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“This is all about how women’s bodies are consumed and are considered public property for display, comment and consumption…Women need to start talking about their daily moments because it’s the smaller stuff that affects the larger things, like rape, domestic violence, harassment in the workplace.”

– tatyana fazlalizadeh on her art series “stop telling women to smile”, which uses real women’s portraits and quotes to speak out against street harassment.  for a multimedia immersion into the movement, watch the video above, read this nytimes article, & check out the photo gallery below.



stop telling women to smile





“At the behest of Creative Time Kara E. Walker has confected: 
A Subtlety
or the Marvelous Sugar Baby
an Homage to the unpaid and overworked Artisans who have refined
our Sweet tastes from the cane fields to the Kitchens of the New World
on the Occasion of the demolition of the Domino Sugar Refining Plant”

read the story behind this impressive sugar sculpture via the newyorker.

update: video clip on the sculpture

pharrell williams “lost queen”

with his new album g i r l, pharrell follows the lively tone set by his oscar-nominated single “happy”.  the project isn’t perfect (corny and forced in spots).  however, it’s sprinkled with enough refreshing sounds/songs to make it worth a listen. one of those moments for me is “lost queen”, which takes you on two different vibes with a literal trip to the beach in between.  check it out, and if so inclined, stream the full album here via itunes radio.


nostalgic pin-up pics recreated using milk


3019732-slide-s-1-milky-pin-upsdetails via

The project aims at creating a pin-up calendar inspired by the popular pin-up calendars of the 40’s and 50’s. Only instead of clothing, the models are wearing milk. Milk frozen with high speed strobes…As an inspiration, Jaroslav [Wieczorkiewicz] looks at illustrations done for pin-up calendars by Gil ElvgrenAlberto VargasGreg Hildebrandt and more which were featured on Brown & Bigelow calendars…While none of the milk is illustrated, it is created from layering splashes from hundreds of individual photographs. Each taken with (real) milk splashed across (real) bodies…The lighting setup is made with an Einstein E640 bounced of a silver parabolic umbrella for key and another E640 shooting through a strip-light for kick.

check out the gallery below for pics from the calendar + some behind-the-scenes shots (click for closer looks…first spotted at co.create).  what do you think about the project?  does it fall closer to tasteful art or something more indecent?

related: model mothers

warsan shire “for women who are difficult to love”

10/14/13 1 Comment


one thing i love about warsan shire is her ability to tap into thoughts/emotions in a way that’s simultaneously fresh and familiar.  get a glimpse of what i mean in her poem below, directed at women who are “difficult to love.”  for more from the kenya born-uk raised poet, check out her book teaching my mother how to give birth:

for women who are difficult to love
warsan shire

you are a horse running alone
and he tries to tame you
compares you to an impossible highway
to a burning house
says you are blinding him
that he could never leave you
forget you
want anything but you
you dizzy him, you are unbearable
every woman before or after you
is doused in your name
you fill his mouth
his teeth ache with memory of taste
his body just a long shadow seeking yours
but you are always too intense
frightening in the way you want him
unashamed and sacrificial
he tells you that no man can live up to the one who
lives in your head
and you tried to change didn’t you?
closed your mouth more
tried to be softer
less volatile, less awake
but even when sleeping you could feel
him traveling away from you in his dreams
so what did you want to do love
split his head open?
you can’t make homes out of human beings
someone should have already told you that
and if he wants to leave
then let him leave
you are terrifying
and strange and beautiful
something not everyone knows how to love

bonus: here’s a video inspired by warsan’s poem, made by andrea cortes-juarbe & christine mehr (via mona).

related: j. cole “crooked smile” | not doing something wrong isn’t the same as doing something right

ella & marilyn


tumblr_mml5zaMyMe1rnpyyeo1_1280 a great pic of two icons in their respective fields, jazz songstress ella fitzgerald & actress marilyn monroe.  here’s some background on their special bond, first via pieces of me:

I never get tired of this photo.

Ella Fitzgerald was not allowed to play at Mocambo because of her race. Then, one of Ella’s biggest fans made a telephone call that quite possibly changed the path of her career for good. Here, Ella tells the story of how Marilyn Monroe changed her life:

“I owe Marilyn Monroe a real debt… she personally called the owner of the Mocambo, and told him she wanted me booked immediately, and if he would do it, she would take a front table every night. She told him – and it was true, due to Marilyn’s superstar status – that the press would go wild. The owner said yes, and Marilyn was there, front table, every night. The press went overboard. After that, I never had to play a small jazz club again. She was an unusual woman – a little ahead of her times. And she didn’t know it.”

npr affiliate kplu also points out that ella influenced marilyn’s career as well:

[Y]ears prior to the Mocambo phone call, Monroe was studying the recordings of Fitzgerald. In fact, it was rumored that a vocal coach of Monroe instructed her to purchase Fitzgerald’s recordings of Gershwin music, and listen to it 100 times in a row.

Continued study of Fitzgerald actually turned Monroe into a relatively solid singer for about a decade.

related: real recognize real | bonnie greer talks about her play “marilyn and ella”

“i have the right”: an animated look at malala yousafzai

06/13/13 1 Comment

on the website zen pencilsgavin aung than blends two of his interests: cartoons and inspirational quotes.  gavin animates the words of people like muhammad ali & helen keller, giving them an extra dimension.  below is the one he did on malala yousafzai, the pakistani girl who last year was shot in the head by the taliban for supporting a girl’s right to an education:

related: a link to the malala fund, which “supports the education and empowerment of girls in pakistan and around the world”

j. cole “crooked smile” f/ tlc

j. cole’s latest single is a shot of self-esteem, encouraging listeners to be happy with how god made them.  the surviving members of tlc are featured on the track (which is fitting since this song shares a similar message as their single “unpretty”).  full lyrics below.  cole’s sophomore album born sinner comes out in 2 weeks (pre-order it here):

[Hook: TLC]
I’m on my way, on my way, on my way down (x2)
You’re the one that was tryna keep me way down
But like the sun know you know I found my way back round

[Verse 1: J. Cole]
They tell me I should fix my grill cause I got money now
I ain’t gon’ sit around and front like I ain’t thought about it
A perfect smile is more appealing but it’s funny how
My shit is crooked look at how far I done got without it
I keep my twisted grill, just to show them kids it’s real
We ain’t picture perfect but we worth the picture still
I got smart, I got rich, and I got bitches still
And they all look like my eyebrows: thick as hell
Love yourself, girl, or nobody will
Oh, you a woman? I don’t know how you deal
With all the pressure to look impressive and go out in heels
I feel for you
Killing yourself to find a man that’ll kill for you
You wake up, put makeup on
Stare in the mirror but its clear that you can’t face what’s wrong
No need to fix what God already put his paint brush on
Your roommate yelling, “Why you gotta take so long?”
What it’s like to have a crooked smile
This crooked smile


[Verse 2: J. Cole]
To all the women with the flaws, know it’s hard my darling
You wonder why you’re lonely and your man’s not calling
You keep falling victim cause you’re insecure
And when I tell you that you’re beautiful you can’t be sure
Cause you see that no one wants you back and it got you asking
So all you see is what you lacking, not what you packing
Take it from a man that loves what you got
And baby you’re a star, don’t let ’em tell you you’re not
Now is it real? Eyebrows, fingernails, hair
Is it real? if it’s not, girl you don’t care
Cause what’s real is something that the eyes can’t see
That the hands can’t touch, that them broads can’t be, and that’s you
Never let ’em see you frown
And if you need a friend to pick you up, I’ll be around
And we can ride with the windows down, the music loud
I can tell you ain’t laughed in a while
But I wanna see that crooked smile


[Bridge 1: J. Cole (TLC)]
Crooked smile, we could style on ’em (back ’round)
Crooked smile, we could style on ’em (back ’round)
(You’re the one that was trying to keep me way down.
Like the sun, I know you know I found my way back round..)

[Verse 3: J. Cole]
We don’t look nothing like the people on the screen
You know them movie stars, picture perfect beauty queens
But we got dreams and we got the right to chase ‘em
Look at the nation, that’s a crooked smile braces couldn’t even straighten
Seem like half the race is either on probation, or in jail
Wonder why we inhale, cause we in hell already
I asked if my skin pale, would I then sell like Eminem or Adele?
Yo one more time for the ‘Ville
And fuck all of that beef shit, nigga let’s make a mil
Hey officer man, we don’t want nobody getting killed
Just open up that cell, let my brother out of jail
I got money for the bail now, well now
If you asking will I tell now? Hell naw
I ain’t snitching cause
Man, they get them niggas stitches now
If you was around, then you wouldn’t need a witness now
How you like this crooked smile?


[Bridge 2]

related: j. cole “i’m a fool” | beauty isn’t only skin deep

06/04/13 1 Comment

atomic lemon drops #8: package for my teacher

03/24/13 3 Comments

this atomic lemon drop isn’t the first poem i wrote, but it’s the one that kept me writing. check it out below along with some background. per usual, feel free to share any questions/criticisms about the poem as well as any other comments.

Package for My Teacher

Teacher, Teacher, remember me?
3rd Grade, front row, Susie B?
Shared my dreams of
flying through space.
Looking for support,
your doubts came in its place.
“But you’re a girl,
and even worse than that,
too short,
too Black,
and way too fat.
Astronaut? Something I cannot see.
How ‘bout assistant manager at Mickey D’s?”
but spirit stayed intact.
Too determined to get off track.
Your vision has improved by now, I hope.
If not, you can still see me
through this telescope.

dr. mae jemison, 1st woman of color in outer space

dr. mae jemison, the 1st woman of color in space


senior year of high school, ms. bodnar gave my ap english class the option to write two poems instead of an essay (one had to be love-related since we were near valentine’s day; also had to recite one in front of the class).  i don’t remember writing any poetry beyond the red rose-blue violet variety before that.  at the time though, churning out a few verses seemed easier better than slaving over some paragraphs so i went for it.

the first poem, simply titled i love youwas about a girl i had a crush on in that class.  reading it aloud introduced me to leg-trembling nervousness (thinking back, the jitters were due to exposing myself and wanting to be accepted, both not just on the love tip but with the poem i birthed).

the second poem was package for my teacher.  i didn’t have the same emotional investment in the story as in i love you (not a girl named susie, didn’t have my dreams stepped on, etc.) but it was cool to ride out the poetic freedom (which was especially good for me since i was missing a creative outlet).  beyond that though, what really kept me writing poetry was what ms. bodnar said when she gave the poem back to me:

you should enter it in a contest.

it was a little comment that i never acted on but still managed to mean a lot.  after that, i began to write poems on my own.  i kept a notebook in my pocket to write lines & topics for potential pieces.  later, i was accepted into poetry workshops that helped me learn more about the craft.  i started performing my poems in different settings and eventually got to the point where my leg doesn’t shake anymore.  i’ve also sent other poems to contests & i’m working on a poetry manuscript.  again, all from a little comment that i never acted on.

part of package touches on the impact parents, teachers & other adults can have on the youth by being willing (or even unwilling) mentors.  the teacher in the poem dropped the ball, but salute ms. bodnar and all others who inspire goodness in people that would’ve been left buried otherwise.

think about someone who had an impact on your progress.  if you were to send the person a package inspired by the role he/she played, what would be in it?  share in the comments.

previously in atomic lemon drops: a confusing two minutes and four seconds | barbershop | grim reaper | dear leader | weekend in jamaica | rehearsal for “when doors slam shut” | a poem called lauryn

© Carlton Williams Jr. and atolemdro, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this poem without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carlton Williams Jr. and atolemdro with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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