We start various projects with other people – like One Love Tuesdays or Everyday People – but we remain supportive of each other’s endeavors. We’re more than business partners at this point. We are friends. We are family. -Dj mOma

Today’s guest curator, DJ Moma, passes along a story timeline
that shows how strangers went from business partners,
to friends and became family through New York’s social scene.  #OneLoveT 

Today’s guest curator, DJ Moma, passes along a story timeline

that shows how strangers went from business partners,

to friends and became family through New York’s social scene.  #OneLoveT 


A One Love Timeline by Moma

   April 6, 2009 - I receive a phone call from an established party promoter: “Yo mOma, I want you to DJ my new Saturday night party at Retreat. We’re bringing the sexy back to Manhattan. I got Arthur hosting, Forrest & Cass are hosting and then I got these two new guys hosting. All I need is you to complete the puzzle” … I was skeptical. At the time I was doing Good Spot Mondays at 105 Rivington, Saturdays at Deity in Bklyn, Special Delivery at APT with DJ Eleven, plus the odd one-off at the subMercer: everything – in my humble estimation - was quality, both in terms of venue selection and musical content. I was wary of tarnishing this track record by signing on to some promoter’s project. But I knew Arthur, Forrest and Cass real well, we shared a lot of the same nightlife sensibilities so I figured what the hell: if they’re doing it then maybe I should too. So I signed on. Besides, Retreat was literally a 2 minute bike ride from my crib. To this day I wonder why I rode my bike. I should have just walked.

April 11, 2009 – We launch Saturdays at Retreat and it’s a smashing success. I’m playing my usual mix of hip-hop, r&b, classics, reggae & soca, but I’m also touching on some of the better commercial house and Top 40, and the whole thing is gelling quite nicely. The dance floor is packed, Arthur’s table is popping, Forrest & Cass’s table is going off… and then you also have the two new (as of yet unnamed) promoters. Their table is dancing. I stress dancing because that is not what usually goes on at a promoter table. Usually folks at promoter tables are standing on banquettes, putting their hands in the air, singing / rapping along but seldom do they actually bust a physical move. But this table had a completely different energy: it felt as though everyone was celebrating their birthday. At. The. Same. Damn. Time. Drinks were being passed around, folks were lit, everyone was two-stepping the night away, and a lot of smiles were being exchanged. I had no clue who the two hosts were but I thought to myself “Dope vibes. These dudes are cool” … At the end of the night, after the last record was played, they walked up to the DJ booth and the first brother spoke: “Yo, good set tonight boss. Just wanted to introduce ourselves: I’m Maine”. The other brother followed up with “and I’m Mark”. To which I replied “Great to meet you guys. So Maine & Mark, yeah?” Then came the swift correction, in unison: “Mark & Maine”.

April 18 thru October 17, 2009 – We rock Retreat on a weekly basis. I get to form a great working relationship with Mark & Maine. The party gets better and better until it starts to get worse and worse. The established party promoter has little to no regards for quality control so the night eventually degenerates into a hood party and the club has no choice but to dead the whole thing. Regrettable but not totally unexpected when dealing with the established party promoter.

October 18, 2009 4:30am – Maine retires from nightlife.

October 19, 2009 thru October 6, 2010 – Mark and I try to keep the good vibes going in Maine’s absence. We throw random parties here and there (including Maine’s 30th bday, sorry to date you ole chap!) but nothing quite recreates the magic of Retreat. In any event, Mark & I are still soldiering on.

October 7, 2010 – I make Maine an offer he can’t refuse: “Let’s do Thursdays at Trump Soho”. Maine comes out of retirement immediately. We launch Thursdays at Trump Soho. Mark & Maine & mOma are reunited. The initial blow-out is on smash.

October 14, 2010 thru May 05, 2011 – Thursdays at Trump Soho establishes itself as one of the flyest, dopest, funnest nights in the city. It feels like an extension – an expansion even – of Mark & Maine’s original table at Retreat. Good vibes all around. That being said, nothing in the nightlife lasts forever. Trump Soho comes under new management and the party ends in May.

May 06, 2011 3:30am – Mark retires from nightlife.

May 07, 2011 thru August 1, 2012 – Maine and I try to keep the good vibes going in Mark’s absence. We throw random parties here and there (including Mark’s 31st bday, sorry to date you ole geezer!) but nothing quite recreates the magic of Trump. In any event, Maine & I are still soldiering on. (Editor’s note: I did not copy, paste and edit an earlier paragraph. You can’t prove it.)

August 2, 2012 – I make Mark an offer he can’t refuse: “Let’s do Fridays at Red Rooster Harlem”. Mark comes out of retirement immediately. We launch Harlem Nights Fridays. Mark & Maine & mOma are reunited. The initial blow-out is on smash. (Editor’s note: Ok, so I may have copied, pasted and edited an earlier paragraph. But you still can’t prove it.)

August 3, 2012 to Present Day – Harlem Nights is still going strong. Mark goes in and out retirement quite frequently so Maine and I try our best to hold the fort down. We start various projects with other people – like One Love Tuesdays or Everyday People – but we remain supportive of each other’s endeavors. We’re more than business partners at this point. We are friends. We are family. So on this Tuesday, it’s only right that I extend ONE LOVE to my guys; to my brothers; to Mark & Maine.

Salute.

-Mo


The One Love Tuesdays  that DJ Moma mentioned is live.  
Join weekly on Tuesday from 7p-12a at the new Spur Tree location (74 Orchard),
as folks drink, eat and vibe to reggae, dancehall, roots, lovers rock and afrobeat,
music by DJ Rich Knight & hosted by Small x Mighty, with guests DJs popping by.
Also meet the One Love blog curators in person as they hold court,
all presented by Moma & Maine. #OneLoveT #CestMoi

The One Love Tuesdays  that DJ Moma mentioned is live.  

Join weekly on Tuesday from 7p-12a at the new Spur Tree location (74 Orchard),

as folks drink, eat and vibe to reggae, dancehall, roots, lovers rock and afrobeat,

music by DJ Rich Knight & hosted by Small x Mighty, with guests DJs popping by.

Also meet the One Love blog curators in person as they hold court,

all presented by Moma & Maine. #OneLoveT #CestMoi


I believe that for every action, there is not only a reaction, but an indelible receipt marked on our lives - creating our spiritual ledger. I think of what I want my ledger to look like, what motivates me, and how those motivations will encourage or hinder my contributions to the world. -Mekaelia

Today’s One Love guest curator, Mekaelia Davis
talks about recent motivations, actions and inactions. #OneLoveT

Today’s One Love guest curator, Mekaelia Davis

talks about recent motivations, actions and inactions. #OneLoveT


Motivation, Action, & Inaction by Mekaelia

Humans are incredibly complex creatures - at least that is what I’m led to believe by history, science, and observing family, friends, and the general public. But nothing makes this point more clear than when we (humans) are faced with events that motivate us to action.

For the last two weeks, I’ve watched dozens and dozens of people (mostly human - jk) demonstrate their inner motivations in public dialogue and street protests, on social media, and in backyards and garages. Some have been motivated by the anger, fear, and confusion triggered by the murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri; while others have been motivated to join in “support” of Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) by dumping buckets of clean ice water on their heads.

Now, I do not intend to posit one action against the other. Participating in peaceful street protest vs. videotaping yourself getting drenched with water in support of a horrible disease is not the point here. I am most curious about our motivations. I think I’ve personally witnessed about three dozen friends and family members participate in the ALS ice bucket challenge. So I took the opportunity to ask 10 of them, what they knew about ALS. What is the disease? Who does it affect? Did they actually donate money? Why had they decided to participate in the ice bucket challenge? Only 2 of them actually knew what ALS was. No one knew that most people who develop ALS are between the ages of 40 and 75, with the majority after age 60, (ALS Center). I took the opportunity to ask about police brutality and violence. Who gets killed by police? Consensus was much stronger there. People had a sense that young men of color are targets for police violence, but didn’t know to what extent. Vox recently acquired FBI data shows that while Black American’s only make up 13% of the US population, they make up 32% of police homicides.

However, when I asked why they hadn’t acted given this knowledge - apathy began to rear its head. Somehow, the motivation disappears. Whereas, participating in a challenge about a disease they knew very little about brought about notions of pride and unity; the idea of acting in support of something that affected their own family members brought about helplessness and inaction. Would they participate in a protest? Did they consider joining one of the peaceful rallies held around the country, around New York City?

I believe that for every action, there is not only a reaction, but an indelible receipt marked on our lives - creating our spiritual ledger. I think of what I want my ledger to look like, what motivates me, and how those motivations will encourage or hinder my contributions to the world. My conversations with friends and family reinforced my understanding that we do not all share the same motivations. There are many whose actions are motivated only by anger, and in turn, their anger motivates me to action.

So I’ve encouraged many of my friends to join me in an ice-less challenge. To help fight bigotry, hate, and racism. A challenge that will help address the racism that affects young men of color around the country everyday. I’ve invited them to sign the Color of Change petition: that makes a very clear case to the online platform GoFundMe, to take down their pages in support of police officer Darren Wilson and return profits made from his personal fundraising campaign.

Some actions are not made visible by stunts, but the alternative, inaction, is made visible in the lives of people every day. I try my best, to choose wisely.

Bio:

Mekaelia Davis is a change agent, a daughter, and a Program Manager at the Aspen Institute. In her role at the Aspen Institute, Mekaelia helps manage the Aspen Institute Ascend Fund and Network – a $1.5M grant making effort across 24 states and the District of Columbia, that invests in cross-sector, collaborative approaches to creating economic opportunity for low-income children and their parents. Prior to joining Ascend, Mekaelia completed a National Urban Fellowship at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, managing investments across five Maryland community colleges and CBOs in the Maryland/DC region. She earned a Master of Public Administration degree at Baruch College, City University of New York. Mekaelia was recently a Fellow with the Center for American Progress Leadership Institute, loves to laugh, and resides in New York City.


Alcohol is Novocain in disguise. Your parents actually didn’t know how to raise you. The 20’s are a complete wash. People are imperfect, love them anyway. -Rodney

Today’s One Love guest curator, Rodney Wilkins sips tea, and gives us a few life lessons. #OneLoveT

Today’s One Love guest curator, Rodney Wilkins sips tea, and gives us a few life lessons. #OneLoveT


Sips Tea by Rodney Wilkins

In lieu of a recent meme featuring one of my favorite childhood icons Kermit the Frog. He’s simply sipping Lipton Tea whilst keeping his thoughts to himself. I decided to follow suit with an exchange addressing a few things in life that I feel as though I must “sip tea” to.

Now that I’m 30, a few things have dawned on me. The future that I imagined as a child has been wildly exaggerated. Reality is a biach, that will give you her number but rarely will respond to your text. Movies are movies not to be confused with real life. Alcohol is Novocain in disguise. Your parents actually didn’t know how to raise you. The 20’s are a complete wash.  People are imperfect, love them anyway. Don’t watch reality TV, just don’t do it. The blind truly do lead the blind. Read the bible often, extract what you can and feel guilty about the rest. Kids are great as long as they aren’t yours. Follow your dreams or nah? Your dreams are like thots, they’ll let you hit and everyone else who’s really checking for them. Call your mom even though all she does is criticize. Don’t spend too much money on clothes, when you die they just get distributed amongst family and friends. Money is the root of all evil, but it’s a necessary evil. Don’t get married too young, you don’t know— you like that, so how could they? No bill collector formed against you shall prosper. Curse as often as you can, studies say that you are being honest. Laugh out this bish, everything is funny. By the way I spiked my tea with whiskey ;) Sip tea after every meal, it’s good for the digestive system. Good food is just that, so eat drink and be merry!


Feel free to create your own Kermit the Frog drinking tea meme,
but of course that’s none of our business. #OneLoveT

Feel free to create your own Kermit the Frog drinking tea meme,

but of course that’s none of our business. #OneLoveT


There we were years later standing before each other beneath the barren mango tree. Branches awaiting the moment its flowers would once again bare the fruit in which the possibility of love seemed only spare, but whose sweetness would stain our memories and whose pulp would bring forth juice as the testament to our daily survival. -Akeema

Today’s One Love guest curator, Akeema-Zane tells us a story, as we hide in the barren trees. #OneLoveT

Today’s One Love guest curator, Akeema-Zane tells us a story, as we hide in the barren trees. #OneLoveT


Barren Trees by Akeema-Zane

"Where are we?" I asked, though the words hadn’t traveled to the other end of the room. He stared at the ground as my eyeballs paced for the moment he’d look me in the eyes. It must have sounded like a rhetorical question. "How did we get here?" I yelled. His face finally lifting itself from the reflection of the bare concrete. He mumbled. I did not hear a word but couldn’t bother asking him to repeat himself. Surely we were in the zone that twilights inhabit, both alone though bearing the scent of each other’s stench after long days of work. We buried our despair in each other’s shoulders. Every once in a while we dared to massage them away in the silence of the night when we heard only the movement of the sheets as our feet wiggled around the trail of mosquitoes. Just two weeks ago we were there-tiptoeing around the hypnosis of our smartphones, our ears mirroring each other’s while we sat, side by side, on the living room sofa. We had broken the promises of our keeping.

Our final argument led us here. Into the pale of a battle which challenged the might of our complacency. Neither of us were willing to fight and neither knew where the fight would eventually carry us. The future seemed dim, and we were both disillusioned about our places in it. The wool that endured winter’s chill awaited me somewhere in the pastures of my wildest illusory romance of Europe, and collecting shade under the baobab tree in Madagascar. He planned only for those tomorrows where his ironed work clothing hanged to greet him each time he entered his room.

Here! I felt I had spoken his language for once. Buried futures of lightyears into the slows of my new stride. But the question I posed still reeked of the past. Reeked of recalling those memories that led us to this present of hopelessness. “Look, we had our moments and good times, but this is not making sense. We are not compatible.” I knew he spoke of a truth I bellowed just yesterday, and the day before, but this moment soaked these knowings into the red of my ego. What did he know really? “You are trapped in those moments behind you, you can’t let go. You are ruining your future.”  I stared at the barren mango tree and wondered when the flowers would begin to bear its fruit again. His phone’s ring led him to exit before the coming of the rain. He promised a phone call later that evening, but I knew better.

I emptied him in the salts of the water which seemed to cure sore eyes. The comfort in nothingness no longer wished to sip the tea of unfeeling by my side. This future seemed nonsensical in the face of pastlessness. All arrows were pointing forward but at what cost and from whence? Our pulses were almost completely buried in debt, and it was almost too hot to breathe as the smoke of plastic burning hovered the atmosphere each day. Concrete threatened the presence of grass,  and trees were a nuisance to brick follies attempting to mimic the spirits of homes. Heads laid on the corners of streets detached from the bodies whose hearts grasped for the longing of fathers. Politicians tucked away money in their socks, under the beds of their daughters, and in the swiss accounts which secured their hidden agendas. Cancers larked in the bellies of the corn stalks, rice grains, wheat and chicken. And then there was love, perhaps promised in the discovery of life on the mars, but for the earth had reached its decline.                                                                            ___

The moon shone brightly that night as it did the night he laid tucked away in the warmth of her return and I in the unknowing of which my solitary slumber permitted. I awakened the next morning anxious to greet him with the yellow which donned my chest as I walked the streets to his home, bright eyed and filled with the hope of new beginnings. As I walked to his bedroom window waiting for him to greet me I was instead met with the tarnish of her footprints. She had traveled from foreign to recreate their victorian romance under the looming of palm trees. She had been gone too long, and he, I soon learned, awaited her shadow in the darkness of my skin.

I grabbed the items within reach of my hands which were barred entry amongst the louvres and the door he refused to open. A bible and his photo album! I frantically ripped out the pages of Genesis and tore the pictures of the two of them. I sprinkled them across his lawn. It was my attempt to recreate the trappings of those moments behind him.

There we were years later standing before each other beneath the barren mango tree. Branches awaiting the moment its flowers would once again bare the fruit in which the possibility of love seemed only spare, but whose sweetness would stain our memories and whose pulp would bring forth juice as the testament to our daily survival.

 


Akeema-Zane

Akeema-Zane is a multidisciplinary and aspiring multimedia artist born and raised in Harlem, NY with significant childhood memories in Trinidad W.I of which she is a descendant. She received a self-designed interdisciplinary BA from Eugene Lang College with an emphasis in Anglophone Caribbean studies. While attending a predominantly white, all girls boarding school in Connecticut, art became a primary avenue to express her intellectual development- one that differed tremendously from her peers. Akeema-Zane has displayed visual works in various exhibitions, performed in short films/music videos and plays, and read her written works in various galleries. Most recently, she was an artist-in-residence at Groundation Grenada where she led a writing workshop in Grenada, W.I., and published a short piece about her expatriation to the Eastern Caribbean on the organization’s blog. She considers writing her primary mode of expression and spent the bulk 2013 based in Trinidad doing personal research and writing on her family and the cultural capital of Trinidad and other Eastern Caribbean countries. She is currently inspired by and interrogative of the legacy of Jeanette MacDonald (Mother Earth), and works by Erich Fromm, Earl Lovelace, Peter Minshall, Audre Lorde and Zora Neale Hurston as well as many of her awe-inspiring friends. Akeema-Zane currently works at the Schomburg Center as a Curriculum. 

Other posts: http://groundationgrenada.com/2014/01/10/on-being-the-daughter-discovering-the-home-of-her-descendants/