A Founder’s Thoughts With D.J. Lewis: Being A Content Creator

Hey, how’ve ya been? It’s hard to believe that six years ago A. Goldman and I had an idea about what it would be like to have an anime blog; where we would post pictures from all of the conventions we went to, and all of the cosplayers we’ve met along the way. Now we’re taking pictures with our childhood heroes, we have an awesome podcast where we get to invite said childhood heroes, and we’re on the road to becoming (hopefully) a recognizable brand. Honestly, I never really thought I’d see myself as a content creator, but if you look at any of your favorite content creators out there, you know they all had to start somewhere. 

D&A Studios Entertainment Logo! (Yeah, I made this.)

For me it was December of 2015; I was a member of an online anime club from the UK (I forgot the name) that posted their favorite anime titles, moments from said titles, and even shared AMVs. The club was pretty fun, and I got to meet a lot of people online that I hope I would get the chance to see at an anime convention one day. Things were going great…until they weren’t. The area soon became toxic when accusations were made, death threats were being sent, and international lawsuits were being filed. I didn’t want any part of that so I got the hell outta there when I did, and found myself at home wondering if I should join a new online club – or start my own.

A. Goldman and I were tossing ideas back and forth about what to call our anime blog if we had one, and the name ‘DNA’ came up; instead we named it ‘D&A’ to represent the first letter of our names. It also was a medical term where DNA was the genetic makeup and identity of a living organism; in this case, humans. The tagline “It’s a part of you…” ties into the definition of DNA itself; since anime feels like its within the fabric of otaku culture – like its a part of it. Its safe to say that I had no idea that this passion was going to turn into something big; that it would turn me into a content creator, and that I liked it!

I’ve always been a creative person; even at a young age I like drawing some of my favorite things like sharks, snakes, and trains. As I got older I wanted to create my own music; now I’m a DJ and produce my own music. I guess if you have something special, why not share it with the world? In this case its our Youtube podcast “Nerdz of the Decade”. I’ve seen people make full-time careers out of being content creators, but I also know that its gonna take awhile to get there; cuz’ you need some kinda funding to keep it going – especially when it comes to equipment upgrades.

Who knows where this journey of content creation is going to take me, but all I can say about it, is that it all started with an idea…that turned into what you see before you today. If you have a story to tell and love being creative, why not share it with the world? You never know who you might be helping in the process of creating your content. It could brighten someone’s day, or even help them get through a difficult time in their life, or even help them to escape the troubles of reality; as you can see what the last two years have been like.

If you have a content creator that’s inspired you to make your own content, give them a shout-out and support their channel. At the end of the day, most of the best content comes from the people who are just like me, and you.

That’s my thoughts. 

A Founder’s Thoughts with D.J. Lewis (2/1/2022)

The first month of 2022 is officially in the history books as we enter into February; with visions on our boards, and seeking just a little more compassion for others who are going through a lot. What else can you even say about how the last two years have been for America; from the height of the pandemic to vaccines being politicized, to getting others to understand why Black Lives Matter. It’s been a roller-coaster ride for a lot of us and in the mist of it all, many have decided that this year would be the year that they take that road into becoming better people. Which brings me to this question: how hard is it to be nice?

Although I keep hearing the phrase ‘Nice guys finish last!’ it sounds like something that men with little to no social etiquette; who happen to be sexist towards woman, would say. Also on that same token, I’ve even heard the phrase ‘Men start wars, women finish them!’. Its moments like this where I wish I was a kid in the 90’s again; where the only thing I had to worry about was making sure I got straight A’s in my class and did all my chores so I’d get a raise in my allowance. Sure, America did have issues but in a world where there was no social media, things seemed a little saner.

These days we’re constantly bombarded with information from social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook, and most of the time, we find ourselves being drawn to the negative aspects of the platform – like ‘fat-shaming’ and hate speech. Yes, others counter that with positive things like break-dancing cat videos and that’s always a breath of fresh air, but sometimes I wonder…would we as a society be better off if we didn’t have social media? What would our lives be like if we didn’t have a platform that gave cyberbullies, trolls, bigots, and other bastards an outlet to spread their venom, and cause others who they deem weak all kinds of mental, emotional, and psychological damage…? As an Afro-American male living in the U.S. and everything that has transpired since George Floyd’s murder, that’s a question that I ask myself everyday. Not just that question, but also…why would you feel threatened by my existence?

It never made any sense to me why people feel the need to be racist, sexist, hateful, or just plain nasty. Most of the time people are like that because their parents are like that, and other times they feel so wounded by the world that they want others to feel just as miserable as they do. Hopefully the next generation will do much better in this department at being nice and more accepting than past generations before them, and that we can one day live in a world were we celebrate acceptance and diversity as what makes us unique; not what makes us different. (Which I’m already noticing.)

I’ll end this post with this; take time out of your day to brighten someone else’s.

Until next post, later.

A Founder’s Thoughts with D.J. Lewis: Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door!

Growing up as a kid my world revolved around three things; food, Saturday Morning Cartoons, and video games. All three of which I indulged in heavily during my childhood. I can count the hours I spent playing Super Mario Bros. on my NES and the trilogy remakes on my SNES, and even what my favorite show was at the time (which happened to be DBZ and Yu-Gi-Oh, and yes I did hunt for the cards). Out of all of my favorite gaming console eras the most exciting one for me personally, was the GameCube era.

This was my favorite era!

I didn’t get my hands on the cube until one year after its launch. For most Nintendo gamers it was the epitome of their childhood growing up, but for me it felt like a whole new world I was stepping into. Sure I had some awesome times with the N64, but the Gamecube era took it to another level. I played all of the hit games back then; Luigi’s Mansion, Smash Bros. Melee, Sonic Adventure 2 Battle, Sonic DX, Super Mario Sunshine, Mario Party 4-7, and the list goes on and on. Out of all of those games during that time, the one I had the most fun playing was Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door.

What was it about this game that kept me coming back for its replay value? Was it because it took everything I loved about the original and enhanced it to an anime-level plot? Was it because I got the chance to fight a new ‘big bad’ other than Bowser? Was it the fact that the story didn’t take place in the Mushroom Kingdom like it normally does, but puts Mario in an unfamiliar town full of robbers, questionable areas, and G-rated ‘showgirls’? YES!! Yes to ALL!

Bring back THIS battle system, Nintendo!

It even took the battle system from the first game and enhanced it; partners now have HP, Mario’s HP and FP have a 200-point cap which is way better than PM64’s 60, and you were introduced to a new type of villain – the X-Nauts (doing their best DMX ‘X’ed’ off impression). Also, you had an audience that watched you fight your opponents. (Although there was that one time where everybody had rocks and were prepared to chuck them at me, and I had to find that one a**hole who thought it was funny and whack him on the head with my hammer. Who’s laughing now, Ted?!)

This game was also kinda dark too; the Hooktail battle where that idiot ate members of the audience, and don’t even get me started of the Shadow Queen (Shadow Peach) fight, she killed everybody in the audience and used their souls to fill up her HP. It’s probably one of the reason why I and thousands of other Paper Mario fans liked this installment so much; it took a more PG approach to the story as opposed to ‘playing it safe’ for the kiddies, although I wouldn’t count 14 as a kid’s age. I’m not sure what happened after Super Paper Mario, but fans feel like they never should’ve abandoned the RPG formula. I probably should’ve mentioned it before, but the partners in this game ACTUALLY HAVE CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT! Koops was a shy guy (pun intended) who wanted to be more confident even though his girlfriend loved him just the way he is. Vivian was in a abusive relationship with her sisters until she ventured out on her own and helped Mario get her body back from Doopliss. Admiral Bobbery lost the love of his life while out sailing the seas due to illness and felt guilty for not being by her side during her final hours, and vowed never to sail the seas again.

I can see why this installment in the Paper Mario series is one of the most critically acclaimed; the story, the character development in the partners, enhanced battle mechanics, a new main bad guy, and the game ‘forgetting’ that Bowser’s trying so hard to become the center of the plot. It’s one of the reasons why out of all of the games of the GameCube era, this one was my favorite to play; followed by Sonic DX. Who knows if Nintendo will return to what worked for the Paper Mario series, even though they tried it with Sticker Star and Origami King (but still abandoned the RPG formula all together). At the end of the day, Thousand Year Door will always be my favorite installment of the series.

Thousand Year Door will always be my favorite installment of the series!

A Founder’s Thoughts with D.J. Lewis: Thanksgiving 2021!

So it’s that time of the year again; the holiday between Halloween and Christmas where everyone’s trying to find the right sized turkey, booking flights out of state to visit loved ones when they couldn’t do it last year, and waiting outside in 30-below weather for blockbuster deals on any and every electronic device out here today. Yep, it’s Thanksgiving once again, and more than half of America is happy that they can see the people they couldn’t see last year. When it comes to National ‘Leave No Turkey Un-feathered’ day, the meal pretty much consists of the usual suspects; candy yams, mac ‘n cheese, sweet potato pie (or pumpkin pie), greens, and that one dish from your ‘newly-vegan’ cousin. I know you’ve heard it a million-and-one times before, but the last 21 months have been absolutely crazy!

Race in America has been one of the biggest issues that we’re still dealing with as a country, and proof of that comes on the heels of two of the biggest racially-defining trials since the George Floyd case. Honestly when it came down to the verdicts of both cases, one of the takeaways I’ve gotten is the fact that we’ve got some serious soul searching to do – as humans. It still rattles my brain that in the span of taking one year off from our busy lives due to a life-changing event; half of America has lost their sense of empathy, compassion, patience, and understanding.

With an event of this magnitude effecting every aspect of human life, you would think that we would come together as a collective (not to say that most of us aren’t), but the level of division among this country in terms of politics, race, and opinions is still at an all-time high. Many people have accepted who people really are and no longer associate themselves with them, while others have lost their faith in humanity; leaving some to try and help persevere it in some way, shape, or form. Which is why this Thanksgiving; one of the things I’m the most thankful for is my sanity, my family, and keeping good people with good vibes around me.

Hopefully you guys are with your loved ones this holiday, and for those who’ve lost a loved one to COVID-19 or any other serious illness last year (or even this year), I pray that God gives you comfort through this season. Take care and love one another.

A Founder’s Thoughts with D.J. Lewis: Something New For November!

Whats good, anime fam! This one’s pretty much a check-in post to let you know what I’ll be doing mostly on the blog; among other things. If you’re just jumping on for the very first time, I wanna say welcome to D&A Anime Blog and hopefully you’ll have an awesome time! For those who’ve been with us since day one, I wanna say thanks for being awesome. The last 21 months have been a roller-coaster for pretty much all of us; as we make the best out of whatever you call ‘normal’ around these parts. (There’s still a lot of work to do, but I’ve got faith we’ll get there!)

In the meantime, for the month of November (aside from it being my birthday month) I wanted to try something a little different for a change – something new! I’m not quite sure how it’ll turn out but I’m gonna give it a shot, and if it turns out great, then I’ll make it a regular thing. If not, then it’ll be a one-time thing. This thing I’m gonna try is “Poetic Rants Through Comedic Circumstance”. Basically I poke fun at comedic circumstances that happen in anime (mostly Ecchi and Harem, but other genres too) with poetry and ranting. Rants are kinda 50-50 depending on what the subject matter is, but instead of me ripping on a show or genre of anime I’m not a big fan of, I take the comedic approach and turn that negative rant into a melting pot of laughter.

I feel like these days America might have lost its sense of humor in some way or form (but if I’m wrong feel free to let me know). Sure, there have been a lot of things that we’ve tolerated (especially in the media) a few decades ago, but now we gotta think twice about what we say or run the risk of getting ‘cancelled’. I hear the word ‘Cancel Culture’ being thrown around like rice at a wedding, but because its such a ‘hot button’ word considering the social climate that we live in, I usually stay away from it. I’ll say this; when you cancel something, you leave it alone. You don’t talk about it, you don’t think about it, you don’t even tweet about it. It’s dead to you. It no longer exists to you. You don’t watch it on TV or hear it on the radio. To me, that’s what cancelling something is.

Accountability and Responsibility Culture is what we really should be doing more of. There’s a lot of people out there who need to ‘Man Up’ or ‘Woman Up’ to what they’ve done to the people or person that they’ve done it to; directly or indirectly. It’s virtually IMPOSSIBLE to please everybody; cuz’ not matter what you do, there’s always gonna be one or two knuckleheads who are gonna talk crap about you. Don’t give em’ a second thought, just keep it movin’! I would go into this a little bit more, but I’ll save it for one of my ‘vent posts’.

Anyway, that’ll do it for me and my semi-rant about where we are socially. Catch ya’ll next post!

A Founder’s Thoughts with D.J. Lewis (10/05/21)!

Hey guys! The last 20 months have been in may ways stressful, hopeful, mentally exhausting, and optimistic all at the same time. Despite all of that I’m actually grateful for all of the awesome people that I’ve meet in the five years that I’ve been a part of D&A Anime Blog. Now that we’re in the fourth quarter of 2021 and my 32nd birthday is next month, I have the strangest combination of anxiety and optimism. Anxiety; due to the fact that while I may have achieved some of my short-term goals, there are still a few long-term ones that I haven’t gotten around to doing just yet. If there’s one thing the pandemic has done, its help me to acknowledge the fact that there have been moments when I feel like my mental health has ebbed a lil’ bit – even though I don’t show it.

Not only that but about 10 years after graduating from college, I’ve been dealing with mild swings of depression; thankfully not to the point where I need meds. In a way having the blog as well as being a music producer and a DJ has helped me cope with those bouts of depression; in fact if I can take it one step further, being an anime fan and going to anime conventions has also helped me cope with it. I wasn’t intending for this to be a semi-serious post, but I felt like this was just something I wanted to get off my chest. Rest assured that even though I’m coping, I’m super grateful for all of the awesome people that have crossed my path over the years; including my friend of 19 years as well as you guys, the fans!

I know it kinda sounds like I’m leaving the blog or something due to how this post sounds, but don’t fret, it’s not the case. It just means that instead of posting something nearly everyday (which in recent months has given me writer’s block combined with anxiety of trying to think of what to write), I’ll be posting awesome content for you guys to read every other day; three days a week tops. Some weeks it’ll be Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; other weeks it’s Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. With the way the last year and nine months has been, I know I’m not the only one feeling this way; nor am I alone.

Sure, there have been some days where I’m on top of the world, and others where I’ve asked myself “What am I even doing with my life?”. All n’ all, talking and blogging about your feelings does help, plus you get to share it with other people who are in the same boat as you.

Until next post, look out for one another! 😉

A Founder’s Thoughts with D.J. Lewis (08/04/21)!

Hey guys! It’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these posts, as if you’re unaware by now; there are hundreds of various thoughts that go on in my mind on a constant basis. I guess you can say the being on the outside looking in does have its perks; it allows you to see what life is like from another person’s prospective other than your own, and you get to analyze the quality of your own life and count the various blessings that have been given to you. Sure, everyone has problems and demons that they face on a weekly basis most of the time, but lately I’ve been getting the eerie feeling that we as humans take way too much for granted.

Many of us realize that we’re not perfect by any measure, as some try to strive for the perfection that inhumanly cannot be achieved. They say ‘practice makes perfect’ but in reality practice makes better. If there’s one thing I’ve gotten from the pandemic experience (which I’m hoping we can fully get out of sooner than later), is that we need to practice a bit harder on patience, humility, empathy, and serenity. Yeah, I know the pandemic has changed EVERYTHING; from how we socialize, to how we party, to how we work, and everything in between. Has life been any easier for us in the past 19 months? Not a bit! But we’re taking it one day at a time in hopes that we can one day end this pandemic once and for all.

There’s a lot of things in life that life is too short for; online and offline fights about who said this and who said that, being mad at someone for what they said or did 20-30 years ago, and the stress of dealing with the fact that a percentage of America will never get vaccinated for reasons that are debatable – and some that are just plain stupid. You might as well through in the fact that the once peaceful airlines have now become mile-high fight clubs for extra credit! I’m not telling anyone how to live their life but dude, maybe try making another person’s life suck a little less if you can help it.

I watch a lot of anime with characters that deal with various challenges and stressors that we as humans deal with on a daily, and even they overcome their obstacles. In a perfect world we probably wouldn’t even have to deal with half of the things that stress us out; like war, racism, sexism, homophobia, death, taxes, and turkey bacon, but this isn’t an Isekai – it’s the real world. (And it sucks half the time.)

No matter how rough life gets; when you come to a point in your life where you don’t need the world’s approval to feel like you matter, that is when you can truly start living! Friends and family are the best support system that you can have in times like these. Sure, there’s problems and haters everywhere (even online), but life is too short and you’ve got way too many brain cells to give them the time of day.

We should all practice a little more appreciation for the life that we’ve been given, and the people that are in it. Who cares about likes and social status, cuz’ when you live long enough to know your worth as a human being, you realize that you matter more than you think you do.

That’s my take.

A Founder’s Thoughts with D.J. Lewis! (06/16/21)

What’s good anime fam! It’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these posts, so for this one it’ll pretty much be an update on what’s I’ve been doing as of late. As for what’s happening in my neck of the woods; it looks like we’re inching closer to that magical goal of 70% full vaccination not just in my home state of Maryland, but in a couple other states as well. For 15 months the thought of going to an anime convention was frowned upon due to the size of the crowd, but with the positivity rate dropping in certain states with high vaccination rates, some conventions (smaller ones) are starting to come back around. I myself have been contemplating if A. Goldman and I should take a shot at one of the returning conventions later this year; one of them just happens to be in New York. As for myself and what I’ve been up to as of late, well it’s pretty much the usual.

Due to my mixes being taken down off my Youtube and Facebook pages, I’ve decided to upload all of my DJ mixes to my official Mixcloud page. You can find me as Avidd Minddset on Mixcloud and check out a couple of my ‘Minddset Sessions’ DJ mixes! I’m also working on episode ideas for our Nerdz of the Decade podcast, and I promise that we’ll have some new episodes for you guys to check out! It’s hard to believe it’s been 17 months since my last convention, and with a few of them returning (with safety measures in place) I guess you can say that our first convention back since March of 2020 will be Anime NYC. I’ve never been to New York or Manhattan for that matter, but after being stuck in my house for a year and a half, I’m itchin’ to leave the state!

Even though I’m fully vaccinated (and shaking off the side effects) I’m probably still going to keep my mask on; or get one of those LED light-up masks that look like the one Scorpion from Mortal Kombat has on. I know it sounds like I’m rambling on, but guys, these are just the thoughts that occur in my head everyday – and I write em’ all down on this blog to share with you! The last year and a half hasn’t been easy (and I can probably say the same for you if you live in the U.S. or any other country), but D&A has kinda been my little online home away from ‘home’. I can share my thoughts, how I feel about certain things and trends, and what’s the best anime title to start with if you’re just getting into it. (Go with the classics like Pokemon, Dragon Ball, Yu-Gi-Oh, Cowboy Bebop, or Sailor Moon and work your way up to the new school titles.)

Honestly, there’s moments where I’m glad A. Goldman and I had that vision back in 2015 about creating a blog; thought it was going to be an anime convention photo album at the time. We’re five-going-on-six years in on this thing, and it’s been a fun ride! So I’m gonna end this post with more years to come for me and A. Goldman doin’ our nerdy thing on this blog, as well as getting the chance to break out my first live DJ set at an anime/gaming after party (or anywhere that wants to jam out to some music).

Until next post guys! 😉

A Founder’s Thoughts with D.J. Lewis: Cinco De Mayo Edition!

Hey guys n’ gals! Yours Truly is back with another post about my thoughts regarding everything that’s been going on so far this year. Today of course we celebrate Cinco De Mayo; so hopefully you’re celebrating safely and responsibly since yes, we’re still in a pandemic (but we’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel). Honestly the past several weeks have been kinda hard to come up with fun and creative nerdy content for the blog, but slowly and surely  I’m starting to get a little of my mojo back. Since March of last year I made the decision to jump back into the music production scene and dropped my debut EP (Minddgames), and two albums (Primetime, and Mental Vacation) under my stage name; Avidd Minddset. (I even had my first collab single with King Shabazz.) Even though the pandemic has been awful to us mentally and emotionally, it also made most of us really take a look at ourselves as well as our priorities in life. Many of us will come out of it better people than we were going into it, while others will double down on their own ignorance and toxicity towards others.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from this experience (with this being my first pandemic along with thousands of others who are in the same boat), is that you never wanna take anything in life for granted! So many of us have lost loved ones through this pandemic, which has made a lot of us keep the loved ones who are still with us close to us. Sure, we got our own difference of opinion when it comes to things like ideals and politics, but when the human race is threatened on a global scale, whatever beef you got has to take a back seat and focus on what’s really important. You also gotta be mindful of who you listen to, and where you get your information from in times of great crisis; cuz’ misinformation is a dangerous thing. (As we’ve seen the repercussions.) Our return to normal is closer than we think, so if we wanna return to what we love (mine being anime conventions and DJing at clubs), we gotta get vaccinated.

Well, that’s pretty much my thoughts in a nutshell at the moment. Hopefully you guys are celebrating Cinco De Mayo safely and away from large crowds at least for now; come May 5th of 2022 we’ll be celebrating at the clubs once again! Until the next post, stay nerdy guys! 😉

D&A Anime Blog: Just One Of Them Days…

If you’re a blogger (especially an anime blogger like us), then you’ve probably encountered one of those days where you want to post something, but for some reason, you just don’t have the mental energy to do so. Its not to say that you’re not passionate about it, or even the fact that you’re burnt out of topics to talk about; but when a good chunk of your source material for your original content comes to a screeching halt…well, you suddenly start having one of those days. For us, that chuck came in the form of anime conventions; and as much as we miss them the same way that you miss them, it’s just not 100% safe to return – but we’re getting there! As far as our Nerdz of the Decade podcast is concerned, it’s STILL going to happen…even though its taking us a little longer to get the equipment we need (cuz’ of the delays due to COVID-19).

In spite of our hurdles we can’t thank you guys enough for all of the love and support that you’ve given us. D&A wouldn’t be the anime blog that it is today without the community, as well as our followers and our fans. If there’s one thing we’re passionate about, its anime, and we’re pretty sure you’re passionate about it too. (Cuz’ that’s why you’re here, right? XP) It may be one of those days for us, but with the power of God and anime at our side, we plan on bringing you some of the best nerdy content you’ll ever see! Until next post, stay positive and stay nerdy!

We’re not gonna stop!