Brand Chicago Recap
Written By: Akisha Lockhart
Dupee Productions Presents: Level Next Music Mixer
Nicky and Akisha attended the Level Next Music mixer showcasing two of their artists, DJ Ajonra and Taylor Mallory. Each debuted some of their newest material in an intimate invite-only performance. DP Studios sits sky high above the heart of downtown Chicago. Guests in attendance were a combination of artists, other creatives and tastemakers. We enjoyed delicious eats and cocktails. And not only that, we got to know more about what Level Next Music is all about and what projects to look out for. We really hope they will continue the mixer on a regular basis because we found it very beneficial!
And The Winner Is........THE BOOK OF MARK!!!!!!!!
Artist Interview on Season 6 of She's Gotta Show
Complimentry 3 hour style session for the interview
Complimentry skincare & makeup for the interview
We'll share our insigt on how artists and entrepreneurs should market themselves this Wednesday Feb 22nd at Refuge Live.
Refuge is located at 416 S. Clark St. Admission is FREE! We'll kick things off at 8pm sharp until 9pm. Then stay and listen to dope artist grace The Stage during the open mic presented by DJ Manti.
Follow us on Twitter @TeamAINIOM for LIVE coverage!
The stars from Chicago Med (Yaya DaCosta), Chicago Fire (Kara Killmer) and Chicago P.D. (LaRoyce Hawkins) take OVER the AT&T Flagship store on Michigan Ave
Photo & Video Credit: Tito Garcia, AT&T & Nicky Horne
Awkward Black Girl Issa Rae Speaks at UIC
Written By: Nicky Horne
The Black McDonald’s Operators partnered with UIC to kick off Black History Month and ultimately inspire the students of UIC and fans of Issa! The woman who gave a face to every under-represented awkward black girl in America. We can't deny the very limited narratives available when it comes to black women in media. In 2011 Issa launched her YouTube series The Misadventures of Akward Black Girl. A fresh and relateable point of view from a black girl that didn't necessarily fit into more sterotypical molds. Her new series Insecure on HBO has been long overdue! For her fans, it's an extension of ABG with a way better budget! I am just so happy for Issa because her work affirms that we're normal AF.
Several years ago I was working at a bank call center and my supervisor at the time highly recommended I watch the ABG series. Mostly because I reminded him of "J" so much. I could have taken that as shade, but once I watched I was hooked. I mean, it was me. She was me. I had finally found my spirit animal!
Issa admitted she was under the weather but still showed up and was able to give the room energy and share her experiences. The interview was given by Windy City Live's Val Warner. She talked about reading her own criticism online adding, "You can extract what is feedback from hate..." We learned that Rachetpiece Theater might make a return! (a popular YouTube segment where she dissects the absurdity of popular rap songs). And ultimately, "If I want to get it done, it's really up to me". The audience had the opportunity to ask questions (or rather blurt them out). But you can tell everyone definitely was hanging on every word. She just as relatable, smart and awkwardly graceful as you could imagine. I thank her for trading in sunny LA for winter-y Chicago. And she's welcomed to stop by and visit with AINIOM any time! @ her and let her know!
Fist Fight Giveaway
If you're in the Chicago area and want to win FREE tickets to the advance screening of Fist Fight February 13th follow us on Instagram @Team_AINIOM for rules. Winners will be announced here Feb 10th.
Synopsis: Ice Cube and Charlie Day star as high school teachers prepared to solve their differences the hard way. On the last day of the year, mild-mannered high school English teacher Andy Campbell (Day) is trying his best to keep it together amidst senior pranks, a dysfunctional administration and budget cuts that put jobs on the line.
But things go from bad to worse when he accidentally crosses his much tougher and deeply feared colleague, Ron Strickland (Ice Cube), who challenges Campbell to an old-fashioned throw down after school. News of the fight spreads like wildfire and ends up becoming the very thing this school, and Campbell, needed.
Written By: Nicky Horne
Photos By: Akisha Lockhart
Thank you Mr. & Mrs. Jones for giving Chicago and the world such a precious gift. Even after his passing Tim's legacy is still giving back to our community by spreading awareness in preventive healthcare amongst men, especially men of color. We were fortunate enough to have an extensive conversation with Mr. Jones about Tim's passing and the lessons we all can learn and share with the ones we love about listening to our bodies and trusting our instincts when you feel something isn't right. We also touched on the stigma of men (and women) seeking medical care.
Photo Credit: Jeffery Trailfer & Juan Anthony
Now it was time for the fans to take their pictures with the cast and just as fast as they entered the store, they filed in a single filed line in a quarter of that time. And for about an hour the cast we love to watch every week, humbly smiled, hugged and posed for pictures with each and every fan.
Click here to watch Chiquita's interviews with all the cast members that attended!
About Last Night ...
The Nordstrom x Nike sneaker boutique is a collaboration between Nike and Olivia Kim, Vice President of Creative Projects at Nordstrom. The women’s only lifestyle shop will offer limited-edition product introduced each month, curated collections of activewear, sneakers, accessories, tech and more.
Special guests last night included: two-time WNBA All-Star Skylar Diggins, Olympic Gold Medalist Sanya Richards-Ross, Olivia Kim and YouTube personality Andrea Russett.
For more information click visit Nordstrom.com/xNike.
See video & photo gal below.
Click here to see Akisha Lockhart having fun with a few of the ladies on her Instagram/Snapchat page.
Photo Credit: Nike
Video Credit: Team AINIOM
Akisha Lockhart was invited to an exclusive presentation of 20th Century Fox's highly anticipated film HIDDEN FIGURES at the Chicago Film Festival, followed by a panel discussion with Golden Globe winning actress Taraji P. Henson. Check out a few highlights from the red carpet & discussion!
Synopsis: HIDDEN FIGURES is the incredible untold story of Katherine G. Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae)—brilliant African-American women working at NASA, who served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation’s confidence, turned around the Space Race, and galvanized the world. The visionary trio crossed all gender and race lines to inspire generations to dream big.
Photo Credit: Mike Patton
And you say Chi City!
With all the hate, negativity and sadness plaguing Chicago, we needed something. Donda's House and Common Ground Foundation blessed us with that special something, AAHH! Fest 2016, September 24th & 25th in Union Park. Both foundations provided festival goers with performances by the BEST up coming and celebrity artists.
Even if you weren't familiar with someone the love, fellowship and good energy filled that void. I don't want to take anything away from the artists that performed, but when I look back on this year's AAHH! Fest the thing I will remember most is the love I felt in "The City of Wind." Please enjoy our photo galleries and if you're not familiar with these two incredible foundations do your homework.
AAHH! Fest: Saturday Photo Gallery (Day 1)
Photo Credit: Nicky Horne
AAHH! Fest: Sunday Photo Gallery (Day 2)
Photo Credit: Nicky Horne & Akisha Lockhart
Gucci Mane aka Guwop has been a free man since May this year after being locked up for two years in an Indiana State Penetentiary. Since his release he's been a hot commodity. With a slew of features under his belt with Drake, Young Thug and even Kanye and the release of his own album Everybody Looking, you could only expect an overwhelming turn out of fans come out to support him. After all, he is the trap king. Opening acts for the trap legend included Duwop of CTC Crazy, Swank PR clients KD Young Cocky and Seb Torug. Check out the highlights of the show below and follow us on Instagram @Team_AINIOM for more event news!
Photo & Video Credit: Nicky Horne & Chiquita Carey
We would like to give a special thanks to Donda's House for inviting our very own Akisha Lockhart to serve as a judge during their AAHH! Fest Finalist Auditions!
Photo Credit: Tito Garcia
By: Chiquita Carey
Photo Credit: Akisha Lockhart
July 30, 2016
As a loyal fan and follower of Claire Sulmers Editor-In-Chief of Fashion Bomb Daily, I was no stranger to her uber fabulous Cocktails With Claire Sip.Shop.See event. And of course The Brand Group LA CEO Miss Diddy LA had sign her name to it, I was there. But to my dismay it was happening in NYC… (pause for a dramatic fall to the knees) noooooo I was saddened right down to my metallic loafers. So you can imagine my delight when I learned that the tour’s next stop was Chicago; my team and I were there and boy was it everything we imagined and more.
Food For Thought at 19 East 21st set the scene for a stylish afternoon. The black and white décor, high ceilings and frosted glass doors were the perfect backdrop as the who’s who on the Chicago fashion scene stepped in one equally as stylish as the next. Guests sipped on Hennessy cocktails, shopped from local boutiques & saw fashion and style in every direction. Then a soft excited voice came over the mic and the chatter that filled the air ceased as our favorite and #43 most influential Style Blogger in the world welcomed us. Hey Claire!
Dressed in a monochromatic baby pink top, pants, fedora and a smile that lit up the room she introduced the panelist; Ashunta Sheriff - Celebrity MUA, Kendra G - Chicago’s 107.5 Radio Host and Bobby Simmons - Owner of DUX-Luxury Boutique. As the panelist settled, audience members scrambled to their seats to find out… how to Break into Fashion.
Panelist gave advice on the process of becoming successful in your own right, “have something to offer” - Miss Diddy LA and “be fearless” – Ashunta Sheriff. Confidence is key Bobby Simmons proclaimed, know your worth. Claire then asked “What advice would they give themselves 10 years ago?” Kendra G took the lead and shouted “know that everybody is important, from the CEO to the janitor”. The crowd clapped and nodded profusely in agreement as we internalized the knowledge given to us. And then Claire summed it all up and gave all us inspiring bloggers, designers and owners that always needed reassurance “Just go for it!”
After the panelist took audience questions and posed for pictures; each one browsed and shopped at each vendor, talked one on one with their fans and even gave live make-up demonstrations. Saturday afternoon was filled with style, advice, networking and like-minded individuals all Breaking into Fashion. Make sure you follow Fashion Bomb Daily and The Brand Group LA to catch this tour in a city near you, you want to be there!
By: Chiquita Carey
Photo Credit: Akisha Lockhart
July 28, 2016
“Beauty Begins Within” was a perfect theme for the beautiful Singer-Songwriter Sofia Carson. The private VIP event was sponsored by H2O+Beauty and 103.5 Kiss FM, held at the beautiful Mag Mile AT&T Flagship store. As these lucky fans began to file in, Kiss FM’s DJ Nurotic rocked out the 1’s and 2’s, prepping the fans for a night to remember. Sofia’s team got the VIP goody bags ready, checked the sound and positioned the star for her fans.
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION!
The air filled with enthusiasm as Sofia covered “Love Yourself” and the fans hung on every word. Turning up the party she belted out her new single “Love is the Name” and the crowd went crazy. As she calmed the fanfare, guests were able to tweet their questions to Sofia and she answered them right on stage; favorite pizza topping - Cheese….favorite Pokémon Go character – Never Played, I know OMG! After a few more questions, she took pictures with every single one of her fans, signed autographs and gave away plenty of hugs. Beautiful Inside & Out!
By Nicky Horne
Photo Credit: Akisha Lockhart
July 9, 2016
TIP Fest is a much needed break for the youth of Chicago. A great opportunity to get together, share their creativity through performance and give them the floor to hear their voices. The artists had high energy and the crowd was just as amped. Some of our fave Donda's House alums like Matt Muse and John The Author killed it. They had dance groups Premo KTM and Najwa Junior Corps. All you could hear around you was all the support the performers had from their peers. Singing along word for word and calling out their names. WGCI radio personality Kyle Santillian made an appearance and introduced The Boy Illinois on stage. One very lucky young man won a pair of Yeezy tickets in a raffle! We also took a moment of silence for all the black lives that have been ripped from us so unjustly. But the festival was mostly a celebration and an outlet for our youth to express themselves. Everything was postitive. And just when you thought it was over, Katie Got Bandz shows up and of course we had to POP OUT! Check out our video and photo gallery below to relive TIP Fest or see what you missed!
By Chiquita Carey
Sunday Funday or Chicago Med Day?! A sunny 70 degree day on Chicago's Magnificent Mile garnered thousands of people and on Sunday those people wanted Chicago Med. An hour before the event even started the line was fully formed outside and growing by minute. Walking into the AT&T Flagship store it was very aparent that Chicago Med had taken over. AT&T reps wore black tees with the show's logo, KissFM was jamming on the 1's and 2's and the Chicago Med promo covered 50 foot tv screens throughout the store.With a backdrop of AT&T's colorfully clothed mannequins, glittered covered techs pieces; Brian and Torrey greeted guests, took pictures and autographed placards. They were even greeted with gifts of endearment from their fans. AT&T printed the fans professional pictures in seconds, so as soon as they stepped off the carpet their pic was ready. LOOOVE I smell a carrier switch brewing..lol!
Want more? Stay tuned as She's Gotta Show got the cast to tell her a secret!
Catch Season 1 on DirectTV now and book the "Best Doctor's Appointment Ever" Tuesday April 19th on NBC at 8pm. #ATTFlagship #ChicagoMed #AINIOM
By Akisha Lockhart
Photo Credit:Tito Garcia @gotit_lens
The place to be Thursday evening was a night club on Chicago’s west side called Society. The intimate venue was the perfect choice for Grammy Award winning recording artist Chrisette Michele’s private listening party for her upcoming album Milestone. The recently engaged songstress’ fiancé played snippets of the album while she signed autographs and took pictures with fans. It may be terrible to say, but I was so locked into Chrisette that I wasn’t really paying attention to what I was listening too. I was very shocked and impressed by her graciousness to the media and fans alike. At one point, she told everyone to come up to VIP with her. Who does that! Chrisette is on double duty while she’s in the Windy City. Along with the promotion of her NEW album she's spreading her acting wings in Je’Caryous Johnson’s NEW play “Married But Single.” Chicago wasn’t the first city she hit and won’t be the last. We wish her nothing but the best in her career and travels. Anita Bennett is the woman behind what was a smooth and positive celebration of one of our favorite R&B Divas.
By Nicky Horne
Chicago based Synergy Jaz Records and Southern based Vybe Nation teamed up to present their first hip hop music festival to the South. When we arrived to the Sun Dome festival goers were just trickling in. Opening acts came from all over the country to perform. We even ran into a few Chicago artists, such as Jo Rodeo, all the way in Tampa. There was definitely a high anticipation for the headlining artists, but the opening acts did not disappoint either. Yo Gotti performed sevral fan favorites and Waka Flocka got the crowd turnt with his high energy. Might we add that Waka also gave us an exclusive interview and was just as nice as can be. Fabolous and August Alsina were just a few of the artists that were advertised but did not perform. We are not clear why that didn't go down. It was certainly a disappoinment to the fans who came out to support, but in my opinion, was made up when Nas and Lil Wayne graced the stage. Nas took stage and gave us his classics and that's when you were able to distinguish the true hip hop fans from the (as Joe Budden would say) "casual" hip hop fans. It definitely was a magical moment for us when he performed All I Need Is One Mic! Right after Nas' performance, Lil Wayne came out and gave a great performance. He just gave us one hit after another. Even when he only gave us verses from his features, we were still excited. I still don't know what the "F" stands for and I'm not sure I ever will, but I defintely know I would love to see both Nas and Wayne perform live again. We had a great view the entire time and were granted backstage access. We are so grateful that we were invited out to do media coverage for this event. Please check out Akisha Lockhart's interview with Waka Flocka on our She's Gotta Show page.
By Nicky Horne
Chicago based Synergy Jazz Entertaiment and Southern based Vybe Nation team up to present their first hip hop music festival to the South. Lil Wayne, Nas and Fabolous will headline the event along with August Alsina, Waka Flocka, DJ Khaled, Yo Gotti, ILoveMakonnen, Tink, Troy Ave and more! I can tell you that being from Central Florida that this is a BIG deal! History In Tampa, aka HIT, Music Festival will take place in Tampa, FL at the USF Sun Dome Saturday, Nov 7th! Team AINIOM will be there to cover the event. If you're in Tampa or are travelling down to see this event we'd love to see you and don't forget to follow and tag us in your pics on Instagram @Team_AINIOM and Twitter @TeamAINIOM. You can purchase your event tickets HERE >> History In Tampa Music Festival @ USF Sun Dome
Photo Credit Juan Anthony
By Akisha Lockhart
I am thankful and grateful to the Smith family for allowing my team and I to cover the advance movie screening of Che 'Rhymefest' Smith’s documentary In My Father’s House. The screening was held at the Music Box Theatre a premiere venue in Chicago for independent and foreign films. The invite only event started off with red carpet photos and interviews. In attendance were various media outlets, a few Chicago movers & shakers, television personality Judge Mathis and Oscar & Golden Globe winner Common. Filmmakers Annie Sundberg and Ricki Stern graced the carpet and joined a panel discussion following the film. The stars of the film Rhymefest, Donnie Smith and Brian Tillman were also in the building greeting and meeting attendees. Laughter, clapping and sighing could be heard at any giving moment throughout the viewing of the heartwrenching film. I don’t want to give any of the movie away so I’ll stop there, but what I will say, is that this is a MUST see film. This documentary goes beyond gender, race, social status, and family structure. Rhymefest, Donnie and Brian allow you to see them at their most venerable and what would seem embarrassing moments in their journey to not only getting to know each other but themselves. This film hits theaters Friday October 9th. Go see it and tweet us @TeamAINIOM your thoughts, ticket stubs, movie posters etc. Join us in supporting this wonderful film!
Photo Credit: Juan Anthony
By Chiquita Carey
Shrine Thursdays....*clears throat* excuse me EVERY night at The Shrine Chicago is where you want to be! Susu Barakat is surely making this nightclub one of the best
in the Chi and this past Thursday she brought Rapper, Actor and Businessman 50 Cent! Doors opened at 10:30pm and party goers poured in; and as the crowd grew so did the fans' anticipation of 50's
arrival. DJ Oreo and DJ Happy kept the clubbers jamming by spinning the latest in hip hop. And if you could not hear the screams of fans, the sight of people pushed against the stage let you know the
man of the hour was in the building and that famous smile let us know we were in for a treat. As unlike most celebrities 50 did not stay in his gated VIP section he hopped over the barricade, grabbed
bottle of Effen Vodka, stepped on the bar and proceeded to greet all his fans. Women reached over each other to touch his ankle, shoes, jeans or ANYTHING and men yelled "YEEEAAH 50" as he poured what seemed like an unlimited amount of shots. He made sure all his fans had the best seat in the house by pacing then entire length of the bar, while reaching out in the crowd giving dap to all. As 50 got the crowd ready DJ ibHappy cued up 'How We Do' and the crowd went WILD! As the people pumped fists and two stepped, he again unlike most celebrities took the attention from himself and asked to hear the hottest music in the CHI; AND THEN proceeded to hand the mic to Rapper Yung Stakks and he performed his new hit single "Stakk Money". 50 joking asked to hear what the DJ plays when he is not around....."B.O.N" blazed on the speaker and the crowd and 50 trapped the night away. For more info on events at The Shrine visit www.
2109 S Wabash Ave
By Akisha Lockhart
Do yourself a favor and go see Straight Outta Compton when it hits theaters August 14th. We were able to see the first advance screening of the film which took place in Chicago Monday July 20th. Following that movie F. Gary Gray , Ice Cube, O'Shea Jackson Jr. and Jason Mitchell sat down with Adrienne Gibbs to discuss the film. Check it out below!
By Nicky Horne
Susu Barakat does it again! She brought Lil' Kim, the original "Queen Bee" herself, to Chicago and perform at The Shrine only two and half weeks after a nostalgic 20th anniversary reunion performance with the rest of the Bad Boy family during the 2015 BET Awards! A crowd was already forming a decent line well before 10pm in anticipation for Kim's arrival. The ladies did not disappoint either. Women were dolled up and put on their highest stilettos almost as an ode to the "Queen". AINIOM was allowed access to the green room before Kim's arrival. We met with and interviewed Susu as she got ready for the night. There was a table full of lavish gestures including a very pink cake with a fabulous rhinestone encrusted letter "K" on top and framed pictures of Lil Kim's adorable baby girl. We hung with the rest of the crowd in anticipation for her arrival. The DJ was on point with a mix of some throwbacks and today's hip hop. Star of FOX's Empire Ta'Rhonda Jones aka Porsha opened the show with a performance of her own material to get the crowd going. And just when you thought that you weren't going to be able to stand in those heels for a moment longer... Lil Kim finally arrives! She shows up donned in a stripped skin-tight get up and the some of the highest gold wedges you've ever seen. Would we expect any less from Kimmie? "Wanna bumble with the bee hah? Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...". Everyone goes nuts! They're in it with her lyric for lyric. She performed "All About The Benjamins" and "Quiet Storm" along with a new song she co-wrote recently dedicated to her haters. Because according to her, who doesn't have 'em? Although it was a brief performance the vibe was electric and everyone thoroughly enjoyed having a piece of Bad Boy royalty in the room. It was all love for the female rapper that night.
For more info on events at The Shrine visit www.theshrinechicago.com
2109 S Wabash Ave