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Author Archives: Naomi Bonman

Exclusive Interview: Rialto’s WetPaint Larry Chats on Being an Inspiration and Pioneer in the Arts in the Inland Empire

By Naomi K. Bonman

As you drive around Southern California, you can’t help but to notice graffiti. It’s on the freeway bridges, ramps, train cars, abandon buildings, and just about every flat surface that is in attention to the general public.

Graffiti frustrates many because they feel as if it destructs the city unless it is done in a tasteful manner. Over the recent years, we have seen more graffiti artists who have turned their art into something more positive and of value, such as Rialto, California’s own WetPaint Larry.

“I’ve been painting for a long time,” he states on what inspires him to paint. “Everything around me inspires me to go harder. I have a lot of things that I paint that makes me feel good.”

WetPaint Larry started off doing graffiti but now he paints murals for small businesses, cities, and schools. He is known well regionally and has built up an impressive social media following with over 15,000 followers on Instagram. Larry’s accomplishments recently earned him recognition in the “Under 30 Awards” that was presented by Assemblywoman Eloise Gomez Reyes. 

“That was a good highlight for this year,” WetPaint Larry discusses his recent achievement. “That was something huge for me because when I went in there and looked around I seen high rank [city officials]. As I sat there, I thought ‘[Man], I’m among great people that are doing great work. So, for me that’s huge from being a graffiti artist to getting that award. I look at it all the time.”

Since his latest city achievement, WetPaint Larry has been on the grind with trying to secure more jobs for himself in the schools. He is looking forward to expanding beyond Rialto and has had school officials from Fontana and San Bernardino call him to do some work for their schools.

You can check out WetPaint Larry’s work on his Instagram page @wetpaintlarry and if you want to collaborate with him on a project send him a direct message via the platform.

Freestyle Rappers Bring the Heat in Verizon’s 2nd Annual #freestyle50 Challenge

By Naomi K. Bonman

Freestyle is culture. Free style is art. And art and culture is Hip-Hop. On Tuesday, August 29, at Play House Nightclub in Hollywood, eight freestyle rappers from across the Nation battled it out at Verizon’s #freestyle50 challenge where they competed for a debut produced by London On Da Track, an opening slot in the upcoming 300 Artist Development Tour, and $10,000. The challenge was hosted by Sway Calloway (former MTV VJ) and Smack White. Nine were chosen from over 9,000 entries submitted through Instagram and Twitter. However, out of the nine finalists only eight performed, due to one being from Houston and having to deal with unfortunate weather conditions which prevented him from attending the finals.

“We’re looking for energy,” London On Da Track stated when asked what skill set that the judges would be looking for. Producer Kevin Liles added to the statement, “Two words, Beast Mode.”

And that is what the finalist brought, energy! The energy was felt throughout the club in the battle between the last two standing, Damond Blue and Y.K Supe went head to head for the grand prize. It was a close call with both rappers staying on cue with a smooth style. Y.K Supe from Chicago took home the grand prize.

The judges of the night included Tuma Basa, Spotify; Carl Chery (Apple Music); and Big Boy, radio host and actor. Other special guests that were in the house and that performed was rising stars Tee Grizzley, OMB Peezy, Cyhi the Prince. Last year’s winner, Tre Da Kid also came on stage and did a quick freestyle. He recently released his debut single, “Run it” which has over one million streams on music streaming platforms. World Renowned Hip-Hop artist, Redman, made a surprise debut and hyped the crowd up before the last two finalists took the stage for the prize.

#freestyle50 was inspired by Verizon’s 8GB for $50 prepaid offer available exclusively at Walmart.

Photo highlights (Photo Credit: Kristina Dixon/11:One Visuals) 

Olympic Athlete on the Rise: Jordyn Grady

Jordyn Grady displaying her medals and ring that she won in the AAU Junior National Olympics. (Photo Credit: Naomi K. Bonman)

Jordyn Grady displaying her medals and ring that she won in the AAU Junior National Olympics. (Photo Credit: Naomi K. Bonman)

By Naomi K. Bonman

Great athletes always start young and stay focus on perfecting their craft. Upland High School freshman, Jordyn Grady, is one of those athletes. In her course of running track for six years, her perfection of her craft has paid off in the AAU Junior Olympic Games which were held from July 30 to August 5 in Detroit, Michigan.

Grady, who regularly runs the 100 and 200 hurdles as well as the 100 and 200 meters, took first place in the 14-year-old girls division while running the 100 and 200 hurdles. Her time in the 100 hurdles was 14.26 seconds and 26.66 seconds in the 200 hurdles. She was the only San Bernardino and California native that competed in those races.

While being a stellar athlete, she is also able to maintain an A and B average in school. “I know that school comes first and then sports,” Grady states of how she manages to balance both sports and her studies.

After high school, she wants to continue to run track, as well as to study to become a Veterinarian because she loves animals.