What is Jem?

 After walking by Jem a number of times, I had to satisfy my curiosity. When I walked, I saw aisles and aisles of colorful fabric from the ceiling to the ground. I loved the environment. Jem is not your typical fabric store.  Jem is owned and operated by a brother-sister team, Michelle Zahabian, who is 24 years old, and her brother David. Their father was the owner of Fabric Warehouse across the street. After his passing a year ago, Michelle and her brother opened JEM, continuing their family tradition and a downtown staple. Located at 355 Broadway in NYC.

When I asked Michelle to describe their first year and half in business, she said it has been ” a lot of mini-miracles along the way”. Support NYC small business.

Kobie Brown “From Fatherless To Fatherhood” (2012 Film)

 I along with millions of Americans have grown up “Fatherless”. And today 40% of American children live in a fatherless home raised by single mothers, aunts, grandmothers and other female caregivers. Kobie Brown’s 2012 film From Fatherless To Fatherhood explores the causes, effects and possible solutions to turning the corner on father absence. We met at Central Park for an unscripted, insightful conversation about the inspiration for the film, his family story and his goals. I love and support what Kobie is doing, solutions through dialogue.

“Before You leave this planet, it is important that you get in touch with what your purpose is and not be defined by what your job or career may be..but find out what it is you are suppose to do for the betterment of mankind and everything else will fall into place.” – Kobie during our Central Park conversation

My Small Story Mix: Detroit To NYC

Detroit Inspired. NYC Executed. The initial stories I filmed in my hometown of Detroit have grown into over 100 NYC stories. This is a mix of clips from 12  stories: Motown to Grotown (a conversation @Detroit hospital is the impetus for http://www.mysmallstory.com) , Schott Free (former LOUD a&R, think Wutang, MoBB Deep), Stacey Mckenzie (Model/Entrepreneur told she was “too ugly to be” the supermodel she is today), Steven Mark Klein (New Yorker), Georgia (Family Beauty Business), Omar Dubois (Culture writer, traveler), Beans (Music artist@Label store), Openhouse Gallery (NYC’s #1 pop up space/experimential marketing), Uplifting Men (Homeless Activist), Samia & I@World Cup (unbeknownst to us, samia is 2-3 weeks pregnant with our daughter Chloe), Hussein Warmack (Founder, Nu South Lemonade) and Amel Larrieux (music artist loved by many, I first met Amel while filming the making of GURU’s Jazzmatazz).

The Blisslife of Amel Larrieux from Groove Theory & Sweetback

Today’s temperature was uncomfortably hot and humid but I perked up when I bumped into R&B songwriter Amel Larrieux at Broadway and 10th street. She has just returned from a vacation in the Bay area. We walk along 10th street and she shares the excitement about having her daughter in her band which comes out later this year on Blisslife Recordsr; her love of taking walks and “daydreaming in New York”; her definition of knowledge/wisdom and advice for going after dreams.

Amel Larrieux, was born in New York City’s, Greenwich Village, her mother was a dance critic and professor named Brenda Dixon Gottschild. She was always a creative minded person since a tender age, and fortunately was surrounded by talented family members and inspiring artists.

Extreme Hopscotch: “You got beat by an 8yr old!”

Parents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins..get your Extreme Hopscotch game up! Yesterday at a BBQ in Brooklyn, while filming the kids "hopschotchin", they challenged myself and my longtime friend Jon Cropper to try. He said "no way". I tossed him my camera and thought how hard could it be? Well, I got schooled by an 8year old and they filmed it. It happens. I am not going to let it get me down. LOL. But I will get my Extreme Hopscotch game up.

Harlem Teens Anti-Violence Protest April 15th @ 129th & Lenox (II)

(Part II) In Harlem last Friday, teens representing high Schools across Harlem came to speak, rap and lay down on the street for 5 minutes; thus, putting themselves in the place of someone who has been shot. Here is an additional edit of the teen’s speeches, rap and words from Iesha on “why we are here” prior to their demonstration https://mysmallstory.wordpress.com/2011/04/18/harlem-teen-ant-violent-protest-april-15th-129th-lenox/

Iesha of Street Corner Resources& Harlem renaissance High School brought Harlem community leaders from the NYPD, City Council, Teachers, Pastors and Jacob Restaurant provided the backdrop and much needed electricity for the sound system.

Joshua Griffler: Changing Baby Diapers 101

I bumped into longtime friend J Griff , founder of The Stache Group Collective, Jets Fan and new Dad on NYC’s Spring Street for an animated conversation on being a father. “The first month of childhood be calm..keep it lax..that scream..that first scream will shake you to your core like u aint been shook in a longtime..but you see what life is all about.” And then he gives a great visual demonstration on the art of changing diapers. J Griff..Good People!

Lady Saw: Queen of Dancehall on Jamaica, “My Way”, Family, Kimora Lee & Farming

While at NYC’s Spur Tree restaurant , I noticed a woman wearing a leopard print with an array of people waiting to interview her. Sean (the owner of Spur Tree) said “she would be good for your small stories”. Meet Jamaican-born reggae singer and “Queen of Dancehall,” Lady Saw was the first female DJ to win a Grammy Award, and the first female to be certified triple platinum as a result of her work on No Doubt’s Underneath It All in 2003 after reaching #3 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Chart. Our conversation covers her upbringing in Jamaica, working with Eve, taking care of her family, farming , her favorite fashion brands, the origin of her name, how negativity drives her, her pets, her love of Kimora Lee and she freestyles. The multi-talented Jamaica native has had a hand in creating hits for artists like Beenie Man, Sizzla, Bounty Killer, Vegas, Vybz Kartel, Capelton and Spragga Benz. Her appeal has also resulted in dynamic collaborations with Gwen Stefani, Missy Elliot, Remy Ma, Trina, Nicki Minaj, Foxy Brown Michael Franti and Pharrell Williams

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