Alberto Cretara: Naples, LA FAMIGLIA, Farinella, NYC, “2 Pizzas & A Mic”

Naples is known for its pizzaioli; less so for its hip-hop and graffiti artists. Alberto Polo Cretara happens to be all of the above. Alberto and his partner Howard Estrin, decided to bring to lower Manhattan a very high quality product – Farinella: Italian Bakery Pizza & Panini.

He started LA FAMIGLIA, which is comprised of MCs Polo (Alberto Cretara), Sha-one (Paolo Romano), and DJ Simi (Simone Cavagnuolo). La Famiglia is the oldest established hip hop group out of Naples, Italy. They are considered one of the most instrumental and influential groups in the development and growth of the Italian Hip hop scene which includes not only, music but other urban art forms such as aerosol art/graffiti and breakdancing. Vol. 1 (2005) & NAPOLIZM Vol. 2 (2009): The first two authentic compilation of Napolitan rap, recorded in Italy and published in the USA.

Dinosaur Hill Toy Store: South Dakota, Pre-School, East Village & Butterflies

Pamela Pier founded NYC’s Dinosaur Hill 27 years ago. From South Dakota preschool teacher to a NYC toy store owner, Pamela has got to be one of the kindest people in NYC I have met. Remember, I randomly walk into small businesses in NYC. “We are committed to purveying handmade wonderments, toys and clothes that challenge the mind, please the eye, and stimulate the senses.” Dinosaur Hill

Queens Library Rally(6.03.10): The Kids Have Something To Say

I heard kids chanting “Save Our Library”. I live across the street. I grabbed my camera….. Faced with the prospect of closing 14 local branches, reducing hours at an additional 34 locations and laying off as many as 400 employees, Queens Library officials, Kids and parents gathered at the Woodhaven location and rallied Tuesday. This story is from the angle of the kids and their guitar teacher, Ken. The kids have created a new movie as well.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95pxcJ5g7bA

Hakim Green: Young Genious, Hip-Hop Education, Newark Entrepreneurship & LIFE

 Say hello to East-Orange,NJ born Hakim Green. Entrepreneur, A former School Teacher, Member of Channel Live and now Executive Director of The FOR LIFE INITIATIVE . I spent the day with Hakim in Newark witnessing his passion to stem gang violence. (FLI) is a non-profit organization committed to advocacy, awareness and education. FLI’s vision is to advance a national series of sociopolitical movements to reduce increasing incidents of youth gang and gun violence. Our efforts through “The Initiative” are to motivate and mobilize indigenous communities to take a proactive approach to reducing homicides, serious injuries and other negative consequences of gun violence occurring in neighborhoods throughout America. FLI’s mission is to advance a national series of sociopolitical movements to reduce increasing incidents of youth gang and gun violence.

Joan Morgan: Poetry, Salsa, Jamaica & 3 Interpretations

Joan Morgan. Entrepreneur. Writer. Mother and loved and admired by many including yours truly. Joan was one the first people I met in NYC back in June 1992. This story was filmed at Joan’s Spur Tree Birthday soiree with 3 of her girlfriends sharing stories and qualities about Joan. Joan Morgan is an award-winning journalist and author and a provocative cultural critic. A pioneering hip-hop journalist and entertainent writer, she began her professional writing career freelancing for The Village Voice before having her work published by Vibe, Interview, MS, More, Spin, Giant and numerous other publications. Formerly the Executive Editor of Essence and one of the original staff writers at VIBE, Joan Morgan is the author of When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost — a fresh, witty, and irreverent book that marks the literary debut of one of the most original, perceptive, and engaging young social commentators in America today. Her work appears in numerous college texts, as well as books on feminism, music and African-American culture. She is currently teaches “The History of Hip-Hop Journalism” at Duke University.” So that’s what I do. Here’s a bit about who I am. I’m a Jamerican girl, born in hills of Westmoreland Jamaica and raised in the South Bronx whose been lucky enough to carve out a career writing about the things I care about most: among them hip-hop culture and the lives of black women. I have an amazing kid whose wit, courage, kindness and heart inspire and humble me everyday. I’m a New Yorker, a city girl through and through. I love great restaurants, stilettos, a good mojito and fine wine but I live in the country so I can hear myself think. I write from my office overlooking the river with my dog at my feet. All things considered its a pretty good life.

Georgia: Family Business, Hair Culture, The Wall & Customer Service

Meet Sister-in-Laws Jodie Patterson and Kiara Ellozy , the founders of Georgia. Part beauty store and part salon, Georgia harbors a soft spot for the frizzy-haired masses. Named after co-founder Jodies corkscrew-curled daughter, the inviting space was designed by Christian Wassmann and Serge Becker, the creative mind behind hot spots like the Box and Bowery Bar. — Their inspiration is Harlem native Madam CJ Walker..As a manufacturer of hair care products for African American women, Madame C. J. Walker, born Sarah Breedlove, became one of the first American women millionaires. http://www.georgiany.com/index.php

Raqiyah Mays: Motherhood, Blogging, Acting & Faith

I met Raqiyah and her son in Brooklyn on Court Street – downtown BK- for an unscripted conversation. We discussed her current projects, being a Mom, advice for single women in NYC, she and her husband’s experience dealing with the Foster Care process to gain custody of their son; and advice for those considerng being an entrepreneur. Meet Raqiyah Mays: Writer, actress and radio personality, Raqiyah’s working on her first novel, performing Off-Broadway in the AUDELCO award-winning play “Platanos & Collard Greens” and the new show “Auction Block to Hip Hop.”CHECK THE BLOG: Raqiyahmays.wordpress.com

Belinda Becker: Mother, DJ, Dancer & New Yorker

 Before Belinda Becker became Belinda Becker the DJ-dancer-actress, she had noble aspirations of being a journalist. Or rather, thats what her strict Jamaican parents hoped shed become. They wanted me to be something concrete, like a journalist, doctor, lawyer—not something iffy, recalls the 40-year-old triple threat. [Theyd say], Freelance? How are you going to live? What kind of life is that? After graduating from the University of Florida and moving to New York, she knew that the corporate life was not her speed. So she quickly became a staple in the New York Citys club scene, deejaying at legendary clubs including Area and Nells, now at La Esquina and Spur Tree. She has acted in a range of foreign and indie American films, playing a prostitute who falls in love with musician in 1990s Los Angeles and working alongside Samuel L. Jackson and Giancarlo Esposito in 1994s Fresh. And since 2004, shes been dancing with Urban Tap, a respected collective of musicians and performers.

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