Korean Pop music festival will return to Newark with concerts and free activities

things to do cardKCON, the world’s largest Korean music festival and culture convention will, return to the Prudential Center on June 24th and 25th with an expected 75,000 fans joining in on the festivities. This is the second year in a row that the festival will land in Newark.

The festival will include a concert portion, during which some of the most popular names in K-Pop will perform. Prior to the concerts, local high school student dance crews from five Democracy Prep Charter Schools will also give a pre-show performance.

Additionally, a series of workshops, panels, booths and a Korean marketplace with over 100 local merchants and businesses will also take place outside of the Prudential Center from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both days. That portion of KCON is free and open to the public and will feature:

  • Food workshop with Seonkyoung Longest, winner of Food Network’s “Restaurant Express”
  • Meet-and-greet with YouTube celebrities including JuNCurryAhn and DANakaDAN
  • Panel to meet the producers and cast of the documentary “Bad Rap,” which follows the lives and careers of four Asian-American rappers

The KCON festival started in the Los Angeles area in 2012, and expanded to the East Coast, via the Prudential Center, in 2015, which also saw the festival crop up in South Korea and Japan. This year, the festival will additionally expand to the United Arab Eremites (UAE) and France.


Friday, June 24

11:00am PANEL #1: Boy Meets Girl Meets Fate: Romance In K-Dramas

WORKSHOP: Korean 101

PANEL #2: The Return of the Secret Life of K-Pop Fans Over 30 

11:30am CONVENTION STAGE: K-Variety Games with Nutty Nomads
12:00pm TBA: Fan Sign with JuNCurryAhn
12:30pm PANEL #1: Meet & Greet with J.R.E & KennyBoySlay

WORKSHOP: Create Your Own Fansign

PANEL #2: Take a K-Drama Vacation!

1:00pm CONVENTION STAGE: Get That Look: MAMAMOO’s Solar!
2:00pm PANEL #1: From K-Pop Fan to K-Pop Professional

WORKSHOP: Korean Celebrity No-Makeup Makeup Tips With Glow Recipe

PANEL #2: Hallyu Fan on a Budget

CONVENTION STAGE: Performance by Rekstizzy

CONVENTION STAGE: Performance by Cindy Vo

3:30pm PANEL #1: All About The KCON 2016 NY Lineup

PANEL #2: Meet the Producers and Cast of “Bad Rap” 

4:00pm WORKSHOP: Simply Delicious Korean Snacks With Seonkyoung Longest 
4:30pm CONVENTION STAGE: Performance by JuNCurryAhn
5:00pm PANEL #1: Evolution of K-Pop Music

PANEL #2: KCON Ultimate Hallyu Knowledge Challenge

Saturday, June 25

11:00am WORKSHOP: The Best K-Beauty Routines for Every Skin Type

PANEL #2: How to Start Your Own Podcast

11:30am PANEL #1: Meet & Greet with JuNCurryAhn & DANakaDAN

CONVENTION STAGE: K-Variety Games with Nutty Nomads 

12:30pm PANEL #2: Banishing Blackheads to K-Drama Makeup Tips with Alicia Yoon of Peach and Lily 
1:00pm PANEL #1: Behind the Scenes with the Producers of S.M. Entertainment

WORKSHOP: Aegyo Battle


2:00pm PANEL #2: East Coast K-Spots

CONVENTION STAGE: Hallyu Trivia with KTO

2:30pm WORKSHOP: How to Treat Acne with Charlotte Cho of Sokoglam

CONVENTION STAGE: Performance by Heesun Lee

3:00pm PANEL #1: Day In A Life of a K-Pop YouTube Superstar
3:30pm WORKSHOP: Simply Delicious Korean Snacks with Seonkyoung Longest

PANEL #2: How Do You Hallyu

CONVENTION STAGE: ANX KPOP Battles & Cosplay Masquerade

4:30pm PANEL #1: Meta Dramaland: How Dramas Shape Fandoms, and Fandoms Shape Dramas
5:00pm PANEL #2: Let’s Talk About Cross Cultural Clashes in Hallyu

‘Hip Hop 4 Flint’ event in Newark to raise money for Flint’s water crisis, discuss water issues at home

participate cardThis Saturday, April 2nd, Newark will host the closing event for the “Hip-Hop 4 Flint” fundraising event series. The global initiative brings together hip-hop artists, community leaders, youth, activists, educators, and fans to raise a target $80,ooo to purchase high-quality water systems for 250 Flint residents in the wake of the city’s water crisis. Flint-based Prince of Peace Missionary Baptist Church is the non-profit partner for the event.


The initiative, which was announced before the issue of elevated lead in 30 Newark schools came to light, was founded by hip-hop artist and human rights activist YoNasDa Lonewolf, who also created Hip-Hop 4 Haiti in the wake of the devastating earthquake there in 2010.

The Newark event will be held at the Robert Treat hotel (50 Park place), and is being organized by Du “Doitall” Kelly of Lords of the Underground and 211 Community Impact, and Marcy DePena, CEO of FORSA Media group and program director of Newark Riverfront Revival. Doitall will also perform at the event, as will Rahzel the Beatboxer, Artifacts, Rhymageddon, Newark-bred tap dancer Maurice Chestnut, and a host of other artists. In addition, Code for Newark will host a voter registration drive during the event.

Hip Hop 4 Newark will be streamed online via UStream and media partners allhiphop.com, HipHopDX and Stagehound TV.

A panel discussion entitled “Newark: What’s In Your Water?” about lead prevention and Newark’s current water issue will be held at the beginning of the event.

Tickets for Hip Hop 4 Flint can be purchased online.

West Ward Diary #10: ‘Newark: The Comedy’ premiered at Burger Walla this weekend

entertainmentThis past weekend saw the premiere of “Newark: The Comedy” at Burger Walla on Halsey Street. Filmmakers Justin Williams, Steve Serra and Gordon Baker-Bone’s film employed footage of the three men chatting about Newark’s past and present in a pub; clips of each man’s stand up comedy at the Fourth Thursdays comedy show at Kilkenny Ale House; and a montage featuring shots of Newark landmarks like the Prudential buildings, Military Park, and the corner of Broad Street and Market.

Once everyone was seated, Williams quipped, “I hope you like this film. Otherwise I might have to sell my house and move!”

But Williams had nothing to worry about. For him and his two comrades in comedy, the premiere was a triumph.

Baker-Bone hails from Newark; Williams is part of the “new wave” of Newarkers; and Serra’s father and wife are Newark natives. The pub chat covered Newark’s past and present from its founding in 1666 by Puritans to our mayor’s father, poet Amiri Baraka, who was a giant of the Black Arts movement and a key figure in the city’s 1967 rebellion. The points made in the pub chat were punctuated by the observational comedy of each man.

Newark native Baker-Bone reminisced about growing up here in Newark. He said he remembers when “the bricks” referred to housing projects long since torn down. He made the sobering observation that Newark is changing so much that many will find it a financial struggle to stay.

Serra, whose lovely bride is expecting their first child, explained, “I grew up in Union, and we [now] live in the Ironbound.” He said he and Williams stand out when they walk up Broad Street, and that people’s reactions to them make it clear that they’re perceived as representing a demographic shift downtown.

As a professor in Manhattan, relative Newark newcomer Williams described his relatable and hilarious experiences on the PATH train, where people bellow into their cell phones oblivious of the other passengers. Williams also observed that people from smaller towns in Jersey ask him, with a clear undercurrent of dubiousness, “What is there to do in Newark?”

Williams said the conversation seems to be happening backwards. A typical retort: “We just have a world class museum and a performing arts center. We don’t have a strip mall like your town.”

After the film, the audience dispersed to celebrate at Skylab, the rooftop lounge of beautiful Hotel Indigo. A gentleman named Robert, who had come in alone, said he was struck by what he sees as a disconnect between the neighborhoods and what’s happening downtown.

“My parents, my wife, all my friends — nobody knows what happens in downtown Newark on a Saturday night. They have something here (at Hotel Indigo), they have something at Seed Gallery, they had a crafts show during the day at Aferro. People just don’t know,” he said.

In the end, “Newark: The Comedy” was a success. Newark comedians had entertained a Newark audience, and this was only the beginning. Williams reported after this debut that the film will air nationally at comedy festivals and other events throughout the country.

Lincoln Park Music Festival joins Newark Celebration 350 with an early kickoff and house music party tonight

Lincoln Park Music Festival is beginning “festival season” early this year with a kickoff event tonight at Diamondz N Da Ruff lounge, located at 71 Clay Street.

The three-day music festival, which is entering its eleventh year, will be joining forces with Newark Celebration 350, a commemoration of the city’s 350th anniversary, by extending its annual pre-festival series of music and dance-related events to include “Music Speaks,” a series of free lectures and a multimedia arts events “designed to increase Newark citizens’ appreciation for the African American musical genres of gospel, hip-hop, blues, jazz, rhythm and blues, rock and roll and house as well as empower and inform,” according to a recent email from festival organizers.


Tuesday’s free 21-and-over event, which will take place from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., will commemorate house music, and will feature sets by DJ Ironbound. . Those interested in attending are encouraged to RSVP at musicspeakskickoff.splashthat.com.

The Lincoln Park Music Festival itself will take place this summer from July 29th through July 31st.

‘Newark: The Comedy,’ a documentary featuring laughs and local insight on life in Brick City, to premiere at Burger Walla

entertainment cardYou probably won’t hear about Newark, New Jersey in a Bruce Springsteen song. And it’s not likely to be featured on Bravo’s Real Housewives of New Jersey. But in Newark: The Comedy, Brick City-based comedians, Justin Williams, Steve Serra and Gordon Baker-Bone say “stereotypes be damned…and laughed at!” as they introduce the world to the Newark they know and love.

Written and directed by Williams, Newark: The Comedy chronicles a candid conversation between the three local comedians who explain — with a healthy dose of humor — why New Jersey’s largest city is one of the most maligned and misunderstood places in America. The short movie, filmed and edited by Dan Hirshon with additional photography by Bill Scurry, uses footage from live stand-up shows at Newark’s Kilkenny Alehouse as well as casual and comical bantering around town.

“I’ve lived in Newark for three years and I was instantly struck by how much more complicated this city is than often presented,” said Williams. “I think this film will give people a more realistic view of the city I’ve grown to love, while poking fun at some of the old attitudes that contribute to the problems here.”


Williams is no stranger to comedic cinema. His last film “Justin Williams: Black and Comfortably Middle Class,” was screened at the Friar’s Club Comedy Film Festival, The Philadelphia Independent Film Festival and won the award of merit for Humor at the Best Shorts Competition in 2013.

“Even if you’re not a New Jersey native, the points we bring up—and subsequently mock—are relatable to most industrial communities facing gentrification,” he said.  “There’s definitely no shortage of under-appreciated great American cities — Newark just happens to be the one that stole my heart!”

The premier at Burger Walla (47 Halsey St. Newark, NJ 07102) on March 19, 2016 at 8 p.m. is free and open to the public.

To find out more about Newark: The Comedy or Williams, visit www.JustinWilliamsComedy.com or contact Williams directly at JustinWilliamsComedy@gmail.com.  

Hycide Magazine will celebrate its eighth print edition, ‘The Survival Issue,’ at Newark Museum on Saturday Feb. 27

culture cardOn February 27th, photojournalist and filmmaker Akintola Hanif will introduce the eighth print issue of his photography magazine Hycide, which explores subculture, art, and conflict through images and words. The launch event is free and open to the public, and will take place at Newark Museum from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Dubbed “The Survival Issue,” the latest edition of the magazine will include stories about the Georgia King Village housing projects in Newark; the favelas of Brazil; the Tenderloin District in San Francisco – known as a haven for the homeless; the story of Aziza Kibibi, a new Jersey woman who bore four children by her biological father (who has since been sentenced to 50 years in prison for raping her); and Cory “C-Blaze” Hamlet, alleged leader of the Grape Street Crips who was arrested earlier this month, among others.

“Hycide is about challenging elitist ideals and illustrating what’s really going on in the minds, hearts and lives of some of America’s finest yet forgotten people,” said Hanif. “Through stories of survival and freedom, our goal is to create understanding and empathy for the misunderstood while providing a visual and literary voice for the voiceless.”


The event will open with an Islamic prayer at 6:20 p.m. sharp. Guests will be able to tour the museum’s galleries, including their latest exhibition: Wondrous Worlds, Art & Islam Through Time & Place, which features more than 100 outstanding works of art showcasing the long history, vast geographic expanse and diversity of works of art in the Islamic world.

Drea dNur (Drea d’Nur), Unin Vited and Khalil Jibran will all be on hand to perform, and Ezrakh and DJ Hard Hitting Henry will spin music throughout the evening.

Guests will also enjoy catering, fresh pastries, cream liquor samples, a beer and wine bar, complimentary henna tattooing, head wrap instruction, oil, incense and body care product giveaways. Hanif and Newark Museum director Steven Kern will address attendees about the issue and the museum as part of the program. Attendees will be able to buy limited editions of the print magazine at the event.

Featured image by photographer Shawn Theodore

Curated vintage clothing and lifestyle shop opening at The Gateway Project in Newark

culture cardSince its launch last year, Gateway Project Spaces has been home to art exhibits, a culinary show, writing workshops, parties, and performances.

Now the spaces will add a new category to their roster: vintage clothing shop.

The new Reginald Parks Men’s & Women’s Vintage Shop will open at Gateway Project Spaces, located on the main concourse of 2 Gateway Center, next Friday, February 26th. The shop is the brainchild of Peter Winstead, Jr, who is both an accomplished recording artist and the creative director of brand strategy firm The Honors Program, which has produced the successful Guard d’Avant festival for two years in a row at Military Park (the festival will return this summer), and curated music events and programming for the 2015 Open Doors arts festival, The Gateway Project’s Winter Fête, and the Newark Business Hub’s launch event.

The name of the shop is an homage to two of Winstead, Jr.’s personal heroes who together represent the top tier in commerce and taste: Reginald Lewis, the first black person in America to build a billion-dollar company, and Gordon Parks, a renaissance man of the arts who was the first black American to direct and produce major motion pictures.

Although Winstead, Jr. and the Honors Project are perhaps best known for music and event production, Winstead, Jr. actually worked first as a fashion stylist, as a marketing consultant for brands like And 1, and in sales and management for high-end labels and boutiques including Schott Brothers, Ralph Lauren, and Pieces NYC. “Its been a long-time dream for me to one day open my own shop, and now here we are!” he said in a recent email announcing the pending opening.

In a callback to his music and event production chops, Winstead, Jr. will also be infusing his own taste into a curated series of live music and other events, one of the benefits of co-locating his shop at The Gateway Project, he said. (Another: direct connection to Newark Penn Station, which offers potential channel to customers and audiences further afield of Newark.) The February 26th kickoff event, dubbed “The Kickback,” will feature live music performances and DJs.

In the runup to launching, Winstead, Jr. has hosted a series of “Cocktails and Garments” preview events at the location on Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. With music, cocktails, and Winstead, Jr. himself on hand to walk patrons through the various vintage sartorial choices available at the shop, the events are meant to project the vibe of store once it’s fully launched.

Reginald Parks Vintage Boutique is located at Gateway Project Spaces, Suite 201 in 2 Gateway Center.

2nd annual Khem Comic Book Fest is this weekend here in Newark, and it’s not just for comic book heads

things to do cardThis coming Saturday, February 20th, locals of all ages are invited to attend the second annual Khem Comic Book Fest . The all-day festival will take place at Central High School (246 18th Ave.) and run from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

“Our goal is to develop youth literacy and expression through reading, writing, drawing or developing sequential art and related media,” said Naseed Gifted, cofounder of P.B.S. Media, one of the festival’s organizers and the media company behind the P. B. Soldier comic book. “Hence, we created a festival that will feature and promote creators of comics, books, film, and other media with a focus on people of color [and their] culture, concepts and interests.”

Programming will include a comic book marketplace that runs for the duration of the festival, where P. B. Soldier Episode 1, 2.0 and 2.5; Dreadlocks; Super Sketch Painter; KnightSeeker and a number of other comic books will be available for browsing and for sale. The schedule also includes a full roster of panels and workshops throughout the day, including everything from branding seminars to video game playing to “Superhero Training.” (See the full schedule below.)

“Our festival is for everyone, and [it’s] a diverse networking event for professionals as well as enthusiasts to aspire, inspire and appreciate people of color’s contributions as it relates to popular arts media,” said Gifted. The festival will take comics as its base but highlight many other areas for enthusiasts to explore, including speculative fiction, video games, collectible toys and models, films and documentaries, and many other media related to the popular arts.

The festival’s organizers also incorporated Common Core standards into the festival in order to highlight the content’s educational value, and demonstrate how comic books and popular arts can be used as the basis for curricula and lesson planning for students. For verbal instruction, for example, they said graphic novels and other written media share characteristics with traditionally taught literature, including theme development, symbolism, characterization, syntax, tone, and other elements, all wrapped in a more relatable and culturally relevant package.

Programming Line Up for Khem Comic Fest 2016:

10:00AM – 7:00PM




11:00AM – 11:15AM




Co-founders: Naseed Gifted, PBS Media; Darrell Goza, Goza Creative/ScriptGraphics and Ayanna Camean, Central High School


11:15 AM – 11:55 AM




The history of Khemet and how it influenced the world & our everyday lives.


Dilettante Bass (Marketing Director, PBS Media)


12:00 PM – 12:55 PM




With the advent of the 21st century sharing society, we are rapidly evolving into a hypervisual culture. Between all the major social media platforms, we are now sharing over 500 million pictures a day and that is expected to double every year. Comic books and graphic novels transform the way we see and teach STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) addressing the needs of diverse learners. With the new emphasis on reading nonfiction text, academic vocabulary, comics are more relevant than ever. Join Educators and Comics Creators as we present strategies for teaching STEM topics.


Darrell Goza (ScriptGraphics)

Naseed Gifted (Educator, Writer for P.B.Soldier scifi comic book series)


12:00 PM – 12:55 PM


Room 111


Ever dreamed of making a video game? The next thought is usually something along the lines of ‘oh, but I can’t do that’. Truth is, you can make a game and start right now.


Jamal O’Garro (Code Crew)


12:00 PM – 2:00 PM




1:00 PM – 1:55 PM




Graphic novels are excellent resources for teaching visual rhetoric, they remain, at heart, stories with the characteristics of other literature. Discussions on development of theme through motifs and symbols, anthropomorphism and other figurative representation, juxtaposition (and the results of juxtaposition: paradox and irony), methods of characterization, impact of syntax, and tone.


Moderated by Daniel McNeal (Corsairs)


Suliman Onque (On-Q Comics)

Rob Taylor (Super Human)

Sandra Richards (Wise Ink Creative Publishing)


1:00 PM – 1:55 PM


Room 111


In this session, we will discuss the simplicity and possibility of creating your very own superpower sci-fi short film using just an iPhone. Using the Superpower FX app, iMovie apps, and a little imagination, you may very well become the next Stephen Spielberg or Michael Bay.  Don’t miss this opportunity to transform your superhero imagination into reality.


Abdul-Hakeem (Teacher)


1:00 PM – 4:00 PM




Nerf Challenge sponsored by E.G.O.S. is a FUN and SAFE way to play Nerf war games for kids. Perfect for all age levels.


2:00 PM – 4:00 PM




We Are Boss Level is an event production company that is geared toward combining comic book and video game culture while showcasing independent music artists.



Varyus Waise, Kita P, SoSoon, Goody East, Baller Brown, Kahlil Johnson, Shay Leonia, Crimdella,  & Negros Americanos


2:00 PM – 2:55 PM




This workshop will focus on the preparation and completion of scanned pencils imported into a digital paint program. (Photoshop CS6 Master Suite)


Mshindo Kuumba (Art Director/2 D Lead Artist/Visual Artist)


2:00 PM – 2:55 PM


Room 111


Cosplay for all focuses on creative ways to bring your inner Super Hero to life.


Bill Johnson (Professional Actor and Cosplayer)


2:00 PM – 2:30 PM


2nd floor Anime Lounge


The Boondocks-Return of the King (Animation) created by Aaron McGruder

Martin Luther King comes out of a 32-year coma and Huey helps him to readjust. But Dr. King finds that his peaceful philosophy is no longer accepted in post-9/11 America.


2:35 PM – 3:00 PM


2nd floor Anime Lounge


Static Shock-Future Shock (Animation)

Static, after assisting Batman and Robin with a mission, is accidentally sent 40 years into the future, where he has to help the Batman of that era, Terry McGinnis, save a captured superhero: Static’s future self.


2:00 PM – 3:55 PM


Main Gym


Being prepared for Any and All situations, ready to react at any given moment putting it all on the line with no hesitation. Staying motivated and training as a gladiator. Join us for a session of Superhero training if you got what it takes to win!

Bring your sneakers and sweats.


Shareef Nash (Fitness Motivator)


3:00 PM – 3:55 PM




This workshop will explore the unacknowledged and often unknown history of black characters, creators and how Black images have been portrayed in the comic book media.


Darrell Goza (Goza Creative/ScriptGraphics).



3:00 PM -3:55 PM


Room 111


Are you looking to build up your brand? Do you want to grow a massive online following? Then this session is for you! Chris Coleman has built up a following of over 50K across his social media platforms and has worked on projects with brands such as the NBA, BuzzFeed and Trailer Park Inc (the social media team behind Breaking Bad and Mad Men).


Chris Coleman (Developing Heroes)


3:00 PM – 3:10 PM


2nd Floor Anime Lounge


Roye Okupe (YouNeek Studios)


3:10 PM – 3:55 PM


2nd Floor Anime Lounge


MaatKara (Animation) created by Dawit Lessanu

“Maatkara” (pronounced Mah-aht-kah-rah), Maat is a priestess and healer chosen by the gods as a divine administrator of justice who must fight evil forces. The tale is set in the year 9002 A.D., when the descendants of Egypt survive deep within the planet. Maat’s role is to defeat the NetworQ, an evil technological cabal led by the god of chaos, Set (voiced by actor Kevin Conway).


4:00 PM – 5:55 PM

COMIC BOOK LIBRARY sponsored by: Fortress of Solitude

Room 111


Comic Fans will have the opportunity to enjoy various comics and graphic novels in our Comic Library.


4:00 PM – 4:20 PM


2nd Floor Anime Lounge


On-Q Comics presents Night of the Boogeyman (Motion Comic) featuring Ratchetman. An original tale of urban legends, monsters and facing one’s innermost fears.

Part 1 & Part 2


4:00 PM – 4:55 PM

FULL SPECTRUM: WHY COLOR IN COMICS MATTERSAuditorium One of the most basic traits of a hero, is to fight for humanity and impact the world around them. If the majority of our heroes are all from the same race, heritage, or ethnicity, it not only sends the message that only one group is capable of heroism, but it also leaves no room for other races to fight for humanity as well. Exploring the ideas behind diversity and talking about how we can help spread those changes, without excluding any race, is vital to the comic book discussion. Join us we delve into the heart of what multiculturalism really looks like in the universe of heroes.  moderated by Andaiye Taylor (Brick  City Live) Kim Gaines(Grub Machine)Darrell Goza (Goza Creative/ScriptGraphics)Naseed Gifted (PBS Media)Dilettante Bass (PBS Media)Khaalis Finney (PBS Media)


4:25 PM – 5:55 PM


2nd Floor Anime Lounge


Play various video games on PlayStation and Wii systems.


5:00 PM – 5:55 PM




The Monster Panel is a sci-fi panel which has the energy of a Hip Hop event.  It is a fun, entertaining and informative panel of Science Fiction creators who discuss the stories behind the big happenings in the world of Sci-fi.  Television, movies, comics, video games and books will be a part of the conversation.


moderated by Jeff Carroll (Hip-Hop Comix N Flix)


Superfan Ckarl Jackson

Sci-Fi poet James Ellerbe


6:00 PM – 6:30 PM




ThaGataNegrra is an alternative hip-hop artist and author of the upcoming graphic novel “GATA City”. Dubbed “NJ’s real-life Catwoman” by Indie Flava Magazine, the Newark native ’s music– from the album of the same name– was colorfully described as “the… child of Hello Kitty and Eminem”, “infectious”, “honest”, and “full-throttle, in-your-face chick-hop”,  and  was included in the second and third seasons of the controversial, groundbreaking hit Hulu show “East Los High”.