Inspiration Nation

A 102-Year-Old Harlem Renaissance Dancer Watches Herself on Film for the First Time

“I used to often say to myself that I am being paid to do something, that I enjoy and I would do it for free.”

-Alice Barker

This story shows two things: 1). There are still kind and generous people in the world, and 2). Being happy makes a person live for a long time.

David Shuff, a videographer, director, and editor spends his spare time volunteering at nursing homes with his therapy dog, Katie. Eight years ago, he met a woman named Alice Barker, whom he heard was a lovely leggy dancer back in the Harlem Renaissance era. She sashayed and shimmied at nightclubs such as The Apollo, Cotton Club, and Zanzibar Club, with legends such as Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, and Bill “Bojangles” Robinson.

Sadly, Alice lost all of her memorabilia so she had no access to her work. So guess what this lovely man does? He teamed up with Jazz on Film to track down her footage.

Check out her heart-warming response and stories.

Source: Mashable

Inspiration Nation

Inspiration Nation: Coco + Breezy Interview with Shameless Maya

Anyone who loves fashion and accessories will definitely fall in love with Coco + Breezy’s designer shades. Their chic and eccentric line has been rocked by some of the hottest singers in the game. Shameless Maya recently interviewed these young ladies – who are twin sisters by the way- to share their inspiring story. Enjoy!

Inspiration Nation

Round of Applause: Links I Love

1. Emily King’s “Distance” has been in my ears consistently for the past few days. (Emily King Music)

2. Gaaaaaahhhhh! Melody Ehsani’s exclusive Reebok pumps will be on sale starting tomorrow. Gimme Gimme Gimmeeeee! (Melody’s Blog)

3. Rachel Hofstetter, an author and food entrepreneur, dishes on her fabulous life as a food editor. (Levo League)

4. Meet Lindsay Gabler, she handles all of the Grammy’s social media channels. (Mashable)

5. Artist Tomoko Kataoka shares her perspective of Kyoto, Japan. (They Travel & Draw)

6. In east Kenya, a bar/restaurant is hidden in an ancient cave (Lost At E Minor)

Inspiration Nation

Inspiration Nation: WondaGurl, a 16-Year-Old Producer who Created “Crown” on Jay-Z’s Magna Carta Holy Grail

Producer Ebony “WondaGurl” Oshunrinde is truly an inspiration to me. I’ll admit, I once dreamt of producing beats and DJing, but I was intimidated, so I scratched that career goal off my list since it seemed too technical to me. But, creating beats did not intimidate WondaGurl. At age 9, after seeing a clip of Timbaland and Jay-Z in the studio (I’ll assume it was Fade To Black), she was moved, and decided to chase her inspiration. Now, at 16 years old, her production can be heard on the “Crown” track on Jay-Z’s new album Magna Carta Holy Grail. Check out her story here:

Here’s the track:

Post spotted on Necole Bitchie
Image from Huffington Post
Inspiration Nation

From Her Perspective: Stori – Singer-Rapper-Songwriter


Stori’s response to how a rapper who is white and female, responds to hostility:

“Well you know what, I’m sure it’s out there, but I haven’t really felt that specific hostility yet. But I think it’s just extra hard because obviously I’m white. And obviously I’m a girl, so it’s like a double thing, you know? I’ve just gotta go extra hard. But I think the music really speaks for itself. I’m not robbing people. I’m not speaking about how you need to hide your kids and hide your wives because I’m about to take everything up in here. (laughs). The stories are in the music. Just because I ain’t been to jail or I don’t have balls, people can connect to the music. So as long as people can find something to connect to, they can hate you if they want to, but they’re still going to talk about it. I just don’t pay attention to that.”

Read the rest of the interview on RESPECT.

Photo from Stori’s Tumblr
Inspiration Nation

Words of Advice: Esperanza Spalding

Esperanza Spalding
“People are more used to seeing men who are masters at an instrument than women. When people say, “Oh, she plays like a dude,” it’s usually dudes who are the ones saying it. They’re saying, “Oh, she’s as good as us.” Of course, that’s a stupid statement. It’s totally stereotypical to say, “We have an advantage on this, and if anyone else can do it well, it’s only because they’re like us.” I think more men are starting to learn that this attitude is totally hollow and based in imagination. As more women are involved in music, this kind of thing gets said less and less.”

Esperanza Spalding– 3-time Grammy Award winner, American jazz bassist and singer.

Source: Black Poe Music Tumblr
Inspiration Nation

Words of Advice: Jada Pinkett Smith


We are all afraid to be…alone.

I remember when I first read Will’s script, “I Am Legend”, the zombies didn’t scare me as much as the idea of being absolutely alone with MY demons did. In the past, I have used alcohol to hide from my demons, men to hide from my demons, even fame. It wasn’t until I was prepared to venture into my own “I Am Legend” to confront all of my demons that I actually became free. I was no longer afraid to be alone…with my pain.

It was the darkest time of my life, but my ability to be alone released my fears of abandonment. I no longer betrayed myself in order to keep people in my life, or status, or things. I no longer chose conformity over happiness. My truth was no longer jeopardized by the idea that it was more important for others to love me than for me to love myself.

The truth is…we are never alone, but it sure as hell feels that way during those times. When the time comes to make a decision to stand alone and look at yourself…take it. The journey ain’t easy, but…YOU’RE worth it!

-Jada Pinkett Smith – Actress, Singer, Film writer and producer

Source: Jada Pinkett’s Facebook