JOURNALIST | EDUCATOR
"Punjabi's writing creates a strong presence, whether on hip hop or on social issues."
— DR. LOUIS PARASCANDOLA, Professor and author of
A Coney Island Reader: Through Dizzy Gates of Illusion
Photo credit: Kellyann Petry
THE FIGHT TO SALVAGE NEW ORLEANS'S MUSIC IDENTITY
AUGUST 2, 2016
"In a culture where children produce dizzying footwork to Mardi Gras anthems and are often given brass instruments before they can reasonably hold them, music is more than anextra curricular."
BLACK LIVES MATTER IN THE ORCHESTRA PIT, TOO
JULY 8, 2016
"Halfway throught the song, Bryant's vibrant refrain transitions into claps of thunder as she bangs on the keys with her fists. The result is not classical and clean. It's an expression of the human condition, and more specifically her experience as a black woman in America."
BLACK IRIS PROJECT PLANS TO BUCK BALLET'S TRADITION
JUNE 1, 2016
"The two dancers belong to a black ballet collaborative called Black Iris Project, which aims to create and perform pieces that tell storiesabout black history and culture. "What we usually know of ballets are usually rooted in European tradition - so classical ballets are usually Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake," says Jeremy McQueen, the project's founder and creative director tells the Voice. "We wanted to take that, turn it upside down and bring some black perspectives into it."
GET TO KNOW THE WOMAN BEHIND THE BEATS: KIMBERLY THOMPSON
APRIL 21, 2016
"Being submissive hides the fact that we have super strength. We have to accept that part of ourselves and own it," says the drummer the day before the concert, as she reflects on being a woman in the male-dominated field. Raised in Missouri and currently residing in Los Angeles, Thompson's accolades are plenty and diverse: she's performed worldwide at prestigious venues, played in Seth Meyer's house band as well as toured with Beyonce's all-woman band.
HOW LIVING IN THE SOUTH FIXED MY BODY IMAGE
APRIL 18, 2016
I can't speak for all of the deep South, but I found that while skinny and fit is revered in the north, thick thighs are paramount in New Orleans. Many New Yorkers run up and down subway stairs, frequent CrossFit classes and opt for quinoa instead of white rice. New Orleanians drive everywhere and put fried seafood in their sandwiches. This is a broad generalization, of course, but I must contextualize how my 11 glorious, newly aquired pounds came to be.
AFTER THE STORM: 10 YEARS LATER, MEMORIES OF KATRINA ARE STILL FRESH
New York Daily News
AUGUST 31, 2015
When Lance Johnson, then 25, got his two aged parents and other neighborhood elderly to the New Orleans Convention Center a few days after Hurricane Katrina hit, he realized he’d made a terrible mistake.”It was so f—- ed up. People were barbecuing. There were crackheads looking for their next fix. Doctors and nurses had set up makeshift triages,” Johnson recalled, as the 10th anniversary of the devastating natural disaster looms. He took one look at conditions inside, and turned his rag-tag group around to sleep outside in a makeshift camp.
THE EVOLUTION OF HIP HOP'S OBSESSION WITH FEMALE BISEXUALITY
JULY 21, 2015
For better or worse, hip-hop has always fetishized female bisexuality. From female artists themselves using innuendo in order to pique curiosity to male rappers describing hordes of groupies starting the party before he even gets to the hotel room, girl-on-girl action has been a motif in this genre more than any other.
CULTURAL IMMERSION VS MISAPPROPRIATION
India Abroad Magazine
JULY 3, 2015
The second floor of the yoga studio was stunning. The gleaming hardwood floor seemed to stretch for miles. The lighting was gentle but energizing, emanating from multicolored Chinese lanterns strategically suspended from the cathedral style ceilings, complete with frosted skylights.
YOUTH VOICES AGAINST THE SCHOOL TO PRISON PIPELINE
Of Note Magazine
Winter 2014/15 The Imprisoned Issue
“Almost every member of Truthworker has a family member who is currently or has been incarcerated,” says the company’s founder, Samara Gaev. “That was not a prerequisite. That just happens to be the case.”
Founded in July of 2013, the Truthworker Theatre Company brings together young people between the ages of 15 to 22 to create, write, and perform in productions that reflect stories from their own lives as well as those entangled in the prison industrial complex—stories that are often discounted and disregarded.
Over the past few months, we’ve seen the hip-hop community react to the grand jury decisions not to indict the police officers in the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown. Rappers like J. Cole, Nas and Macklemore have joined in peaceful protests from New York City to Seattle. And because race is an inextricable element of hip-hop, many artists have taken to social media to express their derision, disbelief or straight up disgust.
NAS PREMIERES 'TIME IS ILLMATIC' AT TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL, PERFORMS DEBUT ALBUM
“‘Illmatic’ came out 20 years ago,” Robert DeNiro said Wednesday night (April 16) onstage at Beacon Theatre in New York City. “It’s been 20 years since I was 20 years too old to admit I was listening to rap.” The actor then spoke of the impact of Nas’ artistry on the city at opening night of the Tribeca Film Festival, which DeNiro co-founded in 2002. His words prefaced the premiere of ‘Time Is Illmatic,’ a documentary that explores Nas’ thought process in crafting his lauded debut effort. “The film is about the making of an album and the making of an artist here in our hometown.”
SEARCHING FOR OUR DECOLONIZED IMAGE: NICKI MINAJ PUTS THE "OTHER" IN THE OTHER WOMAN
The trailer for The Other Woman, a flick about the unlikely blossoming friendship of three women (Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann, and Kate Upton) while they conspire against their mutually shared cheating man (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), was released last week. Nicki Minaj is in it too, and a plethora of entertainment outlets are ablaze with blurbs about her non-animated silver screen debut.
DR. MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY AND RAJUL DISCUSS GENDER, SEXUALITY AND HIP HOP
A clip from the panel, “Women MCs Creating New Sexual Spaces” at the 2013 Gender, Sexuality and Hip Hop Conference at Tulane University in New Orleans. Dr. Harris-Perry waxes poetic about females emcees and their alter egos here with Rajul Punjabi and fellow panelist, Sabia McCoy Torres.
RAJUL'S COMMENTARY ON HIP HOP COLLECTIVES
A clip from an upcoming documentary by the young and talented journalist, Camille Padilla Dalmau of Columbia University. Rajul adds insight on the style and strategies of an up and coming hip hop group, as well as comments on what it takes to get on and stay on.
THERE'S AN ELEMENT OF WHO YOU ALIGN WITH RATHER THAN WHAT YOU ARE
India Abroad Magazine
AUGUST 23, 2013
My Indian-American identity is a really big dichotomy because there are lots of parts of being Indian that are really beautiful and, by the standards of the larger context here, exotic. Because while it wasn't cool at all to be Indian when I was a kid, now it's the coolest thing in the world. So I'm kind of battling the childlike part of me that was told that it's not okay to be different. And the part of me that's living in New York with the yoga and the great Indian food - well, I love it, I absolutely love it.
MONAE, MAYWEATHER AND THE CURIOUS CASE OF THE FEMALE ALTER EGO
The Huffington Post
SEPTEMBER 13, 2013
A few evenings ago, the sultry, sci-fi chanteuse Janelle Monáe teamed up with Target and Sonos to host a private concert on a picturesque pier in New York City to celebrate the release of her third studio album, The Electric Lady. LaLa Vasquez, Toccara Jones and Miguel, among others, mingled in the VIP, ice and vodka splashed around in cups, and a chilly breeze rocked the fancy little ship that the songstress emerged from to drop some solid live music on a crowd of industry fans.
TACKS ON TACKS: ARTIST ANDRE WOOLERY PINS DOWN KANYE, JAY, AND OTHER HIP-HOP FIGURES
The Village Voice
FEBRUARY 21, 2013
A hip-hop Lichtenstein with a Staples "Easy" button, contemporary artist Andre Woolery used thumbtacks to create the mosaics that make up his first solo exhibit, "Bruised Thumbs," which opened at the Frontrunner Gallery in Tribeca last night. Woolery's vibrant tribute to black music includes ornate portraits of icons such as Erykah Badu, Jimi Hendrix, Kanye West and Jay-Z, and the tacks embody the artist's penchant for manipulating light and color with simple elements.
HIP HOP AS A NECESSARY TOOL IN THE COLLEGE CLASSROOM
The Huffington Post
NOVEMBER 14, 2012
For homework in my undergraduate Literature course, I asked students to pen a prose piece in response to one of Jamaica Kincaid's works, emulating her format and cadence while creating their own content. For thirty fruitless minutes, I droned on, trying to explain the assignment. Blank faces, more questions, more confusion. I began to doubt myself as an educator and a human being in general. Why didn't they get it?
HOW BARACK AND MICHELLE OBAMA RESTORED MY FAITH IN MARRIAGE
SEPTEMBER 10, 2012
Talk is cheap, which is why political speeches have never really been appealing to me. However, Michelle Obama's speech during the Democratic National Convention really got me thinking. Not so much about taxes, health reform and the election, but about love. So here, I declare my radical political stance: Barack and Michelle have my dream relationship. Their actions, words—and even their innuendo—have built my standard of what makes for a healthy and enduring marriage.
10 QUESTIONS FOR MUSIQ SOULCHILD
MARCH 28, 2011
In an industry consumed by the almighty dollar, Musiq Soulchild is just interested in a little bit of change. Today, the singer lays back on a black leather couch, his posture relaxed but his facial expression all business. Designer shades—broad and opaque—shield his eyes from his own hoodie, which is oddly blinged out for a neo-soul crooner. But then again, doesn’t the “neo” imply something fresh and unexpected?
LAURYN HILL BOOGIES DOWN IN BROOKLYN
DECEMBER 29, 2010
“Sorry if you had to wait a few minutes or a few hours,” the radiant, yet defensive Lauryn Hill said on Tuesday night (Dec. 28) as she approached the intimate masses during a tour stop at Brooklyn’s Music Hall of Williamsburg, “but I personally think I’m worth it.” And she was.
U CHIC'S DIPLOMA DIARIES: THE CHIC GRAD'S GUIDE TO WORK, LOVE AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN
The College Grad's Guide to a Fabulous Life in the Real World!
Life after college is an amazing adventure, and best of all, you get to decide how to do it! But the real world can be daunting too, from job stress to new dating rules to learning to live on a serious budget. To help you navigate this transition, the editors of the #1 college women's website, UChic.com, created this indispensable guide, packed with true stories, tips, and tricks for achieving a fabulous future.