Art Entrepreneur Events Interview Music New

Haile Roots in Concert April 2

FullSizeRender (8)Haile Roots and the Fano Band are coming to the District and we are super excited to be covering the event this year!

For those not too familiar with the Ethiopian reggae artist please check out his music here on itunes and get ready for a dose of feel good music with a dash of consciousnesses. I promise you won’t be disappointed. (Also, as a cheat sheet here are a couple songs I recommend: Nitsuh Quwanquwayen, Bado Neber, and Chiggae.)

The event is powered by the brilliant people over at: NebFoto (@Nebfoto), Muzika Events (@MuzikaEvents), LivDMV (@Livdmv) , Noble Lounge and Bar, and Too Live Crew (TooLiveCrewDC). Be sure to follow the hashtag #haileroots to learn more about the artist and the event. You won’t want to miss this!

Location: Club XO – 15 K Street Northeast, Washington, DC 20002

Date: April 2, 2016

Time: 9:30 PM to 3:00 AM

Purchase Tickets HERE

“Continental drift has rarely sounded funkier.”

Entrepreneur Mindblowing New

Just in case you were wondering . . .

Stay Down Blaze Up wants to take the time to acknowledge our loyal fans! We are currently at 600+ subscribers! This is amazing and we want all of you to be able to keep up with us on all of our outlets.

Please follow our Twitter page: @sdbup247 and Instagram: @astu_xo. These two pages will give you a continuous update of what we are doing and our latest projects.

Thank you so much for subscribing, thank you to faithful readers, and thank you to those who have left comments. You all are appreciated!

Thank you again and please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns.

Astu Mengesha – Stay Down Blaze Up

Art Entrepreneur Music New Thursday Tunes

All Hail Queen Kyi

Hustling mix-tapes, promoting live performances, and free styling at the drop of a dime; are all common characteristics I have seen in many people, over the years, who are trying to make it in the music industry.  So, I have been a little hesitant to interview musicians because like so many they come and go, they literally give up on their dream without a fight but when I saw Queen Kyi perform her heart out, at the Above the Runway Fashion Show, I was struck by her presence. She rapped like it was all she knew how to do, she rapped like her life depended on it, and she rapped like she already had the record label waiting after the performance.

I had the chance to finally catch up with her this week, thanks to a connection with #NightsofDC, and there is so much substance to this young woman, below is our complete interview.  Enjoy!

photo 3

Astu: “Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview! I am super excited to learn more about you, let’s start with a little information about yourself. “

Queen: “I am 24 years old and I’m from PG Country, Maryland. I have been rapping since I was 13 years old and I believe that this is my future – there is no other option.”

Astu: “You mentioned you started rapping at 13, why rap and did you consider yourself a rapper then as well?”

Queen: “I didn’t own up to the title of a rapper until I was 18 or 19, it took me a while haha. I love music in general, and I have my mom to thank for that. Rhyming has always been something I was able to do and of course it all began as poetry. ”

Astu:”So I listened to the mix-tape and the tracks are dope. Tell me where did the stories come from? Also what continues to push you to pursue this?

Queen: “A lot of the songs are from personal experiences.  But don’t get me wrong a couple of the tracks are not things I have gone through, they are just observations of things our generation goes through. I would have to say that after I got back from serving overseas in Iraq, which was a about a year ago, I knew making music was it for me. My outlook on life was forever changed and I was not going to waste my talent.”

Astu: “Tell me, do you get nervous when you perform? And of course I have to ask do you ever feel intimated being a woman in a heavily male dominated profession?”

Queen:”Haha it’s weird but I like being the only girl at competitions or performances. I go in; I dominate, and remain humble. When I am performing I don’t really think about anything in particular, I just feed of the crowds energy and it’s almost like I go into this alter ego and I’m just bossing.”

Astu:”The very last track ‘Check Her Out’ you mention Nipsey Hussle as your inspiration. Why him?”

Queen: “There are many people who inspire me but Nipsey’s work ethic is what I admire about him the most. He came from nothing and is really out here doing it for him-self. He strives for ownership and that is what I want – I do not want to just sign to any record label and not have my say in anything, I want to be able to control my business. He sold his CD for 100 dollars, mind you it came with a lot of extra items i.e CD, tickets, shirts, but his fans are loyal and people bought it. All in all, I can respect his business mindset.”

Queen Kyi was nothing short of amazing. She is humble, goal-orientated, and business savvy and she is here to stay. Download the mix-tape and her top three, cause I forced her to choose just three to recommend, are ‘Came Up, ‘Saks 5th’, and ‘Lover Friend’.

Check out her mix-tape and download it here:

Connect with Queen Kyi


Astu Mengesha – Stay Down Blaze Up


Welcome 2014

Dear readers,

Welcome to 2014! Can you believe it? 2013 was an awesome year and we are looking to top it. Before, I delve into what Stay Down Blaze Up is looking to do in the new year, I want to take the time to say thank you. Thank you to the readers, thank you to those who have accidentally stumbled across this gem and have followed, thank you to my friends, thank you to my family, and of course to every supporter out there. Thank you to those who participated in the pilot interviews conducted this past year; you all are truly loved.  SDBUP would not be here today if you all did not believe in the blog’s potential and most of all, my potential. Again, thank you.

SDBUP is looking to make some major moves. Now while changes will occur, SDBUP will remain your source on the movers and shakers of our generation, it will provide positive happenings and events in our communities, and continue to be the people’s blog. I, originally, wanted to give you everything to look forward to in this letter but where is the fun in that? All I can ask of you is to stick with us here at SDBUP. We are your new connect and as always continue to stay down my friends and blaze up.


Astu Mengesha

Art Clothes . . . Entrepreneur Events New


Thursday evening was a night to remember. I attended the first ever #AbovetheRunway fashion show with a girlfriend of mine and I had complete and total access to the behind the scenes. Created by both City Dreamz Entertainment and A-Quest , a DC socialite and owner of Nights of DC, #AbovetheRunway was an extremely elegant event. The runway included several of DMV’s finest in up and coming urban fashion and intermissions were filled with fresh musical talents the District had to offer.

Below is a detailed account. Enjoy!

I originally set out to interview designers but because everyone was ‘caught up in the moment’ of the event I became so intrigued by my observations on how everything came together. I arrived around 5 PM and saw the coordinator, A-Quest, delegating and directing everyone as the models, the make-up artists, and designers poured in. He kept his cool the entire time and everyone cooperated pretty efficiently.

The event took place at the LOOK Lounge on K Street NW and it began roughly around 8:30 PM. The venue was beautiful and the set up made you feel like you were at an upscale runway show. The lounge had actually just finished up a rally for Hillary Clinton, right before the fashion show, and I could clearly see that the establishment attracts various groups of people – an excellent choice on behalf of the coordinator. Several photographers were present and there was, of course, a red carpet at the main entrance for attendees to take pictures with friends and everyone had access to the designers before and after the show.  Upon entering the lounge to your left was a fully stocked bar and to the right were vendors from the designers with merchandise to purchase – strategically placed for people to look at before the show and to buy after seeing on the models. I found myself around the vendor table entirely too much the items were all amazing and I am all about supporting urban entrepreneurs. I finally ran over to my seats that my friend was holding for us and the show began both hosts A-Quest and Ashley McManus delivered an excellent production.

The show included the following designers: PrissyTreasures, HommeDior, HonestyGray, Undergroundmarketclthco, LostCredit, Raw_Ro – all of whom are searchable via instagram. The designs were not merely simple shirts and matching pants but sophisticated outfits including headpieces, accessories, and original footwear. The colors were vibrant but also reflective of the current winter season – very appropriate. I highly recommend that you check them out!

As mentioned before the show included several performers. I appreciated the fact that it was a variation of the musical genres both R&B and Rap and it was good to see the female rapper, QueenKyi, kill it! All of the performers had quality stage presence and the crowd was thoroughly entertained. (Their names and mixtapes along with links will be released in another post.)

Below are pictures with the hashtag #abovetherunway . . .

Displaying image.jpg

Make up and hair of all the models were on point!

One of my favorite pieces from the @honestygray collection. Her line was my absolute favorite.

Fierce model rocks it in this amazing two piece.

Host A-Quest and rapper QueenKyi share a moment.

An amazing head-piece from designer Rebel Motive.

All in all this event gets an A! I expressed to A-Quest how surprised I was to see this event come together and run so smoothly for it being a first time production. It is truly amazing to see what young African-Americans can do when there is a united effort. I am proud to say that #SDBUP was present and that we had the opportunity to cover #AbovetheRunway.

Ladies and Gentlemen, if you are looking for fresh, original, and mind-blowing pieces to wear for sophisticated events contact and reach out to any of these designers mentioned above – support entrepreneurs!

[Not all photos in post are mine for more pictures please look at:]

Connect with A-Quest


Aster Mengesha – Stay Down Blaze Up