Beautiful – Lennix

My body is speaking to me

The tongues of my skin

Speak languages that do not reach my mouth.

Whisper sweet nothings, to which I can not reply, the words caught in

Linguistic purgatory

Trying to translate beautiful

a noun, a possessive word

beautiful,

The word is stuck in the spit of man as he yells at me

“Hey beautiful”

The word dies, becomes synonym with his–with plaything

Becomes notes in the orchestra of catcalls that illuminate every city street I have ever walked in.

And yet the tongues of skin, like sirens calling to Odysseus

Urge me to hear them, to learn their dialect, to find the flowers in words

Men turned have into knives

And yet I remind them,

That language is a weapon

Reared against anything feminine, to invalidate it, to hide it, to pretty it up for consumption

And yet, my skin speaks– vehemently of these reclamations

Of taking words weaponized and weaving wildflowers

Of the glory in survival and how to survive we must teach ourselves to speak–

Because the world, the man, thrives on our on fear

To speak,

And so as I lick my wounds,

My skin, she sings my a lullaby

My mouth finds the hidden curves of her words and mimics them

Moves them around the roof my mouth, down into my diaphragm, and lets them rest in

Between my ribcage, where they safe but soft, but strong, but mine

Beautiful.

About Lennix: Queer. Trans. I believe that art is the only way to recreate myself authentically.
I am a student at Simmons University and I love pastels.

IG: lorionphotography

(photo provided by Lennix)

Written Wednesday | Interview With Shawn Crysis

The mission has been revamped for the current time. Shawn Crysis, bred from New/North Brunswick, New Jersey, has had change at his core from the moment he realized the impact he can have. Passion rivets through him as he expresses all phases of his life, thoughts, dreams, questions and everything in between. This is for the bigger purpose of aligning the world with love and truth. He is #hereforthechange.

Shawn Crysis, is a writer, poet, rapper, and a performer. We got a chance to talk to him about being a multi-faceted artist in the digital age. Read on to find out what we learned!

Tell us about your journey and introduction to poetry/rap.

Before all, it was poetry. I had a crush on a girl named Tamilia in middle school and my interest sparked from there and I began to write. In total, though, I probably only wrote  4-7 poems during those times. Then it started as a love for making beats on lunch tables; I used to be the unofficial drummer for the cyphers at my high school, NBTHS. When everyone was done rapping, the crowd was just in awe; the words that flew out were tight. And in certain times, I was able to control the pace of it: how the breakdown sounded with the bars that were coming. But, the rappers were always given the love.

 I wanted that kind of love and appreciation so I began to write. I broke out my Sidekick (cell phone), opened the notes, and began to write. I noticed that I made sense a lot, and I enjoyed making things connect and associate with each other. Words were fun. I then brought them to the lunch tables and my peers were feeling it. I remember practicing mad freestyles to make sure I had something to spit.

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From there, I got into the studio first with my boy Marquis. He was rapping as well so we formed a group called L.S., short for Light Skins *LMFAO*. We made, probably, a total of 5 tracks and I loved every bit of it so I continued to write and flow. Actually, if you look up L.S. – One Night Freak on Youtube you’ll see the work. The rest I have archived for my own amusement *LOL*.

After writing, I began to see it was making me happier and helping me process through events and situations in my life. Writing brought me clarity and a different perspective. It was therapy after a while. My first album, Table for One, was just that – therapy for self before I ever cared to appease the ears of folks. It was about aligning my self with me.

From there came performing. My very first open mic was at Soul by the Pound in New Brunswick, NJ and I had to sit down, actually, due to my nervousness. But they (the audience) enjoyed it. They enjoyed my life, pain, questions and struggle I was dealing with. They could relate. That’s when all hell broke loose for me. I loved giving my words in any form I can, song or spoken word.

While your music is easily accessible online, you do have CD’s available for sale. Tell us about what you learned regarding selling music this way in today’s digital world.

It is more personable. You know your answer right then and there whether someone will support you rather than waiting for a follow or a comment. It’s a more genuine connection with someone, especially cause it was done face to face – breaking todays social norms of actually interacting with people and allowing an actual relationship to be formed. I remember almost every face. It is bit harder, though; especially ’cause CD’s are becoming obsolete, more especially if you don’t have a car to listen to it in. But, the aspect of going up to someone to ask them to buy something from you makes it easier for online sales to be interacted. For me, now, it’s learning the marketing behind it.

Which way do you find more popular and why?

Online. The network is endless and folks are reachable at literally anytime of the day. I can be working or on the toilet making a sale or having someone tell me about my music. It is Mr. Fantastic reaching level, from Jersey to Beijing all with the click of a button.

Which way makes you feel more “successful”?

Hand-to-hand. You see the impact that you had on someone and their willingness to support, especially if I just performed. It’s like getting paid at the end of the day when you work and not waiting for a check. Someone enjoyed me and connected so much that they will support me to keep on doing it. I love that and I pray that it helps them do what they want to do.

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What was your inspiration behind your most project “nice to meet u ep (a she cursor)”?

She is. She is the women I have been in relationships with. Things I have learned, gained, took, given all while still appreciating who she is to me. It is my ode to woman. ‘nice to meet u’ is the pre-cursor, (she-cursor) to my album entitled she. which is an acronym for she’s his everything. It is the exploration also of my voice and looking into ways to bend it, pitch it and still make good sounding music while giving some bars.

In what ways do the samples used in the project help convey your message?

It helped set the tone of what the song was to be about or the feel I wanted to give. Earth, Wind and Fire was about how she was all of these natural forces all in one; in each verse, each beat breakdown/switch up I used the elements and described who she is to me. Sade eloquently provided the soul of the track and I followed suit.

Never Let Me Go was a quick run, something of an interlude but still a track, still impactful, still meaningful and pivotal. As just as quick the sample and tempo was, I wanted to match that and began to drift in between it.

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You have been seen performing at various platforms across the country. How do you secure a spot at these venues?

Networking from past events, people will inquire if I want to participate at the event. If I can, I’m there. Before being reached out to, it was looking in every nook and cranny of the tri-state area to find out where there was an open mic or showcase that I can be a part of. My friends would also tell me about events happening and who to contact if they seen a flyer online or knew someone.

Tell us about your experience(s) with competitions using your art.

I have made it to California for free – flight, room and board all paid for. I was apart of Daze Summit created by Scott Morris, which is a week long run of music shows, workshops, and a panel in NYC. It’s main purpose was to generate scholarship money for high school students.

This past year was the Fly Me to LA edition in which the two winners would receive an all expense paid trip to California for the BET Awards and I was sold on it right there. Being apart of the Deans List Tour, a musical artist based tour out of NYC, helped greatly with the gearing and rearing of performing and artist development. Having been apart of that, I knew that I had to simply perform my heart out -in which I did.

In a certain case when performing solely poetry, I was in the running to be a part of the New Jeru Slam Team. It was a heavy day when it comes to the greatness that was in that room and I had no idea that there people were SPITTING. There is something about poetry that I love with every inch of my heart. It enthralls me because I appreciate the words of people and what they are saying -and they were saying some SHIT! Sadly, I did not qualify to be a part of the Slam team. But, just the experience of doing it riveted me to want to try again. I love being heard, I want my words to be heard, no beat, no melody, just me.

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While also working towards growing as an artist, you volunteer your time at local schools to work with kids in exploring their own artistic identity. How have these experiences been for you?

Shawn luhh da kids! They teach me so much about the world they live and how it impacts them directly. I’ve learned about the school-to-prison pipeline working at the Dr. Marion Bolden Center in Newark. Having them (the students) explain what is so relevant to them and the sensitivity of being in the face of the dragon inspires me to help sharpen their blades. They bring me glee and hope for the future. Seeing them doing what they love to do brings me so much happiness. I want to let them know that their art, their talent, their actions are appreciated and can take them anywhere they choose to go. They explore a territory in which the process isn’t celebrated, only the creation. But it is showing them to celebrate the process of trying new things, failing, resiliency, all while trying to get what is in their mind out into the world.

Tell us how your life experiences have shaped your artistry.

They allow me to speak my truth and uncover my lies I have told myself. They make me deal with things I’m afraid of or unwilling to. They allow the passion to speak through me and come out as vividly as it came in. They teach me more about myself and the world and how to portray it to myself and others. It has been my life and while the artistry is only a part of me, it’s a major component of how life has been experienced.

Exclusive Music Debut: The Convincing Actor

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Name: The Convincing Actor.
Age: 22 (12/1995).
Hometown: Roselle Park, New Jersey.
Genre: Unclear.
Artist Bio:
The Convincing Actor makes music and if you don’t like it, you should get professional help. The Convincing Actor is also a writer, poet, drummer, and photographer. The Convincing Actor makes art because it’s the next best thing aside from committing mass murder. They were arrested in their dream last night and have been nervous all day.
Purpose: None.
SHORTLINEREVIEW EXCLUSIVE DEBUT
“The Liminal Space Between Happy and Dead.”
2. They Want A Stillborn
3. Second Lake Awakening
4. Non-Linear De-Actualization
5. Don’t Know How to Pray No More
6. For All The Grief
7. Birth Revokes Privileges
8. Rehearsal Unrehearsed Entanglement Moron
9. Go Alone Into Tides
10. Sun Made of Ghosts
11. A Railroad’ve Been Workin’ On The I
12. You Better Stay Down (Stay Down) Stay Down (Stay Down)
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Go listen to music on Bandcamp, and follow him on Facebook

The Other Side Of The Game: An Interview With Diya Drake

 

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Naadiya Drake

Age: 21

From: Willingboro, NJ

Singer, Writer, Rapper/Lyricist

Interviewed by Steven Ikegwu

How did you get the opportunity to become a radio host? How nerve wrecking was your first broadcast?

I was pretty anxious to get on the radio. I did some research on radio stations on the campus of Rutgers to see what their operating hours were, who I should call/email. When I found what I was looking for, I put on my shoes and headed to the Core’s location. From there, I got to speak to a couple of DJs who actually let me sit in on my show. After that, I made it my mission to complete all the necessary training for my own slot. I was pretty nervous for my own show, but it didn’t trump my excitement. I tried to make sure I was well prepared by familiarizing myself with the equipment/rules and putting my first playlist together the night before.

What factors do you consider when choosing to work with someone, both in music and in radio?

Pertaining to music, who I work and collab with has a lot to do with style. It’s all about the vibe and the sound. I believe music isn’t just something you hear, but something you feel. I want myself to feel it, the person/people I’m creating with to feel it, and the audience to feel it as well. In short, I like working with people who can use their art to create different atmospheres. As far as radio is concerned, I signed up in hopes of developing a platform that gives a voice to the unheard. While I like to play “what’s hot”, I also like to put the spotlight on artists who aren’t necessarily top 40. Whether they be local, independent or just working with a smaller audience, everybody deserves a platform to share their talent. A lot of my fellow DJs share a similar mindset and its nice to be apart of it. For both music and radio, there’s, of course, a certain level of professionalism and respect. I need to trust that you’ll respect what I’m doing (and I’ll do the same) in addition to respecting the physical, mental and emotional space.

Who are your musical influences?

TOO MANY to name but here’s a few off the top of my head: Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill, India Arie, Lalah Hathaway, Queen Latifah, Sade, Solange, Kelela, Chance the Rapper, Chance the Rapper, Chance the Rapper, Chance the Rapper, Noname, Rapsody, The Roots, Kendrick Lamar (and many more but we’ll stop there)

 

You work in OSG and Divine Write. How do you express your individuality in collaborative projects?

I believe everyone plays a role in collaborative projects. You have to know that everyone is bringing something different. Whether it be my tone, choice of words or overall style, I just try to make sure that whatever I’m bringing meshes, but stands out at the same time.

What does OSG stand for and how did you and Naomi come together to form it

OSG stands for Other Side of the Game (like the song by Erykah Badu). Naomi and I were at TGI Friday’s after a performance with our friends and we were talking about how we always introduce ourselves as “Diya Drake and Naomi Jay” before we start. We still go by those names but if we were gonna continue to perform as a unit, it would be best to have a name that can be associated with both of us. We discussed possible names in the past but none of them really made us wanna jump on it. The idea of naming our group after a song by a huge musical influence seemed pretty cool. “Other Side of the Game” just fit. We hope that when people heard it, they would know off bat that we were trying to bring something different to the table.

What is your creative process like?

The creative process varies. I could be inspired by good conversation, an argument, or a crisis. I go for walks a lot and I often get ideas while doing so. I have a journal where I dump a lot of my thoughts. In some cases, I take what i’ve written and reflect on what I was feeling in that moment. From there I try to build off of those emotions. Other times, it’s not so structured. I like to free write as well. There are times where I just put on music and say whatever comes to my mind. It honestly depends.

Do you ever feel limited when it comes to performance venues because you and Naomi carry instruments along?

Yes! If it was possible, we’d have an entire ensemble everywhere we go, lol. Having our own equipment definitely makes travel a LOT harder but it’s an important part of what we do. I’ll always appreciate Naomi for bringing her keyboard along because it is definitely heavy. Hopefully as we expand, transportation of instruments and equipment will be easier, but right now we just make it happen the best way we know how. We always take location of the venue and spacing into account when it comes to our set.  

Did you ever receive any vocal training?

I’ve been apart of different choirs, but I’ve never had any private or one-on-one lessons. I am definitely looking into a vocal coach or taking lessons!

Interested to learn more? Check out OSG’s music on SoundCloud!