BLOG

Category
  • Kaws x Peanuts x Uniqlo Part 2

    Brian Donnelly, better known as Kaws, is set to release yet another collaboration with classic American comedy strip, Peanuts, and Uniqlo.

    The Fall items include hoodies ($30), graphic t-shirts ($15) and crewnecks ($30) all featuring Snoopy looking cool as ever rocking a "Joe Kaws" branded top and on his skateboard (the dog is male right?, just want to make sure).  Furthermore, similar to the trio's prior release, a Snoopy plush doll ($20-$45) will be offered, this time in black.

    Look out for these items to hit Uniqlo store shelves on November 24th.  Damn, Too bad my lil' brother doesn't work at the Japanese retailer anymore.  I'm sure my chances of actually copping something from the collection are slim to none!

  • The Silent Shooter

    Timothy Smith is a man of few words, but he has a sh*t load of captivating flicks to make up for it. Like most of my creative comrades, the Brooklyn bred lensman and I met at BAPE NYC - where we hardly spoke, yet had great mutual respect for each other.

    I haven’t seen Timothy in about five years, so it was a pleasant surprise when he followed me on Instagram last month.  What shocked me even further were the glorious editorial shots featured on his feed, which he photographed himself. I am not in any way, shape or form attempting to downplay Tim’s artistic prowess, but I was Stacey Dash clueless about his exceptional photography skills.  As I mentioned earlier, we never had a conversation that lasted more than one minute - let alone discussed his interest in the visual arts.

    This Original Stories series has provided me with the perfect opportunity to have a sitdown with the silent shooter to find out more about his background, passion for picture taking and path to success in the photography industry. Check out our dialogue below:

    FRENDY:  It’s a pleasure to finally have a thorough convo with you after all these years *Laughs*. Why didn’t you tell me about your love for photography back in my early BAPE days?

    TIM:  I was in my early stages, still insecure about my work. Not very confident in showing my work to others, and also still finding my voice. Like, all of my early work was of cats, street style, carts, landscapes *Laughs*. I was all over the place.

    FRENDY:  I respect that, you’re excused *Laughs*. Where were you raised in Brooklyn?

    TIM:  I grew up in the East Flatbush/Brownsville area. At the age of 11/12, my grandparents lost our house so I moved over to Queens to live with relatives for a while. When I first moved to Queens I stayed in Ozone park in my great uncle’s basement, then bounced around from Laurelton to South Ozone Park, then eventually landed back in Brooklyn.

    FRENDY:  Crazy.  I lived in East Flatbush for most of my life as well.  Which schools did you attend growing up in Brooklyn and Queens?

    TIM:  Yeah, it’s funny, you used to actually go to the gym with one of my best friends from childhood over in the BRC I think? I know you guys used to work out together, but I can’t remember where. Well, I will say this, I was fortunate enough to go to “good” schools. I attended Saint Catherine of Genoa in Brooklyn, then I finished my 8th grade year in Saint Teresa in Queens. For high school, I attended Christ the King over in Middle Village.

    FRENDY:  Damn, it’s really a small world. Ok nice, those are definitely great schools to attend.  Were you always into photography growing up?

    TIM:  *Laughs* Yeah, real small world. My grandparents made it a priority to send me to catholic schools because they believed it was much safer and a better education. I remember not having any lights or heat because my grandparents would have to pay 4 months of back owed tuition, because they truly believed I could do something when I got older.

    Funny thing is I always wanted to be a photographer because of Spider-Man! I used to think Peter Parker was f*cking amazing. I used to get all my Spider-Man toys and create “movies” with cereal boxes as video cameras *Laughs*. Cornflakes boxes to be exact!  It wasn’t until my grandmother passed that I really thought about taking photography seriously. I literally spent my student refund check in 2012/2013 to buy a canon 7D, to actually shoot short films, and record myself reviewing video games.

    One day I took a photo and all of the feels of being Spider-Man came back to me all at once. So I decided to sell my car to fund my photography addiction, I took an internship back home the summer before I graduated at Management Artist in Chelsea. It was legit the best experience of my life being around all that amazing photo work, it trained my eye very quickly to distinguish good photography from bad photography. It was an amazing summer, I slept on a living floor the entire time and enjoyed everyday of it!  

    FRENDY:  Which college did you attend after Christ The King?

    TIM:  I attended Saint John's University for one semester, then got kicked out because they didn’t believe my financial situation, regarding to financial aid. So pretty much even with a partial scholarship I couldn’t afford it. Then I took some time off and went to Nassau. After a while, I decided I had to leave because if not I would have gotten in so much trouble and other dumb shit.

    So then I went to a small HBCU in North Carolina: ECSU and got my Bachelors. After getting my degree, I came back to Canarsie because my mom ended up getting breast cancer and I wanted to help out the best way I can, and to build a relationship between us. After that, I finally got home and applied to grad school for photography and ended up attending School of Visual Arts in NYC.

    FRENDY:  Wow. First off, is your mom alright now?  Also, what kind of trouble would you have gotten yourself into at Nassau? I don’t see you as a troublemaker.

    TIM:  Oh yeah, she’s fine now! Thanks for asking. Not really me getting in trouble at Nassau, it was more so I was still hanging around all my friends that always did dumb sh*t. Like I’ve never been a tough guy or whatever, but I’m also a very loyal friend, plus my house was always the hub for all my friends. So I just remember one day playing call of duty and looking around at what my friends we’re doing and was like “bro, I gotta go.” It’s all good though, they always said I shouldn't be about that ‘life’ and they respected my decision.

    I would like to give a special thanks to one of my best friends/brother, Fred because when he saw I was serious about photography he gave me a f*cking brand new 5D mark II with flashes and lenses. Like, that's the type of bond me and my friends have - I'm still trying to figure out a good gift for him *Laughs*.

    FRENDY:  That’s the definition of true friendship right there. Were you studying photography when you were schooling in NC? Or you started taking photography classes while attending SVA in the city?

    TIM:  SVA.  I did a broadcasting class in NC and tried to get funding for a short film, but it never worked out *Laughs*. I did have three extremely amazing teachers; Professor Bright, Professor Washington, and Latoya Monique. They definitely helped me shape my creative vision by giving me the freedom to experiment as much as possible.

    FRENDY:  How’d you enjoy SVA?  What did you do after receiving your Master’s in Photography there?

    TIM:  SVA was cool, I made some really good friends there. If I had to be honest, you don't really need school in order to become a photographer. I learned so much in my first year of freelance, and assisting.  So right after getting my Master’s I assisted some amazing photographers like; Bon Duke & Yulia Gorbachenko. I still help Yulia out from time to time, but more the most part I’m completely freelance.

    FRENDY:  Yeah, one of my great friends, Erick Hercules, is doing his thing without any schooling. Hard work, of course, is the cause of his success in the photography field.  So you said you’re a freelancer, how did you get connected prestigious publications like Vogue Italia, WWD, Vulkan Magazine etc.?

    TIM:  Yeah, hard work and networking is the key to photography now - especially with social media being so important. Yeah completely freelance, so I pretty much do all of the leg work with getting jobs etc. Although I finally have an agent, and she has been awesome so far. She actually has been more of a therapist if anything so far *Laughs*.

    Let's tackle magazines first.  Every magazine I shot for, so far, I’ve been denied about 100 times when I first started.  I had to constantly practice and figure out my vision. Then finally after harassing everyone I finally got through, and now magazines would reach out to me for work. That’s how I’ve been able to shoot celebrities, etc. The best word a photographer can hear is “no,” because it drives you to get better and it lets you know that there is still room to grow.

    So yeah, once you get your vision and your skills up, people will gravitate towards you for your style which is very important.

    FRENDY:  Yes, an artist’s style, no matter what field they’re in, has to be unique to stand out. I’ve heard “nos” all my life, which is why I’m doing my own thing in the writing world. I’m blessed enough to have met some great people along the way who are helping me materialize my vision.  All we can do is be kind to ourselves and move forward with grace.

    TIM: Exactly and you’re doing fucking amazing right now, like legit you’re killing it!  I would also say one more thing: I encourage people to surround themselves with good energy and like-minded individualds. Like, for example, my queen Dominique Drakeford (melaninass.com) is hands down my best friend ever, she supports my visions, goals etc, and we can always just sit back and talk about dope sh*t.

    My friend from college and artist Malcolm Rolling (www.725studios.com) was the one who actually trained me to think like an artist, and encouraged me to be one. We would legit not go to parties and sit in the room and study light and catch up on art history - that sh*t was amazing and very pivotal to how I think now. My brother Jameel Murray who taught me how to endure the journey and to realize that no hard work goes unrewarded. (Fun Fact: before his mom passed away, we were months away from being legal brothers by adoption.)

    FRENDY:  Thanks my man, I really appreciate the kind words. Who’s your favorite celebrity to shoot?

    TIM:  Oh man, thats a funny question *Laughs*. So everyone offered a unique experience: YG took me by surprise because of how down to earth he was - still hella gangsta though. Omari Hardwick has become a mentor/big brother figure to me, we still talk to this day. Mack Wilds and I spoke about f*cking Street Fighter, he legit has an Akuma tattoo *Laughs*. Bobby Brackins was super chill, and Marianne Mirage was super fun with great energy. Oh Yeah, Ozuna was also cool, even though he had like an intense security squad.

    FRENDY:  Do you ever get starstruck?

    TIM: Beforehand sometimes, but never on set because my job is to connect with them and bring out the best emotion possible for the image. They are used to everyone treating them a certain way because they are famous - most of them actually just want to have a regular convo with regular human connection.

    FRENDY:  Makes sense, for sure.  How often are you shooting for publications?

    TIM:  Around three to four times a month.  Honestly, as a professional photographer you spend more time out reaching and securing clients than shooting. Compared to everything else I have to do, shooting only takes up 20%.

    FRENDY:  Are you particular about shooting on location? What do you look for in a setting?

    TIM: I do actually prefer shooting on location, only because it keeps budgets lower for certain clients. The studio gives you maximum control over everything. I think to be successful you to need to be we well versed in both.

    FRENDY:  What are you currently working on Photography wise?

    TIM: I’m trying to secure a few campaign and lookbook jobs, also thinking about doing a photo project based on people in brooklyn.  I’m working out the details, but I'm looking for funding for that because I want to have an exhibition and have the kids in the neighborhood get involved, get them exposed to the arts.

    FRENDY:  You mentioned earlier that you aborted your short film due to funding. Are you willing to complete it at this stage of your career?

    TIM:  Ah man! Yea totally - I actually just got the most expensive piec. I brought a cinema camera recently, and now working on the rest. I’m starting to create the storyboard for it and hopefully can start producing by the top of 2018. 

    FRENDY:  Would it be a spoiler to tell us what the short is going to be about?

    TIM:  Yeah, all I can say is it will be a relatively short fashion film. Two to five minutes long and it's inspired by Nocturnal Animals.

    FRENDY:  Where do you ultimately see yourself in this ever expansive photography universe?

    TIM:  Living photo legend, decent cinematographer *Laughs*, director, and running a non-profit for underprivileged kids to get into the arts in an early age.

  • New YEEZY Kicks

    There’s really nothing better than a woman who wholeheartedly supports her man! No matter what harsh sentiments you may have for Kim Kardashian, you’ve got to at least give her some props for standing by her megastar hubby, Kanye West, through thick and thin.

    Kim’s latest supporting act finds her sporting a second brand new pair of YEEZYs!  Last week, Ye wore a never-before-seen silhouette of YEEZY high top kicks. Now, his bodacious boo is stunting in a new low top model, which features an all-white color way throughout its upper and sole.

    I must admit, the shoes are looking proper.  Too bad there's no release date for them yet.

  • Morning After

    Although DVSN is pronounced "division," there is nothing divisive about their soul-catching and hip thrusting induced tunes.  The OVO Sound duo is furthering their R&B reign by releasing their much-anticipated sophomore album entitled, "Morning After."

    Daniel Daley and producer Ninteen85's latest sonic masterpiece consists of 13 songs that truly serves as the ideal soundtrack for the 'morning after' a romantic evening with your significant other. ( Sorry, no side boo music here, folks.)

    Stream the full album below...preferably while pillow talking:

  • Chicken Beef

    All hail the Burger King!

    The Jacksonville, Florida-originated fast food chain has reached new levels of greasy pettiness as it plans to sell spicy chicken nuggets after Wendy’s discontinued the savory item earlier this year.

    It doesn’t seem like Burger King committed a flagrant offense, right?  Guess again. Not only did BK deebo (look that up in the urban dictionary, one time) Dave Thomas’ brainchild’s most clutch offering, the burger joint is slated to gift one 10-piece order of their chicken nugget iteration to all customers named “Wendy ”- savagery I tell ya!

     

    The unorthodox giveaway will commence on October 13 at all participating Wendy’s for a limited time in New York City, Los Angeles, and Miami.  If you aren't legally named “Wendy,” make sure to have some chunk change on deck for the nugget’s $1.49 price tag.

  • Chanel x Pharrell x adidas NMD

    Pharrell Williams’ love affair with Chanel has led to a collaborative sneaker deal (hopefully).

    The stylish maestro’s latest adidas NMD kicks are rumored to be in conjunction with the historic luxury fashion house. Last week, several images were leaked via Yeezy Mafia displaying the sampled pair, which features a black/white color scheme, in addition to embroidery that aptly reads “PHARRELL ” and “CHANEL” on each shoe.

    These tastemaker-approved kicks are not confirmed to be real, but I won’t be surprised if they hit boutique shelves before you can properly spell out Karl Lagerfeld. (Just appreciate the banter, ok?)

  • DANYAKI

    At the young age of seven, my parents and I migrated from Haiti to The City of Dreams in search of a better life. Hassan Gibrin fled from Ghana with the same mission - the only difference is that he was unable to depart alongside his beloved family.

    Hassan, now known as Hass Kwame, thoroughly enjoyed the vibrant surroundings in his hometown of Takoradi.  “The first thing you experience in this environment is its natural elements, hence nature became my first teacher, best friend and resource provider,” he states. “Playing soccer was the everyday thing, and when we were hungry we would turn to nature for all types of plants, fruits, fish for lunch and go back to having fun.” 

    Kwame’s love for the rural habitat inadvertently cultivated his unique sense of creativity.  God’s green earth provided the necessities that Hass couldn’t afford, so he began utilizing nature’s elements to get by on a regular day basis. For example, instead of purchasing soccer jerseys, Hass dug up mud to write his favorite players name and number on his back during games.  He even used leaves from palm trees to build fencing screens around his and neighboring homes.

    Hass’ childhood was joyous due to his intimate relationship with mother earth, but he later realized that the living conditions were actually below poverty level.  “The only way out from out the bottom is by migrating somewhere better - that was my attitude so I was obligated to leave the family behind and jet off,” Kwame lamented.  From 1994 through 1997, Hass travelled back and forth from neighboring countries like the Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Guinea until he finally moved to New York in 1999. “I didn’t plan to migrate directly from Ghana to the states because it takes a lifetime to acquire money and the visa, so I was like a nomad traveling for a better life.”

    The Ghanaian lone ranger is currently living his best life in the Big Apple as he is working full-time in the restaurant industry while running his very own clothing line, Danyaki. I recently spoke with Hass to further discuss life in Ghana, come up in NYC and the meaning behind his fledgling label. Check out our conversation below:

    FRENDY:  Were your parents reluctant to let you travel abroad by yourself at such a young age?

    HASS:  As a Danyaki, the last thing you want to do is tell your traveling plans to your parents, that's a no no.  Our parents would love for us to live with them forever, so me telling them that I was traveling without an exact destination is not what they would want to hear. I told them that I was going to visit a friend across town, and it took 17 years for me to return home – I never got to see my dad again.  The most valuable thing in life for me is family, the worst thing in life is poverty. How do you balance that? ‘Cause happiness and poverty don't mix.

    In your case your entire family got their visas and the funds to afford that kind of migration - you got to be at least middle class and/or part of the elite class to be able to do so where I’m from. In the underworld you don't see an entire family migrate in my part of town, it's always the Danyakis who break out unannounced in order to send some remittance home to support the fam.

     

    FRENDY:  What is a Danyaki exactly?

    HASS:  Danyaki is when u are faced with obstacles and hurdles in order to get to the next level of life. The process of the struggle in fighting to get over the hump makes one a Danyaki. So the concept of Danyaki is global, not just me. 90% out of the seven billion people in the world are going through their own “Danyaki” struggle right now.  It has a lot to do with migration, ‘cause if you are not happy with the life you are living, then you gotta make the hardest decision in your life by leaving your comfort zone behind and jet off in search of a better one.

    FRENDY:  Interesting. We’ll definitely get back to this topic later on.  How difficult was it for you to get a job in the neighboring countries you visited?

    HASS:  It's hard to get a job in those countries, you either have to take a bottom feeder job or create a service of your own.  You just got to be creative with your immediate surroundings. People are always going to need help in their day-to-day operations, so you go around and offer them help in exchange for chump change - it always works, so that's one of the smartest way to get by. The most important thing is staying out of trouble, you don't want to mess with the jail system over there.

    FRENDY:  I feel you. Did you know any english before moving to the states?

    HASS:  Absolutely, Ghana is a 100% English speaking country. The entire educational system is English based. However, I grew up speaking three other indigenous languages, which I still speak very fluently, but English is spoken all over the media so it's hard to avoid. Plus, once you enter the school system, you’re all in.

    FRENDY:  That’s awesome, I didn’t know that.  Which part of New York did you initially reside in? How difficult was it for you to get accustomed to the hustle and bustle of the city?

    HASS:  In New York, I lived in the Bronx due to Ghanaian density.  I actually still live there. Life in New York could not be difficult at all for me, it's easy. The hustle and bustle is not comparable to Danyakis upbringing - it's easy here.

    You gotta understand one thing, the income disparity is unimaginable - it's pretty much from 0 to 100 real quick. The fact is no one loves leaving their comfort zone and migrate to a new terrain to start all over again, it could be a lot of wasted time starting from the bottom. But it's not a matter of choice, it's a matter of survival.  Surviving in NYC is nothing to complain about, I love it. I was around a lot of inspiring people so I was motivated to figure out my situation - I’m still on that journey and enjoying the process.

    FRENDY:  What was your first job here in the concrete jungle?

    HASS:  My first job in New York was in a 99 cent store in the BX, and then two different places before moving on to a discount clothing store by the Yankee stadium in the Bronx, that was my last gig in that borough.

    Since I never stopped searching for more opportunities, a friend of mine invited me to his spot in Harlem called ‘Scheme,’ one block away from Apollo theatre.  It was the spot to shop for people like Swizz Beatz, Fabolous, Raekwon, Dipset, etc. and they needed one more person work. That's how I ended up on 125th in Harlem - It has been my favorite place ever since. Working at Scheme was the best thing that happened to me in New York. The exposure and the inspiration I got from working there motivated me to get back to creating - I met every hip hop artist and some of the behind the scene guys, I met major clothing designers as well. I had an amazing time working there, it's out of business now.

    FRENDY:  When did you start taking art seriously?

    HASS:  Like I said, working at Scheme exposed me to the fashion and music industry.  The cool kids in Harlem were all about grinding - all I heard around me is “I am a DJ, rapper, writer, producer or a manager.” Everybody was doing something, except for me, so I began figuring out what to get into. I contemplated doing music but then in 2002 I met a young black kid from Newark, NJ who owned a brand called Omavi Clothing Co.  He stopped by the shop to show how his label was doing.  I got his business card, chopped it up and eventually called him back to say that I could help him spread his business in New York.  He took me in and we flew to Vegas for the magic show that August - that’s how I left retail behind.

    FRENDY:  Did you attend school in the city to sharpen your design skills?

    HASS:  Oh yeah, I did attend school - I mean I couldn't have done this without the fundamental education I received from the school system. So I left retail for the manufacturing/wholesale side of the business, that's when I started sketching and drawing. But then I realized I needed to get back to school to pick up from where I left it.  But before that, I needed to buy a Macintosh (Mac) - it's expensive and I didn't have the money, so I left the clothing world alone and started working in a restaurant in SoHo. 

    I saved up money and signed up at F. I.T. (Fashion Institute of Technology) for pre-requisite classes. Meanwhile, I was working my way up in the restaurant from a stocker to a busboy to a food runner, then finally a server so I can make enough money to pay for tuition and supplies and rent. I was making enough money so also signed up for more classes at S.V.A. (School of Visual Arts) and Pratt Institute, for industrial Design classes. I also attended tons of private studio art classes in Chelsea and SoHo and other parts of the city as a hobby. 

    Those three art and design institutions changed the way I looked at shapes, forms and spaces. The simplest abstract forms that the average human eye ignores, that’s the difference, and school really helps with that.

    FRENDY:  What sparked the idea to create your brand?

    HASS:  What sparked the idea was me meeting Hakim Stevens, a young black guy who walked into Scheme, the store I worked in on 125th street in Harlem. I was hooked after that! I took his card and connected with him soon after and started working for him, I got my exposure to the business side of fashion from him.  I was also inspired by a very beautiful, young black girl who was designing for Baby Phat by Phat Farm (owned by Russell Simmons).  She came to the store to check on their merch - it blew my mind and I saw myself capable of working in the fashion industry as well. Besides, every young kid in Harlem I met was doing something productive, mostly in music though. So I've been searching for something to sink my teeth into since day one in Harlem. I just didn't know what it was gonna be.  I never thought that clothing brand designers were young and looked like me since I didn't know any - I've always thought the extreme opposite.

    So being exposed to that young girl from Baby Phat (who I fell in love with on the spot in my mind after she told me what she did for a living) and Hakim Stevens sparked the creative muscle in my brain - that's how I started entertaining the idea of creating my own brand.

    FRENDY:  Can you explain the symbolism of the paint splatters on your merchandise?

    HASS:  Yes! The symbolism is simple, fun. And it's more of a colors thing than paint splatters for me. I love colors, I enjoy playing with colors, I love childish and innocent color play - it reminds me of my childhood. So whenever it's time to create with colors, I relapse to being a child version of myself that created innocently without wrong or right, just creating and just having fun with colors, that’s my secret of approach. I don't consider myself a painter, that's why my process is called Ideation.

    Furthermore, my pieces goes beyond painting on fabrics, it comprises of experimenting with different treatments such as rip and repair, bleached out effects and also plain indigo basics. Artistically I am very interested in the abstract found within shapes, forms and spaces regardless of colors. And frankly nothing brings me peace and happiness than colors, let alone mixing and creating with it. It's all in the name of ideation.

    FRENDY: I'm guessing ideation is when you are creating without the interruption of the ego?

    HASS:  Exactly. I don't like to create art as an adult, I rather create as a child. Ego, arrogance and overthinking happens when u create from an adult point of view because you are chasing perfection instead of having fun. My goal is to mimic what I would have done as a kid with all these colors in front of me to create. Ideation simply means brainstorming. In any industrial design class, Ideation happens when we poured all types of ideas down without overthinking it. Usually we couldn't wait to get over the ideation to go to the next stage of design and the finish the products.

    For whatever reason I fell in love with the ideation of creation without overthinking. In my color theory class, I fell in love with playing with colors and then in my industrial design class fell in love with ideation. These two classes reminded me of my childhood so I mashed them all up to create art and design from my childhood point of view, which is innocent and fun and happiness. Ideation is liberating, there is a sense of freedom that comes with creation using the ideation approach. And I’m hooked.

    FRENDY:  How does the Danyaki ideology bleed into your clothing?

    HASS:  Practicality - Danyaki ideology bleed into my work by way of colors and physically getting my hands dirty. Danyaki is also a process of DIY, you got to get up and go change your condition by any means necessary, that's why I physically hand paint or treat and ideate with every piece, which means I can only make a limited amount of one of a kind pieces batch by batch.

    Doing things yourself for your own good and self improvement is the ideal ideology of Danyaki. So Danyaki’s ideology itself is the practicality and the religion of physically doing to improve thyself.  Danyaki is not Danyaki if you are not practically doing. Danyaki Art&Design Ideation means practically creating while having fun as an innocent kid.

    FRENDY:  Where are you currently selling your pieces?  Through an online store or brick and mortar shop?

    HASS:  Danyaki is currently sold online at Danyaki.com and in stores around New York City, mostly in Harlem and the Bronx.  But most importantly, I do week-end pop ups in Harlem at Red Rooster to physically connect, share and have dialogue with my art loving supporters who patronize my Tastemakers Rack on weekends.

    Social media has also played a major role in bringing people out on weekends to check out new pieces. My absolute favorite part, though, is interacting with the supporters - it’s sort of like being on stage and performing live for the people. It's therapeutic to see my regulars and new supporters stop by to connect and reconnect. 

    The weekends Tastemakers Rack is an extension of my studio, it's an exhibition and conversation of art and design among art lovers, Q&A sessions as well. I call my supporters Tastemakers, because they are not buying clothes, they are buying the art and experience of ideation. I don't only set up to sell, but also set up to invite a community of art lovers and tastemakers and share creativity offline.

    FRENDY:  What’s the reason behind your name change?

    HASS:  The reason behind the name change is pretty much cracking the shell off my back and busting out as an artist versus the person I was expected to be. So for me it's a new day, new person, new stage, new career, new platform and a new name. I look at it as my stage name.

    Being born on a Saturday means that I am naturally connected to that divine day. Because I don't celebrate the date that I was born but rather the day, which was Saturday, I don't see why my name shouldn't reflect such a day.  Hence, I went back to officially claim my name, “kwame.” The name change for me represent growth and independent.

    FRENDY:  If you were able to go back in time, what advice would you give to your younger self during trying times in Ghana?

    HASS:  The only advice I would give my younger self is to, maybe, spend more time at the public library to absorb more information. But how can one study with an empty stomach? So, in reality I would not change anything looking back - no regrets. I only wish I had spent the lost years with my family, but you can't have your cake and eat it too, so it is what it is. C’est la vie. I’m happy how my life turned out.

    Danyaki contact:

    Instagram

    Facebook

    Twitter

  • Pharrell's Youngest Interviewer

    Man, I honestly thought I was a superb interviewer until I saw this seven-year-old do her thang!

    Meet Poppy Browne, a pint-sized, expert interrogator who received the chance of a lifetime to interview Mr. Happy himself, Pharrell Williams.  The visual of their heart-warming interaction will leave you with a sense of relief from all the drama happening in the world today.

    Check out the clip courtesy of W Magazine below:

  • Bella Hadid Goes Sneaker Shopping

    Gotdamn! No wonder her parents named her “Bella,” ‘cause shorty’s bad as hell!

    The stylish supermodel is the latest celebrity to cop kicks on Complex's Sneaker Shopping series, and I must say this might be one of my favorite episodes yet.  Besides the obvious, the reason I say this is because it's refreshing to see someone of her stature be so childlike and appreciative of the opportunity to serve as a guest. Plus, it was pretty comical to see all the guys (both KITH employees and even Joe La Puma) get a bit googly-eyed over the flirty bombshell.

    Check out Bella in her Off-White x Air Jordan 1s as she talks about pairing sneakers with dresses, signing with Nike, friendly competition with Gigi and what type of shoes she likes on a guy below (hint: it ain't slip-ons).

  • Family Feud (BBC Radio 1 Live Performance)

    Last week, JAY-Z took his talents overseas to speak with the good folks of BBC Radio 1 about his latest groundbreaking album 4:44, godly rap career and the political climate of America.

    As usual, the Roc Nation General provided his enlightening thoughts on the topics at hand, but what mesmerized me the most was his spirited, live performance of “Family Feud” featuring Young Guru, a multi-raced choir and the ethereal vocals of Beyoncé.

    Check out the magic for yourself below:

    Sounds so beautiful, don’t you agree?

  • Coming 2 America

    Prince Akeem is officially coming back to the big screen!

    That's right, last week The Hollywood Reporter announced that a sequel to the 1988 classic comedy film, Coming To America, is in the works.  It was also stated that Paramount Pictures has snatched Jonathan Levine (who ironically shot Snatched, The Night Before, Warm Bodies and The Wackness) to direct the movie, while Black-ish creator Kenya Barris is appointed to rewrite its script.

    Fortunately, Eddie Murphy will reprise his role as the loveable Prince of Zamunda - I mean, it would be a great travesty if another actor was casted.  According to Murphy's publicist, there isn't a settled "deal" in place, but I'm sure the money will talk.