Editorials. Duckie Thot. Yaya Deng. Akual-chels Ring. Deel Ojulu. Laud Magazine. Images by Thom Ke

Editorials. Duckie Thot. Yaya Deng. Akual-chels Ring. Deel Ojulu. Laud Magazine. Images by Thom Ke
"ELLE" Editorials. Duckie Thot. Yaya Deng. Akual-chels Ring. Deel Ojulu. Laud Magazine. by Thom Kerr

Saturday, February 10, 2018

California Dreams! All-Star Week End 2018

The 2018 NBA all star week end is approaching really quickly, the 16th of February is a date to remember!
Black Panther movie will be out nationwide and the NBA week end will start on the "West Coast".

As you probably have seen my previous posts from last year, we were invited to New Orleans for the that same exact event. It was wonderful to be present. I invited my colleagues to join me, the team of "Afropolitain Magazine" for an unforgettable experience.
For the ones who don’t know what “The National Basketball Association All-Star Game” is, let me break it down for you. It is a basketball exhibition game hosted every February by the NBA. The aim is matching a mix of the league's star players from the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference. Each team consists of 12 players, making it 24 in total. It is a three-day event which goes from Friday to Sunday.
Little history fact: The first All-Star game happened at the Boston Garden on March 2, 1951.

Thanks to my childhood friend “Will M’Biakop” (FYI, we have known each other for over two decades, yes pretty long time! I cherish great minds and hearts) happens to be the NBA's director of the development of global marketing partnerships and corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives across Africa. Will has a special interest in how sports can positively impact communities through business, infrastructure, education and health, while empowering youth and generating revenues for corporations. He has developed creative marketing strategies and activation plans targeting both retail and corporate markets.
Will is such a smart, progressive and ambitious brother to me. I could not be more proud of his achievements.

In 2017, he made sure that we enjoyed this weekend festival by participating to a variety of events, exhibitions, and performances culminating in the NBA All-Star Game held on Sunday night. Most basketball stars were present. No regular season games are held during this period, which is also known as the All-Star break. So you can imagine the euphoria!

This year the same event is happening but this time in Los Angeles, California. Let me tell you this! In one year a lot have happened. I got married, moved to New York, changed my circle of friends and have started a new life.
I am not working anymore for Afropolitain magazine as "Beauty Editor". I am instead a freelance writer. That’s why since I am blogging so much, it would be such a pity to refuse the 2018 invitation.
As a matter of fact, it is worth going every year.

The “All Star” program consists in having everyday day activities to entertain the crowd.

NBA All-Star Celebrity Game: First held in 2003, the game features retired NBA players, WNBA players, actors, musicians, and athletes from sports other than basketball.
Rising Stars Challenge: From 1994 until 1999, the event was called the "Rookie Game," and composed entirely of first-year players. From 2000 through 2011, the game, renamed the "Rookie Challenge", featured a team of first-year players ('Rookies') against a team of second-year players ('Sophomores'). The 2012 game debuted a new name, the "Rising Stars Challenge", and a new format. While the game continued to feature first- and second-year players, the participants were assigned to teams in a "fantasy draft" by two honorary captains (Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal in 2012 and 2013, Grant Hill and Chris Webber in 2014). In 2015, the Rising Stars Challenge format was switched again to a USA vs the World format, which is the current format in use.
G League Dream Factory Friday Night: First held in 2008, the events includes a slam dunk contest, a three-point shootout and a H-O-R-S-E competition. These events were modeled after the NBA All-Star Saturday Night events.

G League All-Star Game: First held in 2007, this game features the best players from the NBA G League. The First winner was the East by a score of 114–100. The G League All-Star game was not held in the same arena as all the other All-Star Saturday activities. Instead, it was held on NBA Jam Session's practice court.
Slam Dunk Contest: This competition showcases the creativity and athletic ability of some of the league's youngest best dunkers. The specific rules of the contest are decided each year, but the competition is always judged subjectively. After each dunk, or attempted dunk, competitors are awarded a mark out of 10 from five judges, giving a possible high score of 50. The usual rules of 'traveling' and double dribbling do not apply.
Three-Point Contest: The league's best three point shooters shoot five basketballs from five different spots around the three-point line. Each shot is worth one point except the last ball of each rack (informally called 'money balls'), which is worth two points. The highest score available in one round is 30 points. The shooters have one minute to shoot the basketballs.
Skills Challenge: Making its debut in 2003, the Skills Challenge pits selected players in a timed obstacle course of dribbling, shooting and passing. Agility, quickness and accuracy all come into play.

Africa on the rise:
In addition to all these activities comes the annual “NBA Africa All-Star Luncheon”. My favorite of all! This is where Will M’Biakop and Amadou Fall Gallo NBA “Africa vice president and managing director of African Office” talk about growing basketball in the continent.
As you may have noticed at least 14 players out of 114 international players are from Africa. Amadou Gallo Fall is confident that the rise in popularity and participation of basketball in Africa will not only increase the number of players in the league but also the involvement in the game on all levels.
NBA Africa Office is based in Johannesburg. Created in May 2010. Before then, the former University of District of Columbia center spent 12 years with the Dallas Mavericks as director of player personnel and vice president of international affairs. In 1998, he also founded the Sports for Education and Economic Development (SEED) to use education and basketball with boys and girls to grow the next generation of African leaders. As you can see Amadou Fall is a busy man! He is ceasing the moment. His goal is to bring basketball awareness in the continent and Making it accessible to young people. Growing a fan base. And ultimately, growing the business of the NBA.
You may wonder how?
Well NBA Africa is organizing a game "team World vs team Africa". It started in 2015. It has been a tremendous success since. The (2015) game was not only broadcasted in Africa, but it was broadcasted on a global basis in over 215 countries. The (2017) game happened in South Africa. Last summer, Team Africa won, with players such as Bismack Biyombo, Emmanuel Mudiay, Serge Ibaka, Luol Deng, Thabo Sefolosha, Clint Capela, Gorgui Dieng, Dennis Schroder, Victor Olapido, Salah Mejri and Luc Mbah a Moute. What a great exposure for the continent.
However it is not only what Amadou Fall and his team are doing. They are also involved in the creation of an "NBA Academy Africa" part of the NBA’s global network of elite training centers. To shape and give the fundamentals to young scouted future NBA champions. There are three centers announced in China, one in India and one in Australia. The one in Africa will be based in Senegal.

Moreover, NBA AFrica Office is trying to establish an ecosystem, too. Because they surely know that not everyone will be on the NBA roster. It is working with local federations to build stronger local leagues where all the talent outside university and NBA. The players will have a choice to stay home and play in a highly stable and operated league in their own country.

I am sure, you can understand why it is such a pleasure for me to be part of this “NBA Africa Lunch” and listen to the guests on the discussion panel. I enjoy basketball but I prefer overall conversations about the development of the motherland and the empowerment of her youth.

“The All Star game”... The fun and excitement end on the best note.

Wish me good luck guys, hopefully I will be there to share lots of videos and pictures.

*check out in my previous post "ALL-STAR" NOLA 2017...

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Black Panther Movie

The Countdown has started.... It could not be at a better time. Black history month was perfect timing for their marketing strategy.
Superhero fanatics and Cinephiles are going to be delighted to watch for the first time this upcoming American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name Black Panther.
What I admire about the Black Panther movie is the symbol of Black Unity and strength it portrays. I find it very positive and powerful.
Especially at this moment where an Afrocentric pride is rising.
I hope it is the beginning of more black empowerment movies.

Here are the resume and trailer below.
Enjoy the teaser!

T'Challa, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king.
but his sovereignty challenged by a long-time adversary in a conflict that has global consequences.
T’Challa must team up, as the Black Panther, with CIA agent Everett K. Ross and members of the Dora Milaje—Wakanda's special forces—to prevent a world war.

Produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

The cast is Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa / Black Panther alongside Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, and Andy Serkis.

Let's meet on the 02/16/2018 at your favorite movie theater! Don't forget to put your favorite African outfit on! Show up and show out! It is a celebration! So participate to the fullest.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

New Energy for 2018...Stronger than Ever

Before I start I want to wish you all, a Happy New Year!
Winter season is here and we all know how much the cold weather and lack of light can be depressing. That’s why we need to keep our spirits high. Let’s look at the magic of the holiday season and its new start. Because after all, aren’t we blessed? Another year has gone! Between you and I, I am happy to be loved and alive. 

My 2018 resolution is to be more present, in the moment, and boost my energy level mentally and physically. I am putting my health first. It is definitely a new journey. I am becoming more conscious in everything I do. Starting with food! I have been a pescetarian for over a year…no more red meat and poultry. A healthy and balanced diet provides essential nutrients for my cells that need to be fueled and help overall well-being. However, we all know how following a balanced diet can be challenging.
Hopefully one day I will be a Vegan! That is my goal! Gosh, I  am dreaming while awake! But hey! like a famous rapper said long ago “you can do it, if you put your mind into it”. 
Thank you #IceCube for the constant reminder that our thoughts manifest our reality. 

Yes! Brothers and sisters, thoughts change our brains, cells and genes. Every thought we have is energy in motion able to shape and transform our brains. Isn’t that powerful? can you imagine how important it is to train our brains to release neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin? Just for educational purposes, i feel the need to explain that for instance, when people consciously stay thankful and learn servicing others, they get a flow of comforting, rewarding neurotransmitters and experience an alert and joyful mind. 
There are many different ways to classify neurotransmitters also called chemical messengers. 
However to keep it simple for the non-scientists like me, the major ones are amino acidspeptides, and monoamines

They play an important role in our body and mind functions. 
Every cell in our bodies is replaced every few months. So, it is never too late to reprogram negative cells to be more positive by adopting positive thinking practices for the rest of your life. "New Year, New Way” keeping an attitude of gratitude at all time. A healthy brain promotes a strong body all the way to the cellular and genetic level.
Now that I have educated myself about these great practices and chemical messengers. You can understand that for the year 2018, I am emphasizing developing good habits and urge you to do the same.

Last week I decided to speak to a friend of mine, who is an expert in fitness and nutrition. After a long conversation he advised me to try a new line of supplement named Y-Power. He claims it the best on the market by far. I can’t lie he got me curious! So today i have ordered online 10 bottles to start this journey that will share with you. You may wonder why 10 already? well I started reading about the product and I got so excited! It seems to be Amazingly Electric! like Alkaline food! it is supposed to re-ignite the energy of youth. It is made by a company called "Galixy Health"
I hope I will not be disappointed! Here is what Galixy Health promises:
The “Y” in Y-Power™ stands for “Youth.” Y-Power™ promotes the flow of electrons through the metabolism, resulting in a profound increase in vitality and energy. The high-energy formula works with the body’s metabolism to promote abundant metabolic energy. Y-Power™ employs science to create a balanced effect on the body’s entire energy system, including but not limited to: cellular respiration, adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production, mitochondrial function, and power capacity. Y-Power™ will help you regain your youthfulness and the vitality from your younger days.

I will stay in touch and write the effect of Y-power on myself throughout this process. So bear with me!

The Best Hair Salons in NYC

Have you always seen your favorite celebs with amazing hairstyles and wondered how you could have the same? Well don't look any further.

In this article I have selected my top 20 best salons located in my city! New York! The city that never sleeps! Where fashion, Makeup and having your hair done, at any moment, are a must! 

Sisters if you are looking for a fab stylist to beautify your afrolicious hair from a simple wash and go, curly styling, blowouts, deep conditioning treatment, install your perfect wig, weave, fusion extensions or just color and cut.

I've got you covered! If you are dealing with growth issues, thinning hair, Afro, locs, twists, braids, or transitioning styles, these stylists are the best in New York when it comes to your favorite treatment and style. Beware if you step into these havens for women. You may be addicted.

My top 20 salons are:

For the ones with unlimited budget, only sky is the limit then go for "The most exclusive and pricey"

Lavar Hair Design

celebrities such as Beyonce, Naomi Campbell, Zendaya and Whitney Houston have been seen in LaVar chairs. 134 W 72nd St between Columbus and Amsterdam Aves (212-724-4492, lavarhairdesigns.com)

Shasha Lee Exclusive

You can get the same treatment as celebrity clients like Janet Jackson and Nicole Richie. You will be welcomed with drinks and food if needed. You will swap your clothes for a cozy cashmere kimono and some nice pink fluffy sleepers! Time to relax! if you choose the most popular service, the steamer (from $35), technicians will create a special scalp-and-hair-cocktail tailored to your needs.
Truly a five stars treatment.
636 Broadway between Bleecker and W Houston Sts (877-647-7533, shashalee.com)

Wellington Hair Spa

Founder and owner Patrick Wellington. His clients rave about his professionalism,knowledge and true understanding of natural Kinky hair, and he has been recognized in Essence. 119 W 23rd St between Sixth and Seventh Ave (212-206-7962, http://wellingtonhairspa.com/ )

Ebony styles salon

Jamaica-born owner Mena McNeil has been in business for more than 15 years. If you are having a bad day and want to enjoy a friendly atmosphere, you are right where you should be at. Clients are addicted and want more, coming back, in addition to McNeil’s hair skills, mostly for the amicable staff and service. 707 Lexington Ave between 57th and 58th Sts (212-317-8488, ebonystylesbeautysalon.com)

khamit Kinks

This Brooklyn salon is the place for any type of twists, weaves, locs or braids. They have mastered the art of Casamas Braids, Senegalese Twists, Trini Braids and more. Celebrity clients such as Stevie Wonder, Oprah Winfrey and Queen Latifah can't get enough of this place! Brooklyn all the way! 327 Gold St between Flatbush Ave Ext and Johnson St, Downtown Brooklyn (718-422-2600, khamitkinks.com)

For the sisters on a budget no worries, I have investigated a little more and found great substitutes for the ones above.

.Locks N' chop


.True Indian hair


.Caramel city salon


.Crown worthy


.Sabine's hallway natural


.Bohemian Soul




.Nyc weave studio


.Honey salon inc


.Natural sisters hair salon


.Mane advocates


.Elite conceptions hair lounge


.Hair Fashion East


.Harlem natural hair salon


.Sew Brooklyn Hair extension lounge


Sunday, December 17, 2017

A Star Is Born...

Little did I know he would become such a star!!

I remember in 2002 when I was based in London, I was coming out of the Piccadilly Circus “tube” station and there “He” was. I was starting my career as a make up artist and always a scouts eye for models.

Young, tall, dark and lean with flawless skin.

I immediately started up a conversation, he happened to be a student from Africa, living in London. His native country is Guinea Bissau and his nationality is Portuguese. I convinced him to play model for my makeup portfolio. He humbly accepted, clueless about where life would take him after this random photoshoot of mine.
To cut a long story short, a year later, I moved the USA  to pursue my career. We then lost contact for a decade. That’s when I found out that he became a successful international male model.

One day I was browsing around a magazine and saw his face on an H&M advertisement. I was so excited for him…far was our London encounter. Until recently we met again on the set of the magazine “Afropolitain”. We finally manage to reconnect and speak for hours.
He is what I consider an amazing friend, father and husband but above all a great shoe designer and business man.
Yes while he was modeling around the world, he was getting ready for his next career move.

Founded in 2008 by Portuguese model and designer Armando Cabral, Armando Cabral shoe line was established to offer premium footwear and accessories that reflect and support modern living.
Inspired by timeless design, easy elegance and luxurious comfort, the brand merges minimalism with intricate details and innovative technical construction. From loafers and derby shoes, to boots and sneakers, each style is crafted from premium leather and made by Italy’s finest artisans, creating new classics designed for every occasion.
Ultra-flexible insoles, supple lining that molds to your foot, durable outsoles and supportive design ensures unparalleled performance and a custom fit.
the core of his inspiration is the classic style for classic modern men. The design details bring a modern identity to each pair of shoes. Made in Italy by talented Italian artisans, keep the standard and quality high.
It is a perfect gift for a love one ladies. Just in time for the holidays!
Discover his notorious signature Broome sneaker, a must have for the “hip city style”.
The Broome sneaker is available in classic white, along with other shades created exclusively for his website.
So if you are curious to see his whole collection to find your fit and shoe type, don’t wait any longer. Shop online at https://shop.armando-cabral.com/

My favorites are: The Sleepers ( streamlined, effortless, luxury for everyday ) and The Mercer sneakers( Old school-meets- cool ). As I keep saying it is important to support black owned businesses. You must add his footwear to your Christmas shopping list. 

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Unleash a whiter, healthy smile now!

Hey Sisters and brothers, don’t you love a bright, white and beautiful smile?

In Paris (France) where I was raised, people don’t really care about their dental hygiene. They are more into cigarettes, wine, cheese and coffee. It is part of the culture, unfortunately it is also a lifestyle that stains your teeth.

When I moved to the USA I noticed the incredible attention people give to having a bright smile. What a difference it makes!

One of the dental services often offered are veneers. A veneer is a layer of material placed over a tooth, veneers improve the aesthetics of a smile and/or protect the tooth's surface from damage. It is great to have the option to do a smile makeover and wish to have a Hollywood smile. Perfection assured!

Then for the ones who just want a whiter smile but no radical changes you have « zoom whitening » an in-office bleaching process that is widely known for its ability to quickly brighten teeth from the effects of discoloration. ... Tooth whitening is a cosmetic dentistry procedure that lightens teeth and helps to remove stains and discoloration.

Last but not least, For the ones like me who just want to maintain and improve their smile once a year with professional results with little or no sensitivity.

Get the home kit by Phillips Zoom! (You can buy it on amazon and separately get your mouth trays) and let me tell you! It is just amazing.

It is called NiteWhite ACP 22%. It is a popular at-home tooth whitening gel thanks to the safety of its medium-strength. It is manufactured by Discus Dental, the maker of the venerated ZOOM! one-hour tooth whitening system, so you know its products have to be the best!
You might wonder what is the difference between this kit and the other brands on the market?
Well to be a little bit technical and knowledgeable, here is a short description .

NiteWhite ACP 22% is a clinical-grade tooth whitening gel of 22% carbamide peroxide. Compared against the range of take-home tooth whitening gels, 22% is a medium strength tooth whitening gel that is an excellent option for sensitive mouths. It is typically worn for 1 hour.

Discus Dental manufactures the only take-home whiteners that combine amorphous calcium phosphate (ACP) with potassium nitrate and fluoride, providing enhanced whitening results. This ACP formulation is clinically proven to rebuild enamel, reduce tooth sensitivity by 30% and adds luster by re-mineralizing teeth and reducing fadeback. NiteWhite ACP 22% is approved and accepted by the American Dental Association.

ZOOM NiteWhite ACP 22% is the next generation of the NiteWhite Excel line of tooth whiteners. Each shipment includes three 2.4 mL syringes of 22%-strength gel and three application tips. NiteWhite products come in double-barreled syringes. Each barrel houses a separate bleaching agent. Special syringe mixing tips activate these ingredients by blending them upon application to your tooth whitening trays. This keeps the gel fresh for a good year.
When I am in a rush, I usually apply the gel on my six front teeth (up and down) with the help of my finger (index) then I use for the most dramatic whitening results a LED whitening lamp to accelerate results.
It Gets up to few shades whiter in 45 minutes and less.
However when I have time I just saturate my tray, put it in my mouth and sit back, relax in the comfort of my home.

You may wonder, is it safe?
Yes, teeth whitening is safe if you follow each product's guidelines carefully. Some whitening products can irritate gums, or leave you with sensitive teeth, so it's recommended that you speak prior

with your dental professional then go ahead...brighten your smile.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Men in Black by Bvlgari ..." The Essence "

My soul sisters and brothers!
As you already know I am a beauty and fashion fanatic.
So let me go straight to the point, because I can not wait any longer to announce you this wonderful partnership.
Yes it is happening!
I am so excited to share with you the new limited edition fragrance  made by BVLGARI: “Man In Black” Essence, in collaboration with a very special artist from Nigeria named Laolu Senbanjo.
It will be exclusively at Bloomingdales starting this October 19th 2017.

For the ones who do not know who Laolu is, allow me to introduce himself. He was born in the 80’s raised in Ilorin, Kwara state in Nigeria by Yoruba parents, he is a visual artist, musician, singer/songwriter and human rights attorney. Interesting combo isn’t it?

Laolu moved to Brooklyn, NY in August 2013 to pursue his art career. He could not have made a better choice!

Laolu is known for his “Afromysterics” style of painting. The mystery of the African thought pattern. He narrates through in his art incorporating mythology, culture and life experiences. As i mentioned earlier, Laolu is from the Yoruba tribe, therefore when you watch his paintings you can feel all his heritage and tribal stories. His art is incredibly detailed and is recognizable by his use of charcoal, white paint and his distinct patterns with stories woven throughout. It is colorful, fully in motion and alive! Just like an African dancer. It has been featured prior to this new project with BVLGARI on Nike’s sneakers.
He was named a “Master of Air” at the 2016 Nike Air Max Convention in NYC.

Laos’s mantra is “everything is my canvas” which transformed his artistic style when he began painting on everything from shoes, to jackets, and human beings.

At this present time the world is looking towards Africa, and he is one the front runners, representing the continent.

Laolu created the Sacred Art of the Ori Ritual that he performed at a live art installation at the Brooklyn Museum, he also collaborated with Kenneth Cole and He is as well, the mysterious painter behind Beyonce’s Lemonade video. (check out the body painting on Beyonce’s dancers). He is also was featured in South African DJ Black Coffee’s music video “Come with me.”
Laolu has an exhibit “Sounds of Africa” that opened at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles in collaboration with BET.

Last but not least my favorite brand of all time BVLGARI, could not pick a better artist to express the "Man In Black" experience. Because the rich essence of this fragrance is just mind blowing. It is no surprise that
BVLGARI knew exactly who to pick as artist for the design of its new fragrance's bottle.
Remember Laolu's art form is to physically draw what is on the inside (soul, essence and being).

BVLGARI with Laolu and his Sacred Art of the Ori Ritual is giving you “Rendez Vous” at Bloomingdales for an unforgettable event.
It is a MUST SEE if you are in New York City.
However if you don't no worries, just make sure you purchase a bottle and support the artist.

“The Sacred Art of the Ori is a Spiritually Intimate Experience. It’s Cathartic for both me and my Muse. We Connect Our Minds, Bodies, and Souls on Higher Level. I paint their Spirit and Soul from that Connection. It Breathes Life into Us Both.  ”
— Laolu