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Concerts To Check Out in January

A new year is upon us and another holiday weekend is rapidly approaching! Many events will be taking place during that time; some that we can’t wait for and others that we wish would just hurry up and pass. We hear you and have just the thing for those looking to shake the Trump Inauguration blues, a few concerts to soothe that savage beast.

Liv Warfield
Howard Theatre – Friday, January 13, 2017 – 8:00 pm

Protégé of the late, great Prince and New Power Generation member Liv Warfield is coming to D.C. bringing her sultry voice and soulful songs like “Sophisticated Sista” and “Embrace Me”. This should be a treat for anyone who appreciates true musicianship and certified dope vocals. Tickets start at $25.

3rd Annual MLK Birthday Celebration featuring Rare Essence & Friends
Howard Theatre – Sunday, January 15, 2017 – 10:00 pm

For all the go-go heads, get ready for a CRANKIN good time as R.E., E.U., and The Junkyard Band get together to party like it was the Ibex or Eastside back in ’96. Some other special guests plan to drop by too so don’t be the last to grab your tickets because you might be short. Get there early too! Tickets start at $22.50.

Anthony David with special guest Carol Riddick
Birchmere – Monday, January 16, 2017 – 7:30 pm

Southern soul crooner Anthony David better known as ‘Acey Deucy’ will be closing out MLK Weekend at the Birchmere in Alexandria with special guest soul songstress Carol Riddick. Known for ballads like “Something About You” and “Cheatin Man”, this Georgia boi and his guitar is known to have the crowd rocking and a good time had by all. Tickets start at $29.50.

Sevyn Streeter
Howard Theatre – Sunday, January 22, 2017 – 8:00 pm

Singer-songwriter Sevyn Streeter, not too far removed from that debacle involving her jersey and the National Anthem, also comes to the Howard in late January to promote her new album “Girl Disrupted” due for release later this month. Known for her collaborations with Chris Brown and B.O.B., Streeter has received various accolades for her talent from her peers. Needless to say, this is a show you shouldn’t want to miss. Tickets start at $20.00.

Ginuwine
Howard Theatre – Friday, January 27, 2017 – 8:00 pm

And last but not least, the “Pony” man himself comes back home on the 27th to perform his hits and I’m sure bust out a couple dance moves too. I’m certain all the ladies will be in the front row for this one. *singing* “I’m just a batchelorrrrrrr!” Tickets start at $35.00.

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Single Bells: Why Being Uncoupled During the Holidays Is So Lit

Ah yes, another holiday season is upon us. The city is draped in lights, families are coming together, differences are being put aside; the times of warm feelings of love and good cheer we get to experience once more. For years, the holidays have catered to couples – all snuggled up, having their love to keep them warm and all that jazz. Being bae-less was considered taboo and assumed that those who didn’t have that special someone was somewhere in their house pigging out on ice cream listening to “What Do the Lonely Do at Christmas”, crying silent tears. Well WRONG! This year is the year of the single one. The year of flourishing in your freedom, the time where you can feel good about not having to check in with anyone or ask permission to do anything you feel like. But the coolest thing about being single on the holidays is that those warm feelings I was talking about earlier – you get to experience them with anyone of your choosing. All this holiday love you have inside to share doesn’t have to be limited to just one. This and the others that I’ll give are why being single during the holidays is so clutch.

Not Having to Worry About Buying a Present

Flourishing in your freedom also includes on the financial side of things. Yes, you don’t have to pine about getting the perfect gift for your lady or gent. That scrilla can stay right in your pocket for more important things like finding the perfect ugly sweater for that party next week or, you know, that common thing of getting gifts for your family.

The Possibilities of Holiday Hook-Ups are Endless

There’s no better time to spread all that “cheer” than during the holidays. If being single wasn’t cool for the holidays, then we wouldn’t have such timeless songs as “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” and “Let It Snow” (SN: You can’t tell me “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” isn’t the best holiday hookup song or hookup song period) or traditions like kissing underneath the mistletoe or as soon as the clock strikes 12 on New Year’s Eve. Sure, you can have the same experience being booed up, but there is something about being single that can make it more memorable.

Solitude Is Golden

At your holiday event, whenever you’re ready to go, you can just go. You don’t have wait for your significant other to be done with a conversation with that friend, you really don’t care for, that’s gone two hours too long. Or for that holiday party that’s so dead, it’s RIP, you can bid your adieu with the quickness.

On a serious note though, another cool thing about alone time, and one that I’ve appreciated, is that you can work on building a better you. You can reflect on the year that is coming to an end – your triumphs, your failures, accomplishments, setbacks, friends you’ve gained, friends you’ve lost, things that you did great, things that you can do better and get that all together so that 2017 can be an awesome year for you; Lord knows 2016 was a doozy! As another Christmas song goes, “Nobody ought to be all alone on Christmas”, but if you are, appreciate the time as it too shall pass and maybe the next holiday go round, you may find yourself on the “other side”. Cheers!

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Introducing Avehre – More Than Meets the Eye

Johnny Goodguy
IG: @jbthegoodguy
Twitter: @TheSensibleJBG
FB: Johnny Brooks II

Nothing unusual or amazing seems to be going on in the Nation’s Capital today, except there is….

Downtown, inside the Warner Theatre, rehearsal is taking place for a dynamite show featuring Gladys Knight. However, the reason why I find myself in these historic, hallowed halls is not for Gladys, but for her background singer and newly discovered talent.

Enter Avehre – a native Chicagoan who possesses an appreciation for music and old soul well beyond his young age of 27. In talking with him, I see vibrancy not usually possessed by someone just breaking out on the solo scene. A great deal of this spirit comes from the rich musical tapestry of his hometown that the singer-songwriter describes as a training ground for musicians.  Beginning his journey in church singing with his family and local choirs, Avehre knew music was the career for him. As he describes it, music was “a great outlet for him” and “the universal language” to express feelings and emotions.

“You can get so much from other genres and apply it to your music to give it a different flavor.” This statement also bodes true when it comes to his love of songwriting, gaining the interest from being a poet and touring with a spoken word troupe called “Verbal Remedies”. It was here that the father of one learned how to speak his truth and put it in its most raw and authentic form. That truth would be spoken for artists such as Lil Mo, Dawn Richard of Danity Kane and Dirty Money, and even his mentor Gladys Knight through the song “Just a Little” which debuted on VH1 and BET Black Girls Rock earlier in the year.

Authenticity, quality, and truth are recurring themes that ring in my mind when hearing him; it’s the seasoned poise and passion for his craft that has him generating a buzz since being discovered by the legendary Ms. Knight. The encounter, as Avehre would tell it, almost didn’t happen. Avehre stated he  received an inquiry for a male backup singer for Gladys Knight. He never saw himself as a possible candidate for the job so so he reached out to his colleagues to see if they were interested. When the response wasn’t immediate from his peers it was then that the artist threw caution to the wind and decided to submit his own material. The submission would lead to an audition, which would lead to more auditions, which would lead to singing backup and apprenticing with one of the most world renowned singers; a tutelage that Avehre is truly grateful for and uses as his creative muse.

Realness and vulnerability is what Avehre aims to convey in his upcoming EP, “Reconciliation”, a body of work that the singer himself describes as one of self-discovery, honesty, forgiving yourself, finding your way back to happiness, and standing for truth. This is heard in his latest single “Diamonds” a catchy track that details the pitfalls of putting materialism over love. “What’s from the heart, reaches the heart” as he tells me. If his offerings so far are an indicator of what’s to come then we should all look forward to getting more acquainted with Avehre.

Check out more of him at www.iamavehre.com and on IG and Twitter at @avehre

avehre-1

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Forever Duncan: Why It Should be a “One For” and not a “One Up”

Johnny Goodguy
IG: @jbthegoodguy
Twitter: @TheSensibleJBG
FB: Johnny Brooks II

 

As many witnessed through the various forms of social media, a young man by the name of Alfred Duncan decided one rainy Saturday, October 1st to declare and demonstrate his love for a young woman named Sherrell Woodward. This demonstration of love would occur by way of a surprise proposal with all their family and friends to see, but he didn’t stop there. What he planned next was a surprise wedding on that same day with all the bells and whistles, family, friends, and fanfare. From beginning to end, this profession of unconditional love was cinematic; something out of your favorite romantic movie or a verse from your favorite love song. This amorous act stood as proof that black love, or love for that matter, still existed and one we could forever appreciate.

 

The very next day, the comments, statuses, and memes came. Some comments praised the moment and wished the beautiful couple well. Other comments contained a pinch of salt and complained of how acts like this now held men to an unfair standard when it came to displaying their affection. Women were talking about how they didn’t want a man that was do anything short of a “Forever Duncan”. Guys were blasting ladies for wanting a “Forever Duncan” man when she couldn’t even appreciate the man she had. Something that was supposed to be cherished started to get picked apart and interpreted in a million different ways. The newlyweds even felt the need to interrupt their honeymoon to address the madness that was popping up on social media. Even I started to feel a bit self-conscious about how my wedding was compared to theirs and my wedding was the bomb (ask Angie Dapper). I started thinking about how I could top the Duncans when my wife and I renewed our vows. My madness was only for a brief moment as I quickly realized how foolish my thoughts were. The drama surrounding one man’s act was unnecessary but it was the act of THAT man. To loosely quote Mrs. Duncan, her husband did what he felt was the best way to show her how much he loved and wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. And yeah he straight up killed it and did his thing but so what?!! That doesn’t diminish my or any other man’s ability to do that for our significant others. Love is not a cookie cutter type of thing. It requires creativity, sincerity and, yes, a healthy competitive spirit to not become stagnant or lazy in your love language.

No one, especially a man, should see this as someone showing you up and no shade needs to be thrown in that brother, or couple’s, direction. Instead celebrate this showcase of black love and salute an idea that came to fruition, shined a positive light on our city, and declared, even in the midst of the negativity love always wins. So instead of seeing it as a show up, see it as motivation and STEP UP.

I'm so proud of my husband for EXECUTING his vision so effortlessly. To me it seemed effortless because he had EVERYTHING I would have dreamed of and more for me and I didn't have to worry about a thing. I keep looking at him as if I'm dreaming. I'm sooooo happy that he now knows that there are NO LIMITS to what he can do! His mental limitations of his potential is slowly but surely becoming nonexistent. I pray for his confidence of pursuing his dreams to become bigger everyday. I pray for him to be fearless and BOLD. This wedding showed how HARD God goes when you pray and fight! I'm so excited for my husband's evolution!!! LISTEN #GodIsSoBawse #WatchHowGodUseUS #ForeverDuncan #HappySundayFunday ?@keongreen

A photo posted by Mrs. Duncan Remember the "R" ? (@sherrellthetrainer) on

 

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DC Slang 101: The Beginner’s Guide

Alright! This article is for all out-of-towners or “transplants” as I like to call them, who’ve migrated to our fair city. In your travels, you might’ve heard some lingo dropped by the natives and wondered WTH were we talking about. Just like your city or country of origin, the dialect for anyone not from there may take some getting used to. Not to worry though, The Good Guy, a proud born and bred Washingtonian, is here to give you a basic tutorial on the Nation’s Capital native tongue.

MOE – [pronounced moh] – noun
1: term of endearment used for friend, family, or stranger; deriving from the original term “Joe”.
You’ll mainly hear this from the younger generation when they’re talking with their friends. It usually comes after “kill” (one of my least favorite slang terms), which is another word for “dang” or “damn”. Older Washingtonians will use “Joe” or “Cuz” which mean the same thing and the latter term won’t yield any consequences unlike in L.A.

Ex: “Killllll, Moe! I ain’t coming you all the way out Waldorf just to see you!”

 

JIVE – [pronounced jih] – adverb

1: way to describe a feeling or experience. Like “sort of”.
The spelling of this slang term is debatable. Many spell it the way that it’s pronounced, while I give some flavor to it with how I spell it. No matter how it spelled, the meaning and feeling to it is unmistakable. Yeah you can say you’re disappointed, but not really disappointed; add a jive to it and a Washingtonian will know exactly how you feel.

Ex: I was jive mad that it rained the other day because I wanted to play some ball.

 

BLOWN – [pronounced blohn] – adjective – blower, blew, blowing

1: something that is disappointing
2: disappointed
This is the best way to describe how you’re feeling whenever you catch a letdown, be it job interview, breakup, negative account balance, the state of affairs in the world – anything. To say you’re blown or that something is a blower is one that we all can understand.

Ex: I’m blown I wasn’t able to hit up Grits N’ Biscuits last night. I heard it was lit.

 

BAMMA – [pronounced bama] – noun
1: an undesirable person

This is a classic DC slang term. You’ve heard it on the street, you heard it in songs, and you’ve heard Huggy Lowdown says every week on the radio. This is something you never want to be called or known as. This makes you the lowest of the low. Do NOT – I repeat – do NOT be a Bamma.

Now that you know a little bit of our DC slang, use your words wisely and govern yourselves accordingly in these DC streets!

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5 Things to Know When Dating Someone with a Child

Early on, I heard the pros and cons of dating a woman with a child. Hearing the warnings of many, including family, that would tell of the pitfalls of jumping into a “ready-made family”. For the longest time, I swore against ever going down that road. Little did I know, I would fall in love with a beautiful woman who would later become my wife, and become a father to an awesome kid that is not mine (biologically) but still love and care for him as if he were.

Now, this didn’t come without its obstacles; and we still have our hiccups from time to time, but in this institution, every day is still a learning process. So, in my learning, I have taken some tips that I’m going to share, in hopes that it will help that lady (or gent) going down that same road.

1. Good things come to those who wait

Don’t expect to meet the child anytime soon. Any decent parent is going to get to know you first and make you sure that you have your stuff together before they even think of introducing you to their child. There are far too many instances in which this wasn’t practiced and later resulted in tragic results. Be sure to show your partner your best you, and then you can introduce the idea of meeting their little one.

2. Patience is a virtue

Very seldom is the first encounter between you and the child rosy. The bubbliness is always one sided and you can  expect many questions with one word responses. They’ll probably ask, “who’s that?” They probably won’t warm up to you immediately for a number of reasons; and it may be a while before they do. Just as you had to keep at it to win the parent over, you have to do the same with the child. Don’t get discouraged, stay focused on the greater win.

3. Baby Mama/Daddy Drama – Keep Calm and Carry On

Depending on the situation, you’ll eventually have the encounter with “baby mama” or “baby daddy” and again, depending on the situation, that encounter may not be with open arms. This is for good reason because they have questions themselves and don’t want just anyone around their child. Regardless of how buckwild they may, or may not get, always maintain your cool, stand your ground, and never show tension or disrespect in front of the child. In most cases, your mate will already have informed the other and have parameters set.

4. Engage

Show interest. When dating someone with a child, how you respond to the child will make or break you. Showing interest means the world to both parties; be sure that you’re doing it without your mate prompting you, which leads me to the last and most important thing…

5. Be real and authentic!

Children are very good at reading vibes and can spot a phony a mile away. They know if you’re really trying to get to know them or if you’re faking the funk to try and get in good with their parent. If you’re really trying to be in their lives, know that they are a package deal and true, sincere love will have to be given to both.

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Blond Ambition: Frank Ocean Doesn’t Disappoint with New Album

The wait is over. After teasing us with promises of an album all summer, release dates that turned out to be false, Odd Future’s eclectic R&B darling Frank Ocean finally delivered! The gentle soul release his sophomore offering, Blond, via Apple Music. As with Channel Orange, Blond is an aural kaleidoscope of sex, drugs, God, Los Angeles, rock and roll, and hip hop; mixed in with simple melodies that sound dope as hell. What also makes this album dope is, as with Channel Orange, Blond also does a humble boast of surprise guests.

It’s evident from the opening track, Nikes (that included a video and ASAP Rocky cameo), Frank is proving that good things come to those who wait. On a slow, screw-like beat, Ocean cleverly plays with the title by singing, “these bitches want Nikes/they looking for a check/tell ‘em it ain’t likely/she looking for a ring like Carmelo/you must be on that white like Othello”. On the track Pink and White (one of my favorites), with production assistance from Pharrell, the piano plays the lead in a symphony that’s reminiscent of the film Alice In Wonderland, complete with Beyonce (surprise Guest #1) providing background vocals.

Another highlight track is Skyline To, a ballad that seems to detail a day (and night) in the life of the rich and famous. Ocean showcases his rhyming skills with surprise guests #2 and #3 to boot, Kendrick Lamar and Tyler the Creator. Even though their feature is more so ad libs and noises, in my opinion they could’ve given an actual verse. Nonetheless, the blend of instruments and Frank’s lead/background vocals make up for it.

What takes the cake of this musical treat are the two tracks, Solo and Solo (Reprise) with none other than Mr. Ice Cold himself, Andre 3000, who gives another dope feature vocally and with spitting; the latter of it being straight fire. On the Solo (Reprise), 3 Stacks laments over the state of the world and hip hop even throwing a shot at Drake and the drama that I’m going to start calling, Ghostwrite-Gate (trademark pending).

All in all, Frank Ocean has officially solidified himself as one of the top Pop/R&B artist in the game right now. Blond shows that Ocean might have taken a brief hiatus from music, but he never really left. The music is clear proof.

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Dev Duff – Minister of Soul

Photo Credit: Album Artwork "Nothing But A Man"

Photo Credit: Album Artwork “Nothing But A Man”

The lack of soul in music hasn’t been missed lately. New artists claim to produce Trap Soul, Ghetto Soul, etc., but those genres leave the purists empty and reminiscent of the neo-soul days. It’s funny that even when this music was at it’s peak, a lot of artists scoffed at the coining.

Enter Dev Duff, a native Southeast Washingtonian who is looking to bring that soul back to soul music…and from listening, you’ll see that he’s not far off. He stands at 6’1, a hefty gentleman with a look that could be perceived as intimidating at first glance; more football player than soul singer, but once you hear his voice, you’ll be converted to a lifelong fan. Once you hear the power mixed with conviction that emanates, you’ll think you were in church during altar call. To me, it’s a hybrid of Cee-Lo Green, D’Angelo, and a Pastor. After giving his music a listen, you’ll better understand why I say this.

Duff’s musical chops began as a child, growing up in the church and watching his mom sing in the different groups. Singing in choirs himself, doing solos at fifteen, and becoming an ordianed minister at 20 shaped the foundation of his artistry. Although Duff admits that some of his current views and actions do not align with that of the church, he sees himself as more ‘Disciple than Christian.’

As Duff would tell it, his rooting in soul began in 1995 listening to D’Angelo’s “Brown Sugar”; the melodic chords, harmonies, and new take on old classics introduced him to a world of soul that he would never return from. Inspiration from ‘Brown Sugar ” mixed with influences of hip-hop and go-go, Duff  began his ministry of soul, preaching to the people far and wide. He began writing, linked up with neighborhood friend Jay Sun and formed SE3, Southeast Trinity. In 2007, the group released it’s first project via Bandcamp, with a lead single titled “Radio”.  Radio, with a chorus playfully borrowing from Wham’s “Careless Whisper”, laments the current state of radio and content, or lack thereof, that’s being played over the airwaves.

Duff’s first full project, NuBalance (currently on Apple Music) was released in 2011. Produced by Warren Peterson, a native of St. Croix and frequent collaborator of Duff’s, NuBalance carried on the melodic hypnosis of Brown Sugar, but with a DC flavor. His latest project, Have A WonDUFFul Day (available on Soundcloud) carries those same  vibes with a range of other sounds and production. His goal with this album, as he says, is to “throw a positive light out in a dark world; ministering through the music and letting his mic be the pulpit.”

I for one, say AMEN.

You can check out Dev Duff and his projects at se3music.bandcamp.com

 

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The Barber Code

It’s Friday afternoon. As you sign off from the job, you slip into “weekend mode”.  The wheels of your mind are spinning with the endless possibilities for the weekend ahead: drinks with the Crew at Marvin’s, and meeting up with Bae (or potential Bae). Hit up a day party on Saturday, maybe even check out a brunch spot on Sunday… but before ANY of that goes down, you have to slide to your barber, “Moe” for your weekly cut. You’re not worried that it’s 4:00, or the possibility of crowds and a long wait time because you hit up Moe earlier in the day and set an appointment for 4:30.

You get to the shop at 4:25, psyched that you’re early because that’ll give you a chance to chop it up with the usual barbershop suspects. You know who they are: the other barbers, the two beauticians who do the press and curls, locs, etc., and Hustle Man who has the DVD’S, fresh gear, colognes, oils, and whatever else he happened to come across that day.

But that’s not what’s happening today. Today Moe isn’t even halfway done with the dude before you; AND THEN he drops the bomb that the dude sitting to your right is next up! Moe totally forgot he booked you 4:30 causing an infamous and horrendous practice known as “double booking”. With one in the chair, and another head to cut in front of you, there is no way you are getting out of the shop before 7. And that’s a no go because that’s when you planned to meet up with the Crew at Marvin’s. 

Predicaments like this pose the question we fellas often ask ourselves, Why don’t I have a backup barber? Why? Because that would be a violation of the “Barber Code.” The unspoken yet universal rule all fellas have; meaning you have to stay loyal to your barber no matter what. Nevermind if you’re looking like Teen Wolf. Nevermind that you had plans for tonight and you wanted to look fresh. Nevermind that the ladies aren’t checking for scruff. You stay loyal to your barber NO MATTER WHAT.

What makes a barber deserve all of this love you may ask? Well, the barber is like your homie outside your main clique. In my case, my barber is my go to for everything: laughs, advice, counseling, black market–well, that’s not important. The point is your barber is pretty much your hair line’s best friend and going to someone else is basically like cheating. I mean the idea of going back to your barber after you’ve been cut by another is like returning home to your wife after a night of passion with the side chick; the evidence of your unfaithfulness is all over your head and it’s the most awkward to try to explain.

However, the once sacred code is starting to be tested. Many friends of mine boast about having Plan B barbers when their main one isn’t  available. Heck, some have Plan B, C, and D barbers. Loyalty or whatever creed is not going to get in the way of them looking good and I don’t blame them; desperate times call for desperate measures.  I’ve been guilty of stepping out here and there, luckily, my barber was cool or at least that’s what he had me believe; still didn’t make it any less awkward.

So, whether it’s right or wrong, it’s all on the gentleman and his scruples. Just put yourself in a situation of 4:00 on a Friday.

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