Profiles: Naima Ramos-Chapman

Naima Ramos-Chapman In Brooklyn, NYThe courage to leave comfort and pursue a dream is not an attribute most are gifted with. Fortunately, Naima Ramos-Chapman’s got a good bit. After feeling drained by the conventional workplace environment at a Washington, D.C. think tank, she decided to jet back home to New York City in 2013 to pursue a career as an actress.

“I always stuck out pretty badly,” says Naima of her time as an employee at the Center for American Progress. It’s easy to imagine, considering she’s a slim Black and Puerto Rican mix with long curls sprouting from her 5′ 11” frame. She’s far from a stiff.

Ramos-Chapman attended the Ailey School for dance theater during her teenage years and, as she exhibits in the latest He Tells Stories profile, hasn’t at all lost her ability to become one with music.

Watch the video above to see Naima move to Nick Hakim’s “Pour Another” at LEIMAY’s CAVE studio in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. She reveals the thoughts that scared her away from her dreams, what about acting she fancies most and being harassed as a kid. Then catch her latest work as an actress, starring in director Terence Nance’s The Dig: You and I and You short film.

Naima can be found here on Twitter and there on Instagram.

Profiles: Ambi 67

Ambika Lewis“Lovin’ me is complicated.” It’s a Kendrick Lamar line from “Alright,” a song from his sophomore album To Pimp a Butterfly that dropped a few weeks back. The cut’s been on loop here for more than an hour at Ambika “Ambi 67” Lewis’ Brooklyn home studio where the craftsman makes her art, tactful images of broken hearts. They’re shattered pieces of the love muscle that are agonizingly just close enough to be pieced together. So why aren’t they?

Well, as the song goes, Lewis too is complicated. The New York native is the child of a paranoid schizophrenic mother, which made for a bit of a twisted upbringing—one that still challenges her self-worth, how she receives love, but also has spun her into a search for greater meaning in spirituality thanks to extensive reading of books from Carl Sagan and the like.

Lately Ambi’s been working with razor blades, adding an even deeper meaning to her jigsaw-like “Hearts in Pieces” series. Like most, she’s still figuring it all out—herself and the art that lines her studio walls. But it’s all serving as inspiration for her thoughtful pieces. Sometimes the cure for a busy mind is a creative outlet. Ambika’s found her’s, which is good sign that she’ll be alright.

Watch the video above, then visit her Hearts in Pieces website.