VelissaKatriceVaughn

All Rise for the Honorable Judge Aliyah Sabree ! 👩🏽‍⚖️

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So where do I begin… My teammate, my girl, my friend. God places people in your life that no matter the time or distance apart… they are where they were when you last left them regardless of… whatever. That’s Aliyah for me. So not in the sense of… dang, she’s still doing the same ol’ stuff she was doing before or — she hasn’t progressed, no not like that because, boy has she…  she’s killing it. What I mean is, we don’t have to chat every day, but our bond and our place in each others life is eternal and that’s way its supposed to be!

Teammates are the sisters you always wanted, an allegiance, a lifelong bond. So Aliyah, I looked up to from day one. She was a senior, I was a freshman. She was cool, popular, beautiful, and smart. She hated running suicides just like me… winning. Sometimes I’d be first, but the next one I’d be last because I flat out hated running. Being quick didn’t mean crap to me. Anywho… we bonded during her time on the team and after. She pledged Delta which made me and some of my other teammates interested, but our coach forbid us and even said she would kick us off of the team. So there was that… but Aliyah had made it through and, TBH, our coach resented her for that. Like flat out held it against her. Would say the worse things to Aliyah like you aint got be 💩 etc. We dealt with so many stupid mind games! SMH That was my life for 4 years so if you wanna ask me why I hated hoops by  my fourth year… Uh there’s your reason why… But whatever Aliyah was more than a teammate she was my friend.
She came on spring break with me to my family’s house where I almost killed her because she’s allergic to seafood; so on and so forth… ha we go back.

She visited me in NYC after I first moved here, and it had been a while since we had seen each other. We caught up and I said so what’s next for you, and she said I’m going to be a judge. I never knew this was what she wanted, but I was like, shoot girl, that’s awesome! My friend, a judge! I knew she was working for the Mayor, but I didn’t know this would be her next step. A few weeks ago I accidentally texted her (Only God) and she told me she was being sworn in and that she would love if I could be there! I’m like WHATTTT??? Say no more. We worked out the dates, and I booked my flight to the 313.

I landed and we started to catch up. She told me she had hit up some of those other naysayers who didn’t believe in her back during our YSU days, and I was like YASSSS! Please show a hater whats up! Send a letter, call them, text them, whatever, but let them know! I had been telling my colleagues at work, my family and friends over the last few weeks about Aliyah – like sooo proud, like you have no idea. So I was so overwhelmed with pride and gratitude to be able to be there to see a young, black woman make such an astonishing accomplishment. Simply because it’s what she sought out to do, and she flat out did it! I learned so much about my friend that I never knew! I teared up with emotion as many people shared stories about my dear Aliayh. Her speech, which you can check out below, was more than inspiring.

Aliyah you are a light and an inspiration to me. I know its all cliche in the sense of people always say well, “If you say you can do it then you can do it“. Sure. But they never mention the obstacles, hard work, sacrifices, and even the mini-failures that emerge along the way. Everyone doesn’t always have the strength and courage that it takes to succeed, and I admire you for never listening or giving a damn about what a hater had to say! I am still on cloud 9 in regard to your Investiture Ceremony because it has touched sooo many people! Over 3,000 Views and 56 Shares and growing on Facebook. I read the kind things people say and I’m like YUP THAT’S MY GIRLLL (BAPS STYLE- Do you remember BAPS?!  🙃😂😍 !

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Brains, beauty, yes you can have it all ! Then, of course the dudes who are like, “Hey who’s your friend….” I’m like nah fall back LOL!

I started mentoring young black girls over the last year, so I can’t wait to tell them about YOU!!!! Like yes, this is what you can do… Keep on, keeping on Sis! But enough I won’t get all soft, just know I love you, thank you, and I’m tuned in to all the great that you will do! Check out Aliya’s speech and some pictures of her from the night of the ceremony. Also slid a little throwback in there and thank God for the GlOWUP !😂👩🏽‍⚖️

-VKV-





Jhene Aiko, Fab, Jay Z: November Concert Series

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So if you read my Solange post… you know how I live for live music! It’s like my thing… Number one thing to do besides eat… and shop…. I think. In the month of November, I got to see some of my all time faves: Jhene Aiko, Fab, and Uncle Shawn! I’ve been wanting to see Jhene for a minute. I saw her perform on Drake’s tour many moons ago, and I knew I was due. I didn’t get a chance to catch her when she was on tour with Wiz, and that was a major regret. I love her music, love, love, her music, love her sound, her messages, and I feel she and I have so many similarities. I feel myself connecting to her music in a pretty deep way. She’s a Pisces, so am I. She’s lost a brother, so have I. She can be a little Emo, SO CAN I (Ty Dolla Voice). I didn’t experiment with as many drugs as she has, and I don’t get high, but that doesn’t change the love 😍 because I love this woman! The show was at Irving Plaza and was an insanely good vibe. Everyone was so chill (for more reasons that one), and the crowd interaction was amazing. At certain points, the crowd was so loud, you couldn’t even hear Jhene! However, no one minded. I would see her again in a heartbeat. So if the Trip Tour comes to a city near you, I would totally recommend.

Next up, was Fab in Pittsburgh at Xtaza. So I don’t really have any great pics because it was last minute, and I was in the balcony(of a club not a concert venue) taking it all in (aka far way). Fab had just dropped Friday on Elm Street with Jada. I think he did a track or two off of there, but I really can’t remember. I’ve seen Fab perform a number of times. I wish the setlist could of been a little different, but I don’t make the rules. My best Fab show was at the House of Blues in Cleveland when I got to watch from backstage… or at Questions, like 100 years ago, in the Strip (BurghLife). But either way, it was still nice to get out and see him at home with family and friends… Salute!

Last but obviously not least, Hov in BK! So this was sort of a tough one. I literally went to Fab, laid down at around 3/330 AM and then hit the road to drive to NYC to see Jay around 830/9AM. So I was tired… like real tired. Shoutout to Tom for holding it down on the drive. We had a great 5.5-6 hour talk and it made the trip fly by. However, by the time Vic Mensa got off the stage, I hit a major wall and a migraine ensued. BUT whatever, Jay Z was coming out soon, so I would get it over it.. at least until the show was over. Bae scooped me up some 4:44 merch, and we waited. He came out pretty fast, so I was happy about that. He came out to Kill Jay Z, which I think is my favorite track on the album, and Barclays went mad. I’ve seen Jay soooo many times, I’ve lost count, but it’s obviously always special to see him in Brooklyn. He killed it. I went home, slept a few hours, and hit the road back to PGH to prepare for my Granny’s fune. I was tired, but the less than 24 hour trip was well worth it, and it closed out my November music fest the right way. I’ve made a vow to see a least one live show a month at thee very minimum. It doesn’t even have to be a big headliner. I love jazz, opera, classical, etc., etc. I live in NYC, so the music opportunities are truly endless. Next up for December is thee Lil Uzi Vert and Playboy Carti… I’m looking forward this because …. well you know why! Peep the footage and images from the November shows below!!!

-VKV-

 

 

Honoring the Beautiful Mary Hazel Robinson

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This year has been full of ups and downs… and I guess you could say that it’s simply apart of life, but that doesn’t make it any easier! This year, I lost my Aunt Norma Jean, My Aunt Patty (Cousin), and now my precious little Granny. Me and my Granny had such a special and unique friendship. I kept her young and in the know.  Although she was 92, she was as sharp as an ax. She enjoyed talking about makeup, hair, and beauty. She always wanted to see pictures of me dressed up and always wanted to know, “How can you walk in those shoes?!” 😆  She loved the Kardashians, and watched faithfully every Sunday night. She always hoped Khloe and Lamar would get back together, and she also hoped Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey would get back together too!🙃  She would watch the Steelers and loved touchdowns. She was my Granny, she was my friend. She loved iPhones and iPads and even though my Mommy wouldn’t let her get one (which made her terribly upset) that didn’t stop her from Facetiming as much as she could.

Our Granny or Tweetles, as many of our family and friends liked to call her, was the glue of our family. I know when I visit home, I am going to Granny’s. It’s the meet up for the entire family. Cousins, Aunts, Uncles, Grandkids (great, and great great times 1000), Family, and Friends, that I will truly miss. I will miss her dancing to Beyonce, and slipping her some wine or champagne during the holiday. I will miss her laugh and the light she was to our entire family. I will miss Snapchatting, and watching reality TV with my girl, but most of all I will just miss your presence and your strength. I somehow thought you would live to be 150, but God called you home to be with your husband and your children, and that’s okay.

My Granny and her posse have been friends for so many years. It was gut wrenching to see them at the viewing with somber tears in their eyes. Seeing their beloved little Mary had gone to Heaven was certainly hard as all of them are in their 90’s! It’s hard for all of us, but we will be strong like you! We will live on for you and your memory will reign on forever through your many many manyyyy descendants. I love you Mary Hazel and you will forever be in my heart! Peep some great memories below!

-VKV-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Radio City Music: Solange SOLD OUT!

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TBT to Tuesday…. After missing this woman allll summer and playing around, ultimately playing myself, I finally saw Solange at Radio City Music Hall. Lord knows I do much of nothing during the week, because I am an old goat and I like to be in bed by ten at the latest 👵🏾 (granny alert). After missing Solange with Dave Chappelle, at Afropunk, Made In America, and a couple other various performances, I saw she was coming back and it was time to make my good ol’ way to see her. I did a Music of The Week, post, what a billion weeks ago…(more like music of the year, darn infrequent a** posts, and lack of consistency 🙃) but I featured Solange’s A Seat at The Table. This album literally changed my life and was so on time! Perfect is the only word to describe this piece of work. So, what better way to celebrate the one year anniversary of the album, with none other than Solange herself, LIVE! Live music is the one thing in this world that I probably love more than food. It just gives me such a feeling that I can’t really even describe. It’s like your given a chance to get lost in the emotion of the music, the live instruments (former band geek), and the aura of the performer. Obviously you can connect with certain performers more than others… AKA Corinne Bailey Rae gives you a feeling that Future will not, but its still one hell of a time (No shade to Future, I love Future). So Solange, not only connects with you, talks to you, if you’re as soft as me, you even fight back tears, she even comes into the crowd and performs with you!  (See video below!) So yes, it just was a beautiful moment! People dancing their butts off, singing to the top of their lungs, and just living in the moment of it all. Solange spoke about this album stating that for her it was about healing, and touching on subjects that affect all of us in one way or the other. She thanked us for appreciating her artistic vision and being dope and grown as f*** (her words not mine — speaking on the demographics of her listeners if you will), for loving her when she is twerking across the stage, and loving her for her authentic style and unique charisma that is truly the essence of the woman we so very love. She snuck in a few oldies, and even brought out the great great Verdine White from Earth Wind and Fire, my mommy was JEALOUS! Who doesn’t love them some EWF! 🔥🔥🔥 It was an enjoyable night with my girl Dani. I even saw my old roomie and pal Neissa, which was beyond nice! You don’t get to see people in NYC due to boro distance and your realize how much you miss them !♥️ I’m glad I scraped my butt out the bed and got crazy on a Tuesday night. Thanking Solange so much for an amazing project and an epic performance. If she comes to a city near you… seeing her is a must! I cannot WAIT for new music! Check out some of the videos and pics from last night below as well as me, Dani, and Neissa being silly !

-VKV-

 


 

 

Video Courtesy of @jaee0728

 

 

 

 

♥️Dear Tamia♥️

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When Brian mentioned the PublicSource project to me I was excited simply because I wanted to continue to give back to my community. The creation of YNGBLKPGH is so much more than just being recognized in a book. For me, it has always been about connecting with and mentoring the youth. Brian briefly mentioned that I would be responding to a young girl from Clairton. He said that the subject of her letter was Living in Clairton: ‘Nobody really cares unless it is football’. He remembered that I mentioned in the “About Me” portion of my YNGBLKPGH book entry, about being from Clairton. A little forgotten steel town that is known as the high school football capital on the word. This being true in terms of consecutive wins and the town’s affinity with the players and coaches. I was geeked to be responding to a young Clairton girl because I too was once in her shoes! I had recently completed some mock interviews for graduating Clairton High School 2017 Seniors, none of who I had never met or heard of.  I didn’t know and of their older family members, fake cousins (you know how everyone is “cousins” in the hood), or last names. So boy, was I super surprised once I opened the link and realized just who I would be responding to! Tamia Joy! Her mother my “big Sis” for a long as I can remember. I remember when Tamia was born! Little Tamia! Well not so little anymore! Miss Tamia wrote such an intelligent, opinionated, and though out piece, that I was wowed over the content and how she truly felt. I wasn’t at all surprised to learn that the Pittsburgh Post Gazette and members of the Clairton School District picked up Tamia’s Story and had some responses of their own. I called Brian and said, “I got Tamia, she’s like my niece!” No co-winky-dinks here, only God.  I read the letter, responded, and practically typed a whole book! I was so amped to respond the lovely ladies of PublicSource were like,” Girl please, this is too long”!🙃Ha! I just had so much to say. After reading Tamia’s entry several times, I even felt a little sad. Like Dang… being smart and accomplished “still” isn’t cool? Only being able to jump, shoot, leap, or dunk is accepted in our town! No, this can’t be, but moreover this can’t be how you feel and it can’t get you down!  Many greats have come out of “the C” and I wanted her to know she is going to be one of them! Believe that! I was able to edit my response down to a respectable length. I let her know that the focusing on her and not the talk of the town is the way to go. I am sooo proud of the young lady she has become. Today my response to Tamia’s letter was published on PublicSource.com!  You can read Tamia’s Story and my response letter to Tamia here !! Also check out her video below! Would love to hear what you guys think! Lastly, we welcome you to stop by Repair The World: Pittsburgh on September 23rd from 5-7 for the YNGBLKPGH X PublicSource Mentorship Event! You can get your tickets here! This is a free event so bring your mentors, mentees, and  your family and friends!

-VKV-

 

STAR WARS NIGHT AT YANKEE STADIUM ⚾️💙

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I would say the trip to Yankee Stadium was an extension of the Bae’s Birthday’s festivities but he’s  a Pirates fan. I wanted to hit this Friday night game because it was Star Wars Night and the first 16,000 fans were gifted with a Darth Vader Yankees Beanie. So the plan was  to get there super early to ensure we got our hat! However, it didn’t quite work out that way because my cousin Keith was in town and we made some last minute plans to hang out before the game. As we walked into the stadium my boyf said that people were already selling the hats on eBay for $50 a pop in typical NYC reseller fashion. I get so annoyed with New Yorkers when it comes reselling/taxin’. Concert tickets, shoes, FREE DARTH VADER X YANKEE BEANIES… like why?! Anywho, we had some hearty steak sandwiches, fries, Bae had a beer and I had a tallll strawberry daiquiri. It wasn’t bad just way too much to drink and probably played a small role in me feeling so schleepy. The game kind of stunk because I was tired, sitting next to a Mariners fan, I had blisters from walking with Keith earlier in the day, and had even been a little sick the day before. I was kind of over it. Did I mention we also lost… Bummer in the Bronx. I went home and went straight to bed. Check out some of the pics from Stars War Night below and may the force be with you and stuff…….

-VKV-


Quick Q&A With YNGBLKPGH Author Brian Burley

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So if you read this blog 🙃🙃, you’ll notice that I did a quick little re-cap/follow up on the book YNGBLKPGH. Although Brian and I have discussed the book a lot over the last few months, I wanted to take the time to ask Brian a few questions for my readers who may of not had a chance to visit the site, come to the event, or those who have simply not heard of the book. Another quick little recap if you will. I am rolling out the Q&A now because Brian took the time to link ambassadors from the book to work on a project for PublicSource. This project is live NOW! Several ambassadors of YNGBLKPGH have written letters to the black girls of Pittsburgh who shared their personal stories with the city through PublicSource. I’ll have soooo much more to say about this project in the next few days, but for now check out the current letters and responses here and check out the Q&A below!

 

VKV: What made you really write the book?

BB: These kids who I once was more than anything, I know the stories get kind of tiring but they’re the truth. Talking to a young generation who has less hope about what they can be because if what they see from people who look like them in this city is a hard conversation, man. Also I know that certain words and certain things that can be said are triggers for me, I never realized it before but hope is one of those words. I think you can lose so much when you lose hope like simple questions like “what do you want to be when you grow up?” are now difficult for you to answer because hope allows you to think about the future further than today. I more than anything just wanted the lasting images and stories they read about people who looked like them to be ones of triumph and positivity, not the negativity they see about us on the new and social media all day long. That gets draining.

VKV: How hard was it to wrangle and manage over 100 people and their stories?

BB: It was a task for sure but I always tried to keep my focus on the big picture of the final work more than anything else. I think that staying focused on the positives of it and not the negatives made it easier to keep going as well. I could’ve just focused on the people who weren’t responsive to the project but to me it was so much more productive to focus on the good things that were happening for it and with every response it got closer to the goals I had set out for it. Honestly, I really only thought that I would be able to get 50 people to buy into this idea and do the work to get it done the way I saw it getting done in my mind so when we got over 50 and then over 100 and then over 150, it just always felt like God was talking to me like “keep going because this is what I want you to do.” I also was incredibly cognizant of the fact that these were REALLY amazing people in this project who have done really AMAZING things and I had a quality level that I had to live up to in order to make it something that they would feel good about as well.

VKV: It has been 3 months since the book was released, talk about the overall response?

BB: My favorite part is the kids, right? Like they get their hands on this and its really like you can see their worlds getting bigger as they flip through and see all these people who look just like them, then they read their stories and they find out that they are from the same places that they are from and then you can see them really processing how they can be anything. That was the goal above anything that we did was to show our kids that they have the ability to be anything in this world. It’s hard for me to put my finger on specific thoughts as to what “I thought” the response would be because I tried to honestly just let it live but its really been amazing. Like our trailers we released are over 100,000 views and still being watched which is amazing to me. The book has sold over 1,500 copies but the impact is what matters the most to me with both the kids and the people involved. Like I don’t really believe that people realize what we were able to do just through this book, there are so many conversations in this city where people will without second thought will say that they can’t have young black people on their board or in their executive positions because there aren’t any…which is a lie. Period, and we proved. We came filled up an almost 300 page book with these amazing people and vibrant souls that shows how powerful and connected we can be when we all stick and work together.

VKV: What are some of the events or partnerships that have now taken place due to the book?(Reading at some of the schools, WPXI, PublicSource)

BB: It’s literally been the absolute most, haha. We’ve been in schools and in front of the kids which was and is most important to me but because of the purpose of the project. We’ve been involved in so many different spaces, we were featured on NBC and CBS and in local newspapers. So I would say we’ve done the gambit from podcasts, newspaper articles, blog features, keynote speaking events, panel discussions, webisodes, meet the author events, local interviews, its all been such a blessing, honestly. This project isn’t about me or growing my brand so every interview I go in, I go in with the same perspective, this is about growing this for these kids more than anything every time.

VKV: What was your overall goal have you reached it?

BB: My goal in this more than anything else was to affect one…just one of our kids and have them say because of this and seeing this book this way showed them that they can be anything that their heart points them in the direction of. For me, if we had one kid who said because I saw this book with all of these people and read (insert name here)’s story, I now know that my dreams are possible, BOOM, job well done, money well spent, time well done…luckily for me I got a text that next morning after the release from my mentee who had never seen the book and said “B…its all possible for me now, I see it…” Now everything else is gravy, but I do want this book to touch young people because I know the benefit of this can really be impactful for them to see so I want to get this book in the hands of every young person who would benefit and this is also a calling card for our generation too, like look at all we’re doing and we’ve done, we’re not just “coming”, we’re here whether you want to give it to us or we have to take it, its all in good hands with us.

VKV: Think of the best quote a young child has said to you in reference of the book?

BB: That’s been my favorite part, sincerely. It’s really hard to pick just one because I feel like every one just builds more but I have a story that almost got me to drop one single Denzel in Glory thug tear….I’m a guy so one of my favorites came from a dad who I met through the book who told me that as a part of helping his son read more and get more comfortable with it, they literally read the paths and open letters from the book almost every night, like as a father and son activity. He also told me when they started his son would ask him questions about if he could really do these things like these people that he has him read about and he tells him you can be that and so much more, and he thanked me because he’s seen his son’s confidence about his future go through the roof this summer, like its helping kids, which was really the goal, it doesn’t get better than that to me…like at all

VKV: What’s next for YNGBLKPGH? Will there be a second edition?

BB: The work never stops to me and for me, so we’re going to keep building on this, we have a major conference that we are in the process of putting together for US in the Winter/Spring that you guys are going to LOVE…amongst other events that we are rolling out almost monthly to keep engagement up because we have a lot of people who love what happened and who want to be involved. As for a second edition…we have to now, haha, Like I know more as this was my first book than I did when I was putting this together but I can’t wait to make it even better than the first but the first will always be my baby. It was my first time walking in my purpose and making things bigger than myself and the results have been crazy. But more importantly than that I know the impact this can have. We’re also aware that this is a model that can go throughout the country because its more than just Pittsburgh too (even though we WILL take care of home first), we need this in other cities thorughout the country and I know if this can be more, I’m going to do everything in my power to make it more.

-VKV-

Van Jones Presents: We Rise Tour

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So part two of me and Jayla’s last hoorah for the summer was a spur of the moment invite to visit the Apollo Theatre to hear Van Jones speak. I found out that Jayla had already visited the Apollo before, but for me, this would be my first trip. I am not going to front, I was low-key hype because I instantly thought of allll the greats that had performed at the Apollo and I got emotional (SUPER SOFT)! Greats like Jimi Hendrix,  Ella Fitzgerald, the Isley Brothers, Patti LaBelle, and Lauryn Hill are among the stars that began their careers on the Apollo’s stage… and last but not least THE JACKSON5! If you ever saw the American Dream Movie when the Jacksons’ visited the Apollo and rubbed the Tree of Hope stump… All in My Feels! I wanted to run down there and rub it solely because MJ had rubbed it (GEEEEEK) I texted my Mommy like, “I’M GOING BACK TO INDIANA”! She got it… if you don’t well I’m sorry fo’ ya! J5 actually made their debut on the Apollo Stage in August 1967! 50 years ago! So, all in all, very special for me! RIP MJ!❤️ – To check out some other cool facts about the Apollo click here-> 11 Facts About the Apollo Theater ! Okay MJ/Apollo love session over. I need to now transfer the love over to my girl Amy who made this possible! Thank you so much for thinking of me. It truly was such an honor to be in the room with such AMAZING PEOPLE, you being one of them! 😌😉❤️

So you may know Van Jones from CNN, as a 2X New York Time’s Bestselling Author, or for you newbies, you’ve seen him on all the 4:44 footnote videos. (Tidal Users Only!) Right now he is out on the We Rise Tour leading the #LoveArmy, an array of artists, athletes, thought leaders and local leaders through action-provoking discussions around the issues facing our communities. Topics that matter to us! In former cities he has had the likes of Meek Mill, Nick Cannon, TI, Russell Simmons, the list goes on and on! On our stage we had the honor to hear from, DJ Khaled, Fat Joe, Senator Cory Bond, Bob Bland and Carmen Perez (Founders of the Women’s March), and the incomparable Rev. Al Sharpton! LIT! Each person on the panel talked about their role in society and their everyday approach to our current cultural climate. They each shared personal stories about their past and spoke on how their experiences have shaped them to become the people that they are today. They painted extremely vivid pictures of loss, struggle, and hardships, that they  still carry with them regularly, but how these setbacks catapulted them each into working for the greater good. I think there were a few themes that I could take away. 1. Would be never let your upbringing or your hardships define you. You can’t rejoice without going through some stuff. 2. Would be don’t let the current state of our country with Cheeto, and racism, and sexism, (the list goes on and on ) define us! Van painted a good picture using Michelle Obama’s When they go low, we go high”…  He pointed out that a lot of  us were (still are) sooo upset with the election results we started to go lower than the low (which was lets face it -underground/beneath and then under that low)! Lashing out and starting arguments and just being downright nasty to those we don’t agree with whether their points are valid(typically they are aren’t ) or not! Theme no 3. would be to LOVE! It’s what God put us here to do! To love one another. Rev. Sharpton pointed out that we should reflect on the times that Dr. King and Jesse Jackson, our parents, grandparents had to endure. Those inequalities cannot and will never add up to the mess is on Cheeto, so we need to boss up! We are stronger together and we are stronger with love. After each guest on the panel spoke, Van spoke also for about 30 minutes or so. One thing that he spoke about that struck home with me was how there were people that were sitting in that theatre not living out their dreams due to fear. He said, “Your calling could be the thing that helps to save or motivate us as a unit”. Go after it, and he is so right! Life’s too short to have regrets. Change your mindset, change your LIFE! After that a video with Alicia Keys aired that was very powerful and then we were sent  on our way by thee AMAZING group, Infinity’s Song They sanggggg two songs. Listen, I don’t know who these kids are but…they gotta be next up! Please, please, please check them out! I know this post is a little lengthy, but I do think a positive mindset and not entertaining the small minded is the way to go… We Can Rise above the crap this country is putting out if we just come together and believe! I’m not going to get all preachy…but just think about it … To check out more on Van and the We Rise Tour head on over to vanjones.net ! Peep the videos on Van’s and the Apollo’s IG pages too! Love you!

-VKV-








While We Were Young

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Well… it was the final weekend for Miss Jayla and I,  so in her words she wanted to go out with a bang! Does this mean that summer is officially over?! I sure hope not! The weather in NYC over the last few days has been extremely reminiscent of fall…Ugh “Summertime Sadness”! We visited Pietro Lolita a few weeks ago and it was on our summer bucket list to visit one more super cute boutique restaurant While  We Were Young, so we did! The cuisine is also made up of healthy contemporary American dishes similar to Pietro’s. However, on this trip we didn’t have dinner. (Please note: the people sitting next to us who ordered the Salmon and the Chicken and Kale waffles… yes, their food looked and smelled delicious!) Instead of dinner, we had drinks and the yummy carrot cake! We didn’t have dinner for two reasons, 1. because we had already ate and 2. because we had the second part of our date at the Apollo to hear Van Jones speak and we were running out of time! (Be on the look out for this post SOON, like very soon!) I had the signature While We Were Young which was a Vodka Vanilla Bean Butterfly Peaflower / Sparkling Wine cutesy purple drink! (Check out the images below!) It was so good that I wanted a second, but because I am now a lightweight, I only sipped on one. One was more than enough because I was driving and I am responsible!😇 It was the right amount of light and sweet… Just how I like it! Jayla got a glass of Rosé because… I am not sure why she got Rosé, I guess that’s just what she wanted…(Boring) 😉. So… on to the dessert. I love carrot cake! It’s like the one sweet I crave every blue moon. The carrot cake at Whole Foods is my personal fav, but I was down to try WWWY’s and it was also pretty yummy. The icing was not heavy and not too sweet, which for me, is a must. I am already not a big sweets person, so not to sound like a broken a record, it was just the right amount of sweet. Overall it was a pleasant experience, the staff was friendly and well aware that everyone who comes through is coming for the pics. The restaurant was deemed “The Stuff of Instagram Dreams”, so the staff obviously knew what was up as everyone was whipping out their celly’s while waiting for their food and drinks 😌! Check out the pics below that I’ve shared from the WWWY site and some of the other pics we took on our outing! Peep Jayla who recreated the Beyoncé  pic (TOO CUTE)!(Oh duh, that’s why she got the Rosé !) I will definitely visit again to try some of the food and take in the IG perfect ambiance. Dress is from Zara ! If you are New Yorker visit, if you a visitor… visit!

-VKV-





#SwimInTheRiver

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So the boo and I hate a little date session Thursday night and went out to support our friend  Kurtis and Team Epiphany for their Heineken and +Pool event. +Pool is building a water-filtering, floating swimming pool that cleans the river while you swim. The idea is so super cool and you can certainly check out more info on the YouTube channel below! If you visit their site please sign up and pledge that you will swim in the river! If they get 100,000 pledges Heineken will donate $100,000 dollars! The collaboration is all thanks to Heineken’s “The Cities Project”. Heineken launched these projects in 2015 and are designed to make positive impacts in metro areas throughout the US. They are supporting projects like +Pool and other endeavors around the country that in my opinion are very dope. I find these projects super inspirational especially the +Pool initiative that is right in my back yard. I would love to swim in the river honestly! The YouTube video narrated by Neil Patrick Harris outlines the entire project and even sheds light on what it means to follow through with your ideas and live out your  dreams! That’s why we are here right?! To go after it ! My fit for the evening was my Travis Scott Birds Eye View Tour Merch Tee that I copped at the show in May that Brittany and I attended in the Burgh at Stage AE. People even said hey cool shirt …🔥🔥🔥Check out the images and the YouTube below and don’t forget to pledge!

-VKV-