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    UPTOWN_the_royale

    Although THE ROYALE, which is currently playing at the Lincoln Center Theater in New York, is set primarily within the boxing ring, it’s not about boxing. Instead, the Marco Ramirez-written and Jack Johnson-inspired play focuses on the conflict of being Black and ambitious during Jim Crow in 1905 and the consequences of achievement.

    UPTOWN_the_royale3

    From left: Jay (Khris Davis), Fish (McKinley Belcher III), Wynton (Clarke Peters)

    Khris Davis takes on the role of charismatic boxer Jay “The Sport” Jackson, who is yearning to be the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. The only problem is he’s Black. As a result, it takes quite a bit of convincing and money to get the white reigning titleholder to step into the ring with him. Jackson’s sister Nina (Montego Glover) functions as a counterpart to Jackson, explaining the ramifications and racial violence he might incite by winning the fight.

    UPTOWN_the_royale2

    From left: Fish (McKinley Belcher III), Max (John Lavelle), Wynton (Clarke Peters), Jay (Khris Davis)

    As an audience member, you can’t help but root for Jackson to be victorious and ignore his sister’s well-founded pleas. However, THE ROYALE, which was directed by Rachel Chavkin, avoids all cliches, so it’s clear from the beginning this isn’t going to be a kumbaya, all-is-well-in-race-relations-in-America moment. There will be victory. There will be tragedy. And THE ROYALE will stay with you long after the last blow is delivered.

    Rounding out the powerful cast are: Mercy Street‘s McKinley Belcher III, UNDERGROUND‘s Clarke Peters, and Selma‘s John Lavelle.

    THE ROYALE closes on May 1st, so be sure to secure your tickets soon: LCT.org.

    [Images: LCT.org]


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    UPTOWN_michael_b_jordan_khloe_kardashian

    Your chances of snagging a date or even a digital chat with Michael B. Jordan and Khloe Kardashian just grew exponentially, now that the Creed actor and socialite were spotted on SoulSwipe.

    SoulSwipe is a dating app similar to Tinder that focuses on matching Black folks and those that love us — like Kardashian.

    UPTOWN_michael_b_jordan_soulswipe2Jordan has done well keeping his dating life secret for the most part. However, back in September he came under fire for being linked to Kendall Jenner, Kardashian’s sister, and fans, mostly Black women, assumed he didn’t date Black women after “going Hollywood.” Jordan later made it clear he loves Black women.

    “I love my sisters out there. Let’s not get it confused … I got a strong Black woman: my mother, my sister. I’m emerged in my community. I love my people,” he said to Power 105’s “The Breakfast Club.” “It’s unreal how quick people can try to flip on you and try to strip you down and make you into something that you’re not based off of a misquote or somebody’s words—or somebody else’s tweet.”

    Kardashian, as we all know, has an affinity for Black men, so it’s not surprising she joined SoulSwipe after parting ways with James Harden in February.

    Of course, these accounts could be some fools cat-fishing too …


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    The Obamas are known for their love of music and have even been known to do a two-step or a shoulder bounce when the mood hits them. So it should come as no surprise that two dancers seized their opportunity to tango with the president and first lady, during the official state dinner at the Centro Cultural Kirchner in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Wednesday night.

    Initially, President Obama declined the dancer’s hand multiple times, but eventually he relented and joined her on the floor. The limber dancer wore a shimmery gold dress.

    Michelle Obama tangoed with another dancer nearby. After the president’s dance, she and his partner exchanged a few words and smiles.


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    UPTOWN_shemar_moore_criminal_minds

    “To my homies, to my fans, to my baby girls: Cry if you have to, scream and yell if you have to, smile, smile, laugh, celebrate. This is not goodbye; this is goodbye to this part of a dream, this chapter. I’m not going anywhere. You guys haven’t gone anywhere. Without you, my dream is not possible. I can dream all day everyday, but I can’t make it work unless you support me, unless you root for me, unless you watch me and you believe in me … With whatever success I may have, it means nothing unless I inspire others. So whoever you are, I’m just like you.

    “I’ve had a ball. So this party might be ending with me in it, but I promise you, I’ma throw another party and invite all of you.”

    — Shemar Moore says goodbye to fans of Criminal Minds after 11 seasons on the FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit-based drama, in a video posted to CBS.com. Moore played tough guy with a heart Derek Morgan on the popular show. The writers addressed his departure by having his character leave the FBI to focus on his family. Moore’s last episode aired Wednesday night.

    [Image: Cliff Lipson/CBS]


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    Register today for the BESLA Mid-Year Conference
    Visit BESLA.org for more information.

    (NEW YORK) – March 21, 2016 – BESLA (Black Entertainment & Sports Lawyers Association) will host their Mid-Year Conference in New York City at Fordham University on April 4, 2016.

    Following in this year’s theme, “Succeeding in the Entertainment and Sports Industries,” the conference will include several panels covering an array of topics such as digital media and tips to climbing the corporate ladder.

    UPTOWN_la_reidThis year’s featured guest speaker is music industry veteran L.A. Reid, who will take part in an intimate and enlightening discussion about his experiences in the entertainment business.

    A special luncheon panel on running a major sports union will feature DeMaurice F. Smith (Executive Director, The National Football League Players Association) and Michele A. Roberts (Executive Director, The National Basketball Players Association).

    Other speakers include: Keith Clinkscales (CEO of Revolt TV & Media), Keyes Hill-Edgar (EVP of Business Affairs and General Counsel, Viacom Media Networks), Carlos Fleming (VP of Talent Management, WME/IMG), Kenny Chandler (Chief Human Resources Officer, Under Armour), Lori Aken (Sr. Vice President of Global Talent Acquisition and learning, Sony Pictures Entertainment), Ken Shropshire (Director of Spots Business Initiative and Special Counsel, Duane Morris, LLP), Endi Piper (Sr. Vice President and General Counsel, TV One) and Antonious Porch (General Counsel, Shazam).

    “BESLA is incredibly excited and honored to have DeMaurice Smith and Michele Roberts headline the luncheon roundtable during this year’s mid-year conference,” shared the conference’s Co-chair Derek Jackson, Managing Counsel & VP of Business Affairs, Sports Marketing for Under Armour. “Both have used their legal backgrounds to become two of the most important and influential people in the sports industry, so conference attendees will benefit greatly from having a chance to interact with them and learn about some of their keys to success.”

    “As we fulfill our mission at BESLA, by striving to empower our members and provide access to key influencers, what better way is there to achieve this than offering an up close and personal discussion with one of the music industry’s legendary producers and record label executives, Mr. Antonio “LA” Reid, the man who has discovered some of the biggest pop stars on the planet,” says Matt Middleton, conference Co-chair of Matthew J. Middleton Law, P.C.

    Sponsors include: BMW, Morgan Stanley, REVOLT, Microsoft, Fordham University, and Fox Rothschild, LLP, among others.

    UPTOWN_besla


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    UPTOWN_david_smyrl

    David Smyrl, who is best known for playing Mr. Handford on Sesame Street, passed away after a short battle with lung cancer.

    Smyrl was diagnosed with lung cancer in January. At the age of 80 he passed away from complications from the cancer at the Lankenau Medical Center outside Philadelphia.

    “He was funny,” his wife Cheryl Smyrl said. “I could say so many good things about him. He was loved by so many people. He was a mentor to a lot of children. He was a family man, loyal, true and faithful.”

    Smyrl was raised in Philadelphia but later entered New York’s beatnik scene in Greenwich Village in the 1960s as a poet. His first shot at acting was landing a role on on the show Express Yourself in the ’70s. He, then, appeared on Benson, earning a People’s Choice Award in the process, and then on The Cosby Show and Law & Order.


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    UPTOWN_robert_battleAlvin Ailey’s Artistic Director gets candid.

    By Satchel B. Jester

    Robert Battle stepped into the role of Artistic Director of the acclaimed Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in July 2011, becoming only the third person to lead the organization since its formation in 1958 (after Ailey and Judith Jamison). In a few short years, the Southern-born dancer and Master of African American Choreography honoree has led the organization through four successful seasons, and as the company soars into the fifth, Battle continues raising the bar of the programming globally, via the big screen, stage, and page (his debut children’s book My Story, My Dance: Robert Battle’s Journey to Alvin Ailey was released last fall).

    We caught up with the Julliard graduate—between eight counts and rib plates—to talk about the way he moves.

    I started dancing… in Florida. Liberty City to be exact. Yes, it was amid the bass era and the stuff that put the local scene on the map, but I refined mine just a bit. Allow me to put emphasis on “a bit”!

    When I think of my childhood … I remember a piano. There was always singing in my house and my mother played piano for the church. I sang soprano in the choir.

    I consider myself … a musician, essentially. I feel like my choreography is adding notes to the music that’s already there.

    People may not know … I was born bowlegged and had to wear braces to make them straight. I’ve been dancing my way through life for as long as I can remember. Movement signifies life for me.

    I saw … “Revelations” performed by the Ailey company at twelve years old.

    I’m proud of earning … a full scholarship to The Julliard School. It makes me even more proud to call the likes of Audra McDonald and Viola Davis my classmates.

    My introduction to the Ailey stage … was choreographing a piece, “Mood Indigo,” for the Alvin Ailey Foundation dance company. It made it to the stage in 1999. I then choreographed “Juba” for the Ailey Dance Theater in 2003. I’m proud to say that the rest is history!

    I was drawn … to Ailey because the content and delivery spoke to common humanity and went beyond race and borders.

    I’m never … at a lost for words.

    I love … eating in Atlanta: ribs and macaroni and cheese specifically. Soul food speaks to me and I do a lot of talking in that city!

    I’m not … so good in heels. Judith Jamison and I have a personal joke about me succeeding her and stepping into her shoes, but she appreciated that I had my own shoes.

    Before this call … I was listening to my iPod. My playlists are like pots of gumbo. I have to dance and a variety of bass, beats and bottoms pumping through my ears sends surges through me that I sometimes can’t explain.

    Dance is … for everybody. I got that from Mr. Ailey.

    RELATED: NYC: See Ailey II At The Ailey Citigroup Theater

    [Image: Andrew Eccles]


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    For most Christian celebrities, this weekend was all about Easter (or Resurrection Sunday, as it was apparently renamed in 2016), but for one family, an early bundle of joy got all the attention.

    Instagram Photo

    Who wouldn’t want to be a fly on the wall while these two, Nas and The Game, hung out over the weekend/

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    Tiny Harris‘s special day included the early arrival of her third child with husband T.I., a baby girl born on March 26th.

    Instagram Photo

    Titan enjoyed a snack of his mom Kelly Rowland‘s clutch for Easter lunch.

    Instagram Photo

    To honor her mother Diana Ross‘s birthday, Tracee Ellis Ross posted a clip of her recreation of The Boss’s “Work That Body” music video.

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    Gabrielle Union and hubby Dwyane Wade spent Easter on a boat in Miami.

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    Carmelo and LaLa Anthony spent Easter rooting for Syracuse University during March Madness.

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    Solange and friends spent Easter Weekend in Venice Beach.

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    Didn’t get enough of Stephan James in Selma and Race? He took to IG to post the trailer for his next starring role in Across the Line, which will be released April 8th.

    Instagram Photo

    Lupita Nyong’o shared Eclipsed fan art.

    Instagram Photo

    Usher was in the studio with Keri Hilson and Future.


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    UPTOWN_jussie_smollett_underground

    This week, Jurnee Smollett-Bell and her brother Jussie Smollett will reunite on the small screen for the first time in 20 years in WGN America’s UNDERGROUND.

    Jussie will guest star in the fourth episode, titled “Firefly,” that airs this Wednesday, March 30th, at 10 p.m.

    This is Jussie as we’ve never seen him on Empire.

    He plays Josey, “a wild eyed runaway,” according to the press release. Judging from the coming attractions, John and Elizabeth Hawkes harbor Josey, who is their first “cargo” on the Underground Railroad, but he in turn attacks the couple.

    Here are a few more teasers from the UNDERGROUND “Firefly” episode, according to the press release:

    “John and Elizabeth Hawkes come face-to-face with Josey in a traumatic confrontation and test of wills. The Macons realize Noah and Rosalee are missing and enlist August Pullman to help find the runaways. Meanwhile, Ernestine tries to cope with her daughter’s absence and the others debate whether they should run. Cato enacts a daring plan that has immediate repercussions on the plantation, while Pearly Mae makes an extremely difficult personal decision.”

    In case you had a brain fart and missed the first three episodes of UNDERGROUND, there’s a marathon airing tonight, beginning at 8 p.m. on WGN America.


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    Instagram Photo

    One baby shower just isn’t enough when you’re a celebrity. So it should come as no surprise that Chrissy Teigen and John Legend enjoyed a second baby shower in Los Angeles with their West Coast friends over the weekend.

    Instagram Photo

    Kardashian sisters, Khloé, Kourtney, and Kim, attended the fete, as well as Malika Haqq and Kris Jenner. Both of the baby’s grandmothers enjoyed the baby shower too.

    McDonald’s catered the shower that was tastefully decorated.

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    Keep clicking for more images from Chrissy Teigen’s second baby shower …

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    Breathe. Based On The True Story of Angela Burgin Logan Movie Poster
    “Netflix & Learn” might not sound quite as cool as the more popular phrase “Netflix & Chill,” but any time a film can entertain and educate it’s worth a watch. Breathe was executive produced by Angela Burgin Logan and portrays her true story of a near fatal pregnancy after her doctor failed to diagnose her with preeclampsia, a dangerous pregnancy complication that occurs in 5-8 percent of all pregnancies and is a leading cause of maternal deaths.

    In the film, Logan (portrayed by Jazsmin Lewis) experiences many of the common symptoms of preeclampsia -– elevated blood pressure, headaches, shortness of breath -– only to have her concerns downplayed and dismissed by her doctor. Black women die four times faster than other populations from maternal health complications, and Burgin Logan believes taking her story to the big screen was critical because Black women are often omitted from visual narratives on maternal health complications.

    “I am proud that my film Breathe is the first dramatic film to make the issue of preeclampsia and maternal health complications for African-American women its central theme,” she shared with BlackDoctor.org. “Reading about a statistic and seeing it are vastly different to how we will process, internalize, and react.”

    The movie, which is currently streaming on Netflix, is as much about Burgin Logan’s miraculous story of surviving with only a 20 percent chance to live, as it is a cautionary tale for women when it comes to getting the healthcare they deserve.

    Read more on Black Doctor.org.


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  • 03/29/16--07:30: Travel Up!
  • The world is full of destinations on the well-trodden path, where the number of visitors seems to to up every year and the crowds can sometimes feel endless. don’t you want to go somewhere different for a change? Take a journey in the Toyota Avalon and experience the overlooked locations waiting to be explored. Learn more …

    UPTOWN_travel_up


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    UPTOWN_carmelo_anthony

    “It was a little kid. I was shocked. I didn’t really know who was it until I actually looked over and saw that it was a kid.

    “I think it was because he was a little kid, they just let him go. Definitely a security issue, though, for sure.”

    — Carmelo Anthony explains why he patted the head of a child who had run onto the basketball court, while the New York Knicks were playing the New Orleans Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans last night. After giving Anthony a hug, the child was shooed off the court by an official. He ran back into the stands past a female guardian, who appeared embarrassed and directed the boy towards the exits. At other stadiums, like New York’s Madison Square Garden, anyone who walks onto the court during a game is subject to arrest and fines. Fortunately, this child and his family weren’t punished. We’re sure he’s having the best school day ever after the incident!

    Check out the adorable moment below!

    [Image: Instagram]

    Source


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    Instagram Photo

    Wow! Being famous for being famous sure does pay, especially in this age when TV and magazine ads have been replaced by social media posts.

    “In the old days, you’d buy ads in magazines and TV spots,” a marketing mogul told Page Six. “Now, for $400,000, you get the Kardashians to post on Instagram.”

    Kanye West allegedly helps wife Kim Kardashian-West negotiate her own deals to hawk makeup, clothing, and music on the ‘Gram. She is reportedly compensated up to $200,000 for one post.

    The rest of the Kardashian-Jenner clan has momager Kris Jenner to thank for their IG deals. Jenner reportedly inks “bundle-buys” for her daughters. Under a “bundle-buy” multiple family members are included in one deal and the daughters post across multiple social media platforms.


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  • 03/29/16--11:32: In The Black
  • The director and producers of the new Broadway play, Eclipsed, are all driven by their shared passion for bringing captivating and nuanced stories exploring black culture in the world’s most famous (and infamously fickle) theater district. Here, these four titans of industry—Liesl Tommy, Alia Jones-Harvey, Stephen Byrd and Marvet Britto—talk about their professional journeys and how Eclipsed is making history.

    Compiled by Isoul H. Harris

    UPTOWN_in_the_black

    L I E S L TOMMY | A L I A J O N E S-HARVEY | STEPHEN BYRD | MARVET BRITTO

    LIESL TOMMY
    Director

    “It’s a dream come true to be directing a play on Broadway. As a child growing up in South Africa, during the Apartheid years, I would say I wanted to be on Broadway and I used to choreograph dances with my cousins to George Benson’s song “On Broadway.” However, I never dreamed it could actually happen. I’m very proud and humbled to be here. We are making history. Traditionally, there is a male director attached to a project like this. For the first time in history, there is a female director on a woman’s play. In order to effect change both here and in Hollywood, we need to recognize our ability to lead, have a vision and be entrusted with big budgets and large staffs.”

    ALIA JONES-HARVEY
    Producer
    Front Row Productions

    “We are here to address an audience that has traditionally not been on Broadway. Broadway is the premier platform in the world for theater and a level that every playwright, actor, director, and stagehand aspires to reach. As lead producers in this spotlight, we have the opportunity to open doors, remove barriers, and push the limit on what is possible for people of color in the theater. Our first Broadway production, the first all African American Cat on a Hot Tin Roof created an opportunity for our most elite black actors to play roles they studied in drama school, but never thought they would be able to perform commercially; and as the biggest grossing play of 2008, audiences validated our long fought premise that there is a place on Broadway for black actors in classic work.

    “Now producing our fifth Broadway show, Eclipsed, we continue to shatter ceilings with the first female African director on Broadway, Liesl Tommy, who will helm this play that gives an authentic voice to African women. Lupita Nyong’o championed this project to us, as lead producers, for her Broadway debut, and also opened the door for celebrated actress and playwright Danai Gurira to join the short list of black female playwrights produced on Broad-way. Stephen Byrd and I have the honor and privilege to open these doors. But ultimately, the audience votes on what is produced with the purse.”

    STEPHEN BYRD
    Producer
    Founder, Front Row Productions

    “Being the only full time African American producers on Broadway and London’s West End, where we’ve been producing for the past eleven years is significant. Unlike Hollywood, we ‘green light’ all of our productions, and are intimately involved in each and every aspect of the production from start to finish. We choose the project, raise the financing, hire the director, actors, marketing team, PR, accounting and the General Manager. So, we’re in a position to make real constructive and not cosmetic changes by being able to hire people of color who might be otherwise overlooked by other producers. We give many film and TV actors the opportunity to make their Broadway debut. I highly doubt that you could find anyone of color in Hollywood that has that ability. Alia and I are having a real meaningful impact on our culture when it comes to theatre and Broadway. There’s noth-ing like watching our audiences fully engaged and immersed with the actors on stage with a production that reflects something that they can identify with and mirrors their culture.”

    MARVET BRITTO
    Producer
    CEO, The Britto Agency

    “History has proven that while African Americans may not be the majority in this country, what we originate culturally is typically embraced and adopted globally. The curators of the culture cannot be ignored while the appropriation of it continues worldwide. To cure the voids and ensure we are included within all levels from development to execution, I extended the scope of The Britto Agency to involve the creative side of the entertainment business. I champion diversity and inclusion while effectively building the brand equity and legacy of my clients. I could only accomplish this by both creating and shaping opportunities that would elevate their talents and our culture across all spheres of business. Arts and entertainment are the most powerful and influential platforms in the world and how we are portrayed fuels global perception around black culture.

    “We can neither place limitations on the growth of our potent talents, nor allow the silencing of our powerful voices. We are more than dynamic performers; we are passionate creators. I work tirelessly to ensure that our talents and con-tributions are both respected and celebrated. Inclusion and equality have fueled all aspects of my journey. My goal, whether as a brand strategist or Broadway producer, is to ensure that people of color are afforded equal opportuni-ties and that no ceiling keeps us from reaching historic levels of excellence.”


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  • 03/30/16--03:42: Gin And Bear It
  • If your shot calling game only involves whiskey, vodka, rum or tequila neat, we suggest that you take a walk on the wild side with the one you always overlook -– gin.

    By Satchel B. Jester

    UPTOWN_bombay_sapphireOft met with more trepidation than others in the spirits family, taking the blame for #aboutlastnight posts, gin is actually a neutral spirit steeped with juniper berries and other botanicals that was purposely made to be used as a cocktail ingredient. To further your gin education, we engaged in a cocktailing cliff notes conversation with gin aficionado, and co-founder of the London Academy of Bartending, Colin Appiah.

    “Gin has a lot of aroma, a lot of texture and it’s complex,” says Appiah, senior portfolio manager for Bacardi and longtime lover of the spirit he recognizes as the leader of the cocktail renaissance. “The drink shines brightest in the simple forms of a martini or served with tonic.”

    Appiah lets us in on the way he serves. “Naturally, I’m fond of the three gin offerings from Bombay. There’s the namesake along with Bombay Sapphire and Bombay East,” he says. “When I entertain, I present a table stocked with the gin variations, citrusy fruits like grapefruits, lemons, limes and oranges, soda water and spices like pink and black peppercorns and nutmeg. This spread makes for a gin and tonic that’s out of this world.”

    GIN & TONIC RE-IMAGINED

    1 Ð oz Bombay Sapphire East Gin
    3 oz Fevertree tonic
    Lime wedge OR different garnish (lemongrass, juniper, coriander, cassia bark, etc.)
    Method: Press lemongrass stem and lime wedge into base of glass. Fill with ice and build.
    Glass: Balloon or Old fashioned
    Garnish: Lime wedge, lemongrass stem


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  • 03/30/16--03:56: Devouring Morocco
  • devouring morocco

    By Annika Harris

    Africa was always a part of my wildest dreams. So, I was elated to find myself on a seven-hour Royal Air Maroc flight across the Atlantic to the fabled Casablanca and then embarking on a culinary journey with Access Trips, which provides extraordinary adventures for thrill seekers of all kinds.

    Essaouira, a charming fishing community, was our first stop after the nearly four hour drive from Mohammed V International Airport near Casablanca. At first glance, the town looks frozen in time and unchanged for centuries— until someone zooms by on a motorized scooter since automobiles aren’t allowed in the Essaouira medina.

    The carefree attitude of the whole town immediately rubbed off as I eased into holiday mode. Spending an entire day at one of the many cafes enjoying French pastries and Moroccan mint tea wasn’t at all uncommon. I still have pleasant memories of the fresh sardines, grilled to perfection at one of the many stalls lining the shore, and French fries I had there. On the other side of the Atlantic, sardines, by the way, grow larger than an average adult’s hand.

    In the rooftop kitchen of the Riad Mimouna, which is more like a quaint bed and breakfast than a hotel, I prepared my own fish tagine with chermoula, a marinade that is the foundation of many Moroccan fish dishes. That night, I kept smiling inside as I listened to a Berber band while enjoying the dinner I’d cooked myself. The fish and vegetables had steamed in the chermoula for 90 minutes, so it was tender and took on the flavors of cumin, paprika and turmeric. As the infectious music of the band continued, I couldn’t resist tapping my feet and swaying my shoulders. I somehow wound up dancing with the lead singer.

    annika on camelBack in my room on the second floor, by myself, I opened the windows and was greeted by the sounds of the raging sea as I soaked in the breathtaking view. There was nothing but a 50- foot drop separating my room from the water. As I settled in for much-needed rest, I welcomed the ocean’s lullaby and reminisced on my time in the town and eventually drifted into a deep slumber. But it was only the beginning. The next day I rode a 7-year-old camel named Samsa along the beach, visited an Argan oil cooperative where I met the women who make the oil for consumption and beauty products, as well as sampled sfenge, a delectable Moroccan treat that looks like a doughnut but tastes more like Caribbean johnny cakes or fried dumplings.

    Later that evening, at the Kasbah Omar (kasbah-omar.com), in the Berber village of Anrar in the High Atlas Mountains, steady hands greeted our group and helped us navigate the rocks leading to the front door. Berbers often build their homes on the sides of the mountains, so what looks like a collection of boulders could very well be the path to someone’s abode. The staffers at the Kasbah Omar were some of the most gracious and welcoming people I’ve ever met in my travels, and my room, with its huge, comfortable bed and a bathroom of natural Moroccan rock studded with fossils from floor to ceiling, was the definition of contemporary luxury.

    Visiting the Monday Market in Tnine Ourika Valley was a special treat. Villagers buy vegetables, meat—including animal heads, which I couldn’t bring myself to look at— prepared food, even shoes for their donkey and can have a tooth pulled at this outdoor bazaar. The dentist even has a side hustle of tying up tourists and pretending to extract a tooth, while a fellow tourist snaps a photo—all for a fee, of course. With my teeth intact, I lunched on delicious Berber barbeque beef and lamb that reminded me of the shish kebabs street vendors sell in New York City.

    For my next cooking lesson, I made pastilla, a Moroccan meat pie of sorts comprised of a flaky pastry, chicken, egg and sweet spices like cinnamon, in the terrace kitchen of the Kasbah Omar. It was heavenly cooking under a canopy, as the gentle breeze spread the flavorful scent.

    Marrakech was the final leg of the trip. Highlights included fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent’s hidden gardens and the harem quarters of the Bahia Palace, where the always modest mogul Diddy celebrated one of his birthdays in grand fashion. The souk, or open-air market, in Marrakech was another festival of aromas, people, wares and scooters. After picking up an emerald green leather purse, silver earrings, a bracelet and a tunic, I stopped through the herboriste, a shop that sells holistic remedies for everything from snoring to erectile dysfunction, as well as makeup — a brilliant red lipstick, made from poppies and packaged in a mini tagine pot, was a great find.

    We completed our Moroccan journey at the upscale Le Comptoir Darna, which features a fusion of traditional Moroccan, French and American cuisine. Blanketed beneath millions of stars, I topped off the night on the patio with a mint-flavored hookah.

    Luck may have brought me to Morocco for my first visit, but the fresh seafood, gracious people, calming environment and amazing culture will definitely bring me back.

    tagine

    TRY THIS FISH TAGINE WITH CHERMOULA FOR YOUR OWN TASTE OF MOROCCO.

    Prep time: 40 minutes | Cook time: 90 minutes
    Serves: 2

    Ingredients:
    CHERMOULA
    1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
    1 tbsp tomato paste
    1 tsp garlic, finely chopped
    2 tbsp sweet paprika
    1 tsp hot paprika
    1 to 2 tbsp cumin, to taste
    1 tsp turmeric
    1 tsp ground ginger
    3 tbsp olive oil
    3 tbsp lemon juice
    6 tbsp water
    salt and pepper to taste

    FISH TAGINE
    2 fish steaks (mild white fish, such as sea bass)
    1 to 2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
    1 to 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
    1 to 2 large potatoes, thinly sliced
    1 tomato, seeded and thinly sliced
    1 bell pepper, thinly sliced
    1 handful red olives

    Preparation:
    CHERMOULA

    Mix all ingredients in bowl. Marinate fish steaks 10 minutes

    FISH TAGINE

    1. Arrange carrots across bottom of tagine. Crisscross celery on top of carrots.
    2. Place potatoes on top of celery, forming a bed for the fish.
    3. Remove fish from marinade and place on top of vegetables. Reserve marinade.
    4. Place bell pepper and tomato over fish. Top with reserved marinade and garnish with olives.
    5. Cover tagine. Cook over low to medium-low heat for about 90 minutes or until potatoes are tender and fish flakes with a fork.
    6. If cooking liquid hasn’t thickened, ladle into a saucepan and reduce using high heat, then pour over fish just before serving.

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    UPTOWN_lineij
    By Kristen Schiele of Mama Finds

    LINĒIJ was founded by Los Angeles native Kipenzi Chidinma. After working in the fashion industry and finding her great-grandmother’s rare collection of accessories and hand-drawn patterns, Chidinma was inspired to launch her own line. She chose the name LINĒIJ (the phonetic spelling of lineage) to honor her great-grandmother, whose creativity and entrepreneurial spirit were Chidinma’s inspiration for the collection. She is the first person of Turks and Caicos descent to launch a luxury fashion tech company.

    UPTOWN_kipenzi_chidinma

    According to the company’s founder, the LINĒIJ collection is “perfect for those with discerning tastes, who adore luxurious accessories but don’t want to sacrifice functionality, unique design, style, or sophistication.” And the founder definitely knows style! Before launching this company, Chidinma (pictured above) worked with amazing brands such as Walt Disney, Just Fab, Nordstrom, and Melissa Masse. Her experience, creativity, and passion for fashion shine through in this gorgeous collection.

    UPTOWN_lineij2

    Starting this company also allowed Chidinma the opportunity to work from home while taking care of her mother, who was diagnosed with Huntington’s Disease (HD). As a result, LINĒIJ has partnered with the Huntington’s Disease Society of America, where 100 percent of the net profits from the sale of selected items from the recently launched line will help raise awareness about HD, increase education, care, and support resources. Funds raised will be used to help caregivers and those living with HD enjoy life -– not just survive.

    Beautiful bags for a great cause … what more could you ask for?

    UPTOWN_lineij_duchess_bella_clutches

    My personal favorites are the Duchess Envelope clutch (above left) and the Bella clutch (above right).

    The Duchess is the ultimate go-to bag. This gorgeous ruby red brings a pop of color and hint of drama to any outfit. With its slender design and removable/adjustable shoulder strap, the Duchess clutch goes from day to night. The interior has a single zippered pocket and offers plenty of room for the necessities, like your smart phone, money, and lipstick.

    The Bella is handcrafted and available in many colors including: onyx, amethyst, and magenta. This luxurious bag is lined in Italian suede, and features Swiss-made metal zippers, engraved metal plate, patented OneClickReturn serial number, and complementary lifetime recovery technology service.

    According to the LINĒIJ website:

    “Preserving the balance of nature is extremely important to us. None of our products come from animals in the wild. The materials we use are designated food sources first. LINĒIJ™ is certified through C.I.T.E.S., the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and is in compliance with all local, state, federal, and international regulations.”

    To order or learn more about Kipenzi Chidinma and the collection check out the LINĒIJ website: Lineij-Atelier.com.


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    YouTube user isthishowyougoviral recently published a mash-up video in which Sesame Street‘s Bert and Ernie “rap” to Warren G and Nate Dogg‘s “Regulate.”

    isthishowyougoviral described the video on YouTube:

    “Bert and Ernie of Sesame Street perform the Warren G and Nate Dogg classic, ‘Regulate.’ This song honestly ended up being just a tough as my last one (Crossroads), if not tougher. I almost bailed on it several times, but it was the most requested in the comments, and another one of the best rap songs ever, so I felt as if I had to give the people what they wanted. Video by Mylo the Cat aka Adam Schleichkorn.

    “I understand that my channel name is isthishowyougoviral, but if this doesn’t go viral, it’s all good. Not everything goes viral, it is what it is. I lock myself in my room for days to make these things, so I’m just happy that people are enjoying them. I also am very familiar with the classic Bert and Ernie MOP mashup, which essentially created this ridiculous genre, and I am by no means trying to top it.”


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    Instagram Photo

    Nude has rarely been everyone’s nude … until now. Today Christian Louboutin expanded his “Nudes” collection to include ballet flats that are available in seven different shades to match a variety of skin tones, not just Crayola “Peach.”

    The Solasofia flat, which launched today, is a pointed-toe slipper decked out with a bow. It follows two pump styles — the Pigalle Follies and the Iriza — and the Senora T-strap peep-toes that were previously included in the “Nudes” collection and are available in only four shades of nude.

    The nappa leather of the Solasofia flat is meant to mimic human skin, which creates a continuous line from foot to leg, appearing to lengthen the wearer’s legs.

    Despite the $595 price tag, the Christian Louboutin Solasofia flat will no doubt be very popular.


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