Category Archives: Sustainable Design

C is for…

MAJORA CARTER.


This inspiring woman has been a strong proponent for sustainability and community development since she burst on the scene as the founder of Sustainable South Bronx in 2001. Over a decade she is one of the leading voices in the green movement, gaining the moniker “Green Power Broker” from the New York Times. Known for coining the phrase “Green the Ghetto”, Carter’s efforts have been at lobbying policies to increase green jobs and provide green job training in the communities that need them most. Her initiatives have been aimed at improving the quality of life in the most under-served neighborhoods.

Roof Garden in the Bronx.

Under her leadership, SSBX increased much needed public green space in the Hunts Point area of the borough. Carter also led the opposition of the addition of a solid waste plant to the South Bronx area, and advocated and fund raised for the design and implementation for a greenway along the waterfront instead. The organization also publicized a green roof campaign, which Carter publicized at TED talks and many other media outlets and championed community education. It also earned Ms. Carter that ever so coveted McArthur Genius Grant.

Community worker gardening at SSBX project.

In 2008, she left SSBX to start the Majora Carter Group, a consulting firm that specializes in urban revitalization strategies. She also hosts the popular public radio show, The Promised Land, which recently won the prestigious Peabody Award. Next on her agenda, tackling the food industry, looking to start a national brand of locally grown produce. She has a vision for a better, healthier future that will change the way we all live.  To hear ideas from the visionary herself, check the link at the bottom to the video from her TED Talk… it is well worth the listen!

Hunts Point Park after SSBX intervention.

http://video.ted.com/assets/player/swf/EmbedPlayer.swf


All Black Everything: Holiday Gift Guide

With the holiday season quickly approaching, we here at All Black Everything thought we’d offer up some fun suggestions for the artist or designer in your life, with our very own Africana twist.  2011 was a great year for the black creative mind and created some wonderful books, exhibits, shows, albums, and products. Sure to bring a smile to all!

Books:

African Metropolitan Architecture by  David Adjaye| $100   ISBN # 978-0847837168

This is the latest book from the world renown architect.  It documents contemporary African architecture and cityscape in vibrant photographs.  The book was personal project for the author/designer, who spent the last decade visiting and documenting all the major cities in Africa, fifty-three in total.  The collection comes in 7 volumes and is sure to be hit with the photographer, urban planner, or designer in your life.

available here

  One Day It’ll All Make Sense by Common and Adam Bradley| $25  ISBN # 978-1451625875

This is the memoir of the actor and emcee Common aka Rashid Lynn.  It chronicles his life from his childhood on the Southside of Chicago to  his current life of premieres, movie sets, and performance.  Known for his conscious hip hop style, the book provides a great introspective into the mind of the artist.  This is Common’s first book for adults.  Perfect gift for anyone who is a lover of music or film.

available here

   The Legends of Hip Hop by Justin Bua| $34.99   ISBN #978-0061854972

Justin Bua is better known for his vibrant art pieces utilizing his unique urban look.  This book takes his genius and goes one step further, cataloging the great masters of this musical art. It profile fifty hip hop icons, each with a biography and a portrait completed in Bua’s iconic style.  If you know any true fan of hip hop, graffiti, or street art, this book will be a great addition to their coffee table.

available here

New African Fashion by Helen Jennings| $35    ISBN # 978-3791345796

From the editor of ARISE Magazine, the premiere publication in the world of African fashion come New African Fashion.  The book serves as a guide to honor the new wave of high fashion designers coming out of the country.  It covers the history of African fashion and how it has influenced the modern designer, highlighting the current artists ripping the runways and pages of the fashion world.  The book includes lines and products that are African inspired and African made.

available here

  200 Something by Tiffany Millner| $10    ISBN # 978-0615448947

Tiffany Millner is a registered architect currently practicing in Philadelphia.  The book is a collage of memoir, journal, and inspiration; chronicling the authors thoughts and emotions on her career path.  The title references the number of African American female architects practicing in the United States.  This is a great gift for the architect, artist, or feminist who is finding her voice. This is Millner’s first book.

available here

Music:

   Undun– The Roots| $12

This is the latest release from perennial favorites the Roots.  As the first conceptual album from the alternative rap band, undun is the fictional narrative of Redford Stephens, a hustler.  The story chronicles Stephens’ life in reverse from his ultimate demise to his birth navigating themes of morality and vitality.  True to form, it is a sonic vacation, highlighting the many musical talents in the group.  This is the Roots 11th studio album.

available here

   The Dreamer, The Believer– Common| $12

Set for a December 20, 2011 release, Common’s ninth album arrives just in time for the holidays.  Produced and c0-written by hailed producer No I.D. The first single from the album, Ghetto Dreams, featued Nas and was released during the summer of 2011.  In interviews Common has said this album was inspired by his life.  Fans can look forward to appearance by Maya Angelou and crooner John Legend.  Dates for the album’s tour have recently been released.

available here

  Chamber Music Society– Esperanza Spalding|$14

For those who haven’t heard of Esperenza Spalding, your time has come.  The  27 year old musician made headlines in 2011 when she won for Best New Artist at the 53rd Grammy Awards, becoming the first Jazz artist to win the prestigious honor.  Her impressive musicianship is expertly performed across an array of instruments, her music a modern myriad of jazz and neo- soul with influences from classical and Latin music.

available here

   Break of Dawn– Goapele| $9.99

R&B songstress Goapele’s latest album has been two years in the making.  The fourth release from the singer marks her return to the music scene after a 5 year hiatus.  Look to expect a more grown up sound, with the content of this record conveying a much more seductive and suggestive vibe.  Reflected by the cover art, Goapele is not holding anything back this time around and its sure to move all who listen.

available here

  The Dreamer– Etta James| $10.99

The latest studio production from the icon will also be her last.  In the twilight of her over 50 year career, the blues singer delivers more of her moody, soulful sounds.  The collection of covers represents a ride array of genres and eras of music, showing that at 73, James is still up on the times.  One highlight on the album, is James’ rendition of Otis Reading’s “Ciggarettes and Coffee” guaranteed to make you sink into the depths of your own emotions along with her.

available here

DVD:

  The Black Power Mixtape; MPI Home Video| $25

This documentary was a hit at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.  The film is and in depth look at the evolution of the black revolutionary movement within the black community.  The footage was by Swedish filmmakers and had been lost for year, beautiful edited by Swedish director, Goran Olsson.  Look forward to video featuring Martin Luther King, Angela Davis, Huey P. Newton, Stokely Carmichael, and Eldrige Cleaver.  The movie also features commentary from many black icons.

available here

   Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest; Sony Pictures Classic| $30.99

This film is a portrait of one of the most famous rap groups in history.  Directed by Michael Rapaport, the documentary features interviews with all of the members of Tribe Called Quest.  Following the group during their 2008 reunion tour, giving a behind the scenes look at the group dynamics and journey during the year.   The documentary is an in your face and realistic portrait of the group members showing their progression as artists and ultimate differences.

available here

  Hidden Colors: The Untold History of People of Aboriginal, Moor, and African Descent; King Flex Entertainment| $30

This informative documentary looks at the history of the African Diaspora around the world.  An often overlooked and under told story of people of Africa descent in regions like Asia and Europe.  Featuring commentary and interviews by many of the premiere scholars voices in black studies, this dvd is the perfect gift for the suppressed revolutionary, history buff, or great thinker.  It is sure to foster strong sentiments of black pride and open eyes to some rarely shared information.

available here

   Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child; New Video Group| $30

An homage to the great artiste, The Radiant Child features a real look at the gone to soon Basquiat.  The documentary provides an introspective into his radical life as well as the New York art scent of 1980s. Its authenticity comes from the lost footage of Basquiat covering all aspects of his life.  The film moves chronologically, so you see his evolution as both a creator and a man, commemorating his short life.  Its has this raw, pure energy, allowing viewers to really see the legend’s human side.  This dvd is sure to  inspire the inner artist in us all.

available here

   Mooz-Lum; Vivendi| $20

This indie fan favorite got a lot of press when its marketing went viral in the past year.  Written by new director, Qasim Basir and produced by Danny Glover, the story follows a college bound young man, Tariq, who has been raised as a strict muslim in the time around 9-11.  Starring Evan Ross, in a critically applauded role as the title character.  It provides an interesting perspective on the often misunderstood religion.  The film was the winner at the 2010 Urbanworld Film Festival.

available here

Events:

   FELA! The Musical National Tour| dates and prices vary

After an exciting year on Broadway, the acclaimed musical is now headed to a city near you!  The show’s success led to a London production and Tony wins for Best Choreography, Best Costume Design for a Musical, and Best Sound Design for a Musical.  The show follows the life of activist and performer Fela Kuti  in 1977 when the Nigerian government was trying to cease his performances.

available here

  Alvin Ailey Contemporary Dance Theater National Tour| dates and prices vary

The modern dance company, known for its groundbreaking choreography, is currently in its 53rd season.   The 2011-12 season marks the first year for new Artistic Director, Robert Battle.  Features include 6 new pieces, as well as fan favorites like Revelations and Night Creatures.  Sparking a new era for the company, it is sure to provide something new for seasoned Ailey supporters and impress those new to the amazing talents

available here

  Pariah, Focus Film Features| dates and prices vary

This contemporary drama premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2011 and is slated for its US release on December 28, 2011.  It was awarded for its Excellence in Cinematography at the festival.  The film is an extension of a 2007 short film by the writer/director Dee Rees and was executive produced by Spike Lee.  The plot follows Alike, a 17 year old Brooklyn teen as she embraces her sexual identity as a lesbian.  The lead actress, Adepero Oyure was nominated for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead.  The film also Best Independent Film and Best Breakthrough Performance for Oyure at the African-American Film Critics Association

available here

   Kinyarwanda| dates and prices vary

Also premiering this year at Sundance was Kinyarwanda, the first film from Alrick Brown.  The film one the World Cinema Dramatic Audience Award.  Based on the true accounts of muslims in Rwanda during 1994 genocide, the films tells the story of hope and human compassion during that time.  Weaving six stories together, the movie gives a more comprehensive and real narrative of the lives of many Rwandan’s during that tragic time in their history.

available here

Essence Festival 2012 Weekend Passes; July 6th- 8th, New Orleans, LA| $120- 750

Every summer, music fans flock to the Big Easy for one of the largest black musical festivals in the United States.  With sessions, events, and parties for all, it is well worth the vacation days to check it out.  This year Weekend passes went on sale before the Christmas Rush, making them the perfect gift for a romantic getaway, reunion with old friends, or fun loving girls weekend trip.

available here

Items:

   Beats Colors by Dr. Dre| $350

The ever popular headphones are now available in an array of colors, so you can have a pair of Beats to match every outfit.  The SOLO model features high-definition and noise canceling audio clarity.  Its super deep bass make it perfect for catching every nuance of a great hip- hop meat, the trance inducing baselines of a complex jazz composition, or the electronic hype of a dance beat.

available here

  Scratch Art Artists Trading Cards by Scratch- Art| $7

Keep up with the latest trends by giving the gift of these artist trading cards.  Traded like baseball cards, they came out of the mail art movement.  Today they are wallet sized pieces of extraordinary art.  Combined with the elementary fun of scratch art, this activity provides an opportune moment for revisiting your inner child.

available here

    Lami Li Traveler’s Journals| $28- 43

These colorful journals are ideal for the writer, sketcher, poet, traveler in us all.  Handmade in Nepal from the bark of the Lokta tree, these eco-friendly journals help support rural economic development in the country.  Great for those who strive to live more sustainably or have an altruistic streak focused on social justice.  They include 150 bound pages of handmade paper that are acid free  and perfect for archival ink.

available here

   Obama 2012 Holiday Ornament|$40

Show that you are in for the long haul with your support of the 44th President in his re-election campaign with this festive Holiday ornament.   The rhodium features the names of the President and Vice Pres in an intricate design.   Find this and more at the Obama 2012 store to display your political stance in style.

available here

Charter Membership to the National Museum of African American History and Culture| $25- 1000

Slated for it 2015 opening, the much anticipated addition to the Smithsonian campus and National Mall is being designed by some of the world’s premiere black architects.  Help it become a reality by contributing to the campaign to raise the $250 million needed to build by becoming a Charter Member.  For your efforts, you get your name listed on the electronic wall at the museum and to say you contributed to a piece of history.

available here

Hope this extensive list has you rethinking some of your last minute gift ideas for that creative presence in your life!  From the ABE Staff, we would like to wish all of our readers and their families a Happy Holidays… we look forward to bringing you exciting new content and features next year!


Designer Profile: Stephen Burks

It seems everywhere I turn these days I’m hearing Stephen Burks’ name… and that’s a good thing. Burks has long been heralded for his work from within the design community but always seems on the verge of something bigger. 2011 has been a good year for Burks, once labeled the “Barack Obama of design” by a member of the press. Currently his show Man Made is on exhibit at the Studio Museum in Harlem and is his first solo show. Later this spring he mounts another show Are You a Hybrid? (opens May 3) at the Museum of Art and Design in Manhattan. His contributions to the show Design for the Living World will be featured in Chicago starting next month. Burks also has a piece in collaboration with Swarovski that was featured at Eurolace, the design runway for lighting fixtures in Milan. Ladies and Gents, this man has been busy.

Piece from Burks Inside/Out Collection for Swarovski

Man Made at the Studio Museum in Harlem

Burks is unique for many reasons, including his varied path that makes him kind of a design jack-of-all-trades. Obtaining degrees in architecture and product design at the Illinois Institute of Technology and a Masters in Architecture at Columbia University, Burks tackles the worlds of architecture, industrial design, furniture design, and fine arts in one fell swoop. Burk’s Brooklyn based studio, Readymade Projects, Inc. serves as headquarters for all his work, and what an impressive resume it is.

Burks in Readymade Projects studio

He has designed for internationally renowned design brands like Artenica, B&B Italia, and Cappellina as well as more noted luxury icons like Misonni, Audi, Calvin Klein, Target, Triple Five Soul, and Swarovski. His designs are unique due to his desire to mix the artisan detailing of handicrafts with the benefits of mass production to make pieces available to consumers.  He has been interviewed and profiled in major design magazines like Dwell and is featured in this month’s Salt Magazine, the official trade magazine of Swarovski (available online) as well as the New York Times and popular online sites like Gestalten and Dezeen.  Burks’ work has been exhibited at the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London in addition to his shows this month.

Pieces for Capellina

Burks is a pioneer for his technique’s and approach to design, which often involves the communities and an eco-conscious mindset. He has worked extensively in Senegal, Peru and South America, collaborating with local artisans in the creation of his furniture and pieces. He draws inspiration from the lifestyles and materials from the various places he travels which gives his furniture a sort of authenticity and also allows them to serve as functional art, standing apart from what you typically see on the market.

Burks MAfrique works for Moroso

Burk’s stance on design as a singular entity, not divided by discipline allows him to draw inspiration from every field as well as include aspects of each in his creations. Looking through his work you see the detailing so enforced in architecture, but the textures and color more akin to fashion, but the functionality of product design all encapsulated in on stunning object that looks so different from what you see everyday. Burks has the ability to take an item like a chair and make it tell its story of creation and identity in the way it came together.

Burks is a design inspiration to us and exactly the type of thinker we here at All Black Everything like to celebrate. His commitment to sustainable materials, community involvement, preserving the rituals and tradition of handicraft, and the elegance of design will continue to make him standout as a world class designer. 2011 seems to be his year and it is just April and I know I personally am excited to see where he will go and what he will create from here.