Solaris the Hii Priestess: Tarot, twerking, and Embracing the Divine Feminine

It’s been three days since I sat down with Solaris the Hii Priestess, and her words still echo in my head. We met at her apartment, a cozy, plant filled space with a selection of records hanging on the wall. While I’d followed Solaris for a few months, and had just seen her giving readings and dancing at the Unfiltered show the night before, this was my first time sitting down with her face to face.

There’s an immediate warmth to Solaris, so it’s no surprise when she describes her first reading as easy: “I naturally feel like I make people feel comfortable because I’m goofy... Whoever I read, I feel very connected to them, so the first time was very easy for me.” Tarot reading is something she’s been practicing on her friends since high school, a nod to the lineage of relatives who practice voodoo on her dad’s side of the family.

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Although she was attracted to the occult from an early age (things like witches and vampires), she was resistant to tarot herself at first, citing her Christian upbringing for the discomfort. “I knew that it was taboo, but once I started going on my own spiritual journey I got comfortable with it.”

Solaris brought her readings to the public just less than a year ago at a local bar. “It was a Halloween party that was my debut to the world.. I knew people would be less resistant to it because it was Halloween.” Since then, she’s created a life and business for herself surrounding this passion. When I ask her about the best and worst parts of being an entrepreneur, she explains: “My favorite part is connecting with people and actually making a living off of my passion. My least favorite part… I don’t think I have a least favorite part, actually.”

So what is she the most excited about right now? Working with other open-minded women in the metaphysical realm, and that work is materializing in Austin at the end of September in a very unique fashion.

“I’m doing a Twerk & Tarot workshop with a twerk instructor named Ladi Earth - she’s absolutely awesome and very in touch with her sensual and sexual side. The whole workshop is about helping women get into their sexual energy and be comfortable with it, like getting into that feminine goddess aspect of themselves…. we want to focus on how to give a proper lap dance to your partner on the floor and all that kinda good stuff. We’ll do some love spells, I’ll be doing some love readings for some of the ladies, and we’ll have some wine so everybody can feel loose and feel comfortable.”

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Her goal for the workshop is for each woman to leave feeling comfortable in her own feminine energy. “I really want to target specifically women who have been in a relationship for a long time with someone because it’s really easy to not feel sexy anymore to your partner because they’ve seen you in every way - naturally, dressed up, whatever - so you have to find new ways to reinvent yourself to keep your relationship spicy. I want women to be able to get in touch with their goddess side, feel comfortable with being sexual, feel comfortable with their own bodies no matter what their body type is - just to feel comfortable to do it. And if not, we can just put a spell on your partner and they’ll never leave you.” Sounds like a win-win situation all around, right?

The Twerk & Tarot workshop is for ladies only, but that might expand in the future. “Maybe I will create a workshop where it can be targeted towards couples or whoever wants to come, all genders, where you can bring your partner in, learn how to meditate and talk to each other, figure out your love language.”

Whether or not you attend her upcoming workshop, any chance you have to receive a reading from Solaris is one that should be taken. She performed a 3 card reading for me after our chat, and it’s had a significant impact on my day-to-day experience since. She graced me with some hard-hitting words and gave me some of the best advice that I’m surprised I’ve never heard before: “You should put it out for other people to read because that’s therapy in itself, when you realize that people can relate to whatever it is that you’re going through.”

“That’s therapy in itself, when you realize that people can relate to whatever it is that you’re going through.”

Solaris’ current work lays the framework for her five year dream of owning her own metaphysical space that’s filled with spells, holistic health essentials (like yoni eggs and herbal teas), and workshops for people to learn how to heal themselves with plants, rather than become dependent on medications. The combination of her background in psychology and her focus on holistic health makes her a powerhouse for healing. It’s clear that this work is a passion of hers, and if you’re open to the experience, she can help you to ignite your passion, too.

Ready for an awakening of your own? Loosen up with Solaris at Twerk & Tarot, follow her on IG for daily tarot cards reads, email her to book a reading, or catch her at the next Human Influence show or Boss Babes ATX event. You’ll be glad you did.

Madison Wise is a new writer for Human Influence. She resides in Austin, Texas.

"More Like Water than a Rock" - The Kamaryn Truong Interview

Editor Note: Kamaryn Truong is a photographer based in Austin, Texas, and a recent participant in the Photographer Takeover Project on Human Influence's Instagram account. H.I. writer Wanda Lough recently sat down with Truong for an interview to explore how Truong captures her photos, sees the world around her, and #influenceshumans.

Interview by Wanda Lough

Human Influence: I really know nothing about photography. Could you explain the difference between developing film versus scanning film?

Kamaryn Truong: Developing film is just. . .  When you get film, its light sensitive. When you develop it goes through chemicals. It freezes the frame so it's not light sensitive. So you can take it out in the light. Scanning it , you just run it through a scanner. It picks up the frame and it puts it either in positive or negative. That’s where the photo comes from.

HI: I did a series of interviews where I asked artists what their economic obstacles are and where they exist in the art world. But particularly for photography, what are some the obstacles for being a photographer?

KT: I usually shoot with film and film costs money. But luckily I work at a camera store. So I get a discount on scanning. Its called Austin Camera Imaging. It's the cutest little store ever. And I walked into the store knowing nothing about photography. Just knowing how to barely work my camera. And I was like ‘hey matt’ - which is the owner - ‘can I work here?’  And he was like, ‘well we have a lot of people trying to work here it’s not going to work.’ ‘Okay, okay.’ So I came back a few weeks later. ‘Hey can I work here? ‘Ok, just come in next Wednesday’ or something. So I did a bit of an internship there and I learned so much. And everyone there is so nice. It’s a small business so there is only 6 or 7 employees . . .

Yeah so I scan my own film there at a discount so that's a bonus. For someone who doesn’t have a hook up, it can be economically straining because you have to pay for the roll of film. And then you have to get it processed or printed, and that can cost anywhere from $10, $11 to $16, especially if you want to get it high res so each shot is around a $1.

HI: Do you pre-plan most of your shots because of that?

KT: No, but I would be super conscious of what I was shooting. Digital you can shoot all day as long as you have enough memory on your card.

HI: I see a lot of people getting into film more. Is film in right now? Is it better?

KT: Some people prefer film and some people prefer digital. It really depends on the person. I guess digital is really appealing for fashion photography. And I guess some people like the look of film. You don’t have to edit photos from film. They’re just naturally beautiful. I know I take a lot of time editing my digital photos. When it’s my 35mm photos, I spent so much time looking through the little view finder and planning my shot. Okay this shot will be amazing. I hit the shutter and when it comes out, its great.

HI: Just curious, the shots you took of Teeta, was that film?

KT: Yeah. :)

HI: You say - "I take photos because I want others to see how I visualize the world. I want to influence others by observing and documenting the beauty in everyday life that would otherwise go unnoticed. I’m fascinated by people and their stories because I’m always searching for empathy by seeing myself in others." What have you learned from doing photography?

KT: I once read this quote from someone, I don't remember where i read it but it was somewhere along the lines - “Each artist is expressing themselves through their art / When they take a photo it's a reflection of the artist.”

I just see beauty in everyone. I think what i have learned really  photos no one is real black n white, there is always a gray area. Unless its film, like black n white film.

[We laugh for a bit]

KT: I have just met so many people just because i'm passionate even though it's just for fun. I like having people just enjoy what I give them

HI: How do you choose your subjects?

KT: I don't. I just go up to them and ask. Hey can I take your photo. Everything is no unless you ask. . . and I have never had anyone say no.

HI: How do you get them to relax?

KT: Recently I did a fashion shoot in San Antonio. My friend, Manuel actually started a fashion line and he ask me to take shots for him. Yeah, sure, no problem. And I am doing it for free. And there's this model. His name is Saul. He has never modeled before. He was accidentally thrown into modeling.

So Saul has never modeled before.

I stopped and said - ‘Ok. . . lets think about it like this. You have an expression that how you move is different from anyone else in the world. And I have an eye. If I like something, just keep on moving, I’ll tell you if I like it and I’ll tell you to hold it and stop. Or If I want you to move a certain way, i’ll tell you to move your arm or whatever. Just try your best to interpret what I am seeing things.’

Thats for fashion shoots. But when it comes to strangers’ portraits - ‘just do what you’re doing. I like what you were doing before you saw me or before saw you were in front of the camera. Don’t look at me. Just Look at the street or look at your phone. Just do anything but don’t look at the camera.’

HI: I guess everyone is a little camera shy.

KT: The way you see yourself in the mirror isn’t what other people see. It's weird and they say you wouldn’t recognize yourself if you saw yourself in public.

HI: Are you serious?

KT: Yeah because you see yourself so differently

HI: Jean Luc Godard says cinema is “Truth 24 frames per second”. What is the difference in your opinion between cinematic film and photography film?

KT: It's catching a moment rather living in the moment.

HI: What are you obsess with? And it doesn’t have to be anything close to photography?

KT: I’m obsessed with myself. I think. I am pretty sure. Here I am talking about myself and my photography. I really value bettering myself for the love of humanity.


KT: Well, I mean that in the most literal way. I don’t want to make it worse. That’s the worse thing you can do. If you hate humanity, of course, you're going to be a bad person and spread negativity. But if you love people, you’re going to spread that positivity. If you love yourself, you’re going to spread that positivity.

HI: Yeah that's very true.

KT: So I guess I’m obsessed with myself.

HI: Does that come out with keeping yourself balanced? Or how does that come out? How do you obsess about that?

KT: I went through a rough period really young ya know and I was in a really bad spot. And then all of sudden, I thought this is bullshit. I was like you gotta work on yourself. I guess ever since that period, I am trying to get a point I don’t let other people determine my happiness.

And so . . .  what I am trying to say is that if I can work on myself and be happy with myself. Just accepting what happens and be like water; be fluid. But still investing in people and caring of course. Trying to treat people like you want to treat yourself. Treating every person like its their last day. . .  Nothing is black n white, you can’t say this person is a bad person or this person is a good person. There’s a reason that they’re that way. You can’t assume that they meant malicious intent. So that's the way I see it. So i’m obsessed with trying to have a better view on things. All the time. I hope I am not being too dramatic.

HI: No way!

KT: So like I wanna be like water rather than like a rock.

HI: A medium?

KT: Mhmm yeah. More adaptive rather than stubborn. Though I am a really stubborn person. If someone tells me what to do, now that you told me what to do, I'm not going to do it.

HI: What kind of advice would you give to other photographers?

KT: Just keep on shooting because eventually you are going to figure out what sticks to you and what doesn’t. Eventually, you’ll get your own style. You know what I mean? Because I can’t say, you should follow so-n-so’s style. You should look at one person’s style and you’ll be just like them.. . . .  Let it flow between you and the model, if it’s fashion photography. Envision what you want the person doing rather seeing what they’re doing first. Or do both!

HI: What’s your next challenge?

KT: Probably more minimalistic stuff. I don’t know but I’m always working on the shots i see. The shots I post I think I could of done that better. I could still be improving now. Everything is still a challenge for me.

Wanda Lough: Autodidactic. Reads a lot. New to Austin area. From New Jersey and Arizona. No college degree. Art enthusiast and a professional admirer. Favorite album of 2016 was Wildflower.


Flower Boy Album Review

by Joseph Bonney

Tyler, the Creator has been experimenting with more than rap recently with Camp Flog Gnaw, and his venture into television with Vice.  After the drop of the Cherry Bomb documentary Tyler came back and dropped his new unexpected album Scum Fuck Flower Boy.  He teased the A$AP Rocky track Who Dat Boy and 911/Lonely with Frank Ocean before dropping the project.  With this new album, it feels like a conclusion to Tyler’s previous years and an introduction to his new life.

This album shows the largest growth in maturity for Tyler, the Creator than any other one of his albums to date.  The music is definitely the usual Tyler: garage, trashy, sophisticated sound. Despite that old sound, the production is more polished and consistent on this album.

Transitions from bangers like Who Dat Boy to lighter tracks like Pothole have a smoother connection to each other.  The Estelle Track Garden Shed is relaxed and deep. Lyrics like “That was real love I was in / Ain't no reason to pretend / Garden shed, garden shed, garden shed, Garden shed for the garçons / Them feelings that I was guardin' / Heavy on my mindAll my friends lost / They couldn't read the signs / I didn't wanna talk and tell 'em my location / And they ain't wanna walk / Truth is, since a youth kid, thought it was a phase / Thought it'd be like the phrase; "poof," gone / But, it's still goin' on" show that Tyler has always been one to put himself out there emotionally, but this time around it’s not as brash.

Referring back to those lyrics, many brought up rumors of Tyler’s sexuality.  He never seems too explicit about it, but he does come off as tongue and cheek about it.  Even with lyrics like “Kissing white boys since 2004” you can’t tell if he’s saying it because he wants to or because he’s trying to let his audience in.  Either way it doesn’t matter to the listener as this is Tyler’s story, and he doesn’t want this album to be about his sex life.  He just wants fans to know what's up.  You can see that he's just living life as he discusses his typical life with friends on songs like “I Ain’t Got Time”.

This album is something that will satisfy both Tyler fans and regular hip-hop heads.  His sound is coherent and less absurd this time around.  He still has those out-there lyrics, metaphors, and punchlines that make this music what it is.  Tyler was never one to aim for the mainstream, but this time it looks like the mainstream is finally embracing him.  Maybe he doesn't need that MTV co-sign after all.    

Joseph Bonney is a writer, artist, hip-hop enthusiast, and gamer currently living in San Marcos,Texas.  A recent English graduate with an Art/Design minor, when he's not working, he's usually doing 1 of the 4, or eating.  You can find his Instagram page here.


by Wanda Lough

Frank Wo/Men Collective has a new show coming up for 1 weekend only, Tiskettasket. If you are not familiar with Frank Wo/Men Collective [FWMC], TL:DR they are an absurdly funny physical theatre company and it’s a must see for art enthusiasts.

Tiskettasket is a vignette style performance about food. It’s the raw, YOLO physical theatre experience mashed up with audience participation. We know each audience member will receive a basket of food upon entering and can participate in the scenes if they feel the impulse to.

Food, in our past as Americans, and still so in other cultures,
has been a gathering place to share stories and enjoy life.
[It feels like] we’re pretty far from that culturally.
Perhaps this is a format to rewire some of how
we as people look at
and consider food.
— Derek Kolluri, Co-Director & Performer in Tiskettasket

HUMAN INFLUENCE sat down with Kelsey Oliver (Co-Director and Performer in Tiskettasket) for some cold brew coffee and she spilled the beans on their creative process and some behind the scenes details.

Who is in the Frank Wo_Men Collective?

Oliver told me in our conversation that Frank Wo_Men Collective (FWMC) is a revolving company of multidisciplinary performers, but specifically Tiskettasket will be exercising one opera singer, one comedian, four dancers, sugar-free lighting, organic improv, some film work, live music, and unprocessed interactive theater. It started from a seed, she said - “How could we get the audience to throw food at us?” - and grew into a more artistically, challenging idea: “How interactive can we be while the audience is still in their seats?"

Since FWMC lacks resources, mainly money, the company must rehearse within a few times - then showtime! Tiskettasket formed from a purely collaborative process. According to Oliver, everyone works well under this pressure because they feel supported by this collaboration structure.

I enjoy the serendipity, the unplanned moments upon exploring a certain concept or idea, acting upon impulse and from there, running with it and creating something that can resonate with and entertain people.
— Alexa Capareda, PR Marketing Director and Co-Producer of Frank Wo/Men Collective, Performer and Artistic Collaborator in Tiskettasket

Oliver said the artistic directors called each performers interested in the idea and asked them "'What excites you the most about this show? What do you want to see?'". From there, they experimented with the ingredients. They exercise some structure as far creating a spine of prompts for the performers to digest. But when they come together, they go with what makes them laugh and ponder the most.


From the Frank Wo/men Collective show Loose Gravel

From the Frank Wo/men Collective show Loose Gravel

HI: What distinguishes Frank Wo_Men Collective’s body of work compared to other theatre groups?

Oliver: The Franks find much assemblage through our shared interest in quick-witted humor, unpredictability, and ridiculousness. There is a strong undercurrent of comedic impulse to our work that is founded upon mutual respect and the act of questioning. We find connectivity through shared laughter and the ability to develop an idea to jubilation through the compiling layers of running with each others’ whims.

Minimalism vs Maximalism

In specific terms, the collaborative process offers a maximalism style as opposed to a minimalist one, a point that Oliver noted. You can find similar uses of the contrast in the books of post-modern authors like David Foster Wallace and Thomas Pynchon and Kurt Vonnegut and Richard Brautigan, whose DIGRESSIONs, EXCEssIVE DEsCRIPTIONs, redundancy overkill, add excess on top of excess usually in an ostentatious manner; simply, the art is in the DETAILs.

Why maximalism?

Oliver believes a maximalism style offers a lot of access points for the audience. Access points meaning, many ways to enter a scene and get meaning behind the movement. And one person’s perspective will be entirely different than the person next to them. This style allows the characters to have a strange, candid self awareness about the audience. Yet, never dissolve the boundary that it is a show.


Tiskettasket: an interactive physical theater show centered around multi-purposing

food. In a series of overlapping vignettes, this performance channels absurdity in many forms,

allowing the audience to engage head-deep in fruitful, full-bodied episodes of goof.

WHEN: July 28-30 at 8pm

WHERE: 4902 Gladeview Dr., Austin, TX


Wanda Lough: Autodidactic. Reads a lot. New to Austin area. From New Jersey and Arizona. No college degree. Art enthusiast and a professional admirer. Favorite album of 2016 was Wildflower.

Admiration for Sport: Why Seeing is Believing

by Wanda Lough

You have to watch the video first. It is only 4 minutes long.

There are several things I admire about this story. First, the platform it's published on. NOWNESS releases wonderfully artistic, profound videos on the human experience. It's a special place on the internet where there are no adds and no set way to explore the site. Platforms like NOWNESS and Vimeo Staff Picks are where I see the future of TV - decentralized, abstract, amateur, and artistic.

Then I admire the pieces of this story. I admire the director, David Leon for respecting the duality of the champion, Ruqsana Begum. Leon understood her. He juxtaposed images of her praying against images of her fighting. This outlined her own humility with this trial which she sees as a religious experience.

Another piece I admire is her coach's perspective. Success stories like this show that you need people in order to thrive - but a certain type of person.
In other interviews, she said she could never give him excuses. That's the best kind of person. As he says, "a person shouldn't be judged in what they achieve in life but the obstacles they overcome to achieve that."

So often we see the achievements and nothing else.

Of course, the untraditional, powerful Ruqsana Begum gives me strength. I watch this, then immediately feel sensitive to her pain of feeling split - she has to be one person or the other - and wanting nothing else than to overcome deeply instilled fears.

Like I said, so often we only see trophies. And in times where anxiety and depression are rampant, even now called diseases, and get-rich-quick books are on the same shelf as low self-esteem books, we need honest success stories. Stories around athletic achievements are so honest because all bodies are made of the same stuff; it's egalitarian. Admiration for sport allows one to viscerally comprehend what they can accomplish. It's cathartic to witness.

It weakens emotional turmoils. Simply by reducing all attention down to the physical limitations. The concise phrase "Just do it" evokes a primal intuition to complete an objective. Physical feats remind us we complete difficult tasks with small steps and much humility like Ruqsana did.
You're female, you can't do this. I CAN.

You're Muslim, you can't do this.  I CAN.  

Our modern society has given up on the traditions of
pilgrimages - the physical journey of change.  We need to change. We need ways to prove to others of our strengths and that our change is real. Sport does this for us.

We don't have this usage in English, so I need to borrow a word from another language to explain this thought. In Spanish,
the verb PODER conveys power, ability, and probability. As a noun, you can use it to describes a person's strength and capability, or use it broader sense like the power one has or a larger body of people has (government, company, org..etc). As a verb, it means "I can”, “you can”, “she can” etc. However, as a verb in the future tense, it relays potential by meaning "I could be", "you could be" to express future desires.

When thinking about our physical and mental challenges, we need to think of ourselves with the power, ability, the potential to overcome our trials. When searching for honest success stories and heroes, we need to see someone find these within themselves. 

And say, 




Wanda Lough: Autodidactic. Reads a lot. New to Austin area. From New Jersey and Arizona. No college degree. Art enthusiast and a professional admirer. Favorite album of 2016 was Wildflower.

DJ Khaled: Grateful Album Review

by Joseph Bonney

Grateful is the 10th studio album from arguably the most popular DJ in the world: Khaled.  Since his separation from Cash Money, he’s linked up with Sony and got a major Jay-Z cosign that brought his career to new heights (starting from Snapchat fame).  This album has to be his most ambitious to date and more deserving than anything else he’s dropped.

The theme is obviously grateful, something that Khaled has acknowledged greatly since gaining hip-hop respect, and the birth of his son Asahd, the poster child for the album.  Beyonce and Jay-Z introduce the album with their brand of sophisticated bragging.  Khaled also managed to pull an Alicia Keyes feature on the song "Nobody" with Nicki Minaj, another symbol of the height of this album.  

Khaled does well to blend the new school with the old school, but you can tell he’s clearly favoring the new kids on the block.  If you’re not a fan of the mumble rap/autotune/trap sound, this album is littered with it.  "I’m the One", the album's fifth track, introduces that, while the rest of the album reflects the vibe of that song.  Travis Scott is the go to guy on this album, with name credit on four tracks.  His hooks are hyped like you’d expect, but his hook on "It’s Secured" with Nas seems slightly forced.  Though Nas is on the song and he does what he’s best at: narrating the world around him.

Like I stated earlier the new school dominates this album.  Migos has a solo track - "Major Bag Alert" - an absolute banger, and they also feature on "Iced Out My Arms" with 21 Savage (who has been quiet as of late but recently dropped a new single).  Kodak Black hops on a couple tracks. His verse on "Down for Life" is his first verse that I’ve generally enjoyed. PARTYNEXTDOOR does a solid chorus with Travis Scott.  I’m not a huge fan of some of their sounds, specifically Kodak’s chorus on "Pull a Caper", 21 Savages verse, and future leaves some forgettable verses and hooks.  In the end, they all bang.

Raekwon blesses "Billy Ocean" - an old throwback about working the block - with a strong verse alongside Fat Joe.  Then Pusha T and Jadakiss flow on a lovely sample over a trap beat with "Good Man".  Jadakiss has the standout verse on this album; he feels like a father figure when he starts, and then he absolutely murks his verse and sons anyone else who tries to think they can out rap him.

This album has everything thing for the new kids and the old heads. DJ Khaled tries to show the current sound of hip-hop while breaking barriers.  He wants the youngins to know the old days, and the new veteran listeners of hip-hop to join the new wave sound.  This album brings everything that Khaled has worked for and he puts it in a powerful project.  “Wild Thoughts” is the perfect example of that with the “Maria Maria” sample.  This album gets a stamp of approval on being a contender for album of the year

Joseph Bonney is a writer, artist, hip-hop enthusiast, and gamer currently living in San Marcos,Texas.  A recent English graduate with an Art/Design minor, when he's not working, he's usually doing 1 of the 4, or eating.  You can find his Instagram page here.



I had been having trouble concentrating at work this past month cus our damn phones keep telling us a nonstop stream of news from back home, seeing our friends in civil disobedience, getting gassed & locked up by the National Guard, but when we were in that studio, nothing else existed

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3 Reasons Why I Travel

by Brandon Boone

Besides people asking me “how do you afford to travel so much?” I often get asked, “why do you travel so much?” I usually give a generic answer like “because I want to see the world” or “because it frees my mind.” Although both of those statements are true, there is also a deeper explanation.

I travel because it opens my mind to new experiences, gives me the opportunity to learn about new cultures, and connects me to humans that I never dreamed of meeting and connecting with. These are the three influential reasons on why I travel. I also believe you will find great influence in my reasoning as well. Let’s take a closer look.

Opens my mind to new experiences

The joy that traveling brings is endless. You create memories that will last a lifetime. You will also step outside your comfort zone, I can almost guarantee it. The more you travel, the more your mind opens up. I know I may sound like a character from Doctor Strange, but it's the truth.

Since I started traveling, I'm doing things I never thought I would do. Horseback riding in foreign countries, swimming in dark caves, or riding a cable car 10,341 feet up a mountain in Colombia are just a few activities I never dreamed of doing. But look at me now. Even my appetite changed since I have been traveling. I use to only eat American food like hamburgers and pizza, but now I'll try just about anything.

Learn new cultures

Experiencing different cultures first hand will definitely change a person and make them more diverse. We live in one of the more diverse countries in the world, yet many of us are not very diverse individuals. Growing up in Louisiana was like binge watching the same season over and over again. I love Louisiana to death, but I didn't understand the true meaning of diversity until I moved to Austin and started traveling.

Diversity is also the key to creativity. As stated by Jeffrey Baumgartner, “Living in a new culture, learning new ways of doing things and, in short, diversifying your life makes you more creative.” Believe it or not, creativity is very important to the human life. Boosting your confidence or giving you new ways to express yourself are just a couple of ways on why creativity is so essential.

Connecting to humans

This is absolutely one of my favorite aspects of traveling. Connecting to humans across the globe is life changing. It provides growth and maturity. It changes the way you see the world. Connecting with a human you never met before who grew up completely different from you will turn you into a better person.

The best part about it is that the connection does not always produce the best outcome. That makes the experience even more valuable. Call me crazy, but you'll understand it once you experience it. For example, my friends and I got hustled out in Cuba. Were we upset? Yes. Was Cuba one of our best experiences yet? Yes! We gained so much insight into Cuba’s culture and learned so much from that experience.

So why do I travel so much?

By now, you should know the answer to that question. Traveling has evolved me and made me into the person I am today. I can only continue to elevate. There are so many more places to see and humans to connect with. The possibilities of growth are endless!

Bio: Brandon Boone is a digital marketer, blogger, creative, travel hacker, community organizer, donut lover, and a University of Louisiana-Monroe Graduate C’12. He is also the founder of the lifestyle brand, The Great Ones. Brandon strives to inspire millennials to become greater people through his website, community outreach, and service projects.





Lil Yachty: Teenage Emotions Album Review

by Joseph Bonney

 The King of the Teens has dropped his long awaited Teenage Emotions Album.  Lil Boat is known for making fun party tracks as well as the poster child for the new wave of mumble rap.  I tried my best to go into this album without a biased view.  Listening to this album is like taking a glimpse into Yachty’s soul.

The project opens up with an intro from an uncle of Yachty’s to welcome you to this album.  But after a while he comes in with the usual auto-tuned whaling he is known for.  The “DN freestyle” takes an unexpected turn into a rapid incoherent rap.  He doesn’t let rhymes dictate his thought process, it’s a burst of thoughts  spilling onto a song.  “Peek A Boo” is the first track that feels planned, if that makes sense.  It follows the traditional chorus, verse, chorus that you hear on the radio.  The “Blow my dick like a cello” line, which Yachty has addressed, as ridiculous as it sounds doesn’t take away too much considering the track is a euphemism for playing with female genitalia (though not one of Yachty’s people recognizing that a cello isn’t blown is quite disturbing).

The next stand out track of the album “All Around Me”, is something I can see none Yachty fans listening to.  It’s catchy, fun and not as absurd as his other tracks.  Kamaiyah and YG’s addition to the track also give the track direction and the radio flare we’re looking for.  The following four tracks center around his newfound fame at a young age:  “Say My Name” wants people to chant for him while in the next track Yachty asks about the lack of attention he gets.  After that, the next songs are about living life to the fullest, enjoying oneself, and being free. He dips into a dancehall vibe with “Better”, reminiscent of Drake’s recent sound.

“Running with a Ghost” is the song that hit me the strongest out of the whole album because it’s a generic pop rap track, which isn’t bad at all.  I’m not sure how receptive the masses will be to the tune, but this song has heavy potential to blow up.  Grace sultry vocals serenading the hook on a bubblegum trap beat with Yachty at the forefront is an algorithm for a hit.  Tracks like ”Lady in the Yellow” and “X Men” are straight to the point but they take different directions.  Lady in the Yellow is Yachty crooning about a woman he loves, while “X Men” is the the cliche money, cars, clothes, women track.  It’s a confident entertaining track.

The last two tracks are a decrescendo to this album.  “Made of Glass” discusses unrequited love and being seen through or non existent to his love one.  The outro is the closure of his world with the assistance of his mother, who lists how much she loves her son. A sweet touch.  It ties up the raw emotion and angst that Yachty feels, as if to say, all over the place.  But you’ve done a lot and everything will be okay.    

This album isn’t going to convert you into a Yachty fan.  This album is like Flo-Rida or Pitbull when they drop an album.  It has the radio songs that do what they’re suppose to do; generate a song that people will play at almost every club or house party.  But at the end of the day, most are not fiending for this album.  You won’t see facebook statuses from your friends claiming how excited or ‘fire’ the album is.  Which is fine.  This album represents a moment in time, a phase our society is at right now.  Boat will gain momentum off this album, but it will really take his future music to decide how to feel about him.  Otherwise don’t go into this album expecting to be swayed.  Yachty’s entire persona is the basis of this album, what you see is what you get.


Joseph Bonney is a writer, artist, hip-hop enthusiast, and gamer currently living in San Marcos,Texas.  A recent English graduate with an Art/Design minor, when he's not working, he's usually doing 1 of the 4, or eating.  You can find his Instagram page here.