Sunday, March 16, 2008


It is a well known fact that the coolest superheroes have the most interesting professions. The ones that, on the surface, appear grueling and demanding. However, when it was time to unleash their alter ego, lives were saved! Let's think about this for a minute shall we? Clark Kent worked as a reporter for The Daily Planet but not many people knew he was Superman. Peter Parker was a photographer for The Bugle but we all came to love him as Spider-man. Ladies, I have not forgotten about you. Diana Prince served in the military but who knew that with one twirl (maybe a series of twirls) she was Wonder Woman? For those who knew that, three cheers and a kudos to ya!

In addition to these fearless crime fighters lies another heroine. While working as an attendant at the Publick Playhouse in Cheverly, MD, home to several plays and spoken word events, "Emperess" nee Drea Latney is on a mission to save hip-hop. Her desired weapon of choice? Nothing but the microphone.

What part of the metropolitan area are you representing? Forrestville, MD.

How long have you been performing? I have been performing for about 6 years.

Where have you performed? Jokes on Us, DCTV, Club 5, Rock n' Roll Hotel and various other places.

Have you collaborated with any celebrities or have you been featured on a program with any female emcees? I opened for Bahamadia last summer.

Any upcoming gigs? On March 22, 2008, I will be performing in Stafford, Connecticut. I am opening for Slick Rick, Chubb Rock, Dana Dane, Rob Base and Just Ice.

When its all said and done, how do you want to be recognized? I want to be recognized in the industry as the emcee who saved hip-hop.

Now that's peace!

The cost of nostalgia was absolutely free of charge for this article. But if you are looking for more information on Emperess, she can be found at as well as

Check out Emperess' interview with Konyka Dunson at last year's Can A Sista Rock The Mic (CASRAM) Festival at

Sunday, February 24, 2008


So here's the deal. I have a slight affinity for guys that know how to play the acoustic guitar. It started once I graduated from college and has only intensified with sooth sayers like John Meyer, Babyface, and Bob Dylan strumming while singing simultaneously. Whether they are self-taught or under the tutelage of another, I admire the artist that isn't afraid to carry his craft with him. Perhaps its the ability to put on a performance at any whim and oftentimes making a few extra dollars a la New York City subway ports? Or the motivation to entertain those willing to listen provided they have the time? Whatever the case may be, there's just something about a man and his acoustic guitar.

As my luck would have it, I just so happened to bump into~literally folks~an acoustic guitar toting musician while having lunch a few weeks ago. Christon "Christylez" Bacon is artistry in motion. Hailing from Southeast, Washington D.C., and a graduate of Duke Ellington School of the Arts, there is more in his guitar case than it appears. Currently on a 4 week tour of DC public schools bringing elements of spoken word and hip hop infused with learning to classrooms, Christylez in engaging those students who are in search of musical satisfaction.

Christylez knowledge of musical instruments does not end with the acoustic guitar. Although he admits that he enjoys it the most due to its "emotive properties through melody,chords, and rhythm", other instruments deemed noteworthy are the West African Djembe drum, the congas, the Afro Brazilian Berimbeau and a variety of percussive instruments. Further confirming my belief in his ability of being a one man entity, I was able to experience firsthand his impact on elementary school students. As I watched how engaged 22 second graders were as he taught them the basic components of the human beat box as it relates to certain letter sounds~really fly~the class knew one thing. They hated to see his jam session end but reveled in the fact that he would be coming back.

In the upcoming weeks, Christylez will appear at various venues in the metropolitan area. His itinerary includes weekly performances at Emergence Community Arts Collective on Euclid Street NW on Mondays, Artmosphere in Mt. Rainier on Wednesdays, and at Mocha Hut on U Street NW on Thursdays. He is also performing at the Strathmore Mansion in North Bethesda, MD as a part of Strathmore's Artist in Residence program. If you still aren't convinced, he's premiering a song that was commissioned by the District of Columbia Commission on Arts and Humanities on March 17, 2008 at the Kennedy Center for the 2008 Mayor's Arts Awards. Not bad for a 21 year old!

For more information on Christon "Christylez" Bacon, check out his website at For all myspace users, you too are in luck! Visit him at

Monday, February 4, 2008


There's a song by the "Blastmaster" himself (KRS-ONE for you hip-hop neophytes) called "Keep Rising to the Top". If you pay close attention to the chorus, you'll hear someone in the background singing, "give it all you got, give it all you got". For native Washingtonian Kia Dupree, she's proving that while she's giving the literary world all that she's got, plans of being in the background are far from her to do list.

Only 30 years young, Kia Dupree has made major moves. Her self-published first debut ROBBING PETER earned the Fiction Honor Book award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association in 2005. By the way, ROBBING PETER was the first self-published book to ever receive the award. So when she's not busy producing contagious text for our reading pleasure and working full time as an Associate Editor for St. Martin's Press, she's taking a minute of her time to rap (no pun intended folks) to yours truly.

What is ROBBING PETER about? It is the story of rebellious teen aged twins Elijah and Elgin who struggle with the pain of growing up without their father. The lives of three women become intertwined because of these two and they must deal with past hurt to look forward to a better future.

Are you working on any projects at this time? I have a short story called Lost One being published in Shannon Holmes' HOOD 2 HOOD anthology in April. I've also completed another novel, LIKE HOLDING A BUTTERFLY which I'm currently seeking literary agent representation. But I'm always writing and ready, trying to develop my craft.

Educational nods? I graduated from Hampton University with a B.A. in Mass Media Arts in 1999. I also have a M.A. in English from Old Dominion University and I did some post-graduate work at NYU where I have a professional certificate in publishing.

Where do you see yourself~writing wise~in 5 years? I aspire to write full-time in the next two years and teach creative writing at a community college in the DC-Metropolitan area.

Come back home Kia, the DC/MD/VA area misses you!!

For more information on Kia Dupree, go to or check out some of the titles she is working on at