Otis Glenn is a native of East Baltimore, DDH to be exact. It’s a term I’ve heard a few times, and when I sat down with the owner of Therapy BRND (a mental health focused clothing brand) we talked about the origins of the term. We also talk about the pivotal moments in Otis’s life that lead to him starting his clothing line, the importance of continuing acceptance of mental health issues (and wellness) in the black community, anime (which seems to be a running theme as of late). and advice for those wanting to start their own clothing line.
Though her stage name is synonymous with Baltimore’s music and arts scenes, DJ Trillnatured (real name Jess Hyman) wasn’t always a party dog, or even a DJ. In fact as she tells it, she had to FORCE herself to be more outgoing during her teens and early 20s. DJing became a creative outlet for the love of music that churned inside her, and it’s allowed her to give back to her community. Listen as Jess talks about growing up in Harford County, the reason why she made the decision to “step out” socially, and why the most important thing for her….was learning how to count.
When you close your eyes and think of the word “archive”….what do you see? Maybe grainy black and white films, or sitting in front of a microfiche machine scrolling through old periodicals. More importantly, what do you feel? Looking back at any institution’s history is bound to stir up negative feelings, but that isn’t the goal of archivist and photographer Deyane (Dee-yawn) Moses. A 7 year veteran of the US military, what began as a longing for a connection to her Carribean heritage and culture put Deyane on a path of exploration and discovery of the spotted history of Maryland’s most celebrated art school. Listen as she talks about her anger at being denied the knowledge of her family’s history, the struggles (and bright spots) of her time in the military, and her journey from servicemember to an MFA graduate of MICA, all while putting the school’s history under a microscope.
If you tried to describe Joyell Arvella in two words, I’d say it’s impossible. It’s impossible to fit all of the travelling, experiences good and bad, selflessness and dedication to impact into a two word description of Joyell. But if you HAD to describe her in two words, like for some weird reason it’s a hypothetical life or death situation? For me, only two words come to mind: incredibly compassionate. Though, Joyell admits: some times she wishes she could turn her empathy off.
Jackie Downs works at the Baltimore Office of Promotions and Arts as the Arts Council Director. I’d tell you what that means, but then you wouldn’t listen to the episode and you should. Why? Because the Queens, New York native tells great stories from growing up in the Big Apple, how much she DISLIKED the career she went to college for, and as someone who has worked in both Baltimore and Washington D.C., the cultural differences that help and hinder the D and the M in the DMV.
Alpha Massaquoi Jr. was born on Bushrod Island in Liberia. The island was named after Bushrod Washington, president of the American Colonization Society, or The Society for the Colonization of Free People of Color of America. It encouraged the relocation of freed slaves back to their motherland which was great, only problem is when they selected Liberia as the destination they didn’t (or chose not to) consider the fact that…people were already living there. Listen as Alpha talks about how the decisions of the past impacted his family’s future, struggling to find himself after his family emigrated to the U.S., the start of the Hot Sauce Art Collective, and why he was able to get away with being the family contrarian.
Carleen spent her childhood in one of New York’s most infamous neighborhoods and home to arguably the most legendary hip hop group of all time (hint: 10304). While the world outside was 90s boom bap, puffer coats and pagers, stepping through her family apartment’s threshold transported you to the sunny shores of her ancestral home, Liberia. Not all was sunshine and rainbows in Carleen’s life; she suffered a lot of setbacks that put strain on her mental health, as well as strained her family relationships. But through it all she persevered, found self-love, passion and pride for her heritage through cooking, and has earned the title of Lady Le Monade (and if you pronounce it with an accent you’re bougie).
The Media Rhythm Institute is a collaboration born from the minds of two Baltimoreans (one by way of Florida) that combined their love of hip hop, and passion for youth education. MRI blends media literacy, STEM, and artistic expression into a program that’s spawned mini-documentaries, compilation mixtapes, and perhaps most importantly, a level of understanding and camaraderie with two communities that were headed fast down a path of mutually assured destruction.
MRI’s: Bandcamp: https://mriprograms.bandcamp.com/album/greatest-hits-vol-1
It’s not often I talk to a musician or artist and they explain how Math is integral to their music making process. It’s also not often the musician breaks 4th wall to remind you; his entire brand is a gimmick. The more I talked with Score|Swayze the more I enjoyed his candid yet thoughtful approach to music, how he internalized his lonely excursions into Baltimore’s art scene, and most importantly…anime and cooking.
Intro: Batmane Beyond
Outro: Tsubomi’s Interlude
Find Score|Swayze on Bandcamp
For the last 10 years Trish has been doing what everyone is telling you to do on social media….that is, she’s been buying, selling and renovating properties. But it’s not as easy as 1,2,3….there’s a whooole lot of other steps before you get to the bag, and even AFTER you get the bag, Trish says you can still fumble it if you’re not thinking long term. Listen as Trish talks about her beginnings in Springfield, MA, the start of Ofori and Co, and why the end result isn’t the most important thing to her when approaching jobs.
Photo: Bmore Art