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

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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

Steph Curry and Tiffany Haddish on Turning Good Breaks into Dance Shakes While Keeping Their Game On High Performance

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The NCAA Final Four teams are set with a few one-seed upsets. The two Carolina teams Duke & UNC are out of the dance. Virginia is still in the mix while Texas Tech beat west coast favorite Gonzaga to reach the Final Four for the first time. For die-hard fans, some of those games were hard to watch.

Another North Carolina boy has his eyes set on a different upcoming series. Steph Curry is gearing up for the big push of the NBA playoffs. He’s been on a run lately that is simply other-worldly. Meantime, Tiffany Haddish is trying to reset her comedy game after a New Year’s Eve show that went off the rails.

They know something about turning good breaks into dance shakes. You see it when Curry runs a fast break or hits a 3-point shot so far out he might as well have taken it from the parking lot. Haddish does her dance shake when she pinches herself and realizes the path taken to becoming a hit in Hollywood.

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Curry says he’s still working on some things in his game. That’s why when he named his top-5 NBA players in the past 20 years, he says his name wasn’t on the list because he’s still a work in progress.  Haddish says she learned the reason why her show bombed. She partied too much the night before.

What drives them is the stuff they’re doing to make their game and life story come alive even more. Curry remembers times when people said he was overrated. He puts in the work to silence the doubters. Haddish says she’s back to doing comedy right. They’re keeping their game on high because of the:

  1. Dream

Your dream is deeply-rooted in some inner vision for your best self or is connected to someone else’s dream for a better product, service or world. Curry’s dream probably came from watching his dad play ball in the NBA. As a kid, he’d be on the court learning the plays of the game and the tricks of the trade.

  1. Flow

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When you watch Haddish she seems like a boundless flow of energy. When you watch Curry, he’s just hitting shots in the flow. Everybody’s got their own flow. But one reason why fans might attend their games or stand-up comedy shows is to experience and enjoy the magic of their flow.

  1. Brand

Curry started his own production company to work on other projects that help fulfill his true calling and broader purpose. What he does in the game is good for scoring points and celebrating championships. What he’s doing off the court is good for building his brand and defining his life’s work.

  1. Destiny

Usually in the professional game folks are driven by something to prove. Maybe Curry felt doubted and had to prove he’s got game. Maybe Haddish felt slighted as a child and had to prove that ‘she ready.’ But even beyond having to prove to others in the game, is their hope to fulfill their destiny.

Once the NCAA tournament is done the NBA playoffs begin. Curry’s looking to do something not done since Kobe Bryant and the Lakers with a three-peat. Haddish is working on her stand-up game for Netflix projects. They keep performance on high, driven by the dream, flow, brand and destiny ‘cause they’ll be around.

Tip: Great achievers keep performance on high, because of the dream, flow, brand and fulfilling their destiny.

Talkback: Who you’ve got for taking the crown at the NCAA Big Dance?

Tracks: Cee-lo ft Timbaland – I’ll be Around – https://youtu.be/TatmBrl8Y28

T.I. ft Chris Brown – Get Back Up – https://youtu.be/B9qZz-m6BL4

Ciara, Oprah, Their First-Name Status and The Big Rollout to Leave a Mark on the Marketplace with a Big Payback

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Seems like the Spring season kicked-off with so many events for us to go all out. The March Madness frenzy is in full effect where fans get to raise the noise as teams raise their level of play. There was also a Michelle Obama sighting as she returned to her book tour to an arena fill with 18,000 guests.

Recording artist Ciara was in the house along with a few other big-time players in sports and showbiz. Not to be outdone, Oprah made a grand appearance at the Apple launch of their latest tech project. She says they’re partnering to leave the world a little bit smarter, kinder and better than they found it.

Ciara and Oprah with their first-name status and the big rollout, are looking to leave their mark on the marketplace. That’s not some new feeling/fad that’s got them pitching a ‘pie in the sky’ idea. It’s really them connecting with folks in ways that excite new ventures in technology along with hopes and dreams.

Outside of those times Ciara gets to shake, bounce and pop in music she’s giving talks to industry/sports groups on the challenges of life-role balance. Beyond those times Oprah gets to share content, impact culture and deliver entertainment, she’s big on spreading ‘aha moments’ to rev-up life.

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What we see with them points back to times they took a chance, made a shift, or set a goal to stretch them from where they were to where they could be. This latest effort with Apple is one Oprah is gushing about. It gives her another way to show that achieving fulfillment in career and life is in how we affect:

  1. The Game

This takes some passion. For Oprah it started with her doing the local news. Her passion was working in journalism. Then she made the shift to hosting her own talk show which changed the game as we knew it. Oprah and Ciara show that passion is in how we master the game and how we level-up the career field.

  1. The People

Most folks remember the Oprah show episode when she said these words: “you get a car, you get a car, err’body gets a car.” That was one of those moments where she did something special for the audience. She’s been doing that not only with financial gifts but also serving in ways guided by a sense of purpose.

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  1. The World

Ciara’s fans love her music and how she celebrates sexy. It sure lights-up the faces of many a guy and girl. Oprah says her calling is as a kind of teaching guru. That’s why she’s revamping her book club. She uses it to bring light to the world and maybe has a big payback by making God look good in the process.

  1. The Times

Along with her professional duties, Ciara is busy being a mom. She’s helping her kids get through their times-table so they can multiply faster. But Oprah chooses to multiply numbers faster with vision, passion and mission to affect millions. That’s how they and other major players affect the times and the ages.

Ciara and Oprah give us inspiring notes on how fulfillment means having our whole-self matter in the best ways possible. Not everybody gets to have first-name status in pop culture. But they do, maybe because they’re loved for what they represent and how they affect the game, the people, the world and the times.

Tip: There’s no greater sense of fulfillment from making a difference than how we bring love to affect the game, the people, the world and the times.

Talkback: Ready to get your game on, excite the people and impact the world for all times?

Tracks: Kirk Franklin – Love Theory – https://youtu.be/3aD8OK07iIY

Aloe Blacc – Wake Me Up – https://youtu.be/M_o6axAseak

Here’s What it Took for Idris Elba and Jennifer Lopez to Raise Their On-the-Job ‘Hit’ Average to Become A-Listers in Showbiz

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Just about a year ago many were excited about the wedding of the century. It was Prince Harry and Meghan Markle whose fairy tale story had Hollywood royalty in attendance. There were other close friends among those sharing the moment. Idris Elba was one of them and now he’s got next.

Then there was news that Jennifer Lopez said yes to Alex Rodriguez. Their public romance and recent engagement now put them on deck. Elba is set to tie the knot next month while for J-Rod it might not be too far out. Theirs could be the next wedding of the century for all the fashionista that would be there.

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They’re clearly A-listers and have come a long way since their days behind the scenes. Elba remembers those times when acting roles were hard to come by. But after landing a gig on HBOs the wire, his market appeal began to rise. He’s got so may projects in the works that even Saturday Night Live came calling.

Both get high marks for building a brand around being a triple threat. They’ve put out music albums, starred in big screen movies and varying TV show roles. They share a kinda of hunger for their craft that keeps them on top of their game. It’s not something you can teach as it is that which makes them reach.

They are good at what they do. But they’re also good at the business of doing what they do. That’s the difference between being on top of your game and being a top performer in the game. It’s in how they’ve gone about raising their on-the-job ‘hit’ average to become A-listers that gives them an edge as:

  1. Creators

If you’ve ever had to make something from ‘scratch’ you know the feeling it brings. It’s an ‘inner genius’ feeling of accomplishment in going from nothing to something. That’s probably the feeling Lopez gets watching the many acts on her latest World of Dance episode. The performers are artistic dance creators.

  1. Producers

Elba would prob give props to Lopez who’s turning out projects on many artistic fronts. He’s looking at more than just acting roles to add to his ‘hit’ list. He started a production company to develop projects around his other passions. That means turning his creative genius into a broader development process.

  1. Promoters

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Not many people knew that Elba was the DJ at Harry’s wedding. He says he got the job after working as a DJ at prior events for Harry’s Dad’s (Prince Charles) social events. As if life’s imitating art, now Elba is promoting his new comedy project on Netflix based on a struggling DJ who becomes a male nanny.

  1. Collaborators

Beyond their many production efforts, the big-time success has also come from working as collaborators. Lopez shows what that looks like with the judging panel of her show. She’s teamed up with other showbiz players to make the overall production even more widely appealing.

We’re yet to see what will come when Lopez and A-Rod join forces not just as a family but as an enterprise. For Elba, maybe there’s something in his future like the James Bond franchise that would bring together creators, producers, promoters and collaborators on a project to light it up!

Tip: Creators and producers are good at what they do. They become like promoters and collaborators by being good at the business of doing what they do.

Talkback: Will J-lo and A-Rod put on the next wedding of the century?

Tracks: Major Lazer – Light it Up – https://youtu.be/r2LpOUwca94

Chaka Khan – Like Sugar – https://youtu.be/RecY5iZn6B0

Wendy Williams and Nick Cannon Explain What They Did to Avoid Things Going Off the Rails from a Career Skid

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What do folks do when they need to get-away? Well it depends on the reason for such a move. It could simply be stepping away from the grind with a quick weekend trip or vacation R&R. Sometimes it’s for health reasons as was reported in the news about women’s basketball head coach C. Vivian Stringer.

Wendy Williams and Nick Cannon have been down that road too. Williams returned to her talk show after stepping away for a couple months. As rumors swirled around issues in her marriage, she says it was more about dealing with Graves disease. Now she’s back as her story became its own hot topic.

Cannon once had to pull-back his regular schedule when dealing with blood clots in his lung. He left his radio show and reduced the demand on his time. He has since cranked things up again with his various hosting, producing and podcasting roles in media. He made sure to avoid a spinout in his dreams.

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They took similar steps to avoid things going off the rails from a career skid. In part they had to manage how their story became tabloid news. Williams, the one-time radio gossip queen finds her own story making headlines. Some fans aren’t satisfied with the explanation but maybe the dust will soon settle.

Cannon was a fill-in host while she was out. She kept him up-to-date on what she was going through. Their bond might be in knowing there are times when ‘self’ gotta come first. True, it takes a lot of skill, will and at times getting over a hill to come first in life. But it’s ok for self to come first when there’s need for:

  1. Self-aware

Cannon is the host of the new reality show Masked Singer. Artist T-Pain was the first winner and he’s off to rebranding himself. Most folks know him as a rapper. But he knew that he had singing chops behind the mask. He showed fans how being self-aware is knowing what you bring even when others can’t see it.

  1. Self-care

Williams and Cannon had similar moments of having to deal with self-care. At the time, he left his morning radio show and cut back on his other duties. Sometimes self-care isn’t just about the physical. It might also be the spiritual and emotional. In the case of Williams, it might even be relational and her marriage.

  1. Self-motivated

There’re times when the grind can get in the way of the love. Williams doesn’t want that love at home to fade. But the grind can also take away from the love of the game. It’s that hustle-love of the game that keeps us self-motivated. Even beyond health reasons, being self-motivated is important to level-up your play.

  1. Self-assured

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After his America’s Got Talent hosting gig ended, Cannon stepped-away for a bit. Since then he’s returned to TV on Masked Singer wearing a Turban. He says that came from spiritual reflection. Clearly, he took some time for ‘self’ which is now seen in his latest swagger of being self-assured.

Williams will be back to her old self, giving fans new reasons to watch. Some might want to know more about the rumors behind her time-off. Cannon is back to ramping up his work in showbiz. They know if you want to ‘run run run’ in the game you need to be self-aware and do self-care to have ‘fun fun fun.’

Tip: If you want to crank-up your best work and ‘run run run’ in the game you gotta be self-motivated and self-assured as you have ‘fun fun fun.’

Talkback: Who do you think would be good as a performer on the next season of Masked Singer?

Tracks: BBD – Run – https://youtu.be/lRrY2_4AKKs

Con Funk Shun – Fun – https://youtu.be/du5b-honXWI

Here’s What John Legend and Iyanla Vanzant Reveal About Being ‘Hired for Looks or Wired for Success’

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Well Spike Lee finally won at the Oscars and it was celebrated by one of his homeboys. When Samuel L. Jackson realized he’d be announcing Lee as the winner for Best Adapted Screenplay, he gave out a big shout. It wasn’t Lee’s first Academy nomination, but it took almost 30 years before he’d finally won one.

John Legend is also looking for his first, not Oscar but Voice winner. He’s the newest coach on NBCs singing reality show. Speaking of reality shows, how about Fix My Life, with the no-nonsense queen herself. Legend and Iyanla Vanzant reveal more about being ‘hired for looks or wired for success.’

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For Legend it’s been one of going the traditional route in earning his college degree from an Ivy League University. No one might know since he’s so down to earth and easy going. He’s been strongly influenced by the musical background of his family which helps explain why he feels at home belting tunes.

Vanzant works with folks who’re trying to get a handle on some facet of their life. Sometimes it’s personal, relational or even professional. Each week she shares bits and pieces of her story along the way on her OWN Network show. She’s even taken steps to bring her message to fans on her Get Over It tour.

Legend’s one of the few who’s an EGOT, for winning Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Awards. For Vanzant, her show recently received two NAACP Image Awards nominations. But what we see on the outside doesn’t tell the full story of the journey. Before the success, they were on the R.O.A.D. of:

  1. Rejection

Legend says he learned a lot about music from his grandmother who was a church organist. Over the years he’s worked with many music artists who’re Grammy winners themselves. But Legend remembers those times when he was rejected by every major record label before getting his first music contract.

  1. Omen

Maybe the rejections helped him work harder. Maybe the setback on her first Talk Show helped Vanzant become wiser about showbiz. They, like others who’ve been on the R.O.A.D. might point to a certain time or situation that proved to be like an omen. It was a kind of prophetic tell-tale sign of things to come.

  1. Advice

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Vanzant’s become a sought-after personality for advice and counsel. She embraced advice she received in her own life when things weren’t ‘in order’ as they are now. She knows that there’s advice people give that might discourage or tear you down, while others give advice to encourage and build you up.

  1. Destiny

Now that Legend is a coach on the Voice he’s helping emerging artists live their dreams. He’s walked the walk in the music business. Vanzant is offering folks some ‘reality check’ advice because as she like to say ‘she’s done the work’ as well. They’re fulfilling their destiny as they help others do the same.

Whether or not they were hired for goods looks, they have personal experience of what it means to be wired for success. Vanzant might say when you do the work on your inner self, you’ll achieve the worth of your best self. Legend knows rejection paves the way for your selection and also saying ‘hello happiness.’

Tip: The road that success travels is one that might take folks from rejection to selection and also saying ‘hello happiness.’

Talkback: Since they’re so good, what can Legend not do as an artist or Vanzant not fix in life?

Tracks: Chaka Khan – Hello Happiness – https://youtu.be/JG6D59k9U8Q

Khalid – Talk – https://youtu.be/Y1QZOprK7PQ