Tina Brown's 7th Annual Women In The World Summit - Day 1
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Cuban Songstress Dayme Arocena Is The World's Next Jazz Phenomenon

A 24-year-old Cuban songstress just might be the successor of Nina Simone and Celia Cruz. 

It's not often that a 24-year-old garners international acclaim and musical comparisons to musical giants Nina Simone and Celia Cruz, but Cuban-born Dayme Arocena is no ordinary artist.

Raised in Havana, she was hailed a musical prodigy, becoming a trained composer, arranger, choir director, and band leader, in addition to singing. At eight, she began performing semi-professionally; six years later, she became the lead singer of Los Primos. Her charming demeanor has captivated audiences worldwide, particularly with Grettel Jimenez Singer of Paper, in a fascinating interview piece.

The Cuban songstress is an avid practitioner of Santería, an Afro-Caribbean religion based on Yoruba beliefs, frequently dressing in a turban, complimented by an all white ensemble, symbolizing the faith. ""Madres", the first song in the Nueva Era album is meant to be a prayer for my two spiritual mothers, Oshún and Yemayá, who are also mothers to the rivers and the seas. It's essentially about mothers and daughters in the world and the strength we need from each other."

She credits the faith for helping her to deliver an otherworldly performance onstage: "My head is definitely Yemayá, practical, yet nourishing and forgiving, but very protective of those I love. My body however is one hundred percent Oshún. She is the orisha of love, beauty, femininity, and sensuality. Her body is voluptuous and it carries joy just like mine. I wasn't always fond of my body." With the practice of Santería came a blossoming of confidence. "I wasn't always fond of my body. I used to be ashamed of how I looked, how short I am, about my skin color. As a result, my spirit was crushed and my presence on stage was tarnished by my own judgment. That's in the past now. I have mastered the art of not just loving but adoring myself. As women, we must understand who we are and what we're made of, accept what nature has given us, and be comfortable with our sexuality. Nobody can resist that," says Arocena.

It's this connection with potent spiritual forces that enables Arocena to improvise musically, to blend genres if so inclined, despite preferring jazz music in her free time. "My music is frank," she says. "That's one way I can describe it, and that means anything can happen. When la musa shows up, I welcome her and take whatever she's offering: pop, jazz, Afro-Cuban chants, filin… I take it all and give it my all."

Arocena's musical improvisation is also indicative of the new sonic sound emanating from her home country, evident in her debut album Nueva Era, which was released in 2015. "What she is doing is drawing on all this contemporary music that's happening in Cuba. A mixture of salsa, a mixture of jazz, a mixture of hip-hop, neo-soul—that nice little combination," notes NPR music podcast host, Felix Contreras. "And then adding elements of Afro-Cuban rumba with music, with vocals, with dancing styles—all of that, and put in this really wonderful package."

Jazz, according to Arocena, provides a center for musical interpretation and improvisation. "If you mix jazz with everything, it always works—that’s why I love it. It gives me all the opportunity to create as I feel it. I always try to be honest with myself. I always try to create as I feel it, even knowing that new song is always going to have that jazzy taste inside," she told Miami New Times.

The songbird's presence is striking, a walking visual of the magic of Afro-Cuban culture. "Cuba is a talented country, full of talented people with bright ideas. Cubans are innovators by nature, but we have been secluded and isolated from the rest of the world for many decades," explains Arocena. "There's also something beautiful about that, in the sense that it has made us a remarkably pure culture. But this is a different era, and the time has arrived for Cubans to learn how the rest of the world works."

"We are like magicians. We have made cars work for 50 years out of nothing at all," she continues, speaking about her beloved island. "We reinvent life every single day in order to eat and to withstand the quotidian struggles, which aren't few, and we do it with a smile because above all, we celebrate life to the fullest. So what do I want from this new change happening right now? I want freedom, information, and visibility. I want to be able to exchange ideas with the rest of the world, nourish mentally and emotionally from other cultures and vice versa."

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Popular Celeb Spot 'La Marina' Shut Down After Drug Bust

Adored by celebrities like French Montana, Jay-Z and Leonardo DiCaprio, New York hot spot La Marina might be closing its doors for a good after a drug bust led to a suspension of their liquor license.

A statement released Dec. 6 by the New York Liquor Authority (SLA) broke down the case, which overlapped with an investigation by the NYPD in July. Bar manager Christian Mendez, 33, was arrested in November on felony charges after he was caught selling large amounts of cocaine, oxycodone and other drugs to undercover NYPD detectives. Their investigation into the venue also revealed 72 violations of the state liquor law like selling liquor to minors and impaired customers.

Chairman Vincent Bradley and Commissioner Lily Fan condemned the venue and hope to yank their liquor license for good. “When a bar manager is able to traffic and sell these types and quantities of narcotics from within an establishment it is incredibly alarming," Counsel to the Authority Christopher R. Riano said.

“Licensees have a responsibility to ensure their establishments are operating within the law, and the SLA is obligated to take emergency action as it is clear that this licensee has failed to take any meaningful actions to protect the public.”

La Marina was also hit with sixteen violations of the ABC Law, including seven counts of operating disorderly premises for permitting the trafficking of controlled substances, six violations for fire, health and more safety code violations. Their inspection grade in July was something close to an F minus for mishandlings of food, shoddy plumbing and the presence of mice and flies.

The venue has been a staple in the area since its opening in 2012, attracting big celebrities and brands like Red Bull and HBO. The New York Post notes La Marina has a 15-year lease, where they make up to $7 million a year in revenue.

Their social presence hasn't acknowledged their current status, but their calendar for upcoming events has been scrapped from their website.

READ MORE: DJ Collective WeAreHouse78 Are Making The Best Party Ever...At 9AM

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Judge Awards Cardi B Release Without Bail After Alleged Bartender Attack

Cardi B reported to court Friday morning (Dec. 7) in efforts to resolve an ongoing court case, which stems from an alleged altercation back in August at a Queens strip club involving two bartenders named Jade and Baddie Gi.

Prior to attending court, the "Money" MC was threatened to face jail time by the judge in charge of the case if she missed today’s court date. She reportedly had a court appearance on Monday (Dec. 3) that she failed to report to.

In October, the Bronx rapper (born Belcalis Almanzar) turned herself in to authorities after being accused of orchestrating a physical attack on the servers at Angels Strip Club. Per TMZ, she was arrested for two misdemeanor charges: assault and reckless endangerment.

One of the bartenders, Jade Gi, was accused of having an affair with Cardi’s (now possibly estranged) husband, Migos member Offset. The “She Bad” rapper was released without bail. Prosecutors reportedly wanted to charge her with a $2,500 bail, but the judge felt she wasn’t a flight risk, meaning she wouldn’t leave the country before the case is over in its totality.

However, the judge did warn Cardi to have “no contact” to Baddie and Jade Gi, after he granted both an order of protection against the 26 year-old. She’s also not allowed to make any threats or comment on the two on social media.

Cardi is reportedly scheduled to head back to court sometime next month.

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Premiere: Fuego And A. Chal Take Over The Strip Club In "Dancin" Music Video

Dominican trap artist Fuego has created an ode to the art of stripping with his new single “Dancin,” featuring producer and R&B extraordinaire A. Chal. The visuals for the track are laced with bright blue club lights and brief salacious interludes of voluptuous young ladies dancing provocatively.

The two are seemingly in a never-ending party in efforts to promote strip club etiquette through their tantalizing lyrics. There's no denying that Fuego's sound is reminiscent of today's prominent trap artists like Migos and Future, but he packs in a Latino flair, like his contemporaries Bad Bunny and El Alfa. The Washington D.C. native's sound is similar, but it's worth noting he's been on the scene for a while, steadily etching his mark as his musical prowess rises within hip-hop and Latin audiences.

“For some reason, I've always wanted to do a sound that American hip-hop has, and then break that my way,” he tells VIBE. “When it comes to putting stuff together and making fusions of music, I've done it all my life. When I first started out, I did reggae beats, but I was rapping over them. There’s a little more urban, hip-hop sound in the Latin community. Before, it was mad reggae. It either had to be a tropical type song or reggaeton song. I've always wanted to come out with hip-hop music."

Watch the video for "Dancin" below.

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