Your guide to Philly's diverse creative scene, nightlife, music, food & more
I recently caught up with designer, blogger and entrepreneur, Jeanine Hays of AphroChic. It’s always inspiring to see another woman living up to all of her creative potential and living the life she wants to live. As I found out more about her, I was intrigued and wanted to know more. I asked her a few questions to introduce you all to this creative super woman–Jeanine Hays.
Flygirrl: Who is Jeanine Hays, and what do you do?
Jeanine Hays: I am the creative director and co-founder of AphroChic. I work with my husband, Bryan Mason, who is the other half of our husband-and-wife team. Together we write the blog, design products, and create a lifestyle brand dedicated to proving that the cultural and the contemporary can and do work together in modern design. We want to provide women of color with quality options when looking for décor that speaks to their cultural heritage and inspire everyone to create spaces that tell their story.
Flygirrl: What is AphroChic?
JH: AphroChic is a lifestyle brand, and there are several different pieces that go into creating the overall aesthetic that the brand follows. We started in 2007 as a blog. I was working as a policy attorney in San Francisco and Bryan was pursuing a PhD at UC Berkeley. At the time we were simply aware of a gap in the conversation on modern design with regard to women of color and wanted to do something to fill it. We quickly realized that that gap in the conversation was also a gap in the market, and we decided to do something about that. AphroChic became a home decor company in 2009 when we launched our first collection of pillows. Since then we've expanded into table linens, shower curtains, and wallpaper.
We also do a lot of writing and expert work online. I am contributor to HGTV.com, and the DIYNetwork.com among others. This Fall, the AphroChic brand will take on a new incarnation with the release of our first design book, Remix: Decorating with Culture, Objects, and Soul, that will be published by Clarkson Potter. The book takes everything that we've been saying with blog posts, articles, and products and brings it together in an introduction to AphroChic style that combines history and global textile traditions with the best of contemporary design.
Flygirrl: Where did you find the courage to step out on your own?
JH: AphroChic has grown very organically, and so when the time came to step away from the law and focus on the business full-time, it was less of a leap and more just the next logical step. Bryan and I were living in California when we launched our first collection. Before we moved back to Philadelphia, we had reached the point where it felt as though we both had two full time jobs. We would work 9-5 at being a lawyer and a student, then come home and work until two in the morning on AphroChic. We were really encouraged by the reaction that our designs received from the design and blog community in the early years. It helped us to gain our confidence as designers and realize that we had a unique voice to share in the world of design. Upon our return to Philly in 2010, we committed ourselves to working on AphroChic full time, and it has been one incredible journey.
Flygirrl: Where are your secret gem locations to get inspired in Philly?
JH: I love the Philadelphia art and design scene. One of my favorite things about this city are all of the independently owned boutiques and galleries that can be easily explored. As an Old City resident, I love to pop into my favorite design stores on 3rd Street. Millesime is my favorite place for exploring the latest in European design. ReMod Gallery has an extensive collection of Mid-Century Modern pieces that are a must-see. I love to visit the Jonathan Adler store for design inspiration. We are lucky to have one of the largest showrooms here in Philly! On 2nd Street, Gallery51 is a favorite of mine for their unique cultural exhibits and collection of global rugs. HOME on East Passyunk is also a favorite shop. They offer cool furniture and accessories from DwellStudio and Ferm Living - two of my favorite design shops.
Flygirrl: What advice would you give to other creative people looking to step out on their own?
JH: Don't be afraid to start small. It doesn't have to come all at once. Design became my creative outlet when I was in law school and my days were filled with contracts and torts, but it never would have become anything more than that if I didn't make the small decision to start a blog. My second piece of advice would be to plan. Plan everything as much as you can, but do it knowing that putting things into action will require you to be flexible. Finally, and most importantly, do what you love. Owning a small business is full of ups and downs and there will be days when your love of what you do will keep you afloat. Being an entrepreneur is truly a labor of love. And when you love what you do, it shines through in your work as a designer.
Flygirrl: Where can people find out more about you and to stay connected?
Insider Tip: And this month Philadelphia design enthusiasts can follow my pins on the Visit Philly's Guest Pinner Board
Ask anyone in town and they'll tell you that Duafe Holistic Hair Care has cornered the market on all things "natural hair" in Philly. The brainchild and heart-work of Philly 360° Creative Ambassador Syreeta Scott, the talented stylists at Duafe have kept some of the Philly's most well-known natural crowns healthy and styled-to-the-T. From Jill Scott to Tye Tribbett, Vikter Duplaix, Res and even yours truly, folks all around town know where to head when they want freshest 'do on the scene.
To celebrate Women's History Month and Philly's ever-talented poetry scene, Syreeta and the crew of Duafe have gathered some of the area's dopest wordsmiths for a celebration of poetry and life in the 215. This Sunday, Poetry by Duafe has curated an experience that intersects the past, present and future of Philadelphia spoken word, as they present the immense talents of Philadelphia's own Poet Laureate Sonia Sanchez, along with Philly 360° Creative Ambassador Ursula Rucker and the amazing rhythms of international percussionist and hometown-hero and Doc Gibbs.
But, it doesn't stop there, Just Greg Corbin, founder of Philly Youth Poetry Movement, is also slated to step to the mic and show the crowd what Philly poetry is all about. Always ready to give back and pay-it-forward, Syreeta and the folks at Duafe have arranged for the event proceeds to be donated to Obaatan, an organization that offers shelter and services to abused women and children in crisis. That's definitely a big win for Philly.
So, grab your friends, family, neighbors and anyone you can find and head down to Poetry by Duafe. It's sure to be an inspiring time celebrating women, poetry and Philly's big heart. After all, we are the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection, right? For sure. I'll see you there.
Sunday, March 3
3 - 6 p.m.
Peche at Sherman Mills
3502 Scotts Lane
March 28 - April 27, 2013
Visit pifa.org for the festival schedule, times & locations.
Since its triumphant launch in 2011, Philadelphia and the rest world have been waiting patiently for the return of The Kimmel Center's explosion of all things arts and culture - The Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts ( a.k.a. PIFA). Well, I'm glad to tell you that the wait is almost over.
Just last week, tickets for PIFA 2013 went on sale to the public and the full festival schedule was announced during a special press conference and preview. And, just like we expected the line-up is an amazing blend of local, national and international talent. From the Dance Space, an evening with international tap-sensation Savion Glover to the Stevie Wonder Tribute featuring Lalah Hathaway, Robert Glasper, Eric Roberson and Stokley Williams - the PIFA madness just doesn't stop!
This year, the festival will run from March 28 to April 27 and includes over 50 festival performances, 50 creative partners, and 32 new works - all exploring the festival theme "If You Had a Time Machine...". PIFA invited a diverse group of artists and partners to select a moment in time and create exciting, thought-provoking and fun interpretations that will transport audiences to a different time and place in history, or maybe even the future.
In fact,The Kimmel Center has plans to install an interactive time machine exhibit right in Commonwealth Plaza, which will serve as a cultural hub offering plenty of free activities and programs throughout the festival. And, like the 2011 festival PIFA will go out with a bang, as they welcome thousands of people onto the Avenue of the Arts to partake in tons of family fun during the PIFA Street Fair.
With a festival of this magnitude, deciding which shows to see can be a little bit daunting. But, dont worry - we've got you covered. Be on the look out for plenty of Philly 360 PIFA top picks and Insider scoops. But for now, you can visit the PIFA website to check out the full festival schedule and purchase tickets in advance. Ok, let's go!
January 15 - June 9, 2013
101 South Independence Mall East
This week, Philly's Independence Mall becomes center stage for a triumphant, but often untold piece of American history, as The National Museum of American Jewish History (NMAJH) opens their ground-breaking new exhibition Beyond Swastika and Jim Crow: Jewish Refugee Scholars At Black Colleges on January 15.
This exciting new exhibition chronicles the experiences of Jewish professors who found employment and refuge at historically black universities in the South, after fleeing Germany in the 1930's during the early years of the Nazi regime. Through the themes of freedom, struggle and opportunity, the NMAJH exhibition tells the story of how two distinct communities facing discrimination came together, almost by chance, during the early years of the Civil Rights movement.
Inspired in part by Gabrielle Simon Edgcomb’s landmark book of the same name, and the subsequent PBS documentary, the exhibition includes more than 70 evocative artifacts and documents, photographs and two new films that capture viewpoints from the perspective of both the black students and their professors.
The exhibition also boast a broad range of public programs, including NMAJH's annual MLK FREE Family Day on January 21. On Dr. King's birthday, the museum opens its doors and welcomes the to commemorate his legacy with a variety of programs, including art-making with Fleisher Art Memorial and a special screening of the Beyond Swastika and Jim Crow documentary.
So, grab the entire family and head down to the National Museum of American Jewish History for a totally new look at the legacy and intersection of African-American and Jewish history in America - done as only Philly can!
Hey, all of you Philly do-gooders—here's your chance to pay it forward in honor of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. On January 21, well over 75,000 volunteers will take to the streets of Philadelphia and participate in the country's largest MLK service project—The 18th Annual Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service.
So, if you're looking for a chance to give back in a meaningful way, then make your way to Philly to honor Dr. King's impact in the most fitting way—by making the world better for those around us. You can visit the MLK Day of Service website to register andbrowse the full list of projects of over 1,300 projects and events. And, as always, I've pulled together a list of MLK Picks to get you started and on your way to giving back in a big way.
But first, I'd thought I drop a bit of MLK inspiration by sharing a video produced by Art Sanctuary with over a dozen community leaders, artists and everyday heros reading Dr. King's iconic "Letter from a Birmingham Jail", as part of their Read With Me project.
So, be sure to check out this very special Art Sanctuary MLK tribute video and our list of Philly 360° MLK Day of Service Picks below.
Monday, January 21
2101 South College Avenue
Girard College will be the host site for the MLK Day of Service for the fourth year, as thousands of volunteers descend on the campus to take part in dozens of community projects on January 21st. You can kick your day off here, pick-up your official MLK Day of service tshirts and register for projects that will take place all across the city.
Monday, January 21
222 N. 20th Street
Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service at The Franklin Institute. See the "I Have A Dream" speech broadcast on the walls of Franklin Hall at the top of every hour. Visit the activity table run by Franklin Institute volunteers in Key Hallway to participate in an "African American Scientists Scavenger Hunt" and take part in creating a wall of dreams in the hands-on arts and craft "I Have a Dream" activity.
Monday, January 21
6100 Stenton Avenue
Come and celebrate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as newly-inaugurated Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin leads The Philadelphia Orchestra in a free community concert.
This special MLK program will bring together community groups and notable guest artists including Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra founder Philly 360 Creative Ambassador Jeri Lynne Johnson, award-winning storyteller Charlotte Blake Alsto, violinist and Sphinx Competition winner Elena Urioste, and the Philadelphia All City Choir under the direction of Dorina Morrow.
Monday, January 21
5:30 - 8 p.m.
20 N. 2nd Street
Join the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance on MLK Day, as they partner with Arden Theatre, With Art Philadelphia, Art-Reach and First Person Arts to celebrate arts, culture and community, and launch their latest communty project GroundSwell.
Along with wine, beer and good eats, there will be a special story-sharing experience curated by First Person Arts, an open mic story cafe, interactive art-making activities presented by Mural Arts Program and other fun activities for the entire family.
Monday, January 21
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
525 Arch Street
The National Constitution Center commemorates MLK Day and the 57th Presidential Inauguration with free admission and a day jam-packed with service projects, musical and theatric performances and special craft activities. You can checkout the full program schedule onine right here.
Monday, January 21
10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Make art and give back to your community with the Philadelphia Museum of Art. On January 21, art that is made at the museum during this special MLK workshop will be distributed to people in need throughout Philadelphia. Enjoy a reading by illustrator E. B. Lewis, whose books share Dr King's message of love and service. Also, the museum will be offering pay-what-you-wish admission all day long in honor of Dr. King.
Saturday, January 19
10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Join African American Museum in Philadelphia (AAMP) artist-in-residence Richard J. Watson for a tour of select murals from the Albert M. Greenfield African American Iconic Images Collection, in celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Once you're done the tour stop by AAMP to enjoy free museum admission all day long.
Friday, January 18
11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Broad and Spruce Streets
The Kimmel Center is hosting their annual tribute to Dr. King in the Perelman Theater. The performance brings together more than 100 participants hailing from more than 500 area high schools and middle schools. The afternoon performance will include a show from D/3, PHILADANCO’s youth ensemble, a performance from Girard Academic Music Program and many other live performances. The performance is free and open to the public.
Hey there, fashion fanatics.
In our last hair video, we showed you how the men in the city keep Philadelphia looking sharp. But of course, it wouldn't be long before the women of the city captured our attention with a new hair trend. Exotic hair extensions are now becoming a growing trend in the hair industry. Philly's own celebrities like Jill Scott and Jazmine Sullivan are known to wear long Brazillian tresses. We like that everyone has a dash of extensionista in them!
Gone are the days of synthetic and horse-hair extentions, the business of exotic hair extensions is on the rise - and Philly is a destination for these gorgeous locks. Philly 360° went on a trip to East Falls to learn the ins and outs of maintaining an undetectable weave from NBeauty Inc. owner Naeemah Johnson.
393 Ridge Avenue
Ok, so I'm no poet. But, as a homegrown Philadelphian, I love spending Christmas in Philly! The hustle and bustle of the city slows down just enough, so that folks from all walks of life take a moment to enjoy the lights, sounds and tastes of the holiday season. Whether it's picking up a special holiday treat from the Reading Terminal Market, visiting the Macy's Grand Court Light Show, or randomly catching a group of Christmas carolers strolling down Walnut Street - the holidays are extra special in this town.
So, for this special Philly 360 holiday post, I'm bringing you the inside scoop on my Top 5 "must-see" Holiday events. I've mixed in a few holiday classics with some fresh and new ways to get into the spirit of the season. So, hit the town, see a show, hear some music and celebrate this season as only Philly can! Ok? Let's go!
Tuesday, December 19
7 - 10 p.m.
Painted Bride Art Center
230 Vine Street
Don't miss Grammy Award-nominted R&B sensation Kem, as he stops through Philly and performs music off his newly-released album, What Christmas Means. Everyone who attends the performance will leave with a copy of Kem's album, and he'll be sticking around after his performance to sign CD's and take photos with his fans.
December 20 - 22
The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts - Verizon Hall
300 S. Broad Street
Experience The Glorious Sounds of Christmas, as The Philadelphia Orchestra lends its lush harmonies to your favorite holiday classics during this special three nights of music on Philly's famous Avenue of the Arts. This will definitely be fun for the whole family!
Friday, December 21 & Saturday, December 22
7:30 p.m. & 10 p.m. Shows
1401 S. Columbus Blvd.
Who says the holidays can't be for the grown and sexy? Certainly not Jeff Bradshaw! Jeff has been traveling the globe promoting his latest project Bon Apetite, and is set to head home for the holidays, and throw down like only Philly can.
Saturday, December 8 - Sunday, December 30
Academy of Music
240 S. Broad Street
The wonder and magic of the holidays doesn't get anymore classic than George Balanchine's The Nutcracker. This show's got it all - a princess, sugarplum fairies, not-to-mention the gorgeous costumes and set design. Come find out why this production has become a holiday tradition for millions of familiies everywhere.
Through January 6
1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square, PA 19348
Ever wonder what half-a-million twinkling Christmas lights look like? Well, Longwood Garden's got the answer! They've transformed their grounds into a winter wonderland with tons of holiday lights, thousands of poinsettias, and magnificent Christmas trees everywhere you look.
Just like music, art and history, Philadelphia's poetry roots run deep. And, thanks to artists like Philly 360° Creative Ambassador Ursula Rucker, Founder of Philly Youth Poetry Movement "Just Greg" Corbin, poet extraordinaire Nina Lyrispect Ball and the many other stellar wordsmiths our town produces - Philly poets still demand respect around the country for their skills with the pen, and definitely on the mic.
Oh, and I certainly can't forget to take a moment and shout out Philadelphia Poet Laureate Sonia Sanchez. Sonia, the original spoken word artist, has been keeping the Philly fire burning bright for well over five decades.
Friday, December 7
531 N. 12th Street
Named Philadelphia Magazine’s Best Literary Activity of 2012, The Pigeon Presents: Philadelphia Poetry Slams is quickly becoming one of the hottests and most well-known spoken word venues in town. The December 7 show will kickoff with a workshop led by featured poet Caroline Rothstein of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe Slam Team, and then her set of original work will be followed by a local feature and a few rounds of electrifying slam poetry.
Saturday, December 15
6 - 11 p.m.
4014 Walnut Street
Some of Philly's hottests spoken word artists are definitely coming from the Philly Youth Poetry Movement. As of this year, this all-star crew has ranked as one of the top slam team during the international poetry competition - Brave New Voices. To keep developing and finding new talent, every 3rd Saturday of the month PYPM hosts a youth-led open mic and poetry slam for teens to comeout and show the world why they are part of Generation Now!
Tuesday, December 18
Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
S. Broad & Spruce Streets
Back by popular demand and better than ever before, The Kimmel Center transforms the Avenue of the Arts with the soulful sounds of Philly's hottest musicians, poets, dj and emcees with Sittin' In. For the December 18 installment, two Philly stars shine bright, as Philly 360° Creative Ambassadors Ursula Rucker and Rich Medina take over the Commonwealth Plaza stage for this one-of-a-kind jam sessiom showcasing Philly-fresh talent from near and far.
Tuesday, January 9
3025 Walnut Street
Philly's hottest poets, emcees, singers and even comedians will all step to the mic at The Harvest. This monthly open mic is presented by Spoken Soul 215, a collective of Philly's premier spoken word artists, including Just Greg, Lyrispect, Rhapsode, Ruben Jones and Vision. So, don't miss the perfect chance to experience some of the area's best poets and live entertainment - you might just be inspired to hop on the mic too!
We all know Philadelphia is a town of movers, shakers and world changers. And, there's plenty of world changing things happening within our creative scene and cultural community. So, for this edition of James' Arts & Culture Revival, I'm here to tell you about two great fundraisers to benefit two phenomenal organizations that are keeping great arts and culture in the community for-real-for-real. Yep, I'm talking about the Village of Arts & Humanities (creators of CRED Magazine) and Art Sanctuary.
Both of these organizations have deep roots in the Philadelphia community and bring world-class creative programs and opportunities to nieghborhoods and communities where it's needed the most. So, grab a friend (and your wallet) and step out to support these two great parties with a purpose. You'll feel good knowing that you're helping to keep some of Philly's most important creative lifelines alive, growing and strong!
You can get full details about each of these events below. See you there!
Insider Tip: Today is Giving Tuesday, so what better way to give back than to party with a purpose?
Thursday, November 29
5:30 - 8 p.m.
$50 per person, $80 per couple
CRED Magazine's Pop-Up Gallery
325 South Street
Come out and support the Village of Art & Humanities' end of year fundraiser! Enjoy wine, beer and light fare, while browsing the silent auction, handmade wares by CRED Magazine designers and hear live performance by Cred poets and musicians. There will even be the opportunity to create you own work of art on site!
You can purchase tickets online here.
Friday, November 30
$25 suggested donation
The Pavilion - Community College of Philadelphia
17th Street Between Spring Garden & Callowhill
Put on your best cocktail dress or cosmopolitan outfit, and celebrate the transformational power of black art with Art Sanctuary. Sip fine wine and taste delicious cuisine, while being treated to an evening of performances and fine art.
You can RSVP online here.
Saturday, October 27 was a beautiful day in Philly. The weather was warm and music and art filled the spirits of all who were ushered to the third floor of Ms. Tootsies at a small reception for some of Philly's finest. We were there to celebrate a momentous occasion - the big reveal of The Roots mural.
I was doubly excited due to the fact that the Philly 360° footprint is all over this project! The Roots have been Philly 360° Creative Abassadors for the last three years and two of the three lead artists creating the mural - Tatyanna Fazalizadeh and Ernel Martinez - are Creative Ambassadors as well. It also gave me a reason to run into my old friend Questlove of The Roots who was rocking his corn rolled alter ego.
All in the room listened as Jane Golden, Executive Director of the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, explained why The Roots were selected, and she announced that after the mural is painted there will be programming to continue nurturing The Roots relationship with the community. Love that! After a few other announcements, I stopped by the bar for a quick toast and catch up session with Roots members, Dame "Tuba Gooding" Bryson and the homie Frank Knuckles.
I made my way out the door to head over to the site where the mural will be housed, 512 S. Broad Street, on the World Communications Charter School, not far from Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA), where Questlove first met Black Thought.
As I'm walking out, I run into Philly 360° Coalition Member and Little Giant Media owner, Tayyib Smith and Questlove. I convinced them to walk to the site with me, and I am so glad I did! Why? Because as we cross Broad Street ,who do we run into? Roots onand off again resident MC, Malik B! He is on his way to see the mural as well.
Insider Tip: The mural will encompass all past and present members of The Roots!
We arrive at the site, and the Mural Arts program has the playground set up to feel like a family picnic with food and Heinken in full effect! As the guys walk in one by one, they are greeted by many familiar Philly faces. Our favorite film minded Creative Ambassador Maori Holmes served gracefully as the event's host as the guys stood on stage to showcase the model of what the mural will look like. They even took part in some of the painting, and biggups to Black Thought for posing for every picture he was asked to take!
Next up, the show! Little did I know that Chill Moody, Black Thought, Malik B and Montez Roberts all share the same alma mater in Millersville University, and they didn't know either until this day. So, I think finding this out made Chill Moody even more excited and humbled to be performing on this day. He also said that a few of the guys (The Roots) whispered in his ear that the baton is being passed to Chill ,and it's his time to shine! As usual he commanded the stage with book bag in tow. Next up, Dice Raw (Roots MC and A&R) wowed the crowd with the help of one of the flyest violinists I have ever seen! In the words of hip-hop scholar, Ice Cube, "I gotta say it was a good day". So proud that my good homies never forget their roots. (Pun intended. lol)