Entrepreneur Interview

Meet Kia Ray

Today’s interview is with the Kia Ray.  She is outspoken, skilled, and professional when it comes to her craft. She has only been in the makeup game for about 10 months and is constantly evolving. In this interview you learn a little more about her background and who the real Kia Ray is, enjoy!

Follow her on Instagram: @makeupbykiaray |  Below you will find the video and we encourage you to give feed back! SDBUP would also like to give Dottn Boyz a major shout out for the camera work!

Entrepreneur Interview Music

A TRUE Musical Experience

BOOMscat On Red Couch

Last week, I attended the official release party for BOOMscat’s Album The West Wing Project Live Ep. It was held at Mad Momos Beer and Deck Restaurant on 14th street in Northwest DC. I came rushing in all late because I had just left a dinner on the other side of DC but ironically, I believe I came right on time. I told my girl, who tagged along, that the place was going to be packed and don’t bother wearing heels; from what I’ve heard BOOMscat knows how to get a full house. So, it was no surprise when we came in and it was exactly that, a full house. We circled around the bar area and luckily found two seats. While in the mist of settling down, the crowd was shouting “give us more, give us more.”

Asha Santee (BOOM) and Jennifer Patience Rowe (scat), the beautiful duo of BOOMscat, are naturals. While on stage, they carried a normal conversation as if this was not a live performance but rather a causal day at rehearsal. Their energy, passion, and emotion spilled over into the crowd. I couldn’t believe what I was watching. Not only did they deliver a five-star music experience but they gave us a show to be remembered. BOOMscat interacted with the audience, urging everyone to get in on it by asking “should we do another” as if the crowd could ever say no. I watched the entire set in “aw.”

Once they were done I had to snap back to reality, because if I wanted to speak to them I would have to beat the other fans who had come early and gotten good seats and had strategically placed themselves right by BOOMscat’s equipment.

The official name of the group is The Peace & Body Roll Duo BOOMscat and as their bio, from their website, states “together, they create a sound that ignites vulnerability, elevation and self-reflection.” I snagged the two ladies separately and was able to get you readers a little more of an insight on BOOMscat.


[A] “Why music?”

[P] “Because it is the thing that comes so natural to me and because I know every morning I will wake up and be able to do this thing and love it and do it with my entire heart because it is in me…I was born with it.”

[A] “If you could open up for anyone, who and why?”

[P] “Ledisis! I think her voice is amazing, she is technical goddess, and I want to interact with her on a vocalist level.”


[A] “Why music?”

[Asha] “Because music is necessary for life…I can’t live without music I wouldn’t be here.”

[A] “If you could open up for anyone, who and why?”

[Asha] “Erykah Badu, not questions asked. Her style, her freedom, and her passion with music – just the way she arranges music, it touches my soul and that is how I want to touch other people with my music.”

These virtuosic women are humble and passionate beyond measure. I truly believe that the music they create has the power to evoke emotion that would other wise go untapped. Do yourself a favor and support this dynamic duo. Download their album here: and visit their respective sites below.  Oh and if you wanted to know my favorite song is: #7 Closure. Get HIP!

This article is just a sample of what is to come from SDBUP & BOOMscat – full interview coming soon. Stay Tuned!

Connect with BOOMscat


Astu Mengesha – Stay Down Blaze Up

Art Entrepreneur Inspiration Interview Mindblowing

Meet Chidinma Dureke

“My goal is to redefine the definition of blackness in the Diaspora, by using color, design elements to transcend physical material reality.”

Thank God for the creators of Instagram! I am always finding amazing artists and this week we are highlighting an extremely talented female artist and her name is Chi-Chi. When people submit their work to the website I initially send out a questionnaire and I condense their information, but I have decided to do something a little different so you can get the REAL artist. So below you will find the answers, directly from Chi-Chi herself. Enjoy!

Chi-Chi[Q] What is your full name?

[A] Chidinma Dureke a.k.a. Chi-Chi

[Q] Where are you from?

[A] I am a first generation African-American & both my parents are Nigerian. I am native of Maryland born in Washington D.C., raised by Nigerian parents.

[Q] When do you believe you became an artist and why?

[A] I think I truly embraced my talent and took the title as “Artist” after my senior art exhibition. I say this because it had taken three others and myself several months, weeks and sleepless night to put making this show life changing. The emotions I felt the day of the show were truly amazing and encouraging. I had finally felt and found my calling in the arts. My work spoke for me that day and my message was clear in my work. To be able to impact other lives in that light was so amazing. Art allows freedom of expression and ideas in a peaceful way.  Not to mention being at a predominately white university and the only African-American girl in the exhibition and sell the most work that afternoon wasn’t too bad either. That experience gave me the validation and confidence I needed to go forward as an artist.

[Q] Favorite medium to work with when making your artwork.

[A] I would have to say oil pigments are my favorite medium to work with. I work primarily with oil paints on different surfaces. Every once in a while I use other mediums like fabric, paper, ink and gouache.

[Q] Who or what inspires you to create?

[A] My culture or lack there of culture inspires me to create. African aesthetic and West African/Nigerian culture all play a huge role in my work. Being a woman inspires me to create. For example, my use of kente cloth, bold/bright colors, textiles, African fabric and women of African descent. Being a minority inspires me to create. Initially, my portraits were based on the culture of hair and it’s significance it has in African –American culture. Using bold African fabric as head wraps to disguise what the figures hair look like; the viewer is then forced to focus on the woman’s natural and physical beauty. In the past we used Colorism to discriminate against each other as blacks and today hair has become another way to divide and discriminate ourselves as a people. Currently, my work focuses on hair and its significance in black culture but has evolved into beauty and what I feel it means to be beautiful. My goal is to redefine the definition of blackness in the Diaspora, by using color, design elements to transcend physical material reality. The expressionistic sunflowers are not naturalistic but used to represent society and mood. The fleshy, peachy color in each skin tone gives more positive feeling and the continuous use of the color green symbolizes growth and nature. With Africa as my main inspiration I fuse colors, textures, organic shapes and traditional techniques to create images that are fresh, iconic, expressive and diverse.

[Q] What is your absolute favorite project or piece of work you have created and why? What does that piece mean to you?

[A] I don’t have a favorite piece from the past five years. I enjoy all my work equally. The one piece that has been the biggest social experiment would have to be “One Drop.” The focal point here again is feminine beauty and what constitutes blackness. This piece is number one of eight. The piece is entitled “One Drop” primarily because it is difficult to determine the ethnicity this young woman represents. It is evident that she has that 1% of black in her. With her intense gaze, Head Wrap is a more passionate exploration of culture, portraiture. My ultimate goal is to shift our focus on whom the woman is rather than what her hair looks like, facial structure and complexion. What she looks like and the texture of her hair should no longer be used to define a woman. The goal is to shift focus from what she is mixed with and how diluted her blackness is, how “black” he or she is.At the time of working on this piece I was at a difficult period of my life.  As a graduate trying to figure out if I was really going to pursue being a professional artist or work for someone else. In the process of trying to figure out life after college, I kept getting my hair relaxed once a month, wearing long straight weaves back to back. I grew my natural hair out in preparation of my big chop while figuring out who I wanted to be in represent in this world after college. My piece “One Drop”, helped me to express how I was feeling about the world at that moment in my life and our obsession with the western ideals of beauty and hair. I think her strong gaze exemplifies my frustration and awareness.

[Q] A quote you live by (optional)

[A] “ My favorite quotes are those on opportunity. When opportunity presents itself, if it is not inconvenient, it is no longer an opportunity.” – Margaret Dureke founder and president of WETATi

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Connect with Chi-Chi | |

Astu Mengesha – Stay Down Blaze Up

Advice Art Entrepreneur Inspiration Interview

Meet Narel Argaw

“Art is all about expression, you will value your art when you drop a little part of you in it. You will be patient enough to perfect it.”

8cd8a0a2fa0011e2a8e322000a9f13d9_7Born and raised in Ethiopia, Narel moved to the United states at the age of 12. He attributes a lot of his foundation to his father, who discovered his gift early on and enrolled him in art school at the age of nine. He was the youngest in his class but was able to prove himself by picking up art fundamentals, right away. Art was not just a childhood fling, as it can be for many of us, but rather a passion that further evolved through intense lessons. Upon enrolling in AP art courses in high school, Narel was able to refine his talent and learn how to be more open and true to himself when creating.

Art is something that allows Narel to see the ‘surreal world’ in reality. He states “I do not just imagine it, but I create it – it is more of a deep subconsciousness state of mind I deal with. Art will define you. What you think, is what you print. It is a journal. It is the real you. It is sacred.”

When reading his submission, I truly began to believe that Narel creates because it is his calling. Art is extremely profitable and for many and it can be a way to make ends meet, so it is easy to see how artists may lose passion as it becomes a duty. Narel expressed the following “I have a lot of paintings that I haven’t even shown to my close friends. I’ve never sold any of the pieces and every time the subject comes up I always refuse. I, honestly, do not think I will ever sell any of my work.”

When asked what his favorite medium is, he responds: “I am a fan of Expressionism and Surrealism. Acrylic paintings are my favorite but I always keep a stack of sketch pads that I doodle in everyday. Ink, pen, & color pencils are always perfect. It is always the quickest way to create my rough drafts.” He later elaborates “I admire fine art. I look up to a few well-respected artists and couple of Surrealism painters but I’m more of dark arts fan. Meaning, I rather paint what I feel. I am a fan of what made me, Narel, I take time to admire the negative in me. I rather paint about my psychedelic thoughts of the perfect world rather than my reality.  I rather define lust than love. If I can’t vent in art, I wouldn’t, at all.”

All of his pieces are purposeful. “All of them are a reminder of a particular season, I look at them as a journal. And so I value them all the same.”

Below are samples of his work, links to more of his creations, and ways to connect. Enjoy!

To see more of his work please visit: Facebook:

Connect with Narel

Instagram:@Na_rell or @Narelart| Youtube:

Astu Mengesha – Stay Down Blaze Up

Art Entrepreneur Music

Ones to Watch in 2014 Project

About a month ago I was scrolling through my feed and I came across a retweet, of a DeepMatter image, from the ERKYAH BADU. Just to clarify, it was not her fan page or some random natural hair diva claiming to be Badu, but the actual blue check official ERKYAH BADU page! Miss ‘Bag Lady’ herself, haha okay you get the point!

So, I opened the image and nearly chocked on my water. It was a green, think hulk green, drawing of a life like Badu. It was so accurate and unusual that I had to look at the source. I went straight to DeepMatter’s page and I felt like I had just hit the lottery. I found images, upon images of celebrities and icons. It was all very mesmerizing and unlike any other drawings, I had ever seen before.

Naturally, I reached out and I am so excited because I am officially giving you the scoop on the master mind behind the “Ones to Watch in 2014” project. Woohoo! DeepMatter, based in the UK, states ‘we are an online music and art source, giving music for your ears and art for your eyes’ and that is exactly what they do! In the past they were responsible for ‘DeepMatter’s Top 30 Rappers’, ‘DeepMatter’s R&B/Soul List’, and another project revolving around Black History Month in the UK, all of which are amazing projects!

DeepMatter, who has been releasing, one by one, their picks of individuals to look out for in 2014 has sent over the entire project and they have also sent over a little write up to really understand their mission. Below you will see artists such as Matt McGhee, Chance The Rapper, Joey Bada$$, and Vic Mensa.

Check it out and remember who gave it to you FIRST ;)! Enjoy.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Combining our never-ending love for hip hop and our artwork together once again on this project ‘DeepMatter’s ones to watch in 2014.’ The project was completely based around hip hop, and which artists we believe are heating things up in the scene, as well as dropping the freshest tracks! We love hearing new artists and keeping up with their movements, we have been trying to contact all musicians we illustrate in hopes of building a fruitful relationship with them. We have been lucky enough to have had some really positive responses, we wish everyone the highest degree of success and hopefully we can go on some amazing adventures with them along the way. Every project we produce has a place very close to our hearts, and we hope that through each of those projects, we can inspire people to stay trill and keep it 100 in whatever they wish to achieve!

To put a name to a face for the images above visit the actual project here:

Connect with DeepMatter

Instagram:@DeepMatters| Twitter:@Deep_Matter | Facebook: