New STUDENT17.COM Launch!

My Thursday post is coming early because I’m so amped off this shit.  My blogdawg Mikey just dropped his new site tonight!!! DON’T SLEEP.


This dude is a design magician. He is an illustrator, web designer/flash programmer extraordinaire. And I mean this with absolutely NO HOMIE BIAS. (I know I’ve said that before…but damn, I can’t help it if my friends are dope).

Click here for WWW.STUDENT17.COM

Congratulations dawgy.

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An essay on my sexay photo shoot

Background:  This essay is an effort to compile and channel all my rampant thoughts about sex, sexuality, female empowerment, objectification and the male gaze.  Last weekend, I was invited to be a part of a photo shoot with renowned Japanese photographer, YONE.  In a nutshell, YONE likes to translate SEXY in his photos.  He gives lots of creative freedom to his models to wear and pose however they want.  Some girls take it all off.  Some girls leave it all on.  Overall, YONE himself is an amazing artist. A lot of his work look like this.

I took up the photo shoot opportunity as a way to 1) expand my network, 2) experience something different and 3) express my sexual nature. This was my first time in a photo shoot so I had no idea what I was doing.  I told myself that if I was going to do the shoot, I wanted to bring something completely different.  I didn’t want to look all raunchy and shit like the other girls. (Too predictable).  I didn’t want to take my clothes off. (Too easy).  I wanted to send a positive message that firm, strong and fun is also sexy.  I kept my pants up, shirts on and legs closed.

Outfits:
1) Cocktail dress for the CLASS.
2) Fur vest, shorts and tank for the SASS.
3) Black spandex and mom’s 80’s t-shirt for the THROWBACK.

I entered the photo shoot wanting to stand out and challenge these norms.  I left the photo shoot feeling like I looked like every other girl. Damn. I didn’t feel empowered.  The shoot was a good experience and the people are amazing, but that’s just not my style.  Prancing around and trying to look all hot and shit in front of the camera wasn’t all that fun for me.  I’d rather go painting.

Even though I had something to say,  I realized that the photo shoot was not my platform.  I entered with one agenda and YONE had his–this was clear to me from the beginning (I just failed to recognize it).  At the end of the day, this is YONE’s artwork and YONE’s message.  This wasn’t MY photo shoot, it was YONE’s photo shoot.  His narrative takes precedent over mine because he is the one in control of the camera, he frames the shots and he snaps the photos.  It’s like elementary sentence structure: SUBJECT –> ACTION VERB –> OBJECT :: YONE –> CAMERA –> ME. Understanding the sexist, male-dominated context of our society, I feel inclined to reject the overt idealism of female sexiness and dress myself down.  Sometimes I overcompensate by wearing big sweaters and shit.  Then I wonder if I’m being too reactionary by responding this way.  How do I embrace my sexual side without coming off as typical or slutty.  At the shoot, I was trying to filter my feminist message through the male gaze and that just isn’t possible.  It doesn’t matter what I was trying to say or trying to do, this can all get lost when the camera frames me a certain way, photos are rearranged in a certain way and photos are exhibited in a particular context like “GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS”. Haha yuuup.

I asked YONE to credit all my photos with my name and website that offers all my artwork and writings.  I don’t know if he will actually care to do this.  In the case that he doesn’t, I would be just another anonymous GIRL GIRL GIRL amidst the bunch, and I’m not okay with that. I don’t want to be known for just a “pretty face”.  I have so much more to offer than that.  TRUST.  I appreciate the genes mom and pops gave me but I  don’t consider “good looks” as much to be proud of because it’s not something I worked terribly hard for, yadidamean?  I am very thankful for this experience.  I can be quick to judge other girls in photographs like, “HOE.” Now that I know what it feels like to be on the other side, I can better understand the pressures of succumbing to the feeling of sexy and desirability; at the same time, it has helped me affirm my own views in how I want to function in this world.

Thanks for reading.

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Filed under Believe Me Ego, Essays on the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

New Poem: The Sexy Hypebeast

As an artist and a blogger, it’s my commitment to be as real with y’all as possible.  If I’m going to share myself with the world, I want to take the risk in being honest and vulnerable.  I believe in being present in real time–this includes exploring new ideas and asking you all the same questions I ask myself, because I don’t have all the answers and I won’t act like I do.  My past few posts have been questioning a lot about sexuality, feminism and the male gaze.  The following piece is inspired by my continuous thought process.  Peep my blog tomorrow for a fresh feature in “Essays on the Good, the Bad and the Ugly” sharing with you my new findings.

Disclaimer: The following piece is not meant to be a personal attack or insult to anyone.  Rather, it is all centered on my own internal explorations.  For the record, thank you to YONE & Hypebeast.com for giving me an opportunity to work with dope talent. Holla.

I don’t give a fuck about a hypebeast blog
Yea I made that shit, it was nuttin’ at all
These good looking genes? Thank you mom and pop
Anyone can do it, just take off your top
But I kept mine on, thank you very much
Reject the request of a photo buff
Strip everything keep the self respect
Strip everything and how much is left?

I don’t give a fuck about a hypebeast blog
Yea I made that shit, it was nuttin’ at all
I gota save my shit, this ain’t a bargain call
Too much diamonds on the market make the value fall
Camera’s loaded now, who’s running the show?
Run through the film until the end of the roll
Work your best pose but you still won’t know
By the end of the shoot, you can look the hoe

That’s the given role, pre-designated
Enter head in thinking I could change it
Ain’t so easy as my analyticals made it
I got two hands but the camera ain’t in it
If a picture is worth a thousand words
Who does the talking, who’s side comes first?
Who does the walking, the tripod or purse?
They say sex sells, a gift or a curse?

Looking sexy for the camera ain’t my best talent
Lying low on a couch ain’t really a challenge
I do it easily, but it ain’t my best side
I’d rather show the world what I have inside.
Believe me when I tell you it was nuttin’ at all
You can be better than a hypebeast blog
Make your own name not another blank broad
Baby be your own boss ’til you’re calling the shots.

Peace.

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Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior

Another title for the Readership’s Hit List:

Thanks to Susan, who put Mikey on this book, who then put me on this book.  I haven’t even picked it up yet and I’m already excited for the ride.  Let’s read and ride together 😉

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Upside-down Trees! And GIRLS x Hypebeast.com

Mistletoe upgrade. I think everybody was trying to get laid this night.

The picture above is from an event this past Friday night at my job.  Evergreen fresh.

I am very Sunday Buzzed out.  Call me tired. This week, my blogdawg mikey & i decided to REBUILD my entire flash website.  We’re keeping the same layout, so it won’t look drastically different to the viewer, but definitely polished and refreshed.  It’s mostly the backdoor that we’re reconstructing.  I’m excited to drop this in January.

I know the “Say WORD” blog category to the right is looking skimp, but know that I HAVE been on the writing grind.  I decided to save them for now so people have something new to look forward to when I release my first chapbook in January!

The YONE photo shoot was Saturday and overall–good experience.  More like social networking experiment.  Dope relationship building.  I’ll have more thoughts and photos to share later on in the week.  In a nutshell, I can say that even if you enter the situation with a particular mindset, it’s interesting how the camera can frame you–lit AND FIGURATIVELY. haaa!

Example. Check these 3 photos our friend was snapping away while we were chilling at Goodlife Bar.

Exhibit A:

The DJ was from LA.  Fun and laughs. YEE!

Exhibit B:

Later on, Charly wanted to work the camera with her unzipped corset.  She’s grown and can absolutely do her own thing.  So I stepped out of the shot.  I only enter here to help her ZIP UP her corset because she needs two hands to hold up her boobies.

Exhibit C:

I was laughing about what people around us must’ve been thinking. Now look how scandalous we look in the shot.  Oh, the power of shutter speed.

Alright, now call my “friend” with the point & shoot camera the internationally renowned photographer, Mr. YONE himself, RE-ORDER the photos to imply a different narrative,  throw it on the Hypebeast blog with a title, “girls girls girls everyday” and bada-bing–you GOT A STORY for the family dinners this holiday season.

YONE is still my homie.  That dude is madd ill and I respect him as an artist.  In a sexist and sex-crazed world where women are easily objectified, I wonder if there’s a legitimate way for women to embrace their natural bodies in front of the camera without inevitably being casted as the object of sexual voyeurism.  If yes, how?  If no, do we hide? If so, are we living as reactionary? I’m still searching and exploring answers.  It’s a matter of considering the future while living in the moment.  I know I will always enter every situation with a critical eye and a critical assessment.  Every experience can change, shift or affirm my views.  In this case–Affirmative.

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The Sexy YONE Girl Dilemma

Dang y’all, I was partying so hard last night I didn’t get to blog!! My bad.  Check out my girl Charly & YONE’s crew below:


Charly Beast, YONE, Yoko (wife/manager), Takayo (Translator), ME (Behind the camera)

Anyways, YONE asked me to come in and do a photo shoot.  I know what you’re thinking.  I was thinking the same.  I was standing in the middle of his exhibition where my eyes were met with sexy half naked girls from all angles. Peep HERE. I felt pressure to be like them, but I was determined to be different as well.  I said “Yes”.  I decided a long time ago that I’m too young to pass up opportunities.  Risks are good.  They can bring great things.  And if they don’t kill you,  it’s a lesson learned.

I CAN DO SEXY.  That shit is easy (wear less talk less).  But do I want to? It’s not a matter of how comfortable or not I am with my body.  Because I am very comfortable in my body (that’s what HE said, haaaaa!).  For me, it’s understanding how I want to challenge stereotypical portrayal of women while still embracing my sexuality.  It’s the balance between rejecting the norm but accepting where you may fit in there.  There is more than one way to be SEXY.  Mainstream media teaches young girls that being sexy and desirable means stripping down.  That Tila Tequila claim to fame approach is wearing me out.

Then Takayo (Yone’s translator) told me something so inspiring, revealing and affirming.  Here’s our convo:

Me: What should I bring/wear tomorrow?
Takayo: ANYYYTHING! Wear whatever you want.
Me: Is there anything that YONE doesn’t like?
Takayo: No, he just wants you to be creative.
Me: Does he expect me to get NAKED!
Takayo: (Eyes wide) NOOOOO! He’s never asked any of the girls to do that.
Me: (Eyes wide) REALLY?
Takayo: Yea! Those girls are just really comfortable doing that.
Me: (Eyes wide with an eyebrow scrunch) Hm…
Takayo: But yea! A lot of girls in Japan don’t know how to be creative or express themselves.  You can wear NICE clothes! Have fun! Whatever!
Me: Hell yea!

My case: when put in front of a camera, every girl thinks that getting naked and looking raunchy is what they are SUPPOSE to do.  They fulfill the role they’ve always seen and been taught growing up by media.  They believe it will make them desirable, that it will please the client and the viewer.  They believe they’re doing their “job”  as “women” in society.  And the scary part is, they probably don’t even realize it.

So let’s see how sexed up I can get for the camera tonight.  At the end of the day though, all social conditioning and shit aside, a woman can do whatever the fuck she wants. It sucks that the framework of a world we live in will cast and judge her.  Maybe I’m just making excuses right now.  Or maybe I just need to stop looking for reasons to explain myself.

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I just got Twitter & I’m scared…kinda not really.

There was a time when I said, “I will NEVER get Twitter. FUCK THAT SHIT.”

Damn, times change and another reason why “Never say never” is the truest form of contradiction.

I’ve always been a little scared of technology and the WWW.  I’ve been called a “cave woman” before.  I felt that rapid technological advancements:

1) warped social evolution to go backwards (less talking, more typing..byebye touchy feely face).

2) dramatically developed a strange 6th human sense: HUNGER for FAME (Vanity strikes the YouTube revolution…the self-telecast, self-made, self-proclaimed celebrity.)

3) resulted in the subconscious surrender of human privacy.


All this was scary to me and I didn’t want to be part of it.  I don’t always like talking about myself, I just want the product to speak for itself.  On top of everything, if any of you caught “My Very Honest Post”, you’d know that I was victim to a very serious, schizophrenic and delusional stalker (literally).  I still am, because that MFer never got put away.  So I take privacy, trust and personal space are all very seriously.  For a good chunk of time, I was in hiding–from the stalker, from everyone around me, from my family, from the world, from myself.  I won’t divulge too much because I know the stalker is reading.  But anyways, back to technology and the voluntary surrender of privacy, people are starting to give up their personal information, then their photos, NOW, even all their THOUGHTS.  It was disturbing to me.  We used to complain about the Patriot Act and the U.S. government fucking with all our privacy rights; now, the government doesn’t even have to try to be all up in our business.  We willingly give it up without knowing how much of ourselves we are exposing.

I STILL am a very private and reserved person.  To be an artist, I need to put myself and my work out there if I want to reach as many people as possible.  It’s a twisted dilemma.  As I come out of “my cave” and away from “hiding”, I’m learning how to trust the world again.  I absolutely DO want to be connected with the world.  That’s the beautiful thing about technology.  I’m understanding how to function in my role as a grounded human being in this technologically advancing world.  I just don’t want to lose myself in the digital vortex.

So “Follow Me” but not really… twitter.com/ThisFirstLady

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Filed under Believe Me Ego, Essays on the Good, the Bad and the Ugly