Category Archives: Memory Lane

Once in a Lifetime: 11 years after Aaliyah’s Passing

I was 11 years old when I watched 106 AND Park and learned about Aaliyah’s death. At first, I was not familiar with her name, but when they played her hit songs such as “Are you that somebody” or “If Your Girl Only Knew”, I became completely shattered. She was so beautiful, had catchy songs, and she was not as aggressive/bitchy as other artists. Aaliyah was one of the few artists that first came to mind that inspired me throughout my childhood. Aaliyah would wear the most subtle clothing and had one of the most humble personalities, yet still can convince you to fall in love with her. Her smooth, buttery voice is automatically recoginable and timeless. Timbaland and Missy Elliott producing her soundtracks also made Aaliyah quite the trademark. Yet, 11 years into the future today, I am currently the same age as her death. She died at the age of 22 years. Sold millions of albums, was in 2 movies, toured all over the world, had a 4.0 GPA from her high school, and she did all of this before she died at 22 years old.

She is the inspiration of many, including Drake, all under the age of 22. I have to keep saying that number because as much we look at music and singers today, she is way ahead of her time. Her music was unmatched, she was going into so many amazing opportunities at the time. Hell, even landed roles at the Matrix trilogy. I can go on and on about what Aaliyah has done in the small amount of time she had, but I had to write a post in dedication to her memory. I’m not sure if I would write another post to her memory, perhaps I will. Regardless, I am still haunted by her death up to this very day. Every other day, at least once, I would think about Aaliyah. I also acknowledged how heavily she  influenced my career as a videographer/photographer. I often shot with wide and medium shots, similar to many of her music videos.  I may not done as much today as Aaliyah did when she was 22, but I know that she is always someone my work will be influenced by. Aaliyah, you are truly one in a million. No words can express how much you are truly an amazing individual. Rest in Peace, Aaliyah. “There will never be a day you will be forgotten, you are forever missed” -Missy Elliott

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National Stick Fighting Competition

Hello everyone,

This is my second day at WordPress and I definitely love the site’s interactive ability. I am proud to present myself as Chioma Ozuzu versus any of those previous nicknames I called myself. WordPress is still relatively new to me, but I would love to take at least one post a week or more to talk about past experiences from my previous blogger account. At least every Thursday, I will do a Memory Lane post, a post dedicated to an experience I finally get to reveal instead of just pictures becoming lost at my website.  I will post the link to the album of the site at the end. This post is dedicated to the National Stickfighting Competition 2011 in Trinidad and Tobago.

Port of Spain, March, 2011: 

“It was quite a rough crowd of people, perhaps the roughest since my time in Trinidad. The audience appeared to be as tough as the stick fighters themselves. They will quite upset if someone blocks their view and/or photographers with built in flashes. I was told that a year before, someone flashed a picture of a stick fighter that was about to win a match until the flash entered his eyes. His opponent attacking him, leaving him blind in one eye. Getting in a fight outside the United States was clearly the last thing on my agenda. To secure better pictures for the album, I moved  out of the top bleachers I took pictures from and maneuvered my way around the dangerous crowd in order to get as close to the ring as possible. Luckily for me, I have my official carnival pass to grant me access into the ring on me. But much to my chagrin, I am a lot closer to danger than standing on the bleachers with the crowd pushing against me.

I met up with a petite-sized Trinidadian woman and older photographers  I met from Panorama Semi-Finals. I was relieved in seeing them again. It was difficult trying to get to close to the stage as possible because you never know how intense the stick fighters compete as the fights were as dangerous as I expected. I got hit in the back of the head by a flying boui (stick) as the launched into the crowd. (A boui is the staff used by stickmen to compete with each other) The cameraman sitting right next to me got a lot more damage when his Canon external flash was completely smashed and was bleeding from his forehead. I guess I could say that he took a “boui” for me. The bright side from the event was the Moko Jumbie (stilts walker or dancer) kids coming out to perform during the halftime show. Later on, I met an Indo-Trinidadian man who encouraged me to take pictures at the International Soca Monarch the next day. The odds to this idea were quite slim (5,000 to 1 chance). His advice was the coolest thing I ever done.

I tried to get as many good pictures I could, despite lack of lighting in the arena, basic 18-55mm lenses, no use of flash, and the quick motion of the stick fighters. I guess that the Trinidadian photographers are absolutely right of needing to upgrade my still-picture camera if I ever wanted to be a more serious photographer. Or figure out which camera setting would get me the results that I wanted to see. I have pictures from the event posted on my website. Enjoy.

Link to the National Stick Fighting Competition of Trinidad and Tobago in 2011:

http://chiomaozuzu.smugmug.com/Competitions/National-Stickfighting/16890216_mqHfJT#!i=1275909621&k=SQq4sGd

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