SAMURAI SIT DOWN: ACTRESS, MODEL & SINGER – GENESIS VAL LEON
Multitasking is a term that people toss around a lot. It’s true that today we find ourselves doing various things at the same time. Well, today I want to present to you a woman that truly embodies the definition of multitasking. A triple threat in everyone sense of the term, meet Genesis Val Leon today’s Samurai Sit Down feature.
Please introduce yourself, where you’re from and what you do?
My name is Genesis Val Leon and I am a curly-haired actress, singer, and model from the Bronx, New York
What was your earliest Inspiration for acting and modeling
I’ve been performing as early as 8 years old. I was that kid that would dance to TV commercials and even the car alarms that would go off on my street. My first classical music/ voice classes started when I entered second grade. I vividly remember my dad playing music from an old record player. We literally would go around the world through music. I remember him playing Tommy Boy, Queen, Whitney, Michael, Prince, Ana Gabriel, Selena and so many other. He gave me one of my greatest traits which my broad music palette. It was something we shared and still till this day do. My dad is an engineer but has an immense love for music (singing)
As for acting, my mom. My mom has the most electric and contagious personality I have ever encountered. Think Rosie Perez meets Sofia Vergara with the most beautiful accent. I remember attempting to imitate her while she would try to reprimand me and getting in so much trouble. I also remember writing apology songs and performing them whenever I got in trouble. My mom is also a huge Novela ( Hispanic Soap Operas) fan. And boy, that’s where the fun really started. You have not really laughed until you’ve watched a novela episode.
As for modeling, it just came with my personality. My first “pageant” was when I was 5 years old. I wish you all can see this video. I always had big hair and I guess my mom had put my hair in two ponytails. Well, I decided I wanted my hair out. Next thing you know, I walked out with my hair out in this gorgeous fro and strutted my way across the runway, made a detour and walked through the crowd- absolutely messed up the entire order and the organizer had to go and get me.
SAMURAI SIT DOWN W/ HIP HOP PUBLICIST SANDRINE AKA DRINEEE “THE HOPE DEALER”
It’s been a while since I last interviewed someone so its with great pleasure that I share this latest edition of Samurai Sitdown. I’ve always been about shining light on good people doing work that you may not be ever of or just good people in general. We need a lot more positive energy in these crazy times and this woman’s constant flow of hope filled, encouraging words in the midst of her steady Hip Hop representation are one of the things I look forward to while navigating these Internets. A jewel that’s been tucked away in the Dirty South, let me introduce you to Texas’s own Ms Sandrine.
Can you please introduce yourself and tell us what you do?
My name is Sandrine, also known as Drine, or Drineee on all social media platforms for all intents and purposes lol. I’d like to say I wear many hats, or at least I try to anyway. Since 2011 I’ve transitioned from hip-hop journalist, to record label marketing rep to publicist. Oh, I’m also in finance as well.
It’s a pleasure to finally chop it up with you. Thank you for you time and lets hop right into things. Proper representation of culture and self are a big issue in many spaces right now. What does culture mean to you? In terms of Hip Hop, Nationality and Region?
Hip Hop culture is one the most powerful forces in our society, period. It started as a creative outlet and has turned into something way bigger than I think anyone could imagine. When we saw politicians worrying about what 2Pac had to say, I think that’s when it really resonated that this was way deeper than rap. It’s more than music, it’s a way of life. There are so many layers to it and I think that’s why we love it so much.
True. That’s why we love it and why so many before us hate and fear it.
There’s a song for hustling, for your mama, for the come up, for love, for death and for everything else and the best part – it’s all genuine. It’s easy to make a pop hit but it lasts a year, if that, and if they’re lucky, maybe some years because really, they aren’t talking about shit. When you make music with meaning it’s always going to outlast music for the moment.
SAMURAI SIT DOWN: TUMBLR SENSATION CHOKESNGAGS [NSFW]
Samurai Sit Down was created as my way to introduce various people who caught my eye and are making names for themselves in today’s new digital world. I’ve chatted with artists, media personalities, and more, but this time, I decided to dive a lil deeper into the gritty social media underbelly. What I’m talking about is Tumblr. If any space online exists as a free for all its Tumblr. You can go from cute kitty videos to the most explicit of amateur or professional sexual material. I’m no angel and I’m not a stranger to Tumblr, which is where I encountered ChokesNGags, also known as “Aunty Chokes” by her devoted fans and followers. Sex is everywhere online but every so often you come across someone who isn’t just flashing the masses for attention. CNG has lived a life that is made for the big screen. Her candor and transparency has attracted many to seek her advice for issues too uncomfortable for others to hear.
So today things get a little NSFW as I sit down with the infamous ChokesNGags.
First off, thanks for taking the time out to have this conversation. Let’s dive right into things. How/Why/When did you start the ChokesNGags online persona?
Back around 2011 when I was living in south Philly bored out of my skull. One of my friends was always on Tumblr; there’s some pretty entertaining shit on there, so he helped me set up my own account. He gave me a few follow recommendations and I kinda took it from there. The lack of censorship and filter on sexual content was really intriguing. Like, you mean I can talk about getting cum in my nose AND see around the way girls busting it wide open without risk of being deactivated or anything? NOICE. I discovered a judgement free platform so I took advantage of it. It really just started as a bunch of endless posts about needing dick and going on about the dick I just got. People seemed pretty interested so I talked about my ‘adventures’ more and more. I think the readers assumed I could help because I spoke of similar situations. Like, what else does she know?? The questions just started coming in like crazy. I never said “hey I think I’ll start a sex & relationship advice blog”…..It honestly just….happened. I’ve always wanted to help people, particularly young, black women and girls; so I just happened to stumble upon exactly what I wanted to do.
Philly so you’re originally an East Coast girl but you’re in Cali now. What caused the relocation out west and how do you like it?
Yup, Jersey girl here. I was between jobs in Philly and the guy I was dating at the time offered to help me out. He had the pull to get me a job in any major city and assist with the move. I considered NYC but it was too safe and close to home. Most of my family is in NY. This was a kick ass opportunity so I wanted to take full advantage of it. After a lot of thinking I said fuck it, I’ll move to LA. Less than 2 weeks later I landed in LA and hit the ground running. I love it here. It’s a tough city to survive in, that’s for sure, but I don’t plan to leave anytime soon. I’m far away from things that I once knew and I like that.
Erykah Babu Answers “The Questions” Via OkayPlayer
Erykah Badu, the woman that charms the world, took a few minutes to link up with OKayPlayer and answers questions live from the public. It goes without saying that the questions ranged from the expected to the exceptionally odd. Never to be thrown off her game Lady Badu keeps it entertaining through out. See the video below.
SAMURAI SIT DOWN WITH TORONTO MEDIA/PR MAVEN ELLHAH PT 1
In recent years I don’t know of any city that has seen it’s stock sky rocket like Toronto. From the diversity of it’s citizens to the art and musical explosion of mainstream heavyweights like Drake and the Weekend, Toronto has emerged on the radar of people that never gave the place a 2nd though before. Y’all many are now jumping on “The 6” bandwagon there’s more to the City then OVO and Caribana. For this final edition of Samurai Sit Down I have the pleasure of chatting with Ms Erin Ashley also known as Ellhah and Ellhah Media Group. We get into all things Toronto in this 2 part conversation. Enjoy.
Hey what’s good? Please introduce yourself to the people. Let them know who you are, where you’re from and what you do.
Where to start… I started my career in the music industry as a writer at KevinNottingham.com back in 2008, which at the time, was one of the best indie outlets on the Internet. From there, I worked my way into the publishing industry, and have worked with outlets from Canada’s Exclaim! to XXL, and of course, managing Boi-1da.net. In addition to those, I’ve worked with a few festivals like Atlanta’s A3C Festival and Toronto’s Manifesto Festival, and have also put on a few showcases highlighting talents like EarthGang, Devontee and Raz Fresco. A lot of different opportunities have crossed my path over the years, and I’ve been grateful for every one of them, So, because of this, I now have my own public relations company. It’s a been word of mouth business for the past year, but there are things in the works for 2016.
I’ve had a personal warm spot for Toronto since the first time I visited about 4 yrs ago. How would you describe Tdot. What does it mean to you personally and in term of its overall culture and growth.
It warms my heart that you still call it T-Dot… ‘The 6’ hasn’t grown on me yet (or many others, for that matter) yet. I grew up out the outskirts of the city, but have always loved the bright lights of the city. We’re a city of immigrants and first-generation youth, which has made Toronto such an incredible place to grow up. We’re proud of our cultures, and the city goes out of its way to highlight that. Every weekend in the summer there’s a festival that celebrates one group’s culture – whether it’s Caribana or Taste of Italy, everyone participates. The city is special in the sense that if you ask a Torontonian where they’re from, they will doubtfully say Canada – even if they were born here. It’ll always be where they’re parents were from, which sums up how they were raised and unites us as an immigrant community. I mean, it almost feels funny when you don’t hear 3-4 languages in your vicinity at any given time. You learn so much about the world simply by talking to people, which is probably why Toronto is so incredibly captivating.
Will Smith & Samuel L Jackson Join Star Studded Actors Roundtable To Discuss The Ills of Their Profession
Recently a collection of Hollywood heavyweights got together to discuss a number of topics within the acting industry from social injustice, race tensions and more that they’ve come across over the years. Will Smith, Mark Ruffalo, Samuel L. Jackson, Benicio Del Toro, Michael Caine and Joel Edgerton make up the A List collection for this Roundtable. Check out a couple cuts from the discussion below from personal favorites Sam Jackson and Will Smith on including some insight into why Will Smith passed on the controversial the Django role.
How do you deal with that fear?
SMITH: I’m trying to develop a more realistic perspective of what this business is. I told my mother this the other day, and she thought it was hilarious. I said: “When I was 15 years old, my first girlfriend cheated on me. And I remember making a decision that nobody would ever cheat on me again. And the way I was going to do that was by being the biggest actor on Earth,” right? So there’s been this weird psychology that I have always felt like: If my movies are number one, my life is going to work out great.
In your superhero films, do you feel personal validation because they’re so popular?
JACKSON Those movies have very little to do with us. They have to do with the event. People love superheroes, and fortunately we’re in them, but they’re not dependent upon us. They could put that eye patch on somebody else, and it would work the same way. The green guy could be anybody. You turn Terrence Howard to Don Cheadle and nobody notices.
SMITH I was trying to avoid that [topic]. It was about the creative direction of the story. To me, it’s as perfect a story as you could ever want: a guy that learns how to kill to retrieve his wife that has been taken as a slave. That idea is perfect. And it was just that Quentin [Tarantino] and I couldn’t see [eye to eye]. I wanted to make the greatest love story that African-Americans had ever seen —
We talked, we met, we sat for hours and hours about it. I wanted to make that movie so badly, but I felt the only way was, it had to be a love story, not a vengeance story. I don’t believe in violence as the reaction to violence. So when I’m looking at that, it’s like: “No, no, no. It has to be for love.” We can’t look at what happens in Paris [the terrorist attacks] and want to f— somebody up for that. Violence begets violence. So I just couldn’t connect to violence being the answer. Love had to be the answer.
Read more of the Roundtable here. The full Actor Roundtable will air on Close Up With The Hollywood Reporter on Sunday, Jan. 17, at 11 a.m. ET on Sundance TV.
I love seeing the reach and evolution of my culture. My family is from the West Indies island of Antigua. I was born and raised in NY. Hip Hop and Caribbean elements run through the life blood of everything. As such I respect folk that embrace, support and treat those elements with respect. That brings me to Ms My-My who holds it down as a Jane of all urban trades. Writing, hosting, dancing and modeling are just some of her roles. We were just recently enjoying the festivities of Hennypalooza in Brooklyn and I got to chop it up a bit with her about her background, goals and influences. Check out part 1 of our conversation.
Music Publicist • Hip Hop Journalist • Poet • Model • Host • Freelancer • Filipina
What’s good My My! To start, please give a lil intro of who you are, where area you from and what you do.
Maria Myraine is my government (legit two first names) but most call me My-My (pronounced MY-MY NOT Mi-Mi). I was born & raised in the outskirts of Cebu City on the Philippine island of Cebu. I moved to America when I was 4. Grew up in CT where my older brother introduced me to Hip Hop culture at a young age. If it wasn’t for him introducing me to the culture, I don’t think I’d be doing what I do today. After years of blogging as a Hip Hop fan, I now handle publicity for indie Hip Hop artists as well as write for various Hip Hop websites, along with my own. I also started hosting podcast shows, online radio shows, Hip Hop showcases/events and parties. Just expanding my personal brand after Graduating from St. John’s University with a degree in Communications, I also freelance in the fields of social media and advertising/marketing. A lot of people tell me I’m trying to do too much but honestly, after surviving a near-fatal car accident in 2004, nothing is impossible for me. God is good, sky’s the limit.
Why you definitely put a lot of your plate. Tell us more about your introduction to Hip Hop & Caribbean culture. What was the appeal?
I owe a lot to my big brother. He’s the coolest mofo I know, seriously. He introduced me to both cultures as a young buck. He got into the Hip Hop culture as a b-boy in a break dance crew, battle rapper and visual artist. We used to share a room as kids so I was constantly surrounded by all of that. I still remember the day he played me Wu Tang, Fugees, Beastie Boys & Nas in the same day. That’s when I probably “fell in love with Hip Hop.” As for the Caribbean culture, again, my brother was also big on Dancehall and like Hip hop, i picked up on it. In both cases, I just loved how the vibe I got from each.
I’m curious what was the reaction of the people in your social circles regarding your appeal to what folk essentially consider black based culture? Was it all love or did people not initially accept you?
I’ve had a mixed reaction throughout the years. Those who really know me understand my upbringing and my appreciation for “urban culture” since I was a kid. And of course, there are those who aren’t as accepting of a Filipino who embraces the culture. “What do you know about Hip Hop?” is usually the question that gets thrown in my face. They obviously don’t know anything about Hip Hop and how widely accepted it has become since its emergence. Especially in Asia, Hip Hop is bigger overseas than it is in America. It’s just something I’ve grown to ignore. I just gotta keep doing what I love. There’s no racial boundaries to that.
That’s so true. The purity of Hip Hop truly does exist more so internationally then it does domestically these days. Keeping along the lines of acceptance, what has your family’s reaction to your career path been?
It’s an ongoing battle. It has its good days, it has its bad days (lol). My dad is still pretty old school and traditional (like most Filipino parents) and he doesn’t really understand the path I chose considering I earned my college degree. For him, he thinks a 9-5 with my degree is the road to “success.” My mom, on the other hand, understands me a little more. She always tells me “do what makes you happy as long as you can take care of yourself and us when we’re older.”
Working in Hip Hop music you get to see more of the behind the scenes, moving parts of the business. Give your feelings and views on working within the independent music place vs. dealing in the mainstream?
As a listener/fan, I appreciate both levels. On the business side of things, however, I definitely prefer working on the indie side more. More freedom. Simply put.
So what have been some of your career highlights thus far?
Working with Clear Soul Forces. Those fellas are a talented bunch and I’m happy to have been a part of their growth as artists. Another highlight would have to be doing a publicity campaign for Ski Beatz and his “24 Hour Karate School presents Twilight” album. And I think being able to network, link, help and make new bonds with such talented indie artists is a never-ending highlight in this career.
Speaking of highlights you’ve recently put out a lot of interview material, and you host a few online shows. Tell us about those platforms.
I conduct interviews for the various websites I write for, as well as for my own website – which will be launching soon (www.MariaMyraine.com). As far as hosting goes, I used to host on DTF Radio. Currently hosting a podcast series title, R&B(S) which will premiere soon on YoYouHeard Radio and my website. I also host various events in the city (showcases, open mics, and parties usually).
You’re also a very creative person too. You’ve put out samples of poetry, music and you have modeling imagery all over your IG. Do you want to pursue all these expressive paths? What do these various acts mean to you?
Yes. On top of starting a one-stop-shop for indies, I would like to market myself as a brand as well. I do not want to limit my skills (and income). Like I said, after surviving that car accident.. the sky is the limit.
Stay tuned because we dive a little more into Ms Myraine’s personal life when I share part 2 of our conversation soon.
Zane Lowe Speaks with Rick Rubin at Shangri La Studios
As the Hip Hop landscape steadily gets populated with more artists who don’t represent the classic Hip Hop ideals, background or appearance it can be forgotten just how many white people were/are instrumental to the growth of this culture. After a 2013 that saw Zane Lowe chat with Jay-Z, Kanye West and Eminem we now get to hear the words of the legendary Rick Rubin. RR has worked with all 3 of these Hip Hop giants and shares some of those experiences along with his days at Def Jam and much more.
It’s some Hip Hop history for you guys tonight.
As a Bonus, after the Jump check out the panel at the Cannes International Festival of Creativity with Kanye West, Steve Stoute (Tanning of America, Translation) and Ben Horowitz (Entrepreneur, Author, Investor)
Well this has actually been a long time in the making. NY is a huge place yet within the Hip Hop community it’s very small. It’s only a few degrees of separation in Hip Hop so it was inevitably that I’d be doing a sit down with Far Rockaway’s Persia. For those unfamiliar with her, Persia made her national debut as a cast member of the Ego Trip reality show “The White Rapper Show”. She endeared her self to many with her pull no punches attitude and being one of the few on the cast that could rap, and rap well. Since then Persia has continued to create andrelease music for the public. Today she readies herself for what my be her biggest year yet. With multiple project releases on deck we snagged a little of Persia’s time to chop it up a bit. Enjoy.
What’s good P. Nice to finally be able to chat with you a bit. Let’s dive right into this. Considering the way Reality TV has grown into such a large media platform, in hindsight is there anything you would have done different during your time on VH1?
I would have had a manager and a team working with me.* Laughs* I’m sure I would have had my own spinoff show. But I had just started rapping and wasn’t really sure what I was doing…in music or tv.
That right you have mentioned before that you were still getting your feet with rapping. One thing that’s hard to miss about you is that you’re a New Yorker and presently the 1st if not the only lady still to musically react to Kendrick Lamar’s “Control” verse. What was your intention with that reply track.