RNazaire.com – MMXIII – Year in Review Good Morning, Good Afternoon. Before I go on about with a recap of the events that took place here in 2013, allow me to re-introduce myself: My name is Ricardo Nazaire – the man behind RNazaire.com. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve put this out on here, but this site has, is, and always will be a means for me to showcase my reviews, entries, and projects while at the same time, featuring interviews, collaborations and just about everything you could imagine. Looking back, there was a ton of work put into what you see today, so what better way to end the year off than by showcasing the updates of RNazaire.com that made 2013 a very solid year on my end.
Prelude – Bygone Days Back in October 2012, I drafted “Why We Fall,” which was a story in my words detailing what has been going on between where I was with the site back in 2012, taking a step back, and looking forward to picking up where I left off.
One of the first things I told myself after finishing that piece was not to rush into things. The best thing for me to do at the time was to taking things more seriously than I had in the past. Forming the closest thing I’ve had to a ‘strategy’ in a long while, I decided to gather as much material as possible in order to have more to work with and more breathing room in the future. Things really picked up from there: Once I got the gears going, I started reaching out to those in my inner circle to discuss what I had in mind. Almost immediately, I knew there was something fundamentally off but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it…until I started with the basics: the site itself.
“End of an Era” pretty much sums up everything I have to say on the matter but for the sake of keeping things short and having everything in one place: Let’s just say I didn’t think that going on with a name like ‘RICKisBOSS’ would do myself any justice. I figured with a revamped website, that a fresh look and name is in order and you can’t get much fresher than RNazaire in my opinion. I was really pleased with the ‘upgrade’ I gave myself and went to work on making sure that the March 2013 re-launch would be on point and for all intents and purposes, I think my work has gone on to speak for itself and prove me right.
March 2013 – The Return March 2013. March, no matter the year, has always been my power month. I say that because not only is it my birth month, but a lot of major events tend to go down on that month…at least for me. Anyway, I initially launched my site back in March 2012 and I thought what better way to get back into gear than to do the re-launch a year later. Hence, the meaning behind “One Year Later.”
“One Year Later,” while brief, packed a huge punch as far as I am concerned. This update, saw the formal introduction of RNazaire.com, official icon and all, as well as heavy-hitters such as “Why We Fall,” “End of an Era,” and last but not least, a completely revamped Image Gallery which featured three new albums that hosted a whopping seventy-five photos.
Needless to say, I was feeling myself quite a bit with this update. And for good reason: Even now, I can’t help but tip my hat to what the end result of what I imagined and the hard work that went behind it eventually became. Of course, this wasn’t my first rodeo: I’ve been down this road before but this time I know better than to spend too much time patting myself on the back over initial accomplishments. The key to all of this is to keep the same level of quality on a consistent basis. While this can be seen as a simple process on paper, the execution is a whole other story.
I had a lot of fun showcasing the little gadgets I had gathered throughout the past year or so with “Tools of the Trade, Pt. I – Video,” the first of what was originally planned to be a three part series but the plan now is to release the other editions throughout next year. In March, I had a lot of fun putting together the follow-up to last year’s “Not For Play,” an update which at the time packed the a whole lot of heat and generated major attraction towards the site. Naturally, I thought it would be best to make sure this year’s version was much bigger and badder than its predecessor and that’s where “Not For Play, Pt.II” came into play.
I wanted to focus more on an impact I would be making for the site and it was a complete success: I premiered two new additions to the Image Gallery – “The City,” which focused on how I spent my birthday which was tearing up New York City and of course “Where It Started,” focuses on my where I came from with splices of my younger self in the mix. March also saw “Moving Along,” an update that featured “Swag, Yolo, and the Self–Destructive Nature of Today’s Youth,” the first entry in a series of extended titles that focused on the contrast between growing up then and now and also “Lessons Learned,” an entry to close out the month on a very positive note. With the month of March being a rather accomplished milestone in its own right, I was ready and willing to take the month of April by storm as well.
April 2013 – The World is Yours April 2013. Looking back, April was the month where things really came together – Primetime for this site. After solidifying what the site was about and where I wanted to take it, I was knocking out quality updates left and right.
“Back to Business” was the first update of the month and I couldn’t think of a better way to kick things off: I was just coming back from vacation, a working vacation, and made good use of my time away from my usual surroundings. “Away From It All,” the sixth addition to the Image Gallery, was a simple, yet honest look at taking a step back to look at the small things in life that really matter.This month also found the premiere of the revamp of Top Billing – a feature where I showcase detailed reviews on some of my favorite albums, movies, and titles giving credit where credit is due. With the release of Tyler, the Creator’s ‘Wolf’ right around the corner and me familiarizing myself with a lot of Odd Future material at the time, I figured what better way to kick things off than an Album Review Trilogy which was “Top Billing: Tyler, the Creator.” Seeing how this was my first rodeo in a sense, it was definitely a challenge to get everything in order the way I had things in mind but after spending enough time and effort with this, it turned out great.
“Lost in Paradise,” an update referencing a Rihanna review that I would go on to review, was released right in the middle of the month. What I was going for here was that being in Hawaii had its fair share of advantages and disadvantages. A beautiful set of islands with a plethora of things to do is great and all, but they can also serve as a bit of a distraction when there is work to be done. I find it pretty ironic that I would be working so hard in arguably one of the most recognizable places where people go to vacate.
“Balance” is an entry where I really begin to solidify the theme of balance all of life’s moments, big and small, and to embrace them for what they are. I put this together around a time where there were a lot of major changes at the workplace and when RNazaire.com was at the peak of its game.
I went on to release “Top Billing: Rihanna,” the sister entry to “Top Billing: Tyler, the Creator” that I put out earlier in the month. Reviewing those two albums is one of the more memorable moments of the year to me because it was one of the first entries that really came out of left field. I definitely wanted to show that I would be working on things out of my perceived comfort zone to show variety in my work, as well as my interests.
“Moving Along, Pt. II,” an update which fell along the same lines of the original version featured in March, featured quite a few highlights. I released “Top Billing: Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver,” my first movie review for the site and it actually turned out to very well crafted piece of work if I may say so myself. I really believe that it has a lot to do with how I wanted my first movie review to set the tone of what was to come and how much of a difference pre-planning makes in the end.
From there, I released a trifecta of Image Gallery Updates: Pt.7 – Atlantic City, Pt.8 – Emerald City, and Pt.9 – Untitled. The majority of these photos carried over from my time away from the island and really did a great job of showcasing the variety of things that can be found in our world. This would go on to be the last update on the Image Gallery front as I wanted to focus more time on Top Billing and other features on the site.
“Balance, Pt. II,” was the last entry of the month that served as the answers to the questions posed in “Balance” featured earlier in April. There was an interesting sense of foreboding as far as what would lie in the future that can be future alongside the Entries featured on the site and it would eventually made that much more obvious in the heavy-hitting month of May.
May 2013 – Words of Wisdom
May 2013. By the time May came around, I had a pretty good standing as far as what the site was about. Still I didn’t want put myself in a corner creatively, so I decided to put my mind into a couple of Features for the month. “Stand Tall,” was an update where I outright said that I didn’t want to overdo it when it came to Top Billing. Instead, I wanted to start things off with a Feature from a different angle.
Seeing how the month of May is Haitian Heritage Month here in the United States, I put together “Haiti: The Pride of the Caribbean,” a feature that showcased a different side of writing from me, as well as a small look into some of my own roots. In a similar note, I also put together an entry for the occasion titled, “Pride.” This entry was one of the more prominent titles I put together, and really fleshed out who I was as a person through my work.“Stay Real” was an update that was supposed to feature not only an Top Billing/Album Review of Nas’ Illmatic, but also a live performance that I attended during that month. Due to scheduling conflicts, I decided to make a nod to the show with one of Nas’ final remarks – Stay Real. With this update, I featured another addition to the Top Billing library with my review of Iron Man III.
At the time, I was a really big fan of the movie and was really excited for that to be among the first recent releases that I would go on to review. Looking back though, I’m not too excited over the film itself, but I still like the review for what it is. Alongside this release, I also featured “The Thirst,” an unusual twist on a pretty popular phrase at the time.
My next update “Moving Along, Pt. III,” featured what was more than just another Top Billing entry. “Top Billing: Kingdom Come,” while in the same vein as the Superhero/Fantasy genre, was the first graphic novel reviewed on my site. I was such a fan of Alex Ross’ title that I immediately got to work on presenting my take on it to the public. This plan, while challenging, was definitely work it and I actually remember having a lot of fun putting it together – screenshot and after screenshot and all. This update also featured “Take Care,” my attempt at assessing the qualms of saying goodbye to those who we have come to care about throughout our time with them.
“Sky’s The Limit,” was an update heavily influenced by the late great Notorious B.I.G. I released a Top Billing entry for the artist featuring his debut album, “Ready to Die,” to coincide with his birthday and I have a follow-up on this due for next year. “Nothing Can Be Explained,” was an entry that I drafted that really focused on appreciation those around us while they are still here.
As I look back on entries like this, I am very proud of how much my writing has matured and how much more responsible I’ve become as a writer. Thoughts like this really pushed my drive to take this site to the next level and the month of June is when I really put my skills to the test.
June 2013 – Rising Above
June 2013. This month started off with “Pride and Prejudice,” an update that featured one of the more controversial additions to the site, “#thegayblog.” I say controversial since even though a feature like this was something I had in mind for a while, it wasn’t until seeing that LGBT pride month happened to be June that I realized that the timing couldn’t be any better.
Interestingly enough, I was actually asked not to release this feature seeing how some people would assume that just because I wrote in support of LGBT community, that I had to be a part of the community itself. Ironically, that was all the more motivation for me to put in as much effort as I did in making sure this feature had a proper release. I wanted to show that above all else, we are all people and that we all should be treated as such – equally.
As it would turn out, the release of #thegayblog easily saw the most traffic and acclaim that my site received up until that time. This feature almost single-handedly showed me that if you have a message that is powerful enough, it will reach others. That and there were major milestones for the LGBT later this year so naturally, I felt as though this was solely due to #thegayblog. Clearly.
“Back to Basics,” was an entry that served as a prelude to how I was closing out the month while at the same time, trying to streamline how things would be for the site. If it wasn’t obvious, I am a big fan of Fantasy. As a matter of fact, my goal is to release a title that blends [Greek] Mythology in a modern day setting and while the Fantasy elements are extremely prevalent, that is a story for another day.
Anyway, I mentioned in this update that with the release of Man of Steel around the corner, I would be releasing a special Top Billing: Superman II. As it stands, this film is my favorite out of all of the Superman titles. With this update, though, I kinda sorta vowed to slow it down on the Superhero/Fantasy front, but don’t hold your breath on that. “A New Age of Heroes” served as the closeout update of the month and featured the highly anticipated Top Billing/Movie Review of Man of Steel. Personally, I think the movie was awesome and it made it that much easier to review. Unfortunately between then and now, I accidentally removed the review from the site but I’m definitely working away and getting it back out there. With that, I put together “These Are Our Heroes,” an entry reflecting on the everyday hero and how they thanklessly shape us to the people we are today.
…And that’s how things were for the better half of this year. Unfortunately, the expectations bestowed upon me escalated beyond my control. It was around this time I made a major decision that would prove to be critical on events to come.
July/October 2013 – Bygone Days, Pt.II July 2013. “Playing With Time,” was an update that I put together announcing a temporary hiatus on the site until further notice. It was a really tough decision for me to make but I knew that at the rate of how things were going, it was best that I did this instead of giving my followers proper closure on things. Not too long after posted this, I took a good hard look at what I wanted to accomplish as far as the site was concerned.After all, I owed it to myself and others not to have a repeat of what had happened last year (See: “Why We Fall“) and at the same time, I genuinely meant what I had said about developing this site into a platform where I can feature projects of my own. As time passed, I took the opportunity to gather material as I did in the past while at the same time, feature occasional entries such as “#09112001” as well as working on projects for when the time was right.
Ever since the R.Nazaire incarnation of this site, I’ve flirted with the idea of experimenting with broadcasting my material through other means. Venues such as YouTube and vlogging have been in mind here and there, but I was never really sold on it in the past. But after months of mapping things out, I decided to give the “Visual Leg” of RNazaire.com a shot and went to work on a channel of my own.
I started everything basically from scratch. With nothing more than a logo and a vision, I was able to release what would serve as a trailer for my upcoming line of videos with “RNazaire.com – What It’s All About.” The trailer itself generated a respectable amount of hype and through the guidance and mentorship of others, I was very eager to see how things would go from there.
November / December 2013 – Closing Chapters November 2013. RNazaire.com was back at full force with the premiere of “Five Months Later, Pt. III [The Return],” an update that featured my very first video for this site. As anxious as I was, I really appreciated the response I received and at the time, really took creating videos as the sole means of updating into serious consideration.
Next up was “The Solution,” a follow-up video I put together which provided updates on my end as well as displaying my attempts on getting a handle on some of the more well-known forms of Social Media. Truth be told, this all kind of worked out as a blessing in disguise seeing how these videos took a lot more work than what I had grown accustomed to and in all honesty, I find myself having a lot more fun doing what got me putting together a site in the first place – my passion for writing.
It wasn’t until the combination of the release of “Top Billing: Eminem – The Marshall Mathers LP 2,” my first Top Billing/Album Review since I got back into the groove of things as well as “The Dawn” that I decided to do what was best for me in the long run. In all honestly, the videos came off as a chore more than anything else and it was taking precious time away from what could have been going towards other more promising projects on my end.
Save for “Veteran’s Day,” which ironically went on to be the sole entry in recent months, I felt as though I was doing things to accommodate for others and if I continued down that path, I would be doing things for all the wrong reasons. With that in mind I decided that while it was fun while it lasted, I would bring the videos to a close. Instead of weekly intervals as planned, I will reserve doing videos only on occasion and only on my terms.
With this, I can say with experience that the freedom to do what I love without any reservations is a very beautiful thing. While I leave you with posts such as this as well as Island in the Sun, the final Image Gallery entry of the year, I stand confident knowing that while this year has been an interesting ride to the say the least, I can look back knowing my hard work and dedication have taken what was at first a small idea into much, much more.I sincerely would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to support my work along the way. I will continue to show my appreciation to you all by continuing to do what I do the best way I know how. As always, thank you so for taking the time to read, rate, comment, and sharing what you’ve seen here throughout the year on RNazaire. That’s all I have for now and until I return, I hope you enjoyed this past year as much I did – it was a blast. Be sure to take care, and I’ll see you when I see you. Well, not see you-see you, but you get my drift…Until next time!