Iya Bakare, GMO's managing editor, earned both her Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees in print journalism. She earned her B.A. from Delta State University with a minor in English and graduated with a M.A. degree from Columbia College Chicago. In her spare time, the Chicago native continues to freelance and ponder ways to both inform and improve her community one story at a time.
She can be contacted at Iya@glossmagazineonline.com
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Guests gathered at Chicago’s House of Blues last Thursday for “Fashion for a Cause”, presented by 3 Hearts Boutique. This charity event raised funds for the Maryville Crisis Nursery, located in Chicago, which provides short term care for the children who are experiencing crises or other family emergencies. The event raised a total of $2,200 for the program.
Celebrate Presidents’ Day this weekend as you shop tax free at Chicago’s 900 North Michigan Shops on Saturday, Sunday and on Monday.
All Natural: An Artist’s Workshop stimulated the minds and souls of guests who gathered for an organic experience of soulful music and education about natural hair Thursday night at The Shrine (www.theshrinechicago.com) in Chicago. Special guest host Jaguar Wright, who was featured on Jay-Z’s MTV Unplugged and the “Philly Sounds” 2011 headliner, graced the stage to share some of her melodic verses and flow. Surprise guest R&B crooner Eric Benet free styled with Jaguar as the crowd sang and swayed along to their harmonious sounds in the club’s intimate setting.
As a Chicago native and an artist (in written form), I’ve been blessed to associate with, befriend and interview some of the most talented masterminds in the creative business. My city and the surrounding area give birth to some of the most gifted musicians, dancers, singers, writers, fashion designers, visual artists and photographers. One of the many things I love about Chicago is the accessibility to speak to the artists, and in some cases, get to know the stories that inspired their creative works.
Kenny “K.O.” Ollins says he doesn’t resent his experiences because he’s learned from them.
Eddie S. Pierce says what started out as a cathartic exercise turned into a creative work of fiction that grew a life of its own and evolved into his first published novel.
It’s been a while, but R&B crooner Carl Thomas is back and returned to his rightful place on stages behind microphones and on the airwaves.
Earlier this month, supporters and music lovers gathered at Chicago’s DuSable Museum where Carl interviewed with Dedry Jones of The Music Experience, performed some of his previous hits and highlighted his new project, Conquer.
The Aurora, Ill. native returned to his roots to discuss his first memories of music and where his foundation of music existed.
“My foundation with my family paved the way for the foundation of my music,” says Carl.
As a product of the MTV revolution, Carl grew up with an eclectic taste in music, singing both Gospel and Rock/Christian music, and admiring the classics Roy Ayers, Miles Davis, Marvin Gaye and Sting.
“My music style is like a pot of gumbo and I felt God in other music other than Gospel,” he remarks. “My first musical experience was through television, where I could translate emotions and fell in love with melodies. Melody is more important than rhythm because it dictates what you’re going to say.”
Through television and support from family who saw his true talent, Carl admits he saw his destiny, but it wasn’t easy as he sacrificed his teenage years and his 20s to be a starving artist and perform at open mic nights, where Carl said doors of opportunity opened for him.
“When I watched TV, I didn’t see a different world,” he comments. “I saw something I could touch.”
It was at open mic nights where Carl said he met the late Luther Vandross, who offered encouraging words of wisdom and met Sean “Diddy” Combs of Bad Boy Entertainment. To the surprise of many, Carl admitted it was almost a year after meeting Diddy that Carl signed with Bad Boy in 1996.
“It [Bad Boy Entertainment] was the greatest college of music business I attended,” added Carl.
His first hit “I Wish”, from his first CD Emotional, was No. 1 on the R&B charts for 14 weeks. Carl says like much of his music, this particular song was personal for him and he didn’t realize how many men related to the song. The songster added this album was his outlet to express some anger and a way for him to get his emotions right. It was also a project where Carl sites the influence of the late Heavy D.
“If there was no Heavy D, I wouldn’t be on this stage,” he admits.
Upon the release of other hits from his first CD and his second project Let’s Talk About It, Carl says Diddy recognized how talented Carl was, but didn’t have a musical direction for him. Carl says his second CD was the project that put him back in line. The same year of the release of his second CD, Carl’s brother was murdered in their hometown.
“I thought I got away, but it jumped up and bit my brother,” he says.
Before the release of So Much Better, Carl collaborated on other projects including the soundtrack of Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Family Reunion, which earned him a Grammy nomination and re-introduced him to the inspirational audience.
“I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t have a prayer life, and I’m happy that prayer is a part of my life.”
With the release of his fourth project with Verve Music Group, Carl’s music embodies growth and maturity, which he says is the message he wants to convey to his audience.
Get Carl’s new single “Don’t Kiss Me” and his new album Conquer on iTunes and in stores today.
*Photos Courtesy of Verve Music Group
She’s back, and with her new Christmas EP Light Up the World, songstress Jean Baylor makes her own rules and gives music lovers an original groove to holiday music. The former member of ‘90s duo Zhane says this project is a feel good holiday album with original songs, including her first single from the EP “Celebrate.” The project, co-produced by Dana Sorey, also features a duet with soulful crooner Eric Roberson, and a sampling of more to come from the artist.
At first glance, Frank Sinatra probably wouldn’t be a name synonymous with Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr. That is until you hear the Logan, W. Va. native sing a few chords. As last season’s “America’s Got Talent” winner and with his debut CD That’s Life released in late November, Murphy’s voice is on its way to developing into a household sound that will recapture the hearts of older generations and inspire the younger ones.
With the highest obesity rate in the country, heart disease and illnesses affiliated with the pulmonary system are inevitable and prevalent in the African American community. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one-third of adults are obese (33.8 percent), and blacks have an obesity rate of 44.1 percent, the highest compared to any other ethnic group.