difference.
My dude HAM is preparing to do it big at the upcoming RVA Street Art Festival this weekend – but in the meantime he finished up this new piece outside of his studio AKA Glide Skateboards HQ. Make sure you check HAM out this weekend.
I’m very saddened by the recent story that I read on Fan of the Fan: Art 180 ordered to remove portraits from Monument Avenue. With all the excitement regarding the art projects happening right now in the city, I believe this is a disappointing step backward. This is my first year working with Art 180 and I can tell you first-hand that the program is amazing and the What Do You Stand For art project should be on full display on Monument Ave.
Here is the email from Marlene Paul, co-founder and executive director of Art 180
Despite the enormous outpouring of positive comments we’ve heard about our Monument Avenue exhibition–and the great photo on the front page of yesterday’s Times-Dispatch, we have been ordered to remove them by Friday.
This is a shock and disappointment, given that we have been working since last summer to follow protocol and seek the necessary approval, and we have a permit from the City’s Department of Public Works for them to remain on Monument until May 4.
Some of our fellow citizens feel that we should never have been granted permission to display the portraits on The Grand Avenue, and this is a case of people w/ money and influence vetoing City authority–where is the fairness in that? I spoke directly with one of these unhappy Monument residents, who had already contacted the Mayor’s office and won over Councilman Charles Samuels (who is, conveniently, up for reelection in a hotly-contested race). This one resident is apparently not alone, as there have been other complaints to City Hall. I don’t know how many, and I am struggling to understand why their voices can cause the revocation of a legally obtained permit. I am equal parts outraged, brokenhearted, exasperated, and proud that the portraits are on Monument right now, regardless of how long they stay.
No secret to anyone that follows this site – Just Plain Sounds are my brothers. Even further The Honorable Sleaze – in addition to be one of my RVA HOT SAUCE Co-Host – Sleaze is just that dude. From day 1, he has shown The Cheats Movement Blog love and support. With all of that said – he just happens one of the hardest working Emcees and Producers I have seen in RVA. He just released his long awaited album Heavenly/Devilish and now I will share some of it with you. Support this album, The Honorable, and JPS. Check out the show tomorrow night at ROX. #STAYFOCUSED #WESEEIT
Below The Heaven, Above The Lake (produced by Just Plain Ant)
The Passion of Sleaze (produced by Ohbliv)
Email me at: TheCheatsMovement@gmail.com and I will send you a sticker no problem!
This year has been amazing for the Cheats Movement Blog. I would have never imagined when I started in January that nearly a year later I would be having so much fun covering the creative community in RVA. This blog started as strictly a photoblog — and because of the support and the inspiration of Richmond — it has become so much more. From RVA Profiles to RVA Hot Sauce — The Cheats Movement is committed to presenting content that supports the RVA community – and I will keep that commitment in 2012. There is no doubt that the site will continue to grow — but I can’t do it without your support. Make sure you do your part to spread the word about this blog on facebook and twitter– and I will continue to make sure it’s the best blog that I can do — WE R-VA!
Now with that– check out my quick holiday present — The Cheats Movement – Year One.