Willpower Wednesday: Hurricane Leaves Egotism Without Power

“We were without power for six or seven days and without water for nine or ten. Being without water was worse than being without power. There’s things you can do if you lose power, but there’s nothing that can substitute water.” (nbcnews.com) The words of this Puerto Rican woman preparing for yet another threatening hurricane make me wonder, What can a person live without?

As I scroll through the live updates and headlines of this spiraling violent hurricane season, I notice reporters describing the storms as brutal conquerors, or unmerciful slave owners – saying the storm is “ravaging” through the island… “lashing” the coast… “battering” the town. As I keep refreshing my web browser to watch the path of Maria on radar, my heart is crying for those millions of people whom I know are losing their homes, their animals, their schools, their workplaces, their livelihoods and everything that they know. People are living in masses in shelters, sleeping on cots or the floor, with limited to no communication with the outside world.

Right now I am trying to imagine what life will look like after these storms. I’m sure many people will relocate due to lack of aid and be forced to move to some mainland as environmental refugees.  For those who stay loyal to their homeland, the next steps are very literally starting from ground zero. They will spend the coming decades building new homes and infrastructure, planting crop, and relying heavily on foreign aid, or (hopefully) internal aid in the case of the U.S. and U.K. territories. But right now, at the present time, there is so much unknown. It seems that the only possessions these people have left is their heartbeat and their loved ones.

So what does a person need to live? And what can we live without? Abraham Maslow was a psychologist known for his study of the Hierarchy of Needs of human beings. His research found that the first thing people need is the physiological items like food, water, air, and sleep. After that, they require safety- like actual shelter and also employment to continue providing the basic things. When these two are accomplished, then people can begin to worry about pursuing things like romance, self-esteem, and achieving self-actualization. Maslow argues that each layer must be achieved before the next.

For hurricane-stricken populations, the very first tier of needs is still uncertain. But in a way, I think some of the top tier items still persist. The bold characteristics of leadership, self-sacrifice, and community are shining in this time of perceived darkness. People are banding together and taking care of each other who would otherwise not interact. And there is a level playing field here. Even the richest cannot afford electricity when the power lines are destroyed.

So after all the material possessions and power struggles between peoples are stripped away, only real humanity is left. This hurricane season continues and islands in the Caribbean are bracing themselves for what may come. Personal valuables, resources, and fond memories of home are all lost now and only these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.

-Bee Powerful

Free Speech Friday: The Chop Up with Cila La Sicaria Musical

HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE YOUR MUSIC?

Although the majority of my music would fall under the category of what we call “Reggaeton,” I like to say: whatever I put my mind to I can achieve. Therefore, if I want to make songs that are Hip Hop, Trap, or even Salsa, I believe that this is something I can achieve. An artist has to go outside of their comfort zone to create their best work. I think being a woman in the Reggaeton industry consists of portraying some sort of sex symbol. I don’t want to only represent the LGBT community, but represent Latinx women and the Latinx culture. I want my music to speak for itself.

¿CÓMO DESCRIBES TU MÙSICA?

A pesar de que la mayoría de mi múscia caería dentro de la categoría de lo que llamamos “Reggaeton,” quisiera decir que todo lo que me propongo hacer, lo alcanzo. Por lo tanto, si quiero hacer canciones que caen bajo la categoría de Hip Hop, Trap, o Salsa, creo que es algo que puedo hacer. Un artista tiene que salir fuera de su elemento para crear sus mejores trabajos. Creo que el ser una mujer en la industria del Reggaeton consiste de representando un símbolo de sexual. No sólo quiero representar a la comunidad LGBT, quiero representar a las mujeres latinas y la cultura latina.

 

INSPIRATIONS?

One of my biggest inspirations was Vico C’s fast-paced tongue in the 1997 debut album “Aquel Que Había Muerto.” In 2005 I moved to Orlando, FL where I visited my first recording studio. I record with respect for the artists I admired growing up. I am a Brooklyn native so growing up I listened to The Notorious BIG. I always think back to his movie when Diddy showed him the beat to “Juicy” for the first time. Biggie laughed at it. It was completely outside of his element. Little did he know, it would be one of his biggest hits. Point of the story is: Never be afraid to step into something unknown and challenge yourself.

¿INFLUENCIA?

Una de mis más grandes inspiraciones fue la lengua apresurada de Vico C en su primer álbum “Aquel Que Había Muerto.” En el año 2005, me mudé a Orlando, FL en donde visite mi primer estudio de grabación. Yo grabo con respeto por los artistas que yo admiro.

 

AFTER RECENTLY BECOMING THE MOST VIEWED VIDEO ON YOUTUBE EVER, DO YOU THINK “DESPACITO” IS THE BEGINNING OF MORE POP REGGAETON?

I am actually super proud of the success this song has reached. We have children in Asia that know zero Spanish jammin’ out. This song is definitely paving the way for artists of this style to feel like they have a place.

¿DESPUÉS DE SERIA EL VIDEO MÁS POPULAR EN YOUTUBE, CREES QUE “DESPACITO” ES LA EMPIEZA DE MÁS POP REGGAETON?

Estoy súper orgullosa del éxito que esa canción ha alcanzado. Tenemos niños en Asia que no saben nada de español “jammin’ out.” Esta canción está allando el camino para que artistas de éste estilo sientan que tienen un lugar. 

 

DO YOU PREFER TO RECORD OR PERFORM?

There’s no greater feeling than getting off stage and being asked for pictures or told how amazing you are and to never stop. I remember opening for Nicky Jam in 2008 at the West Tampa Convention Center. I got off stage and was asked for a few autographs. If I had to describe the greatest “high” on Earth, it was that feeling right there.

¿PREFIERES CANTAR EN VIVO O GRABAR?

No hay mejor sensación que el salir del escenario y encontrar a fanáticos pidiendo tomarse fotos contigo o diciendote lo increíble que eres y que nunca dejes de cantar. Recuerdo cuando fui telonera para Nicky Jam en el 2008 en Tampa. Salí del escenario y me pidieron autógrafos. Si tuviera que describir la embriagada más grande del mundo, esa es.

 

 

 

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO IN THE NEAR FUTURE?

I hope to release my first full album. I am currently working on my first single from that album called “Baila.” I also hope to start focusing on being a better performer and doing shows outside of Florida. I want to start traveling and making my mark in the music world.

¿QUÉ BUSCAS OBTENER EN UN FUTURO CERCANO?

Espero lanzar mi primer álbum. Estoy trabajando en mi primer disco sencillo, llamado “Baila,” el cual es parte de ese álbum. También espero comenzar a enfocarme en ser una mejor artista y en presentar fuera de Florida. Quiero viajar y hacer mi marca en el mundo musical.

 

Interview by Jordan Bercasio & Carlos Medina II

Translation by Lilly Alvarez

Published in Pigmento Zine Volume 1

 

Look out for the music video for the new single “Baila”and follow Cila La Sicaria Musical!

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/cila-la-sicaria

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sicariamusicofficial/

IG: https://www.instagram.com/cilalasicaria/

-Bee Expressive

Thoughtful Thursday: Solving the Plastic Problem

Did you know that virtually every piece of plastic that has ever been made still exists today? It is a dangerous mess that we find ourselves deep within. Today’s world is disposable, invaluable, and generic. We can choose and reject romances with the swipe of a finger, grab a cup of iced coffee on the way to class and toss it out before we get there – just to repeat the same thing later that day. But after we throw all those red cups away in the trashcan after cleaning up a house party, they do not simply disappear. Plastic makes up 90% of all trash on the surface of the ocean. Many sea creatures, including the fish we eat, have consumed plastic this way…

On Thoughtful Thursdays we consider ways to impact our natural environment and be kind to all walks of life – including the fish! Our friends at Life Without Plastic have advocated for plastic elimination for over a decade selling alternative household goods that are several times reusable and more sustainable. Their latest campaign is working to launch the most eco-friendly lunch bag on the market.

In addition to being totally plastic-free, what’s cool about the bag is that it is made of excess organic cotton from a mattress factory, which would have otherwise gone to the dump.

This cotton is removable, washable, and offers incredible insulation compared to the cheap bags you get for free by spinning the wheel of prizes at those tents at the fair that ultimately try to get you to subscribe to the local newspaper.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ditch the ziplock bags and check out @LifeWithoutPlastic’s Kickstarter before August 25 for more info and to find out how you can become a part of the project, whether by donation of funds or feedback on the product. While plastic sometimes seems unavoidable in today’s world, a small tweak in our daily habits could change the future of our planet. Everything is possible for those who believe!

-Bee Love

Free Speech Friday: Happy Birthday Tupac Shakur

Without spoiling the sweet surprise as to which of your countless favorite Tupac songs will drop at just the right moment, I am providing my review of the biopic All Eyez On Me in honor of the late great King of West Coast Rap’s birthday today.

Now if you are a huge fan of Pac, you probably already know most of the events that are about to go down, but the film incorporates so many minute details that captivate the essence of Pac’s ambitious rider lifestyle, from exact duplications of his hand written poetry to his iconic black-and-denim 90’s outfits and Angel of Death chain, that you just might learn something new.

His social justice intentions were a constant theme, which was nice to see. Small scenes where he performed selfless acts were incorporated throughout to parallel the initiatives of the Black Panthers, a group with whom his mother was very involved. Themes of masculinity, family, police intervention, and other hot topics of today are also well presented. The complex juxtaposition of Pac’s thuggish persona and his more sentimental ideals were well represented by his fist’s confrontations followed by eloquent citations of Shakespeare. The flow of the movie was slightly choppy at first and though I understand that not every aspect of his short but full life could be included, I thought the repetition of one song was a bit of a waste considering there are so many to choose from. Overall, I appreciate how the songs are introduced in mostly chronological order. Similar to the recent Amy Winehouse documentary Amy, this provides a more intimate connection for the viewer to the music and the events of his life. However, I must applaud this film for standing out from any other celebrity music movie in that his songs are artfully mixed into scenes other than stage performances.

As far as the actor, I knew Demetrius Shipp Jr. would have a lot to prove considering he looks so much like Pac I don’t think he could ever play another role again. But he delivers Pac’s emotional rollercoasters with excellent control when he needs to and also lets all Hell loose when it comes to situations that Pac would be passionate about. I could sense his impulsiveness to act and lack of reservations when it came to defending the greater good. And although I barely remember a single scene where he rocked the black bandana to hide his scars from the first shooting, I highly recommend this movie to all 90’s babies, hip hop heads, and dreamers of peace and freedom.

God Bless the Dead. Happy Birthday Pac.

-Bee Expressive