westampersand:

West& Fall Street Style with Sirreal Photography

I had the pleasure of shooting with the incomparable Sir Dex R. Jones of sirreal photography. Embracing the beauty of the fall, I paired a pair of tapered denim washed khakis with a bold navy blue velvet vest with gold buttons and a great emblem. The pinstripe button down I felt added more character, opposed to a solid choice. My choice of a paisley necktie effortlessly makes the entire look cohesive with gold, green, and navy, orange and purple embellishments. Taking advantage of the beautiful weather, I threw my summer straw fedora on in attempts to get a last wear for the season. I completed the look with a pair of Allen Edmonds tasseled loafers. This was my second time shooting working with him and look forward to doing so again in the near future. He has an impeccable vision and is truly humble. Please follow more of his work at the following links!

 http://sirrealphoto.tumblr.com/

http://sirdexrjones.tumblr.com/

 -J. West

westampersand:

 West& AFROPUNK 14 w/ Cakes Da Killa and TeamCakes

August 23-24, 2014 marked the 10th Anniversary of the AFROPUNK festival which was held at Commodore Barry Park in Brooklyn.  In the past I’ve had the pleasure of attending the festival for several years and admiring the diverse musical acts, beautiful people, and the dope fashion. This year however, was peculiar because I was set to hit the stage with Cakes Da Killa.  In addition to that I co-choreographed the dynamic, ferociously, precise 30min set along with Yinka Parris.

This was quite a task but these two equally ambitions Virgos are not one’s to compromise a vision. The set not only consisted of clean synchronized choreography, it also featured animated breakdowns to complement Cakes rapid-fire flow. There was also traditional West African/ my own Afro-Fusion flava and Jazz influenced movements added to the rep. And we still managed to incorporate elements of twerking with a dash of vogue, which are crowd favorites. When Cakes takes the mic he always delivers impeccable thought provoking lyricisms that leaves you A) wondering how the hell did he did come up with that and B) how did he manage to deliver it without barely taking a moment to breathe?!  And it’s our job to deliver choreo that equally complements that which if I must say so myself we do pretty well.

This time around another female dancer was added to the team. We added Bidi Smalls who has a strong dance background although most people may recognize her more for her great sense of style and green hair. Bidi gets and in and showed another side at AFROPUNK! Tata Milan the destroyer also came back to storm with tremendous technique, great hair and always camera ready. You can always count on her to sell it! Dorwin Jaye AKA stretch, who is a true Nola Gem and such a powerhouse! He makes the impossible look easy and such a sweetheart. Yinka Parris the man with a vision and unparallel talent. He out did himself with some great choreographic moments. His style is so clean and with ultra confidence. And I added my own style to mix things up. I’m very high energy, banji but yet traditional. We all worked our behinds off and according to social media the #TeamCakes Slaughter house did just that, SLAUGHTERED! Firemag had the following to say about our performance:

“Nobody had better dancers at #afropunk14 than@cakesdakilla

The show felt truly amazing. The multifaceted Terry Lovette and Fat Tony also added a great moments to the full-out set. Terry belted to a slowed down remix of the crowd favorite Paid&Published produced by LSDXOXO. To top it off she sang a few of Cakes bars acapella with her soothing, melodic, Jazzy vocals, which made the crowd roar.  But that wasn’t it the set concluded with a marching band (Brooklyn United) intruding into the periphery of the stage. Trump.Vice summed up the moment best in the following statement:

“He looks at them in horror. “Ya’ll trying to upstage me?” He searches for a way to clamber down the stage into the pit. “How do I get over there?” The crowd roars in approval, and he accepts their love as enough of a placation, gracefully sashaying back offstage. “

AFROPUNK’s red stage felt the wrath and got our all. Thank you to all the supporters and people that enjoyed the show and showed love via social media, we’re so grateful.  Special shout out to Dr. Martens for supplying us as well as Cakes with some custom boots. Thanks to all the photographers whose work I featured in this post.  And a huge thanks to AFROPUNK for 10 years of the promotion of non-conformist black music and culture, which I find to be empowering! Until next time, keep following the journey.

Photo’s courtesy of Dex R. Jones, Alana Yolande , Chantel S. (thelenswoman), Krista Schluester (Spin), Amanda Hatfield (Brooklyn Vegan), snapshotsandmusings, and favecolorblue

-J. West 

Post show at FoolsGold NYC w/@yinkaparris and @Cakesdakilla. Love how we have the Jodeci aesthetic.#FGDayoff #Laborday #FoolsgoldNYC #Brooklyn #Cakesdakilla #NYC #goodtimes #Dancelife (at 50 Kent Ave)

Post show at FoolsGold NYC w/@yinkaparris and @Cakesdakilla. Love how we have the Jodeci aesthetic.#FGDayoff #Laborday #FoolsgoldNYC #Brooklyn #Cakesdakilla #NYC #goodtimes #Dancelife (at 50 Kent Ave)

 West& AFROPUNK 14 w/ Cakes Da Killa and TeamCakes

August 23-24, 2014 marked the 10th Anniversary of the AFROPUNK festival which was held at Commodore Barry Park in Brooklyn.  In the past I’ve had the pleasure of attending the festival for several years and admiring the diverse musical acts, beautiful people, and the dope fashion. This year however, was peculiar because I was set to hit the stage with Cakes Da Killa.  In addition to that I co-choreographed the dynamic, ferociously, precise 30min set along with Yinka Parris.

This was quite a task but these two equally ambitions Virgos are not one’s to compromise a vision. The set not only consisted of clean synchronized choreography, it also featured animated breakdowns to complement Cakes rapid-fire flow. There was also traditional West African/ my own Afro-Fusion flava and Jazz influenced movements added to the rep. And we still managed to incorporate elements of twerking with a dash of vogue, which are crowd favorites. When Cakes takes the mic he always delivers impeccable thought provoking lyricisms that leaves you A) wondering how the hell did he did come up with that and B) how did he manage to deliver it without barely taking a moment to breathe?!  And it’s our job to deliver choreo that equally complements that which if I must say so myself we do pretty well.

This time around another female dancer was added to the team. We added Bidi Smalls who has a strong dance background although most people may recognize her more for her great sense of style and green hair. Bidi gets and in and showed another side at AFROPUNK! Tata Milan the destroyer also came back to storm with tremendous technique, great hair and always camera ready. You can always count on her to sell it! Dorwin Jaye AKA stretch, who is a true Nola Gem and such a powerhouse! He makes the impossible look easy and such a sweetheart. Yinka Parris the man with a vision and unparallel talent. He out did himself with some great choreographic moments. His style is so clean and with ultra confidence. And I added my own style to mix things up. I’m very high energy, banji but yet traditional. We all worked our behinds off and according to social media the #TeamCakes Slaughter house did just that, SLAUGHTERED! Firemag had the following to say about our performance:

“Nobody had better dancers at #afropunk14 than@cakesdakilla

The show felt truly amazing. The multifaceted Terry Lovette and Fat Tony also added a great moments to the full-out set. Terry belted to a slowed down remix of the crowd favorite Paid&Published produced by LSDXOXO. To top it off she sang a few of Cakes bars acapella with her soothing, melodic, Jazzy vocals, which made the crowd roar.  But that wasn’t it the set concluded with a marching band (Brooklyn United) intruding into the periphery of the stage. Trump.Vice summed up the moment best in the following statement:

“He looks at them in horror. “Ya’ll trying to upstage me?” He searches for a way to clamber down the stage into the pit. “How do I get over there?” The crowd roars in approval, and he accepts their love as enough of a placation, gracefully sashaying back offstage. “

AFROPUNK’s red stage felt the wrath and got our all. Thank you to all the supporters and people that enjoyed the show and showed love via social media, we’re so grateful.  Special shout out to Dr. Martens for supplying us as well as Cakes with some custom boots. Thanks to all the photographers whose work I featured in this post.  And a huge thanks to AFROPUNK for 10 years of the promotion of non-conformist black music and culture, which I find to be empowering! Until next time, keep following the journey.

Photo’s courtesy of Dex R. Jones, Alana Yolande , Chantel S. (thelenswoman), Krista Schluester (Spin), Amanda Hatfield (Brooklyn Vegan), snapshotsandmusings, and favecolorblue

-J. West 

westampersand:

West& Michael Jackson 30th Anniversary

August 29th is a special day for many reasons. Not only was it the day that I was brought into this world 25 years ago, but it also marks the birthday of one of the greatest entertainers to ever do it Michael Jackson. In honor of the King of Pop’s BDAY, it’s only right that I reflect on an experience that I blessed to share with him. Twelve years ago I had the pleasure of performing apart of Michael Jackson’s 30th Anniversary, which took place at Madison Square Garden September 7, 2001 and September 10, 2001. The TV special aired In late November 2001 on the CBS network as a two-hour special in honor of MJ’s thirtieth year as a solo entertainer since his first solo single, “Got to Be There.” The shows sold out in less than five hours and ticket prices for the best seats were $5,000. I performed with Batoto Yetu for the opening number of the show, “You Wanna Be Staring Something,” along side Usher, Mya and the late great Whitney Houston. I still get chills thinking about that experience, which to date is still among my greatest career highlights. Not bad for a 13 year old? If you watch the following link we start dancing at the 3:03 mark (you can’t miss me) I’m center stage between two taller males killing it as the top photo reflects. RIP MJ and thank you.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLlkSQb8NE8

-J. West

westampersand:

West& Westampersand Dance Visual Commercial 


Starring Jerijah West 

Filmed By Dex R. Jones
Production Assistant Terry Lovette
Choreographed/Styled by Jerijah West
 
Music Dj Djeff feat Nacobeta, Agre G e Game Walla - Mwangolé

http://westampersand.tumblr.com/

Photography: Dexter R. Jones
© All Rights Reserved

 -J.West

 West& SummerStage:The Harlem Dance Caravan

This past weekend I had the pleasure of performing apart of SummerStage:The FireHouse Presents: The Harlem Dance Caravan: Erasing Boundaries August 15-16, 2014. The event took place at the Richard Roger’s Amphitheater in Marcus Garvey Park. It felt great being able to share the stage with so many phenomenal dancers. In addition to that it was a dynamic evening of dance showcasing visionary choreographic works featuring the incomparable Cecilia Marta, Jamel Gaines, and George Faison.  The Harlem Dance Caravan marked the closing of the dance component of New York’s largest FREE performing arts festival.

I performed under the direction of the LEGENDARY George Faison with the George Faison Universal Dance Experience/Lotus Music and Dance.  The piece was so dynamic because it featured “Nationals” in the ballet. Multiple Lotus dancers were featured including Marie Ponce (Native American), Makalina Gallagher (Hula), Ricky Santiago (Flamenco), Junko Fisher (Okinawan), and Minila Shah (Bollywood). The Powerhouse Kim Holmes and I were added to represent the Motherland (African Dance). As the opening piece it set the tone for a thrilling celebration of our diversity through music and dance. Creative Outlet and the incredible Cecilia Marta Dance Company who followed up in the show also delivered some breathtaking works that left me inspired.  The packed audience was absolutely perfect and filled with energy. Some of the legends you could of caught a glimpse of in the audience included my mentors Dyane Harvey, Abdel R. Salaam and none other than the one and only Ms. Judith Jamison! I’m so grateful to have had the honor of working with the Legendary George Faison and his wonderful dancers.Harlem as always knows how host a great evening full of joy, live music and stunning art and I am so thankful to have be apart of it!

-J. West

Photos courtesy Durst Breneiser, SummerStage FB Page, Maria Panina Photography and I.

West& Emancipation Day 2014 Guyana w/ Batoto Yetu

On Friday August 1, 2014, Batoto Yetu took the National Park Stage for Emancipation Day 2014 in Guyana. Guyana specifically highlighted Angola where our founder and Artistic Director Julio T Leitão is from. It was exactly 180 years ago August 1, 1834, 83,545 slaves (according to one source) were declared “free”. Emancipation day is widely celebrated in Caribbean countries following the Slavery Abolition Act 1833.  There is nothing like performing for a purpose. There were a few thousands of beautiful faces there celebrating this remarkable event.

Another reason why the performance was so special is because we had to represent for our guardian Angel Mrs. Lorraine Nelson while in her home country. Mrs. Nelson was B.Y late manager/ mother of the group. She truly was the backbone of the company and such a genuine spirit. We love you Mrs. Nelson and your spirit will continue to live on through us. We were able to reconnect with Mr. Nelson and his granddaughter who came to the big show. We came with a mission and gave it our all. Let’s just say I am a proud rehearsal director. This was for you Mrs. Nelson! 

As the headlining dance act of Emancipation day we had a few television interviews and facilitated a dance workshop at the ACDA Headquarters. The participants were great. They brought so much energy and that Guyanese flava. That experience teaching them is a memory that I will definitely hold dearly. At Emancipation Day performance we saw several of our students from the workshop before they competed representing their villages in the parade. I had to capture those moments. They all looked gorgeous with their spin on traditional African attire. Until next time, Guyana was beautiful and necessary to help me put things in perspective. We represented like true headliners for a day that essentially represents the tenacious spirit of our people and tradition of resistance, perseverance and overcoming. Until next time Africa4theFuture.

-J.West

Soaking it up in Guyana. #Happy #Dancelife #Downtime #Pool #Guyana (at Pegasus Hotel Guyana)

Soaking it up in Guyana. #Happy #Dancelife #Downtime #Pool #Guyana (at Pegasus Hotel Guyana)

It felt great being able to share the stage with so many phenomenal dancers for SummerStage and Faison Firehouse Present: The Harlem Dance Caravan: Erasing the Boundaries! There is 1 more show tomorrow night (8/16) starting at 7pm. This is a FREE Event so there is no excuse. I have the pleasure of performing with the Faison Firehouse Theater/Lotus Music and Dance under the direction of the Legendary George Faison. Creative Outlet and the incredible Cecilia Marta Dance Company are also delivering breathtaking works. Come celebrate the beauty of dance and leave inspired! The show is at Marcus Garvey Park, 122nd ave between Mount Morris Park and Lexington Ave. #Dancelife #Summerstage14 #GeorgeFaison #FaisonFirehouseTheater # CreativeOutlet #CeciliaMarta #CeciliaMartaDanceCompany (at Marcus Garvey Park Richard Rodgers Amphitheater)

It felt great being able to share the stage with so many phenomenal dancers for SummerStage and Faison Firehouse Present: The Harlem Dance Caravan: Erasing the Boundaries! There is 1 more show tomorrow night (8/16) starting at 7pm. This is a FREE Event so there is no excuse. I have the pleasure of performing with the Faison Firehouse Theater/Lotus Music and Dance under the direction of the Legendary George Faison. Creative Outlet and the incredible Cecilia Marta Dance Company are also delivering breathtaking works. Come celebrate the beauty of dance and leave inspired! The show is at Marcus Garvey Park, 122nd ave between Mount Morris Park and Lexington Ave. #Dancelife #Summerstage14 #GeorgeFaison #FaisonFirehouseTheater # CreativeOutlet #CeciliaMarta #CeciliaMartaDanceCompany (at Marcus Garvey Park Richard Rodgers Amphitheater)