CODE M MAGAZINE 2024 JULY ISSUE

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TRANSFORMING THE LIVES OF

WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN

With decades of experience in the music industry, Benny Pough is creating new opportunities for artists and entrepreneurs using tried and true tactics that produce better results.

HOW TO SURVIVE

WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN

With decades of experience in the music industry, Benny Pough, is creating new opportunities for ON THE COVER artist and entrepreneurs using tried and true tactics that produce better results.

14 MOVERS AND SHAKERS

Learn the five skills to build men’s Emotional Intelligence (EQ): The secret weapon to relationship success.

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

18 PROTECTING BLACK CAR BUYERS

When Jeff Fortson noticed Blacks being charged more when buying a car, he turned his frustration into a movement and changed the way Blacks buy cars.

20 TRADING INNOCENSE FOR EXPERIENCE

The journey of being a man that goes out into the world to provide and protect those that they love comes with the soul-killing high price of losing their innocence for experience.

26 BLACK MEN AND THE MENTAL HEALTH TSUNAMI

Black men resist the need to open up and speak about the issues that plague them. Not releasing that stress is causing a generation of men to suffer from mental illness.

32 HOW TO SURVIVE THE ENCOUNTER

Young Black people need to understand the proper procedures when pulled over by the police. Learning these strategies could help Black people survive the encounter.

BUILDING A BETTER YOU

No matter your story or your struggle, Eric Thomas—celebrated motivational guru, educator, and problem-solver to many of the top athletes and business leaders—will “help you work harder, discover your real motivation, and crack the code of enduring success.”

38 TRUST AND RESPECT

Marriage can be tricky for those who do not understand the compromise that is required to make it work.

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SO, YOU WANT TO TECH IN YOUR CAREER

With technology becoming central in today’s world, having tech skills is becoming more essential for obtaining and sustaining a good career.

60

HOW TO SAVE IN TODAYS SOCIETY AMID INFLATION

Inflation is reeking havoc on Black people’s finances. Learn the skills that are needed to save in any financial environment to protect your purchases, retirement and credit.

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SYCOSIS AND THE HOMIE CHRIS

Meet the Chicago homies that are making a market in the music industry by keeping it real by reminding music lovers of the past.

72 SEXIEST CARS OF 2024

There is nothing like driving the car you want. Especially is that car is one of the sexiest vehicles showing up in showrooms across America.

PUBLISHER

Bilal S. Akram

PRESIDENT

Brad J. Bowling

SENIOR ADVISOR

Alexandria Johnson Boone

MANAGING EDITOR

David Christel

CHIEF OF STAFF

Anita G. Butler

PAGE EDITORS

LaRese Purnell-Chief Financial Editor

Laron Harlem-Fashion Editor

Paris Lampkins-Movers & Shakers Editor

Randall Sylvertooth-Tech Editor

Juan Toney-Health Editor

GRAPHIC DESIGN

Stiff Arm Media

MEDIA COORDINATOR

Carole Anthony

EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT

To the PUBLISHER

Ladonna “Lala” Dicks

ENGINEER RADIO/PODCAST

Imari Hill

SOCIAL MEDIA

Rachel Woods

IT CONSULTANT

Anthony Jones

Digital Jetstream, LLC

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

David Christel

Leslie Logan

Brad J. Bowling

Bilal S. Akram

Laron Harlem

Bolling Smith

Chris Matthews

India Gardener

Randall Sylvertooth

LaRese Purnell

Juan Toney

Sharif Akram

Darrell Scott

To submit comments, feedback or to inquire about advertising please contact us at

info@codemediagroupllc.com

SHAKERS

JIMMY FOWOSE

Jimmy Fowose helps companies identify, create and deliver on growth strategies that drive high performance and value creation, both organically and inorganically. Collaborating with executive leaders and senior stakeholders typically within Consumer & Industrial companies, he oversees strategic planning, drives strategic initiatives and spearheads corporate development (i.e., Mergers & Acquisitions strategy) to crystalize pathways for top- and bottom- line company growth.

Jimmy’s most recent experience is with Tyson Foods, where he leads

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

Strategy & corporate development for Prepared Foods, the company’s $10B segment. Prior to Tyson, he worked for EY-Parthenon, a consulting firm focused on developing growth strategies for Fortune 500 companies and Private Equity firms. Earlier in his career, he helped clients align their business strategy with their people strategy as a Human Capital Consultant for Deloitte Consulting LLP.

DARRELL SCOTT

Introducing Darrell Scott, a dynamic force who seamlessly transitioned from a successful career in radio to becoming the captivating voice behind the Jazzflyte podcast. With an impressive 25 year tenure in broadcasting and a profound love for jazz, Darrell infuses his wealth of experience and passion into every episode.

As a broadcaster with a deep-rooted appreciation for the genre, Darrell brings a fresh perspective to the airwaves, creating an impressive experience for jazz enthusiasts worldwide. Through insightful interviews and engaging discussion, the Jazzflyte podcast delves into the lives and careers of jazz luminaries such as Gerald Albright, Michael Lington, Jackiem Joyner, Pamela Williams, Lin Rountree and many more.

DERELLYA FREEMAN

Step into the vibrant world of Lady D, the eco-conscious force behind KAZ Radio TV Network, pioneering sustainable initiatives in Cleveland's media landscape! With over two decades of experience, she's inspired by broadcasting icons like Rena Blumberg and Mother Love.

Derellya Freeman’s show "What's Going On with Lady D Today" is a green haven, featuring eco-friendly guests shaping Cleveland's future. Through her planet-friendly charity work, Lady D is transforming lives and solidifying her legacy as a beacon of eco-positive change!

DAPHINE EVEGE-PAINTER

Daphine Evege-Painter attended Copley-Fairlawn schools and is a graduate of Baldwin-Wallace College where she obtained her degree in Broadcast Communications. She obtained her master’s degree at the University of Akron in higher education. She has worked as a journalist for FOX 8 News In The Morning, and Good Day Cleveland. She implemented the Star Leadership Lecture Series while working at the University of Akron, which was able to impact over 1000 student within one year.

Painter currently owns here own business in the health care field where she provides daily care for individuals with disabilities. Family First Residential Services in one of Akron’s top businesses and continues to grow every year.

Painter is a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc, and is a member of the Akron Jack and Jill organization.

MAN CODES: FRIENDSHIP

“The truth is, everyone is going to hurt you. You just got to find the ones worth suffering for.” - Bob Marley

“Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It's not something you learn in school. But if you haven't learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven't learned anything.”

- Muhammad Ali

“The capacity for friendship is God's way of apologizing for our families.” - Jay McInerney

“True friendship is like sound health; the value of it is seldom known until it be lost.” - Charles Caleb

“The worst part of success is trying to find someone who is happy for you.” - Bette Midler

“Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you

want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.” - Oprah Winfrey

“Friendship- my definition- is built on two things. Respect and trust. Both elements have to be there. And it has to be mutual. You can have respect for someone, but if you don't have trust, the friendship will crumble.” - Stieg Larsson

“In prosperity our friends know us; in adversity we know our friends.” - John Churton Collins

PSALMS 133:1 How good and Pleasant it is when God’s people live together in Unity! NIV

The Prophet )ﷺ(said: “A faithful believer to a faithful believer is like the bricks of a wall, enforcing each other.” [Bukhari]

Bette Midler.

PROTECTING BLACK CAR BUYERS

When Jeff Fortson noticed Blacks being charged more when buying a car, he turned his frustration into a movement and changed the way Blacks buy cars.

Blacks are aware that racism exists in the fibric of American culture. Blacks experience some form of bias whether its in the court system, educational system, or in finance. The American automatic market is not different.

When Jeff Fortson worked in the car business, he noticed that Blacks were charged higher finance charges than whites. After spending over 15 years in the car business he

began to get frustrated with the way that Blacks were treated. He started www.jeffcars.com to help Blacks better understand the buying process.

He also hosts a show on Sirius/XM Radio channel 141. His show highlights and interviews auto industry elites on everything from buying a car to the latest trends in the EV market. Fortson has the pulse on the market and the buyer, allowing him to join the two for an interesting perspective.

“When I created by radio program I wanted it to center around three things,” Forton said. “We focus on pioneers, trend setters and influencers in the industry. We want it to have a multicultural focus on auto lending.”

Forston saw that Blacks end up paying more than their white counterparts when it came to obtaining financing.

“I noticed that when people came into the dealership that looked like me, they always paid more for their purchases.”

Fortson continued, “So I knew I had to do something about it, which is why I decided to launch my website and radio show.”

One study found that auto financing companies charge Black consumers between $300-$500 more in interest rate markups on their auto loans compared to white consumers. The study also found that low-income Black households spent an average of $1,115 more per car every year than their impoverished white peers.

With car payments skyrocketing on average to over $800 a month after the pandemic, Fortson’s incites on the latest buying trends is paramount to the Black community.

Fortson has a background in home sales and retail auto sales. Early in his career he went to a home buying clinic and got the idea to create an auto buying clinic.

He copywrited his clinic his auto-buying clinic with the library of congress in order to protect his idea.

Today that idea has become a movement for auto-buyers. Forston’s show allows him to meet some of the industries top executives in the automotive industry and the industry in general.

Forston has interviewed some of the top Blacks that have made a difference in cars in general.

“We had an opportunity to interview a Black woman who was one of the pioneers in the modern day GPS system that we all use,” Forston said.

ATL STRONG

Forson has written articles in Black Enterprise, Ebony Magazine and countless other publications on how Blacks have influenced the changes in the auto industry.

“The beautiful things about owning your own business is that we do not have to ask for permission on what we report on.” Fortson continued, “We can talk about what we want, and interview who we want.”

Forston plans to continue to educate Blacks on the right way to purchase a car so the investment is worth the money. We applaud that at CODE M. If you would like to learn more about Jeff Fortson, visit https://jeffcars.blogspot.com/ ●

Jeff Fortson has had his car radio show for 9 years on Sirius/ XM channel 151.

TRADING INNOCENCE FOR EXPERIENCE

The journey of being a man that goes out into the world to provide and protect those that they love comes with the soul-killing high price of losing their innocence for experience.

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.

At some point in life, all men will have to come to the realization that it is darn tough to be a man. It is even tougher to become a man. No man is truly prepared for the incredible battle he will face as he claws his way through life to become a man. But one thing is for certain, he will eventually come to the realization that to have experience, he must lose his innocence.

Innocence is something that all boys start with. They are born with it. When little boys venture into the world, they aren’t aware of the sacrifice they will have to pay to become respected, valuable men. Valuable to the woman who will love them, valuable to the career that will pay them, and valuable to a society that will not care what price they pay to become valuable.

In 2024, society has become a place where men are harshly judged for everything. Their ability to provide, lead, and protect is demanded with almost nothing in return from their partners. Men are criticized for their masculinity if they are too emotional, or if they don’t earn enough.

The pressure to be in the top ten percent of income earners has become soul-killing for so many men who work tirelessly daily but get no praise for their efforts. Earning a respectable income is no longer attractive to the average woman. Making $60 to $80k while working a blue-collar job, which is still a decent income, is no longer dating material for women. This realization, along with what kind of car is driven and the ability to take lavish vacations is killing the dreams and lives of many men.

The number of suicides for males increased 2 percent, from 38,358 in 2021 to 39,255 in 2022, while the number for females increased 4 percent, from 9,825 to 10,194. Age-adjusted suicide rates for males and females increased by 1 percent and 4 percent, respectively (from 22.8 to 23.1 for males and from 5.7 to 5.9 for females).

In 2021, the crude suicide rate among men ages 85 and older was 52.4 deaths per 100,000, greater than the rate among females. In other words, men experienced a crude suicide rate nearly 17 times that of women of the same age.

Suicide is the biggest killer of people under the age of 35 and the biggest killer of men under the age of 50.

“I never knew how lonely it would be to become a man,” Clint from

Men gain value over time with the scars of life as evidence of their journey to manhood.

Chicago said. “I used to want to give up because of how hard it is to do all of the stuff that is expected of us.”

Trading innocence for experience can be crushing for those men who aren’t prepared for the loneliness of being a respected man. Men suffer in silence because sometimes the verbalization of what they have experienced on the journey of life can be too hard to discuss.

INNOCENCE FOR EXPERIENCE

Men must learn from their mistakes. The mistakes they make help mold who they will become as they grow. Men must accept their weaknesses to conquer them. Society tells all men that they must earn six figures, be taller than 6 feet, and they must live a certain lifestyle. What are 98 percent of men supposed to do when they realize that only 2 percent of society has all three things combined?

Men must choose to accept what they don’t have to create value in the things that they do have. Men must work on their personalities, their income, and their self-control, and they must work on their attractiveness if they are going to create value for themselves.

Men also must deal with the punishment they receive on a daily basis from life itself.

“Becoming a man of value is one of the hardest things that men will ever have to go through,” Eric from Boston said.

“We must be able to endure pain, ascend with patience, and do the hard work of self-repair if we are going to be able to protect and provide for those we love.”

Men must be willing to take on the weight of the world to provide for those they love. That love means that they must be willing to get bruised so those around them can maintain their innocence.

Men are often shields for their families, so they don’t have to suffer. Men will work in pain, quite often parking their emotions at the door to endure all kinds of situations that are less than ideal.

Men who work in blue-collar positions often deal with the harsh conditions in which they work to provide a lifestyle that no longer earns them society’s respect. But they do the work anyway. They take on the stresses of their work environments while putting themselves in harm’s way, so those that they love can enjoy the fruits of their labor.

LOVE IN 2024

What was, and still is today, is the pain that men suffer at the hands of seeking companionship. In 2024, men are under more pressure than ever to live up to the expectations that women have for them.

Women are 82 percent responsible for divorces in America. Typically, women benefit more from divorce than men. They get alimony, custody of the children, and financial support long after the marriage is over.

Dating today seems to be more transactional than anything else where women expect a man to pay their bills and support their lifestyles to enjoy the companionship of a woman.

With the feminist movement, women today often claim that they no longer need men in their lives. This creates confusion for men because, while men know that they need women, they struggle with the statements of not feeling needed.

“Dating today is horrible,” Sterling of Cincinnati said.

“Women have a delusional expectation that men will take care of them, only go to places where food costs $300 per date and get nothing in return. They offer no value to us anymore.”

“All I see on the dating apps is women who are masculine in nature, with kids of their own, wanting men to give them everything,” Nick from Cleveland said.

Men want relationships more than ever. They want to find someone they can share their lives with. What they don’t want is to fight a battle with a woman after fighting life all day. Those who find love often describe their partner as peace.

All men understand that once they have experience, it comes at a price. The price of innocence must be paid to achieve the kind of success that society respects. Men are willing to pay that price because of what it brings.

This article was written to remind men to undergo the metamorphosis that they need to in order to become the man they want to be. The pain will pass, the struggle will lessen, and the joy of becoming an experienced man will pay off in the end.

Men are willing to sacrifice their own innocence to protect those that they love.

Black men resist the need to open up and speak about the issues that plague them. Not releasing that stress is causing a generation of men to suffer from mental illness.

by

BLACK MEN AND THE MENTAL HEALTH TSUNAMI

There’s an interesting phenomenon in our society that occurs with men. When mental and emotional health are brought up, they clam up, shut down, or run away. Men will go into battle, take on City Hall, dangle from cliffs — but confront their emotions? No way! Get vulnerable? Nope! Share their feelings? Hell no!

Let’s face it: therapeutic counseling is wrapped in stigma. Its number one requirement opening up and getting real with your emotions — is just too intense a mandate. Society has done a great job of channeling men into a narrow definition of what a man is supposed to be: courageous, aggressive, strong, largerthan-life, dominant, loud, sexually prolific, sports-oriented, and even heroic. Emotional? Only at sporting events and then the only emotions to be expressed publicly include joy, excitement, anger, frustration, pouting, shame, and loss.

What’s not expressed at other times in a man’s life are the emotions of the heart. Those feelings are considered a sign of weakness and are left relegated to the fairer sex: women. Interesting that men have categorized women as the “weaker” sex. Hmm …

But the more subtle, deeply felt unexpressed emotions of hurt, grief, regret, shame, guilt, fear, loss, unhappiness, disconnection, jealousy, distress, insecurity, unwantedness, and emptiness have the greatest impact and import on a man’s life, his perception of himself, and his sense of placement in the world. Yet, they often

remain hidden away.

The problem with avoiding one’s emotions is that they build within us and eventually get expressed in inappropriate ways in our interactions with others. In therapeutic terms, it’s what are referred to as transference and projection.

Transference – generally, it’s expressing feelings toward one’s therapist that are actually based on the patient’s feelings about someone else. And the reverse can happen. This can also occur in everyday relationships, such as with one’s boss/employee, leader/ follower, or expert/non-expert.

Projection – displacing one’s personal feelings onto someone else, an animal, or an object. An example would be a married man who has feelings for a co-worker, but rather than admit and address his own feelings, he accuses the co-worker of flirting with him.

Transference and projection are two sides of the same coin. Both are based on the need to avoid one’s own feelings, as well as to present a congruent image to the world as dictated by societal norms and conventions and the current zeitgeist.

How this relates to Black men in America is that we’re seeing a tsunami of transference and projection occurring at all levels of society, especially in the political and social arenas. Fear, anxiety, hurt, and stress are being splattered all over the place with people and groups blaming others for their woes and failures. Black people are often the target of this blame and people are attacking Blacks verbally, politically, legislatively, and physically. Black men are being dehumanized, made invisible, unjustly maligned, and traumatized on a daily basis.

One has to wonder how Black men are handling this ongoing wave of misunderstanding, disinformation, ignorance, hate, and violence. What also has to be looked at are the various environments we grow up in, the effects of family and community, one’s religious imperatives and protocols, and the effect Black culture has on the psychological development of Black men and their role in their families, community, and the US.

A March 2022 article in Forbes titled “Black Masculinity and Mental Health: What Black Men Should Consider about their Emotional and Mental Wellness” stated that:

According to the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, African Americans are 20% more likely to experience

Black

serious psychological distress, such as major depressive disorder, than white Americans.

Rates of major depressive disorder in young Black adults ages 18 to 25 increased by more than 3% between 2015 and 2018, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), yet Black Americans of all age groups are less likely to seek treatment than white Americans.

Additionally, the US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health reports that Black adults are more likely than white adults to experience persistent symptoms of emotional distress, such as sadness, hopelessness, and feeling that they have to dedicate extra effort to everything they do.

Another article titled “Symposium examines thorny, multifaceted dilemma from systemic racism in policing, healthcare to the stigma attached to psychotherapy in the community” published by The Harvard Gazette: reported that:

“According to the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities, Black men are four times likelier to die by suicide than Black women, The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry has seen a 60 percent rise in suicide rates among Black boys over the past two decades.”

These stats are disheartening to read. Of course, one has to consider what factors are involved: institutionalized racism, the COVID pandemic, racial and police profiling, ongoing inequality and lack of equity, lack of resources and support services, distrust of our institutions the list is extensive. All of this is shouldered by Black men, weighing them down and forcing them to act out in ways that do not speak to the beauty, depth, strength, and grace of their hearts and souls.

What the stats point to is the fact that Black men need more than ever to find appropriate ways in which to deal with these tremendous stressors. Therapeutic intervention as scary, ineffective, and embarrassing as it may be perceived is the most lifeaffirming and mentally/emotionally healthy option.

There are a number of therapy avenues to consider from individual one-on-one work with a therapist to couples and family counseling to support groups. The primary outcome of all of them is for patients and participants to find release from pent-up and unexpressed emotions, to provide a safe and confidential space for articulating one’s thoughts and feelings, and a means of exploring techniques to aid oneself in continued self-support and further inquiry into their feelings and life challenges.

What’s also very important to understand is that none of us are on this journey of life alone. There are many having similar life experiences and there’s nothing like being heard, understood, and ac-

cepted by people of like mind and situations. We are truly all in this together.

Black men are often typed as being strong and resilient, even in the face of overwhelming stress. And the truth is that Black men are strong and resilient. They are also creative, productive, resourceful, supportive, loving, giving, inventive, inspiring and so much more. It’s difficult to let all of this amazing multifacetedness out in a world that’s constantly trying to undermine and dominate you.

If we’re keeping all our pain, frustration, anger, resentment, sadness, loss, and fear to ourselves, we’re not only hurting ourselves but others. They don’t get to know who we are, what we’re thinking, what our desires are. More importantly, we’re not being authentic and truthful with ourselves. In the process, we cut ourselves off from who we truly are, that multifaceted being with so much to offer life.

It’s tough to do this on one’s own. Having a therapist to talk things over with, and a trained professional who can offer insights and guidance from an objective stance can allow a man a whole new level of freedom. And what’s residing within us, as terrible as we might think it to be, is actually not a Pandora’s Box, but the releasing of an emotional dam. In the process, we can unburden ourselves and begin an exploratory process that can be most enlightening and validating.

Addressing mental and emotional health is the key to a happier, freer life. The world may be trying to tamp Black men down, but through therapeutic support, these men can thrive and create rich and rewarding lives of meaning and depth. ●

Mental health is becoming apart of the conversation among more and more Black men.

HOW TO SURVIVE THE ENCOUNTER

Young Black people need to understand the proper procedures when pulled over by the police. Learning these strategies could help Black people survive the encounter.

Obtaining a license at sixteen is one of young America’s greatest rites of passage. It represents the beginning of responsibility. It represents the opportunity for young people to progress from an adolescent to an adult. However, for young Black drivers, getting a license to drive also means getting stopped by the police.

were of drivers in the US (15.3%).

So, preparing young Black drivers that they will, more than likely, experience an encounter with the police is important to teach. It’s especially important because young Black drivers are still inexperienced when it comes to interacting with the police. They may not be educated on the laws specific to searches and seizures, or the tactics that the police use to gain the upper hand when conducting a stop.

YOUR RIGHTS

“You have the right to remain silent. If you wish to exercise that right, say so aloud. You have the right to refuse to consent to a search of yourself, your car, or your home. If you are not under

“You have the right to remain silent. If you wish to exercise that right, say so aloud. You have the right to refuse to consent to a search of yourself, your car, or your home. If you are not under arrest, you have the right to calmly leave.”

Black people are more likely to be stopped by police than white people, and there are racial disparities in police stops across the country. This practice is known as “Driving while Black” (DWB) and is a form of racial profiling. Victims of DWB stops are often pulled over for no apparent reason other than their race, and rarely receive a traffic ticket or are found guilty of a violation.

According to a 2019 study of one hundred million traffic stops nationwide, Black drivers are 20 percent more likely to be pulled over by police than white drivers. The data shows that officers stop Black drivers at higher rates than white drivers and stop Hispanic drivers at similar or lower rates than white drivers.

Black drivers, accounting for approximately 31 percent of motorists, received 58 percent of traffic tickets. White drivers, accounting for almost 50 percent of motorists, received 36 percent of traffic tickets. Blacks are more than 2.5 times more likely to be ticketed than whites.

Young drivers were more likely to be pulled over by police than older drivers. One measure of this difference is that young drivers aged 16 to 24 were a larger percentage (26%) of drivers stopped by police than they

Black young drivers need to understand what is involved when being pulled over.

arrest, you have the right to calmly leave.”

Blacks need to understand that those rights apply to white America For Black Americans, the rules are different Young Black drivers need to practice patience when experiencing DWB. The goal of every Black driver is to survive the encounter. Their job when being pulled over is to walk away from the experience.

This is a large request of young Black drivers. To be asked to put their pride aside, to internalize their anxiety of being pulled over,

and finally to calmly put into action the proper procedures that will assist in hopefully de-escalating the situation.

Being pulled over at any age can be traumatic. For young Black drivers who understand the history of dealing with the police, the encounter can create a level of frustration and fear that could lead to them responding and running. The preparation of preparing them for getting pulled over can be the difference between life and death.

THE PROCEDURE

The conversation of what to do when stopped by the police might differ from Black household to household. Many have their own opinions on what is considered the right response when a Black young adult is pulled over. These procedures are recommended for anyone who might need options when stopped by the police:

1. Pull over to a safe area: Pulling over as quickly as possible is the best policy when being stopped by the police. It could potentially escalate the officer’s assumption that you are not complying.

2. Turn the vehicle off: Turning off the vehicle, lets the officer know that you have no intention of driving off during the

traffic stop.

3. Roll down all the windows: By rolling down all the windows in the vehicle, it allows the officer to walk up to the car and know that there is nothing that could potentially harm them by contacting you.

4. Turn on the interior lights of the vehicle: by illuminating the vehicle, it allows the officer to see what’s inside the vehicle and who is present. This will help them understand who everyone is in the vehicle.

5. Place your hands at 10 and 2: Place your hands at the 10 and 2 position so the officer can see your hands. Do not remove them until instructed to get the proper paperwork.

6. Ask for permission: Ask for permission to remove a seatbelt, collect the requested paperwork, or open any closed compartments of the vehicle.

7. Record the encounter: Record the conversation, if possible, of the encounter to ensure that you can produce evidence if something goes south when stopped. Video recording might escalate the interaction. Voice recordings might be better.

8. Stay Calm: Remain calm, as much as possible, so as not to create a false narrative that you have something to hide.

There are no tried-and-true procedures to encourage any officer to treat you with respect. The reality that Blacks are pulled over more often than whites unfortunately comes along with obtaining a driver’s license.

To experience the frustration of being pulled over for no reason, or having your rights violated is completely normal. However, the goal is to come home at night, the goal is to comply as much as humanly possible and understand that doing so does not make anyone lose their self-worth. Finally, the goal is to survive the encounter.

There are too many examples of Blacks being pulled over and subsequently killed by the police in America. The purpose of this article is to share these techniques with as many Black youth as possible to hopefully teach the right ways to respond if pulled over.

With these steps, the joy of becoming a new driver might be better. Stay safe. ●

TRUST AND RESPECT

Marriage can be tricky for those who do not understand the compromise that is required to make it work.

Marriage is a beautiful union between two individuals who promise to love, cherish, and put up with each other’s quirks until death do them part. However, navigating the rocky terrain of trust and respect can sometimes feel like traversing an obstacle course filled with banana peels and hidden whoopee cushions. Today, we delve into the comedic world of matrimonial antics as we explore the wild and wacky adventures of couples who strive to maintain trust and respect while simultaneously driving each other crazy!

The Case of the Vanishing Socks: In every marriage, there exists a mystical phenomenon known as the “Vanishing Socks.” It seems that no matter how hard couples try to keep track of those elusive foot warmers, they inevitably vanish into thin air. As accusations fly and a full-blown investigation is launched, trust and respect are put to the test. But fear not, dear readers, for this is where the real comedy unfolds. The sock puppet interrogation techniques, the hilarious sock memorial services marital trust may take a hit, but laughter prevails!

CY BORG: A COLUMN WRITTEN BY CHATGPT

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.

The Art of Bathroom Etiquette: Ah, the bathroom a sacred sanctuary where privacy reigns supreme. But in a marriage, privacy is often just a distant memory. From the toothpaste tube wars to the epic toilet seat debate, the battle for bathroom supremacy can be a true test of respect. Who knew that sharing a living space with someone also meant sharing a lifelong quest to master the art of proper bathroom etiquette? Let the hilarity ensue as couples tiptoe around each other’s peculiarities, attempting to strike a balance between personal hygiene and marital harmony.

The Spatula Standoff: Trust in the kitchen can be an elusive creature. When two individuals with wildly different cooking styles collide, things can get heated quite literally. The infamous spatula standoff becomes a comedic battleground, where respect for each other’s culinary expertise is pitted against the desire for a clean and orderly kitchen. One spouse insists on following every recipe to the letter, while the other believes that every dish is an opportunity for culinary experimentation. Can trust be built in the kitchen when the stakes are high and the aroma of burnt casserole fills the air? Only time, and a lot of takeout, will tell!

The Battle of the Thermostat: A house divided by temperature preferences shall not stand! The thermostat becomes the ultimate symbol of power in a marriage, a battleground where trust and respect are pushed to their limits. One spouse dreams of a cozy winter wonderland, while the other envisions a tropical paradise. Cue the thermostat wars, where secret adjustments, temperature negotiations, and hilarious thermostat heists reign supreme. Can these opposing forces find common ground and survive the never-ending struggle to achieve marital thermal harmony? Only the brave -hearted dare to find out!

Trust and respect are the pillars of any successful marriage, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be the source of endless amusement. As couples navigate the minefields of vanishing socks, bathroom etiquette, spatula standoffs, and thermostat battles, they discover that laughter is the secret ingredient that keeps the love alive. So, dear readers, the next time you find yourself questioning your own marital trust and respect, remember that in the hilarious chaos lies the true beauty of a partnership that can weather any storm no matter how silly or sock-related it may be! ●

DEAR

WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN

With decades of experience in the music industry, Benny Pough is creating new opportunities for artists and entrepreneurs using tried and true tactics that produce better results.

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 music industry has seen many lives. From the times of LPs to cassette tapes to CD’s, the music industry has had to reinvent itself with each coming technology. But the internet has proven to be its biggest challenge. Music industry executives, like Benny Pough, understand those challenges and are using his industry knowledge to help artist rethink how they make and distribute music.

With thirty years of experience in the music entertainment industry, Benny Pough has helped shape the sound and culture of music worldwide. He has been instrumental in delivering radio hits for superstar artists such as Jay-Z, Rihanna, Kanye West, Travis Scott, Future, DJ Khaled and 21 Savage.

Having made significant contributions to the entertainment industry, Pough is now blazing his own trail as an entrepreneur with the formation of D.Verse Media, a multi-tiered entertainment company. He has also entered the tech field, investing in the social media app Kandiid, an app that allows users to monetize their content.

at Universal Music Group’s Island Def Jam, where he helped propel Rihanna and Kanye West to superstardom, among many others.

Pough was previously Vice President of Promotion at MCA Records for seven years and launched his career as Regional Promotions Manager for Motown Records. Having worked multiple jobs since the age of eleven, Pough always wanted to be an entrepreneur.

While working in the music industry, he started investing his bonuses into real estate and eventually created Al J. Britt Enterprises, a real estate management company that has over 100 properties in its portfolio.

The inaugural recipient of the Urban One Honors Record Executive of the Year Award, Pough was a featured speaker at the ITP Media Group’s international conference in Dubai and plans to grow his speaking profile in the near future.

Beyond his illustrious music career, Pough has a strong in-

“After my accident I looked at life differently. I knew that I wanted something different for myself and for those around me, so I decided to use opportunities that I am blessed to have, to help guide those into better circumstances for their music and business,” Pough said.

Prior to D.Verse, Pough was the president of Roc Nation Music and served as executive vice president of Epic Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment, where he oversaw day-to- day operations. Pough had previously overseen the label’s promotion and marketing strategies as Executive Vice President of Urban Music and is credited with leading Epic’s urban team to enormous success, including becoming the #1 Urban record label of the year in 2017.

Preceding that role, Pough was Senior Vice President of Promotion

terest in public speaking, real estate investment, and collecting art and wine.

Pough has taken a different approach when talking to new artists.

“I tell all of my artists that what’s old is new again,” Pough said. “By that I mean they really need to figure out what makes them happy because they cannot be in this for the money.

“As an artist it is very intentional to know exactly what you want. If getting into the music business is about money and fame, then that will be a different process. If you take the road of realizing that you have a gift, and your gift can change lives through music, well then, that is a whole different route,” Pough said.

With the changes of the internet and streaming, driving revenue is completely different than it used to be. Artists and record labels sold music through record stores. Those sales were split among everyone who contributed to mak-

Benny Pough has become a pioneer for new artists.

Benny Pough is one of the top executives in the music entertainment business.

ing the record. Sales and marketing were done to promote the record and the artist and label could forecast a return on their investment. Today the process of creating revenue off music is much different.

Labels typically make money on songs' master recordings one of three ways: through music sales, downloads and streaming of an artist; brand partnerships where an artist endorses a product; and master licensing, using the exact recording of a song for a commercial, movie or TV show.

The big marketing push of yesteryear is gone. Today musicians must leverage the internet and increase their exposure to find and maintain an audience. When Pough started, selling CDs out of the trunk of a car was part of the process of getting a musician’s music known.

“When I say what is old is new again, I mean exactly that. Musicians must work harder than they ever have on their own, to grow their audience base.” Pough continued, “In either instance you must be able to create and curate your foundation, which is the business element of it. Giving yourself to your career, you must be able to monetize it.”

Pough is using old tricks to teach new artists the process of understanding the music business. He wants all new artists to know that it is a business first, so they cannot expect things to happen easily.

He wants artists to be able to maintain a healthy, wealthy lifestyle so he is advising them to grow their craft but understand the business of music as well.

If it sounds like Benny Pough is different, it is because he is. Pough’s 30 years in the music business had an impact on him. But more than that, having a near death experience really changed him.

After recovering from a horrific car accident in 2014 Pough made a promise to himself, to live in the moment. He also decided to take his industry knowledge and apply it to those who can benefit from it.

“After my accident I looked at life differently. I knew that I wanted something different for myself and for those around me, so I decided to use opportunities that I am blessed to have, to help guide those into better circumstances for their music and business,” Pough said.

Pough’s different approach to life and business has helped him to draft a book, On Impact.

Benny Pough shares his story in On Impact, which is full of lessons on living a life of impact, rising through the leadership ranks, and having

to overcome a near-death car crash that almost took it all.

Within six parts, Pough breaks down his personal and business experiences through his multi-decade career in entertainment. It is an inspirational and motivational book that offers actionable insights and advice on how to best navigate their varied life experiences, including hardships. On Impact allows readers to see themselves through Pough's life experiences and use the information they have learned to make the right decisions for the best possible outcomes.

He also created the It is Your Time Conference. The four -day conference teaches new artists the technical side of the music business. It also awards artists the funds to help them pursue their careers. The conference is seen as one of the best in the industry for those who want more from music.

On Impact, written by Benny Pough, is a top selling book across the country.

Pough also tours the country for speaking engagements where he speaks on getting the most out of life and living in the moment.

“If you ask anyone with money what they want the most, they also answer that they want more time.” Pough continued, “I realized that if you do not absolutely love what you do, then change it and find something else. I now want to help people learn to enjoy the process and stay in the moment of their craft. That is where internal wealth comes from.”

Pough is having an impact on those around him and the industry. The 2025 It is Your Time Conference will be held in April where Pough expects to give out more money, teach more musicians the art of the deal, and relish the fact that his second chance at life is giving back.

He currently resides in Bergen County, New Jersey. Learn more at https://itsyourtimeconference.com/

Benny

Pough appears on podcasts and radio shows discussing how to thrive in the music business .

MASTERING EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE

Learn the five skills to build men’s Emotional Intelligence (EQ): The secret weapon to relationship success.

Chris A. Matthews is a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) and approved supervisor for the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy. Visit chrisAmatthews.com to learn more about his work with couples and families.

In today’s fast-paced world, where relationships are often tested by stress and endless responsibilities, mastering emotional intelligence (EI) is like discovering a secret weapon for thriving in both personal and professional realms. Imagine navigating your interactions with ease, building deeper connections, and bouncing back from setbacks with resilience. Here’s how you can harness the power of emotional intelligence to transform your relationships and live your best life.

1. Practice Self-Awareness: The Ultimate Power-Up

Ever wonder why you react a certain way in stressful situations?

Self-awareness is your answer. By regularly reflecting on your emotions and understanding what triggers them, you gain control over your responses. Try journaling or mindfulness exercises to boost this skill. Picture this: You’re in a heated work meeting and feel the irritation rising. Instead of snapping, you recognize the trigger and stay cool. At home, this translates to recognizing when you’re overwhelmed and calmly communicating with your partner.

Self-awareness is the cornerstone of emotional intelligence (EQ) because it involves being acutely aware of your own emotions, understanding how they influence your thoughts and behaviors, and recognizing your emotional triggers. When you’re selfaware, you can make better decisions, manage stress more effectively, and maintain healthier relationships. Here’s how you can cultivate self-awareness in your daily life:

Journaling: Writing about your thoughts and feelings can help you gain insights into your emotional patterns. Set aside time each day to jot down your experiences, focusing on moments when you felt strong emotions. Ask yourself what triggered those feelings and how you responded. Over time, you’ll start to see patterns and gain a deeper understanding of your emotional landscape.

Mindfulness Exercises: Mindfulness involves paying attention to the present moment without judgment. Practices such as meditation, deep breathing, and mindful walking can help you become more attuned to your emotions. By regularly practicing mindfulness, you can develop a habit of checking in with yourself, which enhances your self-awareness.

Reflective Practices: Take a few minutes at the end of each day to reflect on your emotional experiences. Think about what went well and what didn’t and consider how your emotions influenced your actions. This reflective practice can help you identify areas where you can improve and reinforce positive behaviors.

2. Develop Empathy: The Heartfelt Connection

Empathy is your golden ticket to stronger emotional bonds. It’s all about understanding and sharing the feelings of others. Active listening, asking open-ended questions, and truly considering others’ perspectives are your tools here. Imagine being the manager who not only hears but feels an employee’s struggles, creating a supportive work environment. At home, your partner feels truly heard and valued, deepening your intimacy and trust. Now those are relationship goals!

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. It’s a critical component of emotional intelligence because it enables you to connect with others on a deeper level. When you’re empathetic, you can respond to people’s needs more effectively, build stronger relationships, and create a more supportive and inclusive environment. Here are some ways to develop empathy:

Active Listening: Active listening involves fully concentrating on what the other person is saying, rather than just waiting for your turn to speak. Show that you’re engaged by nodding, maintaining eye contact, and providing verbal feedback. This not only makes the speaker feel valued but also helps you understand their perspective more clearly.

Open-Ended Questions: Ask questions that encourage the other person to share more about their feelings and experiences. For example, instead of asking, “Did you have a good day?” try, “What was the most interesting part of your day?” Openended questions can lead to richer conversations and deeper understanding.

Perspective-Taking: Put yourself in the other person’s shoes and try to see the situation from their point of view. This can be challenging, especially if you have different experiences or opinions, but it’s essential for developing empathy. Consider their background, emotions, and motivations to gain a more comprehensive understanding of their perspective.

Emotional Validation: Acknowledge and validate the other person’s feelings, even if you don’t agree with them. Statements like “I can see why you’d feel that way” or “That sounds really tough” can go a long way in making someone feel understood and supported.

3. Manage Emotions Effectively: The Calm in the Storm

Keeping your cool in high-stress situations is a game-changer. Techniques like deep breathing, meditation, and taking strategic timeouts are your secret weapons. Picture yourself nailing that big presentation because you managed pre-show jitters

with deep breathing exercises. Imagine staying calm during a disagreement with your partner, turning potential blowouts into constructive discussions.

Emotional regulation is the ability to manage your emotions in a healthy and constructive way. It’s about finding a balance between expressing your feelings and keeping them in check. Effective emotional regulation can help you maintain composure, make better decisions, and build stronger relationships. Here are some strategies to help you manage your emotions:

Deep Breathing: Deep breathing exercises can help calm your nervous system and reduce stress. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a few deep breaths, inhaling slowly through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. This simple technique can help you regain control and think more clearly.

Meditation: Meditation is a powerful tool for managing emotions. By focusing your mind and practicing mindfulness, you can reduce stress and increase your emotional resilience. Try setting aside a few minutes each day to meditate, whether it’s through guided meditation apps, breathing exercises, or simply sitting quietly and focusing on your breath.

Taking Timeouts: When you’re in a high-stress situation, it’s important to take a step back and give yourself time to cool down. If you feel your emotions escalating, excuse yourself for a few minutes to collect your thoughts. This can prevent you from saying or doing something you might regret and give you a chance to approach the situation with a clearer mind.

Cognitive Reframing: Cognitive reframing involves changing the way you think about a situation to alter your emotional response. For example, if you’re feeling frustrated because of a mistake, try to see it as an opportunity to learn and grow rather than a failure. This shift in perspective can help you manage negative emotions more effectively.

Physical Activity: Exercise is a great way to manage stress and improve your mood. Physical activity releases endorphins, which can help reduce anxiety and boost your overall well-being. Whether it’s going for a run, hitting the gym, or practicing yoga, find an activity that you enjoy and make it a regular part of your routine.

4. Enhance Social Skills: The Social Superpower

Enhancing your interpersonal skills can turn you into the ultimate relationship builder. Engage more in social interactions, practice active listening, and polish those communication abilities. In the workplace, this means better networking, teamwork, and leadership. At home, you’ll be the attentive partner and supportive friend everyone values.

Social skills are the tools you use to communicate and interact effectively with others. Strong social skills can help you build and maintain positive relationships, resolve conflicts, and work collaboratively. Here are some ways to enhance your social skills: Engage in Social Interactions: Make an effort to engage with others in social settings, whether it’s at work, social gatherings, or community events. Practice initiating conversations, asking questions, and showing interest in what others have to say. The more you practice, the more comfortable and confident you’ll become in social situations.

Active Listening: Active listening is a key component of effective communication. When you’re engaged in a conversation, focus on what the other person is saying rather than thinking about your response. Show that you’re listening by nodding, maintaining eye contact, and providing verbal feedback. This demonstrates respect and interest, which can strengthen your relationships.

Nonverbal Communication: Pay attention to your body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice, as they can convey as much information as your words. Make sure your nonverbal cues are consistent with your verbal messages. For example, maintain an open posture, make eye contact, and use a friendly tone to show that you’re approachable and engaged.

Conflict Resolution: Effective conflict resolution involves addressing disagreements in a constructive manner. When conflicts

express your feelings and needs.

Networking: Building a strong professional network can open up new opportunities and support your career growth. Attend industry events, join professional organizations, and connect with colleagues and mentors. Be genuine and proactive in maintaining your network by staying in touch and offering support when needed.

5. Cultivate Emotional Resilience: The Bounce-Back Hero

Life throws curveballs, but emotional resilience lets you navigate them effectively. Focus on maintaining a positive outlook, practicing gratitude, and seeking support when needed. Think about facing a career setback with a can-do attitude, learning from it, and coming back stronger. In personal relationships, resilience means navigating conflicts without giving up, thereby sustaining long-term commitment and growth.

Positive Outlook: Maintaining a positive outlook can help you stay motivated and focused, even in challenging times. Focus on your strengths and achievements and remind yourself of your goals and values. This positive mindset can help you stay resilient and bounce back from setbacks.

Practicing Gratitude: Gratitude can help you appreciate what you have and maintain a positive perspective. Take a few minutes each day to reflect on what you’re grateful for, whether it’s your health, family, or accomplishments. This simple practice can help you stay grounded and maintain a positive outlook.

Seeking Support: Don’t be afraid to seek support from friends, family, or professionals when you need it. Talking to someone you trust can help you process your emotions and gain a new perspective. This support can help you stay resilient and navigate challenges more effectively.

Mastering emotional intelligence is your ticket to transforming both your personal and professional relationships. By practicing self-awareness, developing empathy, managing emotions effectively, enhancing social skills, and cultivating emotional resilience, you can forge deeper connections and lead a more satisfying life. Don’t wait take the first step today. Embrace the power of emotional intelligence and watch as your relationships flourish and your goals come within reach. Your best life starts now! ●

A healthy relationship comes from a mature approach to dating.

SO, YOU WANT TO GO TECH IN YOUR CAREER?

With technology becoming central in today’s world, having tech skills is becoming more essential for obtaining and sustaining a good career.

Dr. Randall Sylvertooth, is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated was raised in Cleveland, Ohio and is an alumnus of The University of Cincinnati, University of Virginia, George Mason University and Capital Technology University.

For a person just starting their career in tech, it can be challenging, rewarding, and exciting. This is whether transitioning from another field or just beginning an exploration into tech.

Technology is ever-evolving, even as you read this article. Currently, there are thousands of openings in critical STEM-based fields (Science, Technology Engineering, and Mathematics). This article will focus more on technology and computer technology opportunities, better known as the “tech industry.”

There are several approaches to this career field even if a person isn’t currently in tech but is motivated and wants to learn and pursue tech as an initial focus or even to change their current career field. Based on research by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), which sponsors several certification tests, the estimated number of careers available now comes to around 9.4 million and accounts for approximately 5.8 percent of the overall US workforce. However, that figure is likely underestimated because tech professionals don’t only work in tech companies, but in many other industry sectors.

Unfortunately, this data is a bit flawed because it’s more difficult to adequately gauge the number of available jobs. It’s estimated that over 85 percent of organizations are now searching for innovative technologies and skilled professionals who are up to datein new tech fields.

However, when exploring how to get into tech, it’s important to be aware of the different skills needed to succeed in the chosen field. There are a number of essential skills needed to thrive in the tech industry, which can include information systems, information technology (better known as IT or Cyber Technology), and Cybersecurity (formerly referred to as Information Assurance).

Each major profession has several career paths. For example, Information Technology would include the following occupations, to name a few:

• user experience engineer (UX)

• software developer

• software engineer

• software agile development

• DevSecOps engineer

• systems administrator

• network engineer

• cloud services engineer

• cloud microservices engineer ( includes containerization with Kubernetes and dockers)

• full stack software developer

• database engineer

• data scientist

Cybersecurity, a major tech category, would encompass incident response, computer forensics, network security, policy, and cyber threat intelligence, to name just a few career options.

Currently, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are the big focus for future hiring positions.

The wonderful thing about going into tech is that it can accommodate all ages, genders, races, and cultures when it comes to learning, operating in, and profiting from computer technology. All that’s needed is the right attitude, ambition, and the willingness to learn.

Technology can be overwhelming to anyone who is using it to create revenue.

There are several resources to learn, sustain, and profit from by being constantly involved in tech. Several large corporations have programs that range from youths to adults. Also, there are several community outreach and online resources from which to learn tech. Some of the more popular resources are Google Certificates, SANS, Coursera, edX, Udemy, YouTube, online courses, online classrooms, and online training for several types of IT and cybersecurity certifications.

There are many certifications that can be obtained for a tech career that can be obtained even before going to college or university. Such certifications include MSCE, ITIL, CISSP, Network +, A+, and Security +. CEH, and several others with which to get started. There are so many that prior to enrolling in a program it’s helpful to do some research to discover all the available possibilities. If affordability is the goal, check out the courses and programs offered by American Military University. Serving in the military isn’t required, the courses and programs are affordable, and it is a great online university.

If you are new to computer technology, it is suggested to get started with CompTIA’s Network+ and A+ study guidebooks. The Network+ covers how computer systems are connected and the A+ book covers how computers work and how they’re built with hardware, along with various other physical connections.

As far as technical skills go, the exact expertise needed will depend on the specific tech career being targeted. It’s safe to assume that to work in most technical positions, according to Monster Jobs, at least a basic understanding of all the following is required:

Programming Languages – Coding with programming languages such as Java, Python, C++, JavaScript, or similar.

Database Management – Managing databases and extracting and manipulating data.

Data Analysis – Knowing how to collect, filter, and analyze data is essential. Familiarity with Excel, Tableau, and R Analytics is a must.

System Architecture – This is technology that uses complex systems and infrastructures such as cloud architecture, virtualization, and distributed systems. Understanding how these systems are designed, built, and maintained is important if you are serious about learning how to get into tech.

Web Development – Front-end and back-end development and the interactions between the two are managed through programs like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and React.

Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) –These technologies have gained more and more importance in the future. Learning how AI algorithms and networks work is crucial to operating in spaces such as robotics and data science.

Cybersecurity and Network Security – Data is unbelievably valuable, and that same data is vulnerable to theft, which is a profound problem. Cybersecurity tools and techniques are needed to protect organizations along with having a general technical understanding of cybersecurity concepts such as firewalls, encryption, and secure coding practices.

As with any industry, there are some tech jobs that are easier to get into. According to Monster Jobs, it just depends on one’s connections in the tech industry, plus simple demand and supply. IT support specialist, help desk analyst, database entry, and technical writer are some of the entry-level avenues leading to professional tech positions. They can progress to higher levels depending on talent, ambition, and motivation.

The tech sector is wide open and here to stay. It offers multiple avenues for rewarding careers in numerous industries. It’s all there to meet the needs and aspirations of anyone. The best of luck to all those captivated and inspired by tech! ●

Learning how to use AI can advance your career to new levels.

HOW TODAY’S AMID

HOW TO SAVE IN TODAY’S SOCIETY AMID INFLATION

Inflation is reeking havoc on Black people’s finances. Learn the skills that are needed to save in any financial environment to protect your purchases, retirement and credit.

LaRese Purnell is an accounting and finance professional, innovative and transformational leader. He is also the co-founder & managing partner of CLE Consulting Firm. He serves as the Chief Financial Editor at CODE M Magazine.

In today’s economic climate, saving money can feel like an uphill battle. With inflation driving up the cost of living and various life challenges straining our finances, it’s more important than ever to adopt effective saving strategies. So let’s explore practical ways to save money and secure financial stability despite these obstacles.

Understanding Inflation and Its Impact

I call this the silent killer. Inflation is the rate at which the general level of prices for goods and services rises, leading to a decrease in purchasing power. Over the past few years, inflation rates have surged globally due to factors like supply chain disruptions, increased demand, and geopolitical tensions. As prices climb, the same amount of money buys less, making it harder for individuals and families to save.

Building a Budget: The Foundation of Saving

The cornerstone of any savings plan is a well-structured budget. Start by tracking your income and expenses don’t leave out the unexpected costs as well to understand where your money goes each month. Categorize your spending into essentials (housing, utilities, groceries) and non-essentials (entertainment, dining out). I have a rule I teach called the 50/20/30. It breaks down like this: 50% of your income goes towards your needs, 20% goes towards the things you want, and 30% goes towards (10% savings,10% investments and 10% towards your tithes). Remember, Cash is King!

Steps to Create an Effective Budget:

1. List Your Income: Include all sources of income, such as salaries, freelance work, and investments.

2. Track Your Expenses: Use apps like Mint or YNAB (You Need a Budget) to monitor spending on a daily basis.

3. Set Financial Goals: Define short-term and long-term goals, such as building an emergency fund or saving for a home. As the saying goes, “If you fail to plan, then you are planning to fail.”

4. Adjust Accordingly: Regularly review and adjust your budget to ensure you’re on track to meet your goals.

5. Reduce Spending: Reduce the high-cost packages that are out of sight out of mind (phone, cable, or etc.)

Reducing Expenses: Practical Tips

With a clear budget in place, focus on reducing expenses. Small changes can lead to significant savings over time.

1. Cut Unnecessary Subscriptions: Cancel subscriptions you

rarely use. Streaming services, gym memberships, and magazine subscriptions can add up.

2. Cook at Home: Dining out is significantly more expensive than cooking at home. Plan meals and make grocery lists to avoid impulse purchases.

3. Use Public Transportation: If feasible, use public transport to save on gas, parking, and car maintenance.

4. Buy in Bulk: Purchase non-perishable items in bulk to save money in the long run.

5. Utilize Coupons or Savings: Look for websites, coupons, or ways to save on purchases.

Maximizing Income: Beyond Your Salary

Increasing your income can be just as crucial as cutting expenses. Explore additional revenue streams to bolster your savings.

1. Freelance Work: Leverage your skills to take on freelance projects. Platforms like Upwork and Fiverr connect freelancers with clients.

2. Part-Time Jobs: Consider a part-time job to supplement your primary income. This could be anything from tutoring to working in retail.

3. Investments: Start investing in stocks, bonds, or mutual funds. Even small, regular investments can grow significantly over time thanks to compound interest.

4. Sell Unused Items: Sell items you no longer need on platforms like eBay, Craigslist, or Facebook Marketplace.

Saving Strategies: Making Your Money Work for You

Adopt saving strategies that ensure your money grows, even during inflationary periods.

1. High-Yield Savings Accounts: Open a high-yield savings account to earn more interest on your deposits compared to traditional savings accounts.

2. Automate Savings: Set up automatic transfers from your checking account to your savings account. This ensures you save regularly without having to think about it.

3. Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plans: Contribute to employer-sponsored retirement plans like a 401(k). Take advantage of employer matching programs if available.

4. Certificates of Deposit (CDs): Consider CDs for a low-risk investment option that typically offers higher interest rates than regular savings accounts.

Emergency Fund: A Financial Safety Net

An emergency fund is essential for financial security. Aim to save three to six months’ worth of living expenses. This fund will help you manage unexpected expenses, such as medical bills or car repairs, without derailing your financial plans. Here are some tips for building an emergency fund:

1. Start Small: Begin with a goal of saving $1,000 and gradually increase it.

2. Set Up a Separate Account: Keep your emergency fund in a separate, easily accessible account.

3. Make Regular Contributions: Treat your emergency fund contributions as a non-negotiable monthly expense.

Dealing with Debt: A Priority for Saving

High-interest debt can be a significant obstacle to saving. Prioritize paying off debt to free up more money for savings.

Strategies for Managing Debt:

1. Debt Snowball Method: Focus on paying off the smallest debt first while making minimum payments on larger debts. Once the smallest debt is paid off, move to the next smallest.

2. Debt Avalanche Method: Pay off the debt with the highest interest rate first while making minimum payments on the others. In the long run, this method saves more money on interest.

3. Refinance Loans: Consider refinancing high-interest loans to lower interest rates, thereby reducing your monthly payments.

4. Consolidate Debt: Consolidate multiple debts into a single loan with a lower interest rate for easier management.

Leveraging Technology: Tools and Apps

Technology can simplify the process of saving and managing finances. Utilize apps and online tools to stay organized and on track.

1. Budgeting Apps: Use apps like Mint, YNAB, or PocketGuard to create and manage your budget.

2. Savings Apps: Apps like Acorns and Digit help automate your savings by rounding up purchases and saving the difference.

3. Investment Platforms: Platforms like Robinhood, E*TRADE, and Betterment make investing accessible and straightforward.

4. Financial Tracking: Tools like Personal Capital provide an overview of your financial situation, including net worth, investments, and spending patterns.

Financial Education: An Ongoing Process

Educating yourself about personal finance is crucial for long-term financial health. Stay informed about financial strategies, market trends, and economic factors that affect your money.

Resources for Financial Education:

Books: Read books like Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki, The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey, and Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez.

1. Podcasts: Listen to personal finance podcasts like "The Dave Ramsey Show," "Planet Money," and "The Tony Robbins Podcast."

2. Online Courses: Enroll in online courses from platforms like Coursera, Udemy, or Khan Academy to learn about budgeting, investing, and financial planning.

3. Financial Advisors: Consider consulting a certified financial planner (CFP) for personalized advice and strategies.

Adapting to Life’s Challenges

Life is unpredictable, and financial challenges can arise at any time. Being prepared and adaptable is key to maintaining financial stability.

1. Stay Flexible: Be ready to adjust your budget and saving strategies as your circumstances change.

2. Seek Assistance: Don’t hesitate to seek help if you’re facing financial hardship. There are numerous resources and programs available to assist with housing, food, and medical expenses.

3. Review and Revise: Regularly review your financial goals and strategies. Make adjustments as needed to stay on track.

There is no better feeling than achieving financial freedom. It’s a state of calm and stability that everyone is encouraged to strive towards. Stay informed, be adaptable, and continue to seek out resources and advice to navigate the ever-changing financial landscape.

Saving money in today’s society, amid inflation and various life challenges, requires a proactive and multifaceted approach. It takes most people some time and effort to get disciplined and change their mindsets. By building a solid budget, reducing expenses, maximizing income, and adopting smart saving strategies, anyone can achieve financial stability and peace of mind.

By following the guidelines covered here, a person can be better prepared to handle the financial pressures of inflation and life’s inevitable challenges, ensuring a more secure and prosperous future. Good luck on the road to Financial Freedom! ●

BUILDING A BETTER YOU

BOOK REVIEW

No matter your story or your struggle, Eric Thomas celebrated motivational guru, educator, and problem-solver to many of the top athletes and business leaders will “help you work harder, discover your real motivation, and crack the code of enduring success.”

If you feel like success is for others, that only certain people get to have their dreams fulfilled, Eric Thomas’s You Owe You is your wake-up call. His urgent message to stop waiting for inspiration to strike and take control of your life is one he wishes someone had given him when he was a teenager lost, homeless, failing in school, and dealing with the challenges of being a young Black man in America.

Once he was able to break free from thinking of himself as a victim and truly understand his strengths, he switched the script. And now, with this book, Thomas reveals how you, too, can rewrite your life's script. With support, he recognized that his unique gift is being able to capture the attention of all kinds of people in all kinds of settings boardrooms, locker rooms, churches, classrooms, even the streets thanks to his wealth of experiences and command of language. Today, Thomas considers himself blessed to

speak to an audience that is as large as it is diverse, from the rich and famous to kids struggling in school to young men in prison hoping for a new start.

Thomas’s secrets of success have already helped hundreds of thousands on their journey, but this is his first guide to show you how to start today, right now. These critical first steps include deeply understanding yourself and the world around you, finding your why, accepting that you may have to give up something good for something great, and constantly stretching toward your potential. No matter where you are on your journey toward greatness, you owe it to yourself to become fully, authentically you. And Eric Thomas’s You Owe You can help get you there. ●

Eric Thomas

SYCOSIS AND THE HOMIE CHRIS

Meet the Chicago homies that are making a market in the music industry by keeping it real by reminding music lovers of the past.

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.
Written by JOHN O. HORTON JR.

Chicago Hip-Hop artist Sycosis or ~SY~ combines an aggressive delivery, hard hitting punch lines, and a style that varies but a message that stays consistent. By day he is a Realtor helping first time homebuyers and investors restore communities such as Gary, Indiana.

By night he is a performer, writer, publisher, and fierce lyricist that seems to get better over time. Today his music is being streamed globally in over 90 countries around the world, with thousands of monthly listeners on Spotify.

Songs like "Worship" has over 1 million Spotify streams, along with several others that have landed in international television and commercial spots such as Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, Law & Order SVU, Dude Perfect, Chozen, Sunny Delight, and Vanquish

Fitness just to name a few.

With music that can be found on shows from ESPN to NBC he continues new international partnerships such as working with Artlist to deliver music to Gamers, Youtube Bloggers, and major corporations.

With a new single "Gold Chain", Sycosis teams up with longtime collaborator "The Homie Chris" for the upcoming album "The Sweep" coming summer 2024. ●

Click on the links below to view and hear music from Sycosis. https://s.disco.ac/kllwkdjuilem https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mX-t2KJlkOM

FASHION

There is nothing like driving the car you want. Especially if that car is one of the sexiest vehicles in showrooms across America.

The high-performance 2025 CT5-V and CT5-V Blackwing variants are also being updated. They get the tech updates of the regular CT5 plus distinctly sporty facelifts, and the Blackwing model now has Carbon Fiber Packages available.

Cadillac CT5-V $48,990

$71,400

Lucid Air: With its striking design and impressive range, the Lucid Air redefines luxury electric sedans, offering a glimpse into the future of sustainable transportation with uncompromising style and performance.

Type R

$45,890

Looking for the best affordable performance hot hatchback on sale today? Look no further than the Honda Civic Type R. Expertly tuned inputs, a world-class interior, and real capability result in one of the best Hondas we've ever driven. While allwheel drive would transform this car, Honda's white knight doesn't exhibit torque steer or turbo lag despite its front-wheel-drive layout.

Lucid Air

Base Price: $128,895

Quite possibly one of the sexiest four-doors on earth, the RS7 is part of an exclusive club of fast sedans with a hatchback that offers a bit of extra practicality. In its current generation, the RS7 doubles down with 22-inch wheels and a twin-turbo V-8 that makes 621 hp. Adaptive air springs come standard, but there's a special option that replaces them with stiffer steel coils. Mostly, the driving experience is tamer and quieter than it appears. That's alright, because nothing else looks this good.

Base Price: $104,795

Ballooning SUV sales have led the Panamera to become the slowest-selling car in Porsche's lineup, and we think that's a shame. It's lighter and more luxurious than the electric Taycan, and yet it also comes as a plug-in hybrid that will deliver more than 700 hp. There are few big four-doors that dance like a Panamera.

Porshe
Audi RS7

$76,995

The modern BMW M3 is blindingly fast and continues to set the standard for performance sedans, even if it's less analog than in generations past. It remains a good value for amount of power, poise, and luxury that it delivers. Best of all, you can still get the M3 with a manual transmission.

Base Price: $104,795

Ballooning SUV sales have led the Panamera to become the slowest-selling car in Porsche's lineup, and we think that's a shame. It's lighter and more luxurious than the electric Taycan, and yet it also comes as a plug-in hybrid that will deliver more than 700 hp. There are few big four-doors that dance like a Panamera.

BMW
Porshe

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