January 2013/ Philadelphiaâ€™s most diverse magazine
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Publisher/CEO/Creative Director George Clifford Blackmon Masthead Creation Nouveau Concepts Graphic Designer Team Lead Matt Schmidt Content Manager Stacey Martinez New Business Development 215-878-3227 Advertising & Sales 215-878-3227 Contributing Writers Irene Okech Jennifer Matthews Magarita McKissick C Double R Kyle Leishar April Perry-McKellar George Clifford Blackmon Lisa Smith Manuel McDonnell Smith Faith Fox Contributing Photography Greg Tavares Jamika Richardson Matt Schmidt Editing Lisa Smith Bridget Johnson –Stewart
Urban Suburban is published quarterly by MoMac Media LLC. Copyright 2011. All rights reserved. NO PART OF THIS PUBLICATION MAY BE REPRODUCED WITHOUT THE EXPRESSED WRITTEN CONSENT OF THE PUBLISHER. Publisher assumes no responsibility for return of unsolicited manuscripts, photo’s or artwork. Printed in the USA
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Urban Suburban Magazine congratulates Fred Thomas Jr. on his recent acheivement Matt Zoltak: Local Athlete Turned Entrepreneur tells us about Excel Cord
Philadelphia’s BEST KEPT
NEWS 16 Designing Secrets 42 Curtain Call by Candace Smith EDUCATION 20 Health Care Reform Get & Move HEALTH 39 DDP Yoga 24 Matt Zoltak - Excel Cord
Money Minutes 09 Wise Spending and Saving Decision in 2013 15 Achieve your goal in 2013 Relationships 30 It’s OK to tell him 6 urban suburban magazine.com Philadelphia
Book Of The Month -Excerpts 26 Grasshopper Speaks by Katrina Register Gadgets 32 2013 Tech Toys HOT Or Not 33 Essence of Style 36 Gifts for All (affordable and sensible) Learning For Life 50 Young and Gifted by Jordan Culpepper Entertainment 54 Indie Movies
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MONEY MINUTES | 2013 Saving
That time of the year has come for some of you – Income Tax Refund Check time.
Usually right after the New Year we all start to feel the euphoria of the back-to-back holidays as over and done with. Now, we are financial stagnant and need a quick financial fix to recover. The thought of what has been taken all year long to arrive is back and starts to burn holes in your pockets with the first sight of your W2 and rightfully so, it’s your money – you.ve earned it. This is when many will start to get antsy about filing out their tax forms for that rapid return. However, the huge mistake many will make is once that money is received they’ll run through it so fast and have absolutely nothing to show for it. So I am proposing a plan for your money so that all of your hard doesn’t blow away with the winter winds. This fundamental strategy for your income tax refund is broken down into shortterm money goals and Long-term money goals. Short term money goals defined as: Set up an emergency fund – never know when you will need cash on hand Pay off highest interest rate credit cards – will save money spent later & boost credit
Purchase a computer – will keep you up-to-date on the world and great for networking Long term money goals defined as: Pay interest payments on student loans – will shorten your payments over the loans course Start a savings for a car or house – will fulfill a dream you’ve been having Pre-pay mortgage payments – will reduce the interest charged over the life of the loan I am sure many things are swirling around in your head even more so as to what to do with this lump sum of money now that I have provided you with more options. Start thinking about it now, grab a tablet and a pen and begin writing down all those things you need and all of those things you want, weight the two and decide what is best for you. Being prepared is the difference between being a survivor and a statistic. With all the information I have provided, I am confident you are well prepared to make the decision that best meets your needs and the needs of your family without feeling insecurities of what you did NOT do with all of your hard earned paid taxes.
Introduce your children on how to manage money by opening up youth bank accounts Pay a chunk of your car note’s principal amount or pay it off – will eliminate a monthly payment Enroll in a certificate program – will boost your resume making you more marketable Start the foundation for a small business – will fulfill a dream you’ve been having Plan a family vacation – paying for it in advance gives you time save up for spending money 9 urban suburban magazine.com Philadelphia
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Just a thought or two by the publisher Now that another year has come and gone. Itâ€™s time to reflect upon the gains and losses. Sometime we reflect upon the gains exclusively as monetarily gains and losses but not enough focus on the personal gain and the losses. During the course of 2012 each of us has experienced some type of gain or loss that will forever change our life. Some of these losses help shape who and what we are today and ultimately what we will be become tomorrow. Some of us have loss grandparents, brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers. These loses can be devastating. Now is the time to reflect upon the losses and strive for gains. These gains will come in many shapes in sizes. Some will manifest themselves in our spiritual lives and other will take hold in our professional lives. Now is the time to reflect and embrace those that are here with us today and appreciate the family, friendship and memories of those weâ€™ve loss. So donâ€™t be afraid to say to those living despite the condition of the relationship. I love you and forgive you. If current events have taught us nothing else, it should have brought each of us to collective sensibilities that we are only here for a season...some longer than other. So embrace your wife, husband, brother, sister, mom and dad..your family...enjoy your friendships because life is too precious not to live.
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Candace Smith is a native Phila- Jennifer s. Matthews April Perry McKellar of
delphian and graduate of Syracuse University (BA) and City University of London (MA). After spending a few years living in London, Candace returned to Philadelphia and continues to forge a career as a freelance journalist, writer, blogger, actress, and host. Besides interviewing intriguing personalities for Urban/Suburban Magazine, she is also currently contributing her knowledge and skills to various artistic movements, publications, websites, and podcasts such as REP Radio, AFFRM, Tinsel and Tine, and Hipolitics.
is a noted author, motivational speaker, and is trained as a financial coach. She is the author of the award-winning book 12 Ways to Put Money in Your Pocket Every Month Without A Part Time Job.
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The After 5 Lifestyle was established by myself, April. I call Philadelphia home and have a passion food and sharing it with others. I am not a chef, nor do I claim to be. Iâ€™m just a regular gal working a Nine to Five that loves to eat and enjoy food with friends and family.
Matt Schmidt works as the Graphic
Dr. Irene Okech
holds a Design Team Lead for Urban Suburban Magazine. PhD in Public Health and an MBA in Since he graduated from Virginia Commonwealth Healthcare Management Policy. Her University in 2010, he has been designing various research interests are in Pediatric health material, from logos to brochures, for clients within outcomes, & Maternal and child health the Philadelphia area. policies. A young and upcoming leader, she is also a spokesperson for the disparities faced by women and children in rural Africa. Dr. Okech is the co-founder of Imbako Public Health, an organization that seeks to allay disparities in healthcare and education faced by women and children in rural Kenya.
Kyle Leishear has been
a Tech & Gadget enthusiast his whole life. Even as a child when he would break something he would try to fix it. That led him to a life of always trying to stay on top of the latest and greatest technologies and seeing how they work.
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MONEY MINUTES | 2013 Goals
by Jennifer S. Matthews There is often excitement at the start of each year because many people eagerly anticipate what they plan on accomplishing and/or doing differently. However, many people fall off track as early as February. To keep your goals and plans on track, follow these simple steps. The first step is to write down exactly what you plan on accomplishing. Biblical scholars know there is a directive to “write the vision and make it plain”. The medical community knows that the majority of people are visual, meaning they respond better to what they see more so than any other communications mechanism. When writing your goals and plans, it is important to follow the SMART rule. The acronym SMART stands for: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic/Relevant, and Time bound. The goals and plans you write must be very Specific to help you focus on what you want. Measurable simply means there is a way to know when you have reached your desired results. An achievable goal or plan is within your realm of capability, even if you currently do not have all the knowledge or resources needed. Your goals and/or plans should be Realistic/Relevant to your overall desired outcome. Finally, you should include a Time(bound) for completion so that you don’t have forever to finish. Examples of SMART goals include: • I will lose 20 pounds by May 31, 2013 • I will increase my business revenue by $1,000 per month by June 30, 2013 • I will return to college in September 2013 and take two classes These goals meet the definition of each component of a SMART goal. Many people often get this far with their goals in their minds, and even occasionally writing them down. The next two steps are the difference between achieving goals and not achieving goals! Once you have your SMART goals and/or plan written down, break it down (in writing) into the Steps you need to take to complete your goal or plan. Steps are what need to be done next to start you on
your way. If your goal or plan is not complex, it may have 3 – 5 Steps. However, if your goal or plan is very involved, there may be more Steps involved. Here’s the kicker…break each Step down into Tasks that you need to complete or delegate to someone. Again, the number of Tasks under each step will vary based upon how complex your goal or plan is. Once you have your Tasks written under each step, your Tasks become your focal point – almost like a daily “to do” list. Here is one example that continues from above: I will lose 20 pounds by May 31, 2013 (this is 5 months times 4 weeks in each month, or one (1) pound each week) Join a gym by January 15th 1. Research 3 convenient gyms 2. Visit each gym 3. Inquire about free trial memberships 4. Select a gym and schedule workouts 3x each week Change my eating habits 1. Do an internet search for low calorie meals that are ready in 20 minutes or less (or diabetic, low carb, etc.) 2. Make a list of healthy snacks 3. Grocery shop each week for recipe items and snacks As you focus on and then complete each Task, you will automatically complete each Step. Once your Steps are complete, you will automatically achieve your goals and/or plan! Here’s to your success in 2013! About the Author: Jennifer S. Matthews is an award-winning author, motivational speaker, and is trained as a financial coach. She is the author of the award-winning book 12 Ways to Put Money in Your Pocket Every Month Without A Part Time Job. The book shows readers how to create hundreds of dollars in cash every month from within their existing income. Visit Jennifer online at www.MoneySmartBook.com and sign up for her newsletter. You can also purchase her book, take advantage of free downloads, and much more. © 2012 Creating Financial Literacy, LLC
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Philadelphia’S Best kept | Designing Secrets
Most companies are allowing their employees to work from home on a part-time or full time basis for flexibility, profit and purposes. Although a lot of employees welcome this option due to some level of time flexibility with their personal/family activities, but there is a responsibility for the employee to maintain the same level of productivity (or greater) as if they were physically at the company’s office. Here are some keys to consider of designing the perfect home office:
Location, location, location- Your designated room
Make sure your home office is a designated and separate room in your house. By having a separate space, this reduces unnecessary distractions, creates more focus and concentration on office work tasks. Make sure there is a door if you do not live alone so it will be an indication for other home member they cannot liberally come in to your home office unless they knock. Again, people entering in and out of your home office unannounced or unexpected (unless in an emergency) slows down productivity and will cause a person to work to the last minute for deadlines or take more time to complete a project than what is required.
The size of your office does not have to be large. You can have a room as small as 30 square feet (5’-0” x 6’-0”) for one person to have a small desk, chair and space for small file cabinet. A good size home office can be close to 60 square feet. Anything larger can house
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Office Space layouts Straight galley or “L” layout The furniture layout is designated to the shape of the room. Most rooms in American homes are square or rectangular shaped so it is not difficult to create a functional space plan. Most desk units are either 1. straight (single desk or a long worksurface along one wall) or 2. as designers call an “L” shape desk unit. This unit includes a desk unit attached to another unit which is called a “return”. This can be placed either the left or right side of the desk. There is more worksurface space and usually two pedestal files below the unit. Make sure the door will not block the desk unit and there is enough flow or walking path space to get into the room, to your desk and out of your room. Try to purchase desk unit with a plastic laminate surface top. This material is less expensive, much durable and comes in multiple finishes than a wood surface material. If you have to purchase a wood desk unit, add a glass top to prevent dents and scratches.
Furniture and Equipment: “Less is More with maximum storage”
Ok, so you have your desk unit, now you have to select your desk/ task chair. Please do not select a chair because it is the lowest price, select a chair with adequate ergonomic features. Can you adjust the chair height? Does it swivel/tilt? Can you adjust the arms up and down? Are the arms too large? Do they rest while you write or type? Does the chair support your back and spine for hours without stiffness? The greatest equipment investment is your task chair. If you have an uncomfortable task chair, you will not be able to work properly and may contribute to future joint aliments. Sit in the chair at the office furniture store before you purchase it. Leather and vinyl upholstery lasts for a long time and are easy to wipe and clean. Leather is a natural material, so the color and texture will change in time. Vinyl, because it is a synthetic, will remain the same. If you want to select a fabric, go with dark colors. Black is standard. Dark color fabrics hide stains well. Choose wisely. Select equipment which can perform many different functions and are of a desk/table top size. Most copiers can scan, fax and print. Most people use laptops vs. desk top computers. Laptops allow more flexibility and are space savers for a home office. Try to go wireless in your home office. This will prevent wires from being shown across the floors or if you do not have a wireless system, make sure your desk unit has a wire management basket below the back of the underside desk top. Also, make sure you have more than enough storage. Have at least one pedestal or a small lateral file unit. Organization can enhance productivity and sloppiness creates a time waster. Purchase organization tools such as trays, pencil/pen cups, baskets, colorful boxes, etc. Day to day office supply materials should be located in a place where they are accessible. For larger home offices, you can include a lounge chair or a small sofa. Try not to include a television in the space. It is a distraction and will prohibit productivity.
Include tackboards to hang announcements. They are composed from homesite boards. Any home improvement store has these boards and will cut it to size. I use colorful fabrics to wrap the homesite boards to create tackboards. They can be attached to the wall surface above your desk top surface. This adds a great flair to your office.
Colors - Action colors to stimulate productivity
Colors in the home office can enhance productivity or can be a distraction. Choose either neutral colors as beige and white on the walls. These colors are not distracting and they are light. Do not choose dark colors for wall paint. Dark colors are relaxing, very intimate and sometimes can subdue activities and brain functions. Cool colors as blues, lavender, purples and some greens (which I will discuss in depth) are too relaxing and should be avoided for paint color. Warm colors such as mid tone reds and orange can be used as an accent color on one wall. These colors stimulate the senses and gives energy to the occupant. Still, be careful with warm colors because yellows, dark reds and burgundy can give off too much energy which is counterproductive. Remember, too much of a good thing is not a good thing! One exception color which can be used in the home office is green, preferably a soft to mid tone olive green. Bright or very dark greens are prohibited.
Lighting: Sufficient task/desk lighting
Good lighting is essential to any interior space. Your home office should have general lighting preferably on the ceiling or if you do not have a ceiling fixture, make sure you have at least 1-2 floor or table lamps. Have an adequate task light on your desk. This will illuminate the desk surface area which you are working at. Too little tasklight will cause eyestrain and too much lighting will cause glare. Take advantage of the natural sunlight. If you have a window, open the curtains and the blinds during the day. This will allow not using or turning on your general light source in the daytime. In summary, the keys to a productive home office are: Privacy; well placed desk and ergonomic task chair, less equipment which does multiple tasks, light colors with a accent of a good warm color, organizational tools and good lighting. But the best key is a great attitude! For additional information or consulting services, please contact Glynis Tart at Verden Interior Design. Article Written by Glynis Tart of Verden Interior Design Studio, LLC 4000 Gypsy Lane-Unit 533 Philadelphia, PA 19129 phone: 215-360-6722 e-mail:email@example.com www.verdeninteriordesign.com 17 urban suburban magazine.com Philadelphia
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Education | Healthcare Reform 101
by: Alan Pepperdine What is once well done is done forever. - Henry David Thoreau “Real World” Personal Strategy Two Years of Health Care Reform In Plain Language Look, this bill is over 2,000 pages long, so this cannot be an exhaustive breakdown ... but this is a start. Let me know if you have any questions! Because many of the pertinent provisions don’t take effect for a few years, here are the ones which you should know about NOW. As things progress, we’ll keep you updated. Frankly--these things often change, and there’s no telling what the political landscape will look like. So, I thought it most useful to not clutter your mind with items which won’t take effect beyond the next two years. Starting this year... o CREDIT: Small businesses with up to 25 employees earning $40,000/year or less will get a tax credit for 35 tax on indoor tanning (of all things). Insurance changes... o Children with pre-existing conditions will have to be covered, and those up to age 26 may now stay on parental plans. 20 urban suburban magazine.com Philadelphia
o No more lifetime limits on coverage o Certain Medicare Part D participants will get rebates and discounts on prescription drug coverage. Next year... NEW PROCEDURES: Employers will have to report the value of health benefits they provide employees on tax forms -- they will face penalties if they don’t provide that information. A few other pertinent items for you: Health savings accounts will have increased penalties for non-medical withdrawals (starting in 2011). The current 10 for any withdrawal or distribution made for non-medical expenses. Similarly, the penalty for non-qualifying distributions on Archer medical savings accounts raises from 15. Adoption tax credit increases to $13,170 and is extended through the year 2011. Also, the adoption credit is now refundable (which means--it will be issued as a check if adoption expenses don’t match it).
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Legal | Estate Planning
by Kenneth Verammen, Esp
As average Americans, we work 80,000 hours in a lifetime, or 45 to 55 years. In spite of all our resources and the assets we earn during our lifetime, the vast majority of Americans do not take the time to create the legal instructions to guide the court or a guardian. National statistics indicate that more than 50% of Americans die without leaving a Will. Where there’s No Will … The result can be lengthy delays in the distribution of your estate, court battles between relatives and your children being raised by someone you do not favor. Your assets go to whoever a state law says receives the assets, or to the government itself! A Will should be a statement to the things you truly care about: your spouse, your children, your parents, your friends, and your charities. If you leave no Will or your Will is declared invalid because it was improperly prepared or is not admissible to probate: 1. People you dislike or people who dislike and ignore you may get your assets. 22 urban suburban magazine.com Philadelphia
2. State law determines who gets assets, not you 3. Additional expenses will be incurred and extra work will be required to qualify an administrator-Surety Bond, additional costs and legal fees 4. You lose the opportunity to try to reduce Estate Tax, State inheritance taxes and Federal estate taxes 5. A Judge determines who gets custody of children. A greedy brother or crazy mother in law could ask the court for custody. 6. If you have no spouse or close relatives the State may take your property 7. The procedure to distribute assets becomes more complicated 8. It probably will cause fights and lawsuits within your family When loved ones are grieving and dealing with death, they shouldn’t be overwhelmed with Financial concerns. A Will must not only be prepared within the legal requirements of the state Statutes but should also be prepared so it leaves no questions regarding your intentions.
Think- Who don’t you want to receive your assets? Without a
Will, they could receive your assets and request custody of children. Who is not the best choice to raise your children, or safeguard your childrenâ€™s money for college? Do you want children, or grandchildren, to get money when they turn 18? Will they invest money wisely, or go to Seaside and play games?
Life Insurance Sometimes it is not wise to leave children as a beneficiary of life insurance and your pension if your children are under the age of 21. You could make your estate the beneficiary of life insurance, and pension, then direct in your Will that the money be used to provide support and college expense for children. The Will setting up a trust for minors should provide that any portion of my residuary estate which becomes distributable to a beneficiary under the age of twenty-one (21) years shall be held as a separate trust by the Executor until such beneficiary attains the age of twenty-one (21) years. The Executor shall apply such amounts of income and principal as he, in his sole discretion, deems proper for the health, maintenance, education, welfare, or support of such beneficiary and shall accumulate any unexpended income not needed for the above purposes, paying and transferring the portion held in trust to the beneficiary upon his or her attaining the age of twenty-one (21) years. Prior to their attaining the age of twenty-one (21) years, the Executor may apply such income or principal for benefit of such beneficiary directly or by payment to the person with whom such beneficiary resides or who has the care or control of such beneficiary without the intervention of a guardian.
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Get up & move | Excel Cord
by Kira Jones A college baseball injury turned out to be life-changing for ProCore Sports President Matt Zoltak, but not exactly in the way he expected. Zoltak, a left-handed pitcher, played four years of varsity baseball at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School before accepting a scholarship to pitch at Clemson University. After his sophomore year of college he played in the prestigious Cape Cod Baseball League before transferring to Florida Southern College. He had dreams of becoming a professional baseball player, so when he starting experiencing severe pain in his pitching elbow, he was more than a little nervous. Recalls Zoltak, “The first doctor I went to told me the MRI revealed a partial tear in my ulnar collateral ligament. This injury leads to the infamous Tommy John surgery, which has a recovery time of about a year for pitchers. The thought of not pitching for an entire year was terrifying.” Luckily, Zoltak went to Dr. Michael Ciccotti of the Rothman Institute in Philadelphia for a second opinion. Ciccotti told him his elbow was fine; he was experiencing pain in his elbow because his core and throwing shoulder were fatigued. He didn’t need surgery, just some physical therapy. Upon learning that throwing and other athletic movements are a chain reaction starting from the ground up, Zoltak endeavored to create a training device that would resist the throwing motion from the ground up. He and a high school teammate crafted several prototypes before finally creating his vision. That vision eventually became a heel-based resistance training device now known as ExcelCord®. After college, Zoltak decided to follow his dreams and continue playing baseball. He played professionally for two years before deciding to devote all his energy to his company, ProCore Sports, and its first product, ExcelCord®. According to Zoltak, the company has come a long way in a short amount of time. “In less than two years we have patented our product, created 24 urban suburban magazine.com Philadelphia
a brand, created a website, hired employees and successfully launched ExcelCord®,” said Zoltak. “I see ProCore Sports building momentum every day.” Although ExcelCord® was designed for baseball pitchers, it has a myriad of other uses. Zoltak worked closely with Jim McCrossin, the Athletic Trainer/ Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Philadelphia Flyers, to design the exercises featured in the ExcelCord® Workout Guide. In addition to throwing exercises, the guide also includes speed training exercises, and upper body, lower body, and core exercises that can be combined to get a full-body workout. Said Zoltak, “Our program resists movements from the heel in order to activate the core while strengthening upper and lower body muscles. On top of that we offer sport-specific training exercises focused on improving balance and core strength through functional training.” ExcelCord®’s unique heel-based design allows for dynamic resistance of athletic movements without disrupting the athlete’s mechanics.
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HOT OR NOT | Katrina Register
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Excerpt from Chapter Seven
I was five years old. The offspring of my mother’s thirteen brothers and sisters, along with my brother and I, had received implicit directives to form a line, assembled in size order, to receive a coin from my maternal grandmother. I, being the youngest and smallest in height, found myself at the end of the gift line. It was a long line. I stood, for what seemed like hours, watching as each of the cousins made their way to The Grandmother, observing how she happily reached into her old, battered change purse, withdrew a shiny token of affection, and embraced the receiver, as he or she lovingly returned her hugs and kisses – as grandparents and grandchildren do. I was so excited that it was hard to contain myself. The Grandmother was actually going to hug and kiss me; this was big! This was Jackson Five, Soul Train, Wonder Woman, Barbie Doll House, Getting My Hair Pressed for Kindergarten Pictures, Having the Most Lines in the Easter, Christmas, and Vacation Bible School Plays (cause I could read before I could walk, which is what daddy said). Big! The coin, itself, was of no consequence to me. I could’ve cared less about the money side of the impending transaction; I just wanted the hug and kiss from The Grandmother who really never spoke to me, or was kind to me, or took any interest in having me sit on her lap and play fondly (as I had seen her do with the cousins). Ours was a relationship of fear: I feared the way she looked down at me; I feared the day when she would make good on her promise to “tear my ass out the socket” if I didn’t “get somewhere and sit” my “half-breed, piss-colored ass down”; and I feared most that I really was the “bad-ass little bastard” that she said I was. So I tried really hard to be a good-girl – especially around The Grandmother. I stood, at-attention, solider-still, on that line – my little body erect, arms and hands straight as a board, as if someone had crazy-glued them to the yellow sundress I had been forced to wear for our journey to the South. “Your grandmother loves yellow,” said Mom, as she had taken the polyester, sunshine bright, configuration of flowers, lace, and bows out of the shopping bag. Of course, I put the foolish thing on. Number One: it’s not like I had a choice in the matter; I’m sure my mother was speaking more to herself than to my resistance about wearing the awful thing. Or perhaps, she was contemplating out loud as to how she could make me more appealing to her mother. Number Two: I wanted to please The Grandmother.
HOT OR NOT | Katrina Register I knew she didn’t like me. I believe it ironic that adults often think that kids don’t have a clue as to what is going on around them. Kids know far more than we give them credit for knowing. Even when the grown-ups, in all their infinite wisdom, decide to converse, using big words and/or spelling out the bad words, a child can sense and make sense of the happenings going on around her. In my case, I could sense that I was somehow different from my brother and the cousins; I just really didn’t know how or why. In any case, it made sense (to me) that to avoid “getting my ass torn out the socket” it would be best to give The Grandmother what she wanted. Dumb yellow dress it was. My brother was in front of me on line. He and The Grandmother were okay. I mean, she wasn’t doing flips when she saw him coming, but she was far more congenial with him than she was with me. Their exchange was brief. With the cousins, I watched her make silly faces as she toyed with the contents of the change purse, before extracting what one would have believed was a solid gold nugget and placing it in the cousin’s hand. Then she kissed the hand and the face of the new owner of the coin, which was followed by laughter and tight grandma squeezes. With my brother, the exchange was more formal; like a business transaction between two semiwell acquainted associates. After my brother stepped up to greet her, she took out a quarter, handed it to him, hugged him quickly, as if he might be carrying some transmittable disease that she would surely catch from prolonged contact, and their exchange was complete. My turn! The Grandmother, momentarily, glanced me over. I hoped she would compliment my yellow dress; she did not. Instead, over exaggerating her movements, she closed the change purse, laid it on the brownstained wooden lamp table and motioned for one of her sons to come and assist her out of the rocker she had occupied. I frantically looked around The Grandmother’s parlor, searching the faces to locate one that showed a trace of sympathy for this tragedy. The cousins, the aunts, the uncles, and other nameless kinfolk, absorbed in their own playing and fighting and drinking and small talk and gossip, were purposely ignorant of my demise. I did not see Daddy, or Mom, or Brother; and left alone to fend for myself, I did what most five-year-olds would do in that situation: I cried. You know that scream-cry that children are apt to do after falling off a bike, or being lost in the mall, or being disappointed by the refusal of a parent to buy the action figure of their favorite cartoon character, or when real27 urban suburban magazine.com Philadelphia
HOT OR NOT | Katrina Register izing that the people who are supposed to protect, and love, and nurture you are full of crap – and it is beyond your control to make them stop acting so stupid? I balled my little fists, closed my eyes, and scream-cried long after Daddy heard me and hauled me out to the porch. “See what I mean? Taking on some other whore’s throw-away ain’t nothin’ but trouble. Lil’ hussy got all kinds of emotional problems.” This, The Grandmother announced (to anyone who was listening) as Daddy and I made our way through the raggedy screen door. At some point I fell asleep. Who knows how long I cried – maybe until I thought it was all out, but it was never all out. During my second of two encounters with a therapist, I recalled this childhood event. At the end of the session, the therapist suggested that I draft a letter to The Grandmother, telling her how her treatment had made me feel and how it had affected me. Walking to my car, I questioned why the hell I was paying someone one hundred and seventy-five bucks an hour, to advise me to write a letter to someone who had been dead for over thirty years. But I figured she was the professional, so maybe she knew what she was talking about. I got home, poured myself a glass of wine, and sat staring at the blank, yellow page of the legal pad. I had had no direct contact with The Grandmother after the “Coins for Hugs Affair”; Daddy made sure of that. The remainder of that visit, some three decades ago, was spent under his close supervision. Finally, when it was time to say our good-byes, Daddy instructed me to remain in the rental car. “You want to teach the girl to be ill-mannered, Johnny?” I could hear my mother question as my parents and brother walked toward The Grandmother’s house. After reaching a significant distance from the car, Daddy and Mom stopped walking (sending my brother ahead) and Daddy was talking. I couldn’t hear what was said, but I could tell from the side view of his face that Daddy was pissed. I didn’t see Mom offer any rebuttal to Daddy’s words. After a few moments, they went inside the house. I was glad that I didn’t have to say goodbye to The Grandmother. If I were older, I would have wondered what they were saying and whether Mom had to offer an excuse for my absence from the farewell ceremony. But again, I was five. I did what five-year-olds do: play with my Barbie, Ken, Baby Barbie, Baby Ken, and the fluffy, brown BarbieKenBabies’s dog and imagined that they were all hugging and kissing and loving each other like families do. Some time later, my imagination was cut short by the 28 urban suburban magazine.com Philadelphia
opening of the front car door, followed by its being slammed shut. It was Daddy. He mumbled something to himself – I think some words I wasn’t allowed to say. Then he scanned the backseat (via the front rearview mirror) until he located me staring into his reflection. Straining to smile, he asked, “How’s my baby girl doing?” I replied that I was fine or something close to it, so that Daddy wouldn’t have to fight so hard to smile. But Daddy was no longer eying me; his focus had now transitioned toward the house. I scooted up to my knees to catch a peek at what held his attention. I saw Mom, Brother, and The Grandmother on the front porch. The Grandmother was patting my brother on the head; Mother was smiling. “Patting him on his head like a damn dog … a damn dog … and this fool is smiling …” the words bitterly came from the driver’s seat. I thought to tell Daddy that Brother isn’t a dog – he’s a boy – but I didn’t get the feeling that that comment would be welcome. But if The Grandmother did believe that Brother was a dog, I guess that was okay, because people love dogs. Maybe she thought I was a cockroach; no one wants to pet, or hold, or play with a cockroach. I didn’t see The Grandmother again until her funeral. I was seven then, a big-little girl. It was the first funeral that I had ever attended and I had lots of questions: 1) Why does everyone have on black? 2) Are people crying because they’re sad she’s dead or because they’re happy she’s not alive anymore? 3) Is the preacher paid to say nice things about a dead person, even if the person wasn’t nice? And 4) Does God let people who were mean to children come to Heaven? I knew there was no chance of having these concerns rectified by any adult, so I kept them to myself until I asked my brother later. His response to all of my inquiries: I don’t know – I don’t know – Probably – Probably not. For apparent reasons, I was not satisfied with his answers, but in the absence of any other trusting soul to confide in, I dismissed my queries as my brother had. Now, thirty-two years later, I held on to those questions and many others as I attempted to write a letter to a woman who had recklessly destroyed some part of my innocence and my heart a very long time ago. I’m not sure whether it was the third glass of chardonnay that helped to ease the words from my spirit, but without warning, the dam was overflowing; there was no way to stop it now.
HOT OR NOT | Katrina Register Dear Grandmother, (Let’s be clear from the door, I am only addressing you as Grandmother for three reasons: because I’ve been taught to respect my elders; for lack of a better term of endearment; and because I figure that starting by saying “Dear Bitch” would sound just a little more hostile than I’d like to). Anyway, there are few things that I would like to say to you. I’ve held these things in for quite some time, and I know that not having expressed them has somehow negatively affected me. The first thing I need to say is that you had no right to treat a child the way you treated me. Why would you do that? Why would anyone do that? What did I do to you that made you hate me? It’s funny, I can’t remember some things from last week – but I clearly recall the day that I wore that yellow dress to impress you (because Mother said it was your favorite color), and I waited in line to hug and kiss you, but when you got to me, you closed your change purse and walked away. I didn’t want your money, nor have I ever needed your money. Daddy has made damn sure I never needed a coin from you or anyone else. I just wanted to be your granddaughter – that’s all. But you wouldn’t let me. The absolute worst part of all of this is that you rubbed off on my mom. Instead of supporting your daughter through difficult situations, you made her feel like a piece of shit for not being able to have children. And the light-skin/dark-skin country, ignorant bullshit that you put in her head caused me to have many sad days of hearing your venom in her voice as she called me “half-breed” and “piss-color.” My relationship with my mother has always been fucked up because you were fucked up – and you fucked her up. I would like to slap the shit out of you just one good time. Or maybe “beat your ass out of the socket” the way you promised you would do to me for doing things like trying to read a book to you, or showing you my church awards or just sitting and minding my damn business and doing nothing. What pissed you off more? Was it the hue of my skin or the fact that your daughter didn’t take your advice to “adopt kids from some kin in the family”? I guess I’ll never know. I would say that we will talk when I get to Heaven – but I refuse to believe that they would open the Pearly Gates for someone like you. What I will say in closing is what that five-year-old couldn’t: Fuck you and your coins. Katrina
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RELATIONSHIPS | C Double R
Ladies, sometimes we have a hard time letting our partners know how much we really need them, especially independent women. Unfortu-
nately, I must say I am guilty of this. I believe it is a condition that s developed by no fault of our own. When a person, especially a woman, has been independent for so long it’s not in her nature to ask for help when she needs it. If she is use to putting gas in her car, carrying her groceries, taking out the trash or changing light bulbs it’s difficult to stop these habits sometimes without being asked. When a woman has been forced to be independent or is driven to be independent we forget that it’s ok to ask for help and to get help from our significant others. But sometimes the word “need” is too strong for independent women to use even when they know they should. It’s not because they don’t want the help it’s usually because they are not use to asking or requiring help. So, men don’t take it personal if she doesn’t ask for your help even when you know she can use it. The best thing a man can do when he wants to help this kind of woman is to just jump in and help because nine times out of ten she will not solicit your help. If she is washing clothes, fold them when they come out of the dryer. If she cooks clean up the kitchen. If her car is on “E” fill up the tank and run it through the car wash. If there are things that need to be fixed or repaired around the house and you can fix or repair them just do it. These are the small things that really mean a lot, especially if she is a busy woman. It’s not always the financial help that is important but the helping of a hand that is important to the independent woman. As Jill Scott sings in her beautiful song “I Need You”:
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I can pay my own light bill baby Pump my own gas in my own car I can buy my own shoe collection I’ve been blessed thus far I can kill the spider above my bed Although it’s hard because I’m scared I can even stain and polyurethane But some things just don’t change I need you yeah Sometimes so hard to say oh I need you So, to all of my independent women it’s ok to say I need you. It doesn’t make you less independent it just makes you more human. I’m just saying. C Double R! Read excerpts from Reactions: http://www.amazon.com/Reactions-Every-Action-has-Reaction/dp/1463424507/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1342471357&sr=1-1&keywords=reactions+by+c+double+r If you have any questions, comments or suggestions please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Gadgets | 2013 Tech Toys
by Kyle Leishar Every year brings in a slew of new gadgets to get ready for. Whether they have been announced or you know that there will be a new smartphone coming out every year, new gadgets are new gadgets. Luckily for you I will show you a few great gadgets that are out RIGHT NOW and you can get your hands on and usher in 2013 in style and fun. So now let us take a look at a few cool gadgets and one really cool toy you will want to play with all the time.
Like I said every year the major phone makers have a slew of phones that come out and will come out every year. So what I want to do is show you a few great phones that are out now so you can have them going into the new year. Samsung Galaxy Note 2 – This phone is one that I absolutely love. From its very large (5.5”) screen down to the very clever S Pen, the Note 2 is a great improvement over last year’s model. Games look amazing and videos play very crisp and super clear. Running a superfast 1.6Ghz Quad Core Processor this phone will easily handle your daily duties plus as an added bonus the battery life on this device is superb. Price – Varies depending on carrier and contract. Worthy Notables Samsung Galaxy S3 iPhone 5 HTC Droid DNA Motorola Droid Razr Maxx HD Laptops The bread and butter of so many people, with so many tough choices to go through from gaming laptops to just day in and day out performance laptop. Here I figure I would just look at day to day laptops that can perform exceptionally well. Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display Starting with the Retina Display down to the Nvidia GPU this laptop is a performance killer. The Retina Display helps make images and text look amazing, the high resolution screen on the MacBook Pro really sets this apart from so many other laptops. Along with some added new ports including the USB 3.0 and HDMI are very welcome. Pricing – starts at $2,000 and goes up from there
Dell Inspiron 14z Apple MacBook Air Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13
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So we looked at overall performance laptop now let’s take a quick look at the best Gaming Laptop that is out there. Samsung Series 7 Gamer This laptop is a BEAST. With a 17” screen and a superfast processor the Samsung Series 7 Gamer is the hands down laptop to beat when it comes to gaming. Plenty of ports to suit your needs, the only downside is the price which might make it too pricy for some but for those that can afford this rig you won’t be disappointed. Pricing – starts at $1,700 and goes up with options
Notable Gaming Laptops MSI GT70 Digital Storm X17E
Now when it comes down to tablets it comes down to Apple iPad and everyone else. Sure Microsoft is trying to create a splash with the Surface but it is too early to tell. So my only recommendation is the Apple iPad with so many accessories to really push the interactive ability from the Pogo Connect that connects via Bluetooth 4 and works wonderfully with iPad’s Photoshop Touch app from Adobe that can actually sense the pressure you put onto the tablet. There really is no comparison. Prices vary depending on if you choose to go through a Mobile carrier or purchase from a store and also depending on how much storage you choose as well. If you were thinking about getting a tablet for your child without having to shell out the big money for an Apple iPad let me direct you to this little device. FunTab from Ematic Ematic launches the FunTab, a 7” Android 4.0 tablet, for children. It is an intuitive, touchscreen device that teaches your child about various subjects, sparks their creativity, and simply keeps them entertained for hours with access to thousands of popular, parent-approved apps and features. Preloaded with today’s most popular apps, the FunTab bundles an assortment of fun games such as Angry Birds, Where’s My Water, Cut the Rope, Fruit Ninja and more. Child-specific features include Art Studio which is a creative platform that allows your child to trigger their inner artist. Parents can view the child’s art in the program gallery, and use gold stars to mark their favorite designs. Also, Video Mail is a unique, interactive way for children to keep in touch with their family and classmates from Zoodles.com. Users can record short video messages with the FunTab’s front camera. Specifications • Android 4.0 Operating System • 7” 800x480 capacitive multi-touch screen • 1.2 GHz Processor with 400MHz GPU • 512MB RAM • MicroSD card slot adds an extra 32GB of storage • Built-in 3-axis gyroscope for advanced motion sensing • Ematic Kids App Mall
• Front and back cameras • Battery allows 5 hours of continuous playtime The FunTab is available in blue/green and pink/purple. Price - $119.99 at Walmart.com.
In this section I will take a look at a few choice audio gadgets that will enhance your audio experience. So no matter how you decide to listen to your tunes you will have plenty of choices. Epishock – I have talked about OrigAudio and some of their products including the Rock-It 2.0, which used vibration technology to turn almost anything you can stick it to into a speaker. It worked best with hollow objects like plastic cups or milk jugs. Well OrigAudio has come up with a new product that revolutionizes vibration technology with the Epishock. What is the Epishock you might ask? - Turn any flat surface into a booming loud speaker - Epishock is ten times more powerful than the Rock-It - Built in rechargeable lithium ion battery that will provide 6+ hours of play time - Daisy chain capability: The more speakers you connect..the louder and louder they get! - Sounds the best on glass, wood, MDF, metal, plastic, etc. - Works with ANY device that has a standard 3.5mm headphone jack: iPhones, Droids, laptops, blackberrys, iPads, tablets, etc. - Size: 2.4 x 2.4 inches Price - $44.99 – Check out OrigAudio.com for more products and more information Adapt - Outdoor Tech, creators of intelligently designed outdoor centric consumer electronic gear brings you the latest in their line of products that you probably want with the ADAPT. Clip the lightweight device to your jeans or anywhere else and enjoy Bluetooth technology with your audio products. This colorful plug and play device effortlessly syncs and provides hours of playtime. There’s an unlimited amount of products that the ADAPT is compatible with – from headphones, to speakers to home theater systems - the products become wireless and controlled directly from the ADAPT. The ADAPT also features a built in mic so those headphones or earbuds without an inline mic are now fully functional for crystal clear calls. The days of being tethered to your mobile device with all your corded accessories is gone with this simple solution. The colorful variety ensures that you will find a shade to fit your style and with a built-in li-Polymer rechargeable battery you’ll be enjoying wireless connectivity for hours. Charging is also a cinch with a micro USB charger included. Price - $39.95 – Check out OutdoorTechnology.com for more information and products
Awesome Product To Check Out Now this last little nugget of awesomeness is an amazing piece of Science. Growing up your parents probably had a little thing called Silly Putty. It was fun it would bounce, stretch it out and it could copy things off a newspaper, but really it didn’t do a whole heck of a lot. Well putty today had become super amazing thanks in part to Crazy Aaron’s Putty. Crazy Aaron’s Putty isn’t just normal putty. Sure you can bounce it, stretch it, but you can also SMASH IT to pieces. He has putty that can change color from the heat of your hands, Putty that can be magnetized and even “swallow” the magnet if you let it sit with the putty. Metallic colored putty and even putty that is clear glass when you take it out and after playing with it the putty becomes cloudy, after you allow it to rest it becomes clear again. You need to check out PuttyWorld.com and just see for yourself some of the amazing putty Aaron has to offer. Plus the best part I believe is that his putty is made by people with special needs and it is made locally in the Philadelphia Suburbs. 33 urban suburban magazine.com Philadelphia
wo of Esquire magazine “Best Dressed Real Men” combine their creative chic to introduce a new variation in men’s fashion accessories: pocket squares, not intended for the typical “square” guy. In a time where fashion is as subjective as art, it takes someone with expression of individuality and flavor to stand apart from the masses. The two men, Ontario Armstrong and Clifton Wilson are sure to prove as two individuals who have a knack for expressing their individuality through their fashion sense. Armstrong and Wilson were selected as finalists for Esquire’s “Best Dressed Real Man in American” contest in 2009 and 2006, respectively. The Armstrong & Wilson brand incorporates timeless men’s fashion with a splash of modern zest using distinct fabrics, bold colors, and their signature button look to generate a sense of attitude and personality to the pocket square accessory.
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1. After purchasing our first home last year my “gift wish list” expanded to include home items. I love the idea of animal bookends displayed in our living room. This Rhino Set would even make Mr. H. happy! 2. I wish I had purchased a cape last year but alas I didn’t think the trend would last. Capes are back in full force and this Gap Version is the perfect price and color. 3. Give the gift of personalization with an Initial Ring. Why not build a stack with a monogram, couples initials or children’s first names? 4. I just got a professional pedicure and brought along my Chanel Nail Polish in Black Pearl. Little luxuries like this can make someones day. 5. What girl doesn’t need another Tshirt? Polka dots are playful and can go with jeans or a funky patterned skirt - that must be why Madewell named it the “Dotted Anywhere Tee”. 6. I have a major obsession with handbags. Both the shape and color of this bag are versatile and can match any ladies personality. 7. Jewelry is a girls best friend and this Pearl Fringe Bib is no exception. 8. Gift a set of 8 animal themed dessert plates - perfect for Fall dinner parties. 9. These kitty ballet flats are adorable and affordable - why not make every step a little more playful? - www.thelovelyowl.com 36 urban suburban magazine.com Philadelphia
Householders Candle Crate: Old Faithful Shop $62 Hammam Towel: Brook Farm General Store $68 “Anything” Alarm Clock: A+R Store $69
Gold Paper Bowl: Up in the Air Somewhere $68 Astack B: Candle Holder with White and Yellow: The Vitrine $70 Hollywood Coasters: Jonathan Adler $68
Ribbed Globe Vase: Dwell Studio $62 NPG Everyday Napkins (set of 10): Alder & Co. $60 Midas Carafe - Small: DWR $60 -www.apartmenttherapy.com
With the holiday season past us, it’s never too early to start thinking of new gift ideas. For those who are moving cross country this holiday season or for those helping friends move, these gift ideas are a great value!
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38 urban suburban magazine.com Philadelphia
Normally I talk about Tech and Gadgets for this magazine as well as my website TheTechnoFiles.com, however I am going to change it up and talk about Fitness for a bit. In this fitness article I am going to take a look at a different kind of Yoga. DDP Yoga lets you take charge of your life and take back the control you have lost. DDP Yoga is a fitness revolution created by Diamond Dallas Page, a former professional wrestler, who created DDP Yoga to help prolong his career. Now when I tell my friends I am doing Yoga they instantly imagine a room full of girls in those fantastic yoga pants and soft music playing and a soft talking teacher guiding you through pose after pose. Well DDP Yoga tells you right off the bat that “it ain’t your mama’s yoga”. Trust me and believe me, DDP Yoga is no joke. Let’s take a look at just what makes DDP Yoga so special. DDP Yoga is not traditional yoga, it’s a hybrid workout that incorporates some traditional yoga movements and adds dynamic resistance, active breathing techniques and power movements to make for a more challenging and results oriented workout. What that allows you to do is get a high intensity NO IMPACT workout that gives you greater flexibility and amazing core strengthening. DDP Yoga is being used by many professional athletes in all types of sports, from professional wrestling, MMA, and football players, but most importantly it is being used by so many normal ordinary folks who want to take back their lives and have control over their battle with their health. To me the most important thing that sold me on the program, after I really debated about doing it for a few months, was looking at a YouTube video that really changed my mind. Arthur Boorman was a disabled veteran of the Gulf War for 15 years, and was told by his doctors that he would never be able to walk on his own, ever again. His video is an inspiration all in itself. The reason it hit home for me was one very simple reason. When you see fitness videos on TV being advertised you see everyone bouncing around doing the moves and not having a hard time at all. The difference with Arthur was he wasn’t afraid to show himself failing. The video shows him falling over on numerous occasions and Arthur himself even says “just because I can’t do it today, doesn’t mean I won’t be able to do it someday.” That is when it clicked for me. If this guy is willing to show himself failing in order to achieve success then this is the program for me. Let’s talk about the workouts. Every DVD has a few selected workouts on each one. The beginner DVD has the basic introductory “Diamond Dozen” moves. From there you have a few choices to pick from, Red Hot Core, Diamond Cutter, Below the Belt, Energy, Fat Burner. With each workout Diamond Dallas Page is right there motivating you and helping you get through the workout. Another great thing that DDP Yoga does is it doesn’t penalize you if you can’t do all the moves, during the workouts DDP always has someone doing a “modified” version of each position. I had to do the modified position on quite a few occasions. Never did I feel like a failure, just made me want to work that much harder to not have to modify each position. There are times during the workout where even DDP has to calm
himself down. Plus you are told at any time you feel like it is getting too much for you, you can just go to your “safety zone” to let you catch your breath and jump back into the workout when you are ready. Diamond Dallas Page tells you all the time “make DDP Yoga your own”, what that means is if you have to do all the modified positions so be it. Over time you will be able to do all the positions without having to modify any of them. Never does Diamond Dallas Page make you feel inadequate if you can’t do all the positions he knows it will take some time to get to where you want to be.
Once you go to DDP Yoga.com and sign up for the program you have no idea just how much of a great support system you are gaining as well. Not only do you get a chance to retake your life you also gain a great support family that will be right there to cheer you on and NEVER judge you. DDP Yoga is a huge community full of some of the greatest people I have never personally met but I feel are like my family just with their kind words of support and with each time I did a workout and talked about it everyone on the chat room were very excited for me and encouraging me to keep going. Those are the great fundamentals of why I am a huge supporter of DDP Yoga. You get an amazing workout, flexibility, core strengthening, muscle gain, dieting tips, and so much more but you also gain a family. Combine those two things and you have all the tools you need to succeed in your life and to achieve all your goals you set for yourself. Not only do you get the DVD’s and a great community you also get a Program Guide and a fitness book with tips on how to improve your diet and start to live a Gluten Free lifestyle. Don’t forget you will need some equipment as well. A yoga mat isn’t required as a large beach towel will do just as well in your house, but I recommend getting one. A heart rate monitor is a MUST as it will help you know when you are in your fat burning zone and when to dial it down a notch when your heart rate goes to high. However, the most important piece of equipment you will need is desire, the desire to want to change your life and then take control and do it, one day at a time. Hopefully after reading this you can check out DDP Yoga.com and decide for yourself whether or not you want to join the program and start to transform your life. Remember to best achieve success you need to set a goal for yourself, and with that goal set up more smaller goals that all culminate into that one main goal. Reason being is that with all those smaller goals you can achieve more than trying to just achieve one main goal. Think of it like a house, think of all the components of a house. You need walls, carpets, floors, cabinets, and roof all these things combine to make a house. Smaller goals will help you achieve the main goal. Go to DDP Yoga.com and start the journey of taking back your life and getting a better body for the New Year. 39 urban suburban magazine.com Philadelphia
Kenya is a blessed country. She has a wealth of natural resources, skills, gifted and talented individuals; hardworking men and women filled with ideas and dreams of an even more beautiful Kenya for their offspring. Great strides have been made toward the healthcare, medical, bio-medical, and public health infrastructure in Kenya. Much appreciation is raised to, and for all the new private practices, hospitals, research and healthcare facilities that have facilitated better quality healthcare. Kudos is given to the increasing use of mobile phone technology for healthcare access in several pockets of the country. Much gratitude is also raised to leaders who have enabled local and international affiliations in various healthcare settings. See, these are the stories we hear, and those that we take pride in. We, as Kenyan citizens, or those who hold dual citizenship, or the wealthy that live in the Kenyan suburbs, or the employed, whose organizations afford us health insurance, or the relatives of those who work in the healthcare industry. After all, (we) are the people who matterâ€ŚRight? 40 urban suburban magazine.com Philadelphia
But, what about those Kenyans resident in rural areas? Those who are unemployed? Or the small business owner working hard to support his family and cannot afford healthcare insurance in Kenya? What about the aging population? What about the uninsured? What about the girls and women who cannot afford annual obstetric and gynecologic examinations? What about those to whom basic sanitation, immunization, vaccination, diet, health & education are not available? Who speaks for /on behalf of these people? Who are they anyway? Do they even matter? So, some random thoughtsâ€Ś Why do patients in Kenyan Hospitals have to share beds; scenario as these lead to increased hospital acquired infections. Why do patients have to be detained in hospitals for lack of payments of hospital bills; is this the best way to collect medical bills? Why is it that counterfeit drugs are sold to unsuspecting patients, when they hand over a medical prescription? Why is it that till today, harmful traditional practices such as Female Genital Mutilation are still ongoing in rural villages in Kenya? Why is it that the public hospitals are understaffed? And if so, how can it be that they are understaffed, yet there are thousands of unemployed graduates in healthcare looking for jobs? Or could it be possible the jobs they are presented do not offer them basic compensation? Why is it that only the wealthy can afford treatment in private hospitals, or in the private wings of public hospitals? Why are our Kenyan doctors motivated to spend more time in the private
and teachers will work with medical doctors and public health practitioners to build institutions that support health, healing and wellness of the whole person. I dream of a Health care system in Kenya Where the Healthcare Insurance will serve all cadres of the population from the aging to the new born, females and males, employed and unemployed.
hospitals and private wings in public hospitals? What of our public health infrastructure? Today, pockets of un-represented and underrepresented population data, and statistics on the same still exist. What are we doing about the alarming trends in the increase in rates of cancers, chronic conditions? Talk about a heavy paragraph… I don’t know, maybe it’s the hidden stories, that I read; you know the ones that no-one really wants to talk about, which depict reality. Maybe it’s the tag at my heart to allay disparities in healthcare faced by women and children, having seen its devastating effects, and yet learned about its great promise, when allayed. …but then again, maybe it’s that dream that pushes me to believe that we, as a country can be better. A public health practitioner in health policy, I do hope and dream for Kenya’s Healthcare…I dream of a Kenya where Public Health will be addressed in every budget as a key component of population infrastructure. Where hospitals, clinics, healthcare facilities, and dispensaries will be organized to serve the growing population of the newly born and the current aging. Where medical doctors trained in Kenya will take pride in their medical degrees, and be motivated to stay and serve in the country that trained them. Where nurses, will not be overworked, but be appreciated for the heart, skill and empathy they pour into the profession. Where medical officers will be valued for supporting the doctors, nurses and public health practitioners. Where pharmacists will be treasured for the intricate contribution towards healthcare. I dream of a Kenya, where research in public health, medicine, chemistry, pharmacy and biochemistry will be avidly conducted and applied; where results will be published and used toward developing greater quality of care and equity in healthcare provision. A Kenya where architects, engineers
See, the escalating death rates in Nyanza province due to new HIV infections, the gun violence in the urban streets of Nairobi province, the female genital mutilation in Pokot,, the increasing malaria in Coast province, the preventable deaths during labor in rural Kenya, the lack of immunization, vaccination, prenatal care, the unavailability of basic public health education….should not be, and should not be acceptable. Not in a country which continues to be blessed with natural resources, skill, talent, education, wealth, architects, professors, engineers, nurses, doctors, lawyers, and a government. I have learned that, honestly, the true wealth of a country lies not in its monetary assets, but in the health of its individuals. Therefore to judge the wealth of a country, look at the health of its population. Let’s all be cognizant that health forms a focal point in any community. We all have a skill to contribute towards a better Health care in Kenya. I cannot do this alone. Imbako Public Health cannot do this alone. But, together, we can make a difference. The change will not be overnight, but at least, it can start with sharing a dream. I dream for Kenya’s Healthcare. I dream of Healthcare Policy in Kenya. Irene Okech, PhD, MBA. Dr. Irene N. Okech is currently based at Harvard University; Humanitarian Academy at Harvard. (HHI) 41 urban suburban magazine.com Philadelphia
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I first met Todd Inman at the Double Shots Espresso Bar in downtown Philly earlier this year, after answering a casting call for his brilliant web series, The Corporate Brother. I was the actress in search of a comedic acting role and Todd was the executive producer-director-writer in search of passionate actors who could fit the looks and personalities for his scripts. In this interview, Todd and I have come back full circle at Double Shots to talk about the evolution of his web series and how the journey of being a content creator for the web all started out for him. Q: Hi Todd! Thank you for coming out and being a part of this interview with me for Urban/Suburban! How did you first get started with The Corporate Brother and how did the idea come to you to make a web series of this caliber? A: The Corporate Brother is actually the first web series/show with an African-American set in a business environment, as the central character. There have been a lot of shows like The Office where they’ve had African-American characters, but it hasn’t been told in his or her voice. So, when I decided on Corporate Brother because of my own corporate experience, you know there were a lot of things that took place that I thought at the time were really troubling even, but I thought there could be a comedic spin placed on it. I came from a stand-up comedy world before I got into filming and so forth, and so I just thought that some of these things that a lot of African-Americans could relate to. There hadn’t really been a show set like that and I thought that there was a market for it. There’s a lot of us in Corporate America wearing different hats and roles and there’s a lot of experiences that we all can relate to, and I thought that if you put a comedic spin on it we’d all kind of get a laugh over it, you know? So, that’s what gave me my initial thought about it, and then it was like, “Ok, how do I bring this to life?” Some of my jokes when I was on stage were about Corporate America, so that’s where it was birthed. Then I thought, “Well maybe this could be a series!” So [in order to bring The Corporate Brother to life], I had to teach myself how to use a camera, how to use editing software, how to cast people, how to get locations and so forth, and I said, “Why not try it?” Q: Could you please explain some of the main characters of The Corporate Brother, so that new and potential viewers of the web series can get an idea of what’s in store for them? A: The Corporate Brother centers on Bill, who is primarily the only African-American in the office. He’s the marketing director. Bill is in a situation where he’s the minority and there are [borderline racist] things said to him, but he has to swallow his tongue… he has to keep his job! He has to maintain his career. A lot of inappropriate, borderline racist things are said, and it’s not so much that they’re malicious; it’s just that the people just don’t know. They’ve never worked with an African-American or socialized with an African-American, so they’re just saying what they think, and they don’t think that it bothers Bill. But Bill’s character is one in that he just kind of rolls with it. He doesn’t fly off the handle. He’s able to accept things for what they are and sort of compartmentalize what’s taking place. You have the CEO [actor Val Uff] who is like the airhead CEO. [Laughter] You have Greg [actor Paul Oreal]; at the start of the series he was supposed to be the racist. That was the way it started. But with his look and the way that he comes across people thought that he just wanted to be Black. So we kind of just rolled with that.
written as a flat-out racist in the web series, but that, due to audience perception and ultimately, in a way, participation, that the character was fashioned in following episodes to be a White guy playing Black. What have you taken from that specific experience, as you were the sole casting director for your series? A: What I’ve learned is that with some web series, you’re relying on people to work for free. You can only do so much auditioning. You have to question if people are reliable, if they are passionate about what they are doing. You have to learn how to develop your character around that person- their look, their personality. Whereas, in this case, I just had a vision for who I wanted that person to be, and then Greg came along and I thought it was a good match. But then people didn’t look at the episode in the way that I envisioned it. Q: How did the core cast of The Corporate Brother come together? A: I reached out to people who either had some type of dream of being in comedy, not necessarily acting, but just maybe stand-up, or people who wanted to be models in the past and I said, “Listen, this is what I’m trying to do and I want you to be a part of it.” So that was how the core cast was brought together [for The Corporate Brother.] Then I met Val [Uff, who is one of the most professional and dedicated actors of the cast, as the character of the ignorant and racially insensitive CEO in The Corporate Brother] at an MPEG function, [Metropolitan Philadelphia Entertainment Group], and I told him what I was trying to do and would he join, and he said sure, and he became the CEO. So then I did one episode to see where it goes. I did the first episode and got a lot of good responses. A lot of people thought it was unique; they hadn’t seen anything like this before. So I decided to ride the wave and turn it into a series. I started writing a few episodes. I was fortunate to get an office in Paoli, PA that was willing to let us film there, to give it that authentic look as if it were a real corporate environment. They’ve been really great to us, allowing us to come in every so often and film. Then it was just trying to be creative on a very low budget. We try to keep each episode under a budget of $250. Q: Are you influenced and inspired by the current wave of popular web series which feature Black protagonists, such as Issa Rae’s The Mis-adventures of Awkward Black Girl or Brothers With No Game? A: I do admire Issa Rae and a lot of those folks, and they do give me inspiration to keep going. But I also recognize that my content is a lot different than theirs. Not everybody is going to understand Corporate America. We are the minorities in Corporate America, so not everybody is going to get the jokes. So sometimes I catch myself wanting to get the numbers, views that they have, “she’s got [Issa Rae] a million views I want to be there! But I also recognize that she’s reaching a broader audience with her web series, as mine is more of a niche. Also, she’s been to film school, she’s out in LA, she has a lot of advantages that I have to remind myself that I’m not going be there right now. I have to continue to grow, continue to refine my skills, and then maybe other projects to reach a broader audience, depending on the content.
Q: Do you mean from the first episode aired and the audience feedback that folks watching the show thought that he didn’t look racist, but he just wanted to be Black? That’s extremely interesting.
Q: It’s interesting that you mention that, because there are people who are trying to be filmmakers, web series producers and, just as in other industries, these creative content makers want things now, they don’t want to take the time to cultivate their talents and their art. So I find it amazing that you recognize that it takes time to make art and to refine and define your skills as an artist. Even while you have help with your actors and the crew that you collaborated with on The Corporate Brother, it appears that you are doing a lot of things on your own. How hard has it been to realize this web series from its inception, as a person who hasn’t gone to film school or lives in LA/New York?
A: It is interesting because that wasn’t his character. But that’s what the audience accepted him as… with his look and the way he said things. A lot of us can identify with knowing that character, that White guy who wanted to be Black.
A: It’s sort of like peaks and valleys. It’s certainly not a steady or linear progression, where you keep going and going. There are periods where we’re fortunate to get some press. That’s been helpful and encouraging. We get spikes of views, like on another website that will carry us for weeks. That’ll
Q: There is a world of casting out here and it’s says a lot that Greg was
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give us a spike in views for a week or so. But then there will be periods where you might only get two or three in the course of a month, and you’re thinking, “Wow, what’s going on?” [Laughter] Q: I think many people still believe that if you put a video up on YouTube you’re just going to automatically receive one million views that same day, but they don’t realize that it takes time to gain views, especially if you aren’t already famous or really making a complete fool out of yourself. There’s magic in the marketing. You have had success with, in particular the third and fourth episode viewership of The Corporate Brother. [Episode 3 of the first season of The Corporate Brother has amassed 37,399 views to date; episode 4 has gained 11,269 views.] What do you do to market The Corporate Brother? A: Definitely reaching out to established blogs that already have an audience. One, in particular, Fox Brown Fox (www.foxbrownfox.net). I also try to reach out to blogs that specifically cater to the Professional African-American audience, such as the Young Black Professionals network (www.youngblackprofessionals.org). They carried episode 3 and they also have a blog radio show that I was on to talk about minorities and corporate America. So that helped to give me a spike in views. I reached out to a local newspaper in my area, and they carried a story on us. I then obviously I reached out to Urban/Suburban magazine. George put up an episode on the Urban/Suburban website. So I’ve just been trying to get as much exposure for the web series as possible. I was naïve and thought that all your Facebook friends would look at it and share it with their friends and all of a sudden it would just go viral. That’s what I thought! But, that’s not the case! [Laughter] Q: It doesn’t happen like that at all! Very rarely. A: So, I’m like, “Do these people like me?” [laughter]
Q: Now that the first season of The Corporate Brother is wrapped, do you have any other projects lined up at the moment? A: I want to make a short film out of The Corporate Brother and shop that around to film festivals, and then we’ll see where we go. I have a screenplay, it’s a love story. I’m a big fan of Love Jones. Q: One of the best movies ever! People are still waiting for Love Jones 2. A: Right?! I know. I wrote a love story- it’s probably about three quarters of the way finished. I still need to go back through it and refine and revise it. But I want to bring that to life one day. Q: How have you grown as a filmmaker, artist, and person, starting as a stand-up comedian to creator of The Corporate Brother? A: Oh my goodness, to wear all those hats, you can’t help but to develop in all those areas. I’ve gotten better as an editor, a casting director, producer, doing the press releases and marketing, contacting all these different organizations and blogs, and just staying hungry in that area and understanding that you have to be aggressive…. all the hats that the people wear in production, I’ve learned. I wouldn’t say I’m a pro at anything, but I’m more evolved since the first time I ever thought about it.
Q: Web series and TV on the Internet…. it’s still fairly new. I think that it just takes a while, it just doesn’t happen right away. So you start to think, “Ok this person is getting 1 million or 2 million views in one day…? But for some, or rather most, people, it starts at a very basic grassroots level where word of your project gets around, builds, and attracts an audience. I think it’s great to just get 1,000 hits on YouTube, much less over 10,000, as has been the case with a couple of your episodes of The Corporate Brother. So, I want to get more of an idea of your background a bit… you said that you hadn’t gone to film school?
Q: Is there one role that you prefer to do more than any of the others?
A: I have not.
Q: No love for directing?
Q: Were there any screenplays that you read or movies that you saw, especially in your childhood, that sparked the fire in you to want to pursue a career in writing and in film and entertainment? A: Hmmm… that’s a good question. Well, I am inspired by shows like Seinfeld. [Laughter] I just feel like the writing is so clever. I still watch Seinfeld and other shows like it to this day. Also, comedians like Chris Rock. He inspires me. He’ll talk about a lot of topical issues, some issues that you don’t expect comedians to really talk about, in terms of race relations. I’ve always admired that, so that was kind of the inspiration, to see if I could put a comedic spin on serious issues that we deal with in the Corporate World [as Black Americans], or just race relations period. How can I put a comedic spin on that and try to straddle the line between funny and un-offensive? It’s a real delicate line to walk. Q: What has been your favorite episode to shoot? A: My favorite one to shoot was probably the 4th episode, because it was so demanding. We had to have so many extras and there were two set locations. We had to shoot at the office location and the party scene. We had to have food for everybody, make sure people were there on time, making sure that the crowd did what they were supposed to do. There was just a lot going on and to get through that was so encouraging. 44 urban suburban magazine.com Philadelphia
A: Number one, writer, and number two, I would say, overall, producer.
A: [laughter] I did like the directing! I think I am a control freak anyway. [Laughter] Q: You’ve passionately expressed that you love writing and it’s the number one form of art that you prefer to do above all. For those who are thinking of creating their own web series, what advice can you give? A: Just do it. Don’t delay. Don’t let the fact that you don’t know how to do something stop you. Just go out there and do it. Don’t worry about people being critical of the lighting. Just produce your first one, and take it from there. You’ll learn things as you go along. I believe that where there’s a will, there will be a way. Don’t make your perfection your goal. Don’t look at Issa Rae’s series and let that be your standard where you’re thinking, “I’ll never match that”. Don’t worry about that. Just produce what you have in your heart and grow from there. Q: What you’ve achieved with The Corporate Brother is inspiring and I’m so excited to see what the future has in store for you, as I’m sure many of your fans are as well. Thank you for your wisdom and good luck to you Todd! A: Thank you!
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PATH LIGHTING | Young & Gifted
Introduction: Clifton Culpepper (dad) There was a Buffalo Soldier in the heart of America, Stolen from Africa, brought to America Fighting on arrival, fighting for survival Buffalo Soldier -Robert Nesta Marley 1980 Into: My son was labeled in the womb as “at risk”. My wife and I were advised by (well meaning) staff members at John Hopkins Hospital of our “options” and if we were capable of making the social or financial commitment to the issue we were facing. We, a young black couple, were introduced to (bombarded with) mountains of statistics linking low birth weight babies and the higher risk of infant mortality among African Americans. Laid before us was a deluge of factoids of survival rates of premature birthed babies (Preemies), and a host of post birth complications. Our decision was easy…we wanted our child. Our “Preemie” was born weighing in at a bolstering 1040 grams 48 urban suburban magazine.com Philadelphia
(2.76 lbs.) well below the “predictor label” of 2,500 grams, or 5.5 pounds, indicating the chances that our newborn will not graduate high school on time, or more then likely he later would be enrolled in special education or classified as learning disabled. We labeled our son Ngozi (from the Igbo tribe in Africa meaning blessing). A preemptive life plan was devised to battle any labels of ignorance. With never a doubt in my mind that he was gifted, the challenge would be making the world see what I knew. Every school year without fail and to no avail, I lobbied his school officials to place him in their gifted programs. 17 years later he stands just shy of 6 feet tall, 170 lbs. never had a health problem, no behavior problem, and no mental (other than just being a teen age boy) problem. With a 3.59 GPA, 2 year starting high school quarterback, national track and field competitor, fluent in Spanish, business owner, named teen entrepreneur of the year, National Honor Society this, and National Honor that…but never… ever…labeled challenged. Upon his entrance into high school we received a letter from his school district congratulating us on our son being identified as one of their “gifted students”. Most days I just smile to myself and ask….what took you so long!? hee hee hee.
PATH LIGHTING | Young & Gifted
What it means to be labeled as Gifted in America By: Jordan Culpepper
As part of a speech I gave at my high school in Illinois, I passed out notecards with personal adjectives: funny, boring, materialistic, intelligent, etc. I asked my class, “Do these words define you?” and “Can a piece of paper really embody the complexity that is you?” I was met with both nods of approval and grunts of dismay. I went on to explain that the same bubble - filling, one word process of putting yourself on paper was used every day to distinguish potential candidates of the Gifted and Talented Program (GT). This prompted me to further question, the importance, or lack thereof, of the GT program. What were the benefits of such a prestigious program? Why were some opportunities offered to some students and not others? What does it mean to be labeled Gifted? Questions like these are asked by students, across the country, who find themselves deemed inadequate for the GT program. I was one of them.
My journey started in 3rd grade. Select students were chosen to participate in upper level math classes. It appeared that I was not going to be chosen, so I asked my classmates what was happening. Some relatively new concepts were sweeping our school: Gifted and Talented. As I progressed further in school, my test scores matched those of my Gifted counterparts, yet I was never picked for the gifted program. I finally took matters into my own hands and spoke face to face with the GT coordinator. . She apparently appreciated my interest and, to my surprise, immediately began testing me. I did not understand why being gifted focused solely on academic tests scores or cognitive retention rather than the individual thought process of a person. I did understand that everyone thought and learned differently, and I believed that being gifted should encompass all of these factors. The GT pro-
gram appeared to be based on a type of Pygmalion “if you build it they will come” philosophy. Thereby labeling a student as gifted should result in said student performing as gifted. I believe that the GT program is supposed to help the education system by diversifying the classroom, but essentially the classrooms consist of people who think the same way, but at different levels. My pursuit of giftedness continued through the 8th grade. I was never officially labeled as Gifted although I had teachers fighting for me to become part of the program. The gifted courses were held after class, I would stay late, of my own accord. I would ask questions that were viewed by others as gifted, but were considered normal to me. I was told continuously that my scores just weren’t high enough to be considered by the GT program. Upon entering high school (9th grade) I received a letter informing me that I had been selected as a part of the Gifted and Talented Program. I was very happy at first, and then once again puzzled. I did not recall doing anything special, during my transition from 8th grade to freshman year, that could have gotten me considered. I was taken through an initiation paper signing and orientation, and I realized that I was one of many who were somehow “selected” to be part of the GT program. Throughout the school year we received a “Gifted Summer Reading and Gifted activities list”, a lists of gifted activities we could do during the summer. When I would excitedly sign up for activities, I found that not many other students were participating. So what was the point of offering such opportunities, if they weren’t going to be taken advantage of? I could think of plenty of students, not in the GT program, who could have appreciated and benefitted greatly from such opportunities. I then did something that might have been frowned upon in the elite GT community. I started sharing the information. I began forwarding these emails and summer reading ideas to other students. At that moment I realized the difference between those students called gifted and those deemed ‘non–gifted’. It seemed as though a label of ‘gifted’ completely changed the perspective of a student’s educational experience. Students, who were identified early-on in the GT program, simply cherish the label and no longer strive to uphold the meaning behind it, while students who are made to feel they aren’t GT material search for ways to help them get identified and accepted. These students take advantage of opportunities and work long, hard hours to set themselves apart from their classmates in hopes of one day receiving an invitation to the GT program. I discovered from various and esteemed people that you don’t need a label, or word to predict your level of success.
T. Charles M.D. Anesthesiologist
Q: As a young student, were you identified as Gifted? As a first grader I was diagnosed with ADHD, because I could not sit still! The fact that I could read the newspaper and do my fourth grade sister’s homework did not matter. After a short stint in special education, a third grade teacher told my mother she would keep me in her class because she thought I was very bright. By the first grade I knew I could do six-grade math but didn’t think spelling my name was important. The students that were identified as “special smart” 49 urban suburban magazine.com Philadelphia
PATH LIGHTING | Young & Gifted were very quiet and obedient.
Q: How do you define gifted? When it concerns academia, I refrain from the term gifted. I think people are gifted in sports or sewing or things that come naturally to them. When a child is labeled gifted and doesn’t continue to meet “gifted” criteria, what are they then...ungifted?
Q: Name one thing that contributed to your success today. I think the main thing that contributed to my success was growing up in a nurturing household. School and people in the community can be very damaging but when family supports you that is very important.
Q: How would you motivate students who are not identified as Gifted? I look and comment on positive attributes I see in young children. I think exposure is also very important too.
Q: Describe yourself in 3 words. (Only 3) Happy, Caring, Random
P. Delon Assistant to the Executive Director Manifest Your Destiny Foundation
Q: As a young student, were you identified as Gifted? A: No
Q: How do you define gifted?
Q: How would you motivate students who are not identified as Gifted? A: I would challenge them to find something that they are good at and work on their craft every day. Consistency is key to anyone’s success. You don’t have to be gifted to be successful.
P. Culpepper Senior Vice President Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer PepsiCo Inc. Q: As a young student, were you identified as Gifted?
No, but there was a lot of attention and energy given to those who were considered gifted.
Q: How do you define gifted? I would define it as someone who has marked ability in a given area that stands out way above the performance of the average person. I believe that being labeled gifted is redundant if a person truly is and for others not gifted, a label can create the perception that you are if told that they are.
Q: Name one thing that contributed to your success today. My own internal fortitude and drive
Q: How would you motivate students who are not identified as Gifted?
A: I define gifted as having a natural ability to achieve something.
Q: Name one thing that contributed to your success today.
I would encourage them to challenge everyone else’ assessment non verbally.
A: Determination. Without that, you’ll stay in the same place you’ve
Q: Describe yourself in 3 words. (Only 3) Anomaly, insightful, authentic
D. Anderson Harvard University Graduate Analyst, J.P Morgan Asset Management
Q: As a young student, were you identified as Gifted? Yes, I was identified as gifted.
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Q: How do you define gifted? I believe that in the American education system, those of us who have extraordinary analytical skills (i.e. math and science) are usually put into gifted programs – especially in public education. My peers who had amazing special intelligence were usually left out of the gifted group. Therefore, I define gifted as
having extraordinary abilities to execute a skill before you are expected to (which is usually defined by cultural norms). Examples: The Beatles music was considered very gifted, although their style is very normal today or in America a student taking Calculus as a 15 year old is considered gifted, while in some Asian countries this is considered normal. Q: Name one thing that contributed to your success today. Due to my mother’s mental illness (schizophrenia), it taught me be mentally tough. To no fault of her own she used to berate me and say horrible things to me. Thus, at a very young age I learned to not listen to everything people say. Therefore, I usually move forward with my thoughts although I get rejected numerous times. Q: How would you motivate students who are not identified as Gifted? I would let them know that it’s just someone’s opinion that doesn’t really mean a lot unless you let it define you. I would also give numerous examples of individuals who were not considered gifted, i.e. Albert Einstein, Barack Obama, Richard Branson, just to name a few. Q: Describe yourself in 3 words. (Only 3) Persistent, Positive, Curious
I challenged my interviewees to describe themselves using only 3 words. This exercise was to illustrate how difficult it is to sum up oneself, ones experiences, ones morals and ones lifetime.. There is obviously a lot more to you than a few test scores. In today’s society, jobs of this caliber and status are often associated with tremendous prior success in high school and college. As you can see, 3 out of 4 people were NOT considered gifted, and one was even put into Special Education. As the prestige of the Gifted and Talented label continues to grow, more and more students are constantly putting unnecessary pressure on themselves striving to fulfill the GT requirements rather than focusing on what’s really important --- their personal academic success. The Gifted opportunities and groups students are invited to join, can’t possibly measure total academic success. I believe the amount of work and effort one puts into achieving their goals can accurately predict long – term success. This way, everyone’s fight to be gifted…can be won.
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Bubblegum and Broken Fingers directed by Sean Jackson Category: Feature Run time: 116 Minutes
“If you don’t have your own plan, you’ll damn sure be a part of someone else’s.” That quote kicks off the first of multiple story lines, in the crime ensemble “Bubblegum & Broken Fingers.” This character-driven collage of sex, violence and survival is equal parts western, gangster and love stories. We follow the journey of a mysterious silver briefcase and witness the havoc it brings each new owner. The seemingly unrelated stories continuously collide throughout for multiple plot twists. Rodney, a young mob bag-man tries to leave his life of crime but his partner Dominic has other plans. German tourists bite off more than they can chew.
The Three Way directed by Julian Renner Category: Feature Run time: 90 Minutes Mike arrives home to discover his girlfriend, Tasha, is back early. Chaos erupts when Tasha discovers some condoms and a love note in Mike’s Jacket. Mike insists it’s all a misunderstanding until his co-worker, Sam (Shane Jacobsen), shows up at the front door
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directed by Tosin Coker Category: Short Run time: 19 Minutes Tanya Marks is a 25-year-old African American woman who just survived an abusive relationship, which left her with the impression that her talent for singing would never amount to anything and an 8-year-old son. Mentally bruised, Tanya shelves her dream of utilizing her gift of singing to find a stable avenue of providing for her and her son. She takes on a menial job of cleaning which presents no foreseeable future for her and manages to forget her dream until the day fate stumbles across her path in the form of a job opportunity to clean a local jazz club. Tanya, forced to take the job because of her financial difficulties, unknowingly opens up the doorway to a life she always dreamed of. The choices that Tanya makes from that moment throw her on a course that would change her life forever.
directed by Pardis Parker Categories: Shorts Run Time: 8 Minutes A romantic comedy with no dialogue, from award-winning filmmaker Pardis Parker, starring Evany Rosen (Picnic face, Roller Town), with cinematography by Christopher Porter (Brokeback Mountain).
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