Category Archives: Celebration

What I’ve Finally Learned From Ramadhan:

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Ramadhan of 1437/2016 will always be the year I’ve come to terms with what this month really stands for. To many Muslims, it’s a way to get closer to the proximity of Allah’s Mercy, for Others it’s a reason to fraternize with fellow Muslims in ways that’s not necessarily available at other times of the year, for some it’s an excuse to attempt to get in shape/lose weight, for some it’s the ideal situation to indulge in some Free-Food at various Mosques. But, for me personally, I’ve forced myself to search more indepthly, just to see what can be found within this month.

What I’ve come to realize is that Ramadhan for so many of us is to attempt to be a “Super-Muslim”…only during the Month of Ramadhan, and/or only during the last 9/10 Days of Ramadhan, in the hopes of catching what’s known as Laylat-al-Qadr/the Night of Decree, in which the reward for it is similar to worshipping Allah for 83 years.(Noble-Qur’an: Chpt.97, V.3) For so many Muslims, we wait for this time of year to pretend to be “Super-Pious”: praying, giving Charity, being nice, etc., more than in other times of the year. However, many of us have this all wrong. My personal-assessment is that Ramadhan serves exclusively as a period of Spiritual-Purging. I liken this month to the etymology of the Arabic-Noun Fitnah…the word Fitnah, meaning “Problem”, “Conflict”, “Drama”, “Trial/Tribulation”, etc., comes from Gold/Silver Smithing.(Lisan-ul-`Arab: Lexicon of the Arabic-Language) Because Gold & Silver is from deep beneath the Earth and/or embedded within Mountains: oftentimes these metals themselves are meshed which earthly materials, which diminish their value.

So, then what’s to be done about it? The Gold/Silver must be melted down, and then be forged into a purer substance. But, to do that, these metals need to be placed under extreme temperatures, thousands of degrees, in order to melt them, so that the turbid materials attached to these metals can be sifted away. And, this is exactly what Ramadhan is to me, a way to sift through all of our turbidity, so that we can be forged into purer types of People. We must allow ourselves to be placed into the heat of Hunger, Thirst, denial of our natural inclinations towards: Sexual-Intercourse, Anger, Revenge, Violence, etc. & all other things which naturally make us…well, Humans. The entire purpose for us to be Spiritually-Smithed is so that we can truly be worthy of the Favor of Allah, which is His Mercy, Guidance, via us acquiring Piety (holding ourselves accountable to refrain from all that Allah has made temporarily Mahrum/Prohibited, as well as things which Allah has made Mahrum at all times).(Noble-Qur’an: Chpt.2, V.183)

For some/many, you’ve probably already come to this conclusion, without me even having to write this. But, I’ve deemed it necessary, because it’s something that I’ve come to the realization of, and I’m sure that I’m not the only one who hasn’t truly gotten the point of what Ramadhan truly stands for. Ramadhan, by its nature, isn’t for us to get things right all in one month, because that’s not even realistic. Rather, it’s a time to really dig through one’s self, to reflect upon what makes you work vs. what makes you halt…what makes you strong vs. what makes you weak…what makes you resist vs. what makes you sin, etc. I now have a greater understanding of who I am, as a Muslim, as just simply a Human-Being.

Everyday is like a fierce Internal-Fight: a perfect mixture or even an imbalance of spiritual victories & defeats-Resisting what just naturally comes to you, what automatically feels good and feels right, and struggling to rise above all of that to be someone greater, someone higher. It’s about sacrificing what you think & feel is for you, in order to please you, and really trying your best to replace that mindset with doing what’s expected of you from Allah, in order to please Him. Since arriving at this particular epiphany, in my journey as a Muslim, I’ve attained a better sense of how I am to improve and what I allow myself to still fall victim to. I’ve truly honed in on remaining more conscious of what drives me more towards Obedience vs. Disobedience to Allah. This is what I’ve been allowed to learn during Ramadhan, through the Mercy of Allah.

Gareth Bryant/2016

 

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Muhammad Ali: One of the Greatest

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Cassius Clay...Muhammad Ali

Cassius Marcellus Clay, Cassius X, Muhammad Ali…
…born & raised in the South: Louisville, Kentucky.

No matter what you called him, he defined himself…
…he proved he was the best, he was always top-shelf.

Olympic Gold-Medalist with Boxing-Titles…
…he had so many Opponents, but no Rivals.

He was never afraid to stand-up to Oppression…
…always willing to improve a Person’s situation.

He denied accepting the Military-Draft…
…he refused to be a paver of the Warpath.

And, later on became a Muslim in 1975…
…he gave us strength to keep Islam alive.

The World never forgot the way he won back his Belts…
…everywhere he went, greeted by the screams and yells.

A Father and Husband to some, but a Big-Brother to us all…
…he acknowledge the best in all of us, both great and small.

He’s known as Number-One in our eyes…
…despite Parkinson’s-Disease taking rise.

Never letting any of his ailments defeat him…
…till his dying day, he taught us how to win.

Gareth Bryant/2016

 

 

 

 

 

Mister Mildor’s “Wrong Place,Right Time” Photo-Exhibition

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Mister Mildor to Exhibit his Art in a Solo Photo exhibition Show on August 1st, 2015

Alan Mildor
www.mistermildor.com
246 Union Avenue
Brooklyn, New York, 11211
Mobile Phone: 347-721-8760

The Glass House Art Life Lab gallery announces Mister Mildor’s first solo street photography exhibition “Wrong Place,Right Time.” On view August 1st, 2015 this exhibition features 20 photo based works of art that is a compelling glimpse into Mister Mildor’s reality. Controlling what some may say is Urban Disorder in New York City with his photographic techniques, this exhibit will provide a colorful and dynamic view of the people and places that makes New York City’s heartbeat.

Mister Mildor love for his local environment is evident in his work. Mister Mildor confessed “I love photography and videography because it doesn’t only give me the ability to freeze time but it allows people to appreciate the moments in their life, no matter if it’s despairing or delightful. There is always a right time to capture life, even in the darkest of places.”  Mister Mildor has captured life from all boroughs and will continue to capture love, pain, freedom, and all the things associate with living the life of a city dweller. Mister Mildor is beginning to have a constant presence through his art and is starting to shine through photographies meteoric rise into popular culture.

Alan Mildor aka Mister Mildor, is a Brooklyn based photographer and videographer. Alan’s artistry has been commissioned by some of the world’s largest brands and musicians. Mildor’s visual art has been published on Complex Magazine, 2 Dope Boyz, and Rap Radar. He has provided all the visual campaigns for Alife, Hood By Air, Dj Venus, Tisa, Brian Wood, Rich Weirdo Clothing, and for Touro College. Mildor Also created branded video for Clubhouse Barbershop, Vinnies Styles, and Vulkan The Krusader.

About The Glass House Art Life Lab
Glass House is an art-life lab founded by artist Lital Dotan & Eyal Perry, dedicated to hosting artistic practices based on performance, participation and time based art in the domestic sphere, under the motto that  “Art Should Be Experienced in a Place that Allows Staying.” Since it’s relocation to Southside Williamsburg in September 2012, Glass House host performances, screenings, exhibitions, workshops and a residency program all dedicated to promote hosting as artistic discourse.

General Information
Mister Mildor Presents “Wrong Place, Right Time”
Where: The Glass House Art Life Lab
Address: 246 Union Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11211
(Between Scholes and Meserole)

Nearest Subway: L (Lorimer), G (Broadway), M & J (Hewes)

contact@glasshouseproject.org

www.mistermildor.com

Muslims Giving Back’s annual participation at the annual AFSP: Out Of the Darkness Overnight promoting Suicide-Awareness & Suicide-Prevention

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Donate to the efforts of Muslims Giving Back below…Support Project: #Walk4life:

http://www.theovernight.donordrive.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=donordrive.participant&participantID=13648

Meki-Vee Fashion: Struting the Runway for Charitry

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Strut for a Purpose

When we think of Fashion, typically: many things come to mind, like Runways, Fabrics, Colors, Fashion-Weeks all over the Planet, sponsored by the titans of the Fashion & various other industries. What does not, however, come across our minds is the thought of Charity. No matter how noble Philanthropy is, in an industry as fast-paced & focused on materialism, presence, the desire to look great at all times, being charitable really doesn’t fit the typical profile. But, fortunately, there exists fashion companies such as Meki-Vee.

Meki-Vee fashion production has just completed their very first charity fashion show. The Meki-Vee team truly pride themselves on giving back to the community and making a difference in the lives of others. This year, as they’ve prepare for the production of their fashion show, they desired to place important focus on their philanthropic efforts to raise monies for healthcare facilities, which is centered on helping children receive medical care from various illnesses, which is exactly why they believe Queens General Hospital is the ideal facilities for people to donate to, because of all this hospital does in Queens, NY.

For more info. about both Meki-Vee & Queens General Hospital:

When it comes to the Fashion-Scene: Fashion Avenue News sets the Streets of New York ablaze!!!

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I had the privilege of being able to attend a recent event hosted by Fashion Avenue News. And, let me tell you something, they know how to party & how to throw a party. Their fashion designers pulled some really great exhibitions, along with some great models, which melted the runway, with every step that they took on it. It was truly a marvelous experience, to say the least. I, myself, being an infant, having to grow-up really fast, within the Modeling-World, was very keen on the extent of professionalism at this event, as well as superior accommodations at a very swank hotel, right in Midtown, Manhattan. Also, the different types of connections that one can & does make at these types of events are among the key attractions & benefits of even coming to these types of events in the first place.

Events like this just scream exposure: there were high-class designers & fashion notables, there were in-house connects from places like the Mercedes Benz Fashion-Show, which holds annual shows during Fashion-Week in NYC, right within Bryant Park, which I was personally invited to attend, which is like super-duper awesome!!! Yeah!!! The whole night, I was linkin’ up with photographers, fellow models, notables, all sorts of personalities, to forge fashion-alliances, to start building something real for myself, my career. Fashion Avenue News is where it’s at, and they know how to bring people together, for all things fashion, to enjoy the releases of new styles & trends as well as introducing fresh modeling-talent & start-up clothing companies to the public-sphere. I feel that if I’m to be somebody in the Fashion-World, then, I definitely need to make Fashion Avenue News events among my top-priorities.

For more info. about Fashion Avenue News:

http://WWW.fashionavenuenews.com

Gareth Bryant/2014

The Reason why Presidential Iftar-Celebrations during Ramadhan are a No-Go:

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Author’s-Note:
The following is a statement from Tariq Ramadan, an internationally-renown Socio-Political Scholar/Commentator, particularly of the Muslim/Arab-World, concerning the experience of attending a typical White House Iftar-Celebration, hosted by a United States President.

It was supposed to be an evening where the American President showed respect to a religious community, to the millions of American Muslims who have been fasting during the sacred month of Ramadan.

It was supposed to be a political expression of respect. It ended up being a political instrumentalisation of (voluntarily) trapped Muslim leaders listening to President Obama justify the massacre of hundreds of Palestinians, declaring Israel has the right to defend itself. One wonders what is the relationship between the Iftar celebration and Israel ? What is the US administration’s implicit-explicit intention in putting the Muslim leaders in such an embarrassing situation? To test their loyalty or rather their capacity to compromise or betray? They obviously remained silent.

The Israeli ambassador, Mr. Ron Dermer, also invited (why?), was actually the first to speak. One must remember what he said about Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims : Palestinians have “a cultural tendency towards belligerency” that is “deeply embedded in the culture of the Arab world and its foremost religion”. This is the man who was invited to celebrate Iftar with the Muslims meanwhile his Government is destroying Gaza. From the White House he tweeted, triumphantly : “@WhiteHouse for Iftar dinner. Appreciate strong statement there by President Obama about Israel’s right to defend itself.”

Obviously Muslim leaders didn’t tweet. It was enough of an honor for them to be invited to the White House and to have met the President. An honor, truly, dear Muslim leaders? Ordinary Muslims (and proponents of justice and dignity from other religions) in the US and around the world, as well as Palestinians, might think differently.

Paradise-Music:

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If I’m ever given the honor of entering the Paradise, the 1st thing that I’d do is make Sujud for 1Million years…
…with my face on the floor, ever grateful to my Lord, for protecting me from my greatest and most vivid fears…

…Safety from the torment of the Fire, whose torrents blaze flesh and bone, unbearable the feeling…
…flames roasting, striking, torturing, ripping, slicing, and splitting: it will keep your head spinning…

…The coolness of the winds of the mountainous valleys, in the most pleasurable bliss, within my abode in Heaven…
…keeps me humbled that I didn’t die as disobedient to Allah, and succumbed to the punishment that goes on 24/7…

…As I dry my eyes, from all the tears I’ve cried, over the countless sins that my Lord had forgave and also overlooked…
…I remembered we all stood, waiting for the Judgement, not knowing where we’d be, thinking my goose was cooked…

…But, then, He, Ar-Rahman/The Source of Eternal-Mercy, decided to grant such a pitiful guy like me some much needed courtesy…
…He reminded me of what good I’d done solely for Him, and that was enough to be recused from an infinity of such misery…

…I had the nerve to say, “Oh, my Lord!!! Not me…I’m so not worthy!!!”…there’s no way I can possibly enter your Garden without still being dirty…
…He responded to me, “Does thou dare doubt Our Clemency?!!!”…”How doth thou believe in Us, if thou doubt Our ability to purify thee?!!!”…

…At which time I begin to sigh, at my idiotic reply, to my Lord, so Sublime…
…how dare I doubt such merciful a God; was I insane, or drunk with wine…

…At any rate, even this insult, irate, He rebukes, then, substitutes, by having Angels upon Angels drag me to the Pool of the Prophet…
…Muhammad glares at me & smiles, as I’m to be dipped in al-Hawdh, to bleach my soul, from wretched acts from the Mundane’s fret…

…As I drown in this well of favor and repentance, I’m reminded of so many things that I refused to make penance…
…However, the Lord of Lords, Allah, let it all go, just for me, because of His love for my worship, which is limitless…

…So, as I’ve risen, from Heaven’s hallowed-ground, I can hear the Green-Birds, carrying the souls of Martyrs, such sweet sounds…
…I can also hear the wailing and sorrow of those down-under: not Australia but Hell: those who lived Life without morals or bounds…

…Even though my Prayers were mediocre, my Fasting incomplete, my Pilgrimage iffy, my character questionable…
…that still didn’t prevent me from entering the best place in existence: my Lord is above all things willing and able.

Gareth Bryant/2014

Imaginative-Reasoning:

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Imagine a Chessboard, without pieces…
…or, a Dissertation, without a Thesis.

What if the Homeo had no stasis…
…the World’s weather no phases?

Try to picture the Arctic-Circle, with no Ice-Caps…
…and, all of the Animals extinct, not coming back.

Let’s think of a Planet without compliance…
…filled with hypocrisy, apathy and violence.

Be warned, these are realities yet to come…
…because, we forfeited Humanity being one.

1-God, 1-Destiny, 1-Purpose, 1-Plan…
…securing the welfare of our fellow man.

Just picture a cold Heart, with no Chambers…
…or, living our entire lives with just strangers.

Try to see in ya mind, Hustlers, without a grind…
…or, the 1-Eyed King deceiving & ruling the blind.

Let’s pretend that Poverty is at an end…
…that People selflessly give and spend.

Wouldn’t it be beautiful that a Woman didn’t have to sell her body, in order to seek a Man’s love…
…or, that a Man honor a Woman in marriage, instead of wrapping her round his hand, like a glove?

What if all People looked beyond the skin-color of another…
…and, that we only saw others as our sisters & our brothers?

How great would it be, if we were all were free…
…all People safe from the ugly claws of tyranny?

If only every Man were granted his due from his labor, his daily-bread…
…and, that he not resort to robbing, or shooting someone, in the head.

What if Muhammad had never ventured into the Cave of Hira’…
…to receive Revelation which made living life so much clearer?

What if the Children of Israel never attempted to kill Jesus…
…what if he stayed long enough for his miracles to reach us?

What if David didn’t have the courage to defeat Goliath…
…or, the Army of Saul hadn’t have received the triumph?

What if Moses never went atop Mount-Sinai & saw the Burning-Bush…
…or, if the one who took him from water never bothered to take a look?

Imagine Abraham never leaving Ishmael in the Arabian-Desert…
…would they’ve built the Ka`bah or learn joy after suffering hurt?

Think if Noah was never saved from the Great-Flood, by building the Ark…
…would Humanity have survived, or, would we have still been in the dark?

Think about how it would be, had Adam & Eve had never eaten from that Tree…
…would we know whether we’d spend our entire existence in Paradise with glee?

It would be wonderful, to witness the change that so many fought & died for…
…I guess that’s just wishful-thinking, unless we’re willing to fight & die for more.

Gareth Bryant/2014

Von Middleton: a Man who has found his place in the Puzzle

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Von Middleton

Author’s-Note:
I had the unique opportunity to be present at a single-release party, for an artist, by the name of Von Middleton. I was initially introduced to Von via his manager, Ted Gustus, commonly known as “Coach-Ted”, a very popular High-School & Collegiate Basketball-Coach, with nearly 4-decades worth of coaching experience to boot. I was originally informed about Von being a vocal talent, as Ted told me that he took Von under his wing, as a personal mentor, then, as a manager, taking Von with him, to perform at various venues all across the United States, particularly singing the “American National-Anthem”, at sporting events, etc.

As Von’s voice became more popular, he naturally began to be noticed by others, for having a good voice, a good skill for singing. Eventually, both Von & Ted were called upon to appear at many more events, so that Von could display his vocal skills. This spiraled, actually, into Von attempting to break the “Guinness Book of World Records” record of the most sung American National-Anthems, by one single individual. By the time I had first crossed paths with Von, he was already well upon his way to achieving his very ambitious goal, which would obviously help to propel him to vocal stardom.

Honestly, prior to actually hearing him sing at this event that I was invited to, I had never heard him sing before. However, after hearing him sing for the very 1st time, both his first single “Puzzle” & the National-Anthem, I must say that I was fairly impressed by his skill as a singer. The song “Puzzle” is about people, just like you & I out there, who just can’t seem to find where we all fit, in this world, in our respective families, communities, societies, etc. I was even more impressed by his general positivity, goodwill, focus, drive. After getting to know him prior to hearing him sing, it actually makes sense why I was so impressed with hearing him sing for the first time around. Hearing him sing for that first time not only gave me confidence that he could pull his record-breaking attempt, but, it also gave me confidence that he could really take his singing career fairly far.

I have with me, at this time, both Von Middleton & Ted Gustus. We will be interviewing them both, to truly get a more authentic glimpse, from looking into their lenses, from their vantage-points, of what they hope to both professionally, as well as personally accomplish together, as  a team.

Ted Gustus

G.B.: Coach-Ted, how did you & Von Middleton meet and how long have you two known one another?

T.G.: I first saw Von and his group Sidetrack Boys, singing at the annual Brownsville Oldtimers Day, 2 years ago. I later met him at the Atlantic Terminal Street Festival, where we actually talked with each other. The group said they could sing the National Anthem, I invited them to sing it Madison Square Garden. Once that happen the relationship blossomed.
G.B.: Von, what was your 1st-impression of Coach-Ted, and has that perception increased in a more positive way?

V.M.: My first impression of Coach Gustus was very different. He was always open to give his assistance and counsel to me with his intentions of improving my abilities. Since that first impression, I have been enlightened that he has been like this for all people, most importantly the young men in our communities. He has a passion for the youth being successful.
G.B.: Coach-Ted, when did you begin to notice that Von’s voice as something worthwhile to invest in & take seriously?

T.G.: When I heard him sing at the Brownsville Oldtimers. I had an voice and entertainment expert friend check him out one on one, and he gave me. The thumbs up!

 

G.B.: Von, how did it make you initially feel, when Coach-Ted extended his hand, to assist you in getting your singing-career off the ground?

V.M.: I honestly couldn’t believe it because I was always guarded by people that appeared to want to assist in developing my career. After learning that he is a respected legendary Coach and basketball player I knew that my career would change forever.

 

G.B.: Coach-Ted, at what point did you guys incept the idea to attempt to break the National-Anthem singing-record, and which one of you came up with this idea first?

T.G.: Actually that idea was introduced to me by another artist out in Atlanta Georgia. I thought is was a great idea and so did Von. I thought it would be great way to get Von in front of many people to hear him sing this far it has been working very well.

 

G.B.: Von, what do you want most from this entire venture, that you’ve invested so much of yourself into?

V.M.: I want to inspire all people that anything s possible with the right work ethic, the right support groups and the right heart. I want to reach many people through my art and what I create. I also feel that I’m getting what I want,  which is to not only go through this process but to “grow through” this process. I wanted to enjoy the adventure of things while getting a chance to grow. In the past I’ve always anticipated the the outcome of things so much that the process would be a big blur to me. With Coach Gustus’ coaching and mentoring, I am developing many skills to assist me my evolution.

 

G.B.: Coach, where do you see Von Middleton, 5 to 10 years from now, as an artist?

T.G.: Von possesses diverse and versatile talents. I see him fully developing his talents and eventually being known world wide as an entertainer, business man and humanitarian. His zeal and desire to use his gifts to improve the quality of life for others will ultimately be his legacy.

 

G.B.: Von, where does Von Middleton see Von Middleton, 5 to 10 years from now, even beyond, as an artist?

V.M.: I see myself having joy and peace in my heart. I see myself with Grammys, touring the world and reaching many people that I look to inspire and change. I see myself being an innovative,  revolutionary artist that gives back to the human race especially to my community. I see myself being able to connect to all people mature and younger than me in helping to change their lives.

 

For more info. about Von Middleton:

 

http://www.facebook.com/vonsvibe

 

http://www.twitter.com/VonMiddleton

 

https://www.instagram.com/vonsvibe