Music Video, "It Kills Me" By Recording Artist, Melanie Fiona

Below, I've featured the latest music video from Toronto-based soul/r&b vocalist, Melanie Fiona's debut album--"The Bridge".

This, the music video for "It Kills Me" was directed by Paris and New York-based photographer, videographer and film director, Armen Djerrahian and will be debuting tonight on BET's 106 & Park tonight at 6:00 PM (EDT).

Through working with her in the past, I know that Melanie is by far one of the hardest working young musicians that I've come across and her debut album and this video are only a small glimpse into what she's capable of and what she will be producing in the near future.

She's inevitably destined for greatness.

You can learn more about Melanie Fiona and her music through the following URLs:

Ajani Charles

a j a n i photography: digital image solutions

melanie fiona
Recording Artist, Melanie Fiona By Ajani Charles of a j a n i photography: digitial image solutions

Interview, DJ Wristpect of Smash Squad DJs/Core DJs By Ajani Charles of a j a n i photography: digital image solutions

I recently interviewed Toronto's DJ Wristpect, as part of my research for my black and white photographic documentary/photographic essay on Toronto's entire Hip-Hop community--Project T Dot.

DJ Wristpect is one of the most sought after and highly regarded  entertainers in Canada.

He is not only the youngest and newest member of  Clinton Sparks' elite Smash Squad DJ collective, but he is also the youngest and only entertainer to be nominated for five Stylus Awards and was recently awarded the prestigious Canadian Club DJ of the Year award in addition to his many other accolades.

Constantly improving on his craft and his various business ventures at an astonishing rate, DJ Wristpect is definitely an entertainer and an artist to watch not only in Canada, but also internationally.


So, you just got back from Asia, right?


Yeah. I was just out in China a couple of weeks ago.. At M1NT Nightclub in Hong Kong on Sept 4, and M1NT Shanghai on Sept 5. I literally landed, DJed, flew to Shanghai, DJed and flew home—I was only out there for about 32 hours


Based on what we talked about previously, how did you go from performing at small venues in Guelph, Ontario to performing in China and also performing with the likes of DJ AM, (this past weekend I videotaped you performing with) Hi-Tek (and you were one of the last DJs to share a stage with), DJ Roc Raida? How did this evolution come about?


I’ve been blessed to work with a lot of the artists and DJs that I grew up listening to and look up to, like AM and Clinton Sparks. I don’t really have an explanation other than the fact that I’ve remained really passionate and very persistent with my craft.

What I’ve done, in terms of my business acumen has also been very important. That’s a big part of it—having some foresight into the business side of things, as opposed to focusing solely on the music.

Apart from knowing the music and actually being able to rock a party, I think the business sense is a big part of things that musicians (whether they’re a singer, rapper, DJ, etc.) often take for granted.

I went to school for Economics and Marketing. The whole time I was in Guelph at University, no one gave me the time of day, in terms of DJing. So, I took it upon myself to throw my own parties, promote everything, design my own flyers, build a street team, setup marketing plans and schedules, setup sponsorship proposals for corporations like Universal (Music Group), Artizia, etc. and actually pack the club myself while also DJing.

I learned the business end of things, from the ground up. Conversely, had I gone to school in Toronto, promoters might have put me on to DJ, but that's all I would have done; I would never have been forced to learn the bigger picture.

I think it was a blessing in disguise that I chose to go to school in Guelph, where there was no market and I had to learn everything myself and take it upon myself to begin to make things work. With that being said, Van Gogh’s was really the spot where I began to hone my DJ skills and began to create my own sound and also began to become comfortable with myself as a DJ.

At the same time, it was also where I first learned how to deal with venue owners, club promoters and the business end of things. I was fortunate to see both sides of a spectrum early on—as an artist/DJ and then also as a business man. That’s always been my mentality—I’m very passionate about music, but I’m also passionate about business and commerce. I married the two together early on, so I think that it was only natural that things started moving along quickly, in terms of how I would deal with people, collaborating with artists and so on.

For example, the “Bridging The Gap” mixtape series —that was an idea that I had one day. I basically woke up one morning, had the idea and wrote it down and a week later, I was on the phone with AZ in New York.

AZ’s an artist that I really admired and grew up listening to —“Life’s A Bitch” by Nas and AZ is one of my favorite records. I think it was at that point, when I realized how important making the right connections and networking was.

That's when everything started coming together. That’s when I realized how relationships can really propel you, how small the world really is and that there really is six degrees of separation in terms of who knows who and how everything works. I realized the world really is a small place and that I can really do what I want with this DJ thing and that it was on me to take it to where I wanted. That was back in ’06 and since then I’ve been really focused—focused on getting done what I’ve set out for myself.

Luckily, God willing, everything’s been coming together. I don’t have any elaborate explanation—it’s more so a foresight and a vision that you have to keep in the back of your head. If you remain positive and persistent and truly have your goals in line, subconsciously every decision you make will manifest itself into the vision or goal that you have in the back of your head.


I understand that, but what has your subconscious voice been saying that has caused you to be unsatisfied with every new goal or level that you attain?

For example, what if you released the first “Bridging The Gap” mixtape and you were satisfied with that and you just continued spinning at various venues without producing another mixtape (in general or as part of that specific series) or gravitating towards other DJ-related endeavors?

You seem to always be adding things to the list and exceeding expectations that most people would associate with the average DJ? At a deep subconscious level, what is perpetuating that voice?


I guess it just comes down to me not ever being comfortable with getting something done and then leaving it at that.. I always wake up with that mentality and feeling of “what am I going to do today, that’s better than yesterday? How am I going to exceed my prior accomplishments and goals?"

You’re only as good as your last project, you’re only as good as your last show, you’re only as good as your last mixtape, you know?

It’s a natural thing for me as opposed to a process that I consciously think about. I am a competitive person by nature.. I always feel like I have to take things to the next level. For example, I did the “Bridging The Gap Volume 1” and it worked out with New York, a lot of Toronto artists got shine and I developed some great relationships with various artists.

One thing that I like doing, is building brands and I look at that mixtape series as a brand that’s grown to the point that it’s recognized nationally. I reached out and picked some of my favorite artists, like Little Brother, Kidz In The Hall, Lupe, The Clipse, etc. and I basically said to myself, "I’m going to grow this “Bridging The Gap” brand internationally and I’m going to use it as my networking tool with all these artists, while continuing to use it as a vehicle to break music/artists and to connect Toronto-based artists with artists and producers in North Carolina, Virgina, NYC or whatever city I choose.

I’m not satisfied, you know? Even though I have lot accomplishments under my belt, and have worked with a lot of good people— people that I look up to, I’m still unsatisfied. That’s just my work ethic. I don’t know if it’s inherent or a conscious thing, but I still like to treat all of my projects like they are my first.

I’m not satisfied with my accomplishments or where I am in the DJ game, by any means. As far as I see it, I’m 1/50th of the way.. That being said, I have no choice but to keep working harder and harder to push things to the next level.


Right. If you adopt that philosophy, you can basically continue evolving and learning, as long as you continue to live.


I have a lot of other goals that I’d like to attain. I have a million other plans and projects that I have to get through and until they get done, I'm still putting in 20 hour days.


I feel you on that one. So, based on this evolution, we previously discussed a new direction that you were planning on taking yourself musically. You basically told me that you were planning on entering the world of production. Up until we spoke last night, I had no idea that you were planning on going into production. How did this new direction and vision come about?


I don’t really like to put stuff out there before I start doing it, just in case it doesn’t get done, because people talk. I hate to be that person that doesn’t do what he says he’s going to do.

Anyway, I think it’s a natural progression for me. One of the reasons I originally bought my turntables was because of DJ Premier (--his beats, his cuts on his choruses). Production-wise, going to DMCs and watching DJ's like M-Rock, Jr-Flo, and Grouch also heavily influenced me. That live turntablism stuff, is essentially live production. You’re basically recreating beats and melodies live on the spot. So, in a way it was the production end of things that originally grabbed my attention in terms of DJing. I never originally wanted to do DJ clubs and what not.

Besides that, through digging for records and collecting vinyl from all genres, I would come across breaks and samples that I’ve just been collecting since day one. A decade later, I’m sitting on a lot of material that would be great to flip into production, and I haven’t really had a chance or an opportunity to bang it out.

I have a passion for the music and I have a lot of ideas in my head, especially for what I would like to do when I hear a certain song (production-wise), be it on an album or in the club.
I also have an immense passion for A&Ring records, which is why I’ll put certain artists over certain beats on the “Bridging The Gap” mixtapes.

For instance, I gave Drake specific instrumentals for “Going In For Life” and “Get Over It” because I thought it would be a good fit for him, and he destroyed both records for me.

I think I have a certain ear for certain artists and what kind of beats they should be rocking over. Sometimes I’ll be playing certain records that I’m not really feeling in the club, just because they’re hit records and part of my duty remains in pleasing the crowd. So, now I want to have my hand in creating and shaping hit records and artists’ albums. Since I’m ultimately the one playing this stuff, I want to have some more control over what I’m playing, in that regard.

At the end of the day, it would be great to have a banger on Akon’s album, or a track on Drake’s album, or some house/electro stuff in rotation in the club, even some pop/rock tracks on radio rotation.

I listen to all sorts of music and I’ve been collecting all sorts of music since a very young age. So, I definitely want to get involved in a bunch of different genres and get involved in the production and A&R end of things. I want to make it about more than just mixing and playing records in the clubs.


So, you’re basically saying that because of your eclectic background in music—because of the various forms of music you’ve been listening to since you were young, you want to evolve into a musician that’s eclectic and versatile as opposed to some guy that only plays records in clubs?


Again, it just comes down to me being restless and not being satisfied with where I’m at and what I’m currently doing.

I feel like it’s something I’m ready to do.. I feel like I’ve developed an ear over the last decade and I’ve been surrounded by a lot of dope producers and have been watching them and bouncing back ideas.  I feel like I’m ready to get my feet wet—I’m ready to jump in and to get involved with the production end of things.. It's a natural progression for a lot of DJs.

As far as my club sets go, I’ll play an electro night for a club full of hipsters one night, then a straight Hip-Hop party for and underground crowd the next night, and then I might do a night where it’s a mash-up of everything from house, to rock, to dancehall, to pop.

So, by constantly playing all these different genres, I get a first hand outlook as to how people react to different genres of music and certain records, and what drives them and excites them.. I think that has helped me developed an ear that will help me in production, whatever genre it may be.


If you had to define Toronto Hip-Hop, how would you describe it in comparison to the Hip-Hop cultures of New York, L.A or Atlanta, for example? And how does the Toronto Hip-Hop DJ differ from the Premo of New York or the DJ Quik of L.A?


Toronto’s a DJ’s dream, because it allows you to get really creative and learn about different genres, markets and apply those influences to whatever it is that you’re doing, whether it’s Hip-Hop or any other genres.


From what you’re describing, it seems like the Toronto Hip-Hop DJ is one of the most versatile DJs in the world, because it sounds like you’re learning the sounds of various cultures.


Most definitely..You have to. That’s how Toronto DJs are raised—you have to know your music. And that’s something that doesn’t really happen in other cities as much.

For example, if you go to L.A, they’re not really familiar or up on their dancehall. They may know some commercial artists like Sean Paul, etc. but that’s pretty much it.

I’m not going to name off cities, but I’d like to say that in general, we have a very well rounded and diverse scene. Whether you’re an electric DJ or Hip-Hop DJ in Toronto, the culture that the city has to offer is naturally going to manifest itself back into the DJing and into the music. It’s like being brought up in a diverse household. It's a blessing to be able to rock 4 parties in a week where you might play a completely different style each night. Toronto really offers a lot (more than any other city in the world I believe) in terms of cultural and musical diversity.


You’ve recently joined Clinton Sparks’ Smash Squad DJ collective. How did that come about and what will you be doing with the Smash Squad DJs in the future?


Clinton's a dude I always looked up to as not only a DJ, but as businessman.

He has his hand in so many different ventures and constantly motivates me to always hustle harder.  So out of all the DJ collectives out there, his tight-knit circle was one I wanted to get down with and felt like I could represent for.

We met in 2007 and I let him know who I was and what I was up to and to look out for me.  Since then, I've always kept him updated on my movements and projects. He said my work ethic and persistence reminded him of himself when he was coming up in the game, and in June 2009 after taking Canadian Club DJ of The Year, we just solidified it and that was that.

The other Canadian members of 'Smash Squad DJs' are DJ Starting From Scratch and Jester.  Look out for the three of us to be making some major moves in terms of production, mixtapes, and tours on a national level as well.

As far as what I do with Smash Squad--it's a family/affiliation.

If an artist is in town, Clinton will hit them personally for me to connect with. If Clinton drops a new record, and needs support on it, I will break it in clubs across the country.  It's just a mutual level of respect between the crew, and we all hold each other down and support one another--be it throughout our own ventures or collective projects.


Also, before we wrap up, is there anything that you would like anyone that will be reading this to know about yourself? Is there anything else that you would like to say?


To anyone thinking about doing their own thing, I encourage it... I quit a job with a promising future and security at Scotiabank to pursue this DJ thing.

However, it's not for everybody.. No one is looking out for you, there is no guarantee of a weekly paycheck, etc. If you decide to follow your own path, you definitely have to work around the clock (12-16 hour work days are a regular thing), and not many people understand this.

That being said, when you are doing something you love and are passionate about--it never really seems like work.

Also, a big thank you to everyone who has been holding me down since day one, all the promoters who ever gave me a chance, any one who has ever shown love on a mixtape, anyone who has ever downloaded a podcast, etc.

Shouts to all my clothing sponsors who hold me down (Orisue, Goodfoot, Ransom, Ideall, N4E1), all the CORE DJs, Smash Squad and Mediaphase.

Thanks for taking the time to interview me, and lastly--I am just getting started.. I am nowhere near my goals and have a big picture in mind, and will not rest till I get there!


Thanks for taking the time to speak to me.

You can learn more about DJ Wristpect through the following URLs:

Ajani Charles

a j a n i photography: digital image solutions

    DJ Wristpect of Smash Squad DJs By Ajani Charles of a j a n i photography: digital image solutions
DJ Wristpect of Smash Squad DJs By Ajani Charles of a j a n i photography: digital image solutions

Vitamin D And Its Efficacy In Relation To Cancer Prevention

Vitamin D is distinct from all other nutrients that can be absorbed by the human body, in the sense that the human body can obtain [it] through regular exposure to the sun (via the skin). As such, vitamin D is not an essential nutrient--with enough time spent in the sun, vitamin D does not need to be absorbed through food.

Vitamin D, though commonly referred to as a vitamin, is structurally a hormone--a compound formed by one part of the body, which causes another part of the body to respond. Vitamin D features a binding protein that carries it to the intestines, the kidneys (etc.) and helps the body absorb calcium, consequently aiding in the fortification of bones.

Many researchers around the world are claiming that one of the primary underlying factors between the almost epidemic level of cancer cases in the developed world—especially in North America and Europe in comparison to the lack of such cancer cases in the so-called third world, is a lack of vitamin D ingestion within the former regions.

The aforementioned researchers are claiming that cancer is not caused mainly by certain pollutants or carcinogens (though they do potentially cause cancer and other conditions), but are instead caused primarily by a deficiency of vitamin D.

Dr. Reinhold Viet --an Associate Professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology at the University of Toronto (who is also a leading expert on vitamin D and other nutrients) has stated that “those trying to brand contaminants as the key factor behind cancer in the West are looking for a boogeyman that doesn't exist.”

A four year study on the efficacy of vitamin D in the prevention of cancer was recently conducted at Creighton University in Nebraska. In this study, 1,200 women were used as subjects and the researchers found that there was a 60% drop in cancer incidences due to the intake of vitamin D (on a daily basis) by the 1,200 women over the course of four years.

Dr. Robert Heaney of Creighton University (who was part of the previously mentioned research team) believes that because of the extraordinary results of the study and also due to the fact that vitamin D seemingly aids in the prevention of a wide-array of diseases and conditions in addition to cancer, that “nearly all disease figures in Canada and the U.S. will need to be re-evaluated” (based on the study’s results).

Prior to the Creighton University study and various other clinical trials around the world, strong evidence suggesting that a given nutrient, such as a vitamin or mineral (either supplemented or ingested through foods) could reduce one's risk(s) of developing cancer was non-existent.

More information on vitamin D and the potential it has for cancer prevention can be found at the following URLs:

Ajani Charles

a j a n i photography: digital image solutions

A Vitamin D Molecule
A Vitamin D Molecule

Fashion, McQueen Shoes By Clae

The McQueen shoes designed by Clae are clean, simple, stylish and can be worn casually by virtually anyone (of any demographic/age group). New colors of this classic sneaker, first popularized by Hip-Hop enthusiasts in North America and abroad, will be available during this upcoming fall/winter season.

You can learn more about the McQueen shoes and other shoes designed by Clae via the following URL:

Ajani Charles

a j a n i photography: digital image solutions

Grey McQueen Shoes By Clae
Grey McQueen Shoes By Clae

R.I.P. To Recording Artist, DJ Roc Raida

I just recently found out (about an hour ago) that legendary American Hip-Hop DJ--DJ Roc Raida has passed away. DJ Roc Raida was Hip-Hop recording artist, Busta Rhymes' official tour DJ and it was only a few weeks ago that I stood in front of and documented both him and Busta Rhymes performing in Toronto. DJ Roc Raida was an incredible DJ, a former DMC World Champion and a member of the X-Ecutioners.

Roc Raida's death was a result of a mixed martial arts-related accident and it's truly unfortunate that such a great artist has joined the seemingly endless list of great artists (including Michael Jackson, Farah Fawcett, Baatin of Slum Village, DJ AM, Patrick Swayze and numerous others) that have left us this year.

I believe that the death of an artist is especially unfortunate, because not only am I an artist and can identify with other artists in that respect, but I also believe that prolific and well-known artists have the capacity to reach and connect with people in a profound and emotional way--a way that's quite different and unique from and  in comparison to other classifications of individuals (such a politicians, scientists and so on).

However, a prolific artist can continue to touch the lives of thousands, hundreds of thousands, and sometimes even millions of people through their art work, well after they've passed away. So, in a way, great artists are immortal and can't be mourned indefinitely.

Below, I've included one of the last photographs of DJ Roc Raida, photographed by myself on Wednesday, August 19, 2009 in  Toronto (at the Phoenix Concert Theater for Abort Magazine).

More information on DJ Roc Raida can be found at the following URLs:

Ajani Charles

a j a n i photography: digital image solutions

DJ Roc Raida By Ajani Charles of a    j    a    n    i        photography: digital image solutions
DJ Roc Raida By Ajani Charles of a j a n i photography: digital image solutions

Interview, Bryan Brock of 1LoveT.O. By Ajani Charles of a j a n i photography: digital image solutions

Below, I've featured an interview I recently conducted with Bryan Brock -- a talented and groundbreaking digital visual artist/graphic designer and event planner from Toronto who is one of the founding members of the 1LoveT.O. movement (and who is also involved with the Toronto-based, urban youth arts program, the Remix Project).

Some of the information from this interview will be used as part of "Project T Dot" -- my black and white photographic documentary/photographic essay on all the people, places and events that define (and have defined) Toronto's diverse Hip-Hop culture and community.


Can you give me some insights as to what 1LoveT.O. is all about? Because, to me and at a superficial level, it seems to be an online blog that pertains to entertainment—fashion, music, etc. And also, when I go to Hip-Hop-related events around the city (even though 1LoveT.O. isn’t limited to the world of Hip-Hop), I always see people rocking the 1LoveT.O. t-shirts.

So, I would like to know what the blog is all about and what the fashion aspect of 1LoveT.O. is all about, in addition to what 1LoveT.O. as a collective umbrella is all about.


Basically, the idea behind 1LoveT.O. as a collective comes from that Bob Marley song, you know? “One love, one heart.” We’re a city (Toronto) that has everything from Filipino, Chinese, Japanese, African, Jamaican, Trini, you name it—the whole world lives in one city. That’s actually our tagline, by the way: “The world in one city.”

Myself and my partner—T Rexxx, thought that it would mean a lot more to Toronto to say “one love” as opposed to “I love”.

Everyone’s seen the “I Love New York” shirts or “I Love L.A” or whatever and that’s cool for them, but that’s a very individualistic point of view.  And what myself and T-Rexxx believe that Toronto wants to evoke is that we all get along here and we all do our best (individually) to learn about other cultures and to adapt to those cultures and at the end of the day that boils down to having “one love”.

So, that’s what the meaning behind [it] is. Now, the blog aspect is a means of showcasing what “one love” and the essence of Toronto is all about.

We all know that a lot of young people in the city, whether they’re involved in photography, film, theater and so on, are doing great things in the city for their communities and for communities abroad, but there doesn’t seem to be a media channel to showcase that.

You can’t necessarily turn on City TV for example, to learn about these young people in Toronto doing great things.

So, we figured 1LoveT.O. could be that thing—that channel that showcases what’s really going in Toronto. And that’s why we cover everything from style, to community, to culture, to music, to art and so on. And we just want to bring a different angle to those areas and expose the positive things that are going on in our community.

And then as a clothing line, it’s just connecting all those things together—that hometown pride that’s never really been articulated before, visually.

We don’t have a brand in Toronto. Everyone either wears a Blue Jays fitted (hat) or if you’re a hockey fan, you might wear a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey. But, what else are you going to wear if you’re from Toronto?  You’re not going to wear a CN Tower shirt or shirt with a maple leaf and a beaver on it. That’s just not cool.


Yeah. That’s cliché.


Exactly, it’s cliché—it’s what you would expect.

So, 1LoveT.O. is striving to tap into these young people that are doing these great things in Toronto and we hope to present [them] with opportunities promote themselves and where they’re from and we mean to take the 1LoveT.O. movement around the world. And luckily, we’ve seen success with it so far.


Also, because the design is so minimalistic, I don’t think it seems to target or favor any specific age demographic in Toronto or abroad. I think it has a lot of appeal to not only young people but to other age groups, as well.

I can definitely see 1LoveT.O. growing into a movement that is not age specific per say.

And with that being said, what are your plans for the future of 1LoveT.O.?

I’ve noticed that a lot of the artists that are featured on your blog, a lot of the artists that 1LoveT.O. is affiliated with and even in terms of yourself and your partner, constant improvement seems to be a recurring theme.

So, how will 1LoveT.O. be improved in the near future, in regards to the movement’s online presence, the fashion aspect of 1LoveT.O. and in terms of the other aspects of the movement (that you just mentioned)?


Very good questions.

Let’s talk about the blog first.

Our numbers are growing every single month. We’re one of the fastest growing blogs in Canada and hopefully in North America.

Every month, we’re gaining 2,000 to 5,000 unique visitors and anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 extra page views.

So, within a 6-month time frame we’ve been able to reach well over 100,000 people.

So, our goal from the blog standpoint is to continue to grow to a point where it becomes a daily routine for people. If you want to know what’s going on in the city, if you want to know what’s cool in the city, if you want to know what events are a little different from what you’re use to (in Toronto), you’re going to logon in the morning—check it out, you’re going to logon at around lunchtime to check it out to see what else is new and hopefully you’ll be back on it again by the time you go to bed.

We just want to be a source that not only appeals to people in Toronto, but also appeals to people in the rest of Canada and on a global scale who share the same concept of unity as 1LoveT.O.

Right now we have a solid following around the world. We even have t-shirt orders for example, from Germany, Chicago, Florida, Texas, New York and elsewhere, and that's merely from the blog’s traffic. People seem to be finding out about the clothing online and ordering it.


That’s amazing.


Yeah, it’s surprised us. Our end goal is to have 1LoveT.O. as big as the “I Love New York” movement, but not limited to a t-shirt—we want 1LoveT.O. to become a major media outlet online and otherwise.

The success of people wanting to wear 1LoveT.O. t-shirts that haven’t even been to Toronto before has been amazing.

People who haven’t been to Toronto before have seen the 1LoveT.O. movement online and now think that Toronto’s cool and want to come here. Who knows, we may even reach a point where 1LoveT.O. creates tourism for Toronto.

That’s basically the general breakdown of what we’re doing now and where we want to go with 1LoveT.O. It’s so positive that I don’t think anything can stop us from moving forward. It’s all positive energy and it’s all positive people working together and it’s something that hasn’t been done before.


The concept of 1LoveT.O. is great and the online aspect of [it] is pretty amazing, especially considering how new the blog is.

Do you think that the 1LoveT.O. blueprint that you and your partners have created can be applied to other major cities around the world or do you think that it’s something that’s exclusive to Toronto, due to the city’s multi-ethnicity?

And what would you say to someone who would want to start a similar movement online and also in terms of creating a fashion brand? What were some of the pitfalls and speed bumps that you encountered when you first started out with the blog and fashion line?


First, I’d say that other cities could try it if it made sense to them.

It would totally fit, as long as another city had the vibe, the feel and the multi-culturalism that Toronto has.

I don’t know if another city exists that can be comparable to Toronto in that respect, however. I’d love to claim that Toronto’s multi-ethnicity is exclusive to us.

That’s that special factor that makes Toronto so different from anywhere else you go.

You can go to Chinatown in Toronto and you will feel like you’re in China—you have all the experience; all the food, all the people, the live markets, the Chinese fair and so on.

And then you take a step out of that part of the city and you suddenly find yourself in “the Taste of the Danforth” and you’re enjoying Greek food and everyone around the city has the opportunity to learn about and experience Greek culture firsthand (for a week).

There are so many other festivals, events and locations in the city that celebrate the diversity we have [here] and with that being said, I don’t know if another city exists that showcases as many different cultures in the way Toronto does.

For us, one of the pitfalls or speed bumps that we've had to experience, is getting it through people’s minds that it says “one love” instead of  “I love”.  Because, people are generally trained to think “I love.”


Of course. “I Love New York” is a pop culture phenomenon. Even if it’s apparent to someone that it says “1LoveT.O.” they may still subconsciously think “I Love New York”.


Exactly. Even though our font’s different and the design is much more simple, clean and bolder, people still read it sometimes as “I Love”.

But, as much as that’s a speed bump, it’s actually a benefit as well, because it gives us the ability to take the next step and educate the people on what 1LoveT.O. means.

And I honestly haven’t seen anyone turn down the idea once they understood what it means.

Once they’ve grasped the concept of 1LoveT.O. they’re that much more inclined to become a part of it. So, the pitfalls end up becoming positives.

The only speed bumps to overcome in the web world come through the use of social networks. Luckily, myself, T-Rexxx and my other partner Lo’, who currently lives in New York, have built a number of networks through the artists that we’ve worked with or through the parties that we’ve been throwing for the past few years (in Toronto). In general, we’ve been very out there for a number of years and that’s been very beneficial to us.

If anyone else is going to start anything similar to 1LoveT.O. or even if it’s different from 1LoveT.O., if it’s going to be marketed online, social networks are key—you need them.


That brings me to my next questions.

Because of a lot of the work that you’ve done with local artists and internationally reknowned artists in addition to throwing parties and what not, what are some of your plans for the future, as an individual artist? Also and more specifically, how did your skill sets as a digital visual artist translate into your development of the 1LoveT.O. brand? What did you bring to the table?



Well, in terms of graphic design, I’ve been doing it for the last ten years or so and the cool thing is, I’ve been working with these artists that are now blowing up. I’ve been down with them since the beginning—since we first became friends, when we didn’t have any money and we were all struggling and trying to perfect our crafts.

The fact that I can chill with a Drake, I can chill with a Kardi, I can hang out with Colin Munroe in the studio, I can call up Melanie Fiona, all those things are huge benefits to us, because we’re friends first. You know what I mean? And at a working level, it just makes sense for them to come back and use Canadian talent. And if I’m a friend, why not get a friend involved if they can do the job?

So, I’ve been given the opportunity to do a lot of great things with a lot of great artists and it’s allowed me to get to the next level.

I did Kardinal’s last album, I got to do Chris Bosh’s latest logo, and I worked on Nelly Furtado’s tour DVD. There are tons of names I can throw out there, but all that has helped me become better as a designer and get my work out there to new audiences.

When it came to 1LoveT.O., obviously I got to design the logo. Thousands and thousands of people, not only in Toronto, but also around the world, have seen the logo.


Tens of thousands.


Actually, hundreds of thousands of people. So, eventually one day, who knows, maybe someone will be asking me questions about why I designed the 1LoveT.O. logo a certain way and what made me think of [it]. Who knows, maybe ten years from now the brand and logo will still be alive and I’ll be known as the guy who invented this logo.


Like I mentioned before, you and the artists that you’re affiliated with and have worked with are constantly improving, so I don’t doubt that the logo and the movement that you’ve helped to create will eventually become immortalized in pop culture.

I really appreciate you talking to me.



Yes sir.

Thank you.

Feel free to learn more about 1LoveT.O. via the following URLs:

Ajani Charles

a j a n i photography: digital image solutions

A Portrait of Bryan Brock of 1LoveT.O. By Ajani Charles of a    j    a    n    i        photography: digital image solutions
Portrait of Bryan Brock of 1LoveT.O. By Ajani Charles of a j a n i photography: digital image solutions

Photographer, Annie Leibovitz And Art Capital Group

Renowned American portrait and lifestyle photographer, Annie Leibovitz began her rise to fame by first becoming a staff photographer for Rolling Stone Magazine, during the publication’s infancy.

Soon after, she became recognized internationally for her capacities as a photographer, through her work as the tour photographer for the prototype rock band, the Rolling Stones.

In 1980, she photographed one of the most well-known images of John Lennon (with Yoko Ono), which made the cover of the Rolling Stone soon after.

Leibovitz was the last professional photograph to capture John Lennon, as he was killed about five hours after leaving Leibovitz’ studio.

For the last three decades, Leibovitz has captured both individuals and moments that define Popular culture and as a result she has become one of the most sought after and commercially successful photographers to date.

However, despite her many accolades and her many resources, the artist recently encountered significant financial troubles, which culminated circa February 2009 as a result of her many debts stemming from the renovation of numerous properties owned by Leibovitz and the recent deaths of both her parents.

Due to the previously mentioned financial troubles, Leibovitz entered into a contractual agreement with Art Capital Group, such that the corporation would lend Leibovitz 24 million dollars for approximately an 8 month period, in return for becoming the artist’s exclusive representation for the commercial sales of all her photographs and also in terms of the artist’s involvements and assets within the world of real estate.

To secure such an agreement, Leibovitz offered as collateral a number of her properties, as well as all the copyrights to every photograph she had taken prior to the agreement, in addition to all the copyrights for photographic works that she produces thereafter.

The due date for the repayment of this loan was last Tuesday (September 8, 2009) and fortunately for Leibovitz, her attorneys came to a new agreement with Art Capital Group prior to the due date.

In a newly established contractual agreement between Leibovitz, her attorneys and Art Capital Group, the due date for the repayment of the 24 million dollar loan had been extended and the artist had also reacquired all the rights to her most valued pieces of intellectual property—her photographs (both past and future).

It’s unclear as to when the new due date for the repayment of the Art Capital loan had been set to (or what the terms of that repayment are), but Leibovitz was recently quoted by the Associated Press as stating that “in these challenging times I am appreciative to Art Capital for all they have done to resolve this matter and for their cooperation and continued support."

A preview to "Annie Leibovitz: Life Through A Lens" has been embedded below.

Also, to learn more about Annie Leibovitz and her photography, feel free to visit the following URLs:

Ajani Charles

a j a n i photography: digital image solutions

Portrait of Photographer, Annie Leibovitz
Portrait of John Lennon And Yoko Ono By Photographer, Annie Leibovitz
Portrait of John Lennon And Yoko Ono By Photographer, Annie Leibovitz

Preview To Portraits of Recording Artist, Snoop Dogg By Ajani Charles of a j a n i photography: digital image solutions

Below, I've attached a preview to a series of portraits of Hip-Hop recording artist, Snoop Dogg (in addition to a series of photo-journalistic documentation) that I captured recently, during the artist's recent trip to Toronto, promoting his new movie--"Down For Life" at the Toronto International Film Festival.

The previously mentioned images will be appearing in the upcoming (fall) issue of Vancouver-based publication, Abort Magazine.

Ajani Charles

a j a n i photography: digital image solutions

A Preview To Portraits of Recording Artist, Snoop Dogg By Ajani Charles of a j a n i photography: digital image solutions
A Preview To Portraits of Recording Artist, Snoop Dogg By Ajani Charles of a j a n i photography: digital image solutions

General Health And Well-Being Promoted Through Weight Training, Dieting, Etc.

As a former competitive athlete (in a number of sports), a former personal trainer and as an amateur power lifter and bodybuilder, to say that my general health, well-being and athleticism are and have been major priorities in my life would be quite an understatement.

The knowledge I've accumulated as far as human physiology, sports-specific training, body building, power lifting, diet/nutrition and so on has been acquired through my formal education, through my own research, training with highly experienced athletes, coaches, personal trainers and so on.

As such, I've acquired fitness-related knowledge through a variety of sources, over the course of the last two decades.

It's important to note that there's a direct correlation between the way in which we fuel or bodies and how our bodies appear  aesthetically and how we perform physically, psychologically and intellectually. Regardless of one's health or fitness-related goals, careful planning and research must take place prior to dieting and training.

For example, how can one reduce body fat and achieve a bodybuilder's physique without first establishing an even more specific goal or goals (preferably in writing), understanding one's own body type and composition, genetic predispositions and the dieting, cardiovascular training and weight training needed to achieve the previously mentioned  goal or goals?

"Failing to plan is planning to fail."

Below, I've included a list of books that I believe are beneficial to anyone interested in fitness and nutrition (in general), as well as some website URLs that are informative in much the same way:

"Understanding Nutrition" (Tenth Edition) By Ellie Whitney And Sharon Rady Rolfes

"Serious Strength Training" (Second Edition) By Dr. Tudor Bompa, Mauro Di Pasquale And Lorenzo Cornacchia

"Functional Training For Sports" By Michael Boyle

By the way, if you are in the Greater Toronto Area and you are seeking a personal trainer, I strongly recommend that you contact any of the highly experienced, knowledgeable and professional personal trainers below:

Mike Messinger

Derick Samuel

Liam LaTouche

Lyzabeth Lopez

For all Yoga-related training inquiries, feel free to contact Jenna Chadwick.

Finally, the image featured below is a sports advertisement by Toronto-based filmmaker and photographer, Richard Yagutilov and more of the artist's work is available at the following URL: .

Ajani Charles

a j a n i photography: digital image solutions

Sports Advertisement By Richard Yagutilov
Sports Advertisement By Richard Yagutilov

Presentation, "James Nachtwey's Searing Photos of War"

James Nachtwey is arguably one of the most prolific, well-known, widely-published and influential war photographers and photo-journalists of our time.

Nachtwey has been a freelance photographer for TIME Magazine since the mid-80's and he was a member of Magnum Photos until 2001. Nachtwey was a a founding member of VII Photo Agency and because of his photo-journalistic documentation of some of the most significant and detrimental acts of war in modern times, he has been awarded the Heinz Award, the Robert Capa Gold Medal, the TED Prize and countless other accolades, over the course of the last four decades.

Featured below is a presentation by James Nachtwey, entitled "James Nachtwey's Searing Photos of War" (which was facilitated by TED).

Feel free to view this presentation by a master photographer/photo-journalist on acts of war which must never be repeated in addition to the story-telling and to a certain extent, history-altering power a strong and strategically placed photo-journalist possesses.

James Nachtwey has changed the world, one picture at a time.

"I'm a witness and I want my testimony to be honest and uncensored. I also want it to be powerful and eloquent and to do as much justice as possible to the experience of the people I'm photographing."

-James Nachtwey

Also, feel free to learn more about James Nachtwey via the following URLs:

And by the way, TED is by far one of the most inspiring websites and forums on the internet. Feel free to check [it] out through these URLs:

Ajani Charles

a j a n i photography: digital image solutions

"Hutu Man" By James Nachtwey
"Hutu Man" By James Nachtwey