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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Baltimore: It's Not About Race

(Freddie Gray)
Steve Inskeep, host of Morning Edition on National Public Radio, went down to the streets of Baltimore where rioters took over the city after Freddie Gray’s funeral. Gray, who was a 25-year-old Black American man, died from a spinal injury after being taken into police custody. 

Some activists, social media audience and news outlets placed Gray’s death and the Baltimore riots into the same category as Eric Garner of Staten Island, N.Y, and the uprising in Ferguson, Mo., where protesters rioted for the death of Michael Brown. Observers grouped Gray’s death into a series of Black men dying by the hand of law enforcement. Unfortunately, they didn't get the story quite right.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

And the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry Goes to …

National Poetry Month has been a time for spoken words, limericks and pindaric odes. With only a couple of days left to celebrate the month of versifiers, I’d like to share another poem from the Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn-based writer, Gregory Pardlo. What makes Pardlo so special? He is the winner of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for poetry for his book Digest

Monday, April 27, 2015

Money Method: Educating Youngsters About Finance

Over the years, I’ve taught my kids a few basics about the difference between financial wants and needs. But there are so many points to go over with kids that tackling them all in one setting can be a bit overwhelming. 

Jordan Niefeld, a certified financial planner and a CPA at Raymond James & Associates in Aventura, Fla., recommends several key points to get parents started with the conversation on how to teach their children to handle their monetary funds.

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Maneater Manifesto

Featured poet of the week: Laura Swearingen-Steadwell

Spoken word poetry has always stayed near and dear to my heart. So when I came across @AllDefPoetry on Instagram I figured that it would be fitting to continue National Poetry Month and share some of their featured poets with you. 

For more spoken word performances, subscribe to All Def Poetry on YouTube at

Are you a spoken word performer? Share your lines with us in the comment box or send your recording to 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Diggin in the Crates: It's Record Store Day

If you never heard of Record Store Day, you're not alone. I just found out about this joyous occasion in March from a co-worker. (Thanks Matt!)

So what is Record Store Day? It's an annual event that was founded in 2007 and takes place on the third Saturday of April. Record Store Day celebrates the culture of the independently owned record store. Vinyl record collectors, fans, artists, and independent record stores around the globe all takes part in this glorious day.

A number of records are pressed specifically for Record Store Day, and are only distributed to shops participating in the event. Too bad there isn't a record store in Montclair, N.J. where I can stand in line in anticipation to go vinyl digging. 

There's also a website dedicated to the yearly celebration. provides a list of some of the 600+ artists, locally regionally, and nationally known who will be spending the day rockin' out to the culture of their indie record store.  

There's even an Ambassador for the day. This year Foo Fighter's front man, Dave Grohl, will grace the official seal for 2015. Pretty awesome right?

This year I didn't have enough time to go through the list of artists who were putting out limited editions for Record Store Day. However, 2016 I'll be good and ready to go diggin' through crates with fellow vinyl record lovers. 

Maybe I'll even run into vinyl record volggers Mike and Sandy, who breaks down what you need to know for Record Store Day! 

Did you hit your local record store to celebrate the annual event? 

What's currently spinning on your turntable?

Are you even into vinyl records?


Monday, April 13, 2015

Money Method: Tips to Buying More Time to File Your Taxes

The April 15 tax deadline is less than 72 hours away. But did you know that if you need more time to file your taxes the Internal Revenue Services grants an automatic six month extension? Well, now you know ... and here are five things you need to know about filing an extension:

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Weekly Recap: Longtime No Read

newsletter whoas ... 

It’s been awhile since some of my subscribers seen a TinyLetter/newsletter from me. I stopped sending newsletters because the stats shows that a majority of my subscribers weren't opening up the newsletters or reading any of the stories. So I figured that it would be best to lay low for a spell.

During my hiatus I brainstormed about what people need to know. That’s when I thought of pushing out more stories for the personal finance section, Money Method – published on Mondays. I also found that blog visitors appreciates the Better Said Than Written segments. All they have to do is read a couple of short lines, and click the play button. Well, at least that’s what the analytics on the backend shows.

So, as a reminder, if there’s a story, topic, event or issue you think will make a good fit on Arts of Cultures, e-mail your views to And for those of you who just found out about Arts of Cultures and would like to receive a weekly recap, you can sign up here

An example of arts + cultures recap is just a click away... 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Guest Poet: Anthony Villegas, The Set of Rules

Anthony Villegas is the founder and editor of the luxury and lifestyle blog, Of Mice & Menswear. After returning from a short hiatus, the emotions of life inspired Villegas to pour out his feelings in a poem titled, The Set of Rules. "It does carry some seriousness to it, as it is a poem written with serious thought," Villegas wrote in the introduction of his first poem hosted on his blog.

The Set of Rules questions the ifs, whys and whats of life. It hones in on complexities life serves most of us on a daily basis, which all balances out once we agree to follow all of the unspoken rules of life. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Q&A With Loveknit

The art of Yarn Bombing and Knit Graffiti 

Have you ever come across a piece of art in the most strangest of places and wondered, “Who created this piece of work and why did they choose to place it there?” Well, this scenario actually took place during one of my evening commutes.

As I headed on my five minute walk home from the train station, I came across a quote attached to a fence. Correction… I came across a knitted quote attached to a fence. I started to walk away but curiosity pulled me back and I had to snap a picture. That's when I saw the hashtag #LoveKnit stitched into the bottom right hand corner of the quote. I felt compelled to post my findings on Instagram and Twitter to see if I can find out who this artist is and what was the inspiration behind his or her work.

Less than 24 hours after I posted my inquiry the artist responded on Instagram!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Daily Poem: If the World Was Crazy

April is National Poetry Month. So, why not celebrate with a poem a day?

Today's poem is by Shel Silverstein - If The World Was Crazy, is from Silverstein's book of poems, Where the Sidewalk Ends. ... Read by TC

More poetry posts...

Monday, April 6, 2015

Money Method: Eight Tax Tips to Deduct Charitable Contributions

(Clothes Donation Bin in Montclair, NJ
Image taken by T.C.)
Remember that donation you gave to that charity a few months ago? What about the clothes you donated in the donation bin, or the Salvation Army and Goodwill? Well, if you saved your receipts they may help you this tax season.  Depending on how much you donated in 2014, you can claim the gift as a deduction which may lower your tax. The IRS provided eight tax tips you should know about when it comes to deducting your gifts to charity:

Money Method: Seven Tips to Determine if Your Gift is Taxable

As you hustle through your W-2s you will need to fill out your taxes by April 15th, don’t forget the monetary gifts you gave in 2014. If you gave money or property to someone as a gift, you may be thinking about the federal gift tax. According to the Internal Revenue Service, many gifts are not subject to the gift tax. Here are seven tax tips the IRS provides about gifts and the gift tax.

Money Method: 8 Common Tax Mistakes to Avoid

The deadline to file your taxes is quickly approaching. And many of you have placed yourself under enormous amounts of pressure to get those 1040 Forms filled out by April 15. Try not to rush through filing out those forms, because if you make a mistake on your tax return, it will likely take the Internal Revenue Service longer to process it. Which means, your refund will be delayed. The best way to avoid tax filing mishaps is to use IRS e-file. According to, paper filers are about 20 times more likely to make a mistake than e-filers. IRS e-file is the most accurate way to file your tax return.

The IRS found eight common tax-filing mistakes that cross their desks every year. As you try to beat the April 15th deadline try to avoid the following hiccups:

Money Method: Last Minute Tax Tips

Every other day an e-mail comes in reminding me that I need to hurry up and file my taxes. But guess what? I took my own advice and filed my taxes in the beginning of the year. (see: 6 Reasons to File Your Taxes Early

The rest of you now have a little more than a week to fill out those 1040 forms. For whatever the reason, nearly 28 percent of Americans wait until the very last minute to get their W-2’s in order. This sometimes leads procrastinators at financial risk because they didn't give themselves enough time to get their tax documents organized.

Now, I am not a tax expert but I am a taxpayer and a consumer… so I’m just passing along the information that has helped me over my tax filing years. Personal finance websites WalletHub and CardHub recently sent along a list of last-minute tax tips from more than 15 experts and provided a guide to avoiding tax scams during this risky time of year.

If you've taken a break from shuffling through your tax paperwork, here are several tips that WalletHub suggest which may help motivate you to get those 1040s signed, sealed and in the post by April 15.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Kim Ramsey's Real Story with PGAD

Rare Disorder Activist, Kim Ramsey, joins Arts of Cultures once again in another episode of Better Said Than Written.

This time around Kim shares her personal story of Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder (PGAD). Kim walks us through when she realized she was suffering from PGAD, finding treatment, and how she recovered from backlash from the Black community, the medical community, and the media.

Click the green play button to get the full story.

Kim's previous appearances on Better Said Than Written:

Episode 04: Introducing Kim Ramsey Pt. 1

Episode 06: Kim Ramsey Pt. 2: Lack of Intimacy in the Black Community

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

National Poetry Month: Ode to My Shell

April is not just the month reserved for showers that brings May flowers, it's National Poetry Month. In honor of Poetry Month, I'll share my favorite sonnets, haiku, and rhymes. First up is a poem that my son wrote four years ago, he was 13. I share this one almost every year because this is when I realized my son was gifted with an artistic gene.

Weekly E-Letter

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