Real girls in their own place.
Not too crazy and just a pinch of naughty...
Images by Michael Edwards
Get ready for She’s Ryan bitches, because this chick wants it so bad she’s going to be the next fucking @Oprah. Except rather than Spanx and a cardigan she rocks a pink weave and leather tube tops.
It’s 9:45PM on a Monday night. I’m squished in the backseat of a Jeep next to Michael Edwards, founder and photographer for Me In My Place, and Slimmy Neutron, founder and recording artist for Hello HVLO, (pronounced Hello Halo) a music production company and independent record label. We’re darting around cars on our way from their studio on West 30th Street to Cameo Gallery in Williamsburg. There’s a plastic cup of margarita flavored Four Loko in my hand. In the front seat sits @ShesRYAN with her own can of Four Loko, peach, her favorite. Slimmy prefers watermelon. Ryan is much smaller than the two men accompanying me in the backseat, but the honor of shotgun goes to her without debate.
True to form, I am WAY behind on all things music. Not having a car has severely limited my ability to stay up on the “hot beats.” I suppose I also never really learned how to search for new music because friends always introduced me to the hotness of the moment. That’s how I “discovered” The Knife, M83, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, The Weeknd, among many, many others.
Otherwise, my natural tendencies lean heavily toward old school R&B (which is making a comeback!) and R&B/hip-hop collabs. In a stroke of good luck, I got tickets to see Jay-Z and JT at Yankee Stadium (SQUEEEEE!), and decided to update my playlists to prepare for what promises to be the best summer of music I’ve probably ever had. JT’s new album is….ok, but, bien sur, Hova brought it with Watch the Throne (I told you I was way behind).
In a brilliant move that I can only assume escaped my attention through some massive failures in online communications – Frank Ocean, Kanye, AND Jay-Z created “No Church in the Wild.” While the song itself “explores themes of religion and decadence,” the lyric that got me (and I’m sure a lot of other people) was Frank Ocean’s hook:
Human beings in a mob/What’s a mob to a king?/What’s a king to a god?/What’s a god to a non-believer?/Who don’t believe/In anything
Specifically, it made me think of the place women hold in society. What is a woman to everyone who knows her? Where does she fit in the grand scheme of things? There is a clear hierarchy in the song – mobs are of no consequence to a king who controls the police power of the state and can easily suppress the will of the people (Hello, my name is Bashar Al-Asad); kings are of no consequence to gods who are all-knowing and all-powerful; but ultimately, the individual is still able to exercise his free-will to deny the power these other forces may have over him.
Sadly, it’s hard to escape the conclusion that women are just part of the mob. Not to be alarmist, but there are women around the world who can’t even learn without the ever-present threat of violence against their minds and bodies. Unfortunately, men tend to have positioned themselves as the kings and gods of these towns and villages – utilizing whatever power available to disempower those around them. Even in the U.S., the marketing towards women tends to be rather patronizing. Many young women are no longer able to distinguish between their own wishes and the things they’ve been told to want; the things that will make people like them.
But, if you know the right places to look – you can find the women who have rejected the idea that they need to fix anything about themselves. They’ve become the “non-believers.” Take MIMP, for example: real girls (no touchups!) in their own place (they are people too!). The women of MIMP are calling the shots and taking their place at the table. What could be more empowering than that?!
JJ’s story of rejecting others’ negativity was great. In honor of National Women’s History Month – tell the real women in your life how amazing they are and not to let those who would seek power to deny them theirs. India.Arie said it best:
I am not my hair/I am not this skin/I am not your expectations
An Awesome (and Asinine) Conversation With An Avett Brother.
Words by Pisha Warden
Pictures The Avett Bros
If you’ve heard of The Avett Brothers, you’re probably a huge fan. At least, that’s the general consensus I’ve come to, based on my extensive internet research (does Facebook count?) in preparation for my interview with Seth Avett. He’s one half of the duo (and brothers) that lead this, folky, bluegrassy, rock ‘n rolly, and enigmatic trio (Bob Crawford’s their bassist and only non-brother) from North Carolina. And while I’m only kidding about the Facebook research (sort of), their music, which has been described as “epically genuine” can move even the most critical musicphile. But again, you have to know them first to love them. I’m not a hardcore music reviewer, I don’t speak that language, but I can certainly give you a vivid description of their latest album “The Carpenter”—which debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 chart last month.
They have managed to channel the spirituality of Mumford & Sons, the spunkiness of Ben Folds, the intimacy of Bon Iver, with a raw energy that feels more like listening to a live performance than a studio album. It’s eclectic and joyous, in the best ways possible.
A few noteworthy highlights from their career so far; Rolling Stone Magazine called them the “Artists to Watch in 2009,” with the album “I and Love and You” peaking at #16 on Billboard’s Top 200 Albums (#1 on the folk album chart). Paste Magazine also crowned it their Album of the Year. In 2011 they performed at the Grammys, joining Bob Dylan and Mumford & Sons for a rendition of Dylan’s counterculture war cry “Maggie’s Farm.” Which I can only describe (with all journalistic integrity) as AMAZEBALLS! So how is it that they’ve managed to remain relatively under the radar for over ten years? With the new album released last month and the exposure they’re receiving from their new Gap ad, that won’t be the case much longer. (Side note to my ladies—have you seen the blue eyes and dimples on these boys?!? Hubba hubba!) I had a chance to speak with Seth, as the band was putting the finishing touches on the album. His North Carolina drawl and easy conversation immediately charmed me, while making me extremely self-conscious about how much I curse when I talk. (Don’t fuck this up, Pisha, he’s clearly a gentleman!)