As time for our Thaakat HoopFest Tournament approached take off, we hurridly gathered all of the support we could get. Businesses, people and teams reached out to help in what capacities they could.
I’d like to give a special shoutout to Sullee J, who was en route to Baltimore and halted his trip to rep THAAKAT that weekend of September 25th 2010 to address the crowd.
As the final teams prepared to play their championship game, Sullee took center court and humbly shared some inspirational words. After a day of hustle, the crowd was immediately quiet with respect as he spoke. His address was decorated with thunderous applause by the crowd. Thank you Sullee for including us in your successes! It is often difficult to come across someone with grand talent and a busy schedule who has the time to dedicate to the cause. It is even more difficult to find someone as grounded and as kind as Sullee.
Below is his inspiring address to the crowd!
My name is Sullee J, from BALTIMORE, MD and I just want to briefly tell you a little about myself
and why I think it’s important to follow your dreams, regardless of what other’s tell you is right, and how we can make doing good, feel good.
I use to write poetry growing up, as an outlet, you could consider the pen as my heart and paper my therapist. Already dealing with fake/real friend issues at a young age, racism, personal problems and more, I felt like no one understood me, so I found myself in wrong situations trying to find others for acceptance when really, acceptance was about finding myself. About a year and a half ago, I was told I should try hip hop just to see where it takes me, because of my skill and what I had to say. I never realized how big of an influence music was not just to me but the world. It’s almost like a prayer, second most influential after God. Think about it, when your down, happy, angry, any mood or situation you are going through we pop in a song that helps us cope or feel how we want to, because we like the words and we listen because we can relate and learn from it. I use music as an inspiration, to spread positivity, to make change, to bring about awareness, and realness of what is surrounding us.
I have been around to about a dozen states, to europe twice this year and back, including my mainstream coverage on fox, cbs, cnn news, about 50 mainstream stations across 8 different countries, opening for major industry acts such as mos def, dmx, waka flocka, travis porter, maino, dj drama, whoo kid, jay sean and more. Everywhere I have been I have some how made a difference, whether it was working with the save the children foundation in Norway, or even currently we are building a school in Port Au Prince haiti with Hunter Kinkead, Pascal and the Tony Manshino foundation. So now that you know a little about me, I would like to explain my opinion on following our dreams.
We all have dreams right? We all want to be number one, we all want to be on top or known for something that goes down in history so one day we can be remembered as not just month date and year on a tombstone, but someone of importance.
I feel that Dreams begin in our heart, and who is the one, who seems to be in everyone’s heart that can never be wrong? God! with that being said, what your heart says, is what God has destined for you to walk toward. Not anyone else, just you.
What is a DREAM?
A dream is something you follow
and be the lead
a dream is something you attempt
to see, as long as you believe
Our dreams are what were meant to be
if you don’t fight for your self
or stand up
you’ll end up disliking your self,
dreams are as real as u r, look in the mirror
all it takes is a little belief, patience, hope
n God in the picture
its hard n i get ya
everyone might say your wrong, n predict the
worst n expect nada
but thats what haters do,
let them motivate the fact that u deserve
the best product
so what is a DREAM?
besides a state of sleep
a dream is your will,
will you find the way to be?
It’s important to dream, and mostly follow them, especially if we have the ability and means to do so. Not everyone in this life gets the chance to be what they want to be, it’s not always becuase they never tried, but because they couldnt. Sometimes achieving our dreams, can make others feel like they achieved theres. Dreams. It’s important to introduce this fact not only to ourselves but our future generation, none of us should be forced or pushed into a place where we don’t feel comfortable, the only ones pushing us should be ourselves. It’s always important to follow your heart, because no one understands you like yourself.
Another thing I wanted to say, is about working with charities and doing good for not just community but people in general. You ever realize how good it feels when you make another person smile, a gift worth more then material, something you do from the heart. I think as humans we all need to take part in each other’s lives, some way or some how, regarding positivity in order to make it contagious. Charity is something we should all do, regardless of age, it keeps us humble and and helps us realize what we have, we should be thankful for. There are people in the world, who wear the same clothes for months, who don’t eat but a can of soup for a whole week, who have never seen a playstation or computer. Can you imagine, a lifestyle where you didn’t have the option to be involved. It’s important to be grateful for what you have, because thats what allows you to have more. So I believe it’s not only important but should be apart of us to want to help, that means without motive and just good intention.
With that being said, I hope you see where it has gotten me, I support charity work, because at the end of the day, when it’s our time to go, we only die with deeds, not what’s in our pocket. Do it for yourself, not to brag about it!
Rahul Singh Gill has been on the music scene for more than a decade now. Independently he has housed a major Indian fusion dance team, his own studio, in the work for recording contracts and has long represented the hottest Punjabi tenor on the National Arena. With his fancy footwork, passionate stage presence and a heart of gold, Rahul aims to make it big by proving nice guys- don’t finish last. Thaakat was able to catch a few words with our mighty man recently…
What is your inspiration for the new album?
Rahi- is the name of the album. It means fakhir. This album, whatever money I make is going to go some kind of charity. I want the music to bring people together and give a launching pad for local talent in Chicago. I want people to come to Chicago for recordings.
Where do you hope to be 2 years from now?
I’ll be getting an award in Bollywood and making Punjab proud. I’ll make it possible for the average person with talent to make it big. I’m there as a resource and mentor. I want an award not for my talent but for my efforts in helping people.
How are you different now than you were out of high school?
Life taught me so much. I’ve been through so many troubles. I’ve learned that you can do anything on your own. I used to think that if people don’t support me I can’t get anywhere. I believe that all you need is a light in your heart and the belief that you can do it.
You need to be hungry. What you’ve achieved can never be enough. This is my most important lesson. Be humble , be nice, balance your ego and be hungry. I am such a different guy now than I was in highschool, such a turn around. I’ve really learned how to treat people and elders. I always got what I wanted, now I’ve learned to work hard for it.
Life is just like the movies sometimes…
When you’re not helping people and doing good for society, no one will ever help you. My brother got me this sweatshirt I really wanted the other day and I saw a guy shivering outside. The guy wanted money though I was hesitant, I didn’t know what he would do with it. I had a sweatshirt and I treasured it for the few hours I had it on but I gave it to him. He needed it more than I did. I never take anything for granted anymore. I see that guy every day on my route home from work and he is in that sweatshirt every day.
I wish I could do more for people and one day I hope to be able to do that. It makes me happy. I give out small gestures that make people happy but I don’t have expectations. I just want to be a good person and pray for happiness to spread.
Email us at email@example.com for more info on Rahul and upcoming events!
Pakistan Hosts First Ever Fashion Week despite tumultuous circumstances
Uzma Bawany/Thaakat Foundation/Exec Director
I was getting ready to write my articles this morning when one of my buddies rushed into the room and said, “Yo, did you know Pakistan held it’s first ever fashion week?”
I wasn’t sure what my reaction should be. I have always known Pakistan to be a very fashion forward country. Yeah some people, when they think Pakistan, they think Taliban, threat, bombs, dangerous. What do I think of Pakistan?
Color, patterns, sugar cane juice, fancy shoes, grand shaadis, seaside..Fashion! I know many of you have heard of HSY and Mehmoona Manan- how about Nomi Ansari? I’m not going to lie, I personally can’t afford many of these decorums and neither can 98% of Pakistan’s public but then again isn’t that what grandiose fashion is about? The type of fashion that you can only touch on magazine paper and whose thrill you can only enjoy if you’re there at PAKISTAN’S FIRST EVER FASHION WEEK!
The majority of the Pakistan public enjoys the browsing of silk markets and clothing bazaars. The fun of taking your masterpiece cloth to your favorite “darzi” and getting it sewn in whatever crazy elegancy you wish upon it. Though we can’t afford the grandiose fashion, I’d say many of us clothing desperados are definitely influenced by the pictures they paint in our imagination.
Let’s face it guys, India borders Pakistan. Bollywood is Universal, Indian beauty became a phenom after watching Frieda Pinto in Slumdog Millionaire and dosas- Just wait till we start finding them ready made in grocery stores. So why is Pakistan lagging behind in the arts? It’s dying film industry has been done with for some time now and fashion shows were a no go until a few weeks ago.
Sometimes people need that little light to shine in order to exercise their talent and reach for the stars. Models graced the runway with the likes of the biggest fashion designers in the world. Surging violence in the country did indeed grab headlines and cause many security scares. The fashion show had to be rescheduled twice, but then enough was enough and Karachi decided that the show must go on.
The four day event helped boost an industry that Pakistan SHOULD indeed get recognition for. Unfortunately, it’s the tumultuous persona of the country that gets recognized. Don’t be afraid to embrace our country for all of the good people, colorful culture and talent that it holds!
Let us cheer for better times with some sugar cane juice.
By: Uzma Bawany/Executive Director/Thaakat Foundation
A few weekends ago, Thaakat Foundation had the opportunity to be at Bibi Magazine’s Bridal show. I called Bibi’s promo line a few days prior and had the honor of speaking with Ms. Ayesha Hakki. I had read about Bibi in the past and was inspired by the revolution created by a few women and supported by many. It wasn’t however until the end of our conversation that I learned I was speaking with the brains behind it all.
We felt it a great honor when Ayesha spoke on the other line saying she always tries to help a good cause and said she would love to donate a booth to us. With my favorite search partner Google by my side, I also came to find that Miss. Ayesha organized a fundraiser this past summer for the refugees of SWAT, Pakistan. I thoroughly enjoy it when I come across an accomplished pioneer who rallies their goodwill alongside their successes. Why do I enjoy it so much?
Simply because it doesn’t happen enough. Thank you, Ayesha!
Ms. Hakki is the Editor and Publisher of Bibi Magazine. Bibi is the premier style and bridal print magazine that reaches out to the likes of South Asian Americana. With fourteen years of experience in both the domestic and international publications arenas she founded her niche in cultured couture and started the organization with herself, Shabana Haq and Zooni.
Since her launch in 2000, the magazine has doubled in circulation and has taken on all kinds of fans-South Asians, fashion mavens, young gals and all those who like glitter and glitz. Ayesha captured the pride and glamour of South Asian fashion and brought it to life for those of us in the Americas who thirst for a taste of the greatness from back home. Bollywood makes it all a faraway dream; Bibi puts opulent fashion and pure culture within reach.
Recently, Bibi launched their own bridal shows to bring vendors to those with inspired ideas. Brides, it’s ok to raise your hand and admit you’re lost in the planning process. With South Asian weddings running a span of several days and a sandwich of traditions and colors that you know you must bring to the stage, it’s not easy. Take a lookie at www.bibimagazine.com for help and inspiration!
Interesting choice of name, no?
I love the blend of cultural heritage….
By: Amreena Khan
There is a popular game known as Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. The premise of the game is to link any actor to Kevin Bacon in less than six links. I thought of making a Bollywood version of the same game. Who better to be the head of this game than the man who has pretty much worked with almost everybody from past and present, Amitabh Bachchan? So now…here goes the Six Degrees of Amitabh Bachchan. In honor of the man this game is named after, the first star we’ll link to the Big B is Kevin Bacon. Here it goes…..
Kevin Bacon starred with Kelly Preston in Death Sentence. Kelly Preston starred with Colin Firth in What a Girl Wants. Colin Firth starred with Aishwarya Rai in The Last Legion. Aishwarya Rai starred with Amitabh Bachchan in Khakee and other films, not to mention being his daughter-in-law.
Now we’d like to link a man from Hollywood who is a big fan of Bollywood-Will Smith to Amitabh Bachchan. Will Smith and Angelina Jolie both provide their voices for the animated film Shark Tale. Angelina Jolie starred with Irrfan Khan in A Mighty Heart. Irrfan Khan starred with Tabu in The Namesake. Tabu starred with Amitabh Bachchan in Cheeni Kum.
We want to see how one of the promising newcomers in the industry is related to the Big B- Neil Nitin Mukesh to Amitabh Bachchan. Neil Nitin Mukesh starred with Rimi Sen in Johnny Gaddar. Rimi Sen starred with Abhishek Bachchan in the Dhoom series. Abhishek Bachchan starred with Amitabh Bachchan in Sarkar and other films, along with being his son.
Now we shall link two of the giants of the industry who have never worked together- Aamir Khan to Amitabh Bachchan.Aamir Khan was directed by Raj Kumar Santoshi in Andaz Apna Apna. Raj Kumar Santoshi directed Sunny Deol in movies like Damini, Ghayal, and Ghatak. Sunny Deol starred with Dharmendra in Apne. Dharmendra starred with Amitabh Bachchan in Sholay and other films.
Now we want to link the woman who many believe is the female Big B- Madhuri Dixit to Amitabh Bachchan. Madhuri Dixit starred with Anil Kapoor in Beta and many other films. Anil Kapoor is the father of Sonam Kapoor. Sonam Kapoor was directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali in Saawariya. Sanjay Leela Bhansali directed Amitabh Bachchan in Black.
It is time for the musical phenomenon to be linked with the Godfather- Himesh Reshammiya to Amitabh Bachchan.Himesh Reshammiya starred with Hansika Motwani in Aap Ka Suroor. Hansika Motwani starred with Hrithik Roshan in Koi Mil Gaya. Hrithik Roshan starred with Amitabh Bachchan in Lakshya.
By: Ammara Bokhari
Earlier this month I strolled into the Art Institute of Chicago, the first of many trips I’d make there this month (its free the entire month of February!). I ended up walking through almost the entire museum, visiting nearly all of the galleries on all three levels, granted I did have on some very comfortable shoes and was energized by a Zafi energy drink- but that’s beside the point. It was one work of art in particular that caught my eye and ended up leaving me speechless. Although it was a painting I’d seen quite a few times before on my previous trips here, this time was somehow different. Walking into the Contemporary Art gallery, I found myself to be the only one in the room. I was alone and the air was silent. In front of me hung a masterpiece by an artist I’d studied in depth in my art history classes, especially last semester. It was Jackson Pollock’s Greyed Rainbow (1953). Hanging nearly 6 feet tall and 9 feet wide, the canvas is filled with drips and splashes of paint mostly in white, black, and grey, its abstractness apparent in each fling of color.
Jackson Pollock (1912 – 1956) was one of the most intriguing American artists of the 20th century. Bringing a revolution within the art world with the Abstract Expressionist art movement, his break-through drip style of painting took non-representational art to an entirely new and elevated height. His canvases are filled with busy abstract lines and shapes, stylized at random by pouring, splashing, and dripping paint onto the canvas. It wasn’t just his transcendent paintings that shocked the world- his troubled life also caught much attention, as he battled alcoholism and psychiatric problems.
Some may look at his paintings and think a little kid could paint it. A common misconception. Many have tried to replicate a Pollock, but have deemed unsuccessful. One must realize that Pollock was the first to revolutionize this style, by introducing it and evoking a unique visual experience that had not been seen until that time. Above all, he had the courage to do this… the courage to completely put himself out there, artistically… to expose his soul to the most critical public in a manner that seemed completely idiotic. Art is ever-changing…always. A true artist, is always subconsciously in search of redefining art and may not even be aware of this very fact. They are in search of what hasn’t been done before… in the highest degree of self-expression. How much longer was the world going to see Cubism, Futurism, or the many other stylistic movements of the early 20th century? Pollock’s introduction of abstract-expressionism was a redefining moment.
Okay so back to my visit to the museum: there I stood- a foot and a half away from a Pollock, and became absolutely engulfed in its presence. I was so taken aback by its energy. And finally grasped the essence of my art history lectures. I finally understood the exact emotion my art history professor from last semester spoke of in our Abstract Art class. He spoke of experiencing this profound emotion, an out-of-body experience in front of a painting. I finally got it. The busy lines seemed to be almost coming out towards me. I stared into the painting and got completely lost. It was so powerful… beautiful in depth, and invigorating in emotion. Suddenly I saw Pollock’s troubled life being reflected in the energy of this canvas. He believed in expressing the inner life of the artist through his paintings, wanting to invigorate the viewer with absolute intensity. The absence of an object or image allows the viewer to feel the emotion of his paintings on a much deeper level. What is most intriguing is that the distraction of representation is taken away and one is left to reflect on their individual psyches with their own subconscious interpretation of the painting as the colors are brilliantly reflected towards you. Greyed Rainbow is a true masterpiece. It has a certain euphoric sentiment that can make one drown in its existence. And it is this very emotion that Pollock had aimed to capture. I realized that I was staring at real history. Pollock was a leader of his time- transforming the Abstract Expressionist art movement and inspiring many after him by bridging the path towards modern art. Beautiful.
Here are a few more shots of the painting that I took while I was there:
By: Ammara Bokhari
Within the past few decades, Pakistan has transformed itself within its fashion industry, breeding incredible new talent and paving way for a design revolution. In the likes of painting, sculpture or architecture, fashion design is certainly an art form. Employing creative minds to produce new designs, it invokes a sense of style while influencing the world. If fashion is an art form then haute couture is certainly its finest form of art.
Pakistani fashion is an industry at its peak, set to flourish only further. With the popularity of design schools on the rise, Pakistan has harbored a breadth of talented designers. These designers create ready-to-wear collections- garments produced in mass with standard sizes, which can be tailored to customization and the ever-popular bridal collections- elegant wedding dresses customized to your suiting. In recent years, many young and well-known designers in Pakistan have been creating haute couture collections as well. The term haute couture is a growing phenomenon in Pakistan among designers, particularly young designers, who have acquired great fame within the past few years.
Haute couture [pronounced awt-coo-tour, with the h being silent] is a French term that directly translates to “high fashion”. It refers to a designer’s creation of exclusive custom-fitted clothing and is made to order for a specific customer. What differentiates this from your local bazaar tailor in every city of Pakistan? Well, haute couture is particularly made using high-quality, expensive fabric and sewn with extreme attention to detail and finish. The designs are hand-made with utmost quality, precision, and not to mention beauty. It can never be copied and therefore, holds a one-of-a kind distinction, not to mention one hell of a hefty price tag, adding even more to its appeal and exclusiveness.
Pakistani designers have rolled out with haute couture collections alongside their ready-to-wear and bridal collections, instantly claiming praise and transforming their status to elite. It seems to be an almost marketing tool. When I come across designers and learn of their haute couture collections, I instantly recognize them as one of Pakistan’s best, their couture line only adding to the glitz. These designers certainly have an eye for fashion and create beautiful pieces. However, I begin to wonder, a term of such high exclusivity in Paris, has been used so freely in Pakistan- what claim to these young designers have in proving they have reached the position and level of expertise in fashion to call themselves masters of the art of couture? Many of these young designers have only recently, within the past decade, graduated from fashion design schools in Pakistan, albeit some with degrees particularly in couture. Does a degree, alongside with fame, constitute the couture label? Having an haute couture wedding dress in Pakistan has turned into a trend with young bride-to-be’s.
But there is a huge difference with the world of haute couture in Pakistan and the world of haute couture in Europe, particularly Paris where it originated. In France, the term is protected under law. A special chamber has laid out specific rules a designer must follow in order to use the term haute couture. These rules include: having a workshop in Paris, presenting an haute couture collection in Paris twice a year, each collection having at least 35 designs, for both daytime and evening wear, and designing made-to-order garments for private clients with multiple fittings. I recently watched a one-hour special on haute couture and the secret world behind it on BBC and was surprised to learn that if clothes aren’t handmade in Paris, they cannot be called haute couture. As of this year, there are 12 official members of the trade union of haute couture, all European, with four correspondent members, including Elie Saab from Lebanon, the only designer outside of Europe, and several other guest members.
Haute couture houses include but are not limited to: Chanel, Christian Dior, Jean Paul Gaultier, Giorgio Armani, Valentino, and Givenchy. You may recall some of these names, and recognize that these design houses are the crème-de-la-crème of European fashion. Their names have been engraved in timeless fashion since WWII. Granted, I realize Pakistan is still a young country. And yes, it has immensely flourished in its fashion industry with young designers tastefully ruling the market. But I wonder- have these designers truly reached the status and experience to create haute couture lines and claim to have “couture houses” like Chanel, Armani, and Dior have respectfully been doing? Perhaps the term has simply been transformed into a trend in Pakistan- an exclusive marketing tool- to appeal to the elite who can afford to indulge in this fine art. A fine art- that will only continue to thrive…
By: Uzma Bawany
With unemployment and layoffs at an all time high, many very talented senior officials are fast on the road searching for a new gig. Entry level graduates are on the lookout and part timers looking for more hours on the job- well you can just forget about it. With the employment situation in a whirlwind I have much reason to believe today’s economic depresses are going to make for a more creative work place, perhaps not the most content place just yet, a little anxious and unnerving, but content- is on its way. A recession, a depression, an inconsistency in economic times- I mean it can’t last forever right?
So here are my reasons to believe work will get “creative”…
Thank you for your 20 years with the company- Unfortunately, many of the most senior employees are being laid off as a result of cutting the “high earners” from the expense budget. These were the experienced people that really held that whip firm. Now that many of them have been forced to take leave, the little guys are left to team together to bring focus back. Leaving work in the hands of new comers and many entry level graduates, I feel like focus will go from operation and task focused to media pull and creative frenzy. College graduates are used to treating a task as a project and are new in the workforce (trying to prove their worth) so I feel many new talents, strategies and new ways of operating will be underway.
Let’s take it to Tennessee??- With many companies cutting employees AND locations, offices and shop fronts are being forced to either consolidate, closedown or move to new regions where it is cheaper to operate. In the move or consolidation, they will have to start a new in “marketing” themselves in the industry with their new face, future plans and brand image. In the struggle, creative marketing strategy will be key.
A Pharmacist with the Passion of an Artist- As people are being laid off, they are being forced to finally take time to focus on their “real” dreams. When the economy was opportunity ready and jobs were available, one had to focus on “where the money was at,” often excluding what people thought were just “elusive” dreams. Now, we’ve got the time and not many options so we’re taking the time to put our hearts and minds to work in careers and places that we never thought possible. Many are picking up art classes, music lessons, web design instructors, volunteering in free time. Not only this, but many of us are using our wayside talents to try to pull in money. Offering lessons and taking on creative project based work.
So all of you marketers, fresh thinkers, risk takers and inventive mimes- speak out and rise to the occasion. Creativity takes its turn…