Ramadan Real

kulture, opinion, travel

My thoughts about experiencing Ramadan abroad via Essence online 


11.14.14 Sole DXB Review

fashion, kulture, music, opinion, travel

DSC01148Yesterday, I spent the day exploring the local street culture here in Dubai courtesy of Sole DXB. I know you’re probably thinking, wheeet? Street culture where? Personally, one of the most influential parts of being a transport to a young country like the UAE, is depositing some of your culture into what is already there.


As a result of millions of people transitioning in and out of the UAE for employment and/or tourism, and the recent influx of research through social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter, an appreciation of street culture’s fashion, music and brands has emerged and is continuing to grow.

IMG_0872Sole Dubai attracted many expats and locals; some interested in exploring the origins of Dubai’s own street culture, others as fans of fashion, sneakers, music, and/or breakdancing.


Neoprene sweatshirts from Nomad

Located at Dubai’s Design District, Sole DXB featured streetwear vendors in a literal “trunk show,” utilizing the hatch of Mini Cooper’s to showcase garments from Juniors be Junior and Nomad [pictured above] among five other streetwear labels.


Melody Ehsani for Reebok


Face Stockholm for Reebok

Sponsored by Pepsi, Mini Cooper and Gatorade the event also featured a basketball tournament, graffiti artists, djs, breakdancing, exhibits from anchor brands, Early Retirement, PUMA, Reebok and Level Shoe District.


alife for PUMA


Reebok Pumps and Kamikazes

There were also selected private sneaker vendors showcasing popular Jordan and Nike brands available for swap or sale. I always gravitate toward Jordan brand, but there were also lots of KD’s, Lebron’s, AirForce1s and Air Max to delight any sneaker enthusiast.


Surrounding the perimeter of the event were exhibits from over 15 participating brands like Ray Ban, Vans, G-Shock, and Corcel with merchandise available for purchase.


Sole also invited guests to attend panel discussions such as Hip Hop and Your Neighborhood, featuring notable influences in Dubai’s street culture including hip-hop group The Recipe and Origins: A Panel with Kish Kash.

DSC01108Overall, Sole Dubai provided me evidence to believe that street culture is developing among the UAE streets. In my day to day when I’m running errands in Air Max 95s or grocery shopping in Jordan 10s, I’ve gotten varied reactions. As with anything different, I think there are some negative perceptions, which ultimately breed a curiosity within the local community.


[A few take aways] Outside of the newest releases and high end sneaker collabs, rarely have I seen, met or heard any other females here with what sneaker enthusiasts would describe as “heat.” I did see a few at Sole Dubai which was refreshing, but because of this I am interested in seeing how street culture and this event continues to grow each year because it provides the reinforcement of a familiar comfort zone for some expats, especially.


The surface level of street culture is becoming easier to participate in for example sneakers and fashion, but the depth of street culture and street fashion originated from necessity [a conversation I’m def willing to have with anyone] So, the next challenge is how do you invite others, especially local citizens to actively participate in order to grow the streetwear movement here in Dubai so that it becomes not just something to see or do on the weekends, but a way of life?

Listen to This [Round Midnight]

kulture, music, opinion

FullSizeRenderThis isn’t like Jill Scott. This isn’t like Chrisette Michelle. This isn’t like Lauryn Hill. This is the one and only Davonne D’Neil.

Though all of the aforementioned artists each made her claim in the music world with amazing vocals and musical compositions, Davonne D’Neil’s recent release of “Round Midnight” is also refreshing sound oozing with femininity, nostalgic R&B samples, and lyrics that might have you reading through old text messages from you know who.

The album from the D[M]V artist, which boasts 17 tracks, is easy to relate to and perfectly describes familiar scenarios perfectly, like catching someone’s eye in On The Low, sharing a dance with your favorite person in All Night Long [which also features a live instrumentation go-go inspired beat], or reflecting on lost love in my personal fave, Charlie.

The album has plenty of features as well. Davonne shows her vocal creativity alongside other artists in several songs including, Coffeehouse Conversation, You’re Like, Wine Side and Hey Baby.

I can say much more about Round Midnight but I definitely invite you to enjoy this refresher for yourself. The production, lyrics and vocal abilities of Davonne make it easy to listen to this album over and over again.

Now can I get a Charlliiiiiiieeeeee….?

Buy Round Midnight here

Follow IG @davonnedneil


One Liner god [OVO]

kulture, music, opinion

I’m a fan of Drake. Ever since I listened to him say “Shake up the world that is what I’m bout to do…” and sample Goapele’s “Closer” on Comeback Season, I’ve been addicted to his lyrics and ability to harmonize and rap on the same track all while being transparent about his personal life and experiences.

The self-proclaimed, October’s Very Own [OVO], recently dropped 3 new tracks proving his ownership of the title OVO. Here are some of my favorite one-liners from the tracks below.

Heat of the Moment

“They don’t read anymore…They don’t even read anymore”

This line is funny to me! As a teacher, I always talk about how my students now and in the past, don’t f’n read! It sucks! Drake too sounds concerned about the future generations and their lack of literary interest. This track describes how the rapper and younger generations are primarily interested in the now, living in the heat of the moment, rather than their impact on the future. Oh, and it also features a really funny phone call clip from Drake’s dad.

How About Now

“Remember when you had to take the bar exam, I drove in the snow for you”

“I bought your dad a bunch of sh*t for Christmas he aint even say thank you.”

I feel like a lot of guys who felt unappreciated in a relationship are going to make this song their anthem. Drake compares his extraordinary efforts in a failed relationship with the girl’s lack of effort, then basically throws it all back in her face over a Jodeci sample. If I was this girl, I would definitely feel some type of way! And whoever’s dad that is who didn’t say thank you for the Christmas gift… What a shame *French Montana voice*

6 God

“Sold a couple bentleeeeys last week, they want my old toys”

“You was poppin’ back when usher wore a U-chain”

“Nobody really likes us, except for us”

Perfect song for doing your cardio routine or sh*t talking, or both. Drake extends the ending of some words at the end of a bar and creates a really infectious flow. This song will definitely get lots of plays in clubs.

What new release from Drake is your favorite?

“Do Art!”- Visual Artist K.O. Gray

kulture, opinion


The Arts [visual, musical, performance] is the pulse of our society. We are affected at every waking minute of our lives by the creativity, dedication and motivation of others. The perfect song on the album that described your first breakup, the larger than life mural that peers into your eyes every day on the way to work, or a viral video of the latest flash mob that captures your attention, The Arts helps us to express ourselves in ways that may seem unimaginable.


K.O.’s son works on a creation in the home studio

K.O. Gray is a talented visual artist colorfully brushing his way into being mentioned among the conversation of artistic greats. Neon graffiti of words and inspirational symbols, homemade paint palettes splattered with acrylic colors and floating images of Benjamin Franklin and Bishop from the influential movie, Juice, all share space in his home studio.

Screenshot via K.O. Gray’s Personal Site http://grayart814.wix.com/kogray

Canvases of musicians like Yasiin Bey, Marvin Gaye, Godfather of Go-Go Chuck Brown and Jill Scott display how Gray combines musical influences with his creative talents. Not only does this visual artist create masterpieces for walls, but also for your feet with custom painted Timberland boots and Converse classic Chuck Taylor’s.


October 20, 2014, at Penn Social in Washington, DC, Gray will be a featured visual artist at AXIS presented by RAWartists.org. A ticket guarantees your mind to be visually stimulated by one of the DMV region’s artistic greats. Contact K.O. Gray Visual Stimulator \\ @grayart814 via IG \\ grayart814@gmail.com  x kennie