Issue 13: Rebellion Out Now!

If we are defiant, it is only out of suppression. Tiptoeing through society has left us off balance, anxious, and unable to continue to survive playing it safe. This issue of CopyWrite is a Rebellion in its process. Our features are unorthodox characters with rule breaking methods. Interviews with Dream Lab owner Shawn Dekay, Leevel Ford, Mudy, Kane Rulan, Ex Fabula Feature Camille Davis & more.

-Click Here to witness the Rebellion-


Snapshot Press Release: "Power to the People" Interview w/ Emory Douglas

“A picture is worth a thousand words but action is supreme.” - Emory Douglas

Emory Douglas, visual Revolutionary Artist and Black Panther Party icon, made his way to Milwaukee’s UWM campus Peck School of the Arts, on October 24th, to give a presentation on his extensive collection of socially critical imagery. His work within the Black Panther Party and his contribution to history have made his presence an exciting catalyst to the social narrative in which we have been discussing. CopyWrite magazine was asked by AIGA-Wisconsin and UWM to sit down with Emory, to get his take on his #SociallyResponsible artistic quest and all the other things that spread between the lines of his symbolism.

CW: “For all intents and purposes, you were the artist that drew all the images in The Black Panther newspaper?”

ED: “Ninety-nine percent. There were others who contributed but it was my responsibility to show them how to put social justice content into the artwork.”

Though we know Emory as the man behind the art, his contribution to history had to start off understanding not only the image but the purpose behind it.

ED: “Well that became my role when I . . . I would have to initially start when I was in the Black Arts Movement, transitioning into the Black Panther Party. I was attending City College of San Francisco and I was beginning to take up Commercial Art. That showed you production skills as opposed to Fine Art . . . You learn figure drawing, the printing process, design elements, all those things. While there, I was a part of the Black Arts Movement. I was also there as the Black Conscious Movement was coming about, where we began to define ourselves as Afro-American and Black opposed to being defined as Negro.”

Trying to figure out what he could do at the time to help the movement, he had been told that there was a meeting taking place where they were planning the visit of Malcolm X widow, Betty Shabazz, to the Bay Area. Emory was also asked to do a poster of Shabazz. When he went to the meeting they would also discuss security for that event. The men who would agree to be that security would soon after, change his life.

ED: “When they came, it was Huey Newton and Bobby Seale. It was after that meeting I asked them how I could join and they gave me a card . . . I eventually started calling Huey and I would catch the bus and go by his house. He would show me around the neighborhood and introduce me to folks. Then we would go by Bobby Seale’s house.”

He noted that this was all happening around early January into late February 1967. Only a few months after the initial start of the Black Panther Party in October of 1966.

Fast forwarding, Emory recalled the first issue of The Black Panther News Paper being on legal size paper, done with a typewriter, and markers. It was the editorial project of Bobby and another member known as, Elbert “Big Man” Howard. Emory noticed them working on the leaflet while convening at the Black House, where cultural events took place, and creatives like Sonia Sanchez and Ed Bullins would hang. Interesting enough, Eldridge Cleaver, who became the party’s Minister of Information, lived upstairs from the Black House and would be drafted over to help with its planning with his comprehensive writing skills.


ED: “One evening I went over there, nothing really was happening but Bobby, Huey, and Eldridge were downstairs. I saw them working on that first leaflet and I told them that maybe I could help them improve it. So I went and got my materials. I walked home and walked back, so it took me about an hour. When I got back they said, ‘Well we are finished with that. But you have been hanging around and you seem committed. We are going to start this paper and we want you to be the Revolutionary Artist.’ So that became my initial title. My job would be to tell our story from our perspective.”

And so it began. Emory would create the first tabloid paper for the Party from the content pressed at the Sacramento legislative meeting to change the de facto gun laws, that would affect The Panthers legal use. Setting the standard for The Black Panther Newspaper that would carry on until Fall of 1980, Emory’s art would become the visual rhetoric for a cultural movement we still dote on till this day. He would even be responsible for the visual interpretation of the Police as the “Pig”.

CW: “The first time you drew the pig was that the first time that it was projected in that way towards the police?”

ED: “It had been defined like that by Huey and Bobby. But when they asked me to do the pig drawing that was the first time [it appeared in that way] . . . there was a book from maybe 100 years or so ago that somebody had that defined the pig like that . . .”

CW: “As some type of authoritative figure?”

ED: “Yes.”

Huey had original requested Emory use a clipping of a pig on all four hooves, with a police badge number of those cops who were behaving as bad actors in the community every week.

Emory & Lexi (Editor-in-Chief)

Emory & Lexi (Editor-in-Chief)

ED: “Then it just came to me one day, ‘Why don't I just stand it up on two hooves?’ ”

CW: “Oh yeah? Like how it really looks?”

Emory lit up in laughter.

ED: “Haaaaaaaaaaaa, Yea. With the flies and everything. Then it really took on a life of its own. It became an iconic symbol that transcended the African American community. It became a universal symbol.”

CW: “Now everyone is calling them the pigs!”

He chuckled softly with a glimmer in his eye. As comical as the image was, and still is, it holds a weight that is the stringent representation of the unhuman like disposition the legal forces of our country has displayed against the disenfranchised. Though creativity comes in many forms, Emory had no clue his social expression would become such a major part of revolutionary rhetoric.

Now let's be clear, the times in which Emory made his mark were times of civil unrest, political and social scrutiny, and homefront combat. It was risky. There was bloodshed and unfortunately, there were lives lost. Enduring these times takes strength, not only physically, but mentally and emotionally.

ED: “People had all kind of issues that came together, to deal with the social injustices that existed. So whatever it was that you had when you came into the party, you brought that baggage with you. We had to respond to those problems the best we could.”

But it was his next comment that dropped down on the room. Just as deep as his art could display, so would his words cut:

“You could say people were psychologically already messed up from colonization.”

Well, then . . . no argument here.

Discussing today's realities versus the past, Emory believes that today’s issues are even more trying. He marks the dynamics that generations face now are layered with environmental plight (global warming or not, polar caps are melting), corporate exploitation/investment in culture (representation is being marketed as gatekeepers to our communities authenticity), political friction (we are closer to nuclear war than ever before), and social dysfunction (police brutality is still alive and well).

ED: “As much as things change. Somethings stay the same.”

As an artist his opinions on purpose and meaning are strong. The messages that his art and many others’ creativity display are not isolated depictions, but should and have transcended cultures, classes, and even the disciplines in which they are created.

ED: “The message comes from listening to the people . . . Hearing what they are saying and their concerns, as well as your own concerns integrating, comes out in the artwork. I mean you had older Black middle-class brothers and sisters identifying with the Pig drawing just as much as you did with the people out in the streets.”

He argues that his aesthetic as an artist grew out of the awareness that needed to be displayed during that time. When questioned about the importance of visual art as a form of protest, from the time of his very controversial symbolism with the Black Panther’s till now, he reminded us that the context of his art came out of an organization backing a movement. It was not his voice alone. It was not the Black Panther Party versus the world. It was the system against the people.

images provided by: AIGA, www., ,, and

“We were like the nucleus or a spec of dust with a great impact. We inspired.”

CW: “Do you think without the Black Panther Party you would be the artist you are today?”

ED: “In some ways maybe, but not completely as I have developed. Because it's not only just the artwork itself but it's the collective environments. It's the criticizing and evaluation of the work and how you’ve done it. Sometimes it's in a casual way and other times it's in a real critical way.”

After the dis-assemblement of the Black Panther Party, Emory started working for the Black Press, creating imagery for their publication. Today he travels, collaborating with artist around the world to promote and produce socially conscious art that speaks on real-world issues. His mediums have even advanced beyond the production processes he learned in college so long ago, including the use of photoshop which he finds quite useful in the remixing his old compositions and his new wave artistic critic of the free world.

Throughout his lecture Emory commented on his art, its meaning, and his legacy, inspiring the room with his unyielding views. Regardless of if you agree with Emory’s position or not, his story is a reminder of the power of creativity, the communal service that can be a calling for an artist, and the impact a unified voice can make.

As we step forward in our purpose we must not forget that the revolution we call on is not a new one but the rebirth of its kind.


Lexi for /CW

See This Post in Snap Press Release Here

Fashion Fridays - Let's talk about #InstaMeetMKE

Uh-ohhhhhh, back again Milwaukee! Fall is approaching and so is FASHION! With a new season comes another InstaMeet. Last Sunday, CopyWrite Magazine assembled some of the best of the best when it comes to stylists, photographers, and models to come together and create art right here on our city’s streets. Hosted by Milwaukee’s own Vato (@vatomke) the InstaMeet featured on-the-spot styling, impromptu photo shoots, guest speakers and of course the chance to get your hands on an issue of CopyWrite Magazine!

Model: @_slim_slim Shot by @freakishnerd

Model: @_slim_slim
Shot by @freakishnerd

Events like this are important for us creatives because it encourages collaboration! There is no competition and egos are left at the door. My personal favorite thing about the InstaMeet is meeting other creatives who are passionate about their art, no matter what their avenue is. 

Model: @rubysol_shiningjewel Styled by: Shot by: @toplothedon

Model: @rubysol_shiningjewel
Styled by:
Shot by: @toplothedon

Special thanks to EVERYONE who came out and we look forward to seeing what heat you bring to the winter InstaMeet!


To find out more about events like this and for those coming in the future, keep your eyes peeled on CopyWrite Magazine (@copywritemag) and if you’d like to be a featured stylist, photographer, or a guest speaker at the next InstaMeet, contact us via email at

Until next time, 
Keep it fly, keep it local.


Snapshot Press Release: More Than 100 Womxn (Interview w/ Corey Fells)

Women have been described as mysterious creatures that have been bound to human forms, whose stories transgress most laws of nature, exposing a magic that we call life…

Or that's what you should think!

Even as majestic as we hope the world will see us, there are stories that as women we carry and each nuance that defines us tells a piece of that story.

Corey Fells, a photographer from Milwaukee has released the entirety of his 100 Womxn project to be exhibited at the Museum of Wisconsin Art (205 Veterans Ave. West Bend, WI) showing from October 13th, 2018 to January 13th, 2019. The exhibit showcases 97 images of Black & Brown women (equalling 100 women photographed) in front of a morphing background of foliage that transition throughout several seasons in Milwaukee, like a continuous narrative that celebrates the diversity, majesty, and inspiration these women hold. He sat down with CopyWrite to discuss how his project is more than 100 Womxn, but more like 100 ways to impact our community.

CF: “Its story of individual Black & Brown women. It was about allowing them to express stories about their relevant stance in the community and a stance here in Milwaukee. Some of these stories overlap. Some are completely opposite, and some are exactly the same. This just allows people to understand that. . . As a society, we overlook woman's perspective. That's why I made this about women and only about women. Even within the title, the X is used to symbolize this has nothing to do with men, except for the fact that I (as a man) took the photos.”

Underlying the story of these women lays the story of Corey & the relationship between him and his late mother “Pookie”. Many media outlets have interviewed Corey about this project and have described it as just a simple homage to his mother as photos of women. But what they failed to report is how the process of taking these photos fill a void in his understanding of women, parenting, cultivation, and sense of self that Corey is trying to grasp.

CF: “So a lot of the questions that were prompted by me to the women while I was taking their photos, were questions about their moms, about their parents, siblings, and how they feel in relevance to that.”

His homage to his mother was always covert. It is the process of taking these photos were Corey has received insight into who women can be and has allowed women to speak their truths, in a midwest city that is often overlooked. The nuances of asking gives these women the agency to tell their story, and reveal their true perspectives.

CF: “In the beginning, I took pictures of 10 women I chose because I knew other women admired them. I couldn’t just take pictures of people in my family or something like that because it would seem disingenuous. So I chose women who I didn’t know anything about which made me have to force the conversation between myself and them. I couldn’t just assume anything. I can't say ‘hey this is who you are.’ I had to have this dialogue. I really wanted this to be something for me to learn and kind of get over. Because after my mom passed, I didn’t have that frame of reference and understanding of what a woman was. So these conversations are very genuine. Some of them I didn't even take a photo for the first hour of us standing and talking because it was just a genuine flow of authenticity between two people.”   

Strategically, he asked me a question, flipping our interview into a discussion where he turned his photo taking methods into a conversation where my female perspective was just as vital to the narrative as his own thoughts.

CF: “How do you feel about women here in Milwaukee?”

CW (Lexi): “I feel like women here are amazing. I think only as of recently they have been able to express themselves in a way that is unapologetic and that is being accepted. What it means to be a woman here is definitely different, especially for Black & Brown women. I, myself and I think more women are starting to use their platforms to help cultivate our communities. I think it's dope, that we not just women but we are our craft, we are our story.”

He then asked questions about my personal power struggles in my successes as a woman of color, where I shared my arsenal on how to combat with the woes of a patriarchal system, after I clued him in he returned to his point:

CF: “These stories and these type of self-reflections help me. After I looked at this project, I realized that I’m getting older, life is going to happen. I want to have a daughter. There are going to be times when I have to explain to her certain things. I can pull different references from these stories and say, I heard something from these women. . . That may help me deliver that better or understand her better. I don’t want to be narrow-minded.”

As the story of women unfolds, morphs, and shapes our image in the same way the leaves change colors and fall from the vines in the hope that in the next season new ones will bloom in the 100 Womxn project, Corey hopes that this exhibit can be the blossoming of greater things.

CF: “My plan is to hopefully use this project as the concept for a panel discussion that starts here in Milwaukee and then moves over to other universities around the country. Mainly HBCUs.”

Even though the project has made an impact on Corey in positive ways, and has documented Black & Brown women, who have historically not been mused in such a reverent way, as he has chosen to exhibit it digitally and now physically in a museum, he is at the criticism of the viewer, who often have a perspective of their own.

CW: “Now that you are putting your project on public display, what does the outsider think of this work? What has been said?”

CF: “It’s funny that you ask that. I was actually looking through my Twitter, and you know Twitter is a place where people are highly opinionated. . . . [ a snippet of the project was released as a clip on an outside source] so there where people around the world that were just kind of like ‘I guess white women can’t be inspiring.’” (Say Word????) “Yeah! Or ‘This is very eclectic...’ with quotation marks, ‘. . . group of women.’ However, that just made me think about civil rights and reference that to women's rights...which everyone knows that the women's rights movement was more about white women's rights. So it was like ok, let me relate these things. It just makes perfect sense referencing the past. It really didn’t matter [ what they said]. I don't really care to make this a thing that is meant for anyone else. I just want to make sure that when I do create something I send it out to the people that do have the most knowledge about it.”

In other words, speaking as a woman of color writing this. . .White women, this one, this time, is not about you! Please have several seats. Your comments are insulting to the process and the agency that Black & Brown people don't have the right to be inspiring, MAGICAL, and relevant without you! *Flips Hair*

Even in the reference to the process of 100 Womxn, Corey sat down with many of his female friends to ask them their thoughts on the idea he was cultivating to do a project on women. He admits that the women he asked were highly opinionated and turned down many of his ideas because they were subpar, focussing on the nuances of detail that actually matter.

(He actually said they called them stupid. . .but let's just act like they said subpar Lol)

Men have been speaking for women far too long. It is important to know that as a photographer capturing a subject that exists outside his photos Corey has voluntarily admitted that he can not see all and know all from his perspective as a man and has allowed for women to help him develop this project far beyond their aesthetic value but actually for their expertise.

CF: “That was one of my biggest fears. I didn’t want anyone to think I was exploiting women.”

Actually (randomly) being one of the women captured in this project, I can firmly say that I don't feel exploited because of the agency I was allowed as a participant, and how he has used my photo and my story as a part of a narrative that is bigger than myself; a part of cultivating culture.  

“Culture is a huge thing that I want to push out, really dive into, and allow people to express.”

After this exhibit, Corey is slated to do a project with the Milwaukee Art Museum, involving the youth of MKE. He is eager to make an impact by way of photography, noting that this is beyond him, and he trying to do his part by using his own skills and talents.

CF: “There is a gap between the older generations and the youth, and how they help them. Many of my peers are doing their things, and I’m just trying to find my way of doing that. . .It helps build up what the culture of photography is really all about.”

Next year he will be leaving to go to San Diego for military duty. His contribution to the creative scene and youth development by way of photography is what he hopes to leave as his legacy and contribution to Milwaukee.

CF: “My godfather always told me, before you leave anywhere you always make it better then you had it. I don't want to leave here and that's just what it is. I don't want photography to stop. I don't want momentum to stop. I don't want photographers to think you just upload to Instagram and it ends. Make it tangible. Allow people to see it and be integrated within the community.”

That's the true art.

Make sure you go check out the 100 Womxn exhibit at the Museum of Wisconsin Art this fall & reflect on what these women actually mean. We are more than what meets the eye.

Lexi for /CW

See This Post in Snap Press Release Here

#WeeSeeYou: El Color De La Libertad (The Color of Freedom) - Ft. Latino Youth, MC(mikal), Klassik & SistaStrings

“We call America the land of the free for a reason and we are still waiting for freedom”, the voice of the youth is shaking the narrative.



“Amidst divisive national debate over immigration and policies that separate families, the new student lead music video El Color De La Libertad gives voice to Latino youth, providing a powerful perspective on freedom in the United States”, says project representatives in their submission. We have all seen it. The images, the news reports, and even the heartbreaking personal testimonies from those affected but still have the platform to speak. But what about our youth?

Through collaboration between Jazale’s Art Studio and Alexander Mitchell Integrated Arts School, El Color De La Libertad (The Color of Freedom) uses the words of Latino 7th grade students with the talents of Milwaukee-based musicians MC(Mikal), Klassik, SistaStrings, and filmmaker Wes Tank to produce a video that depicts the youth narrative and positive creative process to shed light on the subject.

Soccer Silhouette_Still.png

Spearheaded by Lead Teacher, Nora Justin, and Lead Artist, Mikal Floyd-Pruitt known on stage as, MC(Mikal) the project that started in 2017 now has something to show, that disseminates more impact and reality then most national broadcast may ever display.  Its bright colors, unifying aura and relatable production inspired by Letter to the Free, by Common, is an empowering and might we say emotional watch. (A few tears of community joy may have been dropped in the first viewing. Don’t judge! lol)

More of this is needed in the world, in our country, in our state, in our city, and in our community. Any disenfranchisement of a people is an issue that we all have to creatively address.

¿Qué son Los Colores de Libertad? All of them!

#WeSeeYou Kids!

Please spread the good vibes, the bright spirits, and the youth voice. They will be our difference.

Press the heart bellow & leave a comment to let us know you stand with the freedom wave for all!


Snapshot Press Bite: @Jillisblack "Are You An Ally Or Is It a Lie?"

“We can’t start a revolution off a thesis.”

What would you do if you woke up one morning and had twenty thousand new followers on Instagram after posting a very uncensored video you made about your crappy day at work? What would you do if that post was heavy in your truths about racial inequalities, social hierarchy, and identifying the blatant disregard that others have for you & your culture? Correction: How White people treat your culture?* Would you pipe up or back down when the world puts the spotlight on you? @Jillisblack is here for it. With no eagerness to become a social icon, she has found that her words may still help stimulate a few very overdue conversations in the realm of real change, confronting the Black & White issue that is at the core of our communal positioning. CopyWrite sat down with Jill for a quick chat before her lecture, “Are You An Ally Or Is It a Lie?” at Company Brewing in Milwaukee, last Saturday, to see why her methods may be the controversial but needed stepping stone for ALL of our social liberations.

*Warning Jill’s delivery is not for the faint of heart. If you are uncomfortable with any commentary in this article, do understand, that is the point.

Jill: “I was really just posting like comedic, shady a** critics of inter-community hierarchy. I had a bad day at my job, at a major nonprofit that will go on named...[it was] lots of like White women passive aggressive sh*t... I was pretty angry in it and pretty upset... I woke up the next morning and had twenty thousand more followers. That’s how it really got started. It happened on a Friday so I took the weekend and I thought about what my responsibility was being in the public sphere, if even for a second, and thought about how I wanted to do this. I’m a writer and I have a performance background so I knew I could create something that worked. Now we are here two years later.” 



Jill has been popping up in different cities challenging not only people of color but white counterparts to move the narrative past the tiptoeing nature of social critic and confronting things for exactly what’s they are: Bullsh*t. Jill calls it, Revolutionary Honesty.

CW: “Can you describe Revolutionary Honesty?”

Jill: “Yea. Black people aren’t being honest. White people don’t know how to be. There is a way we talk about White people in our intimate spaces. When we are at home when we are with other Black people, when we are with our families... Then we do this performative version for Black spaces. Rather that be a training for White people, a space like this tonight, or some article, now you are performing how you are explaining racism to White people. That’s not doing any good. I want to go out and have the freedom to say to White people exactly what I would say to a Black person about them. And if I can’t do that then what I’m getting off on is my ability to explain something that is my reality, not my ability to change something that is my reality.”

As a member of the Black community, Jill has also ventured into many White spaces. She clearly admits and accepts her past, that included what is defined as self-hate, straying away from her Black culture and submerging herself in “White culture”. (Please note the word culture is being used loosely. There is no true definition of “White culture.” Its connotative use can be interchanged with “American Culture” and suggest that it is a sample of POP extremity and other learned/absorbed practices.) *Shrugs*



CW: “Can you explain what a White space is for someone who is a novice?”

Jill: With a chuckle, she replied, “I’m a good old fashion Oreo.* There is no mystery to it at all. I have been what people would say is a White lovin’ person. I think if you have been a person who has embraced White space enthusiastically, then it is your responsibility to talk about what you learned in that space. I think the mistake we are making is saying that you can never come back from that and rectify that sort of betrayal. And let me be clear it is a betrayal. So I consider myself to be like a spy. Like White people, I f*ckin know you. You can’t run game on me because I had to learn you in ways that other Black people did not.”

*OREO: Not the cookie. Defined by Urban Dictionary, Oreo is “a stereotype created by Blacks to be used against other Blacks, who are ‘Black on the outside, White on the inside’ so though a person may have Black features they display characteristics of a White person, therefore betraying their Black roots.”

She notes that if more Black people who have been obsessed with White space took what information they knew and used it in the right way, the community would have so much more than is what currently being offered. But the clincher is that it only works if people are willing, to be honest.

But let’s face it, how most people of color are living, 

there are several shapes of honesty. Especially the shape that comes in the form of navigating a White dominated society for survival. We call it, Code Switching.

CW: “With that being said, how do you feel about code-switching?”

Jill: “Code Switching? Hahahaah! What does that even mean these days ya’ know. I do it. I’m sure I do it. I think what was important to me is to present a pro-Black message without feeling like I had to put on anything. So a lot of the times people would be confused by hearing the message from someone who sounds like me. We don’t get that a lot so it is important [for people to know] this is my authentic self, whether it was going to be like that or not, it’s here now. So I’m not going to code switch into my Blackness. You are either going to trust me based on what I am saying or not. But we are too far into the bullsh*t of society to think Black people are not walking around able to do a little bit of both.”

Identifying Jill as a social media face for Black thought (rather she likes it or not) is way easier for a White person to accept, than a Black person if you check the obvious. Jill is of a very fair complexion (she’s “Light skinned”), her voice inflection is very sharp and matter of fact (that could mean several things but she “sounds like a White person”), and her garb is very reminiscent of young hipsters via their preppy stage (she self-proclaimed to dress like a White man). Lol, the irony right? But either way regardless of the perception, her knowledge, and courage to be vocal about it could be risky. But isn’t every day a risk being Black?

Jill: “I haven’t been trolled in such a long time... The last white person who trolled me was a couple months ago and it was a White power person. We had a two-hour conversation. I had some questions I wanted answered from him and he had some questions he wanted answered from me. So that was the last time. In the first few months I definitely did, but these days I get more White liberals with the ‘Yea, we get it’. I don’t quite know what that means because I’m a very easy Black person for a White person to get into.”

Simply put Jill doesn’t look like a threat to White privilege.

Jill: “There is a little bit of fear realistically when I go into a space like this that are open because White people do the most. But what are we doing if not this work? So I get over it and I get up there.”

Any fear can be subdued by knowing the impact of your actions. Where Jill may be speaking on some hard-hitting topics there are comedic undertones that make her delivery of truth just way easier to grasp, even if you are the persons of critic.

CW: “We have noticed you use a lot of sarcasm, is it comedic relief for you?”

Jill: “Anything that I was going to do was going to have some humor to it because creatively I’m a comedic writer. Does it make it different from what other people do? Yes, I think it makes it more appealing and I think it makes it easier. But that’s not the purpose of it.”

Jill has also been referred to as the Black woke Daria... Ehhh, it will work.

Her lecture, “Are You An Ally Or Is It a Lie?”, revealed many enlightening points. Many of which she polled the White audience members for a show of hands on their contribution to perpetuating the issues of Black & White relations, and general social polarization. Here she spoke words that validated her outlook on sustaining and elevating the Black community considering the current standing of its plight: “Black people don’t believe in progress the way you do!”

Are we really just saving face?



CW: “How do we sustain this cross over into society where Black people are doing better and move away from a racially unequal way of life, when our society is built off of racism, thus everything we are apart of is racist?”

Jill: “We can’t. It’s not going to happen. What Black people would have to admit is that we are scared. We have come up with a group of safe ‘Black sh*t’ and then the thing we are scared of. Which the consequence [if not followed accordingly] we feel like could be death. So when we go to college, and we get on at the company, and we do things like brunch with the girls, we are living in the illusion like we aren’t at risk at every second. Let’s be honest and say it’s for safety. Do we really feel that we are progressing or do we feel like we are f*ckin’ scared and if I sound like this and look like this and I go in and work at your job I feel safer? That’s what I want Black people to be honest about. We are just ‘safe-ER’, we think.”

At this point, the only option is to be the “Other” and those extremities on either end are scrutinized for their stereotypical linkage to what being Black is. And nobody wants to be that low on the totem pole. How we say it over at /CW, “issa rough.”

CW: “If Black people were always there authentic selves what do you think that would look like?”

Jill chuckled at that question as if she didn’t even want to fathom the thought.

Jill: “I can’t even imagine that. We would also have to believe that White people would be being their authentic selves too.” 

Now we had to test the waters. For Jill to be so disturbed by White people, their privilege, and destruction to the existence of all other peoples, some might think that it’s a hate for all White individuals. So all we wanted to know is...

CW: “Jill do you have White friends?” *insert the eyeball emoji here lol*

The laugh that followed this question was so heartfelt. Really it is quite hilarious if you think about it. 

Jill: “You know what, I took on my first White friendship in years, this year. It’s been challenging in moments... I think, that I say that I took that on without thinking that there is a lack of racism there. You know, so I am expecting this person to be racist. I think it’s when we lie in those relationships and say, ‘No I have found one who is not’. Of course, you did! No, your White person is racist! It’s what you’re willing to spend time on and what you have the energy for, to try and find something beneficial there. But no, there is not a White person in this world who is not racist... We will see where it goes. There have been some blow-ups.”

Combating what for decades has been looked at as simply just the way things are, Jill takes her unexpected popularity seriously. With her social platform in the mix of things, her choices must be strategic. Where she stands but more importantly, how she stands, can change everything:

“No, I don’t want to sell racism for my whole life.”

CW: “You have said you don’t want to be famous, but you are very popular. Do you feel like that takes away from your responsibility to deliver this type of content?”

Jill: “I think I am at a point where I realize that I’m going to have to make some sort of compromise. That was a youthful, naive Jill. What happens is, I’m upset with what I’m seeing, and yet, I won’t enter the world to do anything about it. That’s not going to work long term. What will happen is that there will be people who take [this] content and not mean it or be performative about it. We don’t have room or time for performative authenticity. So If I believe myself, then I need to make sure the message is spread... I think I’m at the point [now] where I’m asking the question, is there an ethical way to be seen in our current society?... and I don’t have an answer for that yet.”

Thorns of truth may pierce but there are some pains that have to be endured for the greater good of all human beings. Though Jill is very vocal in her Black stance, it is not to be misconstrued, the disenfranchisement of any people by the dominating society that has been streamlined by the caucasian persuasion (Bloop!) is in fact included in this need for Revolutionary Honesty. Asking yourself “Are You An Ally Or Is It a Lie?”, is only the first step.

Jill: “Sometimes growth will look like betrayal... and I want people to trust me.”


Jill: “You’re right that’s hard because we are so used to people disappointing us. So I want to say somewhere on the record that I tried a thing, it didn’t work the way I wanted it to. I’m going to try something else and if that doesn’t work and it’s not ethical, I won’t do that thing either. But I want people to know that everything that you are paranoid about in society is real. So some of these doors are just closed to us. We have to find the ones that are open.”

Now, what is your next move?

Lexi for /CW


Check out the digital version of this article here.

SnapShot Press Release: Riverwest FemFest 2018

If you’re familiar with MKE, then you know that festival season has arrived! Art, music, community, culture and everything in between become large festivities that activate the city with an aura that feeds off of creativity and cultivates all streams of Urban life.

This years festival season has started off with movement pulsing right from the cities east side with Riverwest FemFest 2018 (which was held May 27th - June 3rd). As stated on their website:

“Riverwest FemFest is a community music and arts festival celebrating the powerful and positive impact we can have on each other and the community around us. Founded in 2015, we celebrate the empowerment that comes with surrounding yourself with people who push you to push yourself. We celebrate through music, visual arts, poetry, and comedy. We not only celebrate the feminine impact within our own community, we aim to celebrate, empower, and provide platforms for those who have been historically left out of creative spaces.”

Kendra Swanson

Kendra Swanson

When our team at CopyWrite heard how this year’s festival would be pushing and empowering some of our favorite feminine creatives, we had to reach out and make sure that Riverwest FemFest knew that as the only female owned and operated Urban creative media press outlet in the city, we are here for it! To share these amazing moments with our audience,  #SupportTheLocal, and help cultivate the narrative of feminine creativity is something we just could not pass up.

To get a bit more insight on what Riverwest FemFest is all about, we sat down with two of the festival coordinators, Olivia Doyle (the original founder of Riverwest FemFest) and Ellie Jackson.

Olivia: “I started it because I was just really inspired by all the women musicians around me. They were not just only musicians but some were getting their masters, or becoming professors. They were just doing everything. So I originally wanted to have a show to celebrate them and it turned into a two-day show and a fundraiser. We got a lot of press from that and it just exploded.”

Olivia admits that her original idea was to have the first showcase in her basement but a few of her roommates convinced her that it had the potential to be much bigger than that…and they were right.

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Riverwest FemFest has surpassed not only its original thought but even has grown from its two-day expansion show at the late Cocoon Room, to a week-long festival of creative feminine genius.

CW: “What kind of effort does it take to organize something like this? You have so many components to it, like the gallery walk and all the different performances. How does something like that come together?

Olivia: “It takes months.”

Ellie: “Probably like 8 months, out of the year.”

Olivia: “So there are central organizers, then there are other subgroups of organizers that are organizing all those other events. Like the gallery walk today, or there was a film portion that was curated by Naomi Shersty and Grace Mitchell...So it takes a lot of time and it takes a lot of human power.”

Ellie: “And we are all volunteers!”

The initiative that these volunteers have shown, further reveals how important the community efforts to support local creativity can have on all of us, making Riverwest FemFest a must in MKE.

When asked for the best way to describe the festival to those of our readers that have never attended, Ellie urged that it is a community of people who support feminine identifying art in every form. In addition to this support all the proceeds are donated to organizations in Milwaukee that assist in the help/protection of women and families. This year’s recipients include great causes like Courage MKE, Casa Maria, and The Milwaukee Women’s Center. 

The celebration of feminine empowerment had several highlights including the locally curated film shorts showcase at Microlights Microcinema (832 E Chambers St, Milwaukee, WI 53212), the Riverwest FemFest Gallery Walk, which included pop-up shows at five venues: The Ski Club (3172 N Bremen St, Milwaukee, WI 53212), The Yellow Wallpaper Project (1126 E Wright Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53212), The Jazz Gallery (926 E Center St, Milwaukee, WI 53212), Yours Truly (833 E Center St, Milwaukee, WI 53212) and The Lunchbox @ AfterSchool Special (731 E Center St, Milwaukee, WI 53212). Unlike in past years, these sections of programming were given their own shine, where usually they would be transpiring at the same time as the more active music sets that Riverwest FemFest also offers.

Ellie: “I feel like Milwaukee does a really good job of supporting musicians [like venue performance availability i.e. bars] but there aren’t as many ways for people to see poets, or go to galleries that don’t feel elitist.” (Can we repeat that? That DON’T feel ELITIST!!!) 

Other happenings included Riverwest Spoken Word Night at Rise & Grind Cafe #2 (2737 N Dr. Martin Luther King Dr. Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53212), which our sources tell us was to die for, the Keg Stand Up at Lakefront Brewery (1872 N Commerce St, Milwaukee, WI 53212) and the Makers Market at Company Brewing (735 E Center St, Milwaukee, WI 53212), that featured several local artists, crafters, and businesses. Company Brewing also is the host for the large weekend music sets for Riverwest FemFest, where one of the only local female brewers makes them a special beer for the occasion.

One interesting piece of information that fell under most of our radars are the workshops that occurred through the week that also promoted feminine empowerment and self-actualizing. “The Revolution Will Not Be Processed: A Vegan Femfest Workshop” being one of them. (Who attended? Give us all the ‘deets! Eco-Feminism for the win!) 

As stated above Riverwest FemFest had much to offer, but our /CW team unanimously agreed that our favorite moments were the ones that seemed natural, where we could experience our favorite local “feminine” musicians, catch displays of witty art, and could see the efforts of the process throughout the festival and its participants. 

Moments we loved: 


• The Gallery Walk: We have been saying that Milwaukee is a hotbed for visual talent, but we don’t get to see it enough. This gallery walk gave us the opportunities to check out some new names, concepts, and spaces. We had never been to Yours Truly (833 E Center St, Milwaukee, WI 53212) and were quite flattered by a “Press for Progress” illustration of a female journalist hanging on their wall (Who is the artist? You deserve a shout out!). Also, artist, Lacey Prpić Hedtke project, “Spells For…” displayed at the Lunchbox @ AfterSchool Special was simply enthralling. We made sure to snag a spell for keeping our $ in our community, while we were there. We also learned that Corn Flakes may be a cure for masturbation at The Ski Club...(PAUSE). So yeah, art is life.  


• SistaStrings at The Back Room @ Colectivo was brilliant. The duo’s uncensored sisterly chemistry is absolutely refreshing. Their artistry with string instruments is very unique in our community and their mastery of craft, storytelling and stage presence during their Riverwest FemFest set showed that they are creatives with that “it” factor, and authenticity. Their performance of  “Ave Maria” and “Deep River” crossover, absolutely did it for us! Worrrrrrrkkkk!

• Ms. Lotus Fankh’s set at Club Timbuktu was intimate in all the right ways. Her voice buzzed over the room, her “impromptu” production as always added depth to her lyrics, and her style of blues-infused, r&b, folk, jazz, mashup just made us smile. She also made sure to end her set on a positive note, which is what this world needs; positive energy in all things.

We believe that Riverwest FemFest 2018 has set the tone for this year’s festival season in MKE. It is inspiring, it is cultivating, and it is communal, which are all things that this city really should celebrate. 

CW: “Where do you expect it to go from here? Is there anything that you want to grow more as this progresses?”

Ellie: “I have been using the word: movement. I would like to see it become at least a Milwaukee movement because every year it becomes harder and harder to fit everybody we want to see in Riverwest and in one week. Eventually, we would like it to become a city-wide expansion.”

Well, we are down for the movement and we are down for the cause. Make sure you become apart of the Riverwest FemFest movement by following them @rwfemfest and getting involved by visiting their website at

Empower the feminine. 

Empower the community. 



Read this SnapShot Press Release in digital book form here.

#WCW Nicole Acosta

“You can’t be what you can’t see.” - Marian Wright Edelman

This quote often holds true when thinking of career paths for people of color. Often seeing people who look like you in the same types of jobs over and over again.

This was me as a creative in Milwaukee’s advertising community.  

For the company I worked for I had quickly became the only creative of color (female too) and throughout Milwaukee’s (WHOLE) creative ad community, I knew of one Black Interactive Art Director, one Asian copywriter and about five to six graphic designers that were of color (non-white folks). This left me feeling isolated and alone for most of the beginning of my career but very disappointed in the lack of diversity and inclusion in the region.

Leading to a lot of questions: Why? Why were there no people that looked like me? Was this just a Milwaukee problem? Why did I work at an agency of 250+ people and there was only four people of color? Why don’t more people of color know that they NEED to be in advertising/marketing? Just why?

My main answer came back to the quote “You can’t be what you can’t see.”  And though it’s not that simple; Learning about new career paths and seeing people who look like you and come from similar backgrounds like you, can often change your path in life.

Now enough with me, but into showcasing people that are doing their thing to change the game. **drum roll please**

Our #WCW this week is Nicole Acosta, a Chicana-first generation Mexican-American. Born and raised in Milwaukee, WI with indigenous roots in Mexico. Nicole has made it her life’s mission to preserve cultural practices and traditions and activate safe spaces in her hometown where people can connect to their cultural identities. Whether through dance, visual art or written word, most of Nicole’s work reflects movement, oral and visual storytelling and identity. A lover of travel, Nicole seeks to learn from the origins of where our cultural practices were birthed.


Nicole holds a Bachelor of Arts in Marketing Management from Alverno College with a minor in Elective Studies and is also a dedicated student of Puerto Rican Bomba dance at the AfriCaribe Cultural Center in Chicago, IL. She is a proud graduate of the Milwaukee High School of The Arts, and prior to her transfer to Alverno, spent years at Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design and Milwaukee Area Technical College studying photography.

As an intersectional artist, Nicole’s work has been exhibited throughout the city of Milwaukee, published locally and nationally; and she has performed spoken word and dance. In most recent years Nicole has devoted her life to art education for Milwaukee Public Theatre, Walker’s Point Center for the Arts, Latino Arts, providing hands-on teaching and creating original curriculum focused on the restoration and preservation of Latinx cultural experiences. Her next career move will be in the summer of 2018 were alongside her partner they launch Botaníca Creative, a marketing-branding-photography & design agency! I’m excited.

Campaign sample photos of Pascual and young girls: Creative Direction and Photography: Nicole Acosta, Graphic Design: Jazmin Delgado 

Campaign sample photos of Pascual and young girls: Creative Direction and Photography: Nicole Acosta, Graphic Design: Jazmin Delgado 

Also in honor of being a WOC in advertising I asked her to answer the following questions to get a different perspective of advertising life in Milwaukee.  

1. How does being a Latinx creative influence your work in advertising?

"Being a Latinx creative first and foremost automatically suggests that I will create from a place of culture or of my ethnic upbringing. Which is true to a certain point. This is where being a Latinx creative in the advertising/marketing industry becomes a challenge. When I was in my final year of college at Alverno where I earned my degree in Marketing Management, I researched agencies in Milwaukee specifically seeking POC in the industry. The results were not very surprising as you can imagine. This is where I saw an opportunity to pursue marketing and advertising, I had a niche. I could reach specific target audiences that a lot of these agencies could not. I am Latinx, bi-lingual, I stay relevant with socio-cultural trends and I take pride in being a Millennial. I consider myself a hyper-intersectional artist, meaning I have studied multiple art forms and have taught and worked hands on in some capacity throughout the years as this artist but never really knew how to make a career out of it. I binged watched MadMen for an entire month and fell in love with the idea that I would one day I would be the Latinx version of Don Draper because this is exactly how I could channel my creativity. So I befriended my partner Jazmin Delgado, a graphic designer and together we began to envision Botaníca Creative, an agency that specializes in assisting clients through the creative process resulting in visual dialogue aka visual communications. We were intentional about our branding, that we plan to launch this summer. We want to be taken seriously, as as women of color in the creative industry without our culture being at the forefront defining our work because this is not the expectation for non-woc. Although our Latinx culture is extremely important to us. We want our work to speak for itself. Being Latinx influences us creatively no doubt, and we see this in the authentic relationships we build with clients, and most importantly representing Latinx in the creative industry, we hope more young Latinx women/girls pursue careers in marketing, advertising and graphic design!"

Campaign sample photos of Pascual and young girls: Creative Direction and Photography: Nicole Acosta, Graphic Design: Jazmin Delgado

Campaign sample photos of Pascual and young girls: Creative Direction and Photography: Nicole Acosta, Graphic Design: Jazmin Delgado

2. If you could change one troubling aspect you’ve experienced in the advertising community into a positive outcome, what would it be?

"I would say the lack of women of color in the industry. It’s such a disappointment. Most times it’s because women of color don’t have access to the same opportunities as non-woc. I feel like agencies should see this as an opportunity to recruit from local colleges such as Alverno (shameless plug) or at least offer internships. A little outreach and authentic community building goes a long way."

Nicole continually inspires me to keep working and developing my craft so that these conversations become a lesson from the past.


And if you have a story you want to share about our #WCW or an experience in advertising; let me know in the comments.

Keep creating. /Syn

"I SAID WHAT I SAID" w/ Garahbrie: Caer of Miras 9 (comic)

Ever heard of Caer of Miras 9?

Caer of Mira 9 is a comic line created by Ian Corrao. Ian is a dope illustrator I first met on one of my very first CopyWrite assignments. My eyes instantly shot over to the area he had set up displaying his work and the rest is history. Ian is currently in the process of getting his comic Caer of Miras 9 made into an animated series (created by him of course), all while maintaining the comic itself and managing another comic line he created called Zombiehood, which is also a pretty great read! One of the biggest things that Ian stressed in the interview is how badly he wants to connect with other creatives in the area, so feel free to reach out to him with any ideas you have!

(Here is a sneak peek of his work & process)

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Ian and I even took it to the next level and he made me into a comic! It allowed me to dig a little deeper and get into more of Ian’s creative practices. He asked me things like; my favorite color, things I value, superheros that I like, and super powers that I would want! Can You answer those questions based on the comic below? Send your answers to, the first person to answer those questions correctly will be receiving a little something sweet from us here at CopyWrite. See? The intern loves you!

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We need: ONE favorite color, TWO things that I may value, TWO Superheros that may be my favorite (can be male or female, or anywhere in between), and THREE superpowers that I would want!

In the meantime, feel to follow Caer of Miras 9 on Instagram and Twitter @caerofmiras9 THEN check out the comic itself at


The Intern /Garahbrie