Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Music Review: Telefone by Noname

Telefone, artwork by Nikko Washington
Who is Noname?

Noname, also referred to as "Noname Gypsy" is a hip-hop artist out of Chicago, Illinois. She is known for first appearance in Chance The Rapper's song "Lost" and her music with rappers Mick Jenkins and Saba. On July 31, 2016, Noname released her debut mixtape titled "Telefone." Telefone is ten tracks long and is pretty damn good. Noname gives the listener nostalgic summertime vibes that remind people of childhood and growing up. In songs such as "Diddy Bop" Noname recalls the song sounding like, "kiddies on the playground when mama was running up" or, "jumping in a pool and I'm knowing I can't swim." Telefone is a lighthearted toned, fun loving, body of music that can put a smile on anybody's face. 

Telefone Tracklisting:

  1. Yesterday
  2. Sunny Duet (w/ theMIND)
  3. Diddy Bop (ft. Raury & Cam O'bi)
  4. All I Need (ft. Xavier Omär)
  5. Reality Check (ft. Eryn Allen Kane & Akenya)
  6. Freedom Interlude
  7. Casket Pretty
  8. Forever (ft. Ravyn Lenae & Joseph Chilliams)
  9. Bye Bye Baby
  10. Shadow Man (ft. Saba, Smino & Phoelix)

A million out of ten. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise; if they do, they're insane. This may sound odd, but Noname captured the perfect feelings that a person wants to feel when they die, and when they are born; peace. Nothing more, nothing less.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Social Justice Warrior: Two Worlds

White Privilege 

White privilege is pretty much self explanatory concept. In its essence, white privilege is having systematic and institutional advantages in society just because a person is simply white. This factors into today's economy, social class, and even a person's financial state. For example, a low income black or Latino family might be put in a neighborhood with poor housing and crime while a low income white family can somehow still make it into the suburbs or high status neighborhood. Even in court, when teenagers are being tried for crimes they commit, African Americans are more likely to be tried as adults, whereas white teens are tried as juveniles. Not to forget that 1 out of every 8 of African American youth that get convicted of killing someone will be sentenced to life without parole. However, among white Americans this number is 1 out of 13. Also, have you noticed that in the media when a black person is murdered (Mike Brown, Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, etc) their image will be twisted? They said that Michael Brown was a bad kid who smoked weed and listened to rap music. But when Dylan Storm Roof, a white man who shot up a church and took 9 innocent lives, they talked about how good of a kid he was. Even Brock Turner, the Stanford rapist, got a mere slap on the wrist when he was sentenced because "jail would be bad for him."

Two Worlds

Let's face it, the same world that a white person deals with is not the same world that a person of color deals with. One cannot simply, "not see race" or say that race is "just a social construct." And before you go ahead and say that white people go through hell too, think about it: do they really go through it because they're white? Nope! As an entire race, white people are far from oppressed. Offended? Yes. Oppressed? No. This actually brings up the main reason why #AllLivesMatter is a bunch of bull. Yes, all lives in fact do matter, but that's not how all lives are treated. This hash tag was not started to prove what it says, it was only started because people were angry about #BlackLivesMatter. But the question is: where are the #AllLivesMatter people when tragedy strikes? They weren't out protesting when those three Muslims on Chapel Hill were slain, and they weren't out when the Orlando shooting happened either. All Lives Matter is only something that is said when a privileged person feels that BLM is taking away from their lives. It's not even a movement! These people don't feel the need to start a movement! You wanna know why? Because it's already evident that their lives matter.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Book Review: Tattoos on the Heart

Short Summary

Tattoos on the Heart is a story by a Jesuit priest named Gregory Boyle who has been working with gang members in California since the mid 1980s. His organization, Homeboy Industries, is responsible for giving many gang affiliated teens and young adults a second chance at life. While going through thick and thin with cancer and even family problems, Greg has always got his "homies" with him in times of need and vice versa.

This book was amazing. So, for all of you readers out there, I took it upon myself to answer some of the discussion questions asked in the back of the book, And with that, let's begin.

•Greg talks about offering opportunities, not to to people who need help but to those who want it. What difference do you think this makes?

I believe that this makes a difference in terms of effort and putting in work. Sure, someone might need help, but they may not put in as much as somebody who wants it. People who want are more likely to try hard with whatever it is that they're doing. If you want something bad enough in life, you're going to give it your all. For example, everyone who received Greg's help had to come to him first in his office for a job. He didn't go around and chase anybody who he thought needed one. There is a special power in want that need just doesn't seem to contain. The first step to being helped in any situation is going out and seeking it in the beginning. And although not everyone was a success story, each person was close to success by asking for help from Greg. They didn't die in vain. As a matter of fact, if they hadn't asked for help, they probably would've died in vain doing something bad.

•Greg writes, “Kinship [is] not serving the other, but being one with the other. Jesus was not ‘a man for others’; he was one with them.” How are the two different, and how does Greg integrate this distinction into his work?

What Greg did with his work was to empathize with homies rather than sympathize for them. Being a man for others wouldn't have worked. It would've required Greg to have to stand tall and act like a man of such high stature. Thus, the gang members wouldn't have liked him and treated him with the respect like they did. He wasn't only seen as this religious figure, he was seen as a friend and father by many. An example of this is how he treat gang members as they were his own kids. When Greg took Richie and Chepe to that fancy restaurant and everyone gave stares at two tattooed boys, he didn't care. Greg wasn't embarrassed or ashamed of the people who he kept company with. His entire attitude was, “don't judge someone unless you've walked in their shoes.” Not once did he condemn someone for their past or present. Greg was not an advisor or boss, he was Greg, being one with everyone.

•How does life in a gang—which promises a sense of safety, belonging, and an income—compare to life at Homeboy Industries (HBI)?

It compares in the sense that everyone wants to see each other do well and succeed, but the difference is how you go about it. A gang teaches people how to bond through survival tactics and wrongdoings to receive benefits. Homeboy Industries however, teaches core values that a person should always have, which a gang can't do. Homeboy shows people to love themselves using spirituality and oneness with God. Also, gangs show this feeling of conditional love, meaning they'll only care about you if you're down with them. They'll hate you if you want better for yourself and try to leave. However, at Homeboy Industries, everyone loves each other no matter how many times a person fails. There's always second, third, and fourth chances. No one gives up on anybody. Promises there are kept and followed through with. People are in and out of juvenile detention, but aren't looked down upon. Everyone is human. In gangs, your life can be taken at any breathing moment, and sometimes even trust is an issue, leaving a person feeling paranoid and isolated. And nothing is promised or guaranteed.

•Greg spends a lot of time talking to the homies about their different conceptions of God. Do you believe in God, and if so, how does your belief color the way that you view disparities in privilege and opportunity?

I believe in God 100% and that He created everyone equal. However, the people created designed systems in ways that benefit certain people and hurt others. At the beginning of the book, Greg talks about how life in a suburban area was completely opposite from what he later faced. He didn't even know that things like gangs existed when he was younger. You see, people like Gregory had better shots at life from the start since he was raised in a nice neighborhood and had money. I've noticed that when a homie comes to him and tells them about something tragic that occurs, he can never tell him that he's been there. Sure he’s been through rough times, but not like these kids. In today's society, people who aren't privileged need the opportunities, because even an opportunity in itself is a privilege. Therefore the kids at Homeboy had the privilege of an opportunity. Sometimes the privileged don't understand how important it is that everyone has equal rights to do things whether it's education, housing, and work. Privilege is something you're born with, an opportunity is something thrust upon you. Privilege also gets you opportunity in the first place. They both go hand in hand.

•In the preface, Greg explains the title and his hope that readers will tattoo these stories onto their hearts. Which of these stories about Greg's work stuck with you the most?

The story of Soledad stuck with me the most. Her story is a great example of what forgiveness means. Many people mistake forgiveness as excusing what a person has done, but forgiveness is really for the forgiver. The forgiver needs closure and to heal. When Soledad prayed for her son's killer to survive, she was forgiving him without even directly saying it. Even she said that most of her friends would probably tell her to hope he doesn't make it, she did the opposite. Personally, I don't think I could forgive someone who's done such a horrible act. In the Bible in Matthew 6:14, it is written, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” So, in other words, Soledad was forgiven by God as well as her son's killer. And if she hadn't prayed for him, he most likely would have not lived.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Hair Product Review: Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie vs. Curl & Style Milk

Shea Moisture's Curl Enhancing Smoothie


As a black female, hair is a huge aspect of my life. I can't just put it in a ponytail and move along with the rest of my day. Hair is a process for me mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Which is exactly why no ordinary product can maintain my hair. Although I have parted with many products, Shea Moisture has never seemed to stop working for me. At the given moment, my favorite two things to use are the Curl Enhancing Smooth and the Curl & Style Milk. However, it seems that I cannot have one without the other. So, why not compare the two?

Shea Moisture's Curl Enhancing Smoothie

In the left corner we have the Curl Enhancing Smoothie! On the container, it is labeled, "THICK, CURLY HAIR". However, as a person who has curly hair but not the thickest, I can testify that it still is proven to be extremely useful. The smoothie itself, is quite thick, but doesn't appear to leave residue. It can be used when laying your hair down to make it look neat. If you want something light that won't pack on your head, I suggest using the milk. Still, even if the milk is too thick, you can add a small amount of water. 

Shea Moisture's Curl & Style Milk

Shea Moisture's Curl & Style Milk
In the right corner we have the Curl & Style Milk! This product is practically perfect for a wash and go in the morning or adding back moisture after a simple rinse. It can make your hair feel soft and silky, avoiding frizz. When your hair is brittle and dry, you can section it off into fours, then use the a spray bottle to spritz it. From there, you can apply the milk and style it as desired. Your hair will feel fresh, and smooth. To define my curls, I prefer to put my hair in Bantu knots then taking them out later. 


After all, this is still a review, and of course I have to give some cons. Out of both the products, longevity is the number one problem. I often find myself having to reapply the moisture into my hair because it doesn't last that long. Also, you can't easily use these products alone and be guaranteed complete moisture. But, that is why it's suggested you purchase the other products as well. My rating for the smoothie is an 8.5 out of 10, while my rating on the milk is 9 out 10. The milk seems to have a lot more uses and advantages than the smoothie. 

Interested in seeing what Shea Moisture has in store? Click the link below!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Music Review: SHE by Trapo

SHE EP by Trapo

Who is Trapo?

Davon Prather, otherwise known as Trapo, is a teenage Wisconsin born rapper and singer currently signed to Esselgy Records. His latest work is an EP titled "She" which features the likes of artists such as Max Wonders, TheMIND, and Meraki. The EP is ten tracks long and was released on March 26, 2016. 

Is it Good?

Definitely. Trapo carries a soothing melody through his soulful voice while still being able to rhyme and flow. She is full of both R&B influences as well as Hip-Hop. In tracks such as "Never Run", "Prototype" and "Special" Trapo discusses topics such as love and attraction. While his sound may not be every single person's cup of tea, he still makes music that most people can vibe to. 

My rating of She would be 9.5/10. There was nothing wrong with the EP, I just wish that it had been longer. Two songs that really stood out to me were "Chicago" and "Cruise Control." Chicago, because it was funky and made me want to dance around my house. Cruise Control because he is really saying something there. His quote, "Don't act like you never loved the way I treated you" really makes me wonder, how did he treat her in the first place? Was he good to her? Or possibly the opposite? Hopefully not.

In the near future I am looking forward to hearing more music from Trapo. Maybe even a debut album sometime around the way. Until then, you can listen to She on SoundCloud, Spotify, and TIDAL. If you're tempted to listen, click the link below.

Listen To SHE by Trapo 


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Welcome to The Black, Ceramic Doll!

Hello! Bonjour! Salaam! Hallo!

Welcome to my blog! My name is Maryam Muhammad and I am a teenage writer from Connecticut. I started this blog as a hobby due to extreme boredom and anxiety, deciding that if I can't tell friends and family the things I want to, why not tell the world? Sometimes, strangers are the best listeners. Wait, scratch that; strangers are always the best listeners. 

On this blog I have several topics that I will discuss:
  • Music Reviews
  • Hair Product Reviews
  • SJWS (Social Justice Warrior Stuff)
  • Q&A  
  • Anything else you want 
So, if you have anything you want me to review and/or suggestions, please email me at and send anything you wish. 

Until next time, peace out!