DJ Rich Medina: Jump N’ Funkin’ For Fela Kuti & Teaching At Cornell University

“Fela Kuti is the James Brown of Africa. We have been pushing the idea that Afrobeat is apart of Black history for 13 years”. Rich Medina introduced a whole generation of dancers to Fela Kuti and Afrobeat with his Jump N’ Funk parties. The party has been branded “the first and most consistent DJ-based party dedicated to Fela Kuti and his message of peace and equality through music.” A a staple on dancefloors from New York to Berlin for over a decade.

“Rich Medina re-creates the vibe of a Fela Kuti concert, utilizing culturally relevant African photography and Nigerian dance videos for visuals and live percussion by Juan Carlos Izaguire and the legendary Leonard “Doc” Gibbs to accompany his turntable mixes, not to mention live performances by some of the world’s most respected Afrobeat leaders, including both of Fela’s sons, Femi and Seun Kuti. Other artists that have collaborated with Rich Medina for past JUMP N’ FUNK parties have been Zap Mama, Sandra Isadore, Akoya, Chicago Afrobeat Project, Wunmi, Ron Trent and many others.”

Started DJing at 10, graduated from Cornell University and today is teaching at Cornell, talking at Ted talks and and spreading the music of Fela. “The club is my Church”

What is Jem?

 After walking by Jem a number of times, I had to satisfy my curiosity. When I walked, I saw aisles and aisles of colorful fabric from the ceiling to the ground. I loved the environment. Jem is not your typical fabric store.  Jem is owned and operated by a brother-sister team, Michelle Zahabian, who is 24 years old, and her brother David. Their father was the owner of Fabric Warehouse across the street. After his passing a year ago, Michelle and her brother opened JEM, continuing their family tradition and a downtown staple. Located at 355 Broadway in NYC.

When I asked Michelle to describe their first year and half in business, she said it has been ” a lot of mini-miracles along the way”. Support NYC small business.

Kobie Brown “From Fatherless To Fatherhood” (2012 Film)

 I along with millions of Americans have grown up “Fatherless”. And today 40% of American children live in a fatherless home raised by single mothers, aunts, grandmothers and other female caregivers. Kobie Brown’s 2012 film From Fatherless To Fatherhood explores the causes, effects and possible solutions to turning the corner on father absence. We met at Central Park for an unscripted, insightful conversation about the inspiration for the film, his family story and his goals. I love and support what Kobie is doing, solutions through dialogue.

“Before You leave this planet, it is important that you get in touch with what your purpose is and not be defined by what your job or career may be..but find out what it is you are suppose to do for the betterment of mankind and everything else will fall into place.” – Kobie during our Central Park conversation

Q-Tip on “Hotel Amazon” & A Tribe Called Quest

After spending a great scenic day driving around my borough of Queens, I jumped on the J train and took an evening stroll through the East Village. I bumped into a true ambassador of Queens, Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest. He was enjoying a stroll as well but was cool enough to share a historic small story about A Tribe Called Quest and the building behind us, CSV CULTURAL CENTER 107 Suffolk Street. Funny, the story was in front of both our faces..Unscripted NYC.

MTV Bio:

The longtime MC with pioneering alternative hip-hop trio A Tribe Called Quest, rapper Q-Tip was born Jonathan Davis in New York City on November 20, 1970. While a student at the Murray Bergtraum High School for Business Careers, he co-founded A Tribe Called Quest with fellow students Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Phife (Malik Taylor) in 1988. The following year, Q-Tip guested on De La Soul‘s groundbreaking 3 Feet High and Rising LP, with the two groups forever linked through their association with the Native Tongues collective. Tribe‘s debut single, “Description of a Fool,” appeared in the summer of 1989, and after signing to Jive Records, the trio issued its debut LP, People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm, a year later. With its fiercely intelligent, socially progressive lyrics and brilliant fusion of rap and jazz, the group emerged as one of the most popular and influential in all of hip-hop, producing such classic LPs as 1991’s The Low End Theory and 1993’s Midnight Marauders before disbanding in 1998. Q-Tip then mounted a solo career with the 1999 release of Amplified. Although it was successful, he was in label limbo for many years afterward, continuing to record but rarely able to release any of his output. (One album, Kamaal the Abstract, was ready to roll into stores in 2002 when it was halted; it was finally released by Jive in 2009.) His sophomore set finally appeared in late 2008 and earned its title, The Renaissance. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi


			

Culture Critic Amy Linden on 28 yrs in Fort Greene, Rafael Saadiq & Obama

“Bitchin about what Brooklyn is now is like bitchin about what Hip-Hop use to be like..aint gonna happen..Paid In Full is not coming back out again.” Amy moved to Fort Greene 28 years ago from the Lower Eastside. We have been friends since  the 90’s when I lived in Fort Greene & Clinton Hill. After a stroll around my old neighborhood reminiscing about my Brooklyn days – my house parties, Brooklyn Moon Cafe,  Madiba, Franks, Mikes Diner, The Friendships  – I met up with Culture Critic-Substitute Teacher Amy Linden at the entrance of Fort Greene Park for an animated conversation on 28 years in Fort Greene, Rafael Saadiq, Charter Schools & Obama.


			

The Blisslife of Amel Larrieux from Groove Theory & Sweetback

Today’s temperature was uncomfortably hot and humid but I perked up when I bumped into R&B songwriter Amel Larrieux at Broadway and 10th street. She has just returned from a vacation in the Bay area. We walk along 10th street and she shares the excitement about having her daughter in her band which comes out later this year on Blisslife Recordsr; her love of taking walks and “daydreaming in New York”; her definition of knowledge/wisdom and advice for going after dreams.

Amel Larrieux, was born in New York City’s, Greenwich Village, her mother was a dance critic and professor named Brenda Dixon Gottschild. She was always a creative minded person since a tender age, and fortunately was surrounded by talented family members and inspiring artists.

Extreme Hopscotch: “You got beat by an 8yr old!”

Parents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins..get your Extreme Hopscotch game up! Yesterday at a BBQ in Brooklyn, while filming the kids "hopschotchin", they challenged myself and my longtime friend Jon Cropper to try. He said "no way". I tossed him my camera and thought how hard could it be? Well, I got schooled by an 8year old and they filmed it. It happens. I am not going to let it get me down. LOL. But I will get my Extreme Hopscotch game up.

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