April 4, 2019

Huncho Day 2019 with The Migos and Colin Kaepernick

quavo migos colin kaepernick huncho

Colin Kaepernick has been a dominant cultural force ever since taking a knee at an NFL pre-season game in 2016. His opposition to America’s oppression of the black community sparked intense debate. While Kaepernick ultimately forced his own exile from the NFL, he has had a broader impact across several areas. In 2018, he starred in a powerful Nike ad titled “Just Do It,” which pushed athletes far and wide to take control of their destiny.

Last month, Quavo of The Migos hosted his second annual Huncho Day football event. The casual game has brought together athletes and entertainers alike with a focus on giving back to Quavo’s high school alma mater, Berkmar High School. MAEKAN Community member Gavin Guidry, a Senior Art Director at Havas, was on hand to document the day’s events. No stranger to the solidarity of Atlanta’s black community, Gavin provided his insights into the power and inspiration of Colin Kaepernick.

Colin Kaepernick at Huncho Day 2019 in Atlanta. Photo Credit: Gavin Guidry

Tell us a little bit about the event. What was it was all about.

Huncho Day is a give back event from Quavo of the Migos. He was a quarterback at his high school (Berkmar High School) so his way of giving back is giving his alma matter and kids of the community a full day of fun centered around football. They have a carnival for families, a football camp for kids, and then cap it out with a celebrity game of flag football with some of the world’s biggest celebrities and athletes.

Rapper Gucci Mane and NFL star Julio Jones at Huncho Day 2019 in Atlanta. Photo Credit: Gavin Guidry

Kaepernick has been a big point of discussion over the last few years. How do you see? Athlete? Activist? Something else?

So it’s funny because I have come to see Kaepernick as this larger than life activist who is starting conversations and igniting a movement. But for this day, he was an athlete just having fun throwing the football around with his friends, which I think is probably how he wants to be seen. I don’t think he ever meant to become this huge civil rights figure, just an athlete that uses his platform to talk about things he believes in.

Julio Jones at Huncho Day 2019 in Atlanta. Photo Credit: Gavin Guidry

After all the focus around his most recent campaigns, what’s it like seeing him in the flesh?

Kaepernick? Well I was super shook because I knew he had been in Atlanta but had no idea that he would be there. First off, he’s like 6’6″ so his presence becomes literally larger than life. Seeing him call plays with Quavo and Julio Jones and throwing passes to Saquon Barkley made me smile because you could tell how much he enjoyed playing. He was cracking jokes and laughing basically the whole time, so I could see his love for the game. But the NFL isn’t letting him do the thing he loves right now, so it was kind of bittersweet.

Colin Kaepernick throws a pass at Huncho Day 2019 in Atlanta. Photo Credit: Gavin Guidry

What sort of hope does somebody like Kaepernick give?

He gives hope to people that don’t speak up out of fear. When he first got cut, I think people were viewing him as a cautionary tale, but he’s been able to grow his platform and his influence to keep the conversation going.

New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara. Photo Credit: Gavin Guidry

Favorite moments from the day?

Definitely seeing Kaep throw a touchdown to Saquon Barkley. Seeing Von Miller dance before every snap. Or Gucci, Quavo and Julio cracking jokes with Coach K and P from QC. The amount of love and positivity that was there is contagious. It was such an Atlanta thing. All of these celebrities, most of which were black men, came through just to have fun. I think the world needs to see more of that.

A group photo (L-R) featuring Offset of The Migos, Colin Kaepernick, and Quavo of The Migos at Huncho Day 2019 in Atlanta.

March 23, 2019

What It Takes is a book by MAEKAN Community's Dillion S. Phiri and focuses on Africa's young creatives

Creative Nestlings Whatever It Takes Book Dillion S. Phiri

What It Takes is a book that documents the emerging creative class in Africa. The book published by Dillion S. Phiri, founder of Creative Nestlings, serves as a tool to connect Africa and beyond. The multi-faceted Creative Nestlings platform focuses on “nurturing a curious, creative, innovative and entrepreneurial mindset” across Africa. For the book, Whatever It Takes, Dillion and his team captured the story of 60 young African creatives and outlined their processes and challenges in an emerging world. It’s an exciting time for the continent of Africa and its diaspora. The intersection of global network and connective tools are resulting in some exciting opportunities ahead.

What It Takes is available now via hardcover for USD 48.63.

May 13, 2018

The MAEKAN Community weights in on Donald Glover's new music video "This is America"

Donald Glover has every reason, as a young black man in America, to be angry at and frustrated with society. The music video for his latest single “This is America,” directed by Hiro Murai, is a carefully choreographed piece of art filmed in one location to appear as if all the events are occurring continuously. Each facial expression, dance move, and character in the rotating cast seems to carry the heavy weight of symbolism. Yet without Glover or Murai’s commentary, interpretations of the video necessarily carry with them the perspectives of the people writing them.

Glover is showing us the America he sees, how each of us responds depends on the America we see. I see this video as a creative expression of the pain Glover feels, but I don’t see “This is America” as him proposing a solution or working as a solution itself. Childish Gambino also debuted another single on Saturday Night Live along with “This is America,” and I trust that both songs are the beginning of the story he is telling on a larger project he is releasing. Gambino has proven himself to be a storyteller best understood over time, so whatever we might think “This is America” is saying, is likely to be challenged when the entire album drops.

Please note that we received many more longer, thoughtful answers than what is reproduced here. So many in fact that we will be including more on the website at a later point. Thank you to everyone who submitted responses: Soshi, Alan, Scott Masek, Carter Moore, Amina, Jeremy Leung, Spencer Kerber, Ryan Pun, Bee, Edward Barnieh, Graham, Alex Lendrum, GT, Lewis J, Sharon Lam, and Dennis Dang.

How else have you observed music being used to provide social commentary? What potential do you see music as having to push change?
Music has all the potential to serve a critical purpose in inciting meaningful change because it articulates what we feel and brings us together. When there’s enough people resonating with the music and what it’s saying, it crystallizes into a rallying cry, an anthem. — Alan
Ever since NWA and Public Enemy, rap and hip hop has been a vehicle for social commentary. Contemporaries like Kendrick, J Cole, Eninem have all used their platform in innovative ways to cause a stir in the media but to also get the audience to wake up. The potential to push change has become more than just potential, I think music has such a massive influence on a private citizen’s personal life; we want to emulate the people we admire. — Jeremy Leung
Praise to Donald Glover and Hiro Murai for taking their time to put out a complete, calculated performance despite the ugliness of the subject. Now the performance is out, and they can start preparing their subsequent rebuttals to the different responses that come. Let’s hope their militant performance moves beyond talking about change to enacting it. — Spencer Kerber
How did you feel while watching “This is America”?
The entire video kind of reflects how I feel about the US — it’s trying to present itself as this idyllic promised land but in reality, it’s as broken and chaotic as any other first (or third!) world country. I just felt really angry for all the injustice that minorities have to face. They can’t trip up, they have to be on their best behaviour and even then it isn’t enough. — Soshi

This feels more like an art exercise dabbling into some political message, but nothing much or far beyond it. This pains me because I know I am missing the bigger picture, and that it’s probably incredibly rich in meaning, but I also found that the commentary on the video I saw and read so far fails to really explain everything in detail or provide the meaning I think this video likely has. — Scott Masek

Happy then brought back to reality then happy then brought back to reality… this is a great representation of how it feels to be black in America. We gotta find our happiness again everyday until another, yet disregarded race driven, tragedy happens again. Then when we get too frustrated and exhausted of trying to find the good we take a long ruminating pause and just give up trying to be happy for that moment and do what’ll just keep us sane (smoking weed for some.) — Amina

Any additional thoughts?
While this song, and more importantly the video, go to impeccable lengths to illustrate so many current ideologies and behaviours within America, I hope in some way this unites people more than divides. I can see one half of America really embrace and resonate with this artwork in a positive way, while the other half despise it. The aim of art and expression is often to provoke thoughtful discussion, which this certainly does, but does this piece do it in a way that is meant to unify, divide, or simply illustrate the perspectives and emotions of the artist himself (and undoubtedly many others) I don’t know yet. Regardless of the motive, I’m here for it. It’s a compelling visual and auditory experience that is well executed regardless of if it’s message is agreeable or not to its audience. — Carter Moore

Where does the conversation go from here? I look forward to seeing what the recent album of J-Cole, Gambino’s “This is America”, and even Kanye’s recent remarks have on the collective of people of color. Is it an alarm to wake up from the “system” to change focus, or is it just another wave of conversations that’ll be passed up and drowned out by white noise? — Lewis J

The internet runs in our veins at this point. Streaming records break weekly. 45M views on “This is America” after 3 days? The consumption of entertainment is exponentially growing. I wonder if we’ll ever notice real world problems. — Dennis Dang

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