Spring Cleaning Playlist

Ah, April. The magical time of year where we discover just how much dust can pile up in 5 short months, and just how much we don’t want to clean any of it. You know what I’m talking about.

SPRING CLEANING!

Required housework is enough to ruin any season, but no worries! A good playlist is guaranteed to banish even the most infectious domestic blues. So to assist you in conquering yours, we’ve helpfully provided a comprehensive must-have of songs for your Spring Cleaning playlists.

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SUMMERTIME SADNESS (Cedric Gervais Remix), Lana Del Ray ft Cedric Gervais:

Can’t we just skip Spring, with it’s allergies and bipolar temperatures? This ominously emotional remix is the perfect song to use as the first step towards overcoming the dread of spring cleaning. *the combination of languid yearning in Del Ray’s voice with the electric desperation in Gervais’ beats will make you eager to hurry up and finish cleaning; the sooner we finish with spring, the sooner we get to summer.

Stars (Hold On)

STARS (HOLD ON), Youngblood Hawke:

Currently on rotation via Netflix commercial, the song seems lit by the breezy sunshine of April, inspiring the feeling of cool grass on bare feet and warm light on bare shoulders. There is a certain element in the hip-hop percussion that makes the song reminisce of The Verve’s “Bittersweet Symphony”, an allusion furthered by the hint of strings artfully woven into the background of synthesized melody. The song will make you feel like you’re standing on top of a hill, triumphant, untouchable, and ready to spring-clean every house on the block.

Team

TEAM, Lorde

With its hypnotizing robotic percussion and Lorde’s focus-demanding voice softened to a breathy lilt, this haunting alternative rock song might not be the first song you think of to get you pumped. It ribbon dances around the periphery of hopeless dystopia, but it’s the most inspiring background noise you could ask for. You may not have a team to help you dust off your window sills and wall décor, but you sure know how to run things.

Brave

BRAVE, Sarah Bareilles

Bareilles’ take on Katy Perry’s “Roar” is more spring appropriate than it’s heavier counterpart. The piano is soft, but strong, a backbone that holds up the motivating message in the song. Maybe it seems melodramatic to say bravery is a necessity for overcoming a winter slump and a whole lot of detritus, but after ten minutes of where the heck did all this stuff even come from?!, it’s going to take every ounce of courage you have to not cry. Only the brave will survive when it comes to standing up to the hoarders-grade stacks of clutter and climbing over the piles of dusty trash to reach the treasure beyond. ($20 in your coat pocket! Guess who’s ordering out for lunch!)

Sight Of The Sun

SIGHT OF THE SUN, Fun.

A laid-back refrain is the most notable part of this song. There is nothing particularly dramatic about it, which is a welcome break from the winter and a great start to spring. The intro tangles piano and guitar in a way that makes all your muscles relax and your eyes slip shut. Behind your eyelids, you can picture thesidewalks split by weeds and graffiti-stained stone walls painted by a deliberate urban beat. So lean back on the couch cushions and enjoy the imagery for a few minutes. You’ve been working hard, and you totally deserve it.

Superbass

SUPER BASS, Nicki Minaj

Nothing gets you as amped as pretending you’ve got the skillz to be a rapper and the speed-of-mouth to keep up with Nicki. This is the perfect song for changing out your winter wardrobe with your summer ones, as tank tops probably won’t judge when you have to Google the lyrics you’re totally butchering (who the heck is “the guy with the thing on his eye”?). Added bonus: wear strappy heels when you try on your bathing suit, and pretend you’re in the music video.

Happily

HAPPILY, One Direction

From the first hoppy pluck of guitar, this song inspires carefree movement and lighthearted adventure! Use the chorus’s August-y twang to banish wintery thoughts of shovels and rock salt into the deepest corners of your garage. Retire your snow boots with the help of sunny cowbell. The song is bubbly, upbeat, and just downright cheerful. It talks about a love that brings no shame, no guilt, just happiness…like that warm weather snaking it’s rays in through your open windows. Caution: May cause uncontrollable urge to learn square dancing.

Believer

BELIEVER, American Authors

We might have to change the title of the playlist to “A Little Twang Never Killed Nobody”, but you wouldn’t dream of leaving this song off. You might be familiar with this indie band’s mainstream breakthrough hit “Best Day Of My Life”, one of the lead singles off their album Oh, What A Life, which was released earlier this month. Although that song is memorably shrouded in good vibes, this song seems to be pulsing with them.  Zac Barnett’s voice still sounds like it’s on the verge of tearing, the lyrics still sound saccharinely chipper, but this song comes out on top. Whether due to the quicker beat or the less lethargic mixing, Believer is a more effective steroid to getting ish done than its brother (“Ish” meaning “wipe off ceiling cobwebs”).

The Other Side

THE OTHER SIDE, Jason Derulo

Another song with a fantastic beat, because nothing takes the dullness out of sweeping quite like using the broom as your dance partner. The song itself sounds like it’s glowing with the promise of a new beginning (Friendzone-turned-romance, spring cleaning…practically the same thing), and effects that sound straight from a sci-fi adventure flick let you escape your kitchen and pretend you’re worlds away from all the dirt piles…if only until you open your eyes again.

Sail Into The Sun

SAIL INTO THE SUN, Gentlemen Hall

If you’ve ever wondered what it felt like to win a Golden Ticket, this song should give you a pretty good idea. Inspired by what must have been the Williest of Wonkas, this literal bells-and-whistles song gives the world a Rose Colored Glasses effect without a visit to the optical shop. The Boston-based Indie Quintet encapsulates the whole of springtime in the chiffon-like vocals and lofty instrumentals. It’ll make you dreamily imagine you’re sailing across the sky in a floating boat, and not slipping across the hallway in a puddle of mop water.

Hey Ya

HEY YA, Outkast:

Come on, how can anyone resist this classic? Arguably, the ultimate must-have of ANY get-pumped tune is its karaoke factor- AKA how much does it make you want to sing along out of tune as loudly as possible? Every playlist needs a song that reminds you of your youth, of simpler years when it totally would have taken you less than two hours to spring clean the whole house. Catchy harmonies and easy lyrics make for a song that guarantees a good time no matter what you’re doing.

One Woman Army 

ONE WOMAN ARMY, Porcelain Black

You haven’t even heard it yet, and already the title has you amped for a feminized take-over! The song is steered by an obstinate march that will thrum through your chest and get your blood pumping in double time. Combined with a guitar that doesn’t mess around and gritty lyrics that take no prisoners, Porcelain’s scuffed-up voice is just tenacious enough to be shiver-inducing, and exudes enough determination to win that you could probably snag some… and she wouldn’t even mind. Use that determination to wake your inner warrior princess. And if you’re a guy, you can borrow some of that girl-power we’re famous for.

Young Volcanoes 

YOUNG VOLCANOES, Fall Out Boy

“When Rome’s in ruins…” Did they mean your front closet? Clap along to this minimalist anthem about breaking free and starting afresh! In the geological world, young volcanoes erupt, coating everything with lava and destruction…before cooling into islands with exotic vegetation and unique beauty. Centuries later, Hawaii is a hot vacation spot. So don’t think of the clutter accrued over the extended sun hiatus as an obstacle: think of it as an opportunity! You have to move furniture to get underneath and behind anyway, so why not rearrange it all? Take a hint from those young volcanoes. With a little patience and a lot of time, you can turn your mess into paradise.

So grab the playlist, take on the work, and come out on top! Whether you’re cleaning a friend’s place, or cleaning your own, these songs are perfect to break the monotony and actually make the cleaning – dare we say? – enjoyable. Instant jam sesh: just add Windex.” 

Got some songs you can’t believe we forgot? Add them in the comments, and let us know what you’re rocking out to this spring!

Written by: Saxmei Milano is a twenteen-year-old creative writer who likes tenors, popcorn, and bright lights. She currently lives just outside of NYC with her grandparents and a giant dog. When she is not out talking to strangers, she is usually watching Law and Order: SVU marathons. She loves to smile and make rhymes. Her favorite people are those with accents (ANY kind).

Black Hollywood History

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Celebrities in Black Hollywood are on fire! This talented class of artists continue to perfect their craft and fight for recognition among their peers.  African Americans undoubtedly contribute their creativity to the entertainment of the world. But, before modern day superstars there were great musicians and actors that paved the way – making it possible for us to enjoy the sensations we all know as household names. Cheers to African American entertainment greats in music, television, and film!

Music

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Music

Before musical icons such as Beyonce, Whitney Houston, and Michael Jackson topped the charts there were a host of African American artists who paved the way with their music talents. We may be used to these aformentioned artists toping the charts but when Rock & Roll, Jazz, and Blues were king artists such as The Platters broke racial barriers as the first to reach the #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 for their song “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” in 1958.  Proceeding them were the Mills Brothers “Paper Doll” in 1943 as the first African AMerican artists to hit #1 on the Billboard charts and in 1950 Nat King Cole become the first African American solo singer to have a #1 hit on the Billboard charts for his song, “Mona Lisa.”
Perhaps the biggest accolade of any musician, is a Grammy win. Though modern day couple Beyonce and hubby Jay Z are two of the leading African Americans with the most Grammy wins, in 1959 Ella Fitzgerald and Count Basie became the first African-American Grammy Award winners. Ella won Best Female Vocal Performance for “But Not For Me” and Best Individual Jazz Performance for “Ella Swings Lightly.” For his role as a musical composer in the film Duke won two Grammys for Best Sound Track Album – Background Score from a motion picture and Best Musical Composition.
Ethel Waters

Television

Many of us love leading ladies such as Kerry Washington and Gabrielle Union of Scandal and Being Mary Jane respectively. Their shows and talent have won accolades during this award season but before HD, DVR, and Internet television, African American actors paved the way for these lovelies to shine on the silver screen.  In 1939, Ethel Waters became the first African to star in her own television show, The Ethel Waters Show which aired on NBC.  Bob Howard was the first African American to star in a regularly scheduled network television series, The Bob Howard Show in 1948. That same year Amanda Randolph starred in the television show, The Laytons. Several years later, before his widely known success on The Cosby Show, Bill Cosby became the first African American to star in a network drama, I Spy, for which he would later be the first African American male to be nominated for and win a Primetime Emmy Award.

As a television actor, winning an Emmy is a golden moment where you are recognized by peers for your talent and artistry. Before Halle Berry, Lauretta Divine, and even Bill Cosby won their awards, African American actors proceeding them paved the way. Notably, Diahann Carroll was the first African American to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series in 1969. She was nominated for her role in Julia in which she became the first African American to play lead in a role outside of being a domestic. She won a Golden Globe for this same performance. Later, in 1979 Ester Rolle became the first African American and person to win an Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Miniseries.

Film

2013 marked an incredible year for Black films such as Fruitvale Station, 12 Years a Slave, and Mandella. Before big time actors such as Denzel Washington, Will Smith, Idris Elba, and Halle Berry commanded millions of dollars for their Blockbuster and award winning films, African American cinema stars years before led the way. Ethel Waters was a prominent actress with roles in such films as Pinky. Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee led the way for power couple movie stars like Will and Jada with their decades of film success. Remarkably, not only have African American actors blazed trails in their roles in front of the camera but also behind the scene. Before independent directors such as newcomer Ryan Coogler, or veterans such as John Singleton, and Spike Lee there was Oscar Micheaux. Widely credited as the first African American director, Micheaux made his cinematic debut with the silent film production of his famed book, Homesteaders in 1919. Before there was Tyler Perry Studios, Oscar founded the  Micheaux Film and Book Company to independently produce his own feature films and books.

The success of a movie star is crystalized by recognition from the Academy Award. Denzel Washington and Halle Berry  both made history with their 2001 Oscar wins. Before these greats were African American actors whose performances demanded the attention and recognition of the Academy.  In 1940, Hattie McDaniel was the first African American to win an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in her role in the 1939 classic film, Gone with the Wind. In 1954 Dorothy Dandridge became the first African American women to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in Carmen Jones. Halle Berry would later win an Emmy, Golden Globe, and Screen Actors Guild Award for her role as Dorothy Dandridge. Sidney Poitier won an Academy Award for Best Actor in 1964 for his role in Lilies of the Field. During Denzel Washington’s own Oscar acceptance speech he stated about Poitier, “I’ll always be following in your footsteps, there is nothing I would rather do.”

Grammy Awards 2014 Best Dressed

The stars are out again! This time walking the marvelous red carpet of the 56th anniversary of the Grammy’s. Deep V-necklines, Gold metallic tones and sheer are definitely in during this award season. We’ve put together our own award and have given The Best Dress Award to the following beautiful ladies.

Taylor Swift Gucci

Taylor Swift leaves us with our mouth open again! Stepping away from her usual flowing looks Taylor rocked the red carpet with this metallic gold dress by Gucci. The dress, fitting her figure seamlessly, added notes of sophistication and maturity. Shall we say “Flawless!”- U Blush Magazine Winner of Best Dressed Grammys 2014

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Anna Kendrick’s glamorous dress by Azzaro, was revealing but elegant, with a leg seam cut, and a deep V-neckline, accompanied with an embellished top!

Paris Front and Back

Paris Hilton definitely turned some heads tonight! Wearing a white sheer dress by the House of Milani. Paris showed us that it is possible to have “The best of both worlds”  The front of the grown looks like a classic turtle neck design, while the back give a sheer hint of Hilton’s haute curves.

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Colbie Caillat in a romantic Ezra Santos  couture gown is the perfect combination of sexy and elegance! The 28 year old singer was nominated for Best Song Written for Visual Media for her song “We Both Know” with Gavin DeGraw.

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Christine Teigen looked marvelous in her Johanna Johnson gown. The gorgeous metallic gold gown With the deep V-neckline and the leg seam cut looked as if was made just for her!

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The E! News host Giuliana Rancic in Alex Perry’s Orange-Red gown looked simply stunning.

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Last but not least, looking fierce as always was our dear Queen B. Beyonce looked beautiful in the white sheer gown with white flower patterns by Michael Costello!

Written by: Christy Baez Ghandi said that “Whatever you do in life will be insignificant, however it is very important that you do it.” I enjoy long walks in the park on a windy day and the company of a good book every now and then. My only wish is to help those who are in need, even if it’s just putting a smile on a strangers face. I’m a lover of photography and fashion. I’m an undergraduate of the Art Institute of NYC majoring in Fashion Merchandising and Marketing. I’m a dreamer roaming the streets of life in new york city but at the end of the day I’m a 20 year old girl who is trying to conquer the world one step at the time while writing her story in between the lines.

Tamar Braxton, ‘Love and War’

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Tuesday, September 3rd, Tamar Braxton released her sophomore album titled Love and War and in the words of the elaborately spunky gal herself, “She Did That!” The superstar has conquered reality television, motherhood, and now stardom. Fans grew to love Tamar in reality tv series The Braxton Family Values and begin to adore her as they watched the her relationship with her husband and friends blossom on Bravo’s Tamar and Vince. Determined to make a name for herself and own the spotlight, as co-writer on 9 out of the 14 tracks on the album, Tamar worked with various producers and songwriters and ultimately achieve her goal in being “HOT!”

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It’s rare for an artist to make a successful comeback after a 13 year gap between albums but Tamar seems to be the exception. This musical journey begins with the soulful ballad Love and War, released December of 2012. Tamar soared to the top of the charts. Amidst her impressive range and distinct but “Braxton-like” musicality, what manages to make this hit single so unforgettable lies in it’s lyrics – lyrics spewed from the artistic soul

The albums second single, The One is a summer banger! The track samples Mtumes “Juicy Fruit” and carries an old school throwback beat.

In an genre lacking quality, Tamar sets the record straight in proving talented vocal artist still exist, her music makes a statement and is rooted in her experiences of love – as previewed in tracks like All the Way, Where it Hurts, and Sounds of Making Love. “I like to say this is the soundtrack to our relationship” Tamar shares with Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts.

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Only time will tell what is next for the youngest of 5 sisters, but we can bet perfection is on the rises.

A great album for any contemporary professional stylista’s collection, and certainly #UBlushApproved, we must say, “Mrs. Tamar Braxton, she did that!” 

The Happenings 8/17/13- 8/25/13

Atlanta

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 What: Pigs and Peaches – Kennesaw BBQ Festival

 When: Friday, August 23, 2013 2:00 pm – Saturday, August 24, 2013 3:00 pm

Where: Adams Park. 2600 Park Dr Kennesaw, GA 30144

Cost: Free

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What: The 11th Annual Happily Natural Day

When: Friday, August 23, 2013 10:00am – Sunday, August 25, 2013 8:00 pm

Where: South Cobb Recreation Center Atlanta, GA

Cost: $0.00 – $25.00

New  York

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What: Brooklyn Comedy Festival

When: Tuesday, August 20, 2013 8:30 pm – Sunday, August 25, 2013 9:30 pm

Where: Williamsburg. Brooklyn, NY

Cost: Free

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What: The Brooklyn Music Festival 2013

 When: Saturday, August 24, 2013 12:00 pm – 11:00 pm

Where: Aviator Sports & Event Center. Floyd Bennett   Flatbush Ave Brooklyn, NY 11234

Cost: $25.00

San  Francisco

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What: San Francisco Bacon and Beer Festival

When: Sunday, August 25, 2013 2:30 pm – 5:00 pm

Where: The Fairmont San Francisco. 950 Mason St San Francisco, CA 94108

Cost: $50.00

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What: 10th Annual Art & Wine Stroll 2013

When: Thursday, August 22, 2013 5:30 pm – 7:30

Where: Danville Livery & Mercantile. 440 Sycamore Valley Rd W Danville, CA 94526

Cost: $25.00

Los Angeles

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What: 7th Annual Art of Television Costume Design

When: Tuesday, July 30, 2013 10:00 am – Thursday, August 29, 2013 5:00 pm

Where: FIDM Museum & Galleries. 919 S. Grand Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90015

Cost: Free

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What: Thread Crawl

When: Monday, August 19, 2013 11:00 am – Sunday, August 25, 2013 8:00 pm

Where: Various LA Retail Outlets. Los Angeles, CA

Cost: Free

Houston

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What: Restaurant Crawl with Food Lovers Group- Tasty food and great people

 When: Thursday, August 22, 2013 7:00 pm

Where: Seco’s Latin Cuisine. 2536 Nottingham Houston, TX 77005

Cost: Free

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What: LaB 5555: Unlock Your Inner Geek!

 When: Friday, August 23, 2013 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Where: Houston Museum of Natural Science. 5555 Hermann Park Dr. Houston, TX 77030

 Cost: $20.00

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