Words and Photos by Cheats
So far, Stone Soul 2013 has to be the best RVA music event of the year. It was a lights out show from top to bottom. A Radio One collaboration between iPower, Kiss FM and Praise, the show featured diversity across urban music like no other event this year. And not only diversity we are talking star power to the max. Heavy hitter in hip hop: B.o.B, French Montana, Yo Gotti, and Future.
B.o.B rocked the stage with crazy energy.
R&B took center stage with Raheem DeVaughn, SWV, BBD, and Fantasia. If you thought acts like SWV, BBD or even Fantasia would be rusty…you were mistaken. They brought their A-games from start to finish and showed why so many fans love their work.
Future was a crowd favorite at Stone Soul 2013.
There were so many highs and not many lows, I will mention only a few:
1. I was skeptical about the venue change from Brown’s Island to the RIR amphitheater bu let me just say this change was the single best change of the event. No need for lawn chairs – the food vendors are a much better walk, and the venue is covered. The stage, sound and security were amazing and it really made for a great day. Not to mention some of the best weather of the year.
2. The show was the smoothest that I have seen in a long time. There were very little delays between acts and when there were delays King Tutt jumped in a DJ’ed to keep the crowd moving. The varies radio host keep it fun and the show rolled on with major act after major act.
3. While the no curse word rule may have stiffed Webby and Yo Gotti, it made the show very family friendly. And I’m glad all of the acts did their best to respect the rule. Great work Webby (I know it was tough).
4. The award for most body guards goes to Yo Gotti. The best part of this is if you know anything about Yo Gotti – you would not mess with Yo Gotti. Yo Gotti is no joke. But nevertheless he had his crew with him.
There were a lot of brothers with CMG shirts…but no one would or should ever mess with Yo Gotti
5. Fantasia is the real deal. Say what you will about American Idol and reality shows, Fantasia is the modern day Patti LaBelle and is well worth the price of admission. She looked and sounded amazing. She was a worthy headliner.
CLICK HERE TO SEE ALL OF THE CHEATS MOVEMENT PHOTOS FROM STONE SOUL 2013!
Thanks to Community Clovia for always show love to the Cheats Movement Blog and RVA. Follow The Cheats Movement of Facebook and Twitter. The most diverse blog in RVA – WE SEE IT.
I have to admit, it took me a while to feel comfortable posting about Dominion Riverrock 2013. As you know, one bad actor can ruin an otherwise awesome event. In this case, the “bad actor – clown – hater…etc.” really marred the headlines on an amazing weekend. Most people know this but I have to write, the embarrassment that happened in no way reflects this area, this festival, or the amazing people that worked so hard to make Riverrocks 2013 and awesome weekend. And it was an awesome weekend.
Now what that soapbox speech out of the way, on the the awesomeness of Riverrocks. It was a weekend of great events, food, friends and music. My favorite being Toots and the Maytals (I’m a huge fan), Photosyntheziers (Fam to the core), and the slackline event (I just love it).
Love is the name of the game people. Thanks to everyone that made Riverrock 2013 great.
Justin BUA is a certified legend in the world of underground art and hip hop culture. And when a living legend says he is working on a new project that he calls, “the most-game changing project he has ever done,” it’s worth paying attention. He is set to launch his online art school (BuaArtSchool.com) this summer. The BUA Art School is a brand new interactive project for the NYC born artist. Not only will the online school give people the opportunity to learn directly from BUA, it allows people direct access to BUA for a precedent setting affordable cost.
Speaking from his studio in Cali, in this exclusive Cheats Movement interview, BUA speaks openly about the online school, his motivation, fatherhood, and recent events, like his tribute to Jason Collins. The author of instant classic books “The Beat of Urban Art” and “The Legends of Hip Hop” has always been a groundbreaking renaissance man. He hopes his latest project creates even more opportunities for those looking to blaze their own path.
Cheats: What’s good BUA. I know that your time is short so I will say a quick thanks and jump right into what is new with you. Tell me about your brand new Online Art School?
BUA: It’s all going to happen at: BuaArtSchool.com. And what it is? I’m teaching about 250 lessons, each lesson is going to be about 4 to 8 minutes long and it will cover everything from art fundamentals, to the intermediate level, advanced level, and even Master level lessons. Not only will I teach drawing and painting, I am also going to be teaching about the business of art and art history. It’s going to get very deep into the science of art, the physics of art, into color and value. I’m really going everywhere an artist needs to go. It’s really important and really groundbreaking because it is accessible to everybody. When I was teaching at USC, one class would cost around $4,000. This school for the entire year is around $250. Three months is $99. That has never happened before where lessons are so affordable to be enrolled in a University. On top of that, you get to download all of my lessons. You get to interact with me and all of the other students in the class. So I tell you, “We are doing this study of this figure and we’re doing this crazy head, here is my version of the figure”, I get to see your version, you can send me your version and I will draw on top of it and give you feedback and ideas to consider and I send it back to you all through what we call video exchange. It’s all new technology – video exchange technology – which allows me to one-on-one critique the work and interact with the students in the class.
Cheats: What building blocks led to you to launching the online school?
BUA: It’s a company called ArtistWorks and they have done 24 Universities in the field of music. DJ Qbert teaches DJing, they got some of the best in the world teaching in their fields. But they’ve never done an art program. Qbert introduced me to them and they asked did I want to do their first art program and I said, “Of course.” I said yes because while I liked teaching at USC, USC was an amazing experience, it was not an affordable experience for everybody. This school is for everybody. At USC, if you had a certain amount of money – then you could take my class; and you have to be at USC. If you didn’t have the money or you were not at USC, what could you do? You couldn’t really study with me – you didn’t have access to me. Not to mention, what if you were in Iceland or the Philippines? You couldn’t study with me. So this really creates an access that no one has ever really had before in my teaching.
For students who enroll in the BUA Online School, what experience should they expect?
They are going to get an interactive experience that is going to be game changing and life changing. Drawing is one of the most meditative and beautiful things ever. If you are an artist, you are going to be able to build your portfolio and improve your skills. If you are a hobbyist and you are taking classes for fun, you are going to find yourself more peaceful, more at one with yourself, and getting deeper into the art of not only drawing but truly seeing. Those things will change your experience with everything, if you are a dancer – it will help you be a better dancer, if you are a writer – it will help you be a better writer because drawing is very intuitive and it is very profound. This experience is a game changer. It’s one of the most game-changing things I have ever done.
You mentioned that you will not only will teach about the fundamentals of art but also about the business aspect of art. What is the most important lesson you’ve learned about navigating business with success?
You really have to dial into understanding what needs to be done to make a living. So many people say, “I’m going to do this and I’m going to do that,” but they don’t know the operational system. They just jump into it blindly. And you really need to know this information. I will teach everything from how to build a portfolio, to what is the best way to market yourself, how to protect yourself, how to negotiate a deal, should you get an attorney or agent. What field you want to go into…do you want to go into fine art or maybe education. I know this information because I’m doing the same thing. I can dial into what people really need to know and help them focus on being successful.
How did that knowledge base click for you personally? When did you realize you were dealing with more of the business aspect of art?
Well, I learned the hard way. I have a natural inclination to be a hustler because I’m from New York City (Harlem) so I have a little bit of the hustler mentality, but I’ve been hustled so much. My first go around in both the advertising world and the poster world, I was hustled. So I learned from getting ripped off. Call it what you want, call it the school of hard knocks, but I got taken advantage of. And I didn’t understand what my rights were. I didn’t understand where my rights were and because of that, I made some bad moves. Being an artist is like a game of chess, you move this direction you open yourself up for an attack – you move another direction and you’re being strategic and making a smart business decision that will carry you to the next level.
I haven’t heard you comment very much about your drive and motivation. But your grind is such a theme in your work. Where does your drive come from?
It used to be a part of what I called the fuck you energy. All the haters out there that were telling me I could not do it, “you’re not good enough, you’re not skilled enough, you’re art is too street, it’s too unrefined,” and I was like, “fuck you.” All of that energy manifested itself into me trying harder, persevering, and getting better. When I got older, that fuck you energy started to become more positive energy. It became love energy. Now, I do it because I love it. I fell in love with drawing, painting and teaching. It’s a deep way to express myself.
I have seen a shift when it comes to the acceptance of street art. I’ve seen more street art being sponsored by corporations and even the government. Have you noticed this trend? What do attribute it to?
Street art is becoming more normalized. It’s not as underground now and that’s just the way movements go. Jazz was once underground and then it became more normalized. Hip hop was underground and then it became pop. Graffiti was underground and now it’s becoming more accepted. Eventually there will be something else that is more subversive.
How do you feel about these shifts? Do you relish the underground aspect?
I always love the underground element…I was talking this morning with some friends, when Public Enemy came out it was like the new punk rock and no one had ever heard that before…it was so crazy, so puck rock, so radical, and now that level of explosiveness can only last so long and it either fades out or people say, “That’s the cool sound, I want to do that,” and it becomes a little more scripted. People are like, “Let’s do that same type of sound but let’s do the Vanilla Ice/Milli Vanilli version, and that’s just the way it goes these days. It also takes a tremendous about of money, therefore producers, writers, and record labels hedge their bets. They know if they get a David Guetta or Usher they’re going to get a certain number of downloads and make a certain amount of money. It the same with films – if I get this mega star and this producer, I’m going to make this much money in international sales, I’m going get this much of my investment back. It is all safe bets.
From the perspective of someone observing your career from the outside, I would suggest the foundation of your art comes from two (almost competing) elements: a solid formal education ,from the artists in your family, to LaGuardia High, to the Art Center College of Design, and a genuine education of hip hop culture growing up in NYC. How has each of those elements attributed to who you are as an artist?
They are totally opposite movements, street art and classical art, and the reality is that I love both of them. They are harmonized in my work. The more skill you have the better you will be able to express yourself. If you are a good reader, you are going to be a better writer. If you weight train and do more core work in the gym then you’re going to be a better fighter. You have to train. You have to be well rounded with whatever you do.
It’s like having a good offensive line or else your quarterback is going to get killed.
There you go.
How have you changed as an artist and person since becoming a father?
It’s the best thing ever. My daughter keeps me grounded. I learn from her. She’s so smart, she thinks outside the box. She keeps me young, fresh, and thinking.
Do you see a shift from the hustler mentality to family man in your art?
Bua: Definitely I do, but I don’t know exactly how. Not really in how lines are drawn, but fatherhood affects the way that I work. I’m not doing all-nighters anymore. I’m much more disciplined about getting to work when I need to. I don’t smoke weed. I’m just more tuned in. She gives me that grounding feeling and is the best thing that has ever happened to me in my life.
You recently posted a tribute painting to Jason Collins on your Facebook page, what role does current events play in your work?
That is an interesting question. I think current events just reflect universal questions of morality. A lot of times you hear about these horrible tragedies. But Jason Collins is a good example because he came out for gay rights, but that is not much different than women’s rights, or apartheid, or all kinds of oppression. He is just a representative of something that is more universal – which is the idea that we have to overcome the mentality of people who are prejudice and backwards. So when I do a painting about him, I’m not only talking about gay rights, I’m talking about women’s rights, Latino and African American rights, I’m talking about a bigger issue – the overall issue that people are equal.
It is certainly a powerful painting.
It was one of those moments. I normally don’t do stuff like that. My work is usually a little more celebratory about the DJ, the MC, unsung leaders of the movement. Whether it is the legends of hip hop or jazz piano players or dancers, but this resonated with me as very interesting. And looking at him, he has a very interesting face to paint. The painting was very spontaneous.
What advice do you give the young artist you mentor regarding how to maximize their potential?
Do what you love to do. Do not allow any negativity to stop you but at the same time don’t be stupid and think that you are the greatest thing in the world. I tweeted this the other day, once you feel that you’ve arrived as an artist, it’s probably a good idea to starch everything and start all over again. There is a lot of young artist that think they are so dope – they are delusional. Michelangelo was 81 when he said he was just beginning to learn how to draw. How are you dope? How have you arrived?
Do you feel that way about yourself as well?
I’m the biggest student of everybody. I’m always painting with people that are better than me. I’m always looking to learn. How does he do that? How can I be that good? You have to have that attitude because if you don’t – you are fooling yourself. And you don’t want to do that. It’s a dangerous place to be. If you really think that you are that good – that is the time when you have to say, no, something is wrong. You can feel that way for a minute but you have to then say – what’s next. Remember, you are only as good as your next painting. It happened to me – I did The DJ 11 or 12 years ago. Okay – what’s next? Same thing with music, you have a hit record – okay what’s next. You’ve heard it before don’t rest on your lures. It’s a fact. So many people are resting on the lures – look what I did. That mentality will stunt you in every way. You will never get better. The more ego you have the less you will get better.
Sign up for the Bua Art School is available right now at:
Thanks to Lisa for making it happen. #WESEEIT Follow the Cheats Movement Blog on Facebook. The most diverse blog in RVA.
Anthony Bourdain at the Landmark Theater in RVA last night.
I’m so grateful to Kendra for giving me the opportunity to bring The Cheats Movement vibe to Ipanema Cafe last night. A huge thanks to Allen for working with me through all of the planning and S/O to PJ for the dope poster and photographing the night. Sam Reed has been family for a minute and I never take that for granted. Many more projects coming from her in the near future. I’ve been a fan of The Low Branches for about a year and even more so now – so much love for them. I can’t wait to see what they have planned of this summer.
We did it again Richmond. It is a true family vibe. Bringing RVA together to enjoy music – enjoy each other and build community. It sounds a bit unrealistic – but if you were there last night – I bet you felt the family vibe. If you missed it – I challenge you to come out to the next Cheats Movement Blog event (don’t know what that is yet…but I’ll think of something). For those that did come out last night: THANK YOU! #WESEEIT
Sam’s B-Boy Stance – S/O Brother Manifest and Blasco
WE SEE IT!
Last Saturday night, the Cheats Movement Blog joined a sold-out crowd at Baliceaux for the first ever RCC’s Battledecks. Battledecks is a comedic presentation using never seen before slides by daring and hilarious presenters; improv at its finest. I knew from the time the first slide was reveled, “Raving in your 30′s” it was going to be a great night. Congrats to the nine brave souls that took the stage (2 were selected randomly from the audience). The night was a massive success. Scott Beckett was the winner of Battledecks and also a new laser-etched iPad Mini. The night was hosted by the owner of BIG SECRET Jason Lefton with slide presentation assistance from his good friends at the Richmond Comedy Coalition. The slides along with comedic courage of each presenter made the night fantastic. I look forward to many more Battledecks at Balliceaux. CLICK HERE FOR ALL THE PHOTOS FROM LAST SATURDAY NIGHT
CLICK HERE for all the photos from Battledecks and make sure to follow: the Richmond Comedy Coalition, BIG SECRET, and the Cheats Movement Blog on Facebook.
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
I’m starting to say this just about every hour now but I’m so heartened and excited about what is happening with this project. I often start projects because I’m interested in the outcome or because I think they are fun. I’m often surprised by what RVA embraces — and I’m not just talking about this project. I’m surprised by the music, art, and culture that RVA embraces…and it’s not what you think. I’m often pleasantly surprised. RVA has a tough reputation when it come to embracing its own — and I must say – it’s pretty well deserved BUT I truly believe that the ice is breaking. It’s breaking in music, art, and culture. It’s breaking in Community. What does that mean? Where do we go from here? I honestly can’t say for sure – but I’ve live in RVA my entire life and I can feel something different happening – I can feel people wanting to talk to each other and teach each other and share with each other – and this project is fueled by that energy. People want to be around each other – and that is very exciting. Joining the project today are: Ben Margolis, MaReesa Dawn, Madeline Roberts, Matt Newman, Kristel Poole, Rob Roby and Mikemetic.
“To me community is selflessness. It requires an understanding of those around you and a communal attitude toward a better cause…” Rob Roby…CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM ROB
“…This is because the concept of community is not absolute. Community, as with many things in life and beyond, is what you make it. The key is to operate under a unified umbrella of “community” that reflects not only the diverse demographics of the larger effected populous but a holistic benevolence that should be the underlying rudiment of any communal claims made by any group, gathering or organization…” -Mike “Mikemetic” Williams…CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM MIKEMETIC
“Community to me, means the common good. People sharing resources fairly and with consideration of the common good makes for community…” Madeline Roberts…CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM MADELINE
“Community – different folk.. different ideals.. different skills = like minds.. like passions.. like goals.. working together for larger impact.” -MaReesa Dawn…CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM MAREESA
“Community is the essence of humanity. It’s the coming together for the common benefit of the group that has allowed our species to be as productive as we’ve been…” Ben Margolis…CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM BEN
“For me, community is about saying “I care about you, I support you, and I want to see you do well.” The more you can say that, the broader your community.” Matt Newman…CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM MATT
“…I think that community and the idea of where you feel at home are concepts that either hit you like a brick or they take a while to grow within you; I don’t believe that one is better than the other. I feel at home in Southern California, where I was born. I feel community when I am in Hawaii….” Kristel Poole…CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM KRISTEL
While I have to put an end to submission. I will continue to post every post I have received. To everyone that participated – Thank you. The first thank you of many RVA. #WESEEIT
Are you getting tired yet? I’m not. I think it’s clear that there is no magic bullet – no one right way to define community. However, it is amazing to read how others view community in RVA and see how it applies to my life. I’ve already been challenged, surprised, an even moved by the words people are writing. Today is no different with post from: Del. Jennifer McClellan, Robb Moore, Rasheeda Matthews, Pamela Howard, Tony Harris, and my dude Black Liquid. Take it all in – and see how their words apply to your life. Do they inspire you? Do they move you to act? Time will tell…but you hold the answer.
“In the root of the word community is the gift of being together. For me, community is also a path to helping people heal.” Pamela Howard….CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM PAMELA
“A community isn’t just a bunch of people doing the same thing, bound by the land they inhabit, by the burdens they bare, its ownership. The feeling of being part of something that cannot be seen, but can be felt. Its a responsibility.” Black Liquid…CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM BLACK LIQ
“…Today, these are the questions that this new version of our community has propagated and leads to the heart of what your question means to me – how can I help you? Because in the end, helping the local business or artist or musician helps everyone and that is the true backbone and definition of a sustained community.” R Antony Harris…CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM TONY
“…When we invest in our community, we invest in others an in this world. That is the fabric of life, and the fabric of a great society, and if that’s the rent I must pay on this earth, I will gladly do so.” Rasheeda N. Matthews…CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM RASHEEDA
“Community, like family, is one of those words that one the surface pops with the positive associations we know we should feel about it, but that in a postmodern and urban reality drips also with the clinging of demands that lead many of us to spend lots of energy holding it at arm’s length.” Robb Moore…CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM ROBB
“Community is your extended family as it provides support, fellowship, and a safe place to turn to in a time of need.” Jennifer McClellan…CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM JENNIFER (Not actually “more” but there is a photo).
This is your discussion – our discussion. Share, comment, Facebook, and tweet what’s happening out. There is still time – yes, still time to have your voice heard about Community, so I ask, “What does Community mean to you?”
It’s Wednesday and I must say — I love this series. Yes, it’s personal to me but I’m so heartened by the response of RVA. Today is no different, we have a Henrico School Board member, right beside a long time RVA hip hop artist, right beside a community activist and super hero (yes you Manifest). Really think about the RVA as a whole – it’s great that this energy can match other actions happening in the city and region. Community…it’s a powerful tool if used right. Let’s take a moment to think about what it means – and share it. Like all of the post from this week the are all posted on their own page. Hover over the “Meaning of Community” tab at the top of the screen to see the drop box for everyone. Also, you can check the Cheats Movement Facebook as I will start loading every post on there as well. It’s still not too late to join this project….Email or message me on Facebook. And wit no further delays – YOUR COMMENTS:
“Community engagement requires individuals to assess the needs of the community at large and take appropriate action that provides opportunities to impact the quality of life afforded to others.” Lamont Bagby…CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM LAMONT
“…In Richmond, we celebrate the James, we celebrate an incredibly rich vernacular architecture, we celebrate the train culture, skate culture, urban culture, high art, public murals, performing arts, niche restaurants and the incomparable food culture that follows. As we each experience these objects and spaces, we develop commonalities that draw us together from within. We embrace those things for their singular influence on us within the context of our community and this can shape our ideas for good.” Nelly Kate…CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM NELLY
“Defining community is really simple and can be defined by asking how wide is your we? Who is included in your us?” Duron Chavis AKA Brother Manifest….CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM MANIFEST
“The love we spread to one another is what builds community. Its more than just the people or places that may comprise a neighborhood, or city, or state. Communities begin in the heart; it is built with the mutual love and respect we show to each other.” The Honorable Sleaze…CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM SLEAZE
“To me community can mean many things, but at its core community means unique people working together for the common good. Is a project bringing people together in a positive or transformative way? If yes – that’s the embodiment of community.” Missy Neff Gould…CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM MISSY
“I think of community as a place where people feel connected, respected, and valued. It is a place where people can be their full selves without fear of judgment….” Jonathan Zur…CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM JON
That’s all for today. Make sure that you share, Facebook, Tweet, and comment. Let people know what’s happening around RVA and on this blog. Community affects us all. Let your voice be heard.
Photo by Cheats
Please make sure that you view all of the post for Community Week – go to the main menu (at the top of this screen) and hover over Meaning of Community tab. Every post has its own page — check it and share. Today is part 2 of Community Week on The Cheats Movement Blog and it is indeed a special day. The fact that this blog has the likes of Jim Ukrop posting on Community is big enough but posting Jim Ukrop along side a Maat Free or Ross Catrow or Taekia Glass is what this week (and this blog) is all about. #WESEEIT #COMMUNITY
“…for me, an ideal community is one where everyone, regardless of their socio-economic status, cares about one another and looks out for one another – a feeling that, ‘if the community does well, I will do well.’ – Jim Ukrop…CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM JIM
“…If you remember nothing else about ‘community’ remember that the origin of the word community comes from the latin word communitas; cum, “with/together” + munus, “gift”. Together we are a greater gift to ourselves and this world than individually.” Taekia Glass…CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM TAEKIA
“…I believe community is a group of people with the desire to expose one another to what we feel most passionate about in life and remain open enough to see how these experiences will shape our world view. It is in the act of communicating that we have found a community.” Maat Free…CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM MAAT
“I think a community is a collection of ideas. Big ideas, small ideas, creative ideas, pragmatic ideas, etc.” Beau Cribbs…CLICK HERE TO READ MORE BEAU
“For me, the people I exchange ideas with are my community.” Ross Catrow…CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM ROSS
Make sure to comment, share, post, tweet, etc. I will be posting all week. And it’s not to late to add your voice to this project, email or message me to be a part.
I’m going to post “your” comments about Community every day at 9 AM. The response has been amazing! I’m so moved that all of you have pick up this challenge and weighed-in. Please continue to do so. It’s not to late to get your voice heard. For the first installment…Please read the meaningful words of: Clovia Lawrence, Kate Hall, Victoria Carll, and Felix Sarfo-Kantanka. You can read every Community post, unedited, under the Community tab at the main menu of the blog. Please read, comment and share.
“Community” means a passion for the people. People are a very important piece to making or breaking a community.
We must commune together for greatness. Our lives depend on strong “community”. – from Clovia Lawrence CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM CLOVIA…
“…It means that parents from every walk, ethnicity and demographic in this city can come together through our blog to help a homeless mother, a family who has lost their home in a fire and a child suffering from cancer.” -from Kate Hall CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM KATE…
“…A community reaches beyond the circle of people that you know, that you socialize with, that you work with, that you hang with. Your community is a myriad of concentric circles of important, prioritized issues kept and held by each individual. The passion held in the hearts of those within my community, the work within the actions of my community, the intentions within the minds of my community and the goodness that comes from the hands of my community, reach out, reach back and hold us, change us, transform us and are the revolution within which I stand.” -from Victoria Carll CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM VICTORIA…
“…Community means being there for your family, friends and loved ones. You create a community through relationships, goodwill and respect towards others.” -from Felix Sarfo-Kantanka...CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM FELIX…
Read the post today and check back for more tomorrow….#RVACommunity
I’m very excited about this week’s project. I have reached out to the entire Cheats Movement Family and even some first time Cheats Movement readers to help break down the meaning of “Community.” The exact question offered was: “What does Community mean to you?” I asked this question because “Community” has been a hot topic in Richmond this early part of 2013. There have been several public discussions about Community, some “side” discussions” and dare I say even some “underground discussions,” from all walks of RVA, regarding how we can improve RVA’s Community.
What I’ve found, and what really inspired me to reach out to the Cheats Movement Family, is that though these conversations are taking place - they seem to be taking place amongst interest groups that appear to be motivated to serve their own interests and present it as Community. I don’t mean that to be a criticism, it’s just my observation.
The Virginia General Assembly will have a discussion, or host a forum, about Community and the only people that would attend are Delegates, Senators, and lobbyist. TEDx, one of my favorite subjects of late, will host an event or talk about bringing the TEDx energy to RVA and how great it is for our Community. And I think events like the upcoming TEDx is a great happening that RVA should support but I (and along with others) have questioned, is the event just for the innovative business community or does it represent a larger cut of RVA? On a more personal note, I was a part of a wonderful group of community activist a few weeks ago, sort of an anti-establishment – DIY – group, we had a very enlightening discussion about Community. But as I looked around that room, it was clear that the room lacked the financial capital, business and political influence to really claim that our group was a real representation of all of RVA.
The main reason why I love Richmond so much is because of its diversity. There is no silver bullet that can put RVA in a box. Nor, is there a way that you can really have an all-inclusive conversation on a topic like Community without leaving key elements behind. But knowing that, I can go one of two ways, I could say the challenge is too large and sit it out or I can play my part and join the conversations that I see taking place around Richmond. That is why I have decided to use this week on The Cheats Movement Blog to do my part and help put more momentum behind the conversations about Community that are already taking place.
I strongly believe that in order to move forward on advancing issues like “Community Improvement” there has to be a baseline understanding of the definition and how it applies in people’s lives. This week will by my attempt – the attempt of The Cheats Movement Family – to present a diverse understanding of RVA’s community and how we can use these answers to kick-start some real action.
Everyone should be encouraged to be involved in discussions about their Community. Community affects everyone. I am very pleased with the Richmonders (Family Members) that have lent their voice to this conversation. The range of responses that I have received is more diverse than I’ve ever seen in one place about Richmond’s Community (thanks social media).
I have invited all – with no limits - to participate in this conversation, and the offers still stands all week. I encourage everyone to comment – share – tweet – Facebook – post – do whatever to move this conversation forward. I believe we are all in this together and the more we know about each other, the further we can go to make RVA’s Community stronger. #WESEEIT
Photo by Nick Mastro from the Cheats Movement Epic Dinner Party 2012
The shooting of the Lincoln movie was huge for the city of Richmond. It continues to generate tourism dollars for the city, and is attracting more movies to be shot here. Being that I work downtown (off Broad Street) every day, I saw the set design at the state capital, the horse buggies, the actors, the production trailers, it was a monstrosity of an affair. Richmond loved it. Here was a chance to celebrate the historical aspects of the city under the guise of the Great Emancipator. However, if you watch the Steven Spielberg’s movie, “Lincoln,” you would think that black people were sitting waywardly, passively twiddling their thumbs, waiting for white folks to pass the 13th amendment for freedom. As it was a biopic and not a documentary, we can only be but so disgruntled at Spielberg’s interpretation of history. Unfortunately, the oversight of active black participation in their own liberation, in a movie about slavery that takes place in Richmond, VA proves a truly sad discourse. It perpetuates the ideal of the white man’s burden; or that it is the responsibility of Europeans to “give” freedom to someone as if the synergy of our collaborative action catalyzed by the unrelenting desire for liberation by the black people was not the spark that ignited the flame.
The initial scene of the movie features two Union soldiers talking to Lincoln, one arguing for equitable pay and promotions and reciting part of the emancipation proclamation. Later in the film you meet Elizabeth Keckley and later William Slade, two African Americans who were close to the Lincoln family. Their speaking parts are extremely limited and it wasn’t as if Lincoln was an action film deprived of dialogue. So essentially, you have a talking film that is 3 hours long about black people where black people don’t get a chance to talk. The way in which Spielberg incorporated black people – as in not at all – in the movie Lincoln says volumes. The fact that there were so few critiques from people who watched it in Richmond saying much of anything about the lack of black activity in the film says so much more. It was as if the ongoing cognitive dissonance that resonates in Richmond when talking of the Civil War; you know the conversation that starts with it being more about state rights than the states right to enslave Africans, finally took hold of everyone in Richmond’s mind and caught their tongue. Or maybe we were too focused on a film about a fictional character named Django to care about the depiction of real life events in the movie Lincoln.
Anyway….I can let my last black history month post on the Cheats Movement blog for 2013 serve as a cinematic review. Also for the sake of brevity, I am not going to argue the reasons behind Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, nor why he pushes for the passage of the 13th Amendment. I can say that I agree with most scholars who concur that his main objective was the salvation of the Union – not to free enslaved Africans; and from his own pen quote a letter he wrote from August of 1862, “If I could save the Union without freeing any slaves, I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it,” We know that the war couldn’t have been won without African’s fighting for their freedom against the confederacy in it. After Africans had fought so bravely for their freedom there were limited ways to re-enslave us except through Black Codes whereas you could still have slaves if it were punishment for a crime. Yet that is another longer discussion. In fact the only reason I am talking about the movie is because Richmond was the capital of the confederacy and this is essentially where the Civil War ended.
There is no talk in Lincoln of the African American XXV Corp of the Union Army, which on April 3rd, 1865 was the first command to enter Richmond signaling the end of the Civil War though. There are no references to Frederick Douglas’s ongoing dialogue with Lincoln regarding the abolition of slavery. There is no reference to the highest commissioned black officer in the Civil War in the form of Martin Delany and his proposal for black resettlement in Liberia. There is no reference to the invitation of black militant abolitionist Henry Highland Garnett to speak to the Congress, making him the first African American to do so and that it was under invitation by Lincoln to commemorate the signing of the 13th amendment. No mention of major uprising of Africans such as Gabriel Prosser, Nat Turner, or John Brown – that would inspire abolitionist to fight for the end of slavery. No Garnett, no Douglas, no Delany – no prominent African American abolitionists of that time who were known to historically have talked to Lincoln were featured or referenced to at all. The movie did what a lot of movies (and people) do when they talk about racial justice – it focused on President Lincoln and others helping black folks; instead of actually mentioning the active conversations of Africans working together so we can all be free from the bondage of oppression – both oppressor and the oppressed.
The lack of black voices in Lincoln speaks to an ongoing reality for people of African descent who live in poverty in the city of Richmond. We are stripped of our voice. The city of Richmond Virginia is 54% black and has a poverty rate of 25%. Just like in the film, there are conversations being had about us, decisions being made for us, on issues that affect us directly – however those who are in power rarely hear from us, nor take time to invite us to the table to discuss what it is we want for ourselves. It was a strange example of art imitating life. I mean I honestly never saw Jamal, from Creighton Court, in Leadership Metro Richmond or Tanesha, from Ruffin Road, at any of the Capital Region Collaborative meetings. Yet their perspective is valid and needed if we are to make decisions for all of Richmond.
Paternalism is behavior by one group that seeks to keep another group’s autonomy limited for reasons the offending group considers the latter group’s best interest. Essentially the offending group attempts to constrain the latter group’s ability to act in their own best interest by making decisions for them, instead of allowing for self-determination. How paternalistic are we when we operate in an exclusionary, non-inclusive, manner when we are in rooms discussing the future of the city of Richmond and we can count on one hand how many people of African descent are there – and very few in that number live in poverty? In what ways are we re-affirming the silence of marginalized voices when we don’t invite stakeholders to the table when we start talks of demolishing housing projects? How effective can our efforts to alleviate poverty be, when we are not welcoming the poor to participate in the planning of the plan?
Richmond is now full swing in celebration of the sesquicentennial. Where are we as a city 150 years later? With 25% poverty, 54% blackness, and the major movie production, made in Richmond, basically put the black folks in it on mute – perhaps still in bondage – by the same ideologies that create such inequality and sparked the Civil War in the first place.
Duron Chavis (Brother Manifest) is the director of Happily Natural Day and coordinator of the Mcdonough Community Garden. He will be writing about RVA Black History every Friday this month.
Words by Cheats, (Peep My Feet photos by Cheats)
I guess I should start this post by saying, “My name is Cheats, and I’m a recovering sneakerholic. I’ve been clean for about 2 months now and I’m just taking it one day at time.” Naugh seriously, I remember the exact moment when I realized The Power of The Sneaker. It was 1990 and I was a middle school student at Brookland Middle School (yes, the one right off Parham). I remember before first period, we played sports outside. There were games of 2-hand touch football, basketball (when the rims were up), and handball (right outside of building T). Well, back then, Brookland had its share of fights. We all knew the drill, if a fight broke out, we would all run towards it to see what was happening. Well, there was one morning, we were outside playing before school, and all of a sudden the whole school was running over to where we played handball, and when I say the entire school – I mean the entire school - was running over to the handball court. So like everyone else, I thought it was a fight and I ran over too. When I got there, I saw one of my classmates, Paul, standing in the middle of a circle and the entire school was staring at his new Jordan V sneakers, the Red Fire Jordans with the 23 on the side. I’d never seen anything like it. The best part of the story, is that Brookland had a lot of cats with style and personality – but Paul was not one of them. Paul was a quiet, I dare to say, nerdy type kid, with a small group of friends. That morning, my friend Paul went for being nearly invisible at Brookland Middle to the most popular kid in school. That may not mean much to you – but to me – in middle school – that was unreal. All day long Paul was getting high fives from strangers – kids that never talk to him before was asking him, “Yo, Where you get those?” The next day or so reality sat back in because other “cooler” kids got the Jordans that week. BUT Paul had them first and from that morning on – I understood the power of the sneaker. As misguided as middle school popularity was….it stuck with me for life.
Victor Cruz – sporting the Jordan V Red Fire – Paul had them first.
I really love sneakers and that’s why I was so excited when found out about the inaugural Peep My Feet event last week at the Camel. S/O to the homie Noah-O, him, along with Chris North and Kharee Hamilton, they really spearheaded this effort to bring over 20 vendors to The Camel to check, buy, and trade sneakers and vintage clothes.
Noah O and Chris North making moves…
You can’t deny the correlation between sneakers and hip hop culture. From the birth of hip hop in NYC, you had the sneaker, the gold chain, and the Kangol (pretty much the Kangol – unless you were on some Whoodini black cowboy stuff). You had the toothbrush to keep them clean, it was a glorious time. I didn’t really get into sneakers until I could afford to buy my own in high school. My man Matt B had a crazy shoe game in high school and college – I was just trying to keep up. But all over the country, sneakerheads were being born and raised through hip hop culture. It’s big business now and it good to see the entire culture being embraced.
The gold chain has been replaced but sneakers and caps are a still key elements of hip hop culture
The DJ always holds down the event. Swerve is one of the best in RVA.
For more information on Peep My Feet – Check out RVA Sneakerhead Community on Facebook
Last night, my homegirl, Patience Salgado AKA Kindness Girl did an amazing job as the special guest for the Richmond Comedy Coalition’s Richmond Famous show at Gallery 5. But Patience was not alone, she called on her good friend Jennifer Lemons-Driskell AKA The Checkout Girl to rock a ukulele sing along. It was a great time. Below are some of the photos. I’m so excited about the things The Cheats Movement Family has in store for 2013 and it was a real family affair last night. If you don’t know already the Richmond Comedy Coalition is in process of opening their new theater on Broad Street. Support them as best you can. Patience and The Cheats Movement Blog (along with so many others) are always working on projects to bridge the gap in this city. RVA, good things are happening. #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
Words by Duron Chavis (Brother Manifest)
Richmond is a very complicated place. Despite how complex its history, the one thing that is indisputable is that Richmond was once the biggest enslaved African trading industry outside of New Orleans. One can’t begin to part lips to speak on Richmond as a historical city without taking a moment of silence over its role in the Maafa, or African Holocaust. Why Richmond though? What made Richmond such a pivotal place for the traffic of human beings? There is so much to talk about on this topic, for the sake of brevity and your attention span I am going to get straight to the point. Richmond made a name for itself as the market for enslaved Africans.
The earliest sales of kidnapped Africans took place at Manchester Docks in areas such as Rocketts Landing. During the 1700’s the importation of kidnapped Africans was seen as a lucrative business opportunity by British merchants. Once the country broke revolted against Britain in 1775 and gained independence in 1782; the question of whether importing kidnapped Africans from overseas was raised, not from the stance of whether it was morally destitute to keep African people in perpetual servitude – more so if it was financially savvy to keep importing them from overseas. In the North, they built ships to import kidnapped Africans. In Virginia, the argument was raised that if the importation stopped the financial value of the children of kidnapped Africans would rise. The Virginia General Assembly outlawed the importation of kidnapped Africans in 1778. The federal government outlawed the practice 30 years later in 1808.
Virginia saw a vision for African people in the late 1700s and that was as a commodity. The expansion into the lower South gave rise to states such Louisana, Alabama, Mississippi and Texas. The tobacco that had made the original colonies successful was failing due to depleted soils from over cultivation of the land. Planters decided to move south. They took the children of kidnapped Africans with them and the interstate slave trade exploded with these migrations due to the ban on importation. Historians theorize that the origin of the term being “sold down the river” has its origins in Virginia, for much of the work in the lower south cotton fields was so intensive. It is estimated that from 1830 to 1860 Virginia sold 300,000 of the progeny of kidnapped Africans into the lower south for perpetual bondage. Wealthy plantation owners took advantage of the ban on importation. Virginia was known as a slave trading state and Richmond was its capital.
By 1845, less than 40 years after the ban on importation of kidnapped Africans – the city of Richmond listed 9 agents associated with the slave trade. By 1860 it listed 18 negro traders, 18 agents and 33 auctioneers all of whom were in the business of selling enslaved Africans. The Richmond Enquirer reported in 1857 that the receipts for slave auctions in the city totaled $3.5 million dollars. If we calculate for inflation that is the equivalent of $92,000,000 dollars today.
The sale of enslaved Africans was big business. There were large traders, small traders, agents, brokers, jail houses and auctioneers not to mention specialty retail merchants that sold the chains and shackles. You remember the movie Django right? Remember in the opening scene where you saw the shackles on the feet of Django and the rest of the coffle? A coffle was group of slaves that were manacled together and walked to auction for sale while attached to a wagon. Somebody specialized in selling shackles. Somebody specialized in selling clothing for enslaved Africans, because when sold at auction they would get a much better price. You had people who sold enslaved African women as sex slaves, domestic servants, concubines and prostitutes. Businessmen specialized in being bounty hunters or paddy rollers to capture runaway enslaved Africans. There were insurance salesmen who would insure an enslaved African as someone’s property or as part of their estate. There were ships that were contracted to transport slaves down the river and along the coast lines. Railroads companies were used to do the same. There were ad agencies that advertised the auctions. The physique, specialty, skill, mental ability or training and temperament all played a role in determining price and there were businesses that catalogued and assessed what characteristics an enslaved African had in order to determine how much he or she would be sold for. The purchase and sale of enslaved Africans was interwoven into the very fabric of the city.
Auctions took place in the streets, taverns and hotels of Shockoe Bottom. The most infamous jail was Lumpkins jail – located at 15th street between Franklin and Broad Street. Countless enslaved Africans passed through the jailhouses as they awaited sale. The African Burial Ground on the opposite side is where Africans who died in the jail from diseases, or were too rebellious and were hanged. Free blacks were also buried in the African Burial Ground. Gabriel, an enslaved African who led a rebellion in Richmond, Virginia with a plan and strategy to kidnap the governor and hold him hostage was also hanged and it is said he is buried in the African Burial Ground as well. It is only recently within the last 3 years that the African Burial Ground has been recognized by the city officially and there has been no archeological studies on the site to determine the size and scope of this mass grave.
Each time I walk in Shockoe Bottom, when I walk past the farmers market on 17th Street – when my feet hit those cobble stones, I think to myself these are the same cobblestones my ancestors feet walked on in shackles to be sold to the highest bidder. I walk past restaurants and clubs and think to myself – these places of entertainment and food were once boudoirs and auction houses. I visited a similar farmers market in London England that had the same exact cobblestones and design as Shockoe Bottom. The offices used to hold businesses that made their profit on the backs of my ancestors, for I am the progeny of enslaved Africans – living in Richmond Virginia. Slavery was an international business that localized itself in the states particularly Richmond ,VA to maximize its profit margin. Each time I pick up a magazine that promotes Richmond as a historic city – I crack a half smile – understanding that the whole story is hardly ever told. When I hear about plans to rebrand the city – that gloss over one of the most important aspects of the cities past – I say a silent prayer that one day we will realize we can’t run from this history; it lives with us to this day. When I think about the systemic poverty in the city, the disparity between those who have and those who have not – I remember that the roots of that disparity were created right here in Richmond, Virginia.
Take a moment to review the work of the Richmond City Council Slave Trail Commission. CLICK HERE
Duron Chavis (Brother Manifest) is the director of Happily Natural Day and coordinator of the Mcdonough Community Garden. He will be writing about RVA Black History every Friday this month.
There has been so much RVA hip hop coming out lately that I really can’t keep up with it all. I appreciate every artist that sends me their latest work: mixtapes, singles, videos, etc. and I apologize that I can’t get everything posted as fast as I would like BUT keep sending it my way (CheatsMWC@gmail.com). The Cheats Movement Blog will continue to be a outlet for all RVA music and, in particular, RVA hip hop. So with no further delay — Here is what I’m turning up right now:
What can I say about Sweet Petey’s latest joint. Nick F brought it hard on, “Vices.” He is receiving well deserved national attention for the mixtape that features RVA emcees, Radio B and Michael Millions along with his Tokyo Ave Fam, Conrizzle AKA Loochey Lovely, and YMCMB’s Drizzy Drake. Of course, Nick is a beast when it comes to his rhymes and he killed it on Vices. My favorite track on the tape today (it changes all the time) is Pem Pen.
Pem Pen – Sweet Petey ft. Loochey Lovely
Number 15 – Sweet Petey ft. Drake
The Grindaholic himself Octavion X dropped his latest solo project, “Vigilante” in November of last year. While many folks that I’ve talked to believe “Vigliante” to be his best solo project to date (I believe this as well), it has been a slow build for tape. I sat down with Octavion last week for my Grindaholic series and he agreed that, “Vigilante” is in the process of deliberate and targeted branding effort. He wants everything to be right – the marketing, the videos, etc. because he believes in the music. I agree, the music is very impressive. My favorite track is, Get it How I Live ft. Artik Phreeze, Chance Fischer, BC Music 1st, produced by Mr. Ivory Snow.
We R VA ft Suburban District
Noah-O’s New Video, “Looking Down”
Charged Up General Noah O took it back to the Bay for his latest video, “Looking Down.” Check out the new visual. The upcoming record is called, “Thug Wilders Revenge.” It’s coming soon and RVA is on notice.
I’m a fan on HaBits. I’ve seen them rock a few times live and really appreciate the element of hip hop they bring to RVA. It’s a return to the emcee. Their feel reminds me of the throwback origins of NYC hip hop. The new record is called, “Soul Connection.” It is dropping very soon and here is a new single from the record.
HaBits – I Wanna Be
When I sat down with So !lla for the first ever Grindaholic interview, he made it clear to me that Broad Street Elite is the focus and 2013 is year. I respect his grind. Check out the music and see what BSE is all about. My favorite track? This one is tough because I’ve been sitting back watching what !lla have been going through and because of seeing some of his journey I’m going to post the track, Runnin Too Long.” I feel l like !lla has turned a corner and this track sounds like victory to me.
So !lla – Runnin Too long
There it is for now. There is so much more but again, I can only do so much at a time. Keep supporting The Cheats Movement and I’m going to keep supporting your work and 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?
I gotta do it for RVA – Skillz Rap Up 2012 — Skillz is a true VA legend – Enjoy!
This year has bees so amazing that Part I simply not enough…The Cheats Movement Blog best photos of 2012 Part II – WE SEE IT! Click the link to Like the Cheats Movement Facebook Page! Even better in 2013!
The Ohbliv article I did for RVA Mag was one of my highlights of the year. For one, Ohbliv deserved the ink for his constant contributions to the RVA music scene and second, take a minute to read the article, it’s not your average hip hop article – we go deep and it was really dope experience.
I shot my first music video this year and it was for my brother, The Honorable Sleaze. I was so proud to work on this video for such a well deserving artist.
Bottom line – dope parents mold dope children – some of my favorite people. Shot at the Shadrock Music Festival.
Richmond Magazine hooked the Cheats Movement Blog up this year. I’m so proud that RVA is taking notice. This photo was shot by my dude Nick Mastro and featured in the article. S/O Mike and PJ Sykes.
I focused a lot on Black and White photos this year. This is one of my favorites of Ms. Proper shot at Epic Fest.
A rare group shot of the artist of the RVA Street Art Festival, with my man Ed Trask raising his arms in victory.
With much peace to my dudes BC Music 1st and Soul Live Media – who just always do their thing – not a lot of blogs photograph local hip hop like the Cheats Movement – no matter what – RVA hip hop is the backbone of this blog. Conrizzle, Octavion, Isaiah, Fair, rocking the stage.
Futura 2000 tagged my book of tags. He put in work and did this right in front of me….crazy. Check those edges, he burnt them with a lighter.
At River Rocks – RVA’s own BossHogg Monk
Aryz on Aryz right on main street
RVA’s hip hop community came together to honor Kleph Dollarz – some of the best in RVA!
WPA Bakery in Church Hill!
I loved branching out of hip hop to cover other types of shows this year, Diamond Center is one of my favorite Richmond bands.
Who else go this…a photo with some of the best (clearly elusive) street artist in the world…chillin while in town for the G40 Art Summit.
I took this photos at a rally for Tim Kaine for Senate. I love this photo – that young man was so excited to see the future Senator of Virginia.