CODE M Magazine July 2023 Issue

Page 1








Comedian, Earthquake, discusses what led him into the comedy business and why he continues to get the last laugh.




According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), a quarter of the US adult population is not active at all, and 60 percent of the US adult population doesn’t engage in the recommended amount of activity.



Comedian, Earthquake, discusses what led him into the comedy business and why

he continues to get the last laugh.


Get to know people who are making a difference in their careers and changing the world!

14 MAN CODES Humor.



For many young people, life is a struggle from the get go. With all of life’s distractions, some of those distractions will lead a youth down a path resulting in appearing before a judge and perhaps incarceration. How do we avoid such circumstances?


The symptoms of the shrinking middle class are being attacked from all angles killing the American dream. If something isn’t done soon, there will be nothing left but the poor and extremely rich.



When the Supreme Court ended affirmative action, it set Black America back sixty years to a time when the playing field wasn’t level.



This is Dr. Willie Jolley and this month’s Tip for Success is to live your life, all of your life, and not let your age limit your success.


Taking a chance on love seems to be the

6 JULY 2023 / CODE M


Dee-1 went from being a middle school teacher to living his dream. Understanding how special it is to do exactly what you want has led him to become a world-famous musician.

biggest risk anyone can take today, but there is no greater feeling than finding your soulmate.


Sex plays an important role in relationships. How couples communicate their needs and desires can often be the difference between staying together or letting it all fall apart.


When Kevin Ross knew he wanted to do something different with his life he never knew he would get the kind of resistance he got. Breaking through the glass ceilings of the music industry changed his life, and his art forever.


Summer gives us the opportunity to shed some clothes. The sun gives us the opportunity to wear the coolest sunglasses. Shades that provide amazing shade!



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TRANSFORMING CODE M Magazine was created to be a guiding force in creating a dialogue for black men everywhere. Code M focuses on the conversations of advancement, mental health, career choices, the political landscape and relationships that define and shape the lives of black men everywhere.


Darrell Scott THE LIVES OF MEN Subscribe FREE online: Code M Magazine is published by CODE MEDIA GROUP, LLC © 2023 All Rights Reserved


Wayne Dailey is an award-winning Creative Director from the Los Angeles market, where he provided 36 years of graphic design services. Dailey was Art Director/Traffic Manager of Creative Services at the Los Angeles Times for 20 years.

He also worked in the cosmetic and entertainment industries, including providing art direction for 10 years to the ten-time Grammy Award winner Chaka Khan. Dailey returned to his hometown, Cleveland, OH, in 2016 and became a GCLEABJ member. He provides Creative

Direction/Consulting to Rhonda Crowder & Associates LLC, where he advocates for the fight against illiteracy and designs magazines, book publications and teaches 9th-12th Graders graphic design.

Dailey's recent career highlights include his positions as Creative Director for Cleveland Reads and Art Director/Annual Reports for the Cleveland Indians (Guardians).

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Get to know people who are making a difference in their careers and changing the world!


Heather Beasley graduated from Lincoln University of Pennsylvania, where she double majored in Secondary Education and History and minored in Black Studies. After completing her undergraduate studies, Heather completed two years of AmeriCorps service with College Now Greater Cleveland as an AmeriCorps College Guide. Upon service completion, she was hired as a fulltime advisor. Heather has steadily advanced at College Now, and as the Director of Advising Programs and Services, she oversees ten federally funded programs serving various high schools in Northeast Ohio with a combined budget of $2.4 million.

Heather received her Master's in Higher Education Administration from Tiffin University. She is an active member of several organizations and is the First Vice President of Lambda Phi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.


Mark Akins is an author, sales professional, speaker, volunteer, certified mental health first aider, workshop facilitator, father, and husband. As founder of Gratifying Expressions LLC, Mark Akins believes that everyone has the right to express themselves.

Even though you are free to express yourself, do it in a way that makes others grateful that you did it. Mark dedicates his time and energy to challenging the perception of others. We are constantly told what to think and tested on what to remember. But when are we taught how to think on our own? Challenge your perception.


Aaron Jeter currently teaches African American and World History at Solon High School since being hired in 2005. Before that, he taught history in Cleveland and in the Washington D.C. area for two years each. A graduate of Beachwood High School and Ohio University where he received a full athletic scholarship playing Division 1 Football, Aaron graduated from Ohio University's Patton College, School of Education where he also had the opportunity to teach high school abroad in Ghana, West Africa for 6 months and was part of a business internship in Hong Kong for two months before graduating in 2001.

While at Solon High School, he helped to start the AP Psychology Program, African American Culture Club, and most recently partnered with Kent State University's Africana Studies Department and will be teaching the first CCP (college credit plus) humanities African American History course in Solon High School.

CODE M / JULY 2023 13


“Life is way too short, so try to enjoy every minute of it with a sense of humor!” - Christina Scalise

“Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.” - Alan Dundes

“Does it disturb anyone else that ‘The Los Angeles Angels’ baseball team translates directly to ‘The The Angels Angels’?”

“A sense of humor helps us to get through the dull times, cope with the difficult times, enjoy the good times and manage the scary times.” - Steve Goodier

“Without a sense of humor, you don't have much sense at all.”

- Pen

“Someone asked me, if I were stranded on a desert island what book would I bring: How to Build a Boat.” - Steven Wright

“Be with someone who has a good sense of humor so that the two of you can sit down and laugh together at the joke that your lives are.” - Nitya Prakash

“Adults are always asking children what they want to be when they grow up because they’re looking for ideas.”

“Most preachers say the nature of God is unknowable, but I'm certain of one thing at least. God almighty has a sense of humor.” - Robert Ferrigno

“All the things I really like to do are either immoral, illegal or fattening.” - Alexander Woollcott

Psalms 126:2 “Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy.” NIV

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Neil deGrasse Tyson


For many young people, life is a struggle from the get go. With all of life’s distractions, some of those distractions will lead a youth down a path resulting in appearing before a judge and perhaps incarceration. How do we avoid such circumstances?

Choices. We all have choices even when we’re seemingly stuck between a rock and a hard place. The way our country is set up, we have laws and a judicial system tasked with adjudicating the innumerable predicaments we get ourselves tangled up in. When we’re young, the thought of being imprisoned means life is over and it will only continue to spiral downward. This is where someone like Terrence Scott comes into play.

Terrence is a juvenile magistrate working in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas Domestic and Juvenile Division in Columbus, Ohio. Magistrates are licensed attorneys appointed by the judges of many municipal courts, domestic relations, and juvenile courts. Ohio magistrates do virtually everything judges do. All magistrates’ decisions are reviewed and approved by the Judge assigned to the case.

“A big part of my job is talking to the young people brought in and exposing them to other things besides the life they’re

[ START ] 16 APRIL2023 / CODE M 16 JULY 2023 / CODE M
Coming Out: The Ultimate Guide to Becoming the Man You Were Born to Be.
has been ghostwriting books for well-known people since 1995. He is also the author of Married Men

leading. These kids come from the same neighborhoods me and my friends grew up in. I need them to be able to see themselves in me, to see possibilities, and to feel they have a future. It all comes down to choices and those choices have consequences not just for oneself but the lives of their alleged victims and their respective families and others.”

Terrence points out that when young people come into court, they are often feeling a lack of control over their lives and situations. They’re also suspicious of the court system, which stems from a long history of how minorities have been and still are handled by the criminal justice system. But there’s more to this story than the courts.

Being a magistrate is only a part of the larger picture that is Terrence’s life. As a member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., he and fellow members work in the community on a regular basis. One of their projects was hosted by the Juvenile Intervention Center (JIC) during the Juneteenth Community Service Event. Essentially, the JIC is a juvenile jail for youth who haven’t been released into the community. The event, focused on planting flowers and beautifying the facility, also introduced the youth to lawyers, doctors, and nurses professionals who can show a different side of life.

One thing that significantly motivated Terrence to work with young people is The Ohio State University Young Scholars Program where minority and economically disadvantaged kids are recruited from Ohio’s major cities. The students, beginning in 6th grade and on through high school, attend a 2-week intensive every summer. They live in the dorms, take collegelevel courses, and participate in a wide range of learning experiences while networking with faculty, staff, and upper-class students. Participants who complete the entire program are then offered full scholarships to Ohio State, which also includes room and board. ●


Terrence Scott has overcome many obstacles in order to find the life he covets today.

CODE M / JULY 2023 17


It’s no secret that something is going on. The American middle class (MC) has never seen the landslide of increasing costs of living like what is happening in today’s economy. MC life is being attacked from all angles. Whether it is the increased cost of food, housing or the price of an automobile, the MC is being squeezed at unprecedented levels.

The term “unremarkable middle” comes from the perceived notion that the MC has been shrinking since the early 1970s. And with less and less MC, it will mean less for everyone and everything. Back in the 1970s, the average family of four could thrive, yes thrive, on only one

income in a suburban community where mom stayed home and dad worked.

The middle class is shrinking. A report from the Pew Research Center last week found that for the first time since the 1970s, families defined as “middle income” are in a minority in the US squeezed from both ends by an enlarged poverty-stricken group below them, and an enriched group above them.

The graphs showing the shrinkage read like a textbook example of the future that French economist Thomas Piketty predicts for the world. In 1971, there were eighty million households in the US defined as middle income compared with a combined fifty-two million in the groups above and below. Now, there are 120 million middle-class families, but 121 mil-

Brad Bowling is the President of CODE Media Group, LLC. Bowling has his BA in mass media communication and an MBA in marketing. He contributes articles to the magazine continuing his love for writing.
The symptoms of the shrinking middle class are being attacked from all angles killing the American dream. If something is not done soon, there will be nothing left but the poor and extremely rich.

lion rich and poor “A demographic shift that could signal a tipping point,” says Pew.

There has also been a big shift in who gets the wealth generated by America: “Fully 49% of US aggregate income went to upper-income households in 2014, up from 29% in 1970. The share accruing to middle-income households was 43% in 2014, down substantially from 62% in 1970.”

There were no cable, internet bill, or streaming services to consider. There was no home alarm system to pay for either. The family only needed one income for the mortgage, gas, electricity, and car payment. Food costs were in alignment with the income of that time. The family was safe and secure.

Today, the average family must have a dual income to live the same lifestyle. There are exceptions to the rule, but by and large the ability to afford a half-million-dollar home, two cars and everything that comes with a suburban lifestyle is getting harder and harder to maintain. The harder it is for the MC family, the harder it is for the MC business.


People might say the pandemic caused a ton of stores to close. But after taking a closer look, the shrinking MC is partly to

blame for the store closures. More than 2100 stores are expected to close in 2023 and it is expected to be even higher in 2024. Here are a few of the companies that plan to close or reduce the number of stores open in 2023.

• Walmart – 22 closing

• Bed, Bath & Beyond – 896 closing

• Foot Locker – 545 closing

• Buy Buy Baby – 120 closing

• Champs – 125 closing

• Tuesday Morning – 487 closing

• Bath & Body Works – 50 closing

• Gap and Banana Republic – 46 closing

• Party City – 31 closing

• Best Buy – 20 closing

Each company cites varied reasons for shuttering locations. Come cite a shift in focus away from shopping malls, some indicated theft as a problem, but the overwhelming reason stores are closing is due to a lack of MC shoppers. That, along

[ MONEY ] 20 JULY 2023 / CODE M

with a growing number of people who choose to shop online, is cause for concern in the retail landscape.

Some retailers are shifting away from urban centers to more rural areas where crime is less, and the stores can thrive with less worry about employee safety.

“We are seeing a drastic drop in how busy we are lately,” Cindy said, who manages a large retailer in the Midwest.

“We used to be busy all week, day, and night. But now we’re starting to see that change to weekends and holidays. It's not going to make us close, but I can tell something is going on.


Affordable housing is a vanishing term in America in 2023. The average rent/mortgage has hit an all-time high of $2,000 a month and continues to rise every year. The ability of a family to afford a home and the things that come with it has never been lower.

“Everything is increasing in price at the same time,” John, from Houston, said. “We are starting to have to make deci-

sions on how we shop. I used to come out of the grocery store with a cart full of items. Now I might have five bags for the same $100.”

America has drastically changed over the last three years. Drug use, crime, and inflation are all up in 2023 and it’s causing people to make tough decisions. The MC was once considered the bedrock of America. With this population shrinking and feeling more pressure than ever, one can only wonder how this new reality will impact society overall.

The American middle class has been reduced to less than 50 percent of the US population.

“On the surface, everyone on social media seems happy and unaffected by what’s going on,” Lance, from Nashville, said. “But we’re all wondering how much more we can take. I know I’m starting to wonder if I’ll ever be able to afford to retire.”

There are no short-term solutions for protecting the MC way of life. And there is not much hope of seeing prices come back down to respectable levels. But the power of the consumer has never been stronger. If Bud Light and Target can lose market share for a marketing decision, the MC has the power to effect change somewhere. ●

CODE M / JULY 2023 23
Some retailers are shifting away from urban centers to more rural areas where crime is less, and the stores can thrive with less worry about employee safety.”


Today, the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. (USBC), the National Voice of Black Business, issued a public statement on the Supreme Court’s ruling to end affirmative action protections and race-based admissions practices in higher education. This decision portends wide-reaching ramifications for Black

business owners and our communities’ challenges across the board.

In one of the most anticipated decisions this judicial term, the Supreme Court reversed more than forty years of legal precedent that safeguarded affirmative action policies in higher education and related spheres designed to provide equitable access to opportunities for historically marginalized communities, including Black students and workers. This disappointing action ensures dire implications for Black Americans as related areas of the law that offer similar protections against discrimination will undoubtedly come under scrutiny and legal review in the future.

“Today’s decision from the nation’s highest court reinforces the deeply flawed systemic belief that all Americans, regardless of race, have equal access to opportunity and the Ameri-

CODE M / JULY 2023 25 BUSINESS Powered by the
When the Supreme Court ended affirmative action it set Black America back sixty years to a time when the playing field wasn’t level.

can Dream,” said USBC President & CEO Ronald Busby, Sr. “Unfortunately, this belief is furthest from the truth as Black Americans face incredible challenges in nearly every sphere of public life, including housing, education, entertainment, the labor force, and small business ownership. Considering the history of our country, the intensely persistent gaps within these areas will be amplified by the lack of federal policies like affirmative action aimed at cementing diversity and inclusion as critical pillars in American life.”

“This ruling from the Supreme Court affirms our commitment to action,” said USBC Board of Directors Chairman Charles O’Neal. “Whatever fiction the majority on the Court and those opposed to affirmative action have allowed themselves to believe, there is NO Black person who was hired or admitted solely because of their race. Our continued commitment is to advocate for those policies and practices that level the proverbial playing field and open opportunities that have been denied BASED ON RACE. Today’s disappointing decision demonstrates a clear reversal of longstanding, hard-fought gains toward an equitable society.”

Notwithstanding compelling evidence illustrating the effectiveness and operability of the long-standing legal protections offered under affirmative action regulations, USBC believes the

SCOTUS Justices set an extreme precedent that will likely give way to similar discrimination fights that can undermine private sector initiatives supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion.

According to research, the passage of California’s Proposition 209, a 20-year mandate barring racial preferences in college admissions, negatively impacted the number of Black freshmen at the University of California’s most selective campuses fell by half when the law first took effect. Evidence shows those numbers haven’t recovered in some cases. In a similar vein, the fallout of today’s affirmative action ruling will significantly challenge affirmative action regulations for private companies that fall under a nearly 60-year Executive Order signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson to strengthen private employers' accountability and to hold government contractors to a higher standard for equal employment opportunity.

In considering the radiating effects of today’s ruling, USBC remains dedicated to upholding our mission to provide committed, visionary leadership, and advocacy in the realization of economic empowerment. We will continue to support the vast network of African American Chambers of Commerce and business organizations in their work of developing and growing Black enterprises through our resources and initiatives. ●

[ BUSINESS ] 26 JULY 2023 / CODE M


This is Dr. Willie Jolley and this month’s Tip for Success is to live your life, all of your life, and not let your age limit your success.

Advancing years or growing older limits the success of many people. It’s a mindset that needs to change.

My question to you is, what does age have to do with your success? And the answer is: nothing, unless you choose to let it limit you. There is a commercial airing on television with a man who looks to be in his sixties saying, “My world keeps getting smaller as I get older!” Every time I see that commercial, I scream at the television, “Stop! You should be living a greater, better life as you get older, not a smaller, lesser life!”

Many older people are living spectacular lives and doing spectacular things because they refuse to accept the mindset that their world’s get smaller as they get older. It’s a mindset a growth mindset, not a fixed mindset.

Comedian George Burns was 99 years old and signed a 10year contract with Cesar’s Palace. He said he would have signed twenty years but didn’t think they would be in business that long. He used to say his daily key to success was to get up and look in the obituaries; if his name wasn’t listed, then he would get busy! He lived until he was a hundred years old

before he died. He wasn’t like many who re-tire from living at age 65 and are buried a few years later.

The Delaney sisters wrote a book called Having Our Say when they were in their nineties. The book became a bestseller, a Broadway play, and a PBS Special. They became millionaires in their nineties.

I implore you to keep living and enjoying life, all of your life! As Satchel Paige, the great Negro League baseball player said about aging, as he was pitching in his fifties, “Age is simply about mind over matter, if you don’t mind it don’t matter!”

I recommend you give your all, as long as you have life. Make the most of every day. Your age doesn’t make a difference. It’s your thinking that makes the difference. And remember: Your best is yet to come! ●

This is Dr. Willie Jolley. Go to for resources to help you to win more!

CODE M / JULY 2023 29
Dr. Willie Jolley is an author, public speaker and host of the XM radio show The Dr. Willie Jolley show. His expertise in life skills makes him this generations foremost lecturer on succeeding in life.


Taking a chance on love seems to be the biggest risk anyone can take today, but there is no greater feeling than finding your soulmate.

Ah, relationships, the delightful dance of love, companionship, and endless misunderstandings. Strap on your emotional seatbelts, my friend, because we're about to embark on a hilarious journey through the wild world of romance.

Picture this: you meet someone and your heart does a little happy dance, like a caffeinated squirrel on a trampoline. You start dating, and suddenly, you're navi-

gating a minefield of quirks, pet peeves, and those strange habits they only reveal after three months of being together.

You've heard the saying, "Opposites attract," right? Well, in relationships, it's more like magnets with the same polarity repel, but magnets with opposite polarity get themselves tangled up in a mess of contradictions. One of you likes to wake up at the crack of dawn, while the other considers 10 a.m. to be an ungodly hour. You prefer neatness, while they turn their side of the room into a modern art installation called "Clothes Mountain."

CODE M / JULY 2023 31
Cy Borg is an artificial intelligence writer. Using Open A.I., Cy responds to various prompts with fully-qualified answers using the internet and technology.

But let's not forget about communication, the backbone of any successful relationship. It's like playing a game of charades, except nobody knows the rules, and you're both performing different scenes from completely unrelated movies. You innocently ask, "How was your day?" and suddenly find yourself deep in a discourse on the migratory patterns of penguins, completely missing the part where they mention their boss got fired.

Then there's the issue of personal space. Remember when you used to have those quiet moments of solitude, reading a book or indulging in a guilty pleasure? Well, say goodbye to those. Now you have someone peering over your shoulder, commenting on every word you read or every plot twist you gasp at. It's like having a permanent book club member who refuses to stay quiet and eat their popcorn.

And let's not even get started on food. They're a vegetarian; you're a carnivore. They love pineapple on pizza; you consider it an affront to gastronomic decency. You try to compromise and end up ordering a half-vegetarian, half-meat-lover's pizza, which results in a crime against culinary arts that should be reported to the appropriate authorities.

But fear not, dear reader, for it's in these ridiculous, chaotic moments that love finds its footing. It's when you both laugh until tears stream down your faces, knowing that despite the messiness, you wouldn't want to face life's absurdities with anyone else. Because relationships aren't about perfection; they're about embracing the delightful imperfections that make us human.

So, here's to the couples who can't decide on a Netflix show, who bicker over the proper way to squeeze a toothpaste tube, and who will forever debate the correct direction to hang the toilet paper roll. May your love be as boundless as your capacity to make each other laugh, and may your journey together be filled with hilarious anecdotes that you can retell at family gatherings for years to come.

Remember, when life gets too serious, it's love that reminds us to loosen up, dance like nobody's watching, and always keep a spare roll of toilet paper in the closet. Cheers to love, laughter, and the beautiful madness of relationships! ●



Brad Bowling is the President of CODE Media Group, LLC. Bowling has his BA in mass media communication and an MBA in marketing. He contributes articles to the magazine continuing his love for writing. Written
COVER Comedian, Earthquake, discusses what led him into the comedy business and why he continues to get the last laugh.
34 JULY 2023 / CODE M
[ COVER ] CODE M / JULY 2023 35

It’s time for one of the country’s hottest comedians to go onstage and perform. Nathaniel Stroman, known professionally as “Earthquake,” is preparing to do his normal set in front of a sold-out crowd. But before he steps onstage, he remembers what got him to where he is. He understands that the work begins much earlier.

Earthquake has always been a determined person. Before becoming a comedian, he spent nine years in the military. Serving in the Airforce, Earthquake worked on servicing the F16 and F-15 jets. After his exit from the military, he decided to try his hand at comedy.

The two formed a friendship that has led Earthquake to become one of the top acts across the country. The idea that two Black men support each other might sound foreign to the perception of who Black men are. But to Steve and Earthquake, this is nothing new. Black comedians have always had a reputation of supporting and helping each other rise and grow.

“There are a lot of us who help each other. Chris Rock, Dave Chapelle, and Bernie Mack before he passed we all help each other elevate,” Earthquake said. And elevate he has. He presently hosts a radio show entitled, Quakeshouse for SiriusXM and Kevin Hart's Laugh Out Loud Network. His first Netflix special entitled Chappelle's Home Team - Legendary: Earthquake

“When I was in the military about to get out, I heard that Steve Harvey was going to be in town. I went to his hotel room and asked him if he would mentor me, and he said yes,” Earthquake said. “From that day on, Steve has been my mentor in the comedy business and helped me become the person I am today.”

was produced by Dave Chappelle and his Magic Lemonade production entity in February of 2022.

He has been on several TV shows and has filmed several movies over his career. Earthquake credits his ability to stay focused as one of the keys to his success.

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“Jay Z said it best. You do not want to be famous for 2 years. The goal is to be famous for as long as you can and that takes the kind of discipline that most people do not have.”
CODE M / JULY 2023 37 [ COVER ]
Earthquake plans to be in Cleveland, Ohio August 4th to the 6th.

“It takes discipline and constancy to be successful at anything, but especially in comedy. The fruits of being a comedian can be a distraction if you let it,” Earthquake explained, “If you’re going to get onstage with the mindset to get women or things that come from comedy, you will never get to the level of a superstar.”

Black men all over the world should take a page out of the Earthquake playbook. Because Black men are not allowed to own anything, they sometimes will use other things to measure success. Acquiring things or conquering women are sometimes used to try to elevate status, but Earthquake warns that only true focus will allow anyone trying to reach a goal, to get there.

“If your motivation is to get women, or your motivation is to get seen or if your motivation is to get popular, then you’re not going to last in this business. I would tell anyone who wants to do comedy to avoid the noise all around you. Make sure the people around you share the same interest as you.”

Earthquake recommends having very competent people around them. Comedy is a business. He has seen his share of people come in and out of his life as he climbed the comedy latter.

“Everyone is not meant to be with you the entire way on your journey to get to where you want to be,” Earthquake said. “I have had to eliminate some people out of my life who were not good for my long-term goals. And that’s OK.”

Earthquake cares about what he puts into his body. He rarely drinks, does not smoke, and works to maintain a lifestyle that allows him to be very consistent in his performance night after Earthquake credits his success to discipline and consistency.


“Jay’Z said it best. You don’t want to be famous for two years. The goal is to be famous for as long as you can and that takes the kind of discipline that most people don’t have,” Earthquake said.

CODE M / JULY 2023 39

Earthquake admits that he isn’t always motivated. But even when he isn’t, he is! He understands that there are going to be moments when his mind is elsewhere, and his mentality is less than what he needs it to be. But he always comes back to his days in the military where discipline ruled the day. He uses that training to continue to grind, even when he doesn’t want to.

Earthquake knows that he’s a business. He knows that his brand is up to him. If he doesn’t understand and live in that, why would his team work to keep his brand alive? Being at the tip of the spear is hard work, tireless, and sometimes thankless.

Putting the right people around you is what Earthquake covets the most.

“It has been trial and error to find the right team to help me run my business. Some people rise to the challenge and some people don’t. You cannot be afraid to let people go when you see that they’re not doing what you need them to do.”

Earthquake understands that with him working on so many different platforms, people’s skillsets are going to be different. The person who helps with TV might not be good for Feature films. A person who is good with radio might not be good for the stage. Earthquake understands that his needs are different for each area of show business that he works in.

Earthquake hesitates to hire friends to work in his line of work. He knows that it can be hard for people to understand just how challenging it is to maintain the level of success they have acquired. Quite often, people confuse success with ease. And easy looks fun, when it’s incredibly difficult to have the kind of success that Earthquake has attained.

Earthquake’s 2023 is bright with projects scheduled for release all throughout the year. He has a movie coming out with Jerry Seinfeld soon. He has several other projects scheduled to tape with Dave Chapelle slated for Netflix, and he will continue to tour around the country.

Delivery services are using robots to send food to customers.

As Earthquake takes the stage, his comedy creates an incredible experience for his audience. They get a chance to hear amazing jokes, funny stories, and calculating wit. What they also get to see is a man who is focused, happy, and consistent but they don’t notice any of that because they are not supposed to. Comedy is a show. For Earthquake, it’s a show/business. ●

CODE M / JULY 2023 41 [ COVER ]


Sex plays an important role in relationships. How couples communicate their needs and desires can often be the difference between staying together or letting it all fall apart.

LIFE Chris A. Matthews is a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) and approved supervisor for the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy. Visit to learn more about his work with couples and families. Written by CHRIS A. MATTHEWS 42 JULY 2023 / CODE M
[ LIFE ] CODE M / JULY 2023 43

exual intimacy plays a crucial role in fostering a fulfilling and satisfying romantic relationship. However, discussing sex openly and honestly can be challenging for many couples. To cultivate a strong and intimate sexual connection, it is essential to address this topic early and frequently. In this article, we will delve into five key strategies to help couples navigate conversations about sex, fostering better communication, and enhancing their sexual experiences.

Strategy 1: Don’t surprise your partner with a sex talk

Initiating a conversation about sex without prior notice can catch your partner off guard and may lead to discomfort or defensiveness. To create a safe and open environment, it’s crucial to choose an appropriate time and place for the discussion. Select a neutral setting, such as going out for coffee or drinks, where both partners can feel comfortable expressing their thoughts and feelings. By informing your partner ahead of time about your agenda, you show respect for their emotions and provide an opportunity for them to prepare for the conversation.

Research supports the idea that scheduling dedicated times to discuss intimate matters can lead to higher relationship satisfaction. Dr. John Gottman, a renowned relationship expert, suggests, “Finding a suitable environment and making it clear that this is an important discussion that requires your partner’s undivided attention can pave the way for productive conversations about sex.”

Strategy 2: Pick only one topic per conversation

While it might be tempting to address multiple aspects of your sex life all at once, it’s more effective to focus on one specific topic during each conversation. By honing in on a single subject, you allow for a deeper exploration of emotions, concerns, and desires related to that specific aspect of your sexual relationship.

Dividing your discussions into distinct subjects can help you avoid overwhelming each other and ensure that each topic receives the attention it deserves. This approach allows for better understanding and problem-solving. Consider selecting topics such as initiation, attraction, and addressing erectile dysfunction (ED) separately to ensure comprehensive and focused conversations about each issue.

Couples must communicate their sexual needs to each other in order to maintain a healthy sex life.

Strategy 3: Make suggestions rather than complaints

When expressing your desires or concerns about your sex life, it’s important to frame your thoughts as suggestions rather than complaints. Starting the conversation with positive reinforcement helps create an atmosphere of appreciation and acceptance. Begin by expressing appreciation for the positive aspects of your sexual experiences together. Then, gently introduce your desires or suggestions for improvement, emphasizing the potential for growth and exploration.

Renowned sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer emphasizes the significance of acknowledging what you love and enjoy in your sexual connection. By doing so, you create a foundation of positivity and open the door for further dialogue. For instance, you could say, “I really love it when we laugh in bed together. It brings a sense of joy and connection. Other times, I long for more intensity. I think it would be exciting if we could explore some new seductive techniques. What are your thoughts? What do you love, and what do you wish were different?”

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Strategy 4: Don’t forget the basic questions

Asking fundamental questions about each other’s sexual preferences and expectations is essential in order to gain a better understanding of your partner’s desires and boundaries. Research conducted by psychologists Dr. Peggy Kleinplatz and Dr. A. Dana Menard highlights the importance of open communication about sexual desires and fantasies to foster a more satisfying sexual connection.

Engaging in discussions around basic questions allows you to uncover insights into each other’s sexual preferences and establish a foundation for exploration and compromise. Here are a few examples of questions you can ask:

• What time of day do you feel most sexual?

• Do you believe seduction belongs to one gender more than the other?

• How do you prefer sexual initiation to begin: with touch or with words?

• How often would you like to have sexual contact in a week?

• What moods, rhythms, and acts during sex turn you on?

By openly discussing these questions, you can discover shared desires, learn about your partner’s preferences, and establish a more satisfying sexual dynamic.

Strategy 5: Process the past to enjoy the present

Unresolved issues or past traumas can significantly impact one’s ability to enjoy sexual intimacy in the present. Research conduct-

ed by Dr. David Schnarch, a renowned sex therapist, highlights the need to address emotional baggage that might be influencing current sexual experiences.

Seeking therapy or professional guidance can be instrumental in navigating these sensitive areas. As Dr. Schnarch asserts, “Processing past experiences is key to creating a safe space for vulnerability, trust, and emotional healing. It can transform your present sexual connection.”

If you or your partner have experienced past trauma or have unresolved issues that affect your sexual relationship, consider seeking the guidance of a therapist or counselor who specializes in sex therapy. This professional can provide a safe and supportive environment to address and process these challenges, allowing you both to move forward and enjoy a more fulfilling and intimate sexual connection.

Open and frequent communication about sex is vital for cultivating a healthy and fulfilling intimate connection. By following these five strategies, you can create a safe and open environment for discussing sex with your partner. Remember, these conversations are opportunities for growth, exploration, and deeper connection.

By embracing honest communication, you can enhance your sexual experiences, strengthen your bond, and foster a more satisfying and fulfilling relationship. Talk about sex early and often to unlock the full potential of intimacy in your partnership. ●

[ LIFE ] Sex can be fun when it is discussed in a calm and inviting manner.
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According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDD), a quarter of the US adult population is not active at all, and 60 percent doesn’t engage in the recommended amount of activity.

Many people cringe at the word “exercise” because it evokes the idea of having to endure pain, which makes it easy to forget about the pleasure positive results can bring. Shopping for smaller dresses and waist sizes, feeling and looking better, and having more energy and longevity for their loved ones are more likely to motivate people to begin and continue their routines. That’s why it makes sense that a majority of people begin working out to lose weight, get healthier, and try new experiences. One of the biggest challenges for people to keep in mind is the fact that if they are healthy enough and willing and able to exercise, it’s a privilege.

Many good trainers are effective because they help keep exercise fun so that health-minded clients are engaged and participating consistently and intensely enough to avoid serious health pitfalls. Some people begin to exercise after getting news that they have been living with or are at risk for a serious health condition such as hypertension, diabetes, or high cholesterol. Those people may then begin a routine or seek a trainer. However, there are many people who are living an active lifestyle, being nutrition and health-conscious, and yet still end up finding out that they need to make further changes to their lifestyle and choices in order to get to a baseline level of health. What happens when doing enough is not enough?

Garrett is the founder and owner of Garrett Waller, LLC, "A Fitness, Health, & Lifestyle Company." Garrett has his BS in Psychology and is a nationally certified personal trainer. He helps people find more freedom in their lives through a commitment to fitness and an active lifestyle.
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Imagine the shock of living a lifestyle that supports being active and fit, making overall well-intentioned and informed nutrition choices, and even hiring professional counsel such as personal trainers to help chart a path to a healthy and enjoyable life and still finding out that they are living with conditions that threaten their health.

It can be very off-putting to realize that their efforts, no matter how well-intentioned, were simply not enough. It’s one of the greatest examples of imposter syndrome, the condition of feeling anxious and not experiencing success internally, despite being high-performing in an external, objective way, something a person can experience under these unfortunate circumstances.

Hearing this type of news is thought to be reserved for sedentary and non-health-conscious people. It can be deflating and discouraging to find out that the mindset and efforts that they thought were enough to avoid receiving bad news at the doctor’s office simply were not enough and they will need to double down on their efforts in order to truly achieve a new standard of health.

The truth is that even people who exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet can develop health conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol, and hypertension. Genetics is the largest factor affecting whether or not someone will develop diabetes, a condition characterized by high blood glucose (sugar) levels that result from the body’s inability to produce enough insulin and/or effectively utilize the insulin.

Genetics may also play a role in developing high cholesterol, a condition in which you can develop fatty deposits in your blood vessels. Eventually, these deposits grow, making it difficult for enough blood to flow through the arteries. Sometimes, those deposits can break suddenly and form a clot that causes a heart attack or stroke.

Blood pressure is the pressure that the heart creates when it pushes blood through the body’s arteries, veins, and capillaries. Genes can affect the risk of high blood pressure even for those who get enough exercise. Additionally, living with one of these conditions can increase the chances of another health condition as six out of ten people who have diabetes have high blood pressure.

Just because exercise can’t completely eliminate the chances of developing one or more of these conditions doesn’t mean that exercise and healthy nutritional choices should be abandoned. A diet that is too low in potassium and too high in sodium, an element in table salt, increases the risk of high blood pressure. Potassium can be found in beans, bananas, potatoes, yogurt, spinach, and broccoli.

A diet too high in saturated fat and trans fats

Exercising consistently is the key to success for people who care about their health.

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can increase cholesterol. Cookies, fried foods, and stick butter are examples of foods that are high in trans fats. Eating meals from our own kitchen helps because most of the trans fats and sodium we eat come from processed and restaurant foods. For most people, it’s still safe to exercise after speaking to their physician and doctor. In fact, regular exercise strengthens one’s heart and blood vessels which helps to lower blood pressure and maintain health. Staying active can also contribute to maintaining a healthy weight, which could further lower health risks due to obesity.

With lifestyle changes, it’s possible to turn around high cholesterol within six to eight weeks although it may take longer, usually three months or more. High blood pressure can be turned around within two to three months with exercise and diet changes. Keep in mind that the benefits only last as long as the exercise continues. Diabetes can be reversed within two to three weeks with a healthy diet and exercise.

For those living with these conditions, continue to consult with health professionals about a game plan and path to health improvement. Those who find themselves making healthy choices by exercising and being mindful of a healthy diet, be encouraged to make additional changes to push the threshold further to-

ward the side of health.

Today could be a wake-up call and a nudge that finally helps you sever ties with debilitating health habits. Choose habits that truly serve you, that help you be your best, and that pushes you to be in the best health and shape of your life! ●


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). “Physical activity and health: A report of the surgeon general.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved June 21, 2023, from

“Can I develop diabetes even if I exercise and eat a healthy diet?” Sharecare. diabetes/can-i-develop-diabetes-even-i-exercise-eathealthy#:~:text=The%20answer%2C%20unfortunately%2C% 20is%20yes

CDC. (2019, February 6). “Knowing Your Risk: High Cholesterol.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://

CDC. (2020). “High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) Risk Factors.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://

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Glass ceilings were made to be shattered. They are a means to prevent our natural inclination to stretch higher and higher while conversely encouraging us to set goals, to dream, and to soar! Singer, composer, lyricist, producer, and founder of record label Art Society Music Group (AMG) Kevin Ross has set his sights high, far beyond the glass ceilings he’s already broken through.

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Ross knew he wanted to do something different with his life he never knew he would get the kind of resistance he got. Breaking through the glass ceilings of the music industry changed his life, and his art forever.
the Man
to Be.
has been ghostwriting books for well-known people since 1995. He is also the author of Married Men Coming
The Ultimate Guide to Becoming
You Were Born

“A lot of times, we get to a point where we create limitations for ourselves, we create our own glass ceilings. My parents always believed in me and what I was striving for. They never doubted me. They told me to trust my instincts. That’s what I’ve done, and in the process, I’ve broken through glass ceilings others made for me. There have been tough times, but I always walked in faith.”

Kevin grew up in a household where seventies R&B was the primary music choice, so you could say that R&B is in his DNA.

“I discovered what I loved about it and that it was a passion for me as a musician. That began my journey.” And his journey expanded as he entered college where he realized that he needed to do more than just singing, so he began composing music. That led to learning the ins and outs of production. The

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next logical step in producing was to become a music producer. “I realized I’d been a producer all along and was good at seeing something through to the end.”

One thing Kevin realized early on in his career is that he had to truly own who he is, his talents, and his dreams. He had to then commit 100 percent to himself, something his parents fully supported insomuch that they never said he couldn’t do something or that his dreams were unattainable. Certainly, there were plenty of other people who questioned his plans and sought to deter him from his vision, but he persevered despite them.

That surety of focus for Kevin has paid off with a career that’s flourishing. He has over 100 million streams across multiple platforms. Speaking of shattering glass ceilings, Kevin recently became the first independent artist in music history with two simultaneous singles in the Top 20 of Billboard’s Hot Adult R&B Airplay Chart. He also broke a radio record with his hit single “Sweet Release,” which had the longest run as the #1 requested song on Sirius XM’s Heart & Soul. Additionally, his first single, “Long Song Away” reached #1 on Billboard’s Adult R&B song chart and urban contemporary radio.

His work is found throughout the film and television industry and is celebrated by Rolling Stone, Billboard, BET, Vibe, Essence, and many others. Kevin has collaborated with well-known artists such as Michael B. Jordan, Toni Braxton, Jamie Foxx, Nicki Minaj, Trey Songz, Tank, Lil Wayne, Ne-Yo, and T.I. He’s also earned nominations from the Soul Train Music Awards, NAACP Image Awards, and iHeart Radio Music Awards.

Kevin’s latest EP, Midnight Microdose, Vol. 1, continues to transform R&B and reshape the musical landscape. “With R&B, I love the storytelling, the chord changes, and drama, how the music makes you feel. I discovered early in my life what spoke to me

about R&B, and I went with it.” His new EP does just that with its silky smoothness, changing dynamics, layered voiceovers, interludes, and vocal shadings and intimations

An important facet of Kevin’s artistry is that he infuses his music with his life approach. “I don’t live to work I work to live. I want a full life. I don’t want to give so much to just one area of my life that I can’t enjoy the full spectrum of what life has to offer.” Taking in his song lyrics, you can clearly hear the subtle shadings of this life approach.

As Kevin explains it, “The greatest gift I can ever be given in this world is to be a father, a husband, a family man, and to hold myself accountable for the people in my life. I take on that responsibility and am very proud of it.” This is definitely a foundational rubric for anyone to follow.

Another area of life Kevin is adamant about is that being an artist, no matter what field one is in. “One thing I had to understand is what it means to be creative, to live and be in the creative space. People are going to shoot you down for whatever reason. That’s their glass ceiling they’re trying to impose on you. So, I had to develop a level of forgiveness because those people can’t see past their own limitations.”

In order to stay true to himself, Kevin had to let people have their perspectives and opinions and he didn’t take their objections to heart. He forgave them because they were simply blind. What he was trying to accomplish was unfathomable to them. Hence, Keven flew higher and higher and broke through any glass ceilings appearing before him.

Very importantly, Kevin wants his music to inspire others, both listeners and budding artists. “I want people to not just see and hear me, but to see themselves in my work. Whatever you’re searching for, there’s something in my music for you. I hope my personal narrative is aspirational for those coming after me. It’s never too early or late to go after what you want. Get out there and break through the glass ceilings in your life!”

For more information on Kevin Ross, to listen to his music, and check out upcoming tour dates, visit: https://

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Kevin Ross’s music has become popular all over the world.


Dee-1 went from being a middle school teacher to living his dream. Understanding how special it is to do exactly what you want has led him to become a worldfamous musician.

Award-winning Rapper. Educator. Activist. Business owner. World-renowned keynote speaker. Nasir Jones Hip Hop Fellow at Harvard University. The name is Dee-1. He is the Billboard Top 10 charting, game-changing MC with a persona to match his penmanship. Dee-1 has transitioned from being a middle school math teacher in Louisiana to a hip-hop heavyweight with much more to still accomplish.

He has released a total of 20 projects thus far in his career. From nationwide “knowledge for college” financial literacy tours, to numerous corporate partnerships, Dee-1’s message of positivity and hope is embraced by the multitudes. His music is part of a bigger lifestyle movement called Mission Vision, which centers around three core principles: Be Real. Re Right-

eous. Be Relevant.

In 2020, Dee-1 received the prestigious NAACP “Power of Influence Award,” highlighting his community activism and commitment to inspiring youth. In 2021, he was nominated for an Emmy Award for his work on The Manhattan Project, but he lost to Michelle Obama. Later that year, Dee was also appointed to the “Louisiana Council for the Success of Black Men and Boys” by Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, making him the first rapper in Louisiana history to become a governor’s appointee.

Dee-1 says, “I make music to provide the soundtrack to someone’s life who is trying to maximize their potential and walk in their purpose. It’s non-fiction, it’s authentic, it’s lyrical, and it’s relatable.” ●

John O. Horton Jr, aka DJ Johnny O, is the President of the NerveDJs DJ Coalition, a coalition of over 9000+ DJs, Artists, Musicians, Producers and Label & Radio reps. Johnny O has been in the entertainment business for 46 years
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Summer gives us the opportunity to shed some clothes. The sun gives us the opportunity to wear the coolest sunglasses. Shades that provide amazing shade!

A wardrobe shopper, stylist, and accessories designer who specializes in dapper looks that truly appeal to the most discerning eye. mailto:,

Lance Arbuckle


wardrobe by SOKANA ROSE


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Don Don shades from TEMU photo by D LYFE
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Joseph Photo by D Lyfe
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Don Don shades from TEMU
photo by D LYFE
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