EDITOR’S NOTE: Given the fractured mediaverse, with legacy media like local papers treading water as a mushroom crop of fresh digital media strive to survive, it’s imperative we new media sprouts signal-boost each other. In that spirit, WestVirginiaVille keeps an eye on the lively doings at Crystal Good’s BLACK BY GOD: The West Virginian, which self-describes as “an emerging news and storytelling organization centering Black voices from the Mountain State.”(Their name is a riff on the colloquial phrase ‘West ‘by God’ Virginia.’) Below are two recent BBG cultural heads up worth noting. PS: As a student of the art & craft of getting one’s work seen in the connected world’s hurly-burly, Charleston WV-based hip-hop artist Shelem is an innovator. Take heed, aspiring artists and read down this page.
The levity and workcraft of Shelem
Beckley, WV native Shelem is a 25-year-old hip-hop artist known for his hands-on approach to engaging his audience. Born in Silver Spring, MD, to parents from the Ivory Coast in West Africa, he began producing, writing, and recording his own songs at age 14. While continuing to develop his craft as a musician, he attended Marshall University in Huntington, WV to pursue a degree in Civil Engineering. He graduated from Marshall University in spring 2018 and moved to Charleston, WV, to begin his engineering career as he developed a plan to launch his music career.
With innovative flair, Shelem has a knack for bringing his art to life. He has connected with fans as the “Delivery Man,” wrote a song using their words, and held an online game of bingo. His primary focus has always been to bring levity into the lives of people in as many ways as possible. With the success of his 2021 summer single “Suga Wata,” Shelem has continued to expand his reach with a featured article on NPR Music’s Slingshot Series, an unforgettable video release, and performances throughout West Virginia and beyond. | MORE AT HIS WEBSITE: shelem304.com
CLICK TO VIEW VIDEO: “Suga Wata” by Shelem
Local Podcasters Paving the Way In West Virginia
If you ever wondered what is going through the heads of fellow West Virginians, then you should tap into these popular podcasts to find out the latest in local hot topics, including entertainment, news, and sports. All the podcasts can be found online and are waiting for your support! BBG is always looking to expand this list.
TELL BBG: The West Viginian about your favorite BIPOC podcaster or content creator in/from West Virginia!
🎙 SossTalk: SossTalk is sports and entertainment with logic, humor, and fun.
🎙 Capital Sports Network: Covering local and national sports: with guest hosts, conducting interviews with prep coaches and players, professional athletes, student athletes and local legends to share their stories and insight on the game.
🎙 No Kap No Kut: An uncut, raw, inspirational & funny podcast located in Charleston WV.
🎙 This is Shank: Shooting the Shit with Shank is one laugh out loud and enjoyable time! Shank is a comedian known as the Angry Black Man, touring the state of West Virginia, He is joined by his co-host, the legendary Hip hop artist “Duke Johnson” aka Papa Doc aka DOCeaser. This is one podcast that brings it to you raw and uncut touching current topics and national headlines. Opinions are just like butt holes and every one has one. Get in where you fit in and tune in to the Shoo Shoo Shooting the Shit with Shank.
🎙 The Biz: On the Biz, We discuss various topics, with the main focus of theater, film and multimedia arts. We also engage in conversation dealing with several aspects of life such as: family, economics, law, labor, education. religion, entertainment, physical health and mental health and above all love.We allow our audience to call in and express their opinions and give insight on these topics. Our host talk to special guest and give our listeners good entertainment and something to inspire, motivate and uplift their day.
Leeshia Lee is author of “Based on A Woo Story” and is a former radio personality, urban photojournalist, and creator of Ashotoflee.com NOTE: This list was originally printed in the inaugural BBG print issue June, 2021. See an expanded, updated list in the new print issue of BBG: The West Virginian, out this month.
EDITOR’S NOTE: When it comes to West Virginia, what Bob Dylan said about something else. Plus, what’s up in the May 2022 issue of WestVirginiaVille.com
FIRST/PERSON: On the streets in “the capital of pain”: There are mayapples unfurling on the banks of the Kanawha River in the darkness of West Virginia’s capital city. There are humans sleeping there, too, on this cold and rainy April night, and we are among them. | by JAMES COCHRAN
5 QUESTIONS: On the Art of the Guitar: Spencer Elliott is a genre-defying solo performer based in Charleston WV, while also performing in the burning-down-the-house trio SE3. A look at keeping your day job while growing an international fan base.
CHARACTERS: ‘The Hobo Girl: She had many names and left many stories. The night ‘The Hobo Girl’ wandered into St. Albans, WV, like a footloose traveler from another time.
LISTEN/UP: Artists & Podcasters worth noting: From hip-hop innovator Shelem to podcasts worth hearing, a heads up from BLACK BY GOD: The West Virginian.
FIRST/PERSON: On Ukraine, Putin, Navalny & Zelensky: J. Michael Willard worked for Robert C. Byrd and Jay Rockefeller then went on to international career that landed him in Ukraine. Excerpts from his thoughts on Putin’s brutal invasion of the country where two daughters still live.
POETICS: Two by Colleen Anderson: Clean music. The notes fall one upon the other, / transparent. Closing my eyes on this city concert,/ I hear water, the song of melting snow on a hill / in Braxton County, in spring …
MAN/MADE: A brief meditation on ‘Reflected Glory’: A brief meditation on a shiny object in West Virginia’s capital city.