Jay-Z and Serena Williams Achieved Some New ‘Firsts’ That Have Taken Them from the ‘Hood to Showing They Could

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There’s a battle brewing in the music biz that has Billboard Chart watchers counting streams and bundles. Those are the new benchmarks that artists and their management companies lock-in on to push music sales. It seems the standard is still under review so who’s album is #1 is not simply just a click away.

Back in the day Jay-Z didn’t have that problem. He started out selling albums the old-fashioned way. Some might say he started out from the bottom and now he’s on top of Forbes’ Hip-Hop list of highest earners. With a billion dollar empire, he’s the first rapper to reach that money mark.

Serena isn’t doing too shabby either. She recently became the first athlete to make the Forbes list of richest self-made women under 40. Her fortune isn’t tied to just earnings on the court. She’s got her hands in other Venture Capital investments as well as gigs in fashion and sports that crank-out the ‘Benjamins.’

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After his days dealing on the streets, Jay-Z jumped into the rap game. His early work featured a song where he said, “I’m not a businessman,’ I’m a business, man!” That’s something he’s proven over the years with his stake in liquor, sport management and the Tidal streaming service.

So now with the Forbes list selections and social media mentions, they’ve reached a new level of star power (as if Jay wasn’t already ‘Hov’ in the eyes of many). This summer Serena will be gunning for her next ‘first’ on the tennis court. It’s the journey “from the ‘hood to showing they could” which reminds us of:

  1. Hidden Potential

An HGTV show with the same name looks at a house to see how a makeover can pull-out its hidden potential. Maybe that’s what Jay-Z saw in himself when he went from the streets to dropping beats. He did a career makeover based on some sense that he had hidden potential waiting to be unleashed.

  1. Game Skills

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Serena started out playing tennis with her sister Venus. This wasn’t the normal sport for kids in the ‘hood. But with her father’s help, she practiced and practiced until she developed some impressive game skills. Now she’s got her eyes set on becoming the winningest Grand Slam player in tennis history.

  1. Dream Path

How do kids in the ‘hood hope to make it to the “big leagues?” Well sports and music have been paths many try to travel. But for those who’re gifted differently, the dream path is another option. That’s where you know there’s something inside of you, itching to come outside of you and be experienced by the world.

  1. Purpose Lane

Serena and Jay are not only on their dream path, they’ve found their purpose lanes. For Jay it’s his criminal justice reform efforts. For Serena, it’s her advocacy for women’s rights and other civic issues. Their purpose lanes have put them in the spotlight beyond what they do in the studio or on the court.

At this stage of their careers, they have no reason to be clout-chasing. They’ve shown themselves as proven winners and ‘Super Citizens.’ If we could get inside their heads and hearts we’d probably see how they used game skills to put hidden potential on a dream path and purpose lane with blessings returned.

Tip: Inside the heads and hearts of winners is a formula for success and evidence beyond a reasonable doubt for counting their blessings.

Talkback: Was Jay-Z really the first Hip-Hop billionaire or does that title belong to Dr. Dre?

Tracks: Brand New Heavies  – Dream on Dreamer – https://youtu.be/FB8nIGKbpJY

Koffee – Toast – https://youtu.be/p8HoEvDh70Y

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Will Smith and Ciara on Their Reboot from Hip-Hop to the East Side of Showbiz is a Throwback to Some Old-School Fun

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The Jeffersons and All in the Family, two sitcoms from the 70s, made a return TV appearance with a new cast of characters. Jamie Foxx played the role of George Jefferson while Woody Harrelson played the Archie Bunker role from All in the Family. The ratings were a hit as rumors surfaced of a full reboot.

Well that’s what Will Smith and Ciara are doing in their careers. Their reboot from Hip-Hop to the East Side of Showbiz is a throwback to some good old fun. Just look back to a time when their careers were becoming mainstream and taking the main stage. It’s a way to think about how to pull-off a career reboot.

Smith plays the ‘Genie’ role in the Disney favorite ‘Aladdin’ reboot. He says he was hooked after reading the revised screenplay, in seeing how to play the role made famous by comedian Robin Williams. He’s been turning-up his social media game and hopes his online cred transfers to a new big screen audience.

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Ciara has new music on the charts. Her ‘American candy’ type good looks and music style also has her reaching for new fans. She recently made a pop-up visit to a middle school to give a young fan the surprise of a lifetime. Of course, they did the level-up dance challenge with teachers jamming along.

Both started out their careers in the music industry and have stretched their swag to a wider following. Smith recently turned 50 and so he’s been big on completing bucket list goals. Ciara recently got into Harvard Biz School to fulfill a lifelong professional goal. They plan to do so with new rounds of:

  1. Flow

Both know something about the flow of lyrics in a hot track. They’ve mastered a certain flow as songwriter and a certain flow as rapper. Being ‘in da flow’ is a great feeling when they’re on the mic. The feeling they get from using their lyrical skills is similar to how game skills can put our performance in the zone.

  1. Flava

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Smith says he was able to connect to the Aladdin soundtrack with the song ‘Friend like Me’ because of his Hip-Hop background for rapping. It’s just that he had to bring his own flava to the remix. Over the years he’s come to learn that sometimes a career reboot takes a ‘skill remix’ to keep getting that excitement fix.

  1. Fresh

Career reboots are about keeping it ‘fresh.’ Smith started out as a rapper called ‘Fresh Prince’ and has done a TV series, big box office movies and social media video clips. It’s been 29 years since the first episode of the ‘Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.’ Now he’s got a new spin with a ‘Fresh Princess’ kids book.

  1. Freestyle

To freestyle in music is to let the lyrics flow from your mind to the mic. Smith and Ciara know that sometimes in biz you gotta freestyle some things to let folks experience your best work. As you free your style or free your game it opens the door for your dreams to flow like the genie on a magic carpet ride.

Maybe it’s just small talk if The Jeffersons or All in the Family will see a full-season reboot. But Smith and Ciara hope to keep living their best life with a reboot of their own. For the love of flow, bringing new flava, keeping things fresh and doing it freestyle is to know your best work is right there like a genie in a bottle.

Tip: Your best work comes from letting your skills and dreams flow like the genie on a magic carpet ride.

Talkback: Was the 70s TV reboot worth the buzz that it was crack-up to be?

Tracks: Christina Aguilera  – Genie in a Bottle – https://youtu.be/kIDWgqDBNXA

Craig David ft Sting – Rise & Fall – https://youtu.be/pU2ukeS2JTE

Rihanna Ready to Do Bigger Things, Kyler Murray Ready to Bring His A-Game; Both Looking to Flex What They’ve Got Next

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Whether as a sports fan or music fan, lots of folk got their eyes on the scoreboard. For sport fans it might be the NBA draft lottery or playoffs where Lebron James is out but Kawhi Leonard is in. After an almost magical game-ending shot, The Raptors moved on to play Milwaukee in the Eastern Conference Finals.

For music fans it might be the latest release from Ciara or waiting for the next winner on Idol or The Voice to be crowned. But even those primetime events might not be where it’s at. Folks are also watching for how Rihanna is ready to do bigger things and NFL #1 pick Kyler Murray is ready to bring his A-game.

Both are looking to flex what they’ve got next. Rihanna announced a major partnership for her luxury ‘Fenty’ fashion line with LVMH. Word is that she’s the first woman to have an original line with the iconic fashion house. She’s also the first woman of color to head-up her own high-fashion creations there.

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Murray took to the field recently as part of rookie minicamp. He’s got a lot riding on him playing for the Arizona Cardinals. They’ve had a few losing seasons and are hoping to turn things around with Murray at the helm as QB. In the days ahead, all eyes will be on the scoreboard for both Rihanna and Murray.

They didn’t get to this point overnight. Rihanna now 31, won her first Grammy at 19. She’s produced loads of hits and fans are waiting on her next project which is rumored to be reggae-infused. Murray comes from a football family and can’t wait to develop his pro game. They know it’s about working on the:

  1. Talent

At an early age Rihanna figured-out that she had singing chops. Then she was discovered by Jay-Z whose record label gave her the exposure and the resources for developing her talent. Now she’s a multi-award artist and international icon. She’s turned talent into far-reaching fandom and record sales.

  1. Player

The concern some sports commentators have about Murray is he’s got average height. Will he be able to see over the offensive or defensive lines? What he seems to bring is that he’s not so much a pocket-passer as much as he is an open-field scrambler. Maybe as a player he’s more like a Michael Vick.

  1. Star

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One of Rihanna’s big hits came with the words ‘shine bright like a diamond.’ It’s something she’s been able to do on the world stage. Murray’s got his chance in the big leagues. So what’s it going to take for him to be a star? Maybe a winning record or a breakout performance as rookie and starting QB.

  1. Brand

Just imagine, Rihanna started out as a little-known singer from Barbados. She made a name for herself on the music charts. Then she made some moves into fashion with boots, cosmetics and other sexy apparel. Now she’s stepping up her brand-name mojo and market appeal to having a luxury clothing line.

For Rihanna and Murray, it might feel like they’re at another starting point in their careers. Like a lot of recent college grads, they’re getting ready to flex what they’ve got next. If what they’ve done already in sports and music says anything, then they’re ready to do bigger things and bring their A-game.

Tip: Those ready to flex what they’ve got next bring their A-game to do bigger and better things by taking their talent from ‘diamond in the rough’ to brand-name star.

Talkback: Who’s ready to see Murray’s first scrimmage or waiting for Rihanna’s next album drop?

Tracks: Rihanna – Diamonds – https://youtu.be/lWA2pjMjpBs

Shaggy – Money Up – https://youtu.be/VW5ayZX38Jo

Steve Harvey and Prince Harry Remind Us of What to Do with the Naysayers as You Win, Place or Showout in Your Dreams

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It was the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby, and let’s just say things didn’t end well. The horse that originally finished first was DQ’ed because of crossing into the lane of another horse on the final turn. The suspense was high following the race as fans waited to hear the verdict from the review.

The situation was a little different for Prince Harry as he waited for the arrival of his first child. He and Duchess Meghan gave birth to a boy and Harry was almost giddy trying to explain how he felt leading up to the announcement. ‘Prince Jr’ is seventh in-line, so he’s got lots of time to grow into royalty.

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For Harry, getting to this point was a dream come true, considering the tragedy of his mom. As a Royal Family member, he gets to have a dream life with little to no setbacks. As for Steve Harvey, he’ll tell you his story of running low on funds and feeling like he was running out of time to achieve his dreams.

Harvey and Harry remind us of what to do with the naysayers and doubters as you win, place or showout in your dreams. Harvey might say he made it this far with hustle-love. Harry might say he’s made it this far with Meghan’s love. At times it seems like Harvey and Harry wear it on their sleeves.

So, when it comes to giving birth to your dreams what does it take to win, place or showout? Sure there’s a process that gets us there from concept to reality. There’s a gift that grows inside of us the way a baby develops in the womb. But there’re other factors for bringing out the best in our ‘dream lane’ such as:

  1. Faith

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Harvey says he won’t let anyone out-faith him. He’s watched some larger-than-life aspects of his dream come to past because faith is oftentimes seeing what others don’t see, can’t see or choose not to see. It’s like saying faith is the evidence of things not seen by the naked eye but seen through God’s eyes.

  1. Home

Harry and Meghan are looking forward to bringing their new born home. Every baby that comes home gets the chance to grow into a fully-equipped human being. Similarly, every dream can use a homebase, just like every cellphone has a home-button, so that the dream can grow into something fully-lit.

  1. Drive

Harvey tries to turn-up his hustle the way your professional drive can turn up the flow. He knows having the motivation to run your race gives you the hustle and having the drive to up your game gives you the flow. A dream without the drive might startout like a rain shower but end up like a large puddle.

  1. Stretch

Usually, the last few days before giving birth can feel like an eternity. Harry and Meghan went through this phase as well, with paparazzi trying to get a jump on things. Dreams can go through a similar stretch phase where it feels like your skills are being stretched or you’re pushing through on the homestretch.

Which is where the Derby finish got interesting. It was on the homestretch where the original winner veered into the path of other horses in the race. Even when it feels like all hope is lost or things might go off course, there’s no doubt it takes faith, home and drive to win, place and showout in your dreams.

Tip: Even when it feels like all hope is lost or things might go off course, there’s no doubt it takes faith, home and drive to win, place and showout in your dreams.

Talkback: Which one interests you more about celebrity news: doing baby watch or dream watch?

Tracks: Mary J. Blige – Doubt – https://youtu.be/NUE5r4Mzf80

Ledesi – Alright – https://youtu.be/8dAPfhnR92U

Jozy Altidore and Sloane Stephens Made their Picks and It’s More than Just a First-Round Choice, But Also Passion at Its Best

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Not many job opportunities get live-streamed or broadcast for hours. But such is life for those in professional sports. This year’s NFL Draft is history with some teams still scrambling to finalize their training camp roster. If your fav team picked the player you hoped, then all’s well with your fantasy draft.

That might also be what Jozy Altidore and Sloane Stephens are thinking after announcing their engagement. In their words, each was the other’s first round pick to spend their lives together. Altidore the soccer star met Stephens the tennis pro many years ago. Now they’re headed to the marriage altar.

A marriage between player and team made in NFL draft picks or one made in life’s travels comes with a similar excitement and joy. Altidore has been doing big things in Major League Soccer and recently re-signed with the Toronto club. He’s also played on the U.S Men’s team as a leading goal scorer.

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Stephens made a name for herself in winning the 2017 U.S. Tennis Open. She’s seen in chocolate milk commercials selling it as an alternative sport drink of choice. Now she’s part of the squad showing U.S. star-power with her performance at the 2019 Fed Cup, which is the World Championship of Tennis.

No matter what’s your passion, hustle or what started out as your first love career-wise, these two give us a sense for passion rollout and work-life balance. Whether it’s being picked in the Draft or getting hired after graduation, sometimes it’s not only about having big stats, it might also be about having:

  1. Game

The top picks in the draft certainly know how to play the game. Altidore and Stephens have been playing their game for a long time. The professional game no matter the career isn’t always about being a high pick. It might also be about bringing something special to the game that could make you a double-threat.

  1. Smarts

Sometimes you’ll hear players described as having a high game IQ. They know the game and things you can’t teach in the game. They’re good at some of the intangibles of the game. They’re good at making-up for any shortfalls by drawing on the strengths of teammates to create windfalls in scoring.

  1. Fun

Altidore and Stephens might approach their games differently. But at the end of the day they know it’s important to have fun doing what you love. When the thrill is gone, fun might follow. Stephens says when she was injured, they were still able to make fun of things or fun of each other to keep the passion strong.

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  1. Soul

After knowing each other and losing touch as kids, they re-connected and began dating. Their roads crossed again and it’s as if their souls were waiting to re-unite. Sometimes that’s how it is professionally. Things might go off-course or dreams might get delayed, but the universe will re-unite passion and soul.

Some fans still wondering about picks made by their fav team. Even before the ink dried, there were player trades and team upgrades. Altidore and Stephens aren’t wondering anymore about their picks. Their hustle-love on the field and forever-love in life bring together heart, drive and soul to hustle hard.

Tip: Whether it’s from hustle-love on the field or forever-love in life, passion gives you an edge by having game-smarts and being a fun-soul.

Talkback: Who were some of the winners and losers at the recent NFL Draft?

Tracks: Johnny Gill – Soul of a Woman – https://youtu.be/qyvZqsRS50s

Ace Hood – Hustle Hard – https://youtu.be/r_dh16HQkqQ

Beyoncé and Kirk Franklin: Two Performers on Opposite Ends of the Game who Know Something About Turning-up the Heat on their Dreams

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It’s been only a few days since Easter and the temperature is already turnt-up. Not so much the air outside but the buzz around town and on social media after Beyoncé pulled another surprise album drop. This time it’s a ‘live’ recording from her recent Coachella Festival concert set, with a remix on a classic.

Her version of the old Frankie Beverly & Maze track ‘Before I let go’ is setting records and exciting fans. She even caused another ‘breaking of the Internet’ with dance challenge videos to the track. Then as if to follow that with even more madness, her Lemonade album is now streaming worldwide on all platforms.

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That’s the story from the R&B/Pop side of the game. And then there’s Kirk Franklin who’s going from the studio to the road with his 13th album along with a U.S. concert tour. He’s already made waves and set records as a gospel artist. He’s even got Amazon’s ‘Alexa’ on the case to help bump his streams.

Beyoncé and Franklin are two performers on opposite ends of the game who know something about turning-up the heat on their dreams. Since Bey had to skip her previous Coachella performance the year before due to the ‘baby bump’ many were looking forward to her bringing a world-class stage show.

She’s the first black female artist to headline the event. Franklin’s the first gospel artist to have a music video on MTV. Their journeys have had bumps in the road where they reinvented themselves a time or two. Their performance side is lit, their biz side is legit, having taken their dreams through the phases of:

  1. Formation

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One takeway from the Homecoming show on Netflix is that Bey handles the details from the creative to the expressive sides of her performances. As an artist, she’s thinking about her craft in the band as much as she’s thinking about herself as a brand in taking her dream from conception to mass distribution.

  1. Resolution

There’re probably three key times in the year when people use the calendar to help propel their dreams or other social agenda. Whether it’s because the ‘new-year rush’ is over or the career thrill is gone, people will use Spring time or early Fall to make a kind of dream resolution for taking things up a notch.

  1. Correction

Most dreams go though an ‘up and up’ phase in building clout. Then something happens that becomes a setback or shift in strategy. Beyoncé and Franklin have had moments where the business caused them to make adjustments or life caused their dreams to make slight course corrections as planes do on autopilot.

  1. Appreciation

It took three years for Beyoncé’s decision on releasing the Lemonade album to all streaming platforms. This will give fans a greater appreciation for her work. Not as if the Beyhive wasn’t already on board with her music archive. But fan appreciation is sort of the best ‘tell’ of the impact of someone’s dream work.

Sometimes a dream takes a while to come into formation or full view. Other times it happens right before our eyes as we’ve seen with these two artists. To fans, Bey is like an angel and they show her major appreciation. While Franklin wants his dream to be like a gospel soldier for the ‘MHG – Most High God.’

Tip: Sometimes a dream takes a while to come into formation or full view. But when it takes off it goes from conception to fan appreciation.

Talkback: What’s the difference between a fan club and the Beyhive?

Tracks: Shaggy ft Rayvon – Angel – https://youtu.be/XWJrPzAUzAs

Destiny’s Child  – Soldier – https://youtu.be/qFJ3VKnwmJw

Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union Show How the Grind is More than Just Make a Living Because of What Hustle-Love Can Do

The regular NBA season is about to end. Some fans are getting ready for the game to go to the next level. The playoffs start in a few days and sports commentators are busy ranking a team’s chances to win it all. It’s the first in a long time that Lebron James will be missing and watching from the sidelines.

Another streak that‘s about to end is Dwyane Wade’s NBA career. He’s played for 16 seasons during which he’s won championship trophies, MVP awards and scoring titles. Wade’s been savoring the moment with his ‘One Last Dance’ tour in NBA cities, swapping jerseys with other players along the way.

Wade has become an icon to many for his hustle-love on and off the court. He’s been teaming-up with his wife Gabrielle Union in doing more than just the grind but also encouraging us to be who we were meant to be. They’re parents of a new girl born by surrogate that’s been its own life-giving story.

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As Wade’s career takes a shift, Union is charting new ground in her career as a judge on America’s Got Talent. They’re both seen in TV commercials pushing each other on the treadmill but maybe even more importantly, inspiring us to grow in mind, body and spirit. They’re good examples of life beyond the grind.

Wade’s personal and professional journey is seen in a special video that is a big tear-jerker. He’s thanked by five people with their appreciation for what he’s meant in their lives. In the video we learn how Wade sees the game, the grind and the gift for making a difference. His hustle-love has been driven by:

  1. Pain

The story behind the man is heard from his mom. She remembers falling short in caring for him due to her own substance abuse challenges. But when Wade showed love to her even then, she saw him as more than a son. Hustle-love can turn pain into gain, into something that’s paying or even a payback.

  1. Project

He didn’t go to school to become a fashion designer, but he’s caught the ‘style and fashion’ bug. His line of socks is sold through Amazon. It’s something he began as a side project. His hustle-love on the court is seen in game-winning shots. But hustle-love is also in learning something you didn’t go to school for.

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  1. Passion

Wade’s not sure what’s next after basketball. He’ll likely pitch products beyond his sneaker line. If socks became his passion project, then wine testing is becoming a possible business passion. He says there’s something about the feeling around the ‘wine & dine’ experience with others that gets his juices flowing.

  1. Purpose

He knows things could have gone differently as a child. There were times of lack and lost opportunity. But people gave him a helping hand and he wants to do the same. That came through in the video for how he’s fulfilling his purpose. Hustle-love through purpose means ‘hustle & love’ to serve the people.

During the last week of the season fans came out to show love. Union defended him against those wanting to dim his shine. NBA coach Gregg Popovich said Wade’s hustle-love is bigger than the game of basketball. And President Obama put in a word saying “Wade’s done us proud” grinding all his life.

Tip: Showing up for work is more than just making a living. It’s bringing hustle-love through the pain in a project or where passion can serve a larger purpose.

Talkback: How has Wade changed the game after teaming-up with Lebron and Bosh?

Tracks: Nipsy Hussle – Grinding All My Life – https://youtu.be/nHLKEHnfo9c

Ne-Yo – Champagne Life – https://youtu.be/gqayCgvI_uI