Date: January  22, 2020

Location: Unknown

As Told by JimmySoDope

Imagine doing five years in prison, then coming home to win the Burn Down The Mic showcase hosted by the legendary DJ Don Demarco. That’s the reality Brooklyn Hip-Hop artist Luciano Baby. I asked him how did he manage to get so much support during a pandemic? He simply replied, “That’s not me. That’s God.” 


“Supportive” is possibly the best word to describe the vibe of the showcase presented by Tornado Gang and NYC Express. DJ 3 Stacks, DJ Don Demarco & Capo Louie-Lou created a 420 friendly environment that had artists showing love to artists. The secret location, somewhere in NY, was the perfect space for rappers to connect with their peers. Judging the showcase was Jamilah Rose who said it perfectly, “Continue to NETWORK to increase your net worth. Collaboration creates synergy, synergy brings positive energy. Remember, One man can’t move a mountain. You can be super duper dope but if only your five friends know it, nothing will happen.”



Although Luchiano walked away with the crown, Burn Down the Mic was filled with talented artists. The very 1st act was King Ishtah. The lyricist effortlessly swam through an array of flows while keeping the similes and metaphors at a high level. Later on Eastside Zha Zha commanded the crowd with vivid storytelling and top shelf crowd engagement. One of the records Zha Zha performed was written while she was in labor. That’s dedication! The night also included the high energy duo BB GUNNZ that may have been the winner depending on who you asked.


One thing I couldn’t overlook was the fact that DJ Don Demarco was locked in for the entire show, front and center absorbing the performances. “That’s why we do the show. We’re here to see and hear the new talent.” The Burn Down Mic Showcase has all of the ingredients of an event that’ll be around for a while. Great DJs, honest judges, dope performers and good bud. See you next month.

Raw Bunch Presents: SPOKEN WORD

Date: December 20th , 2020

Location:  Above Art Studio New Brunswick, NJ

As Told by JimmySoDope

Newark, NJ has a historic relationship with poetry. After all, our mayor is a poet himself and the son of critically acclaimed author & poet Amiri Baraka.  When I heard that the Brick City battle rapper/entrepreneur Tsu Surf was hosting the “SPOKEN WORD” event presented by his Raw Bunch record label & the non for profit Detox The Hood, I wasn’t shocked whatsoever. I was even more excited when I got wind of the secret location, the world famous Above Art Studios in New Brunswick.

IG: @Tsu_Surf

A statement that Surf said his first time on stage pretty much set the tone for this article and the evening as a whole, “You can lie in rap, but you can’t lie in poetry.” Every poet mirrored this truth with superhuman displays of honesty and vulnerability. I caught up with Tsu Surf’s manager and the event’s coordinator Qua to ask him how they arrived at the decision to enter the battle rapper into the spoken word space. He replied, “I love Surf. I work with Surf, manage Surf but this isn’t about him. It’s about the other poets. I’m using Surf as a platform to shed light on the people. I’m setting the stage for these poets and then with the proceeds we are helping out the less fortunate.”

I inquired about Ashley The Poet’s creative process and she shared with me, “I cry when I write. That’s how I get my poems to be the way I need them to be. I write so I can change somebody in the crowd. I need somebody in the crowd to feel me. I get in tuned to the exact feeling I had the moment I went through what ever in writing about.” When I asked if she’s still healing from her experiences that have been catalysts for her art, she replied, “The healing process never ends!”

The socially distant event delivered on every level. The paintings on the walls and easels of the Above Art Studios space were top notch as they are notoriously known for. The complimentary Pinot Grigio didn’t disappoint. The poets really performed from a place of love, gratitude and vulnerability. On stage they were full of audacity and wisdom, off stage they were dropping jewels as well. JaNai Aka Ki’Nu said “Everything I do is to support our people. I feel like the Black Man does not get enough recognition and praise so when I get on a stage that’s the first thing I address.” When I asked Poetree about her performance approach she told me, “I speak from experience. From who I am. I could get on stage and just start spitting but speaking to the audience allows me to FEEL first.”

IG: @Poeism

XVIIDUKE said, “It feels good to be free. When you’re free you are real.” I asked him what was his underlying message he wanted to get across with his poems, he responded, “Question everything and remain in love because we are love!” And love was the energy that everyone felt! The audience was thoroughly engaged. They laughed, clapped and snapped their fingers when poets pulled on their heart strings.

A conversation with the author of “Tripping Over Canvases” and co-owner of Above Art Studios, Donte T Muse had a different tone. We spoke of how they were able to keep the art gallery thriving while so many businesses crumbled during the economic downfall caused by the pandemic. He explained how entrepreneurs could have taken preemptive measures to make their businesses recession proof! Donte did however have a message for those of us who are now learning that entrepreneurship and group economics are not trends but an absolute necessities if we are to rise as a community. “Love what you do. Pursue your talents and passions. Your passions are directly tied to your purpose. If you follow those things, everybody wins because you’re a piece of the puzzle.”

Qua confirmed SPOKEN WORD was initially scheduled for the 1st quarter of 2020. Obviously Covid-19 had other plans. All in all, I couldn’t think of more powerful and purposeful way to end the year. Before the night was over, Surf assured that SPOKEN WORD is indeed a series and for the next event we can expect him step aside as the host and step in as a featured act. Stay tuned….


Featured Performers

My Brother’s Keeper: Black Genius in partnership with Chad B Turkey Drive

Date: November 21, 2020

Location: Newark, NJ

@blackgeniusbrand/ @therealchadb / @sirbowtiebarnes

According to Dictionary.com, being selfless is similar to being altruistic — in other words giving to others without looking for personal gain. If you give time, money, or things to other people without expecting something in return, that is selfless. Social media entrepreneur, Tyree Barnes teamed up with his big brother, No Kutt recording artist, Chad B for the Black Genius Turkey Giveaway it was not only selfless, it was revolutionary. The brothers passed out the Thanksgiving staples on the same block that they grew up on. Chad said “This is where it all started. Flipping on mattresses and learning how to play ball“. Tyree followed up with, “That’s home base for us, 9th and 4th Ave [Newark, NJ], Grandma house. Grandma held the whole family together.”

The occasion functioned as a turkey drive firstly, and secondly it was a reunion. Many of the people that stopped by our station were not interested in grabbing a turkey; they simply wanted to say hi. Community elders, childhood friends and even one of Chad’s elementary school teachers pulled up to offer hugs and gratitude for the brothers’ initiative. “It’s just dope!  All those guys, they love what I’m doing. They support it 100%. It felt like we were back home again. They show love every chance they get”, replied Chad. I had asked about the crew of brothers that stood by his side as he served the community. It honestly felt like they were protecting us from the patrolling police cars that circled the block the entire time we were out there, but I digress…



Another aspect of the day that couldn’t go unnoticed was how vigorously Tyree promoted the “The Brain Bowl”, a math, Black history and critical thinking competition. Over 100 students will compete in these mental challenges and the top 15 students will win $150 each. “I teach them the equation, but what if they don’t feel like they’re ever going to use it. We know experience is the best teacher so we can’t separate education from the rest of life. We must integrate [our] society into education.” Said the founder of the Black Genius brand.  He meant it. Every single person that was gifted a turkey also received a Brain Bowl flyer. If they didn’t have children they were instructed to give the 4×5 card to somebody that does! “And after this is over, we’ll have another flyer. We all have a genius inside of us. As educators and adults is our obligation it help these kids acknowledge their genius,” he concluded.

With all of the struggles going on in the world, I was curious as to why the Barnes Brothers chose to combat holiday hunger. Tyree said “We did a block party, gave away hundreds of book bags with school supplies. Then we did a charity softball game. This time it’s a turkey drive. It is 6 of us. Statistically my siblings and I are not supposed to be here.” He continued,   “None of us are in jail, on drugs or in a grave. It’s our obligation to give back.” Chad doubled down, “It’s all about giving back. Tyree presented the idea and me, being the oldest, looking from a big brother perspective, I’m gonna support it 100%.” Brotherly love at it’s finest! From the Hip Hop community to the educational sector, it’s safe to say the city of Newark is in good hands. Answering the age old question, am I my brothers keeper, yes I am.

As told by Jimmysodope


Video Link:  https://www.instagram.com/p/CIBy-fgA1ba/

Grand Opening of Nail Posh Studio

Date: November 15th, 2020

Location: Nail Posh Studio, Washington Heights, New York

@Nailsposhstudio/ @ShameekaRosario


On scene, I arrive to the grand opening of Nails Posh Studio. Everything that you’d expect to see at a grand opening of a nail salon was in its proper place.
Balloons, check. Champagne, check. Beautiful women, check. Brooklyn
Hip-Hop star Phresher, okay…  Wait, whose baby is this??


I caught up with entrepreneur, medical aesthetician and founder of Nails Posh Studio, Shameeka Rosario, for answers. “Everyone is out here because I’m
creating a cause, giving back. First responders, victims of domestic
violence and cancer survivors get 15% off!” Shameeka informed me.

…And when she said everybody, she meant it. Entertainers, politicians, brothers and sister ranging from 5 months to 70 years old attended. Malcolm Smith, Music/Media Director of GP Public Relations had this to say, “It’s the right mixture of people. Any event we do, the goal is to make it family oriented.” Then beautiful woman asked him to hold her baby for a moment (definitely a first for me).  As we laughed about Malcolm babysitting during the interview, he left me with this, “… Bridging the gap is HUGE, because different generations have their own culture. We try our best to pass the culture down to the kids but they have their own thing going. So we MUST bring everyone together, like this.”


As I walked through the small yet big salon, I could not help but appreciate the feng shui.  The color of pink perfection covers the walls.  The entire back of the shop is a dedicated shrine of Barbie dolls. One side for your good girls and the other for the “not –so good” girls.  DJ Cookz   held it down with the sounds of evening. One of the sponsors for the event, Sudain Savoury, from the Revenge of The Doubted brand expressed how proud he was of the salons opening. “ We’ve all been doubted before, sometimes by ourselves. No matter what you go through, you gotta keep pushing towards your dreams. People gonna doubt you but never forget, success is the best revenge.”

Before making my exit I couldn’t help but notice all of the black and
brown faces with big smiles as they received manicures, pedicures whilst
sipping on champagne. I asked Shameeka how did she create such a warm and
inviting vibe? She confidently replied, “I love to leave my touch on
people. If they come to me sad or not feeling pretty, when the leave
the salon they feel replenished, gorgeous and youthful. When they walk
out the door we make them feel as if they can take over the world!”

As told by Jimmysodope

Lit The Movie

Written By: JimmySoDope

There have been many remarkable success stories from New Jersey, the city has produced some of the finest acts that have hit the entertainment industry, from Queen Latifah to Shaquille O’Neal to Shakur Stevenson.

However, there has been a new movement right in the garden state which has stayed underground for years, until recently. While people outside of New Jersey are of the idea that Jersey club music just came about, Jamal Hall, writer of Lit, the movie and director says that “It’s always been there. Club music, cookout music. Universally, music touches people but for jersey club it’s different. It has a unique sound and to represent it on the big screen is special” Apparently, this had been hidden until recently.

A night that will always be remembered as an important night is September 24th and for so many reasons. The movie Lit showcased the Jersey Club Music Movement, which had dancers, DJs, producers, radio personalities, and artists. The movie did not just bring entertainers to the spotlight, it also gave actors a chance to make their big-screen debut. This is huge for them because, since the Newark riots, the communities have been given the back seat and no recognition whatsoever. However, this brought them some real love and recognition, and that meant a lot.

A large smile could be seen on the face of Livingston native, Chan Briggs. He seemed happy about the events unfolding. He said “I Started pursuing acting 3 years ago. Now I’m working with Marc( John Jeffries). I watched this dude as a kid now I’m sparring with him on camera.” He was then asked if he had some advice for young people who sought success, and ever so cheerily he replied “Manifest. Everything. You matter. Stay positive! Go hard!”

Some stars made an appearance, and one of them was Cookiee Kawaii.  She showed up looking as gorgeous as she always did and she had a few words as well. She was asked what the impact of Lit could be, and she said “Jersey and jersey club music has been influential for a minute now so for us to have a movie is dope and only the beginning. So please watch the movie. Stream it. Share it. Bootleg it. Wait. Don’t bootleg it.” She did share a laugh with that light-hearted joke because in all sincerity, it was a beautiful night.


One thing is true and definite, and that is that Lit is going to be a massive success, astronomical even. It has all the makings of a big bang maker. There are dance scenes that would have you breaking the laws of the theater and standing to just dance energetically along with them. There are plot twists that would leave your jaw on the floor, there are dramatic moments that are catharsis-inducing, and there are lessons that you will talk about for the rest of your life. This movie is that movie that can have you returning to the theater twice.

This movie has the support of veteran actors like Marc John Jefferies, and an entire state. It is already a success.



IG: @iamskit

  The social media platform has witnessed an explosion of quality visual content in the past few decades. The images and videos circulating the media have shown great change from what was to what currently is. Behind these high definition images and moving visuals that we see in commercials, movies, fashion shows, music videos, reality and musicals, are individuals who dedicate their time, talent and skill set to ensure that not only are there images and videos to share and enjoy in the digital media world; but their work is top notch.

Saying that photographers and videographers are important to the creative process is an understatement! Because we are visual creatures, society depends on photographers and videographers to fascinate us with the end result of the creative process. 

IG: @dreamsovereverything_

The Vision Room is a creative platform where we come together to give life to the social media space using ourtalents and skill sets. We contribute our individual skills and expertise to the creation of various social media content so the photographers and videographers at The Vision Room are an integral part of a brand such as ours. At The Vision Room many aspects of creativity such as blogging, editing, podcasting, social media influencing and entrepreneurship are born; but photography and videography are the heartbeat and pulse of social media creation here.

Although, photographers and videographers are not the faces you see in front of the camera; but their work behind the camera is crucial.



IG: @mal.clarkk

One of the goals of The Vision Room is to help our clients not only find footing in their individual industries, but to help them establish a successful niche in their respective industries with an outstanding public image. The Vision Room creates amazing and competitive content that will project and draw the target audience, giving them an edge over the competition. 

These contents include images and videos that help capture and retain the audience’s attention to the message(s) shared in the contents which can only be made possible by a job well done by our talented photographers and videographers or a collaboration done with freelancers or other media companies. 

IG: @air.mcm


Truth be told, without images and videos, creative contents would be boring and bland words (written or audio) incapable of capturing and sustaining the attention of the audience for a long time. Without images and videos to go along with the written and audio, contents would be tasteless, monotonous and uninteresting to the audience.

Regardless of how far we go to create articles and posts for clients, if we don’t support them with unique, attractive images and videos created by photographers and videographers, we would not be able to completely satisfy our clients’ needs as we should. 


IG: @r0b3rtx

Another way that our photographers and videographers at The Vision Room are outstanding is how they assist our clients to develop and relay their message effortlessly. 

Again because humans are visual, images and videos give us a better understanding of what the brand/business is sharing, not just the message, but the idea behind the message. Hence our photographers and videographers go out of their way to provide the relevant images and videos that emphasizes our clients’ message appropriately. 



The Vision Room would like to thank all the different freelancers and media teams that have participated, worked out of, or collaborated within our media team (space). Your hard work does not go unrecognized. We will continue to spread light on the creators behind the lens.

Elf Sack Clothing at the Nolcha Shows at NYFW


The Nolcha Shows held their 11th week-long show at the NYFW event, where they partnered with FashionUnited to present independent fashion designers for the spring/summer 2020 collection. Still living up to the reputation of showcasing exciting independent designers, the show featured designers like Elf Sack, Gravitas, Aranyani, Kavenliu Dimor, Acid NYC, etc. Also in attendance were bloggers, notable fashion celebrities and artists one of whom was Steph Lecor- an influential artist with impeccable fashion taste. The show included a runway display on September 7th featuring interesting clothing and accessories and an after-party at the end of the week’s event. 

Elf Sack, a brand known for its vitality and passion combined with bold storytelling expression displayed their pieces telling a wonderful story of fashion and astronomy. The bold expressions brought out this season perfectly epitomizes the brand’s dream since it’s opening in 2006. Elf Sack wants to portray clothing as entertainment and culture. This year’s collection was inspired by a fusion of the Chinese zodiac animals and gothic theme from royal patterns of western culture. The fashion expression of their team gives an experience of culture while meeting different needs. 

The collection made use of comfortable textures through the fabric as well as patterns. Lace, chiffon, and silk were featured all over the collection, creating a delicate yet bold outlook. This brand stands out because of their ability to tell a story that transports you into a different time or a fantasy.

A favorite from this collection is the pink shirtdress which displayed a whimsical expression of culture and contemporary sports fashion. This look maintained a youthful yet artistic theme that blended to the spirit of the collection and stood out at the same time. The shirt-dress also featured interesting details like feathers added to the sleeve maintaining a feminine touch. Paired with darker pants, the designers were able to create a layered feeling, like there was more to it than meets the eye. 



What really unified the collection and earned the standing ovation that it received was the creative intermingling of colors and art. Soft pastel colors used as a backdrop for such a strong display created a fine complement of each other so that you do not miss one while admiring the other. Overall, the collection maintained modesty, creativity, balance, and culture giving everything that the Elf Sack brand is known for. 

The Elf Sack Spring Collection is streetwear with sparkles of femininity. Everything to look for in streetwear, wearability but with a bit of fantasy. Kudos to Elf Sack!! Definitely one of the most noteworthy collections at the Nolcha 2019. 

Oh by the by…the gifts handed out by the brand were absolutely lovely, like the sock featured on the runway. 

MTV AWARDS: Newark Is For Creatives

Newark is a city known for a variety of reasons including hosting the famous sports team New Jersey Devils and birthing so many stars that have made the city a point of reference. Whether that’s actors, musicians, and fashion icons, Newark has its fair share of representatives. The MTV Awards is a case in point and had Newark’s creative sons take over the party. Such was the style and creativity that Prince Derek Doll, interviewing the celebrities and Phil the photographer, working the red carpet, oozed at the ceremony. 

The clothes, the style and a whole lot more are nothing without the right persona to complete it. Further, a look that’s stunning in itself and fits the perfect profile for publicity deserves spectacular hands and eyes behind a camera to capture one for the ages. These sons of Newark not only grabbed the headlines but made statements with their talents and of course, sheer looks. What better way to represent where you’re from especially when it’s the city playing host to the awards? 

Performers at the show included acts from Taylor Swift, Lizzo, Camilla Cabelo, Big Sean, A$ap Ferg, and others. Comedian Maniscalco gave the show an air of variety with his awesome performance hosting the Awards. But the center of attraction was Newark and how she performed and embraced the limelight. 

IAMSKIT: Working The Red Carpet 

Phil the photographer also known as @iamskit , noted for exquisite photos of stars and artists including 

  • Dave East
  • Kenneth Faried. Basketball player for Houston Rockets 
  • Teyana Taylor
  • Drake. Foremost artist and entrepreneur 
  • Migos
  • Big Sean
  • Tori Brix
  • Yukon 

Phil is also a Newark native who reps the city and New Jersey as a whole with his unique style of photography. 

Phil the photographer also has a goal to go into film production. Not so bad for someone well established in the art of producing outstanding images. 

The Avid Professional 

Phil learnt to be the consumate professional from the Miami International University. There he studied the craft of digital media film and photography and has being shooting for five years. No doubt his skills developed through years of experience, coupled with his education served him well on the Red carpet during the VMAs. 

Something Bigger 

Ever the character and cheerful personality, Phil has his sights set on making the developing a creative center for kids where they can hone their skills and explore their potential. An initiative where kids can look up to stars above them that have gone on to make Newark a place to reckon with. 

Prince Derek Doll

Effusive Style

Singer and songwriter Derek Doll stole some looks, including bemused one but as far as fashion goes (yes, there were inexplicable ones), he pulled it off in some style. Sporting a bodysuit, he arrived with a composed look. His suit had panels revealing some skin and a feather coat. It’s worth knowing that the feathers, numbering 100 (bird feathers, that’s is) were matching colors to the black attire. To drive home his point and fashion sense was a pair of embossed black booties complemented with buckle closures. 

With a high-flying style that’s undoubtedly captivating, it’s easy to lose focus on other parts of his body or attire. Sporting jewelry that was unique, he had a good job also done on his hair. His eyelashes weren’t bad either and that’s a huge compliment to his stylist 

The impact of his dress sense and outfit resonated for quite the distance and he was placed on number 8 on Essence’s Top 25 Best Dressed list. Not bad for a rapper. That position made him the highest-ranking male on the VMAs red carpet. This feat is sure to continue as Derek has asked his teeming fans to tag designers, stylists, and photographers they’d like him to collaborate with on his next event. 

He also landed on the number eight spot of the daily beast’s Top 9 on Instagram between notable figures like Little Nas X and Todrick. 

His Interviewees 

One of the stars he interviewed on the red carpet was JuJu Castenada, a reality TV star and author. Even though many thought she was Gabriella Union, Derek was proud to have her speak to him. Derek was won over by JuJu’s high and sleek ponytail and duly acknowledged her style. Also, he described the session as “a dream”. Not just for being selected as a reporter at the VMAs but also to walk the red carpet before the entire world. It was akin to being breathless or flush with adrenaline, and he proceeded to thank Teshaun Glover and the Newark Times for facilitating his presence at the show. 

Derek’s Collaborators 

MUA (Makeup Artist) – McW hands (@mcwhands) 

Prince Derek’s stunning look was due largely to McW hands who brought out his beauty and unique qualities. Every touch and glimmer came down to the smallest detail and McW hands weren’t fazed by it all. It’s a tribute to them that Derek dazzled on the red carpet. 

Wardrobe – Eric Jernigan (@princee45) 

Everyone must have wondered where such a flamboyant attire came from. They are from the stables of Eric Jernigan and it is certain that’s not the last to be heard of them. It must have taken a creative mind to get something as form-fitting as that cloth on to a star like prince Derek. Well with both being ‘princes’ in their own right, it’s no wonder their collaboration produced this magic. Eric Jernigan is also a native of Newark and his link-up with Derek is symbolic of the town ruling over such an event like the MTV Awards. It makes you wonder where the idea of 100 bird feathers came from. Derek or Eric? Either way, it was downright creative. 

Hair – @sedrix.b

Sporting a curly and high-like afro with a brown color, what Derek had on was like a crowing feature to his overall look. 

Jewelry – Marie Antionette Yarrell

The blings were as outstanding and no doubt carried a message because they were pieces of art and were complementary to the attire as well as the personality of the wearer – Prince Derek Doll. 

Shoes: @caperobbin

Derek’s shoes or rather boots are from the range of Cape Robbin boots. Equally as black as his bodysuit, the boots did showcase his taste in fashion. They looked totally cool on him. AEmbossedblack boots with buckle closures would ultimately look great on a star like him. 

Photo Credits

Chances are you’ve come across host of images over social media shots by many photographers at the MTV Awards. Some of the brands responsible for show-stopping photos, including those of Prince Derek Doll include… 

  • Jim Spellman /filmmagic 
  •  Wirelmage
  • Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for MTV
  • A/V Production: @theafterpartyradioshow

How Newark Performed 

Hosting its first MTV Awards show, Newark performed admirably (the water protest aside). With notable personalities from the city and media outlets gracing the occasion to make it the success it was. 

Prince Derek Doll may not originally be from Newark but it’s one he identifies as home and which as returned the love in equal measures. He’s seen as the quintessential, outrageous, one-off fashion star coupled with his hip-hop roots, although that wasn’t the taking point on the red carpet. 

On the flip side, Phil covered and worked the red carpet with aplomb and his list of clients is only set to rise with the kind of images he guarantees through professionalism and expertise. 

In all, it was one hell of a show and a great addition to the area and no doubt Newark will keep playing host to more shows in the future. 


It was a night that reinforced the fact that Newark is here to stay as a city of stars. With personalities like prince Derek Doll and Phil the photographer amongst others, there’s no stopping the creative movement. 


The Vision Room Studio partnered with Dreams Over Everything Photography, Asharah Simpson (creative director), and Realishh.com to create a shoot portraying black male excellence. This shoot took place at the Vision Room Studio, and it was truly a statement of excellence, professionalism, and class.  Beginning with the set lighting, the background, then the photography and the interview. We can genuinely say the shoot epitomized black excellence.

Black people are not only beautiful, they’re also smart, talented, innovative, successful, the list is endless. Imagine a room with amazing, talented, gorgeous, and successful men; you can believe that in the Vision Room Studio magic was created. Our work was based on the on-going fight of Black Lives Matter.  We must acknowledge that not only do black lives exist; we deserve and are capable of so much more than gun violence, drug related issues, and rioting. The core theme of the shoot at the Vision Room, was to showcase black male excellence at its finest.

During the shoot, we took time to focus on our knowledge of capturing breathtaking images of black people and to accomplish that an understanding of certain things like appropriate lightning that suits them, and an awareness of the different undertones is necessary. Black people should have their pictures taken appropriately by photographers who understand their beautiful melanated skin tones, and it’s always great to work with photographers and studios who understand this. Black photographer and owner of Dreams Over Everything Photography, Nadir Johnson was ideally suited for the job. Asharah Simpson, the creative director of this shoot, exhibited expertise in guiding and directing the general shoot.

There was no better way to showcase Black male excellence than featuring black talented, educated men of distinction in the shoot. The Kings in the studio were nothing short of that fact. It was great to have black men from different spheres of life under one roof talking about their various struggles, their occupations, their race, their sexuality, and their identity. 

The gorgeous kings featured in the shoot are Tyshon Garrett (counselor), Lou Carey (educator), Jay Saint (singer/songwriter), Ky (rapper), Serge Fils-Aime (photographer and model) and Michael Deji (entrepreneur and fashion designer). They all discussed their stories, inspirations, backgrounds, passion, and how their lives and careers were affected or shaped into what it is today.

They were all clothed in lovely tuxedo jackets created by Nigerian designer Michael Deji, who was, fortunately, one of the models. The tuxedo designs were exquisite, and the colors complemented their lovely skin tones adding magic to the already amazing the shoot. These pieces brought out the royalty in these Nubian kings. They not only looked regal…they were regal.

The set and background built at our studio were ingeniously created by Ossay (Okossay Brand).  The goal of the photoshoot was to showcase black excellence and emphasize that black lives matter. Names of black people who died due to police brutality, gun violence, or even racism were featured as the background of the shoot. This shoot was to continue to affirm that Black Lives Matter.

Black men are strong, passionate, hardworking, and amazing individuals, and society needs to understand that there is so much strength and greatness in their wisdom, vulnerability, identity, and race. They deserve to be treated with respect. There is so much more to the black community than the violence that is shown in the media. We need to get hold of this NOW so our little black princes and princesses can have better opportunities in a more understanding, positive and accepting future. This was a major driving force of the shoot to show black excellence.

It was an honor for the Vision Room Studios to have worked on this shoot with these lovely people to showcase black excellence. We hope that black people get the recognition and respect they deserve.