Volume 13 The Positivity Issue Spring 2017
Saul G. Hodgers
Tawanda Suessbrich- Joaquim
Charles Austin Ross
Welcome to the Positivity Issue! We would like to thank all of our amazing contributors
for making this issue possible. In this issue they help us shed some light on
why being positive can be the smartest life decision we can make. Positivity is not
an easy thing to practice but it sure does feel good when it is considered right? Our
contributors gives us some insight on maintaining a healthy balance of finding your
happy place while there is so much going on around you. We think that positivity
can come in all shapes and forms but it is what you make of it. When life gives you
lemons you must make an easy lemon pie, right? We will take our slices to go! Enjoy.
Darnell & Mariah
Hayley Rheagan | Darnell Thomas
POSITIVITY IN THE FACE OF NEGATIVITY
NURTURE & REPEAT
Saul G. Hodgers
Charles Austin Ross
La Charles Trask | Keynan Johnson
HAVE A NICE DAY
Mark Baker-Sanchez | Mariah Romero
LAZY LEMON PIE
AN INTERVIEW WITH RUSA
1905 Magazine | Amy West
photography, Hayley Rheagan
creative director, Darnell Thomas
model, Amy West
Positivity In The Face Of Negativity
Tawanda Suessbrich- Joaquim
When we think of the past few months, on social, economic,
political and global levels, it’s enough to make
most of us frustrated. Some of us might laugh nervously.
Others might actually take a few moments to
hold in tears. It may, for some, seem like the world is
falling apart—an incapable president, environmental
issues not being taken seriously, police brutalities, less
and less rights for marginalized groups every day. The
list seems endless.
But how do we stay positive in the face of all this negativity?
Is it even possible?
I’ve found the answer to be yes. We can absolutely stay
positive, and here’s why—it’s the only way to make it
to where we want to go.
We tend to think of things in terms of everlasting dichotomies—light
and dark, happy and sad, good and
bad, positive and negative. These ideas come from
thousands of years of survival through distinction,
knowing which plant is poisonous, expressing our
emotions, trusting the people in our tribe and protecting
ourselves against those who aren’t and so on and
so forth. But I don’t think things have to be so black
Personally, I like to relate positivity and negativity to
ebbs and flows—picture a wave rushing in and out
again with the tide. Good times and not so good times
are like the seasons. We all go through our spring,
summer, fall and winter cycles, just like our environment
around us. The world and all the people in it
need to go through beautiful warm, sunny days spent
outside into cold, snowy days where we’d rather stay
in, because just when we think winter will never end,
the sky will clear and the flowers will start blooming.
And the seasons will begin all over again.
Staying positive in times like these means understanding
that life is filled to the brim with happiness and
sadness, and both of them are good. They are good
because they are both essential to our growth as beings.
If we were never sad, we wouldn’t be so thankful
for laughter, for hugs and kisses, family and friends.
Sometimes we need a little bit of difficulty to push us
towards doing the best we can, towards working hard.
And at the end, it’s all worth it!
I guess what I’m trying to say is: with the change in the
global atmosphere during the last year, you know this
year, 2017, is going to be all about big moves and even
bigger changes. So GO FOR IT. Don’t let anyone, including
yourself, keep you down. Begin every day with
an affirmation—a simple “I can do this,” “I’m beautiful”
or “inner peace equals outer peace” will help you
move mountains. Get off the couch. Take matters into
your own hands,
and don’t be afraid
to learn, to ask for
help. Spread love,
joy and knowledge
with the change in the global
atmosphere during the last
year, you know this year,
2017, is going to be all about
big moves and even bigger
changes. So GO FOR IT.
go. Stay educated. Stay aware. Stay healthy, and do
whatever is best for you. Get together with people who
make you happy, eat your favorite foods, learn some-
thing new about the world and continue to create art.
Know that a bad day every once in a while is only preparing
you for all the good ones ahead—remember:
spring is just around the corner. No matter what, do
not stop seeking positivity in everything you see and
do. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not
there. When hard times come, take time to go within
yourself and feel into your emotions. Really feel it. Let
it all out. Cry. Then, let a ray of light in, plant a seed
and watch it grow. Live everyday as the best you that
you can possibly be, and love yourself every step of the
way! You’re the only you that the world will ever know!
And just think about how much more beautiful the
world will be after you share your positivity with it.
illustration by Lydia Abernathy
photography & direction, Saul G. Hodgers | model, Karen Bringas at
New Icon Model Management | hair & make up, Neftali Camacho
styling, Janeth Uribe | production assistants, Paulina Lagarda, Raquel
Partida & Duende Montaño
Top by Genesis Solano / Buena Sangre | Skirt by Gibran Murillo
Top by Genesis Solano / Buena Sangre | Dress by Gibran Murillo
Jacket by Mayra Navarro | Dress - Stylist’s own | Necklace - Stylist’s own
In two thousand and nine I was a freshman in
high school. At that age I didn’t know that I would
be twenty-three in seven years, let alone be dealing
with the stress that comes with being a twenty-three
year old. The only twenty something I
knew at that time was my sister and she was off
in college. Needless to say I wasn’t influenced by
her very much in that time of my life because she
was in North Carolina studying at the prestigious
Duke University and I was in St. Louis acting like
a fool. My main influences came from Music, TV
Metro Academic and Classical High School was
a place for the brightest individuals; anything
below a C- was considered an F, and if you
had three F’s you would be “asked to leave”.
Bright was not how my teachers would describe
me and so when I walked in to school on the
first day I was already intimidated by high walls
and serious teachers. I would say I cared less
about my classes and more about my friends.
Metro pretty quickly became an access point to
our frequent vices as an escape from the stress.
Keeping that secret from those around was my
utmost priority. #truly
Lots of things happened in high school that I will
never forget. When I was eighteen, I was failing
math horribly. Consequently, I was going to fail
out of high school too. I would have to tell my
parents that I wasn’t going to walk the stage with
the rest of my friends, and even more dreadful;
why I was failing Math.
I remember the vice principal of my school approaching
me in the cafeteria.
He said “You’ve got a lot of potential Austin but you
know that smile isn’t going to get you everywhere.”
He patted me on my shoulder and walked away.
“Ha!” I thought.
I knew what he meant, but it was lame so I pretended
like it never happened.
In my heart of hearts I knew that he was right.
He knew that I wasn’t doing my homework and
he knew that I wasn’t passing my tests. I felt like
a piece of glass, and in that moment I was about
to crack. Up to that point I had pretended like
everything was okay, and that my habits couldn’t
change the trajectory of my life, but I was discovering
quickly that the opposite was true.
I was sitting at home when my best friend Morgan
called me. He said candidly, “Bro, where are
you? Mrs. Funk said you haven’t been to school
in two weeks.”
“Two weeks?” I thought. “No Way” I swore it
had only been one.
For two weeks I skipped class everyday and got
high. I told myself it was okay to continue this way
if I could just bury myself negative thoughts.
Long story short, I passed high school that year
and fortunately my parents never really knew
the extent of how close I was to not graduating
on time. I got to walk the stage and be applauded
and squaded with everyone else that
day. However, I was not sure that I deserved the
acknowledgement so graduation day was full of
guilt and fear that my parents would find out.
I was cracking again. They were proud of me,
smiling. They saw that I had graduated high
school despite everything. Honestly, it was a
More recently I met this guy named Emmy. I
was twenty two, he was thirty-five, but we had
a lot in common; young, black, artist. He said
he saw a little bit of himself in me and immediately
a shudder ran down my back. From my
high school experience I knew that as soon as
someone sees potential in me, they would start
to expect a lot.
I was working in a city that I wasn’t familiar
with, so I would stay with him three days here,
two days there. Naturally we got to know each
other pretty quickly, his eyes always watching
to be sure that I was acting the way he
would’ve if he could go back in time and talk
to his younger self.
po·ten·tial: having or showing the capacity to become
or develop into something in the future. I
swallow that word like a bag of rocks.
Emmy took care of me, so in a lot of ways I
owed respect to his crazy methodology. If he
asked me to do something I would do it and
do it right the first time. To be honest, I never
thought about making a mistake because he
had become my friend too. But, when I finally
uffed up I remembered my responsibility to
keep things the way he liked it.
He asked me to lock the doors when I was done
getting my bag from his car, but I didn’t. He had
that look in his eyes like “You know? That smile
isn’t going to get everywhere.”
I froze in suspense and made my best attempts
at being respectful, responsible, and redeemable.
Emmy was cool so disappointing him was not.
Believe me when I say the doors to his car were
locked every day from then on out.
When I was in the thick of it [being scolded by
Emmy] I could feel the walls closing in again.
I was becoming glass. Emmy was serious, Mr.
Mayhem was serious too, and so were my parents.
I wanted to explode, or maybe just disappear.
I wanted it all to go away.
I think back to that time in my freshman year of
high school. Finals were approaching and the
walls were closing in again. It got really dark.
So, I planned do something that I would never
be able to talk about again. I went to my basement,
tears running down my face, and wrote
the note that would explain why I did it. Why I
It’s moments like that where everything comes
into focus that the solution can be simple. I don’t
think I have to say that I didn’t commit suicide
I walked into class the next day. The professor
was in the front of the room eyeing everyone that
“Do you have your assignment?” She said. I think I
was one of two people who didn’t. There was a girl
in the class named Sara who had always done her
homework on time, she had an in with the teacher.
“How come you didn’t prepare for the final Austin?”
I shrugged it off thinking about where I had
been in the past fourteen hours. There was nothing
“Did you know you can buy Marquita a box of
chocolates, and she’ll pass you?” My jaw was on
There’s a point in pure chaos when everything
stops and the air is calm. It’s called the eye of
the storm. That’s where I operate; in full throttle
crashing into all the other atoms around me, vibrating
at the perfect frequency to become a solid.
I find peace in knowing myself, because the truth
sets me free. My favorite line in a song this year,
and probably forever is:
“I know you think it’s fake, maybe fake’s what I like”
qualities either, but
this is what I need
in my life right now.
You can either get on board or you can get out of
my life.” I love that! That line is about acceptance.
I accept that I am still that fifteen year old who is
that twenty-three year old who will be a thirty- five
year old in chaos trying to graduate high school
with a smile and positive thinking. The truth is;
it’s impossible. I had to get a lot of things rolling
before I was able to walk the stage with my friends
What I learned from all those experiences is that
life is unpredictable; it literally makes no sense. Yes
there is structure and rigor but only in an attempt
to put a method to the madness. Don’t stress. Life is
like a workshop. Everyday I wake up, I have to work
to clear the fog and tackle the days obstacles. It’s not
easy, and sometimes I feel my past selves wanting
to take charge. But, honestly, I would describe that
more as me letting go. We have to take control.
Long story short what ever it is you’re doing, you’re
doing just fine. If you are alive, you are winning,
and if you are deceased you’ll be back soon. Love
the people around you and be positive. I promise
it will all work out, or your money back.
“Life should be made as simple as possible, but not
much simpler” -Albert Einstein
I find peace in knowing
myself, because the
truth sets me free.”
-New Person, Same Old Mistakes Currents 2015
As cliche as that band is the line is special to me. In
a hyperbolic way it says “Maybe you don’t believe
that jumping over shrubs makes me feel closer to
God, and maybe I’m not so sure of its spiritual
magnificence or great beauty
Spring 2017 fashion show held at Santa Fe University of
Art & Design. Curated and directed by Keynan Johnson.
Behind the Scenes photos by La’Charles Trask
WHAT YOU NEED IN YOUR PERSONAL LIFE
TO ALLOW POSITIVITY TO FALL INTO PLACE
The mind is your most powerful weapon.
Mind over matter is everything.
As a advocate of self-care/love/esteem/confidence
etc. I highly believe in mind-power and the ability
it has to change the way you walk through life.
And let’s be real, it’s HARD to stay positive.
For me, it’s hard because I tend to be easily
stressed and overwhelmed but — like everything,
it’s a process and it’s slowly getting better with
I’ve made a list of things to focus on in your personal
life in order to allow positivity to fall into place.
Have a year of YOU
We all get caught up in hustling so hard that
we tend to neglect ourselves and our needs but
PLEASE don’t forget about yourself!
Sometimes this can be tough because there is so
much going on, and so much we want to stick our
hands in that we over exhaust ourselves because
we haven’t taken the time to self-care.
Whatever self-care means to you, do it.
Often. No one is going to do it for you.
If you don’t start making yourself a priority you
will one day look back and wonder where your life
went. It’s not selfish. It’s more like the greatest gift
you can give to the people around you.
When you feel more balanced and whole, the rest
of the world gets the best parts of you, too.
Change your approach
In his most recent album, the song “No Favors”
“When my grandma died I realized I got an angel
Show me everything’s a blessing, dependin’ on
You’ve gotta look at all the angles and determine
Every negative, brings some type of positive.
Don’t work to accept things you cannot
“Change the things you can’t accept.”
Just like you can change the course of your future
by taking a long look at your life and surroundings
and deciding which parts are no longer acceptable.
Have a “this isn’t working for me anymore” moment
and take out the trash!
Empathy. Get acquainted with it.
And this may not even apply to all of you reading this.
A lot of people are already extremely empathetic.
All im saying is that there is power in learning and
listening to others.It’s truly a hidden secret.
Once more people start putting themselves in others’
shoes, this Karma thing might actually show
up and start to bless all of us.
Failure is only failure if you choose to quit.
Dream big, but start small.
Make a list and slowly start checking those things off and i promise you will feel
better about the bigger goals you have.
It’s all a process.
It’s okay to start small.
What this does is open ourselves up to the possibility of a goal without boundaries.
Invest in yourself on a greater scale.
You’ll be surprised at how much you truly accomplish
If 2016 has taught me anything, it would be that gratitude is a thing.
Be grateful for the people you have in your life and the time you have with them.
Enjoy them. Because nothing is finite.
it’s important to make a difference, change a heart, really live a life this year.
Let’s make the most of it.
photography by Mark Baker-Sanchez | styling by Mariah Romero | model, Analyss Robles
L.L.P. (Lazy Lemon Pie)
Welcome to Spring my friends! I’m sharing a health inspired dessert because
well, we now live in 2017 and duh?! In all seriousness I’ve discovered
that sugar is something that causes an inflammatory response for my body,
whether that’s just currently or forever, I’ve committed to a much reduced
sugar intake which has made me re-think dessert.
One of the best ways to get your “glow” on the outside is to approach
things from the inside. In 2017 I’ve committed to creating glowing health
and beauty both inside and out. So, comes this recipe I’m calling Lazy
Lemon Pie. It’s EASY. I promise. And it’s just such a good substitute to a
Here’s a drop of wisdom with your pie, feeling vibrant in life is your birthright.
If you don’t experience that on the daily, go within. If you don’t go
within, you’ll go without.
All the love,
What you need
2 ½ cups desiccated coconut
3 tbs coconut oil
½ tsp vanilla powder (check your local health food store)
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp liquid stevia
Pinch of salt
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
6 tbs coconut oil
Zest of 2 fresh lemons
½ tsp liquid stevia
What you do
Preheat oven to 300°F. Mix base ingredients in medium bowl until dough like and sticky.
Press coconut base into a 9 inch pie pan and build sides up to ½ inch thick. Be sure to
back down well so the base it totally firm. Back until golden brown, about 20 minutes.
Once crust is cooling, make curd on stovetop: Add eggs, coconut oil to saucepan and
whisk until oil is melted. ***Note: stir constantly to avoid clumps. Once oil is melted,
add lemon juice, lemon zest and stevia stirring until mixture becomes thick (roughly
Take curd off heat and press through a strainer, into cooled crust. This should leave
most if not all zest i n strainer. Shake crust gently to settle the curd and make it level.
Serve it warm and runny or leave it in the fridge until totally set (at least 4 hours).
You’re welcome babes, happy Spring and cheers to our health!
“ Rusa is a bunch of obsessive
musicians determined to bring
you the best listening experience
they can deliver, and will stop at
nothing to achieve that goal. They
are genuine people who want to
make your life better.”
What’s the vibe of your sound?
Something along the lines of Neo-soul combined with Progressive Rock, think
Hiatus Kaiyote combined with the Alabama Shakes plus some weird stuff.
How does the relationship with music and style coincide?
Well we don’t know if our style has anything to do with our music, mimi style
(she calls it grandma chic) comes from her afican heritage, thrift stores and
her need to feel comfortable at all times. The rest of us just try our best not to
How do you stay positive as a group?
Muffins and Beer. Being there for each other, but mostly the muffins and beer.
Can you describe your aesthetic as a band in one word?
How is the relationship between the band?
Silly, it’s like the show comedy bang bang (Mimi is Reggie Watts).
What does your band name mean?
Javan Rusa is a spices of deer. There was a night were that name came to Kyle,
and he told us and we thought it was cool.
Who are your music influences?
Music influences are Hiatus Kaiyote, Snarky Puppy, Esperanza Spalding, Lianne
La Havas, Ravel, and Erykah Badu.
What’s the future of Rusa?
Touring the world with Hiatus Kaiyote and other heroes of ours would be pretty
cool. It’s really hard to say because the future is so unpredictable, but we’re working
on an EP right now and we’d like to travel and keep making music. We are
always trying to improve and so that is always a plan for the future.
Keep up with Rusa!
Facebook -Rusa | Instagram -rusastuff