YBF: from nothing to something!

Opposed to starting my own blog I would feel way more comfortable commenting on other people’s posts, but hey what can you do. This is not to say that I am 100 per cent against blogging but rather that I strongly feel that some people are more suitable as authors than others.

Allow me to introduce you to my home page on my laptop, a blog that I visit daily, and have never commented on, named I have been reading this blog created by Natasha Eubanks for about three to four years now and it has really come a long way. Over the years it has improved and transitioned into a huge space for black celebrity gossip and fashion. Establishing a space for readers to congregate for online discussion, and receive up to date celebrity gossip information; sign up for events and to receive the monthly online magazine and so much more, whew. As the site steadily improves increasing ad space and interactivity I can’t help but think, why didn’t I come up with this? J The answer to that question is as clear as day I have never been technologically savy and hip to the internet game, like that. Natasha (ybf origionator) on the other hand and has a strong team of active contacts that continues to grow and gain strength so to her I say keep up the good work.

Although I am not a actively participating member I still consider myself an active member of the ybf community (making me a ‘ybfchick’ in my own right). After frequenting this and other blogs I found that the blogroll feature is also a quite helpful tool. And if you enjoy ybf I encourage you to check out and take notice to the reoccurring sites on your favourite persons blogroll, you could really get hooked (reading them at the very least).


So you think your style is unique…you are not alone!

As we all know with today’s advancements in technology the world is shrinking!

No matter how unique you think someone is there seems to be someone else just a matter of miles away who is just as or even more interesting. Our quirks and idiosyncrasies are what make us who we are but what do you do when someone follows ‘your style’. 

Although I’m late, take a look at this, five New Yorkers who have just one colour in their entire wardrobe, featured in the February issue of New York Magazine.

Some people may think of this as some kind of a sickness while others believe that they are simply ‘different’ then the average person.

How do you feel about it?



What would they do if everyone decided to follow their lead?

 It has become a typical practice for people to dress in black or full white all the time but anything else, ummm.

With all this favourite colour talk, I got the thinking and asked a friend of mine what if all PR practitioners adopted this style? Because we don’t have a recognizable uniform if we all wore the same colour we could be the leaders of a new trend?


The 2008 April cover of Vogue Magazine


NBA basketball player LeBron James and model Gisele Bundchen are in a ‘King Kong and Fay Wray’ type pose across the magazine cover and some people are taking obvious offence, much as I did upon first glance.

But then…

As rare as this may be, I began to see the inspiration beyond their juxtaposition, eventually finding the photo quite appealing. Moreover, after further examination, I have really come to enjoy the contrast aside from all the controversy.
I feel like this cover is something of great interest to many people especially in terms of media representation.

As all this continues to progress I just cannot help but ponder, who is Gisele’s publicist? Kudos to them and the entire creative communications team at Vogue they definitely have the people talking even way before the issue hit the stands.

I am anxious to see how this situation continues to progress.

Why practice social media optimization (SMO)?

As a PR student standing on the outskirts of the practice and occasionally getting my feet wet, I feel that some of the most influential trends within the industry have been rapidly emerging online.

Just as hard as some people are trying to stay out of the Google search, there are billions more making more than conscious efforts to try and get in. One of the best ways to do this while simultaneously receiving recognition through social media sites is through appropriately aligning yourself with the tools of SMO.

Here is a diagram which demonstrates appropriate spaces in which one can practice SMO

SMO diagram

 For those that still don’t get it (don’t worry, you are a lot like me) the definition from wikipedia is as follows

Social media optimization (SMO) is a set of methods for generating publicity through social media, online communities and community websites. Methods of SMO include adding RSS feeds, adding a “Digg This” button, blogging and incorporating third party community functionalities like Flickr photo slides and galleries or YouTube videos. Social media optimization is a form of search engine marketing.SMO is in many ways connected as a technique to viral marketing where word of mouth is created not through friends or family but through the use of networking in social bookmarking, video and photo sharing websites. In a similar way the engagement with blogs achieves the same by sharing content through the use of RSS in the blogsphere and special blog search engines such asTechnorati.  

In other words, SMO allows people to do things like bookmark your website through tagging websites such as Allowing people to save / tag your online resource in a public space allowing them the opportunity to see who else is reading and tagging your online resource. This process of tagging in some ways is much like the interactive process confronted when visiting the SMO home page wiki at

To learn more about the starting process of SMO consider this helpful blog “The beginners guide to Social Media Optimization” .

And for aditional information check out this article in BizReport “Must Do Marketing for 2008” or maybe this one, “Corporate communities” in Marketing magazine.

Although the proposal requires some more work, I vote YES on U-pass

The Toronto Star featured an article today entitled TTC pass proposal divides campus by Paola Loriggio some of the key points in the article were


-“U-pass” will be a discounted transit pass whose cost is bundled into student fees. 

– it would cost $60 a month, compared with the $87.75 it currently costs to buy a student Metropass.

– the U-pass fee would be frozen until 2010, regardless of fare hikes.

– If U of T votes in favour of the pass, the students could opt for a discounted York Region Transit pass or a GO discount as well.

-the implementation of the U-pass forces all students to pay even if they don’t use public transit.

I am unsure about further details of the proposal, never the less I feel that there is no reason why a college or university student should not get a public transit discount? I believe that they actually need the discount even more then high school students do.  Post secondary students are responsible for paying tuition, buying books, studying, reading etc. They are always doing way too much, which means that they deserve a break wherever they can get it. 

After the next three months I will no longer be a student but as someone who had to do what some people would consider an insane public transit commute for my graduate studies, I strongly believe that the “U-pass” can only work in favour for student riders, especially those who really need it.

Alternatively, I disagree that the pass should make everyone pay regardless of whether they take the TTC or not. However, I can understand where this suggestion comes from and it might even inspire people some into taking public transit. For those of us that refuse to park their car paying for a pass should not be that big of an issue. I mean those are the students who can afford to pay insurance, speeding and or parking tickets, campus parking and rising gas prices.

Call me crazy but I also think that if something is included in my school fees I see it as something that can’t be challenged. Institutional costs are something that I basically ignore and consider as part of the process; similar to the tax that you can never avoid on your cell phone bill. Because of all these and other hidden / unexplained fees we have to face in life. I think the “U-pass” can only be seen as a discount and as a student (post-secondary institution or not) any discount is a good discount!

KanYe vs. Balenciaga

I found out late last week that KanYe West was ‘not allowed’ to enter the Balenciaga Fashion Week fashion show in Paris and the first thing that came to mind is why? I mean despite his unpredictable behaviour and slick comments haven’t we all grown to love him and his brilliant antics already?With all the speculation I decided to go straight to the source, KanYe’s blog in which his response to the entire situation was as follows

I just love the clothes!  Lex and I are not there 2 take pictures… I don’t have an album about 2 drop… my tour is sold out… I love fashion and this is one of the funnest things we can make time for!  I totally love and respect any designer that won’t let me come 2 there show… it’s their show… they don’t owe me anything… Balenciaga is one of the illest lines right now and I don’t feel any type of way about not getting in!  There’s always a catch 22 in being a celeb … your motives are always questioned… but only time will show my true love MY FIRST LOVE is for fashion and I appreciate just being in a position 2 afford 2 be able 2 spend a week in Paris visiting shows. I wish everyone could have this experience, the new music you hear, the new people you meet and most of all the beautiful clothes! I understand that some designers don’t want all that unnecessary commotion at there shows, that’s what I mean by “I get a lot of attention” …  I feel like music and fashion don’t bridge enough… at least not as much as it did in the 80’s when Madonna and Michael actually influenced designers… there was a give and take. I never use my blog 2 clear stuff up… but this is so close 2 my heart I had 2 say something… Anyone saying something negative has it wrong, they’ve got me wrong… I just want 2 make great art on every level and fashion shows are one of the best forms of art in the world. Thank you Paris again for the inspiration!!! 

If this is not PR at its best, what is? KanYe West overtly defending himself by placing a reactionary statement for being locked out on his own blog, I loves it. Sound like we should look out for a KanYe clothing line in the near future to me. Isn’t it funny how PR practitioners have been given the name “spin doctors” when in reality that title can be grated to any successful “artist”. Speaking of Balenciaga have you seen the gladiator sandals, for the spring / summer 2008 collection, absolutley crazy!

PR stunt, fashion statement or just plain ignorance?

Last week Sunday, I watched the 50th annual Grammy awards and experienced a number of disappointments: Beyonce’s wardrobe, the background music during Kanye acceptance speech and the word “Nigger” plastered across rapper Nas’s chest.

My initial thought was “I can’t be seeing this on one of the most important nights in music and someone just had to go and act a fool”. To make matters worse he was not the only one wearing this ‘untimely’ (February, Black history month) red carpet get up. The rapper was accompanied by his wife Kelis and about three members of his entourage.

Putting my personal feelings aside towards the term and its many appropriated meanings, I realized that the “Nigger” attire was worn for promotional purposes. To create some buzz for his up coming album conveniently titled, “Nigger”. Rumours had been circulating about the album title since 2006 when Nas wanted to title his last album “the N” however he opted for the less controversial, but equally disturbing “Hip hop is dead”.

For me all this ‘scheming’ seems quite strange as it simply adds to one shady resume. All this coming from the man who delivered one of the greatest hip hop albums of all time 1994’s Illmatic. At a time when Nas established himself as a young gifted poet to the hip-hop world often described as a conscious rapper and a talented lyricist.

So, since then what happened? Some may say he feel off, or he’s getting to old for the rap game…well I think he is doing what many of the major corporations are doing today, he is simply changing with the times. Doing whatever he needs to in order to stay relevant and his attempts through my eyes have worked. Although I am unsure if things had gone the way he or his publicist wanted them to. I watched both pre-Grammy shows on E! and ET Canada but neither of their correspondents spoke to him, however, we can always depend on (the people’s choice) CNN.

 I feel that Nas is trying to take strength away from such a historically racial word with such strong loaded meanings, particularly the fact that “we can all be niggers”. This was supported by his wife, who stated that John Lennon shared some similar views as Nas concerning the term on “Women are the niggers of the world”.

Is he educating the hip hop community or discrediting the hip hop community?

I’ll  leave it for you to decide.