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Words by Simone Serwer—
In the late 80s, my family began revisiting Jamaica for the first time since we’d immigrated to South Florida in 1980. Before these trips back to my birthplace, my cultural heritage had been somewhat foreign to me: I finally got to know my own culture firsthand, through unfortunate circumstances. The initial trip back was for my maternal grandfather’s funeral in Yallahs, St. Thomas, right outside of Kingston.
Words by Simone Serwer—
Last week I was approached to write about my affinity for the Donna Summer and Musical Youth tune “Unconditional Love.” I’d resigned myself to tackle it this weekend, only to learn this morning that Ms. Summer had succumbed to cancer. I immediately thought about the first time I was introduced to her music—the summer before my first year of primary school, three years after my family had emigrated from Jamaica.
Words by Jesse Serwer, Photos by Simone Serwer—
In November, Inner Circle teamed with deejay-of-the-moment I-Octane and young Miami rapper Bizerk to record a reggae remix/answer to Wiz Khalifa and Snoop’s “Young Wild and Free.” An effort by the reggae veterans to connect with the new generation, this one has those feelgood, sunny-day vibes people associate with Inner Circle, and is definitely a step outside the zone in which we’re used to seeing the typically badmind-minded I-Octane.
Words by Simone Serwer
My sole reason for loving the Gibson Brothers, a trio of Martinican siblings from Paris who had a string of disco hits in the late 1970s, is rather simple. In their video for 1978’s “Cuba” their object of desire is dark, thin and has her hair in a short, natural crop. For narcissistic purposes I’ve gravitated towards this video on Youtube multiple times and embraced this song with abnormal fervor. (I also favor the tune, a salsa-inspired global hit featuring the French-speaking brothers singing in a hokey mixture of English and Spanish, in part because of a Scarface scene that was cut from the film. Right before “my friend” Angel Fernandez was chainsawed to death in a seedy Ocean Drive hotel, Rocky “Steven Bauer” Echevarria’s Manolo passes time singing it in a Caddy—it’s only in the director’s cut, so you have to own the DVD to appreciate it.)
Words by Jesse Serwer, Interview by Simone Serwer
Chuck D. once said, “Public Enemy interviews are better than most rappers’ shows”–or something like that. Well, we’re pretty sure Project Runway contestant Anya Ayoung-Chee’s interviews are better than most of her fellow designers’ clothes. In Part 1 of our conversation last week, the former Miss Trinidad & Tobago Universe 2008 spoke about her experiences representing tiny T&T on the world stage, how her brother Pilar’s death inspired her to pursue her dream of becoming a fashion designer…and generally defied any notions one might have about a beauty queen turned sex tape star turned reality TV contestant. Read below for Part 2, as Anya discusses how carnival season influences her designs (and fashion in Trinidad as a whole), why she responded to her sex tape scandal by launching a lingerie line, and how she balances her creative impulses with her need to sell clothes. She also has some interesting ideas about rebuilding Trinidad’s dormant manufacturing sector. She’s lived a lot already but we’re pretty sure this is just the beginning for the 29-year-old –and her aerodynamic haircut, which we can already see is starting to catch on in New York. This definitely won’t be the last time you’ll be seeing her on LargeUp.