Lowe & Behold: Jamaican Chinese Trace Roots From Harlem To Circa BC

Finding Samuel Lowe family photoBy Vinette K. Pryce

Nell Vera Lowe was no ordinary woman. Despite the fact she struggled to make ends meet after migrating to New York to settle on one of the most crime-riddled blocks in Harlem she had extraordinary dreams and perhaps that is why she is the subject of a documentary film featured during the recent Urbanworld Film Festival. Continue Reading →

Traci Braxton On ‘Braxton Family Values’ (video)

traci brxton on braxton family valuesAfter all the drama, Evelyn insists the sisters go to Jamaica to have some fun. Traci talks about her new single, the need for less drama with her sisters and running late to Toni’s concert.

Continue Reading →

Harlem Fave Sheryl Lee Ralph Honored At The Jamaica Independence Ball

sheryl-lee-ralph-approved-photo-2The stage is all set for the Skatalites, Sheryl Lee Ralph, and Karl and Faye Rodney, to be bestowed with honors at the Jamaica Independence Ball in New York, [this] Saturday, August 16, at the New York Marriot Marquis Hotel, located at , 1535 Broadway, New York, scheduled for 8pm-3:00am. The cocktail hour begins at 6:30pm. Continue Reading →

Harlem Remembers Marcus 100 Years Later– A Tribute To Harlem’s Own D.r Clarke

Marcus Mosiah Garvey -By Vinette K. Pryce

One hundred years after Jamaica’s Marcus Mosiah Garvey formed the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) in his birth island, his legacy is being touted. Continue Reading →

Jamaicans Celebrate Two Milestone Achievements In Harlem

Jamaica 52By Vinette K. Pryce

Jamaicans in New York rallied with purposeful prayers to give thanks for their island’s 52 years of independence and also for the longevity of one of its oldest organization in the United States. Continue Reading →

Harlem’s Conrad Norman, 1908

Negro Basketball New York Girls Cole Sisters Harlem Repro POSTCARD#200Conrad Norman, the Jamaican-born founder of the Alpha Physical Culture Club of Harlem, America’s first African American athletic club at the turn of the 20th century in 1904. Continue Reading →

HW Pick: Esther Anderson Talks About Bob Marley Documentary

Bob and Esther 2Comprised of never-before-seen archival footage, this enthralling 2011 documentary, directed by Esther Anderson and Gian Godoy, unveils rare glimpses into Bob Marley and The Wailers’s rise to stardom, including the band’s first rehearsal. Continue Reading →

HW Pick: ‘Marcus Garvey, Look For Me In The Whirlwind’ Film In Harlem

marcus garveyMarcus Garvey: Look For Me In The Whirlwind, the first comprehensive documentary to tell the life story of this controversial leader, uses a wealth of material from the Garvey movement-written documents, film and photographs-to reveal what motivated a poor Jamaican to set up an international organization in Harlem for the African diaspora, what led to his early successes, and why he died lonely and forgotten. Continue Reading →

Yolande’s Yard: Asali Yoga Studio, Sweet Honey in Harlem (video)

asali1Asali means sweet honey in Somali.  Erica Robinson, the founder of Asali Yoga, had a friend create her logo of a bee resting on a lotus leaf before she knew she had a space to open her new yoga studio on 135th Street and Frederick Douglas Boulevard.

EricaHeadshot“I don’t believe you have to get all your ducks in a row,” she said. “I think you should work with whatever you have.”

“This yoga studio is a good example of speaking something into being,” she said. “I had a client who was a realtor and I said to him, ‘One day I’m going to open a yoga studio in Harlem.’ He showed me several spaces and offered me this one at a very affordable rate.”

“After this experience,” Erica said, “I believe that the universe sees that you’re trying so then it gives you something.”

The Asali studio is in the process of being renovated but already has an aura of tranquility.  The open stone walls are alternately lacquered and painted gold.  There is a soft wood floor and the window frames are a cool blue.  Outside the frosted front windows, cheerful yellow flowers peek through.

asali2

“The thing about Erica,” said a client who found her through a Living Social deal, “is that she says hello to everyone.  She’s involved in the community.”  Another client told me she loves Erica’s “good energy.”

Because of Erica’s relaxed nature during our conversation, I imagined that her yoga class would be on the easy side.  During her Saturday noon class, I discovered that her style of Vinyasa yoga keeps things moving for the full hour and a half.

asali3

Erica’s Saturday class had an equal mix of men and women and she gave individualized attention to each person at their level.  Although, certain poses felt difficult, I remembered Erica’s advice to breathe through the movements.  By the time she turned the lights down at the end, I felt a sense of accomplishment and even peace.

Asali Yoga also houses an acupuncture clinic on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.  Erica has a variety of ideas for the future of Asali Yoga including Friday night yoga with live acoustic accompaniment, thai yoga massage classes, and a yoga/culinary retreat in Jamaica.  She plans to renovate her back room to use as a private massage area.  And the backyard will become a tea garden.

This August, Asali is studio of the month at Lululemon Lincoln Center.  On August 14th at 10am Erica will be teaching a free yoga class at Lululemon Bryant Park.  Asali Yoga’s schedule is available online at asaliyoga.com.

Here’s the video:

Photos by Alexis Percival