CBU Jan 2019 Emagazine

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January 2019 E-Magazine



SHAKA KING MENSWEAR The ChillOut Collection AW 2018-19

Sometimes all you need is a clean break. A different perspective. A new beginning.

Thankfully, every 365 days we all get a so-to-speak “do-over,” and we can start again. If it’s been a rough year, we can vow to ourselves to make the next year better. The first page of the new chapter can mean many things to many people.

Maybe you like where you’re at in life, and you don’t need a do-over. However many do, and many want to make changes in their lives. 2018 had it’s ups and downs, to say the least. More tragedy struck our world than ever, and it became a regular occurrence for bad news from CNN to pop up on our smartphone notifications. However, hopefully, this year we can put the past behind us and let more light shine into our daily lives. I believe that even amid tragedy we can stay hopeful by staying positive. My biggest wish for this next year is that our world as a whole can ditch the negativity and start living more positively. “Everything happens for a reason” is one of my favorite sayings, and I wish more people believed in this. We all need to learn to accept whatever comes our way and make the most of what we have. Time is precious, and our years here on Earth are limited, so why waste what we were given? Sometimes, we all need to turn over a new leaf and try looking at things from a new perspective.


What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker A Memoir in Essays! by Damon Young!

On Sale: 03/26/2019 From the cofounder of VerySmartBrothas.com, and one of the most read writers on race and culture at work today, a provocative and humorous memoir-in-essays that explores the ever-shifting definitions of what it means to be Black (and male) in America For Damon Young, existing while Black is an extreme sport. The act of possessing black skin while searching for space to breathe in America is enough to induce a ceaseless state of angst where questions such as “How should I react here, as a professional black person?” and “Will this white person’s potato salad kill me?” are forever relevant. What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker chronicles Young’s efforts to survive while battling and making sense of the various neuroses his country has given him. It’s a condition that’s sometimes stretched to absurd limits, provoking the angst that made him question if he was any good at the “being straight” thing, as if his sexual orientation was something he could practice and get better at, like a crossover dribble move or knitting; creating the farce where, as a teen, he wished for a white person to call him a racial slur just so he could fight him and have a great story about it; and generating the surreality of watching gentrification transform his Pittsburgh neighborhood from predominantly Black to “Portlandia . . . but with Pierogies.” And, at its most devastating, it provides him reason to believe that his mother would be alive today if she were white. From one of our most respected cultural observers, What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker is a hilarious and honest debut that is both a celebration of the idiosyncrasies and distinctions of Blackness and a critique of white supremacy and how we define masculinity.

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Cashmere hat, Quilted indigo shirt-jacket with band collar, Heavyweight chamois workshirt and Destination merino wool saddle-sleeve turtleneck sweater

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Lined with Primaloft®, this hooded parka is seriously warm and surprisingly lightweight. It’s tough enough for a tundra and streamlined to look good in the city. The front pocket opening has what’s called a “kissing welt,” which means the fabric on either side meets to cover the zipper.

by BOTWC Staff for www.becauseofthemwecan.com

The U.S. Postal Service stamp program has celebrated and honored various people, events, and cultural elements that share the unique history of the United States since 1847. The subjects of the 2019 commemorative stamps have recently been revealed to include entertainment icons Marvin Gaye and Gregory Hines. The stamp featuring Marvin Gaye, also known as the "Prince of Soul," is a part of the Music Icon series of commemorative stamps. Gaye is often noted to have been "one of the most influential music performers of his generation." While his smooth grooves of "Let's Get It On" and "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" kept dance floors full, some of his more socially conscious classics like “What’s Going On" and "Mercy Mercy Me" expressed lyrical analyses of current events and ongoing community issues. The Gaye stamp will feature original art by Kadir Nelson. The likeness of famed tap dancer, singer, and actor, Gregory Hines, will grace the 42nd stamp in the Black Heritage commemorative series. Hines' unique tap dancing style and performance showmanship forever changed the presentation of the art form. Photo credit: Jack Mitchell/Getty Images

After singing, dancing, and acting on Broadway, television, and in films, Hines was also credited with re-introducing tap dancing as an art form to younger generations in the 1990's. Young tap dancers, such as Savion Glover, acknowledged Hines as an inspiration to pursue the art form. The Hines stamp features the re-creation of a 1988 photograph taken by Jack Mitchell.

"The miniature works of art illustrated in the 2019 stamp program offer something for everyone's interest about American history and culture," said U.S. Postal Service Stamp Services Executive Director Mary-Anne Penner. "From legendary poet Walt Whitman to the entertainment genius of Gregory Hines to the majestic beauty of our Wild and Scenic Rivers, this program is diverse and wide ranging and tells America's story on stamps.”

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Click Here To See The Trailer

Barry Jenkins and Stephan James on Beale Street’s Most Devastating Scene By Hunter Harris for vulture.com

Stephan James, KiKi Layne, and Brian Tyree Henry in If Beale Street Could Talk. Photo: Tatum Mangus/Annapurna Pictures

When If Beale Street Could Talk’s Fonny (Stephan James) and Tish (KiKi Layne) run into Fonny’s old friend Daniel Carty (Brian Tyree Henry) on the streets of Harlem, Tish isn’t exactly pleased. Daniel is grinning and gregarious, and Tish already knows her day with her boyfriend has turned into a boy’s night. Fonny smiles wide when he sees his friend, cajoles the three of them into a cab to go downtown and have dinner together at his apartment. Tish exits the scene to prepare dinner, and one of the best scenes of If Beale Street Could Talk begins. When they get to Fonny’s, Daniel surveys his friend’s sculptures — his apartment, his life — and the two of them sit down, talking in circles, in loose, relaxed loops, about Fonny and Tish’s apartment search. But after a few minutes, they’re talking about racism; after a few more minutes, they’re talking plainly about the fear and trauma of being black and living in a country that’s hostile toward them every day. It’s a powerful, deeply felt scene, scored by Miles Davis’s “Blue in Green.” “In film-speak, it’s like they’re spending an entire day together,” director Barry Jenkins told me about the scene. “And over the course of that day, they can truly reveal who they actually are, they can truly reveal their full humanity.” The way Jenkins’s deceptively plain filmmaking gives Fonny and Daniel the space to meander through a conversation about their gifts and traumas is sublime to watch. In a sense, the scene feels like Beale Street’s thesis: The plot is driven by the romance between Fonny and Tish, but Beale Street is sustained by the love between families, between friends, by the way Baldwin’s text shows black people taking care of one another.

Daniel and Fonny start the scene talking about everything but Daniel’s time in prison. Later, it becomes the only thing they can talk about — and they’re both shuddering. “There’s this thing that black men do when we see each other where we put on a good face, as white folks say. What I loved about the opportunity we had with this scene was, yeah, we put on a good face, but when you spend more time we say, ‘Hey, how you doing?’ ‘I’m good.’ We keep talking and it becomes ‘Oh, I’m good and …’” Jenkins said. “We keep talking, have a few drinks, have a few smokes, and it’s ‘I’m good, but …’ We continue talking and it’s ‘I’m not really good … With all the traumas that these young men face, we see that Daniel’s out and assume he’s not dealing with that trauma anymore. No! It’s still a part of him. It’s in his body; it’s in his DNA.” Henry flew up from the set of Atlanta to film the scene, on the movie’s last day of production in New York. Much of Beale Street was filmed with two cameras, but Jenkins felt this was one of the scenes that only needed one. “I started to realize that the power in the scene was in the energy between Stephan and Bryan. When you’re filming with two cameras, it’s like my energy is going into one camera; your energy is being captured by another camera,” he explained. Cutting between the shots didn’t feel authentic to the moment. “The trauma that Brian has experienced as the character Daniel, Fonny can feel that. That’s why he’s invited him into his home. That’s why he’s treating himself to open himself, to share. Instead of cutting between that energy, we’re passing it back and forth.” The scene feels different visually, but almost imperceptibly: There are a few cuts, but the conversation doesn’t feel jagged. The men move from one subject to the next, getting more and more intimate with every sentence. Fonny doesn’t know exactly what Daniel has seen, and he doesn’t ask him to explain, but eventually they’re talking about living with the same fear, every day. It’s tender filmmaking, to a devastating end.

“For me, that moment was a moment of true black love, of black brotherly love,” James told Vulture. “That’s something that we don’t really get to see too often. It was a moment that Daniel could be vulnerable with his brother, to tell him the truth, that he’s been scared, that he’s petrified of his experiences while incarcerated.” Watching this scene, I was reminded of one of my favorite moments in the third act of Moonlight. Childhood friends Black (Trevante Rhodes) and Kevin (André Holland) stand in the kitchen of Kevin’s small apartment. Their conversation is more loaded than Fonny and Daniel’s, with the awkwardness that comes from being onetime lovers; both are feeling out how their reunion will turn out. Kevin says he has a son now, and 18 months left on his probation. Black sighs and shakes his head, mumbling a curse. Kevin gives him a satisfied smile: “Yeah, but it’s a life,” he says. “I ain’t never had that before.” The moment doesn’t build to the same sort of terror that Henry lays bare in his performance, but it carries the same gentle build. These scenes are quiet, but revelatory in both instances: In both movies, they’re opportunities for two black men to talk about their feelings.

It’s a scene that makes my eyes sting with tears every time I watch it, both because of the emphasis Kevin puts on “life,” and because of the way he’s so proud of everything he has, no matter how humble. The first half of the Beale Street conversation between Daniel and Fonny gets at the same essential idea: Fonny, like Kevin, is building a life for himself, as an artist and as a husband. Colman Domingo, who plays Tish’s father, Joseph, drew yet another parallel: He saw a deep similarity between the Daniel Carty scene and a scene he shares with Michael Beach (who plays Fonny’s father, Frank). In Beale Street, he and Frank are putting their heads together at a bar, trying to figure out how to scrape enough money together to pay for Fonny’s legal defense. “I know some hustles, and you know some hustles … These are our children. We’ve got to set them free,” Domingo, as Joseph, says. “There’s so much depth of love there. I’m able to say that I love him so deeply that his child is my child, that my family’s plight is for his child. That’s not even my blood relative,” Domingo told Vulture. “We’re used to seeing antagonistic relationships between black men. [Fonny] is not even my blood relative. But I love him because that’s my best friend’s son. It shows the love of black men and what we do for each other, especially when one can’t do for himself. I’ll take over for you — and I’ll empower you to do that.”

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The Apollo Theater Announces Expansion with Two New Theaters in Harlem! Opening in fall 2020, the project will be the ! first physical expansion of the ! Historic New York theater! by Elizabeth Fazzare for architecturaldigest.com

Over its nearly 85-year history, it has produced, supported, and hosted many of music's top talents. Now the historic 1,500-seat Apollo Theater in New York's Harlem is getting its first physical expansion: two new theaters—one seating 99 people and the other seating 199 people—offices, and arts support space just a few doors down on 125th Street.


The new cultural spaces, the first phase of the Theater's transformation into the Apollo Performing Arts Center, will be housed in the former Victoria Theater, which is being redeveloped by New York State as part of an approximately 385,000-square-foot complex (including a 27-story mixed-use tower and a Marriott Renaissance hotel).

"The new theaters will allow the Apollo to provide support for artists throughout their career, especially emerging artists, and will provide an opportunity for us to grow our artistic programming," said Apollo Theater executive producer Kamilah Forbes in a statement. Designed by Kostow Greenwood Architects, the 25,000-square-foot project will occupy the third and fourth floors of the former Victoria Theater building. The theaters will be designed flexibly to allow a variety of programming. In addition to hosting great artists, creatives, and performers, the expansion will allow the future performing arts center to commission new work, particularly to incubate work by performers of color. Cultural partners the Classical Theatre of Harlem,

A rendering of the lobby and box-office interior of the new theaters at the Apollo Performing Arts Center. Image: Kostow Greenwood Architects

Harlem Arts Alliance, and Jazzmobile will also be housed there. And, up the street, the Apollo Theater will be renovated, as well. "At the heart of this endeavor and the future Apollo Performing Arts Center is the Apollo's desire to expand our many positive impacts," reiterated Theater president Jonelle Procope in a statement. "The Victoria revitalization is the right moment to support the important work New York's cultural organizations are doing while expanding our programming and educational offerings, shepherding in the next generation of the creative workforce of color." The Arts Center is expected to open in the fall of 2020.

Click Here To See The Trailer

Click Here To See The Trailer

One of Associated Press 2018’s Breakthrough Entertainers of the Year


In this Nov. 7, 2018 photo, country singer Kane Brown poses for a portrait in New York. The singer from humble beginnings has become one of the brightest new singers in music and arguably country music’s most successful act of the year. (Photo by Drew Gurian/Invision/AP)

NEW YORK (AP) — Kane Brown wasn't sure he was going to make it. But there was one thing he was certain about: He was never going to give up. The singer from humble beginnings has become one of the brightest new singers in music and arguably country music's most successful act of the year, and has been named one of The Associated Press' Breakthrough Entertainers of 2018 . "I never had the 'I-know-I'mgoing-to-make-it' mentality. I always had the 'I'm-nevergonna-give-up' mentality," said Brown, who grew up in Georgia. "I'm very competitive. Like, it's with anything. If you say you're gonna beat me in a video game, no, you're not." "I feel that's the attitude you have to have if you're trying to make it in this game," he added. Part of Brown's competitive nature comes from playing sports. He said as a kid he wanted to become an athlete when he was older, but he also enjoyed singing. That's when he began posting videos of himself singing cover songs to Facebook, where he built a solid fan base.

Now, the 25-year-old has three No. 1 country hits with "What Ifs," ''Lose It" and "Heaven," the most played song on country radio this year. His selftitled debut album is a platinum success and his sophomore effort, "Experiment," debuted at No. 1 on both the pop and country charts last month. And Billboard named him second on its year-end list of top country artists — only behind the incomparable Chris Stapleton. Despite all the success, Brown still wants more: "I'm in huge competition with myself and I always try to outdo myself.

At times, Brown has been seen as an outsider in the country music world, mainly because he is biracial and has multiple tattoos. But he said his individuality is also an advantage, and he encourages other artists on the rise to embrace what makes them unique. "Don't try to fit in with anybody else or be anybody else because I feel like if you stand out and you're unique, that's what makes people fall in love with you," he said.

"Don't listen to anybody telling you, 'You can't do something,'" he added. "I've been told 'no' my whole life and now I'm just trying to prove everybody wrong."


Kane Brown brings some much-needed diversity to the world of country music— and he’s very proud of it! Growing up and long before reaching fame, however, Kane was faced with racism and prejudice that he didn’t even know existed! As a young boy, similar to many, Kane didn’t see people in terms of the color of their skin, he just saw people as people! Even when he was young, he didn’t know that he was biracial! His mother was white and his father, who wasn’t in the picture, was both black and Cherokee. “I’m biracial; I didn’t know that until I was 7 or 8 years old,” Kane disclosed in an interview with PEOPLE. “I thought I was full white, which honestly, I can’t even really say because I didn’t see colors.”

“I found out that I was biracial and I still wasn’t thinking anything of it, but then I started getting called the N-word,” Kane shared about his middle school experiences. “I didn’t even know what it meant. I learned what it meant, and that’s when it started affecting me. I got in fights over it when I was little.” Kane remained strong and did his best to block out the bullies he encountered. “I just kind of got over it,” Kane admitted. “They just made me stronger. I guess it was God. Hopefully, I can help kids and they can end up being stronger in the long run, too.” By the time Kane reached high school, he found a close group of friends the he knew would always have his back. “Once I got to high school and hit my growth spurt, nobody really messed with me anymore,” the hit-maker recalled. “I just kept to myself. I kept my circle small. I had my friends that I knew wouldn’t do anything to hurt me and I would also stand up for them, and those are still my friends today.” Sadly, Kane still faces racism. “When I first got into country, I started getting some of those comments like, ‘He’s an N-word.’ Stuff like that,” the star explained. “I used to screenshot it and put it on Twitter, like, ‘There still racism in the world.’ But I didn’t get into country music just to prove a point. I try to stay away from all negativity.” Now, Kane knows himself better than ever and understands that some people are just always going to be hateful. “Now you can call me whatever you want,” Kane said. “It just brushes off of me.” by Victoria Haggerty

Google Launches Certificate Courses to Fill Empty I.T. Jobs

There are 150,000 open IT jobs in the U.S., and Google wants to make it easier to fill them. Today the company is announcing a certificate program on the Coursera platform to help give people with no prior IT experience the basic skills they need to get an entry-level IT support job in 8 to 12 months. Google Certificate Course - Coursera https://www.coursera.org/specializations/google-it-support Coursera.org, EdX.org, YearUp.org, YesWeCode.org, BlackGirlsCode.com

Why it matters: Entry-level IT jobs are are typically higher-paying than similar roles in other fields. But they’re harder to fill because, while IT support roles don’t require a college degree, they do require prior experience. The median annual wage for a computer network support specialist was $62,670 in May 2016 The median annual wage for a computer user support specialist was $52,160 in May 2016. The impetus: Natalie Van Kleef Conley, former head of Google's tech support program, was having trouble finding IT support specialists so she spearheaded the certificate program. It’s also part of Google’s initiative to help Americans get skills needed to get a new job in a changing economy, the company told us.

Enrollment begins now and online classes start around Jan 23.

After completing the program, certificate holders will be connected with other companies looking for entry-level support workers. Those companies include: Bank of America, Walmart, Sprint, GE Digital, PNC Bank, Infosys, TEKSystems, UPMC — in addition to Google. The visa connection: A lot of companies struggle to fill these roles, which is why so many end up turning to H-1B visa holders who have the required skills. This certificate curriculum is an acknowledgement from these employers that they’re going to need to train Americans for those jobs, since the Trump administration has made it clear it will make it harder to rely on foreign talent. Google Certificate Courses https://developers.google.com/training/certification/ Google Developers Blog https://developers.googleblog.com/ Coursera.org EdX.org Google Certificate Course - Coursera https://www.coursera.org/specializations/google-it-support Google Digital Coaches https://accelerate.withgoogle.com/coaches


The ChillOut Collection AW 2018-19

Photographer: Sadrea Muhammad - IG @cre8ivejunkie1

The CHILLOUT Collection: Organic shapes and luxurious fabrics, as well as color blocking and pattern mixing, is the SKM approach for Autumn-Winter 2018 season. The collection is comprised of, easy relaxed shapes w/structure, utilitarian shapes and dressy casual bottoms with unexpected detailing & design. Created from muted earth tones and rich jewel tones. In fabrications of soft wool coating, vintage woven wools, jersey double knits and Italian imported wools. __________________________________________________ Model: Prentiss Watson – IG @sir_prentisswatson Model: DJ Suspence – IG @djsuspence2018 SHAKA KING MENSWEAR available @ www.shakaking.com Instagram @shakakingmenswear Email: shaka@shakakingny.com

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A Tech Wunderkind Who Knows Jaden Smith and Elon Musk

Iddris Sandu wants to “level the playing field� between Silicon Valley and communities of color. Photo Credit: Alex Welsh for The New York Times

Iddris Sandu has written code for Instagram and Twitter, and counts Barack Obama as a fan.

Name: Iddris Sandu

Age: 21 Hometown: Torrance, Calif. Now Lives: In a sparsely decorated two-bedroom apartment in Culver City, Calif.

Claim to Fame: Not many 21-year-olds can lay claim to having contacts for Jaden Smith, Stephen Curry and Elon Musk in their smartphones. But Mr. Sandu, a dapper technology wunderkind who has written code for Instagram and Twitter, is equally obsessed with the future of HTML as he is with the street wear labels Fear of God and Off-White. Just don’t call him a coder. He prefers to go by “cultural architect” and said he aims to “level the playing field” between Silicon Valley and young communities of color.

Big Break: After listening to a podcast on Steve Jobs in 2009, he was inspired to learn more about the intersections of technology and genius. He became a familiar face at the local Torrance Public Library, where he devoured texts on the German industrial designer Dieter Rams, Nikola Tesla and the theory of relativity.

In 2011, he was spotted checking out books by a designer from Google, who offered Mr. Sandu the opportunity to shadow him at his company’s headquarters. “After going to the library pretty much every day for a year and a half, I think it showed my dedication,” Mr. Sandu said. Mr. Sandu is equally obsessed with the future of HTML as he is with the street wear labels Fear of God and Off-White. Just don’t call him a coder. He prefers to go by “cultural architect.” Credit: Alex Welsh for The New York Times

Latest Project: In 2017, he was at a local Starbucks, modifying code on his laptop, when the rapper Nipsey Hussle spied the algorithms populating his screen. The pair hit it off, and three weeks later they transformed a neglected storefront near Crenshaw Boulevard in Los Angeles into the Marathon Clothing Store. Billed as a “smart store,” it offers exclusive music and other content to customers who have downloaded an app. “I realized, especially for people of color, I need to create scenarios to show I am just like them,” Mr. Sandu said. Next Thing: He is working on a book about recent black trailblazers, including Kanye West; Robi Reed, a casting director; and Edward Enninful, the editor of British Vogue. “Edward is one of the greatest editors of all time,” Mr. Sandu said. Afro Power: In 2015, he received the Presidential Scholar Award from President Obama. “I had a huge Afro at the time and everyone, including my mom, told me I needed to shave,” Mr. Sandu said. “I remember meeting him and he goes — you know, in his Obama voice — ‘I like your hair.’”

by Jazz Smollett-Warwell, Jake Smollett, Jurnee Smollett-Bell and Jussie Smollett

Pull up a chair and enjoy “The Family Table: Recipes and Moments from a Nomadic Life” by Jazz Smollett-Warwell, Jake Smollett, Jurnee Smollett-Bell and Jussie Smollett. This charming hardback features over 120 recipes that pay tribute to the family’s past and present. The photos and anecdote highlight their lives moving from coast-to-coast for a total of 13 times.

The Smollett clan shares their favorite meals inspired by those encounters growing up in New York and California, their travels and diverse heritage. “The Family Table” is a total of nine section making it easy for navigation. Several of the recipes look appetizing such as the spicy smoked gouda twice-baked potatoes, loaded turkey burger sliders, stuffed bell peppers, stuffed Cornish hens and butter lettuce apple crisp salad. They include common ingredients with easyto-follow instructions. A few of the entrees offer a beverage pairing which adds a nice touch. Also, readers get to see pictures of the other two siblings throughout the cookbook. Jazz, Jake, Jurnee, and Jussie Smollett are renowned television stars of shows such as “Empire, “Friday Night Lights,” “Underground” and Food Network’s “Smollett Eats.” Their parents wanted 10 children; they ended up with six. Their father is Jewish and of eastern European background who grew up in Queens, New York. Their mother is African-American and was born in Texas and raised in New Orleans. No matter where the self-described multicultural-nomadic family lived, their mother would transform a butcher block into a smooth varnished table that took three days to complete. She also made sure to have weekly family feasts cooked on a budget without sacrificing taste with a salad incorporated each time. Today, at each of the sibling’s residence sits a communal kitchen table handcrafted by their mother – the focal point of their daily existence.

Deciding which dish to prepare first proved to be difficult – a testament to all the delicioussounding and looking recipes presented in the book. I started with 24 and then narrowed it down to my final three: Asian lobster wonton tacos, slow-cooked miso short ribs (above) or citrus sorbet with limoncello. Which one should I pick? Be sure to follow me on social media (Facebook,Twitter and Instagram) for my final selection. If you can’t wait, you can purchase your copy on Amazon to get cooking. Before actors and Food Network stars Jazz, Jake, Jurnee, and Jussie Smollett conquered Hollywood, they spent their childhood crisscrossing the United States. Moving coast to coast thirteen times, they car-tripped to small towns and big cities across America. But no matter where they lived, two things remained constant: their incredible family feasts and the long, wooden kitchen table where they shared food and lived their lives. Each time they arrived in a new home, their mother would transform planks of hard wood into a smooth, varnished butcher block table in a beloved ritual that took three days. That hand-crafted table would become the heart of the Smollett clan, where the most important and cherished events and accomplishments, no matter how large or small, were honored, and where holidays were celebrated: Christmas, Easter, Passover, Chanukah, birthdays, milestones. With a mother from New Orleans and a Jewish father from New York who met and married in California, the Smollett kids were exposed to diverse culinary heritages and grew up open to all the deliciousness the world had to offer. In this warm and personal book, the Smolletts invite us all to take a seat at their table and enjoy the good times and good food that help families thrive. The Family Table includes more than 130 delicious, comforting recipes that pay tribute to their past and present, including: Crispy Beef Lettuce Wraps, Potato Crab Au Gratin, Brown Butter Lamb Chops, Honey Sriracha Chicken Skewers, 7th Ward Gumbo, North African Chicken Stew, Cast-Iron Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie These favorite recipes from the Smolletts are suitable for intimate dinners and fabulous feasts alike, but more than that, The Family Table is a remarkable portrait of a loving, all-American family, rich with traditions that they continue to build to this day.

Black Male Writers for Our Time These 32 American men, and their peers, are producing literature that is essential to how we understand our country and its place in the world right now. By AYANA MATHIS for nytimes.com | Creative Direction by BOOTS RILEY

The writers speak: My favorite work of literature by a black female American is... First row, from left: ROBERT JONES JR., novelist; NATHAN ALAN DAVIS, playwright; ROWAN RICARDO PHILLIPS, poet; JAMEL BRINKLEY, short story writer; GREGORY PARDLO, poet; DINAW MENGESTU, novelist; MAJOR JACKSON, poet. Second row: MICHAEL R. JACKSON, playwright; SHANE McCRAE, poet; JAMES HANNAHAM, novelist; BRONTEZ PURNELL, novelist; ISHMAEL REED, novelist, poet and playwright; BRIAN KEITH JACKSON, novelist; DANEZ SMITH, poet; CORNELIUS EADY, poet. Third row: JEFFERY RENARD ALLEN, novelist and poet; JAMES McBRIDE, novelist; DARRYL PINCKNEY, novelist and playwright; KEVIN YOUNG, poet; JAMES IJAMES, playwright; JERICHO BROWN, poet; NELSON GEORGE, novelist; GEORGE C. WOLFE, playwright and director; De’SHAWN CHARLES WINSLOW, novelist. Fourth row: REGINALD McKNIGHT, novelist; PHILLIP B. WILLIAMS, poet; RICKEY LAURENTIIS, poet; MARCUS BURKE, novelist; MITCHELL S. JACKSON, novelist; MAURICE CARLOS RUFFIN, novelist. Creative direction by Boots Riley. Styled by Carlos Nazario

LAST APRIL, KENDRICK Lamar won the Pulitzer Prize for music. That’s old news, but it’ll never get old to me: Black male rappers have been so maligned as to render his award almost unimaginable to those of us who have loved the music for decades. At the ceremony, the prize’s administrator, Dana Canedy, greeted Lamar on the steps of Columbia University. “We’re both making history right now,” she said. And so they were: Canedy is the first black woman to hold her post, and Lamar — or “Pulitzer Kenny,” as he now delightfully, and delightedly, calls himself — is the first hiphop artist to win the award. On the same day, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins was nominated for the prize for drama (he was also nominated in 2016). Last spring, “Black Panther,” with its nearly all-black cast, surpassed a billion dollars in worldwide ticket sales. In May, Sean “Diddy” Combs outbid a rival to purchase a Kerry James Marshall painting for $21.1 million at Sotheby’s. The sale was a triumph: A black multimillionaire bought a black artist’s painting for the highest sum ever paid for the work of a living African-American artist. What matters here, what’s more striking than the sums exchanged or the awards

received, is the intense focus on works by African-American men in America’s artistic landscape, even as the problems of race and racial violence continue to plague the nation. The last decade has seen a burgeoning multiplicity in America’s literature, with gifted black men writing novels, poems and plays of great import. Some of them have even come to the attention of the literary establishment. Here follows a woefully incomplete roll call: Gregory Pardlo, Pulitzer, 2015. Colson Whitehead, National Book Award, 2016; Pulitzer, 2017. Tyehimba Jess, Pulitzer, 2017. Terrance Hayes, National Book Award, 2010. James McBride, National Book Award, 2013. Ross Gay, Danez Smith, Fred Moten and Yusef Komunyakaa, National Book Award finalists. The list goes on, and I have not touched on the writers who are not yet household names, whose arrival I await in the manner of James Baldwin’s loving anticipation of his nephew’s birth in his essay “A Letter to My Nephew” (1962), in which he wrote: “Here you were to be loved. To be loved … hard at once and forever to strengthen you against the loveless world.à

In that same essay, Baldwin also wrote: “This is the crime of which I accuse my country and my countrymen and for which neither I nor time nor history will ever forgive them, that they have destroyed and are destroying hundreds of thousands of lives and do not know it and do not want to know it.” Now, in 2018, blackness is as lethal to black people as it ever was. Four days before Lamar received his Pulitzer, a white man in a Michigan suburb opened fire on a 14-year-old black boy when he knocked on his door to ask for directions after missing the school bus. Hysterical racism throughout the country has spawned an epidemic of police violence so unbearable, so ongoing, that if I listed the names of the dead today, it would likely be incomplete by next month. Even as AfricanAmerican writing currently experiences unprecedented mainstream appeal and critical recognition, the focus on black expression has another, uglier face: a deadly obsession with black bodies. Thus, it is possible for the Sacramento police to murder a black man holding a cellphone in his grandmother’s backyard and for Whitehead to win the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award within a year. How are we to reconcile these truths? Is the attention to black male writing merely a fleeting moment, or is it a revolution? To be sure, there is much to celebrate, but these recent developments are not without complication. “I can’t help but think this comes out of the eight years of Barack Obama … and the backlash against him,” says Farah Griffin,

an author and scholar of black literature at Columbia University. “And also the way in which black males have been seen as targets; we know there were women, too, but the people we can name are men.” This raises a crucial question about black women and (in)visibility, but more on that later. To the subject at hand: It is safe to say that Barack Obama may be the most famous African-American man who has ever lived. He represents an erudite, sophisticated blackness that mainstream culture has historically derided or dismissed. But that omnipresent image of a powerful, untouchable black man reinvigorated a rage and fear of blackness as old as the nation itself. Slavery-era fixations and caricatures still titillate and terrify: Black men are a threat to order and the status quo, physically imposing and possessed of exaggerated sexual ability. Therefore, they must be contained. The poet Jericho Brown says black people don’t have the luxury of being quiet: Every black behavior, no matter how banal — getting out of a car, walking down the street — draws attention or ire. Black bodies, by their very existence, are turned up to the highest volume at all times. All of this is exacerbated by the fact of maleness in our sexist society: Men, even vilified men, outrank women in the hierarchy of being; they are more seen. It is in this charged reality that the work of black male writers finds itself in the spotlight.

“THE IDEA OF a black male resurgence feels like a bit of an illusion,” says the playwright Jacobs-Jenkins. “Really, it feels like people are just suddenly noticing that there are black people in the room.” Most of the writers I spoke with shared some iteration of his sentiment: Black men have been producing rich and varied work for a long time, but folks are paying a lot more attention than they used to. John Edgar Wideman has been published to great acclaim for almost 40 years. Edward P. Jones, the author of two critically adored short story collections, won a Pulitzer for his novel “The Known World” in 2004. Percival Everett has written nearly 30 books since 1983, but wide recognition didn’t come until he published “Erasure,” in 2001, a sharp satire about a failing black writer who becomes the next hot thing when he parodies another character’s book called “We’s Lives in Da Ghetto.” Such recognition typically sparks in that instant when white literary influencers tune the dial to a station that’s been playing for a long, long time. “There’s a dynamic [black literary] conversation that has no beginning and no end,” says the poet Saeed Jones. If this moment is, at least in part, about heightened awareness of black male writers, it may well vanish when the social climate changes — which it inevitably will. A surge of mainstream attention to blackness and its literature isn’t unprecedented in periods of American crisis. The first strains of the Harlem Renaissance began at the tail end of World War I and gained momentum in the 1920s, as the racial makeup of American cities metamorphosed through the Great Migration. The Harlem of the 1930s became home to a concentration of black writers whose work piqued white interest. In the 1960s and ’70s, the Black Arts Movement erupted during the turbulent years of America’s freedom protests. Black voices received heightened attention then, too.

Through the institutional cultural cache garnered during these many moments, our literary ancestors carved pathways to success. Harlem Renaissance writers parlayed white patronage to create inroads to the apparatus of publishing. The Black Arts Movement brought about radical changes in university curriculums. New institutions were founded, including New York City’s Medgar Evers College, providing black writers with access to the support and stability of academia. The poet Gregory Pardlo points to the rise of the New York and Chicago slam poetry scenes in the ’80s as a conduit for many writers, including the novelist Paul Beatty. Jacobs-Jenkins discusses ’90s-era evolutions in black writing that produced “an incredible sea change of influence,” when writers like August Wilson and Toni Morrison “achieved black arts excellence and major status in the same breath.” When I was 15, in 1988, a friend’s father gave me a copy of Sonia Sanchez’s “Under a Soprano Sky.” I didn’t know living black people wrote poetry. After, I read books by Gloria Naylor, Paule Marshall and Toni Cade Bambara as if my life depended on it. Here, I must confess to an unease with any gendered division of contemporary literature: When I was asked to consider the particularities of the current landscape, I wondered if a focus on male achievement might obscure the equally unprecedented successes of African-American women. And does that question undermine this extraordinary moment for black male writers? I have not found an answer that is entirely sufficient, but I do know that the work of black women writers presents a ferocious challenge to old sexist perceptions; as Griffin says, “the difference between this moment and others is that, in the past, to be a black writer was to be a man.” Robin Coste Lewis, Tracy K. Smith, Lynn Nottage, Jacqueline Woodson, Patricia Smith and Jesmyn Ward, to name just a few, disprove those old gendered ideas.

CONTEMPORARY AFRICAN-AMERICAN literature is formally sophisticated, irreducibly nuanced and highly individualized. The writers in these pages may be a cohort of sorts, yet their work is distinguished by a great variety of voices and aesthetics. And certainly our conversations about the current literature by black men ought to include as much consideration of how writers say things as what they’re saying. The poet Claudia Rankine said of her 2016 MacArthur Fellowship that the prize was being awarded “to the subject of race.” Race may indeed be having “a moment,” and I can’t help but wonder if some gatekeepers expect black authors to focus primarily on racism and oppression. Pardlo has similar reservations about writing that might “pander to white fears and assumptions and resentments.” It’s an old, and valid, concern. Among his eight novels, Whitehead’s well-received “The Colossus of New York” (2003) is an ode to that city, and “Zone One” (2011) is a postapocalyptic zombie novel that was nicely reviewed — yet it’s his book about slavery, “The Underground Railroad” (2016), that received such clamorous acclaim. In the past, African-American writers carried two burdens: to prove our humanity to white readers while also fighting to be taken seriously as writers of so-called universal literature. Is, say, “The Brothers Karamazov” narrow or provincial because it’s about a few Russians in the 19th century? Certainly not, but black writers have been relentlessly sidelined for writing about black people. Groundbreakers like Morrison, in whose work blackness is a default, unapologetic and

unexplained, radicalized the canon. Today’s black writers approach the subject of race, if they approach it at all, with greater freedom than ever before: Many writers today do handle the subject, obliquely or head-on. Some — Mat Johnson, Beatty, Everett — use satire to probe these depths. Contemporary black literature has a kind of boundlessness, topically and artistically. But too often the discussion around writers of color is more about content, and their dazzling artistry is overlooked. To read the work by these men is to have an urgent encounter with a vital and thriving consciousness. We have Brown’s evocative tender-tough poems, Brontez Purnell’s raw, stripped-down prose, Stephen L. Carter’s deft mysteries and thrillers and Victor LaValle’s genre-bending fabulist fiction. Beatty’s “The Sellout” (2015) is as smart and funny a novel as I’ve come across in a long time, in which the protagonist reckons the best thing for the black folks in his neck of the woods is to segregate the local high school. (Oh, and he reinstates slavery while he’s at it.) In the poet Terrance Hayes’s “Lighthead” (2010), he confronts the troubling and complicated legacy of Wallace Stevens as a poet of incomparable gifts — and an unapologetic racist (in 1952, upon seeing a photo of Gwendolyn Brooks posed with her fellow National Book Award judges, Stevens famously asked, “Who’s the coon?” Brooks won the Pulitzer Prize in poetry just two years earlier). The poet Tyehimba Jess and the novelist Jeffery Renard Allen, through strikingly different lenses, riff on the life of a 19th-century piano virtuoso, the enslaved Blind Tom.

I wonder if, in the annals of history, this extraordinary period of artistry will find a name, or a unifying sentiment that codifies it as a movement. Perhaps, or perhaps not. For now, we can rejoice in the gifted writers whom we are privileged to read. And we must be vigilant. We must pay keen attention to who’s in the moment and who’s left out, and why. A host of writers wait in the wings. It’ll be their moment soon. Let it be wide open. Let it be without limits. Let it be as broad as they have the talent to make it. First row, from left: Robert Jones Jr. wears a Gucci jacket and pants, gucci.com, Arcady shirt, arcady.com, Drake’s tie, drakes.com, and Aquatalia shoes, aquatalia.com; Nathan Alan Davis wears a Tommy Hilfiger suit, tommy.com, and Gitman Bros. tie, gitman.com; Rowan Ricardo Phillips wears a Sandro suit, similar styles at sandro-paris.com, Canali shirt, (212) 752-3131, Hermès tie, hermes.com, and Michael Kors shoes, michaelkors.com; Jamel Brinkley wears a Brunello Cucinelli suit, (212) 334-1010, Louis Vuitton shirt, louisvuitton.com, Tommy Hilfiger tie and shoes; Gregory Pardlo wears a Loro Piana jacket, loropiana.com, Ermenegildo Zegna shirt, zegna.com, Louis Vuitton pants, Tommy Hilfiger tie and Mr P. shoes, mrporter.com; Dinaw Mengestu wears a Salvatore Ferragamo jacket, (866) 337-7242, The Row shirt and pants, (212) 755-2017, The Tie Bar tie, thetiebar.com, and Church’s shoes, church-footwear.com; Major Jackson wears a Tallia Orange suit, macys.com, and Brioni shirt, brioni.com. Second row: Michael R. Jackson wears a Paul Stuart tie, paulstuart.com; Shane McCrae wears a Giorgio Armani suit, armani.com, and Ermenegildo Zegna tie; James Hannaham wears a Tallia Orange suit, Brioni shirt and Paul Smith tie, (646) 613-3060; Brontez Purnell wears a John Varvatos Star USA jacket, johnvarvatos.com, Versace shirt, versace.com, and Louis Vuitton tie; Ishmael Reed wears a Boss suit, hugoboss.com, and Paul Stuart tie; Brian Keith Jackson wears a The Row jacket and Brioni turtleneck; Danez Smith wears a Boss jacket, Michael Kors turtleneck and Warby Parker glasses, warbyparker.com; Cornelius Eady wears a Ermenegildo Zegna suit. Third row: Jeffery Renard Allen wears a Polo Ralph Lauren suit and tie, ralphlauren.com, and Gitman Bros. shirt; James McBride wears a Brioni suit; Darryl Pinckney wears his own clothes; Kevin Young wears a P. Johnson tie, pjt.com; James Ijames wears a Thom Browne suit, thombrowne.com, Boss shirt and Ermenegildo Zegna tie; Jericho Brown wears a Brioni suit, Charvet shirt, similar styles at mrporter.com, and Boss tie; Nelson George wears a Giorgio Armani suit, Tom Ford shirt, tomford.com, and Drake’s tie; George C. Wolfe wears a Prada suit, prada.com, Charvet shirt andCanali tie; De’Shawn Charles Winslow wears a Corneliani suit, corneliani.com, and Ralph Lauren shirt. Fourth row: Reginald McKnight wears a Lutwyche suit, lutwyche.co.uk, and Brioni sweater; Phillip B. Williams wears a Gucci jacket and Tom Ford shirt; Rickey Laurentiis wears a Gucci vest and Louis Vuitton shirt; Marcus Burke wears a Gitman Bros. shirt and Louis Vuitton tie; Mitchell S. Jackson wears his own clothes; Maurice Carlos Ruffin wears his own clothes. Yusef Komunyakaa (pictured on one of the covers) wears an Ermenegildo Zegnatie. Jeremy O. Harris (pictured on one of the covers) wears a Louis Vuitton jacket, shirt and pants. Location: The library at Brooklyn Historical Society. Photographer: Shayan Asgharnia. Producer: Nikkia Moulterie. Set designer: Theresa Rivera at Mary Howard. Hair: Ruben Aronov at MOI barber. Grooming: Alana Wright. Photographer’s assistants: Robert Stout and Kaz Sakuma. Digital tech: Vincent Bezuidenhout. Hair assistants: Josh Livingston and Marshall Almeida. Grooming assistants: Tara Lauren and Fatimot Isadare. Set assistants: Zachary Angeline, Eddie Ballard, Adam Kenner and Sarice Olson. Tailoring: Mary Carney and Sarah Lathrop. Styled by Carlos Nazario. Stylist’s assistants: Vesper Wolfe, Szalay Miller, Derek Brown and Marion Kelly. Additional reporting by Antwaun Sargent. Designed and produced by Hilary Moss, Jacky Myint and Daniel Wagner.

Read more about the making of this story.


The writers speak: My favorite work of literature by a black female American is... And more favorite works from men not pictured here.

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How to Work Your Triceps the Right Way, According to Personal Trainers By Jay Willis

What you’re doing wrong —and how to fix it.

As you go about your business in the weight room, have you ever glanced over at a personal trainer during one of their client sessions and idly asked yourself something like, Dang, I wonder if they ever happen to notice what I'm doing over here? Good news! While your gym's fitness professionals obviously can't leave their charges to deliver you some kind of stern pro bono talking-to, they do see you, and they have a lot of feelings to share about...the myriad things you're doing wrong. (Perhaps this is, in retrospect, one of those questions to which you didn't want to know the answer.) Fortunately, a few trainers have generously agreed to share with us the most common and most aggravating habits they see gymgoers developing —and a little free advice on how to fix them. This is, in effect, money in your pocket. Today: triceps. Tyrannosaurus flex

Many people fail to isolate the triceps during the pressdown and instead use momentum to...well, press the weight down. With the rope attachment set at about chin height, set your body a few feet away from the cable stack. Think about making short T-Rex arms, with your elbows tucked into your body and set slightly in front of your shoulders. This allows the triceps to stretch, since the elbows are forward and pointed downward. Press your palms toward your toes—not directly downward—and make sure your elbows stay in front of the torso. Stop just short of lockout to keep tension in the muscle, and hold the movement at the bottom before fluidly returning to the original position. —Mike Dewar, J2FIT Strength and Conditioning

ANATOMY OF THE TRICEPS The Triceps Brachii has three heads which connect the humerus and scapula bones to the forearm bone called the ulna. These three heads are known as the Lateral, Medial, and Long heads. The lateral head is located on the outward facing side of the humerus. This head is most responsible for the horseshoe shape of the triceps. The medial head is located towards the midline of the body. The long head along the bottom side of the humerus and is that largest of the three heads.

Right angles are the right angles

Skullcrushers are a great triceps exercise, but many people don't get much out of them thanks to poor shoulder mobility and/or incorrect elbow placement. (Your elbows should be directly above your shoulders. If they're anywhere else, you're doing it wrong.) If this sounds like you, I advise trying single-arm cable pushdowns and pulldowns instead—changing the grip like this helps to target a different part of that coveted horseshoe. Always keep your shoulder steady and your elbow tucked tight against your ribcage, and stop your arm when it reaches a 90-degree angle before straightening it again in the downward motion. —Ben Booker, Second Chance Fitness

Set those shoulders

I often see people bend or destabilize their shoulders when lowering the weight during the skullcrusher. This is supposed to be an isolated triceps exercise that uses only one hinge on your body—the elbow—and so it works best when you allow the three heads of the triceps to achieve a full range of motion. Bending at the shoulder prevents that. In my opinion, the skullcrusher should be performed for hypertrophy—do 8-12 reps to failure, and don't try lifting as much weight as you can here. I have seen people in the gym tear their triceps by overloading the bar and attempting a one-rep-max-style set. — Devan Kline, Burn Boot Camp

Lighten up

In case this isn't obvious, if the skullcrushers you're doing are causing elbow discomfort, you're trying to use too much weight. I recommend using dumbbells instead of barbells for those experiencing elbow pain, since dumbbells are much easier on the joints and provide for better elbow traction. If this still doesn't do the trick, though, switch to a standing cable triceps extension until you feel that the elbow pain has subsided. — Josh Cox, Anytime Fitness


Ms. Jackson


December 13 was a big day in the storied career of Janet Jackson. On her 11th year of eligibility, after mysteriously being omitted year in and year out, the R&B and Pop icon will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 2018 is has become one to remember for the “Made For Now” singer. She’s been honored with the BMI Icon Award, the “Rock Star Award” at Black Girls Rock, and the Billboard Icon Award. Now with her induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, she keeps adding trophies to her long list of awards. Out of all the artists who have been overlooked by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Janet Jackson’s omission is the most glaring. Her accolades place her as one of the most renowned and successful artists of all-time. She has sold over 100 million records, she holds the record for the most consecutive top-ten entries on the US Billboard Hot 100 singles chart by a female artist with 18, and she has given us classic albums such as Control, Rhythm Nation, Velvet Rope, and more. She leads the 2019 class that includes Radiohead, The Cure, Stevie Nicks, Roxy Music, Def Leppard, and The Zombies. Jackson will officially be inducted at the 34th annual ceremony, being held at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on March 29, 2019. It’s about damn time!

Janet Jackson's Rock and Roll

Hall of Fame induction is years overdue. And now we all know why. By Michael Arceneaux for NBCnews.com

Janet Jackson performs at the Essence Festival in New Orleans on July 8, 2018.Amy Harris / AP file

Disgraced former CBS chairman Les Moonves derailed the career of a music icon in a fit of pique. But now that he's out, she's in.

-------- Janet Jackson performs in New York in 1990. Kevin Mazur / WireImage

After that came the innovative "janet.," which celebrated its 25th anniversary this year, and "The Velvet Rope." Very few artists can claim to have four albums arguably considered classics, and anyone who can remember the days in which Janet Jackson at the peak of her career, it should be understandable why even a fan and fellow artist like Questlove might still feel a way about a legend of her stature needing three attempts to receive an honor that is so long overdue.

There’s something about Janet Jackson finally being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame more than a decade after eligibility that manages to both be exciting and enraging. Earlier this year — when the pop icon was nominated for a third time — Questlove said her long-time exclusion was “highly criminal.” The Roots band member cited her breakout album, "Control," which he said spawned New Jack Swing. “Not to take away from her peers in the RRHOF that made marks in the 80s. But half of them can NOT claim they changed music,” he wrote on Instagram. You could say the same about its hugely influential and highly successful follow up, "Rhythm Nation 1814." Among its bevy of hit singles include “Black Cat,” which netted Jackson a Grammy nomination for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance. (And, for those foolish enough to argue against her inclusion in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on the basis of genre, Janet Jackson has Grammy Award nominations spanning no less than five different genres: Pop, Rock, Dance, Rap and R&B.)

Though I understand the sentiment, I want everyone to stop categorizing Janet Jackson as “underrated.” An artist who can boast of — twice — being the recipient of the biggest recording contract in history at the time during an era in which Michael Jackson and Madonna were her contemporaries, no less, was given her due, and suggesting that she's underrated takes away from that accomplishment.

This issue today is not whether her influence on music and pop culture was recognized at the time of her most prolific period, but why her star declined so precipitously following the “Nipplegate” controversy at her 2004 Super Bowl performance with the essentially unaffected Justin Timberlake. And the answer, as we know in 2018, is that, no matter how impactful you might be as a woman and a person of color, if a powerful white man finds you distasteful, he will do his damndest to diminish you and your legacy. The Huffington Post reported in September that disgraced former CEO and chairman of CBS Les Moonves developed a “fixation” on the singer after the Superbowl, believing both that Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” was an intentional move by her and Timberlake and that Jackson did not sufficiently abase herself in her personal apology to him.

------- Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake perform during the halftime show at Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston in 2004. Donald Miralle / Getty Images file

So, he allegedly barred her from performing at the 2004 Grammys; he ordered VH1 and MTV to stop playing her videos; he forbade Viacom-owned radio stations from playing her music. His vendetta was so unwavering that, seven years later, when Jackson signed a book deal with Simon & Schuster — owned by Viacom — to publish "True You: A Journey to Finding and Loving Yourself," he refused to let go of his beef,reportedly saying “heads with roll” over the release of the book.

There can be no overstating the level of damage Moonves did to Jackson’s career after 2004, nor the way the music industry treated her as a result of his vindictiveness. Janet Jackson has been enjoying a resurgence this year by way of various award show honors, a return to late night television, a successful tour, anniversaries of her landmark projects, and now finally, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction — since Moonves' influence has waned in the wake of his exposure as an alleged serial sexual harasser. However, Jackson became eligible for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007, but wasn't even nominated until 2016 and (again) her induction required three attempts despite being one of the most influential artists ever. (By contrast, Madonna was inducted in 2008.) Snubs happen, but this always felt too intentional for comfort. So yes, I am glad Janet Jackson is getting her due, but I remain pissed all the same that the artist who played Justice in 1993's "Poetic Justice" couldn’t get any of it until 2018. Pissed because a credible accused predator was able to wield so much power over her and our culture despite what we all know is his inability to do the butterfly, rock dookie braids or deliver hit after hit after hit. Pissed because one has to wonder if any female music icon could be similarly disposed of in fits of white male pique, especially if they are Black. And just like we now know the answer to why it took so long to recognize Janet Jackson's role in our culture, I suspect we all know that, even in 2018, the answer to the larger question is… probably. Michael Arceneaux is the author of the book "I Can't Date Jesus" (July 2018, Atria Books).



Audio Sunglasses

SUNGLASSES. WITH A SOUNDTRACK. Our debut sunglasses collection features two classic silhouettes with built-in Bose speakers for an immersive audio experience unlike any other.


BOSE FRAMES Audio Sunglasses

SOUND FOR YOU. AND ONLY YOU. You hear rich, immersive sound, while others hear practically nothing. Exclusive technologies and custom speakers direct sound at you and away from others. ULTRAMODERN MATERIALS Metal hinges. Nylon rims. Lenses that won’t easily scratch or shatter. Bose Frames are forged from materials as modern as their concept. They’re meticulously molded for comfort and built to last.

Bose Frames Are Augmented Reality Audio Sunglasses By Matthew Humphries for pcmag.com

Bose is set to release a sunglasses collection with each pair having Bose speakers built-in for music playback and a microphone so you can make calls hands and earfree. Virtual assistants, 9-axis head tracking, and up to 12 hours of battery life are also promised. We're still a way off from augmented reality devices being an every day part of our lives, but Bose's new sunglasses are a subtle step towards that reality. Bose Frames are sunglasses, but they're also a wearable audio device. Embedded in each arm of the glasses is a Bose speaker, and near the temple on the right arm is a microphone and multi-function button. The speakers are pointed backwards allowing them to fire audio into your ears without the need for earbuds. Bose classes Frames as the world's first "audio augmented reality platform." In reality, Bose just combined headphones and glasses, but also unlocked a few smart features in the process. As well as streaming music and allowing you to take calls hands and ears-free, a nine-axis head motion sensor is linked to your Android or iOS handset allowing your location and what direction you're looking at to be tracked using the Bose Connect app. Although Frames don't visually show you anything, they do allow for virtual assistants to be called upon, points of interest to be highlighted, and directions given without needing to pull out your phone to look at a map. They're also pretty good sunglasses, blocking up to 99 percent of UVA and UVB rays. Bose Frames will cost $199 when they become available in January. For that you get either Alto or Rondo frame designs, which are shatter and scratch resistant while only weighing 45 grams. The rechargeable battery lasts 3.5 hours when listening to audio continuously, or up to 12 hours on standby. Recharging takes two hours using a pogo-pin cable.

MIRROR, MIRROR The most important part of Bose Frames is how you feel when you wear them. Visit a store to try them on and experience their revolutionary audio first-hand. You can even take them home. Pick a pair online or in store and wear them for 30 days in the wild. If you decide they’re not for you, just send them back. Bose Frames will be available in stores in January, 2019.

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You Can Make a Huge Difference in Someone's Career By Doing This Simple Thing

He’d be a tough professor. At

least, that’s what I thought when I walked into “Reporting,” the first and most fundamental course of my journalism school program, and was thoroughly intimidated. But it turned out that he was also far kinder than he let on—and as my teacher and later unofficial mentor, he taught me too many things to list right here.

In one of the most memorable conversations we had in his little office on the eighth floor, he asked me what I wanted to do and where I imagined myself a few years down the line. I started to answer—talking about deep dive reporting and narrative feature writing—as he listened intently. And then he asked if I was thinking about leadership roles. He encouraged me to consider it, not-so-subtly pushing me to think of it as a real possibility—one he believed I was capable of. It’s not that I hadn’t already set ambitious goals for myself. But I was entering a new field that was and remains not only competitive, but also embroiled in an existential struggle (the kind where people ask out loud whether you’ll ever be able to get a good—and decently paying—job). To hear this from someone I respected, whose opinion I held in such high regard, was huge.

Inspire People to Think Bigger This memory sprang to mind recently when I read a blog post by Tyler Cowen, an economics professor at George Mason University. “At critical moments in time, you can raise the aspirations of other people significantly, especially when they are relatively young, simply by suggesting they do something better or more ambitious than what they might have in mind,” Cowen writes. “It costs you relatively little to do this, but the benefit to them, and to the broader world, may be enormous.” Looking back, I believe my professor, like Cowen, was making a deliberate point. He was telling me he saw potential that I wasn’t confident enough to acknowledge, let alone own. The conversation didn’t make me immediately and irrevocably fearless, and I didn’t become an editor-in-chief the next day, or even a few years later, as a result of it. But I’ve thought back to that talk frequently—often at moments when I wondered if I was on the right path or whether I’d ever be able to reach the goals I’d set out for myself. And it’s always been comforting and fiercely motivating to remember that teacher’s faith in me and my future. Pay it Forward I hope to be able to do the same for someone else one day, and you should too. You can raise the aspirations of younger co-workers and professional contacts you think are talented and hardworking and who you imagine will do great things, perhaps even greater than they currently have in mind. While it’s especially wonderful if you can offer them a concrete step up, all you really have to do is give them a vote of confidence and lift their sights a little higher. It’s no sweat on your part, and it’ll probably feel pretty great. Most importantly, it could make a huge difference in their career. And maybe at some point, they’ll pay it forward, too.

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Two Howard University Alumni Open Boutique Hotel “The Moor” In New Orleans Written by Imani Pope-Johns for newsroom.howard.edu

In an effort to become a thriving, young, Black-owned boutique hotel management company, Howard University alumni Damon Lawrence and Marcus Carey, launched Homage Hospitality Group in 2016. After years of development, the duo has opened “The Moor,” their first boutique hotel, or what they prefer to call “home,” in New Orleans. Their website, www.stayhomage.com, allows for direct booking. The Moor is expressed as an immaculate space, paying homage to the pioneers, and highlighting pivotal moments that mold Black culture. It is the first Homage Hausotel, also known as a boutique home, which differentiates itself from a hotel and a bed and breakfast. The Moor, launched on July 1, 2018, was developed on the property of a Spanish-colonial home built in 1921. It is a brand new fourunit hausotel (hotel) with an African and Moroccan vibe in the Mid-city District of New Orleans on the historic Canal Street. Each of the four units feature living spaces, bedrooms, and kitchenettes. The design direction and property architecture are inspired by the Moors of North Africa’s influence around the world, and pays homage to the melting pot heritage of New Orleans, one of America’s truly global cities. Each new Homage property location will be designed as boutique homes with hotel accents and event programming capabilities, that help travelers get to know the communities they’re within.

Their inspiration to develop such a business stemmed from experiencing the diversity and entrepreneur-driven energy of Howard University. “After transferring from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette to Howard University at the end of my sophomore year, I was amazed at the diversity within the diaspora. I didn’t realize the need to celebrate, not only what brings us all together, but even what separates us culturally as well. In fact, each Homage property will pay reverence to the locale in which it’s situated. No detail will go unnoticed in providing guests with an experience that highlights the best of our culture from city to city," says Lawrence. Carey, who dreamt of becoming an entrepreneur, launched his career by working with institutional venture capital and private equity firms and helping global teams assess investment decisions. He earned his bachelor’s in business

administration with a focus on finance. He says he was influenced by the culture of Howard, while also inspired and trained to understand business markets driven by culture. Carey joined Lawrence to launch Homage Hospitality Group in 2016, after crossing paths in Oakland, Calif. As a consummate problem solver, he leads their business strategy and fundraising efforts and currently resides in Oakland, where the flagship and second location, The Town Hotel, will open in 2019. As for their first opening, The Moor, Carey believes this and other locations will help guests feel immersed in the “the dynamism of our people." Lawrence expressed that Homage Hospitality Group will help in developing the community within and outside of their locations, with travelers and locals, as they grow as a Black hospitality business.

“It is important to create a space for travelers that is authentic to the locale of the neighborhood our hotels represent,” says Lawrence. “In order to do that, it requires that locals feel welcome and included in the process of building our brand. Our properties are safe spaces that both our neighbors and out-of-towners can enjoy together. Our form of hospitality is no different than the love, appreciation and gratitude felt during Homecoming at Howard. That form of hospitality is inherently ours as African Americans and now it’s time to be highlighted on a large scale and we’re making room for that to happen.” The two alumni are excited to secure bookings at www.stayhomage.com.

The Best Workout Moves to Build Strong Knees by Marjorie Korn for mensjournal.com.

Bulletproof Your Knees Justin Steele

The knee. is brilliantly designed yet vulnerable. It’s a hinge joint. protected by cartilage and activated with muscles, tendons, and ligaments—all of which let you do things like lift hundreds of pounds, sprint hard and stop on a dime, and brace in a squat as you ski. Like all great architecture, it can deteriorate over time. But there are ways to fortify it. “You need to create mobility in the muscle tissues above and below the joint,” says Adam Rosante, a certified strength and nutrition coach in New York City. “Strength in your glutes, hamstrings, and quads provides stability, while mobility relieves tension on the knee itself.”

Banded Side Walk

BEST FOR: Activating glutes; building balance. HOW TO DO IT: Position a small resistance band around thighs, just above knees. Drop into a half-squat to start. Step laterally with left foot 6 inches, then step right foot toward left for 1 rep. Do 5 reps, then switch sides. Repeat 4 times.

Goblet Squat

BEST FOR: Strengthening glutes and quads; practicing proper squat position. HOW TO DO IT: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding a kettlebell (or a dumbbell) beneath chin to start. Keeping chest tall and body weight in heels, sit hips back and down until thighs are at or below parallel, then explode up for 1 rep. Do 3 sets of 12 reps.

Glute Hamstring Raises With Slow Eccentrics BEST FOR: Lengthening hamstrings for injury prevention. HOW TO DO IT: Kneel on a pad while partner holds ankles (or use a loaded barbell under ankles to anchor). Cross arms in front of chest to start, and slowly lower torso to ground, catching yourself with your hands, for 1 rep. Press through palms to return to start. Do 10 reps.

‘Green Book' Is A Poorly Titled White Savior Film’

When will Hollywood stop centering white people in Black stories? If the much-lauded Peter Farrelly film 'Green Book' is any indication, no time soon. The film supposedly gets its title from The Negro Motorist Green Book, an iconic Black travel guide published from 1936-1966 by Victor Hugo Green and his wife Alma Green. Green was a well-connected Black mailman whose Green Book documented restaurants, hotels, gas stations and more that Black travelers and vacationers could safely use while traveling throughout the country -- from the segregated Jim Crow South to his hometown in New York City. The north was no safe space for Black people and Green and his book show that. "Carry your Green Book with you—You may need it,” the cover of the book urged its readers. And carry it they did. Just not in this ahistorical film.

Green Books Deserved Better In Farrelly's Green Book, Black people don't even touch the Green Book, let alone talk about its vital importance to their lives. Instead, the film centers the story of a racist white man who makes an unlikely Black friend on a journey through the American south and becomes slightly less racist. In this reverse-Driving Miss Daisy film, Viggo Mortensen stars as Tony Lip, an Italian American bouncer hired to drive and protect Mahershala Ali's queer, Jamaican-American classical pianist Dr. Don Shirley on a concert tour from Manhattan down to the deep south. The first mention of the Negro Motorist Green Book in the film is when a white representative from Dr. Shirley's record company pulls Lip aside to hand him a copy and explain that Lip will need it to know where he can safely take Dr. Shirley on this trip down south.

"Three years ago when we started writing this thing, no one knew about it --not no one, obviously, but nobody I knew," Farrelly told Shadow and Act about why he chose to title his movie Green Book. "White people didn't know about it, I didn't know about it, and most of the Black people that I spoke with didn't know about," he said. And you still won't know about it after watching this movie, because the Green Book, much like the film, only exists as a prop to enhance white understanding of white racism and white privilege in this country. But that understanding is limited because this story is told from Tony Lip's perspective. And, again, Tony Lip is a racist. We see how racist Lip is as he lets anti-Black pejoratives like "eggplant" hang from his lips as easily as the cigarettes he chainsmokes. When two Black service workers enter his home

and drink beverages from glasses Lip's wife offered to them, Lip promptly takes their empty glasses out of the sink and throws them in the garbage can so no one in his home will have to use the same glass Black people used once. Because the bar for a racist's growth is beneath the floor, the audience is meant to use this scene as a benchmark to tell how far he's come by the end of the film when he and Dr. Shirley become lifelong friends. But a racist's relationship with individual Black people is not the same as being anti-racist. Ask Sally Hemmings. So, Lip's racism must also be the lens through which we view the details of this story, as well. Though the Green Book he shuffles through for Dr. Shirley promises comfortable hotels, through Lip's eyes, the motels he finds are not cozy homes away from home but rundown slums crawling with stray cats and dice-shooting Black people. Lip even remarks to himself that the Green Book is essentially offering false advertising to its desperate consumers.

On a press call about the Negro Motorist Green Book with Maira Liriano, Associate Chief Librarian of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture--which holds the largest collection of Green Books in the country--Liriano strongly disputed this characterization to Shadow and Act: "I’ve never heard that, in the years that I’ve been working with researchers and scholars studying the Green Books, I’ve not encountered ‘false advertising’ within the Green Books. So I don’t think that was very accurate," Liriano says. "I'm not saying every single place was wonderful and fabulous that was listed in the Green Books, but I feel like they don't do it justice (in the film).” Mahershala Ali deserved better But while the real Green Books don't match their depiction in this film and the title doesn't match the premise of the film, the movie poster most certainly is accurate. Mortensen is front

and center on the poster and Green Book is his star vehicle. The brilliant Ali (and, therefore, Dr. Shirley) literally and figuratively takes a back seat. The film opens with Mortensen nailing the stereotypical New York Italian accent and spends several minutes unfolding his white working-class enclave through his eyes. At the Copacabana where he works, we see his streetsmart hustling and tough-guy persona, which is softened only by his loving interactions with his wife and kids back at home. After an uncomfortably long absence, Ali enters the picture about 20 minutes in and is dazzling. We see him as Dr. Shirley in his palatial (for Manhattan) apartment above Carnegie Hall (!!!!), dressed like a king, surrounded by precious stones, statues and trinkets from around the globe (gifts! from his friends!) and sitting on a literal throne.

Through Google--not through this movie--I learned that the musical prodigy Dr. Shirley created his own genre of music. "He often melded American and European traditions by embedding a well-known melody within a traditional classical structure," the New York Times wrote in its 2013 obituary of this unsung icon. Imagine having a queer Black protagonist in the '60s, a literal prodigy, living lavishly above the actual performance hall of the most iconic prodigies, who has his own throne room, and choosing to tell the story of his life from the racist white guy's perspective. Oh, what Ali could've done with a Dr. Shirley movie! "I wrote with Nick Vallelonga, and at the beginning we talked like, 'Which side do we tell this from?'" Director Farrelly told Shadow and Act about why he chose to tell the story from the racist white guy's perspective. "But we had way more audio tapes of Tony Lip telling his story," Farrelly said, including that Vallelonga had also met Dr. Shirley and could provide the additional information needed to tell this story. "It seemed like the natural way to tell it was from Tony Lip's side."

Oh. So, instead, we get mere glimpses of who the world-class Black pianist with three doctorates was, as the story quickly pivots back to Lip, who has been invited to Dr. Shirley's home to interview for the driver position. Lip is desperate for money for his family after the Copacabana has been shut down for repairs, and though the 8-week / $125-per-week job is tempting, Lip makes it clear he's not going to be a Black man's butler for any price. Dr. Shirley will have to handle his own bags, though if anybody needs roughing up, Lip is happy to oblige. The racist gets the job. Dr. Shirley deserved better I keep circling back to Lip's racism because it baffles me that in 2018 Hollywood is still in the business of not only humanizing racists but letting racists like Lip tell stories about Black people. Because Green Book is not just about Dr. Shirley through Lip's eyes. It's also about the everyday, non-prodigy Black people that Lip and Dr. Shirley encounter on their journey.

When the odd couple hit the deep south and pull over the car to the side of the road, Black sharecroppers stop their toiling to stare at the finely dressed Dr. Shirley in his fancy Cadillac, being chauffeured by a white man. What are they thinking when they look at him as the camera holds on their tired faces? They don't actually speak, so we'll never know. But considering the "hopeful" tone that always accompanies a film where a white racist befriends a Black person but does nothing to help end structural racism, I'd speculate that Farrelly sought to convey two points with this scene. First, aspirational Black pride. Look at the rich Black man doing well! One day this could be us! Second, that Dr. Shirley is a special kind of Black person. He is without doubt quite different from these Black sharecroppers, as well as the Black bellboys and valets who stand outside and shoot craps while Dr. Shirley performs for rich white audiences. Lip, on the other hand, is closer to Black people--and Black culture--than Dr. Shirley could ever be, Lip suggests. Lip, who has a sixth grade education, shoots craps--and wins!--with the Black workers. More than once, Lip lectures Dr. Shirley on his lack of interaction with mainstream Black

culture, chastising him for not knowing who Little Richard is and not eating fried chicken like his people. Lip's simplistic understanding of Blackness is played for laughs; he's a harmless racist who simply doesn't know any better, lol! "I'm Blacker than you!" Lip declares, sans irony, not long before he sleeps comfortably in his whites-only hotel. Dr. Shirley, on the other hand, sits outside of his room at his rundown motel, separate from the other Black guests. There are no other Black vacationers or Black musicians on tour, or any kind of Black person other than the very poor and the very poorly mannered. Instead of community, at the Green Book-advertised motel, Dr. Shirley finds contempt as he posts up in his silk robe, sipping whiskey, and refusing to indulge his neighbors in their game. He's not like the rest of the Blacks, see? Instead of engaging his Black neighbors, Dr. Shirley sneaks away to the local YMCA where he hooks up with a gay white man. Instead of drinking in a Black establishment where he's welcomed, he sneaks into a whites-only bar for a drink. His mission is to tour the south to "change people's hearts" (I can't help but think of Langston Hughes here: "They'll see how beautiful I am and be ashamed.").

It's Lip who convinces Dr. Shirley to embrace other Black people, to eat fried chicken, to listen to Black music, to play the piano in a Black bar. In one of his final acts of white saviorism, Lip puts an arm of protection in front of Dr. Shirley before shooting a gun into the air to scare away the Black people that he's intuited are trying to break into Dr. Shirley's car. It's Lip who must teach Dr. Shirley not to count his money in a public place or Black people will try to rob him. It's Lip who gets Dr. Shirley out of handcuffs when Dr. Shirley's arrested for engaging in sexual activity with the white man at the YMCA. It's Lip who stops racist white men with guns from killing Dr. Shirley at that whites-only bar. It's Lip who

must tell Dr. Shirley never to go out alone in the south without Lip there to protect him. "Don Shirley goes down south because he chooses to go," Ali tells Shadow and Act about why he doesn't view this film as a white savior film. "He hires (Tony Lip) as a choice," he says, "So he's not really in need of Tony Lip in the way in which we may think of needing that character, usually." And yet, we don't see Dr. Shirley's story in Green Book without Lip's lens. Without Lip, there is literally no movie. And perhaps that would've been best.

Designed for Fit. Loved for Style.

Spring Summer 2019 Collection

Designer: Joseph Green of Kourageaux Instagram: @kourageaux Website: www.kourageaux.com Photographer: Josiah Mendoza Instagram: @josiahmendoza_ Models: Caleb Edmond, Trevor Erickson, Christian Brown, Ron Haynes

Barber: Ron Haynes Instagram: @weeezzzkutz

Stylist: Johnathon Patton



Sometimes alcohol and weed aren't the answer. Name: Yolo Akili Robinson Mental Health Advocate and Wellness Expert, Founder Executive Director of BEAM (Black Emotional and Mental Health) “Men are often taught, or encouraged, not to express our feelings.

But what happens when you bury your emotions? It bottles up and becomes explosive. We end up hurting people—usually the ones we love and ourselves. During my work, I hear so many men say, ‘I don’t want to repeat my father’s mistakes.’ But it’s not so easy to be different. You need the tools. You need guidance. You have to work to break patterns. Therapy gives you the tools to do it. Ironically, oppressors are the ones who teach men of color about their masculinity; it was white men who said Black men are beasts. Racism has taught us that we cannot be the full spectrum of masculinity. Being a man is all things. Tough and weak. Anytime is a great time to get into the habit of addressing issues, and taking care of your mental health. Here are a few reasons that I suggest men seek short-term therapy or counseling.”

Stuck in a Pattern. “I had a client who said, ‘Black women are crazy. They’re always throwing bricks at my car and slashing my tires.’ I told him to take a look at himself. If you always have the same experience, whether it’s in romantic relationships, jobs, or friendships, over time you have to figure out how you’re contributing to the situation. You are the co-creator of every circumstance. Therapy will help you see how.”

Focused on the Choices of Others. “If you find yourself always talking about what other folks are doing and judging them, or blaming a second party for your plight, you likely have trouble with personal accountability. It’s called deflecting and it’s a defense mechanism that prevents you from looking at your own poor decisions and working towards change.”

You’ve Been Unfairly Stopped and Frisked, or Arrested—or Fear it Happening. “Society has normalized the systemic harassment of Black and Latinx men. Living within a culture that constantly dehumanizes you is hurtful. Your life is on the line every time you interact with the police. But men rarely talk about it. When we don’t get those thoughts and feelings out of our heads they are internalized and show up in other places, like how we deal with our romantic partners and children.”

You Took an ‘L’ in Love. “Men get hurt in relationships—we can’t just dismiss it. Since we don’t create spaces for men to bounce back, a lot of us end up checking out on love. We sleep a lot. Drink and smoke a lot. Overeat. Become cold-hearted to our significant other. The fear of being hurt robs us from other experiences. Counseling is a place to help work that out.”

You Have a Child Outside of Your Home. “Guys have their own version of that ‘happily ever after’ too. Few men want to be out of the home when they have children, and we have to recognize that when we don’t have the interaction we desired with our kids it hurts. We want to live with our families. We want to wake up to little faces that look like ours. If you have children with an ex, and are out of the home, it’s important to process the loss. Therapy is a place to strategize about how to grapple with your feelings, new normals and handling your ex.”

Explosive Anger, Rage or Depression. “All of these emotions are connected to the

same feeling of helplessness, apathy and hurt. A lot of us grew up with older male relatives who were checked out and not present. Depression is understandable because of the context of racism, and how it affects males specifically. Even a little counseling will help you build coping strategies and pull you out of the hole.”

Our hearts are blue. So many suffer in silence; they feel no one can help. If you’re going through this, know this is not the end for you. Find your strength; keep on going; and know you are not alone. Give someone you love the chance to help.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255

Juicy J’s Investment Pays Off As Core Hydration Water Company Gets Acquired For


Three years ago rapper Juicy J made a smart money move. He invested in a water company called Core Hydration in 2015. He invested along with other celebrities such as Diplo, Katy Perry, Max Martin and Becky G. Now that investment has paid off big time. Core Nutrition Water has been acquired by corporate giant Keurig Dr. Pepper for a whopping $525 million. Juicy J posted the news on Instagram, saying the investment was “the best investment” he had ever made, according to Hot New Hip Hop. Juicy Ja is one of a number of hip-hop artists who have invested in startups. “Wholesale sales for CORE were between $70 and $80 million, according to a source close to the deal; retail sales were close to $200 million according to the brand. According to the announcement, KDP expects to realize $90 million in tax benefits in the deal,” BevNet reported. Serial beverage entrepreneur Lance Collins started CORE in 2015. He had already had success with starting brands like Fuze and Body Armor, in partnership with music producer Lukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald. Besides the celebrity backers, CORE also benefited from an early investment by L.A. Libations, which is partially owned by Coke, and retailer 7-Eleven. CORE raised nearly $40 million in 2017. Juicy J is also riding high from other good news. He teased on Instagram in Nov. that he may be joining Columbia Records. “I just wanna thank @columbiarecords for considering me for President/CEO,” he wrote. “I’m Bout to Bring something new to this Game.” “I just wanna thank @columbiarecords for considering me for President/CEO,” he wrote. “I’m Bout to Bring something new to this Game.” The Memphis-born rapper was a founding member of the Southern hip-hop crew Three 6 Mafia, formed in 1991. He is also a solo artist. He is a part-owner and A&R rep for Wiz Khalifa’s Taylor Gang Records. In 2002, Three 6 Mafia became the first hip-hop group to win an Academy Award for Best Original Song, as well as the first hip-hop group to perform at the ceremony.

A young digital media company sees an opportunity in black millennials By Molly Wood for marketplace.org

Black millennials are tech savvy, influential and spending about a $162 billion a year, according to a 2016 Nielsen study. And yet, black people are incredibly underrepresented in tech and media. Enter Blavity, a digital lifestyle brand for millennials of color. It started in 2014 and raised $6.5 million in venture funding earlier this year. Blavity's founders say its advantage is its community members who pay to attend to events, and companies will pay to interact with them. Jeff Nelson is a co-founder and chief technical officer at Blavity. Marketplace Tech’s Molly Wood met him last week at one the company's events, the AfroTech conference in San Francisco, which was born out of Blavity's tech news site. The following is an edited transcript of their conversation.

Blavity’s Morgan DeBaun and Jeff Nelson on stage at AfroTech 2018. - Courtesy of Blavity

Jeff Nelson: What's unique about our business model is this combination of digital and inperson experiences. And that allows us to have such deep engagement from our audience that other platforms just don't have. When you've just got a website, that website could be the flavor of the month or the flavor of the year, but if something new comes along, then those readers go away. For our audience, it's so much more than just the website. It's so much more than just the social channels. It's also those in-person events as well. So that combination I think really gives us a competitive advantage. Molly Wood: Tell me about the audience for Blavity. What do you want them to get out of it? Nelson: Well, so we've got a number of different verticals. Travel Noir is obviously about travel, catered toward millennials of color. AfroTech is for entrepreneurship and tech education and tech employment. We've got Blavity News, which is for general news and politics. 21Ninety, which is for women's health, beauty and empowerment. And then we have Shadow and Act, which is for films and media. The common denominator is millennials of color. But what we've been able to do is we've been able to build these vertical specific brands where people who may fit into that general category can then select and say, "Well, I'm really interested in travel, so I'm going to follow Travel Noir. And maybe I don't follow 21Ninety, or maybe I don't follow Shadow and Act, but I'm also a Blavity reader." So our audience is so huge across all those different brands, but they're so deeply engaged with at least one of our properties where many of our audience are deeply engaged with two or more of our properties as well.

Wood: Who's your competition? Nelson: We're really the only digital media platform that's really catered to millennials of color across so many different verticals. Earlier in our founding, we were commonly referred to as the black BuzzFeed. We understand our audience so well because we are our audience. We're certainly inclusive. We think that the concept that Blavity produces is certainly of interest to everyone. But what we are very intentional about is providing a platform for African-American creators and providing content that we know is going to be of interest to African-Americans because so few outlets have done that historically and so few are doing that today.

Into the Spider-Verse (again): why the world needed an African-American Spider-Man

We speak to the cast and producer of the new ‘Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse’ to find out why there’s more to this movie than its groundbreaking racial shift

From left, Peni, Spider-Gwen, Spider-Ham, Miles Morales, Peter Parker and Spider-Man Noir. Courtesy Sony Pictures Animation

You could be forgiven for not mustering much enthusiasm upon hearing there’s a new Spider-Man film about to hit cinemas. In the past two decades, three actors – Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield and now Tom Holland – have played Marvel Comics’ web-slinging superhero on screen. But for anyone suffering fatigue, animated adventure Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse might be the answer. “We were trying to take something you’re -familiar with and turn it on its head,” says producer Chris Miller. It’s something Miller and his filmmaking partner Phil Lord are more than adept at; they were behind The Lego Movie and the movie reboot of 21 Jump Street. But reinvigorating Spider-Man is a whole other matter than playing with toys or old TV shows. Lord, who co-wrote the script with Rodney Rothman, one of three directors alongside Peter Ramsey and Bob Persichetti, says they deliberately turned our over-familiarity with the Spider-Man brand into a selling point. When studio backers Sony first approached he and Miller, they resolved to “use the fact that you’ve seen a bunch of these movies as a device [and] set up a Peter Parker you think you know and then introduce Miles”. He’s referring to Spider-Verse’s leading character, Miles Morales. First introduced in the comics in 2011, Morales is an Afro-Latino adolescent who gains similar powers to SpiderMan’s alter-ego Peter Parker after being bitten by a radioactive spider. Created by Brian Michael Bendis and artist Sara Pichelli, Morales was not the first time Marvel had reinvented -Spider-Man as a non-white character. In the 1990s, Spider-Man 2099 was a -futuristic take on the character with his alter-ego the half-Mexican Miguel O’-Hara. However, while Bendis drew inspiration from former United States -President Barack Obama and actor--rapper-singer Donald Glover, it’s the first time there has been a black Spider-Man on screen.

Actor Shameik Moore. AFP

Voicing Miles is 23-year-old Shameik Moore, who made his big screen debut with 2015’s Dope. “I think there’s a new wave of ‘let’s make everything black’,” Moore admits. “But I’m happy to be part of something that was before a trend. It’s not just ‘Oh, let’s make some money off this because Black Panther did well.’” The message here is different, he adds. “Miles was created a while ago for a whole different reason. Anyone can wear the mask. And that’s the big thing in this movie.” While Miles must get used to his new powers, Miller says, “We started with this really sweet emotional story about Miles and the fact that he has parents that are alive that are trying to help him out …that felt really unique to this character.” As anyone versed in -Spider-Man’s oft-told origin story will know, Parker is an orphan raised by his Aunt May and Uncle Ben. But here, Morales has a Latino mother, a nurse called Rio, and a black father, Jefferson, a cop. “I really like the way they show the father-son aspect in this movie because … they really truly love each other,” says actor Brian Tyree Henry (Widows), who voices Jefferson. “What do you do if your child has this superpower and he’s out there, kinda risking his life? He’s so young. He doesn’t know who he is yet. It’s got a lot of heart.” So is that how he’d pitch it to viewers? “I would pitch it by saying Spider-Man’s black, so go see it!”

Still, there’s more to Spider-Verse than simply this groundbreaking racial shift. The film is a treasure trove for aficionados of the character; after the villainous Kingpin tears a hole in the fabric of spacetime, Miles encounters several other “Spideys” from alternate universes. “They all think that they’re alone until they meet each other,” says Moore. These include Spider-Gwen, in which Spider-Man’s one-time girlfriend Gwen Stacey has the powers, and Spider-Man Noir, a 1933 black-and-white detective. “Thematically, it really made sense with what we were trying to go for,” says Miller. “To say to the audience: ‘It doesn’t matter where you came from, from what walk of life, young or old, wherever you’re from, you can be a hero, and you’re not alone.” But it had the added bonus of doing something no other Spider-Man film had ever done and playing around with the mythology of the character, and his friends and foes (villain Doctor Octopus, for example, is female here). Other characters Miles meets include Japanese girl Peni Parker, who comes equipped with a mechanical robot spider-suit, and a cartoon pig called Spider- Ham / Peter Porker (a sub-Porky Pig, he even uses the classic ‘That’s all folks!’ sign off from the old Looney Tunes -cartoons). All derive from the original Marvel comics, but somehow seem perfect for Lord and Miller’s irreverent humour. “There was an Australian Spider-Man for a week,” laughs Lord. “People got pretty mad at us.” Miles Morales Marvel/Sony Pictures

Introducing such wildly different characters meant combining vastly different animation styles into one frame – from Japanese anime to 1940s Warner -Brothers cartoons, to film noir. “[We thought] can we even get away with this?” says Miller. Moreover, the film set out to truly bring the Marvel Comics style alive with a vibrant mix of CG and 2D hand-drawn animation. “There were so many groundbreaking techniques in this movie,” says Miller, “it feels like nothing you’ve ever seen before.” While all this freshness has just seen the movie nominated for Best Animated Film at the Golden Globes, at its very heart is a character that people have embraced since his creation in 1962 by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. “I think he’s relatable,” says Moore. “He’s a teen. When he first came out, the mould for Spider-Man was a little different than the Iron Mans, the Captain Americas. Those characters … I feel like the origin stories are just different. Spider-Man appeals to the coming-of-age point of life for most people.” Fans can also rest assured that Spider-Man / Peter Parker do appear in Spider- Verse (in two iterations; one even with middle-aged spread who is still hung up on now ex-wife Mary Jane Watson). But this is really all about Miles. “One of the big challenges was keeping an eye on Miles all the time…remembering it’s his story,” says Lord. Now all they have to do is keep an eye on the box office – which is likely to be huge. Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse is in cinemas.

From Left: John Mulaney (Spider-Ham), Liev Schreiber (Kingpin), Jake Johnson (Peter Parker), Shameik Moore (Miles Morales), Hailee Steinfeld (Spider-Gwen), Nicolas Cage (Spider-Man Noir) and Kimiko Glenn (Peni Parker) Courtesy of Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animations

Click Here To See The Trailer


The magic of Diana Ross has touched millions of hearts around the world. Her magnificent life and unparalleled career have influenced music, film, fashion and stage with her spirit forever woven in the fabric of humanity. 2019 will be remembered as a milestone in history with a year-long Diamond Diana Celebration, marking the 75th birthday of one of the greatest entertainers of all time. Diana Ross: Live in Central Park was originally directed by the award-winning Steve Binder, who along with Diana put together a presentation that will feature never-before-seen footage, the best of the Central Park concert and inspired, heartfelt messages from the Ross family, including sons Ross and Evan and daughters Rhonda and Chudney, with Tracee Ellis Ross delivering a passionate introduction to the presentation capturing the magnitude of the event. Diana Ross: Live in Central Park was filmed over the course of two enchanting days when nearly 1.2 million people united on the Great Lawn of Central Park to experience a once-in-a-lifetime live moment that defined a generation. The concert seen around the world showcased the trailblazing entertainer of young and old, bringing together all ethnicities and nationalities to experience the voice and heart of Diana Ross. Diana Ross: her Life, Love and Legacy is executive produced by Ms. Ross and produced by music and media producer Spencer Proffer of Meteor 17.

General Public Ticket On Sale Date: February 1, 2019

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Marvel Sanctions Official 'Black Panther' Fine Arts Collection By Adrienne Gibbs Contributor for forbes.com

As Oscars season approaches and Christmas grows closer, the marketing powers behind Marvel's Black Panther hope to tap into yet another market: fine art print aficionados and anybody who wants a nice quality movie image in their home or office. Classic Stills, the LA- and London-based publisher that had previously released a limited number of iconic and framed images from Game of Thrones, is releasing a similarly limited series of framed images from the Ryan Cooglerdirected film. Only 18 images are available, including some pictures you've already seen widely distributed in media, down to rarely-seen images and some of the film's more iconic moments. "We feel Black Panther is the perfect collection to launch at the end of 2018 given the huge impact it had this year, both at the box office and from a cultural perspective," says Rene Freling, the company's founder. "The movie broke so much new ground that we wanted to give fans an opportunity for the film to live on in their homes, and to continue providing inspiration for some of those it has impacted so positively."

Only 100 numbered copies of each print are available for purchase. But as sales from other categories of Black Panther merchandise show, nearly everything from underwear to Halloween costumes to Christmas toys are on America's hot list. So why not something for the adult movie poster collector or the fine art lover? Film art is a huge market - both physical images and the digital images collected by the mega fans who have Panther Pinterest boards several scrolls deep. These same fans love to procure movie posters on up to life-size cardboard cutouts that are often secreted away from their local movie theater. Of course earlier this year, when critics (and apparently some Hollywood executives) were surprised that the Wakanda juggernaut took home $700 million domestically and $646 million outside of the United States, it was tough to find good looking Panther merch. The kids wanted action figures and underwear right after seeing the film. Adults wanted outfits for cosplay before the film even came out. Since then, much has been made about the missed opportunity of making fans wait even 30 days for those types of items. After the world realized (again) that a black cast can create a

blockbuster, estimators said that Disney's merch haul for this film would be upwards of $250 million. That estimate at the time didn't include items sold by Disney itself or periphery items sold on sites like Etsy. As for the Marvel fine art collection, the images are selling from $125 to $495 depending upon the image you select, the size and the framing treatment. As CBS News noted earlier this year: “In a recent note to clients, Jefferies analyst Stephanie Wissink raised her estimates for Hasbro's 2018 "Black Panther" merchandise sales from $60 million to as much as $100 million because retailers are "aggressively chasing inventory.� Fast forward to now: I was even able to find Panther hats and gloves online at a major retailer for my own toddler for a Christmas stocking stuffer present. And over the Halloween season, I saw dozens of dozens of pint-sized Black Panthers and Dora Milaje asking for tricks or treats. I also have attended two kiddie parties with Panther accessories for children arguably too young to have even seen the movie to begin with.

And that's just kiddie stuff. So it stands to reason that grown folk fans will opt for something bigger and more impactful than an action figure. In particular, in some AfricanAmerican homes, Black Panther art - official art - will likely make it right up there on the wall of fame in proximity to classic portraits of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., President Barack Obama and family, Michael Jordan and Oprah. For other families, the images are not just movie pictures but they also represent the wide breadth and depth of narratives that exist surrounding Africa and her children. These images are important. Other mega movie franchises such as Star Wars are known for their collectors and the frenzy surrounding merchandise. That's nice. But I have a new prediction: As the Wakadans prep for Oscar season and a second film, it would not surprise me if these particular pictures - and other movie paraphernalia like those cardboard cutouts - create a new cult of collectors whose numbers will eventually surpass even that galaxy far, far away. And they'll have fine art to prove it. Adrienne Gibbs is a Chicago-based journalist. Follow her @adriennewrites on FB and Twitter.

ICE CUBE Talks Alt-Right, Border Wall and Kanye’s Love of Trump “It was a weak attempt to scare people,” the Everythang’s Corrupt rapper says of the Charlottesville neo-Nazis By Kory Grow for rollingstone.com

Last year, as people stormed the streets of Charlottesville with tiki torches as a

symbol of white pride, Ice Cube didn’t flinch. “It was a weak attempt to scare people,” he says. “It’s just a very weak attempt to make people feel like something was about to happen, or that this movement was out there ready to take over. It just reminded me of some Nazi, Ku Klux Klan stuff, so I wasn’t feeling it. I wanted to take their tiki torches and … you know what with them.” The ever-outspoken rapper, actor and producer wrote about his contempt for the alt-right on “Chase Down the Bully,” a foot-stomping, funky call to arms on his new album, Everythang’s Corrupt. “I just hate bullies, man,” the 49-year-old says in a tone that lets you know he’s had it. “It’s time for the good people to take over. We’re not running from nothing. Bring it on.” It’s one of many current events he addresses on the long-in-the-works LP, which also includes tracks like “Arrest the President,” “Good Cop, Bad Cop” and, of course, “Everythang’s Corrupt” — a track he released in 2012 with a video that skewered then-presidential hopeful Mitt Romney. “I think people would beg for Mitt Romney right now to be the Republican president over Donald Trump,” Cube says. “If we had to go Republican, I think they would want somebody who’s not so selfish.” Although the album isn’t entirely political — lead single “That New Funkadelic” is his bid at George Clinton’s throne and “Ain’t Got No Haters” is a reunion with “It Was a Good Day” producer DJ Pooh and his pal Too $hort — Cube doesn’t hold back. And even though a lot has changed in the political climate since he conceived the title, Everythang’s Corrupt, he tells Rolling Stone it resonates even stronger with him today when he thinks about what’s going on in the world at large. “I know there’s controversy on the record, but remember everybody is talked about on the record,” he says. “Nobody’s exempt on the Ice Cube record, ’cause I think we all pencils that need to be sharpened every now and then.

Why do you think the alt-right feels emboldened to do things like hold marches? I guess it’s the Internet. When you sit behind your little computer, you can be anything you want to be. But then you realize when you’re just sitting behind a computer spewing venom, you’re a coward. So that starts to eat at you and you feel like, “I got to do something to show that I’m just not a coward in the shadows with these views, but I’m bold enough to step out in front of the public with it.” And these people feel empowered by the tailwinds of the president’s attitude. So they come out and they show they ugly face. It seems like the media has been paying more attention to the alt-right, too. And maybe they shouldn’t so much because it just gives them a platform. Well, you can’t ignore cockroaches, you know what I’m saying? [Laughs] You got to do something about it or it’s going to just crawl in the corner and more are going to come out. Now that’s just an analogy, but at the end of the day, when people are totally against what you believe in, there’s no way you can see eye to eye. They want us to go backwards and we’re not going back. Another thing you addressed in “Chase Down the Bully” is Trump’s border wall. What do you make of that? It’s dumb. It’s a waste of money. It’s kind of pathetic. It’s sad when you got to put up a fence around your house. Some people feel like they need it, but all you’re really doing is closing yourself off to the world. Walls, all they do is build division. [Pauses]. I don’t think he’s going to get it. He’s running out of time to get that done. A year from now, he’s going to feel like a lame duck. You went hard on Trump on “Arrest the President,” saying he’s “Russian intelligence” and treats the White House like a trap house. What was the tipping point that made you feel like you had to write that song? I wrote it after the summer. It just fit the mood and the feel of Everythang’s Corrupt, and [corruption] starts at the top. I’m not saying it wasn’t corruption before President Trump got there, but people are going to jail. People getting indicted. Don’t tell me that it’s a “witch hunt”; that’s just not true. So something ain’t right. And that ain’t me hating. That’s just me observing.

“When you’re just sitting behind a computer spewing venom, you’re a coward.”

Do you think Trump will be locked up? I don’t think the president is going to jail. I just don’t think the country can stomach that embarrassment. There’s going to be some provision or something nobody knew about that they pull out they ass that says we can’t lock him up. But all these other people getting locked up, and that’s just a shame. The buck stops with the president. And I’m not hating on the man. I just don’t think he’s president material. It’s very embarrassing. He’s violating the country in a lot of ways. Every day it’s something. It’s just every day. Kanye West sat down with Trump in the Oval Office this year. What would you say to Trump if you had that chance? I don’t think I would. Why should I do him a favor and tell him what’s wrong? He probably already know. He probably don’t care, so it’s a waste of my time. What do you make of Kanye’s support of Trump? It’s a free country. To me, it’s misguided, but it’s a free country. Sometimes you got to let people have their political views. I don’t know if you should measure yourself on being friends or not friends with people who’ve got different political views than you. I think that’s a little childish. Somebody don’t believe the way you believe, he ain’t my friend. Come on. I feel like [with Kanye] It’s misguided support, but to each his own. I ain’t hating on nobody or mad at nobody. I don’t understand it, and I’m not feeling it.

Everybody’s got an uncle they don’t agree with. You can’t throw him away just because you don’t agree with him. That ain’t cool. That ain’t how it work. What inspired the song “Bad Dope” on the record? Just seeing so many people getting on pills and seeing people on all these super hard drugs from crack to meth. I’m like, these drugs are fucking you up, and I’m saying, “Yo, I could compare myself to that and people will understand what I’m talking about,” like I’m a bad drug about to fuck you up. So I approached the song like it was a bad trip, like you got a bad batch of dope and it’s fucking you up and the song sounds fucked up. Something about that song and the one after it, “On Them Pills,” also got me thinking about what Dave Chappelle said about the opioid epidemic, too. He said the White House is treating opioids differently than the Reagan Administration did with the crack epidemic was because of race. That’s probably true. I don’t doubt it. We can’t be shocked when white people are treated better than black people in America. We can’t be like, “Oh, what’s this about? Wonder what’s going on behind this? Hmm?” It’s like, come on, y’all. Stop bullshitting. We know why it’s like that. We already know the diagnosis, let’s cure the disease. We know it’s there. And nobody wants to do that part.

“A year from now, [Trump’s] going to feel like a lame duck.”

Even if you think everything is corrupt, you still want to fix it. Yeah, and the first thing is to recognize your house is dirty, and you’re like, “I better clean up, or I’m gonna be a hoarder.” [Laughs]. I gotta recognize that shit is getting out of hand. It’s just gonna get more out of hand. So hopefully [the record] is shaking people and waking them up, saying, “Hey, hey, hey, this ain’t how it’s supposed to go. Let’s go figure this out.” Since you’ve been working on this album since at least 2012, how did it change over the years? I got a lot of records that didn’t make it for whatever reason. Some of them were dated. Some records stood the test of time. It was a process of finding the time and really saying, “Yo, this is my time to work on the record,” and then letting myself become inspired. You got to hold your water a little bit until these concepts and lyrics organically come to you, and then you go to work. So I had to pick up the record and put it down because of Straight Outta Compton, the movie, and because of [the rapper’s basketball organization] the Big3. I didn’t want to cheat the record. At the end of the day, these are the records to me that represents Everythang’s Corrupt. I probably still have great records that I didn’t put on here, but those records don’t represent the concept of the album.

Did you try to challenge yourself or try anything different on this one? Not really. No? I wanted it to be in my wheelhouse. The only thing I did that was very experimental is “That New Funkadelic.” That’s me trying to recreate what Funkadelic was to me. It was experimental, but it was very fun. How did that come together? We started the track from scratch. My man, T-Mix, made the music. There’s no samples in there. To me, it’s just a perfect remake of what that was, but up to date for now and talking about the West Coast, because P-Funk went to G-Funk, and that whole marriage is already great and welcomed. Have you sent it to George Clinton yet? He loved it. He just sent me a video of him listening to it, going off, talking shit and just loving the song, that we got the DNA. That’s all I wanted to hear. That’s all I needed to hear. Rap has changed a lot since 2010, when you put out your last album, I Am the West. Did you concern yourself much with what had been going on? No, because I think that that was the issue with I Am the West: I was trying to be super experimental, and that’s good to a certain extent. On this record, I wasn’t worried about nothing else but Ice Cube fans and to give them exactly what they expect from me. I approached the record with the thought that I’m going to just do records that I know I can do great. It might not be the ones they play on the radio, but it’s the ones my fans are going to love.

Now that the record is out, what are you working on next? I’m trying to buy 22 regional sports networks. That’s all my head is about. I believe that some of the gatekeepers that’s been holding the reins in sports over us for so long need to go. It’s time for some new blood to produce and present sports and culture, not only to America but the world. It’s time for new people that think in a new and different way have some control over what we see and what we get because the way the [regional sports networks] are being run now is pretty dismal. I think the sports world should hope that we get it. What do you want to do differently with them? Just add some life to it. We don’t wanna give away the secret sauce, but we have a plan that’s 10 times better than any plan that’s out there. ‘Cause nobody sees this and the growth potential like us, period. Nobody.

“It’s very embarrassing. I feel like [Trump’s] violating the country in a lot of ways.” How’s the new Friday movie coming along? It moves fast and then it slows down for business reasons, but we gonna get there. This is something I’m dedicated to making sure it happens, because the fans want it so much. So as entertainers, it’s your job to at least give the people what they want sometimes.

I read that you had asked Chris Tucker to be in it but you haven’t heard back yet. Me and Chris, we hit each other all the time. We see each other every now and then. We very cool with each other. It’s still that everybody gotta do what’s right for them in their career. So when it’s time to shoot the movie, I hope he’s ready. Is DJ Pooh, who co-wrote the original Friday, helping out with this one? Yeah, he’s helping me write it. We just got the Celebrity Deathmatch show, too, so I’m definitely having him help me with that. He’s a super creative dude. He’s a genius. Just underrated. He produced “Ain’t Got No Haters” on the new album, too. With him, we can work through telepathy and it’ll come out dope. He produced “It Was a Good Day.” When we got our heads in the right place, good stuff happens. This year marked the 30th anniversary of the Straight Outta Compton album. What strikes you about it when you listen to it now? We listened to it a lot when we were producing the movie, and it holds up. I still don’t like “Something 2 Dance 2”; I still wish that record never saw the light of day. And I wish we would’ve used the original “Dopeman” and not the remix on the record. I still have the same things I would do to make it better than what it is, even though I think it’s a pretty perfect record. So I still love it. The first three tracks … the first four tracks, you just done. You gotta be hooked. Getting back to Everythang’s Corrupt and how bleak some of it is, where do you find hope these days? In the spirit of good people. I still think there’s way more good people in the world than bad people. The good people just care if they get in trouble. The bad people don’t. There’s so many good people, we’d be crazy to let these few evil, Omen, Damien kind of geniuses walk around and blow us all up.

How to Win!

Do you remember the first time you won anything? Do you remember what winning feels like? You probably can better remember what losing feels like. Losing a relationship through death or breaking up, losing money by gambling, depreciation or literally losing it by falling out of your pocket, losing a job, losing control (addiction or anger), losing a game, or any other loss. There is no shortage of losses being promoted! We are reminded not to be arrogant enough to think that we should win and if we lose we are taught it’s ok! So by now you are probably wondering if this article is about winning or losing.. It’s about you defining winning and not allowing yourself to lose. If you want to move to Hollywood, you are reminded that only “very few” people make it as an actor in Hollywood, so don’t expect to get a real opportunity. Well why can’t you be one of the “very few”? I want to submit only 1 thought for you to digest, which is; You are limited because of what you believe is possible for yourself.

Winning and losing is a byproduct of variables and factors some of which you can influence, but some things you can’t control. This is not to absolve you from your effort but it is to acknowledge that if you want to set your sights on a goal and apply some level of practicality then the deciding factor will be what you believe. How can you get to your goal? How bad do you want that goal? I am shocked when I rendezvous with an associate at the gym or in the grocery store and am asked “what are you up to?” (as if someone would ask Warren Buffett if he still invests) it is so uncommon for anyone to attain a goal that every year a person’s expectation of your perseverance is reset. In other words when a person hears you talk about writing a book, starting a business or any other endeavor.. family, outsiders and friends alike have a mental stopwatch that is set for an expiration date and if you don’t succeed by that date then it is over! How can a person who has made up their mind to win, lose? You would have to be constantly persuaded it’s ok to lose. You would have to be distracted by TV, sports, unfruitful relationships, and unrelated projects to lose. You would have to choose to lose, at some point you would reevaluate and look at winning and once the gravity of how much it costs, you would have to believe that not winning is better. There is no magic wand or short cuts but once you decide to win, and remove other alternatives (the runner up prizes) disguised as winning then you will have what you constantly talk, think and expect. Make no mistake about it, you can not trick yourself to believe and I’m not advocating pretending. I want you to take a few minutes to ask yourself what do you want and what are you willing to do to get it. Then remove everything else that would slow you down from getting what you want and refuse to believe that you can’t have it. One day you will realize that until you sacrifice and take risks to win, then you really do want to win, you want to be comfortable! Bryan Glenn is an entrepreneur currently living in Chicago with his wife and daughter. His email is bryan@capitalglenn.com

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