Category — music

Lateens at school

I had the opportunity to go to W.H. Adamson High last week and see our classes brainstorm ideas for their advertising campaigns. See related topic on previous post, and the takeaway of my experience below.

I LOVE being around Lateens. Young people in general, but Lateens in particular because every time I leave the school or I have been around them, I feel so energized, refreshed, so alive. Here are some of the words I wrote down while they were brainstorming that I thought best described them:

• Funny, super funny. They make jokes about the simplest of things every once in a while.

• Creative, it took them less than 15 minutes to come up with good ideas for their advertising campaigns.

• Short attention span, super short, you better keep them entertained.
I feel like you have to challenge them, make them think and make it quickly because they seem to get bored fairly easy.

• Real

• Sincere

• They love music. Music is their life.

• Smart

I know these are very generic words and I don’t mean to generalize Lateens, but I wish everybody had the opportunity to go and see for themselves, spend time with them. They are complex, yet simple characters. They are vibrant, yet get bored extremely easily and can come across as apathetic if you don’t look close enough. They are mostly shy, but school is their familiar environment and they feed off of each other’s courage.
Being around them was the best part of my day.

November 22, 2010   6 Comments

Some Hip-Hop

What is hip-hop to you?

Is it black?  Is it white?  Is it brown?  Is it rich?  Is it poor?  East coast?  West coast?  South side?  Is it Snoop and Dre, or is it Tribe and WU?  Is it bling and success?  Or is it struggle and pain?  Can we still hear it today?  Or de we have to go back a few years…or even decades?

If the above doesn’t really make any sense, I’ll try to explain.  For BrandLateen purposes, the important thing to know is that true Hip-Hop is the one music that tells the intricate stories of unpredictable inner-city life.  Samples from jazz and blues rhythms, mixed with heavy beats and harsh lyrics, the music has experience rapid evolution since its inception almost 40 years ago.  Most Hip-Hop artists are black, and the majority of songs are written from an African-American cultural perspective.  A handful of black artists and fanatics will argue that musicians of other races robbed the black culture of one of its creations.  That’s a radical argument considering it’s a music that originally sprung from a passion for exaggerated, emotional expression (like most music, arguably).  But the real students of Hip-Hop understand that it’s an art form that bridges and transcends cultures.  After all, inner-city life is a culture in itself, infused in all of its inhabitants, regardless of background.

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September 10, 2010   1 Comment

Identity: I Am Me

Story of a Lateen becoming a new age Latina in this country.  Powerfully written in her own words.


More than just a word thrown on a page

A noun efficiently used in discussion of who you are, where you’re from, and who you hope to be, It is your root system spreading deeply, widely, freely.

When you pass me, who do you see?

Yes, you notice my dove chocolate skin;

My curious double espresso pair of eyes; my dimple on the right side; my almost perfect row of pearly crest whitened teeth; my 100-watt smile, melting away all adversity; my dark brown almost black hair that has been stripped of its kinky curls to be straight to the roots.

My short stature, curvy body along with hips that absolutely refuse to fit into Abercrombie & Fitch.

That is me.

This intense description of my physical appearance is lacking.

Sure I am what you see, but do you see what I am?

Doubt it!

I am more than a body and words on a page.

I am a series of complex roots.

Twisting. Crossing. Intersecting uniquely below the surface.

I am the product of the clash between two worlds.

Culture clash, cling, clash and change. Yes we can.

Brought in the headlights between two worlds, a subject of profiling.

Whether it was racial or not. I believed that I was caught.

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April 30, 2010   1 Comment

Cypress Hill, Marc Anthony, Pitbull and…Crosby, Stills and huh?

Last week marked the release of Cypress Hill’s latest album Rise Up. Before the release of the full album, the group led with the release of the popular single “Armada Latina.”  The song features Marc Anthony and Pitbull, and samples from the famous 1969 hit “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” by Crosby, Stills and Nash. Cypress Hill, the first Latin hip-hop group to go platinum, consists of B-Real and Sen Dog who are both Cuban-American. Pitbull, another popular Cuban-American musician. Marc Anthony is a Puerto Rican Latin and American Grammy award-winning singer/songwriter, actor and producer. All three artists have dominated the charts, and it’s incredible when such a collaboration like this happens in Latin music. Another prideful song is created, and the culture keeps flowing. But why would this song’s chorus and main hook be sampled from a rock song from 1969 sung by three American hippies? At first I thought it was because it was just a catchy, well known tune. No.

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April 26, 2010   2 Comments

Set a Trend

It might be time to once again talk about how Lateens tend to be trendsetters. When asked, our high school group verified that while they shop for a varied array of brands, they’re not partial to a certain one. They also mentioned that even though they mix and match fashions, they still try to maintain a personal style that says something about who they are. It’s a thought out process, and they don’t want to look like anyone else, which is funny, because a lot of times teens seem more inclined to follow trends than to set them. Whether it’s Nike, Ecko, Adidas, or Polo, there’s a single style that emerges from all of these. And along with it comes an attitude and a feeling. Looking cool is important to young people, and for Lateens, a clean and distinct look says something about status, and about how attuned you may be with the culture. Their style is an urban one, and as this segment grows, it’s a style that will soon become a staple of the mainstream culture of the American youth.

April 13, 2010   1 Comment

Shakira Did it Again

I recently took a look at Shakira’s new video for her most recent single, “Did it Again.” It’s a fairly high-energy song, and for the most part, the video follows suit. I don’t avidly follow Shakira, but I’m somewhat familiar with her career. When watching the “Did it Again” video, the first thing I noticed was that the lyrics were in English. This isn’t new, she’s released a number of English songs. But it seems more frequent these days. I then became curious to see what else was on her latest album, “She Wolf.” When I looked up the track listings, not only has she partnered with Wyclef Jean again, but this time she has recorded with KiD CuDi and Lil’ Wayne. Whoa!

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April 7, 2010   No Comments

Who’s a minority?

Research has shown that Lateens believe that Hispanics make up half of the population in the U.S. While this can be true within their schools, neighborhoods and maybe even cities, the reality is that this figure is between 15% and 20%. This common misperception is good and bad.

The good news is that Lateens truly believe that they have a voice, presence and influence in this country. The Lateen segment is driven by U.S. born, bilingual, biculturals that feel naturally embedded in the American way of life. Through the “Latinization of America”, Lateens see the mainstream success and appeal of music genres like Reggaetón, Latino actors such as Michelle Rodriguez and Selena Gomez, professional athletes and even a U.S. Supreme Court judge.

The other side of the story is that for all the progress that has been made, Lateens fall victim to their own expectations. They see these influences all around them and yet fail to connect that with individual success. Don’t get me wrong, many do put an emphasis on education and advancement, but the reality is that most don’t realize their full potential.

March 15, 2010   No Comments