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Ashley Hill

Style & Beauty

Chicago Native Elon Larkin Gives Us The Inside Scoop On His New Clothing Line, Skate Nerd

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Elon Larkin, a Chicago native and avid roller skater gives insight into why he decided to start his own clothing line, ‘SKATE NERD.’ You can catch a glimpse of him getting his roll on in the 2006 movie ‘Roll Bounce.’ From initial contact the 28 year-old comes off very quiet and reserved, but I was quickly proven wrong once we started talking about his love for skating and his eagerness to have everyone love his clothing line. Check out our interview below.

AH: WHO IS THE MAN BEHIND ‘SKATE NERD’?
EL: A skater is definitely behind skater nerd. I skate board a little bit. So a skater first a foremost and then a business man second. I don’t do this to get rich or anything, I do it more so to express the man behind ‘Skate Nerd’, which is my passion and love for skating.

AH:WHERE DID THE INSPIRATION BEGIN WITH THE CLOTHING LINE?
EL: I was inspired a number of different ways. One with fashion in general. People I know in fashion from Chicago who are influential, I would watch them and soak up everything that I could from them. And then in the skate world you had people who had different organizations and non profits and I saw that it was a void, and that people needed something to represent their lifestyle.

AH:WHEN DID THIS START?
EL: It started in June 2011. During the IR3 (Independence Roll, a national skating party in Chicago) at Rich City Skating Rink, I had like 7 dozens shirts and I sold out of all of them.

AH:DURING THIS PROCESS WHO WHAT WERE SOME OF YOUR MOST REWARDING AND CHALLENGING EXPERIENCES?
EL: Everyone wants a piece of something that they didn’t create. People can see the vision that I have and they want to throw something on top of that and think that it’s was theirs.

AH: WHAT MESSAGE ARE YOU TRYING TO SEND OUT?
EL: I want people to know that a lot of people still skate. Rollerblade, rollerskating, ice skating, derby skating where they are fighting. It’s still very much prevalent.

AH: HOW DO YOU COME UP WITH THE CONCEPTS OF YOUR DESIGNS?
EL: The designs come from how I feel, the colors, the imagery. Watching the women skate and their body shapes and seeing them in their natural element. At the same time they are so animated and I wanted that to be shown through my clothing line.

AH: WHATS THE FUTURE OF ‘SKATE NERD’?
EL: As fashion grows I am going to integrate myself with it. I feel like it’s going to always have a presence because no one else is doing it. There’s a huge void. I don’t want it to be too time consuming or anything like that because then ill have to conform and I really just like doing things where its me controlling everything. As it grows and gets better, I’ll definitely be open to having my line be available in stores that cater to skaters.

You can visit his website to check out his dope clothing, hats and more by clicking here.

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Style & Beauty

Battle Of The Tresses: Deciding To Relax Your Hair Or Stay Natural

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Many years ago, having a long, shiny hair was indeed in high demand and many women were in love with relaxed hair. However, time has brought forth a lot of change in this trend so transitioning to natural from relaxed hair is now considered a new craze of many people.

I’ve had so many people, males and females ask me why I decided to “go natural.” I’m unsure of what this means, so my answer to them is always the same. I have decided to “go natural” for my health and to embrace a lifestyle change toward an overall healthier me.

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I’m befuddled to see that men and women still have a complex about individuals wanting to start their natural hair journey. I rocked a relaxer for many many years and never would I bash someone or speak to them in a condescending tone because their hair doesn’t look like mine. I haven’t “gone natural.” I have simply allowed my hair to take on its original course. This is just how MY HAIR grows.

If you are someone who is looking to embrace your natural tresses, ask yourself these for questions.

Am I ready to accept my texture?
Am I ready to spend more time on my hair?
Am I ready to experiment with different products?
Can I deal with the negativity?

Lastly, know before you decide to go natural it’s YOUR personal decision. Friends, family, co-workers, and sometimes significant others may not welcome your new natural look, but stick by it and wear it with CONFIDENCE.

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Random

Black History Moment: Pre-K Students Learn and Celebrate Garrett Augustus Morgan

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It’s BLACK HISTORY MONTH, so it only felt right to have my students learn each day about African American inventors and a myriad of other individuals who have brought forth change and have helped shaped African-American communities around the world.

This week we discussed a man named Garrett A. Morgan. He is one of the country’s most successful African-American inventors-creating two, the gas mask and the traffic signal.

Garrett A. Morgan was born in the late 19th century to former slaves. With only a sixth-grade level of education he was very fortunate to have an innate mechanical mind that enabled him to solve problems. And, unlike most other inventors, he also was a skilled entrepreneur. His motive for the traffic signal – was to help save lives. After witnessing an accident on a roadway, Morgan decided a device was needed to keep cars, buggies and pedestrians from colliding.

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If you’re like me, you usually avoid the yellow light if there are no police officers around. Yellow just means SPEED UP! But of course I was sure to omit that tid bit of information out while informing my students of the wonderful invention created by one of our own.

Instead they learned a poem that goes a little something like this:

RED means stop. GREEN means go. YELLOW means wait even if you’re late.

To learn more about Garrett Morgan and his inventions, visit http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/gama/gamlife.htm.

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Random

TODAY Is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

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“Our ancestors fought that we might be free—even from HIV” are the words that stained my heart after visiting the National Black HIV/Aids Awareness Day website over the weekend.

February 7th marks the 13th year for National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

Being a PROUD graduate of a HBCU, I was thrilled to learn about the NBHAAD HBCU Initiative. HBCU’s are integral to various communities and serve as a prime catalyst of countless changes including educating the community about HIV. The HBCU initiative provides opportunities for students, as well as faculty and staff to increase awareness around HIV/AIDS throughout Black communities.

For so many years, prominently in the African-American community, we tend to shy away from the topic by disassociating ourselves from the disease. Lying to ourselves as though it’s only a “homosexual thing.”

What does this even mean?

It is time to STOP being ignorant to the FACTS! There are approximately 1.1 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the U.S., including more than 500,000 who are Black. Get the picture?

Learn more on how you can spread awareness to YOUR community, please visit http://www.nationalblackaidsday.org.

Get Educated. Get Tested. Get Involved. Get Treated.