Skip to content Skip to footer

Travis Scott and Coachella: Could one petition be his saving grace?

News broke that Kayne West will be replacing Travis Scott at Coachella this year. Now a petition by Travis Scott fans is in motion to get the performer back on the Coachella stage.

This comes in after it’s been announced that the rapper is stacked up with lawsuits over the Astroworld tragedy have amounted to over billions at this point.

Travis Scott Full Performance at Coachella 2017

According to a Variety article, it was revealed that the festival informed Scott’s longtime agent, Cara Lewis of the Cara Lewis Group, of its intent to pull Scott from the bill, which he was to headline, and that it would pay a kill fee for the cancelation, typically 25 percent.

“I didn’t know the exact details until you know minutes before the press conference,” said Scott while interviewing with Charlemagne Tha God.

It’s confirmed that 10 people have died on November 5 at Astroworld. People have criticized the role Travis Scott played in the dangerous environment. Some have called out his “ranging” culture to be the main cause for so much of the chaos that night

In the interview with Charlemagne, Scott was asked about the culture of “ranging” and the critiques that have come out about it.

Charlemagne asked, “Raging has been a part of the culture of your shows… You’ve encouraged, I guess, the kind of energy that could have led to something like this happening. Do you think that contributed to the energy of this night?”

Travis Scott replied, “ It’s something I’ve been working on for a while just creating these experiences and trying to show the experiences happening in a safe environment, us as artists we trust professionals to make sure that things happen and people leave safely …. it’s was just like a regular show it felt like to me… People didn’t show up there to just be harmful people.”

Travis Scott explained further, that people “showed up to have a good time” and concluded that the tragedy was “something unfortunate happened”

What is now left for the Sicko Mode Rapper? He is still facing mounting lawsuits, and while that is going on behind the scenes Travis Scott’s has been keeping a pretty low profile.

He was spotted back in late December with his daughter Stormi for a Huston Holiday Food and Toy Drive. According to Billboard, the event was a collaboration between the city of Huston, Scott’s Cactus Jack Foundation, and the Mayor of Huston Sylvester Turner.

His most recent post on Instagram was of himself for New Year’s Eve. He is also expecting another child with Kylie Jenner this year. His next album Utopia is expected to drop this year as well.

Only time will tell what is in store for Travis Scott the reminder of this year. Here are three ways Travis Scott can pivot and possibly prove that he’s ready to take the Coachella stage.

1. Tap in with Cactus Jack artists

Back in mid-April of last year, it was announced that artist SoFaygo, a Michigan rapper who blew up last year for his hit single “Knock-Knock”, which went viral on Tiktok, signed on to Cactus Jack Records .

As it stands, Cactus Jack has the likes of Don Toliver, Chase B, and Sheck Wes on the label. Travis Scott could take some time out of the spotlight and focus on furthering developing these artists’ careers.

Investing time and resources to help further push his record label can allow him to build up a good reputation for his label separate from him as an artist.

Playing in the background can allow him to get back to the music which seems to be his main focus when it comes to his brand.

2. Go back to producing

Tapping back into his record label gives him full reign to step into his producer bag.

Travis Scott already has a history of producing some hit songs and albums. He has produced for Kanye West, Jay Z, Wale, Big Sean, Dj Khaled etc. This can be the perfect time to step into the producer space and continue to play a background force in the music industry.

Cactus Jack Records is a fertile ground for creating an environment for musical artists to thrive and take the music into their own hands. Pivoting into the producer role can allow him to still have an influence and make waves in the industry.

3. Tap in with Houston Community

One major move Travis Scott and the team should focus on is the ways they can go above and beyond for the Houston Community. Many visitors of Astroworld were natives of the city and Scott intentionally investing in Houston would be a step in a good direction.

It was mentioned earlier in this piece that he participated in a charity event this past Holiday season. Travis Scott should build upon that work by tapping into mutual aid groups like Mutual Aid Houston. They are “a BIPOC-led grassroots collective boosting mutual aid efforts within Houston, Texas.”

This mutual aid organization was able to crowdfund up to $130,000 for families affected by the extreme cold and snowstorm that occurred last winter.

Teaming up with organizations that are on the ground and creating material changes would be a good way for the Astroworld Rapper to reinvest his image and influence. 

Will Travis Scott make it to Coachella?

Who knows what will happen after backlash from the Astrowrld tragedy will fizzle out? What do we know? Travis Scott fans will always be there for their artist and hopefully, their Coachella petition works.

See the petition (here).

Did you know the money mouth smiley creators are Black?

We were able to link up and speak with the creators of the money mouth smiley and the launch of their NFT on Check out the full audio interview below.

Black creatives are now more than ever taking over the power that comes with building your own brand and creating a life from it — Enter the founders of Under the Bottom (UTB) lifestyle clothing brand and originators of the money mouth smiley.

Whether it’s merch, a podcast, music, handbags, Black creatives are taking over the creative market.

Before brands knew the power of social media, the brand Under The Bottom (UTB) Lifestyle was making its mark in the year 2007. Andre Burrows (Dre) and Karim Branscomb (Treem) came together to build the UTB Lifestyle brand.

They both had a mission to make their own mark in the creative industry. They took creative inspiration from folks Pharell and Lupe Fiasco. They had a plan to be more than just a brand and took off as soon as they team up with the likes of Wiz Khalifa in 2009.

A smiley face, with money sign eyes and money sign tongue sticking out is what the UTB duo created as their signature logo that put an emphasis on who they are and their visions of being a long-lasting company.

Throughout the years, UTB was able to reach far to consumers and eventually landed a deal and tour with Wiz Khalifa’s brand Taylor Gang. They built successful a brand that was worn by the likes of the late Mac Miller, Tyga, Snoop Dogg, Diddy, JuicyJ, and more.

money mouth smiley
Wiz Khalifa rocking the Money Mouth Smiley

Now a fast forward to 2021 and UTB is still here going strong and reaching new heights. This past August UTB announced that it was dropping its first NFT for the Brand’s signature logo.

They created a Twitter thread that explained how UTB started and was led to the NFT space. August 6, UTB released their NFTs for their original smiley design.

NFT are digital assets that anyone can purchase. It’s all a part of the cryptocurrency market and it allows creatives new ways to generate income and long-lasting revenue in whatever music, art, design, etc one creatives on the internet.

UTB lifestyle clothing brand released their NFTs on the site You check out more and bid on the original money mouth smiley by clicking here.

The marathon continues…

Black skincare brand sabi is curating a tribe around self-love

Skincare is all the rave and black skincare brand sabi is here to change the game. Each and every day there seems to be a new brand in the market that is shaking the table and innovating the industry.

Sabi was founded by 34-year-old Maurice Diong, a South African engineer. He lived most of his living in Senegal and the ivory coast. Diong moved to NYC about a decade ago.

Join the sabi tribe (RSVP HERE)

After surviving a motorcycle accident, Diong rediscovered the benefits of raw shea butter and used it to heal his scars after the accident.

He tells us more about the black skincare brand, what it stands for, and its overall mission in our interview with him.

Kulture Hub: Who is Maurice Diong and why sabi skincare, why now?

Maurice Diong: A human being striving to make a positive impact around me. Born in South Africa I grew up for the most part in Senegal and Ivory Coast before moving to New York over a decade ago. I’m an engineer by trade, an ice cream lover, and a devotee to fitness and wellness.

A few years back I got into a motorcycle accident that left me with quite impressive scars and a different perspective on life. While on my recovery journey I rediscovered the virtues of raw shea butter which, growing up, was an essential item in every household back in Senegal.

I also discovered kintsugi, the Japanese art in which broken pottery is joined back together using a gold mixture. The philosophy behind it, called wabi-sabi, sees beauty behind imperfections and values simplicity.

From that moment on, every time I was applying shea butter, I was not only healing my physical scars and nourishing my skin, but I was also putting myself back together mentally and emotionally.

“We are a premium black skincare brand embedded in acceptance and self-love.”

– Maurice Diong, Founder of sabi Skincare

It had become a ritual. After working on the texture and specific scents of the body butter and inspired by Kintsugi, I felt the need to share this physical and emotional journey with others through the creation of sabi skincare.

Being a person that is centered on wellness and fitness, Maurice Diong goes into more detail about what the brand is. There is the essence of truly caring for oneself heavily influenced by the brand. Diong told us more…

KH: What else could sabi have been if not skincare?

“A wellness community, a movement focused on uplifting each other and rewriting a narrative in which people would embrace and love themselves.”

– Maurice Diong, Founder of sabi Skincare

KH: Does sabi have its own meaning? What is the importance of having a Black self-loving skincare brand like this in the market today?

MD: It’s so crucial having a Black-owned skincare brand that champions self-love.

In a world that’s over-saturated in accomplishments and accolades, we’ve been indoctrinated to forget our own journey of accepting the beauty within and loving ourselves, even with our own imperfections.

“This ethos of self-love manifests itself in the sabi’s brand architecture; internal and external messaging; tone of voice, and visuals.”

– Maurice Diong, Founder of sabi Skincare

But to be honest, it’s the sabi tribe that genuinely advocates and champions self-love across the market. Everyone and anyone who has or who will include sabi in their daily rituals and routines end up being more than just a brand evangelist; they become part of a tribe whose mission is to push the narrative of self-love.

This brand is centered around fully accepting, nurturing, and loving yourself, how do sabi team members and planners embrace acceptance, nurturing, and love of self?

As mentioned before, sabi’s brand ethos takes on a 360-approach when it comes to the brand’s three pillars of acceptance, nurturing, and self-love. From those who are just getting familiar with the brand to the team behind the brand, everyone has their own journey and philosophy when it comes to embracing those three pillars.

Internally, the team is big on the wellness of mind and body so we push ourselves as much as we can whether it’s through sport or mindfulness practices like sedentary reflection, yoga, meditation, and so on.

Maurice Diong sources their raw shea butter from a women’s cooperative located in Burkina Faso, he explains more about that collaboration and how it came to be.

KH: Where did you find the women’s cooperative from Burkina Faso and Senegal? Tell us more about the collaboration.

MD: It’s important that we source our ingredients from their origins. Being from Senegal, it was also important to me that we reinvest in this way, and go to the source.

KH: What does it look like to fully accept, nurture, and self-love? What are the ways that you incorporate these values in your daily life?

MD: That’s a tough question in the sense that the response is quite subjective. And while we can’t speak for everyone’s own journey of acceptance, nurturing, and self-love, there are parallel themes in everyone’s life when it comes to fully embrace those three pillars.

For example, there are the Haenyeo, who are a group of female divers in the Korean province of Jeju, who dedicate their lives to harvesting a variety of mollusks, seaweed, and other sea life from the ocean; then there are the women in Burkina Faso, Senegal, and so many other regions of West Africa and the Sahel who meticulously source natural ingredients from the MotherLand.

While these two groups of women are seemingly disparate, they both share a vigor or passion (if you will) for life and their livelihood. Once a person or persons accept and embrace their respective passion(s) in life, everything else (self-love included) falls in place.

KH: What do you want this Black skincare brand to be known for in the years ahead?

MD: I want sabi Skincare to be many things, but what’s most important to me is the community that surrounds it. It is through this community that we are encouraged to be our best selves, to share…

KH: Any special ideas or plans coming for the brand as we end the fall season?

MD: Sabi is undergoing a rebrand that we’re all excited for and hope you will join us in the excitement too! From visual content to messaging, to community outreach, a stronger presence across digital platforms, and so much more, we’re just buzzing with a renewed sense of self as not only a company but as a tribe.

KH: Any advice for youths looking to get into the skincare game?

“Discover yourself. Embrace the journey of imperfections, flaws, acceptance, nurturing, and self-love. Let your spirit be your own ship’s personal lighthouse. The rest will follow.”

– Maurice Diong, Founder of sabi Skincare

Cannabis is legal in New York: Prioritizing social equity for BIPOCs

Starting next Saturday, October 9 through Sunday, October 10, The Working Group Coalition, FireHouse Harlem, the Harlem Business Alliance, and Our Academy are hosting a free Social Equity In New York Cannabis event.

Pull up and pop out to the free Social Equity In New York Cannabis event at the spots below:

Harlem Business Alliance: 275 Malcolm X Boulevard – October 9, 1 pm to 3 pm

social equity cannabis event harlem

(RSVP Here)

The Andrew Freedman Home: 1125 Grand Concourse – October 9, 5 pm to 7 pm

cannabis entrepreneurship event

(RSVP Here)

Gifted BK: 153 Grand St. – October 10, 3 pm to 5 pm

cannabis social equity

(RSVP Here)

According to the New York Times, state lawmakers approved a bill that would legalize the recreational use of cannabis.

With the rise of state legalization of marijuana across the country, we should all take some time to understand what this means for racial disparities for those who may want to take entrepreneurship venture in the cannabis field.

This event will be hosted at the Andrew Freedman Home in the Bronx, The Harlem Business Alliance in Harlem, and Gifted Bk in Brooklyn. At these locations teaching guests about social equity in cannabis laws will be the objective.

This event is also meant to help shape perspectives when it comes to the laws in New York to make sure their equitable access is available to all regarding entrepreneurship within the cannabis industry.

The Cannabis Social Equity Policy Handbook is a document that highlights the known barriers in entering the cannabis business. It also points out the barriers to operating cannabis businesses.

This Handbook has information that delivers actionable baseline guides for the creates of social equity programs and frameworks. There are also action steps for folks who want to effectively advocate for comprehensive social equity programs in their local and state government

This will be an event filled with great leaders in the field like Kika Keith, CEO of Gorilla RX Dispensary, which makes her the first Black-woman-owned dispensary in LA.

This event is something that can help push the conversation further when it comes to social equity in America.

LoFi music

LoFi music, mental health, and its beautiful impact on its listeners

LoFi music has made a huge splash on the internet during the start of the pandemic, especially with mental health.

As people attempted to find new ways to focus and relieve stress while adjusting to a new work-from-home environment, Lo-Fi music steps in to bring in sounds that create the perfect ambiance for a stress-free productive environment.

According to Discovery Mazingine’s “ Why, LoFi Music Draws Listeners In” it defines Lofi as “ ‘ ‘low-fidelity,’ a term for music where you can hear imperfections that would typically be considered errors in the recording process …those ‘mistakes’ become an intentional part of the listening experience.”

The kind of music is rooted in no vocals, jazz sounds, bass and snare drums in a boom bat rhythm, and natural ambiance sound in everyday life coming together to create a beat that hits the sweet spot of not being over the top and not too slow which is perfect for stimulation.

One person highly credited for this style of creating beats is J Dilla a rapper/ producer from Detriot, who rose in the underground Hip-hop scene during the 90s.

He was highly respected in the hip-hop community and worked with big names like Erykah Badu, Tribe Called Quest, QTip, Common, etc. At the time of his last and most accredited work Donuts (2006) dropped, he was in the hospital due to complications with lupus.

He passed away after his 33rd Birthday. Most of what is listened to as Lo-fI music today has his musical legacy all over it.

These particular type of study/stress-free playlists is popular on platforms like SoundCloud, Youtube, and Spotify.

According to’s “ The science behind the ‘beats to study to’ craze” Brain.FM’s company director Kevin Woods, who also holds a Ph.D. in auditory neuroscience was quoted stating:

“​​Good focus music has no vocals, no strong melodies, ‘dark’ spectrum, dense texture, minimal salient events (more on that later), heavy spatialization, a steady pulse, sub-30-200Hz modulation, and above 10-20Hz modulation… Ideally, focus music is going to have a drive and energy. You want a sense of motion in the music, not just something light and airy”

When it comes to mental health, there have been studies that correlate the kind of music that is listened to, and the arousal state you are in. A medium post by Elisabeth Sherman referenced this study created by a member of the Cambridge brain sciences team in 2017, Tram Nguyen.

Nguyen was quoted in the piece stating “ ‘High-arousal’ music often has more distinct events per unit of time than low-arousal music, potentially making it more distracting, because the listener is more focused on processing the music rather than the task at hand.”

The overall study proved that “low-arousal negative music — music with low tempos and minor chord melodies, which are usually associated with despondency and sadness — improved memory performance the most.”

This kind of music does have the potential to block out intrusive noise through aural cocooning which is when a sound is repetitive and predictable enough to tune extra noise.

This kind of music also creates sound spatialization. This means the music has an element that hears as although it’s actually in the same room compared to the way hear through regular headphones. The rhythm and repetition of these beats create a stimulating environment. This can also help with cognitive issues.

Although there are some studies, there isn’t anything overly stating that Lo-Fi can be a fixer helper for mental health. LoFi music’s ability to create a calm and chilling atmosphere is something that overall can help regulate your mental health and emotions throughout work and everyday tasks.

1. Lofi Girl

2. ChillHop


A Black Wall Street art exhibition comes to Brooklyn: Here’s how to pull up

Painter and filmmaker, Ajamu Kojo is debuting his solo exhibition titled BLACK WALL STREET: A CASE FOR REPARATIONS which is a tribute to the prolific Black Wall Street and remembrance of the horrific Tusla Oklahoma Race Massacre of 1921.


black wall street exhibition

After stumbling upon a video of Dr. Olivia J. Hooker, one of the last surviving residents of Black Wall Street, he took the time to do extensive research to learn about the people of Tusla.

He used his artistic creativity and filmmaker perspective to memorialize the people who made what is now revered as Black Wall Street. Kojo gathered some folks from his Brooklyn Community which included artists, lawyers, entrepreneurs to represent the characters in his pieces.

He designed the sets and wardrobes that appear in his paintings with Ola Akinmowo.

Black wall street painting
Photo courtesy: @ajamu

As young Black creatives, it’s important to recognize that we have always paved a way through. We were always able to build and grow. Even in the worst situations.

To think how an artist can connect themselves to a defying moment of history show how much we are not as far removed as we may think we are.

To know that people who survived that massacre still exist in 2021 is telling. This form of remembrance allows us to honor those of the past, those who’ve created our present, and those who have a promising future, whatever that may be. 

Things seem to be nothing but chaotic at this moment in time. Each day we are reminded of our mortality. Between the crumbling state of our world and constant changes in our environment, it makes sense that creatives would dive into histories to make sense of our existence today.

In 1921, Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Greenwood District, known as Black Wall Street, was one of the most prosperous African-American communities in the United States.

Kojo’s approach to this piece of history showcases how important it is for our stories to be told. At the core, it’s a deep understanding that adversity is at every corner when you exist in a Black body. But still, we move and shake up the world. 

“Each portrait features a black tar-like drip in the outer edges of the panel; a  nod to the crude oil that was a source of much of the capital that was the bedrock of the community’s  success and is also a representation of the ominous events to come.”

Black art tells out stories in ways that leave an imprint on the hearts of the Black Community. The Greenwood Massacre is a story that is widely known among Black Americans. It’s a representation of what we could have been and how white supremacy always rears its ugly head to destroy the livelihood of Black Americans. 

Ajamu Kojo’s BLACK WALL STREET: A CASE FOR REPARATIONS is “a spiritually uplifting dedication to the wildly successful and hard-working men and women who built Black Wall Street.”

It showcases how creatives are able to honor what was the legacy of Black art in America. This remembrance of Black Wall Street, allows us to keep the spirit of resilience alive. Kojo’s vision is a reminder of who we are, where we come from, and where we stand to go. 

Ajamu Kojo’s Black Wall Street exhibition opening TBD. To RSVP or schedule a visit, email

Black punk style gets a refreshing new take as one stylist revives Pure Hell

Stylist Viva the Visionary has outdone herself as she’s leading the charge to highlight the originators of Black punk style, the band Pure Hell.

“Time To Embrace Your Individuality” are the words that you see when you land on Viva The Visionary’s website. She is envisioning a world where healing and individual creativity are a focal point in fashion.

The 26-year old Brooklyn Based stylist and fashion designer combine self-healing through fashion as the core value of their work.

Viva The Visionary defines herself as a fashion shaman. By her own definition, this is a person with the ability to activate the healing properties of clothing to aid others.

Ultimately, she pulls inspiration from other dimensions to promote self-healing and individuality. In a moment where things seem to be unpredictable, Viva uses her skills to promote a lifestyle where healing is always at the center. 

Kulture Hub: Tell me about how you got into styling and fashion? 

Viva the Visionary: My parents first exposed me to personal style. They’ve always embraced individuality and taken pride in your appearance. I give my mom all the credit for training my eye and not being afraid to take risks.

Fashion for me is a lifestyle.

– Viva the Visionary

I didn’t grow up falling in love with brands. I grew up falling in love with the material of clothing and loving the process of putting together outfits. My mission with fashion is beyond me.

The goal is to promote individuality and self-healing through clothes. I know being in the fashion world is my calling. It comes so naturally to me. Styling will always be incorporated naturally into what I do. But my goal isn’t to be a stylist forever. My next move is designing. I plan on being one of, if not, the greatest fashion designer to ever do it.

KH : What are some misconceptions about styling?

Viva: I really feel like stylists do not get the credit we deserve. Shoutout to all the amazing stylists doing the damn thing!!

I’d say the biggest misconception is that what we do is just quick and easy. Of course, the style part comes easy. But a lot of people think I just steam clothes and hand them off.

For editorial work, there’s a lot that goes into it. During pre-production as a stylist, you have to do major research and planning; consultations, create a designer pull list, mood boards, style boards reaching out to designers.

Then in actual production prepping clothes, staying on set, etc. In post-production, I’ll then do rounds of drop-offs. Finally, I then go through the shots with a photographer for us to then send to publications.

In my eyes, stylists are fashion detectives…

– Viva the Visionary

Fashion designers are known for their signature look or for bringing creative images into clothing. Viva fuses healing and fashion as a way to bring in the person and their true essence into their clothing. 

Recently, Viva The Visionary infused the style of a 70s Black Punk Rock band into one of her latest visions. Pure Hell was a Punk Rock Band from West  Philadelphia that was well known in the 70s.

According to Dazed Digital, “Pure Hell was completely entrenched in the New York City underground scene, living and performing alongside the legends of American punk.”

Black punk band Pure Hell performing “Noise Addiction”

KH: When did you first get exposed to Pure Hell? 

Viva: Winter 2020. As I was doing research about the 1970s (something I’m always doing because I’m obsessed with that era) I came across the name Pure Hell.

I don’t remember what rabbit hole I went into specifically. When I typed in “pure hell” I was surprised how there wasn’t that much info on the band as there should be. But this lack of info made me more curious. 

black punk style
Deshawn (@thatfineassbrotha): Top – Monzlapur (ig @monzlapur.ny), Harness – LLESSUR (@llessurnyc), Pants – Babi the Red (

KH: How did you come up with a Pure Hell black punk style concept? What made you want to pay homage to Pure Hell? 

Viva: I remember reading an article by Dazed I believe in 2010 and it highlighted how this punk rock band was the pioneer for punk music.

Also when people think of “punk style” they don’t think of black artists at all which is wild because we were the blueprint (once again) when it comes to punk/ heavy metal.

The part that stuck with me was how they’ve been forgotten for years. Also how they were so far ahead of their time when it comes to style. They experimented with androgyny and were completely original.

Reading that they were original and forgotten really resonated with me as an artist. That being said I was like how can we give “Pure Hell” the flowers that they rightfully deserve.

pure hell homage
From Left to Right | Eustace (@eustacejbanks): Vest – Babi the Red, Pants – Monzlapur | Jason (@bloombyproof): Top – Monzlapur | Eli (@visionsbyeli) Top – Zara, Jumpsuit – Babi the Red

I wrote the concept in my journal and just sat on it until everything came naturally together. When Rumpus (photographer for the shoot) heard about the concept he was all in and together we built an amazing team! The team was a dream. Like we really did that!

Also shoutout to my really good friend Kai! She was the lead MUA for this shoot. And wow she really killed it. We are so grateful for how this all came out. That day was really magical!

MUA pure hell
MUA Kaiyla Frankin applying the next look

Pure Hell contributed to the punk rock scene in great ways. The black punk band shaped how punk would be seen and heard, today. As a Black band in the 70s, they had an impact on how people saw punk rock.

KH: Pure Hell is a pioneering Black punk rock band, do you have thoughts surrounding the impacts this band made in regards to Black artists/creatives in the punk rock scene?

Viva: Yes the impact was big but unfortunately not known by the masses. Back at this time, black artists were only expected to create “dance” or “Motown music.”

That’s why Pure Hell never got signed. They didn’t budge when it came to what was true to them. Instead Pure Hell’s influence back then only trickled really to other punk rock bands at that time which were white.

black punk style
From Left to Right | Deshawn (@thatfineassbrotha): Jacket – Jiljah, Chain Top – Sultry Affair Style (@sultryaffairstyle), Gloves – Armani Exchange | Eustace (@eustacejbanks): Chain Top – Sultry Affair Style (@sultryaffairstyle), Pants – Ralph Lauren

Unless you are in the punk scene deeply you wouldn’t know about Pure Hell especially due to the lack of info. Asking around about this band I came across a lot of people who had no idea that a black punk band existed in the ’70s.

KH : How did Pure Hell impact your own fashion sense?

Viva: It’s funny Pure Hell and I have a lot of similar, fashion-wise. Being original and just doing what you feel rather than what people expect. After the shoot, I was inspired to be even more experimental though and go even more outside of the box. 

Viva the visionary brought the essence of Pure Hell into her work. Work rooted in self-expression and healing. Tapping into Punk Rock style, black energy, and innovation she brought her creative vision to life in 2021. 

“Dressing nice for yourself is a form of self-care that promotes self-healing. For me, fashion is way more than what meets the eye… Every day I decorate my shell and show the universe my gratitude for giving me this vessel to live in my truth and to inspire others to be themselves.”

– Viva The VIsionary 
pure hell rock band
From Left to Right | Jason (@bloombyproof): Top – Babi the Red (, Skirt – Tripp (@trippnyc) | Eustace (@eustacejbanks): Top – HappyXLoco (@happyxloco), Pants – I AM GIA (@iamgia), Earrings – Babi the Red ( | Deshawn (@thatfineassbrotha): Top – LLESSUR (@@llessurnyc), Pants – SAI by sai (@saibysai_) | Eli (@visionsbyeli): Jacket – Armani Exchange, Tie: Sean John

KH: How do you want your work to be remembered?

Viva: As original, impactful, thought-provoking… Although people always say everything in fashion has already been done before, I refuse to believe that. I just pray I get my flowers. Sometimes originality goes over people’s heads or is made fun of (like Pure Hell) but that’s the risk I’m willing to take.

“I was born an original and I will die as an original never a copy!”

– Viva The VIsionary 

The LOOD collective is helping creatives live out their dreams

LOOD (Living Our Own Dreams) calls itself “ a socially conscious collective dedicated to creating a platform for local creatives and using those platforms to give back.”

Creatives come from all walks of life and will find innovative ways to build their platforms. The great thing about this period of time is the access to the internet and the ability to build platforms for just about almost anything.

Three friends decided to come together to start a collective that’s rooted in being socially conscious and using their platforms to give back to communities.

LOOD founders
LOOD Founders (From Left to Right: Kenneth Cousins, Austin Wentworth, and Becca Law) | Photo Courtesy: @heartwinkphotos

Kulture Hub: How did LOOD come to be? What was the driving force behind the collective’s inception?

Kenneth Cousins (LOOD Co-Founder): LOOD came to be very organically. To take a few steps back, my fraternity brother and friend, Austin Wentworth, introduced me to a close friend of his, Becca Law, who also attended Syracuse University a couple of months ago.

He mentioned she wanted to do something special for her father who was a successful film photographer in the 80s and 90s. After all of us hopped on a Zoom, Becca’s initial aspirations turned into something much bigger. An event to celebrate the re-opening of NYC by bringing together visual artists who created during a very tumultuous time in our culture. But not only did we want to celebrate, we also wanted to give back.

Which is where LOOD came in. We initially had a different name leading up to our artist showcase, but after jamming individually with Becca one afternoon, we landed on a phrase that accurately depicted what we wanted to do.

Enter LOOD: Living Our Own Dreams. Any Yeezy fan should recognize that our name is inspired by Kanye’s label GOOD Music. LOOD is a socially conscious collective aimed at supporting local artists by positioning them on a platform in order to give back.

“Each artist has their own dreams and LOOD is just one vehicle for their dreams to take off so they can live out their aspirations.”

– Kenneth Cousins, LOOD Co-Founder

LOOD’s mission of giving back to communities is what makes them different from other collectives. They want to uplift local creatives in a way that inspires creatives to give back. When it comes to the creative field it’s rare to see a focus on local creatives and giving back.

Centering local creatives allows more room for new creatives to have a place to grow and build their platform. LOOD highlights the importance of working within a community instead of networking up the ladder. 

This creative collective is dedicated to redefining what creatives do and how they connect with their audiences and give back to communities. 

KH: How does LOOD define “socially conscious?” 

KC: Bringing diverse thinking into conversations while exercising empathy to recognize inequalities, injustices, or marginalized occurrences in culture to help make a difference.

LOOD collective creatives
Photo Courtesy: @heartwinkphotos

KH: How do you want LOOD to be known and remembered? If there was one word or phrase to define LOOD’s purpose, what would it be and why? 

KC: As a collective that used its strengths and privileges to spotlight artists with a unique perspective and organizations whose intent is to level the playing field.

One word to define LOOD’s purpose? Hyper-local.

– Kenneth Cousins, LOOD Co-Founder

The organizations we partner with may be recognized by their name, but the artists we work with will be hyper-local. So it’s important people know we are about community, community is everything to us, and we really want artists to be proud of their roots.

Back in July, LOOD teamed up with Darkroom and 310Bowery Bar where they hosted an artists showcase where charity prints were for sale, creatives spoke on the events from this past year that allowed them to donate to DiversifyPhoto which is “a community fueled BIPOC and non-western creatives who are dedicated to increasing diversity in the arts.”

This showcase is a way that LOOD was able to bring creatives and different organizations together for a fun event that gives more exposure for local creatives and raises funds for organizations like DiversifyPhoto.

Seven creatives were a part of the event where they showcased their work. According to LOOD’s Instagram post  “They have captured pivotal, thought-provoking moments that encapsulate the spirit of hope and revolution.” 

KH : Can you tell me about the team? How does chemistry play a factor in the collective’s mission?

KC: As mentioned above, the team is made up of Becca Law, Austin Wentworth, and myself. Austin served as the connector, but once we all met we were very much in sync.

We’re all extroverts with sizable networks who love meeting new people. So putting together the event we did with 310 Bowery was an absolute pleasure.

We all have different skillsets and backgrounds, but it’s those similarities and those differences that helped round out the team.

– Kenneth Cousins, LOOD Co-Founder

No matter what kind of event we organize next, there will always be a component where we raise and donate funds to an organization that is making an impact to uplift creatives. Collectively we decided that Diversify Photo, a network made of BIPOC photographers, editors, and producers in the industry, were a perfect recipient of our efforts.

Coincidentally it was also founded by Syracuse alumni; however, that revelation was not known in the upfront which made it much more serendipitous. Thanks to all of our event partners, including Darkroom, 310 Bowery, Trop Flavor Co., we were able to raise more than $5,000 to donate to Diversify Photo.

LOOD is an attempt to change the way creative collectives work. Their emphasis on being hyper-local and showcasing local creatives bring a new sense of community amount creatives so they can see that being connected locally could be just as powerful as climbing up the networking ladder.

But where does the Delta Variant leave poor creatives?

As the summer is slowly winding down, the Delta Variant is increasingly spreading throughout the nation. According to CNN reports, “More than 98% of US residents now live in an area with a “high” or “substantial” risk of Covid-19 community transmission — up from only 19% a month ago.”

We witnessed the economic impacts of COVID-19 in 2020, now with the Delta Variant wave where does that leave low-income communities in America? 

Not to mention freelancing creatives

Will the Delta Variant dish out similar hardships?


The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ “The COVID Hardships Watch ” report mentions “millions still report that their households did not get enough to eat or are not caught up on rent payments.”

 According to the report, a little under 28 percent of adult renters said it was difficult to cover expenses back in early July. A over 14 percent of adult renter households said they weren’t caught up on rent while over 7% of them said they do not have enough to eat. 

The Urban Institute, released a report last month called the “2021 Poverty Projections: Assessing the Impact of Benefits and Stimulus Measures” which projects the poverty outcomes this year. 

The report stated that “ The projected poverty rates are lowest for children (5.6 percent), higher for adults ages 18 to 64 (8.1 percent), and highest for people age 65 and older (9.2 percent).” 

The report included the radical disparities among Black Americans, Latinx, Asian Americans Pacific Islander, AAPIs. The report also mentions that “The combined [governement] benefits have the largest impact on children, reducing their projected 2021 poverty rate 81 percent relative to what it would be without any benefits (from 30.1 percent to 5.6 percent).” 

Will that stimulus check ever hit the same way again?


The stimulus package was the thing that kept many Americans afloat last year. There hasn’t been much talk on Capitol Hill of another stimulus check although many states are putting back COVID restrictions as well as some schools going back to virtual after a Covid-19 outbreak. 

The Center on Poverty & Social Policy at Columbia University has been tracking US poverty rates Monthly. The most recent update to this was in May it was over 10 percent for those with COVID relief resources, while it was over 15 percent for those who did not receive the resources. 

poverty rate graph
Figure 1

These were the monthly numbers before these recent major spikes of the delta variant in the U.S. If the number continues to rise and another shutdown comes our way, the key things to keep us float by are these government-issued resources.

Many Americans are still struggling through the pandemic and the predictions for this upcoming don’t look too promising. 

The U.S Census Bureau created the Household Pulse Survey which is in week 34 as of recent. This survey was created, “To produce data on the social and economic effects of coronavirus on American households.” This weekly survey captures real-time data on the experiences Americans are having in this pandemic. 

Are the stats are stacked against lower-income communities?

employment income covid
Figure 2
Figure 3

The average American household income in 2019 was $64,324 per year.

As you can see in Figures 2 and 3 those who are making less than $50k per year, the working class, are the ones that are ones experiencing income loss and worried about mortgage payments. 

Understanding how COVID-19 impacts low-income communities it is clear, that this Delta Variant can lead to another wave of Americans in economic distress.

Low-income Americans are the most vulnerable population to not only the virus but to the many levels of hardships, that this pandemic has brought us. They are the people that will be impacted the most by this Delta Variant, and who are experiencing the brunt force of economic destitution.