Conversations: Habibi Caramel Princess

Jude Mansour is an icon in the Vancouver scene. She is constantly planning events, supporting artists, and perfecting projects of her own. An outspoken representative for people of colour (POC), especially women, Jude’s work is striking for its visual honesty. Her social media is colourful, bold, and never hides the frizzy fly-away hairs or tries for flawless skin. It bears a striking contrast to the carefully curated perfection of most Instagram content and makes us, at Grounders, feel more confident in our skin. As Habibi Caramel Princess, Jude has branched into the music realm. Her mixes are an eclectic mix of worldly sounds with an irresistible dance beat. Grounders co-founder Ash sat down with Jude to talk about her experience as an immigrant and future projects. 

Listen to Jude’s newest mix Flutter

First off, tell me a little bit about yourself.

I am an immigrant, I moved here almost seven years ago from Alexandria in Egypt. I’m an Egyptian – born and raised – I moved here in Grade 9, and I live in Burnaby. My highschool life was miserable. There weren’t a lot of African Arabs, Middle Easterners, or Arabs in general that I could relate to in anyway. I experienced a lot of micro-aggressions as a Muslim woman of colour (WOC) living in Vancouver.

I started coming out to shows in Grade 12 and went to Emily Carr. And I started meeting people and making connections and that’s when my life started taking more of a positive turn. I’m so lucky to have met the people I know now. I’m an artist – I’m a DJ.

So why did your parents come to Vancouver?

Well growing up in a non-western country the goal is to get anywhere. My Mom always thought Vancouver was safe and it worked out perfectly when she got accepted into SFU. I was living through a revolution and she got accepted right when the revolution ended. It was perfect timing and we got the fuck out of there.

Growing up in a revolution, do you find social media changes things? How does it empower people?

I think social media is such an important tool. I was so uneducated even growing up as an Egyptian woman. I was so uneducated about myself. I didn’t even consider myself as a WOC, I didn’t even know what that was. But, when I moved here I felt “othered.” I didn’t know where that was coming from or why I was feeling that way. Going on Instagram, I saw a lot of people talking about the same problems I had and it really helped. I think it’s such an important tool, especially for women in non-Western countries to learn. Those resources are really lacking and WOC need to know what’s going on and why they feel the way they do.

I really vibe with that. I always grew up in white societies and I never realized what it meant to be a WOC – not until I came to university. But seeing people on the internet who talk about being a WOC and how they feel, realizing I related to them was such an important experience.

Honestly, shout out to Nazlie Najafi, my baby – my child. She saved my life. She is one of the co-founders of Elastic Collective. When I met her I was so insecure. I straightened my hair everyday, I was scared to go into the sun, and seeing her talk about that stuff online made me feel inspired.

Seeing how proud you are of your heritage now, it’s hard to imagine. Did you try to hide your heritage in highschool?

Oh yah, I was so embarrassed. Where I’m from we hate ourselves and each other. Even in Egypt, women suffer the most. Women of darker skin are the most oppressed. I hated myself so much as a woman of colour. 

When did you start becoming proud of your heritage?

I would say half way through first year university when I started unwhite-washing myself and my values. Because I tried to be that for so long. Again, social media, seeing beautiful women of colour who are so proud and outspoken. I thought, I’m like that too why can’t I be proud and like that. I’d say every POC country and society carry a lot of internalized racism.

photos by Shanice Bishop

Switching topics, when did you start making music?

That literally started last December.

That’s so recent wow!

Yeah, it all started when Rhi Blossom and Mairin Miller came up with Recess. One day I was at Rhi’s house and they asked if I wanted to try DJing and they showed me how and then asked if I wanted to do an event. And I thought “hell yeah!”

Wow, you jumped right in, were you confident about your first gig?

I kind of was, I was always a dancer so music feels like a part of my blood. So I went into it right away and Habibi Carmel Princess started popping off and I realized DJing is my shit.

Is that your go-to art form right now?

Definitely, I used to study photography at Emily Carr but I wasn’t really passionate about it. And every faculty in every university is normally male dominated but the photography department was very dominated and I was so uncomfortable.

Your mixes blend a lot of ethnic sounds, do you have a vision before you start a mix?

I usually do have a vision for sure. My art and music is mostly inspired by how vibrant and lively my culture is – it celebrates happiness and dance. I try and project that into all of my work, even if my mix is sad it’s still upbeat. My new mix is called Flutter. I’m also working on two other projects. One of them I want to release in the summer because it’s sexy and dance music. The mix afterwards is going to be all Egyptian artists, I’m so excited for it.

When does Flutter come out?

April 12th! I already did a photoshoot for it. I worked with Zuleyyma Prado on the photos.  

Listen to Flutter here!

photos by Zuleyyma Prado

In the future do you want to start producing your own stuff with beats and vocals?

Eventually yes but I’m very shy so hopefully in the future.

How would you compare the art scenes in Alexandria, Egypt versus Vancouver?

Alexandria is the second biggest city in Egypt after Cairo and it’s still pretty small. This shit doesn’t really happen there and I was really young. My life was school and sports, I was an athlete. I was a rhythmic gymnast and competed nationally, I was a competitive tennis player, I did equestrian, and I spent my youth in motion. I love to execute my feelings through energy and dynamism.

You’ve been pretty involved with the Elastic Collective, could you give me a quick rundown on them?

Hannah Turner, Rhi Blossom, and Nazlie Najafi are the founders and they are trying to make a space that celebrates art while including people who are often marginalized in society, such as women, BIPOC, and queer folk in Vancouver.

Are you guys planning to do anymore events?

Yah Elastic, Nazlie and I want to do a MENA party. Like a Middle Eastern – North African party with an art show and some poetry readings, maybe a DJ. Because Vancouver lacks a lot of representation in that region. 

Looking to the future, do you think you will stay and try to make Vancouver a more inclusive community or try to move?

I definitely plan to live here for a bit but I also plan to travel a lot. In a couple of months I’ll be going to Toronto and Montreal, hopefully playing shows.

What’s something else you want to say to readers of Grounders, POC, or people who moved here?

Stick to your roots, stick to what you know. You’re going to get confused in the long run. For immigrants, what you are is what white girls wanna be. You are what society is trying to profit off. You are magical and special, just glow and do your thing and no one can steal your glow because it’s impossible. 

 

To keep up with Jude follow her on Instagram and SoundCloud

Future of Streetwear

Fashion really embodies what the trends of the streets are, at that given time. This is how streetwear essentially first started, what brand you say sports being played in, what brand people were hanging out in. People are defining a lot of product as high fashion right now. Can a crewneck really be high fashion? If the materials are quality, and they are shown on the runway, does that make them “high fashion”? In my opinion, not at all, this is almost disrespectful to the people really trying to make a high fashion brand model. Clothes will a small styling change up and coloration to what is essentially streetwear are the ones essentially destroying this traditional model.

It isn’t essentially one vs the other, one better than the other, it is just now apparent how brands are taking this sly business motive to make very wearable clothing, a high fashion status. This means charging $1500 dollars for a sweater is nothing but a number of collectors buying this clothing. Brands known for this recently are Balenciaga, Vetements, and Gucci just to name a few.

Their inspiration and style are obviously repurposed from streetwear using tracksuits, hoodies, and athletic sneakers as the main flagship items. Balenciaga is doing a great job of marketing these new items, as it was named the top profitable clothing brand in the world.

Their items such as the triple S Sneaker sell out in a matter of minutes after being released online. The brands figured out that it is all about marketing the product to the younger age brackets, essentially millennials “The ecosystems have changed, particularly where the much-discussed millennials are engaging with fashion, style, and culture. For a luxury brand, it’s very important to understand how that dynamic is changing as our engagement with the millennial segment is growing quite dramatically,” says Robert Triefus, chief marketing officer at Gucci in a recent interview. This is thinking about the future, yet affecting today’s markets immensely.

The streetwear trend is heavily influencing today’s fashion collections using a street staple. My favorite that has recently been done Is the Balenciaga cap. The ball cap has been a classic item in clothing culture since the beginning of time. An outrage for this style of the cap had been seen everywhere when baseball starts to gain trends in the US.

 

Balenciaga reinterpreted the ball cap hat, adding their custom typeface font and dressing it with a silky, made of Italian cotton. This basic hat creation by the high fashion house is an example of developing a very wearable product, with a high end feel and look coming in at a 385-price tag. For a long time, luxury brands kept their distance from publications and the “lower end” of what fashion was. They did not want to be accessible or have younger people wear the items they produced.

We can see these statements being reversed completely in 2017 and for years to come. Fashion is a never-ending creative expression that is always changing to better the system. Fashion has changed a lot over the years, especially now expressing a new theme revolving around retro styles and 90s culture. The luxury brands are utilizing these trends to secure their positions in younger culture today, to have access to controlling the future of fashion.

 

By James Dais

@Jamesdais_

 

Looks 009: Natasha Kimmell

Natasha Kimmell is a 21 year old photographer currently studying at the University of Oregon. Her portraits turn light into poetry, casting colourful shadows that create an illusion of intimacy between the viewer and subject. 

To see more of Natasha’s work check out her Instagram.

 

In my art I often find myself returning to themes such as youth, urbanism, womanhood, and sexuality, because these are things I relate to, and which challenge me on a daily basis. Overall, my greatest hope is to convey authenticity in my images. I take pictures as a way to explore my own thoughts, and to connect to a world which I often do not understand. In this way photography is more a way of life than an art form to me. That being said, I hope that others might see my photography and feel something familiar, like that special nostalgia you get looking at people you’ve never known in places you’ve never been. Or, at the very, least feel anything at all.

Teenage Reverie

Written by: Antonio Velarde

Photos by: Antonio Velarde


HALLIE TUT

    

I’ve always found it marvelous that creatives in the city of Toronto have the ability to band together and instantly conceive such a tranquil atmosphere. With that said, one artist in particular immediately captured my attention from the first time I laid eyes on her work. Let this count as one step into a rabbit hole filled with vibrant lights and colors. It never ends.

 

 

 

 

 

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

Last month, Hallie hosted one of the most alluring art shows ever witnessed by individuals all over the city. Whilst the venue was flipped into an absolute work of art — its execution was done so well that not only was it an exhibit but also a place of serenity. An artist’s heaven, if I could say so myself. The atmosphere she created was peaceful. From the music, to the lighting (which is key to her production), and the furniture along with every facet down to the glassware and televisions. 

This three-day exhibit was an utter success. Individuals entered in awe not knowing what to expect. Blue and red cellophane covered the front windows offering an eerie glow to passersby, music was blasting through the doors — it was really intriguing to say the least. 


Here are some of my outtake shots! Enjoy.


Urban Art

Featured in Issue 4, Enna explores turning mundane elements of the urban landscape into pieces of art.

I’ve been feeling flustered lately. Congestion, summer heat, TTC delays. All of these frustrations form some sort of ordered chaos. Inspired by the exponential growth of condo development within Toronto, I deconstructed the physical proportions of these mundane buildings and brought them to life. I dissected them to the core and created my own little world among the calamity.

Drugs, Safety, Society and Addiction in Art

TLDR; at GROUNDERS we acknowledge that drug use is common amongst young people, especially artists. With the upcoming August long weekend, and the numerous music festivals planned, we want to bring attention to the FENTANYL CRISIS occurring across Canada. If you choose to use drugs at a festival, or any time, make sure that you do it safely. Ensure that the provider is trustworthy, and test the drugs with a drug testing kit to ensure their purity.

Historically

This Fentanyl crisis is far from the first drug related epidemic in modern civilization. What sets this apart from the rest is both its current occurrence and its lack of publicity – particularly in the arts. I came to this realization while researching art from the 1800s for a research essay at OCAD. I found a piece by Eugene Grasset called  The Morphine Addict. This piece puts a spotlight on the morphine addiction affecting lower class women in France. Grasset’s manipulation of formal techniques in the lithograph made the piece aesthetically pleasing, and put the issue in the faces of the aristocracy, forcing them to acknowledge it.

Presently

We have no artists explicitly talking about the Fentanyl crisis. The public has very little exposure to the epidemic besides the occasional new story. And while this type of publicity is impactful, it isn’t the most effective way of communicating with the people that are most likely to be affected by it. Scare tactics and statistics tend to distance problems from reality because nobody thinks they will be the statistic. If popular, or even independent, artists were to discuss fentanyl laced drugs, whether it be in their work or through their social media, the impact would be much greater. As a media agency communicating art, we feel that it is our job to discuss this issue and make our readers aware. 

Cocaine, MDMA, and heroin are often cut with Fentanyl.

This year alone, FENTanyl was related to 72% of drug overdoses.

A Sand grain amount of fentanyl is enough to kill.

This year alone, over 1700 people have died as a result of fentanyl overdoses in British Columbia. Fentanyl is moving east with overdoses rapidly increasing in calgary and creeping into toronto. 

Naloxone (brand name Narcan) is a drug that inhibits the effects of an opioid overdose. If you will be using drugs, find tests and Naloxone kits in your area. These are usually free and available at hospitals and cops are often equipped with them.

 

Moral of the story: have fun, but be safe.

 

Story > Pic > Life

Having just started experimenting with taking portraits of people, my goal before undertaking this task was to do something original. When I started taking pictures, I was a huge fan of shooting amazing landscapes to capture the beauty of the moment. But, as of recently I’ve fallen in love with the idea of combining both the aesthetic of a landscape with the beauty of an individual. Additionally, coupled with the idea of aestheticism, since having embarked on this experiment, I decided that each photo I took would have its fun filling tales of both adventures and misadventures. So, below I have for you my riveting and heart pounding experience of how I got these photos. Enjoy!

In frame: Jenny Lee-Gilmore


Sunday afternoon, I honestly didn’t know what to expect before I headed out to the site. A friend of mine was generous enough to take both myself and the model over to the site. But here’s where our story truly begins. Upon arriving to the location, the atmosphere was fairly calm and relaxed. The parking lot was fairly empty as well, so finding a parking spot was relatively easy; we stayed in the car for a good 10 minutes planing how we’d break in, like an episode of Prison Break. 

We started walking towards the direction of the sulphur pile; then out of nowhere, a security guards pops out, and we’re all totally caught off guard. Geared towards me, the first question he asked was, 

“What are you guys doing here?”

At this moment, I felt like my whole body went into shock and started pissing my pants because I didn’t know how to respond. Sweating frantically, I quickly told the guard,

“We actually work here and were actually just here to collect our pay cheques from the office”. 

To my surprise, I felt both relieved and worrisome; two words that sound completely contradictory, but the fact that we easily bypassed the security guard was a bit disconcerting. The guard kindly pointed us towards the direction of the office, but we cunningly veered towards the direction of the sulphur pile when he returned back to his post. Unfortunately our troubles weren’t over, as another obstacle had appeared in form of a steel fence with warning signs like “STAY OUT” and “FEDERAL PROPERTY”, but the urge for taking a bomb photo overshadowed all sense of reality. We crawled under the fence that had an opening just capable of fitting the three of us through it; a sure sign confirming this was meant to be.

Finally arriving at the sulphur pile, a friend stood as a look out while I proceeded taking photos. With the sun beating down on us as well as the stringent odour of rotten eggs from the sulphur, I was able to capture a couple of photos before it all happened. To our surprise, a white jeep pulls out from around the corner of the mountain. At this moment, I knew we were all in deep fire, as the man said in an overpoweringly loud voice, 

 “HOW DID YOU GUYS GET ONTO THE PROPERTY?”

Trying to gather our words, we responded stuttering, 

“Uh…we didn’t know, we thought anyone could just come in”

As if the situation couldn’t get worse, another man in a jeep pulls up from a different corner, and says, 

“DO YOU GUYS KNOW IT’S A CRIMINAL OFFENCE TO BE HERE ON THIS PROPERTY?” 

Looking like kids straight out of highschool (we’re all really in third year uni), we decided to use it to our advantage, acting extremely ignorant. After accepting what appeared to be an apologetic plea, they told us to leave the same way we came in, and stood watching us till we crawled back under the gate. 

Clearly, not having learned our lesson, we decide to hang around the area because there were clumps of aesthetic green flower patches, and leaving was like a C bubble on a true-false quiz; it wasn’t an option. Our smiles quickly turned upside down when the Head Security of the property approached us, and with what seemed like no ounce of remorse he said, 

 “There were several reports of your presence on the property and THE POLICE ARE ON THEIR WAY”

At this point, my life literally began to flash before my eyes, mostly just thinking of what my parents would do to me if they heard I was in jail. I think, I can speak for my two other friends, when I say we all thought this was the end of the line. I figuratively went on my knees begging him and pulling out the “ignorance” card as a sign of plea. Couple of seconds after hearing it, he says, 

“Don’t worry, the police are cancelled…”

Glancing at each other, with the same thought in mind, we knew this guy was probably lying. To cut the story off short, the head security guard took us to our vehicle, and cautioned us with a “slap on the wrist”, telling us to never return, as he took pictures of the cars’ licence plate, sending us away with our tail between our legs. 

After this encounter, we all agreed that it was worth it. I can honestly speak for the three of us and say that we’d totally do it all over again. Each photo you take should tell a story; and as millennials, I feel we usually get lost in trying to get as many likes on Instagram as possible that we forget to make the most out of an experience. The photo can fade, but the your story lives on! Sounds literally like the most cliche thing anyone can say, but its true. 

 

To keep up with Ife follow him on Instagram here

 

 

 

 

 

The Misfit Generation

In our society today, I feel there is an astronomically skewed version of what it means to be successful. The largely popularized misconception of success revolves around the fact that the only way of “making it” in life is through a high paying technically based profession. This misconstrued point of view causes people like us to place less emphasis on pursuing or developing our artistic talents. It’s so easy to get swayed from decisions that seem illogical to most, especially when our culture doesn’t approve of choices that go against the grain.

 

Being a youth, if my experience has taught me anything for the past 20 years, it’s that doing something you love can give you a greater sense of fulfilment. What I’m really saying is that if you have some sort of artistic talent, whether it be music, photography, theatre, painting, etc., you should pursue your passion regardless of what people say. This act of going against the grain in the eyes of society, makes you; makes us misfits, which led me to come up with a term that categorized this idea into three measly words – “The Misfit Generation”. To break this term down, we need to focus on the words, “Misfit” and “Generation”. The term “Misfit” is used to label a single person, while the word “Generation” refers to a certain culture or movement. When these words are combined, they form, “The Misfit Generation”, and it describes a culture of youth that are deciding to rebel against societal norms and pursue their artistic ambitions.

 

Contrary to popular belief, the connotations related to being a misfit, aren’t always favourable; but on a brighter note, this word is more euphemistic than it seems. To be a misfit means breaking the mainstream; it means being able to express your voice in an original way. Knowing this, I believe the label of ” The Misfit Generation ” is the best way to categorize youth who not only pursue the arts, but use it as a way to cathartically express themselves regardless of what form of art. Most especially, nowadays I believe it’s a great time to develop an artistic passion, because now more than ever we are able to show case ourselves and convey feelings in a way that is relatable to our audience. I love one of the many well-versed poems by Jack Kerouac that says, 

“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles…” 

— Jack Kerouac

I feel the “mad ones” in the context of the “misfit”, refers to those who pursue a life filled with idiosyncrasies; those who are unafraid of pursuing and exercising their artistic passions as a means of self-expression to bring disarray to societal norms. These are youth and millennials who are not ready to settle for a commonplace thing, but rather have the power to shake society with a rejuvenating elixir. So, be a mad one! Go and continue being a MISFIT! 

 

Something New!

Our third issue has received an amazing amount of support, to the point that we have sold out of the magazine! In an effort to make Grounders more accessible, we are now offering an online version for $5. We recognize that the majority of our audience (students) does not have much disposable income, so we hope that this lower price will allow you guys to get a copy and support young, talented artists. If you were planning on getting a physical copy don’t fret, because the online version is identical. 

We’re always looking for ways to provide a larger audience to the artists we support, and we hope that this helps. All future issues will be released in both formats, and if you have any suggestions for how we can better serve our artists and general community, please let us know.

XOXO The Grounders Team

YOU HAVE CHANGED THE TASTE OF FRUIT

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It is impossible to be two places at once, he tells me.

I know this to be untrue. I do it all the time.

 

Hand on my waist; he has mistaken this for anchor.

Instead I am inside the rim of the light fixture, hiding

in the shadow between morning and night. In this light

he looks like you did when we were still new.

 

The night I found you left,

I ate 12 of your name. Skin and all.

The night I found you left, I ripped my mouth raw.

Brown bristles and black seeds lodged themselves between my teeth,

even fiber lasted longer than us.

 

I picked you out of fruit salad for months. My taste-buds have developed

more sensitive, I don’t think I could tolerate your acid, even if I wanted to.

 

BY OLIVIA SCARLET HOFFMAN

read more here