Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Afterparty: Frank Ocean's "Blond"

Apparently some guy named Frank Ocean finally released a new album, so in our inaugural edition of “The Afterparty” we decided to talk about it. Additionally, Alex shoots his shot at Frank, Nick demands that Maxwell take a paternity test, and Jay calls out that one Jay Electronica guy. So gather round the fire, children, and partake.

Follow NickWebTwitter | LinkedIn For your convenience, you can listen and subscribe via iTunes, SoundcloudStitcher, Mixcloud, TuneIn, and Google Music.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Ep. 7 of The Extraordinary Negroes: "Awesomely Extraordinary" (feat. Luvvie Ajayi & Nick Gaines)

You've howled at her blogs, cackled at her tweets, and now you'll hear her on our podcast. In this episode, we invite Luvvie Ajayi on to discuss her upcoming book I'm Judging You: The Do Better Manual, her ascension from humble MySpace beginnings to Internet dominance, and answers the question we've all be dying to know: Just what the hell does Oprah smells like? Also, Alex isn't feeling Hispanics who ignore their Black ass heritages, Jay offers to roll Malia Obama a blunt, and fan favorite Nick had cab fare so we brought him along for the ride.

For your convenience, you can listen and subscribe via iTunes, Soundcloud, Stitcher, Mixcloud, TuneIn, and Google Music.

Follow Luvvie: Web | Twitter | Instagram | Red Pump Project | Cupcakes and Condoms (sexual education soiree for women and girls)

Follow Nick: Web | Twitter | LinkedIn

Let's keep the party going: The Extraordinary NegroesThe Colored Boy Store | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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Monday, August 8, 2016

What had happened at Colored Boy and Friends: Mental Health Edition

Back in May, to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Month, I hosted a conversation series and literary showcase called Colored Boy and Friends: Mental Health Awareness Edition at the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center. I held my first writing workshop there a year and five days before this event, so I was hyped to return there for my shindig. It's also the site of the former Audubon Ballroom, where Malcolm X was shot down by an ashy, scoundrelous shitbag in 1965. *pours out a little sweet tea for Malcolm*

I invited multimedia journalist Bene Viera (web | instagram); playwright, filmmaker, and co-founder of The Each-Other Project Donja R. Love (web | instagram | facebook); and audio producer, co-founder of Bondfire Radio, and host of TK in the AM, Keisha Dutes (web | instagram | facebook. The homie Bruce "Blue" Rivera, aka The Urban Mixologist, handled the adult beverages. Sheena LaShay Young captured the night with her camera.

Like the previous three events, I invited a few dope folks (writers, artists, dancers, survivors, publishers, startup queens, etc.) for candid conversations about, among other things, their careers, their motivations, their tragedies and triumphs, and their mental health journeys. Each of my guests, through their respective platforms, speaks openly about their mental and emotional health, so I was curious about how their work has been affected their mental health, and how their mental health battles impacted their work or their processes.

And then Darnell Lamont Walker (web | instagram | twitter) joined me for a therapeutic rant segment called "Here's What The Fuck I Think." A snippet:
Alex: Five. Not enough people in this world understand that where macaroni and cheese is concerned, cheese is NOT a seasoning.
Darnell: Six. I've started seriously speaking to kids about drugs. I learned they usually have better connections.
...and so forth. Muy cathatic. Read the rest here.

After rapping with my boombastic guests, I shared a cautionary tale about my journey around New York City in search of unterrible macaroni and cheese. I called it "Close Encounters of The Mac & Cheese Variety," because macaroni and cheese is life. A preview:

Why, Mr. Junior, are you attempting to pass raggedy ass pot roast off as pricy delicious brisket? 
Mr. Junior, if my sisterfriend’s chicken is covered in BBQ sauce, why is the only thing we taste chicken rub? What kind of water-based BBQ sauce fuckery is this? 
Why serve wings with yawn-worthy fried carrots when there are sweet potatoes in this world? 
And what the fuck kind of terrorist camp of a family were you raised in where American cheese is a thing that goes in mac and cheese not being used to feed your pet subway rats or poison your arch-nemesis? 
This was the worst of all the disappointments because it felt like a dropkick right in the spirit. That nigga with the black lips looked the three of us right in our faces and said it was CLOSE to homemade. So we’re here envisioning somebody’s nice, good-smelling grandma with a moomoo and ashy heels and diabetes in the kitchen whipping that work with the sharp cheddar and perhaps some garlic and such. And his monkey ass is over there envisioning the terrorist camp home situations that brought us the likes of George Zimmerman and that scoundrel ass Russell Simmons, who brought you the Rush Card, inaccessible funds, and eviction notices.
Read the rest over at Very Smart Brothas.

Good times.

We cussed, we laughed, we talked about feelings and such. I'm looking forward to the next edition of Colored Boy and Friends, which I hope to make happen this fall in New York, aaaand eventually Washington DC, Atlanta, and Los Angeles.

Thank you to Donja, Keisha, Darnell, and Bené for being brilliant and down to be open in front of strangers.
Thank you to the awesome Sheena LaShay Young for these beautiful images. (Web | Instagram)
Thank you to Blue Rivera for coming through and being awesome as always. 
Thank you to Maurice and Solana for helping me keep it together that night.
Thank you to Bryan Epps for this gorgeous, historic space.

With Madame Bené Viera, multimedia journalist extraordinaire
Bené and I talked about her bomb ass career as a journalist and multimedia wonder woman. Specifically, we discussed this essay she wrote about self-care and healing, "The Year of Bitter Sweetness", and her ESSENCE magazine cover story, "The House That Shonda Built," which featured Shonda Rhimes, Kerry Washington, and Viola Davis. AND, she gave us the lowdown on what it was like to be in the audience at "Black Girls Rock" when this Hillary was greeted with this magical collective side-eye:

We also talked about self-care and her writing process.

With Sir Donja R. Love, filmmaker, playwright, and co-founder of The Each-Other Project
Donja and I talked about his work as a playwright and filmmarker (specifically his recent short, The Space Between), teaching the theater arts to ESL (English-as-a-second-language) students,  and what he and Brandon Nick do with their organization, The Each-Other Project. Donja has been quite open about his experiences with mental illness (depression), so we talked about how that journey manifests itself in his creative work.

Taken during "Here's What The Fuck I Think" with writer, filmmaker, and world traveler Darnell Lamont Walker.
In addition to recruiting him to help me with my rant segment, "Here's What The Fuck I Think," I spoke to Darnell briefly about his films Seeking Asylum and his latest, Outside The House, which explores mental health among Black folks.

Being Black and Wonderful with audio producer, Bondfire Radio founder, and host of TK in the AM, Keisha Dutes.
I love this lady. I've been a guest on her show, TK in the AM, a few times. It was important to return the favor and pick her brain about how Keisha Dutes became "Tasty Keish," how she got her start in college radio, and what it's been like running an online network, Bondfire Radio. While talking about her mental health situation, Keisha told us she's happiest on air recording her show, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10-11:30 AM. 

View the rest here: Colored Boy and Friends: Mental Health Edition photo album.

Previous events:
Resisting Limitations: AfroLatin@s and Radical Identity
Colored Boy and Friends: Summer Edition
Colored Boy and Friends: Spring Edition
Colored Boy and Friends
Personal Essay Writing - workshop
Literary Therapy: Writing (For) Your Life - workshop

Let's keep the party going: The Extraordinary NegroesThe Colored Boy Store | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads

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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

"The Extraordinary Negroes" Ep. 7 - "White Tears" (feat. Layla Tromble of White Nonsense Roundup & Nickolas Gaines)

In this episode, Layla Tromble of White Nonsense Roundup speaks on their social media crusade to eradicate "White Nonsense," breaks down the definition of White Privilege, and even puts their plate at the barbecue on the line to join us in a rousing game of Black Card Revoked. Additionally, fan favorite Nick Gaines makes his debut as a regular contributor, Jay launches a search party for Judy Winslow, and Alex still has zero tolerance for sugar in your grits.

Follow Layla Tromble and the White Nonsense Roundup team: Facebook | Twitter

Follow Nick Gaines: Website | Twitter | LinkedIn

For your convenience, you can listen and subscribe via iTunes, Soundcloud, Stitcher, Mixcloud, TuneIn, and Google Music.

Let's keep the party going: The Extraordinary Negroes (podcast) The Colored Boy Store | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Subscribe to The Colored Boy Report, Alexander Hardy's personal newsletter, and receive updates and exclusive content via email.

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Monday, July 18, 2016

Mental Health Reading List #3

Shoutout to Legos as self-care.

Howdy. First off, congrats on making it to see another Monday. You get yet another week to eat new, delicious things and work towards being a little less terrible, if you're into that sort of thing. Either way, shoutout to you or whatever. These last few weeks have been pretty emotionally draining. Mad hateration (and murders and dastardly rat bastards running for President) in the dancerie/dance soiree. The Legos pictured above were a big part of my last week's self care situation. While at a homegirl's house, I overheard her friend's four-year-old son mention going to build in the other room. One thing led to another, and I spent a while sprawled out with this awesome and ultra-polite kid, building, feeling eight all over again. (I was mildly obsessed with Legos for a spell.) And learning to not scoff or get defensive when he took sudden interest in the all-terrain vehicle I'd built — the same one he called "cool but not as cool as mine" a few minutes prior — and partially disassembled and reworked it to fit more in line with his vision of things. There were his Legos, after all. I guess.

Anyhow, here's some goodness to offset some of the foolishness. These are a few of the memorable mental health-related essays, articles, and interviews I've come across lately. Finding commonality in someone else's story cane be calming and encouraging as hell. May your week be glorious and your skin be moisturized in Saint Damita Jo's name. 
Through journaling and talking out loud, I began connecting certain dots. There were holes, large voids in my life, that needed to be filled with truth and understanding. I needed to understand the reasons why certain parts of me were off-limits. I needed to accept the genesis of the insecurities that I never let anyone see.
  • "Navigating a Mental Health Crisis and the Dreaded 911 Call" by Anissa Moody [Ebony]
So many of us have given our Black children “the talk” about interfacing with law enforcement, but it seems we have to expand that conversation with an awareness about accessing and interacting with these systems (medical, legal, law enforcement) to get help for our loved ones.
  • "Pokémon Go is reportedly helping people with their depression" by Fiona MacDonald [Science Alert]
"For a person suffering from depression or another mood disorder, the idea of exercise can be nearly impossible to contemplate, much less do," writes Grohol."For someone suffering from social anxiety, the idea of going outside and possibly bumping into others that may want to talk to you is daunting."
Tsoku Maela, “Auxin” (photo via hyperallergic.com)

  • "An Artist Photographs His Depression to Destigmatize Mental Illness" by Kyla McMillan [Hyperallergic]
KM: That’s interesting. It’s true that not every photograph in the series screams, “I’m dealing with mental illness!” But as a whole, the series speaks to this understanding that having mental illness is something you sort of deal with silently, at least in our communities, and your viewer can understand it if they, too, are part of the club.
  • "The Brains of Anxious People May Perceive The World Differently" by Kate Horowitz [Mental Floss
The researchers also administered brain scans during the testing phase. They found notable differences between anxious and non-anxious brains. While they were focused on parsing new information, anxious people showed more activation in several parts of the brain, including the amygdala, a region associated with fear and worry. 
  • "The mental health zines filling the gaps that therapy doesn't" by Cristiana Bedei [Dazed
At the intersection of self-advocacy and grassroots activism, zines and independent magazines have become an increasingly popular resource to find alternative narratives of mental health experiences. Long before Tumblr communities and awareness-raising hashtags, DIY press has been filling the gaps of mainstream media, infiltrating voices and inputs from the blind spot.
This is the finished product, the result of our merged visions:

  • "On the Road to Self-Care, Exercising Is One Way to Stay Mentally and Physically Fit" by Dr. Imani J Walker [The Root]
Although this week was fraught with more mourning than any of us should realistically be able to deal with, hopefully you’ve been able to decompress in some way in order to maintain inner balance. If you’re like me, however, and no amount of attempts at attaining inner calm will ever be able to quench the insatiable fire inside you, don’t fear. The answer may be as simple as exercise. 
  • "How to navigate your way through life when you have anxiety" by Beth McColl [Dazed]
Anxiety is a worry that worries and worries away at you until all else seems unimportant. It’s the persistent and unshakeable feeling that something isn’t right. It’s a nauseating and undefinable feeling. Sometimes the feeling attaches itself to something tangible. What if I screw up at work? What if I’m already screwing up? What if someone I love gets hurt? What if there’s a bomb inside a person like in that episode of Grey’s Anatomy and I have to keep my finger on it or else the hospital will explode?
  • "Mental Health Resources For Black Teens" by Britt Julious [Vogue]

    I would suggest sharing that you are dealing with a lot of emotions and would like to speak with a therapist. This may be met with some resistance and questions, but stand firm with stating you need to talk with someone, and not someone who is in the family,” Hill says.
  • "[Black Mental Health Awareness Month] Darryl McDaniels Talks Suicide" by Terrence Chappell [Ebony]
Depression doesn't act as in containment. It infiltrates. When Darryl found out he was adopted, he felt alone. Darryl contemplated suicide and drinking was how depression manifested itself in his life. It was Darryl’s wife, Zuri, who challenged him to confront his demons head-on. 
And if ye need even more:  Reading List #2 | Reading List #1


I also briefly interviewed the young engineer about the best thing he's ever made:

A video posted by alexander hardy (@coloredboy) on

Part two of the exclusive interview

(Also, I have a wonderful podcast called The Extraordinary Negroes where I discuss life and current events and chicken and mental health and sex and fuckery and all sorts of awesome uplifting and terrible and blackety black things with my homeboy Jay Connor and some magical guests and you should totally listen to it. You're so pretty.)

Let's keep the party going: The Colored Boy Store | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads

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