Tessanne Chin Brought Down the House and Took Home the Crown on ‘The Voice’


Theme:–The Year of ‘Growmance’
Where Love Beats Fear in Upping Our Game This Year” (Old-School Flava)

”Jamaica is celebrating with the United States as Tessanne wins The Voice!” That’s how Carson Daley capped-off the evening of the season 5 finale. Chin was among three finalists in the competition. She wowed all the coaches during blind auditions. She brought down the house and took home the crown.

The reggae backup singer has worked with the likes of Jimmy Cliff and Shaggy. She even did a few duet performances on the show with industry superstars. Now she’s ready to do her own thing with a Universal Music recording contract. Her journey is full of inspiration for dreamers, career changers and job seekers.

Chin was one of a few who thrilled fans and coaches alike. She showcased her singing voice (without the accent) and her speaking voice (with the accent) to have crossover appeal. Chin used the power of having a passion-voice that spoke louder than just singing talent. This made the experience come alive.

There’s not much else she saw herself doing. Chin says singing has been her first-love. So she’s put in the time working on her professional goals. Where she saw herself years ago is moving closer to where she is now. Having a next-level vision has taken her from small-island dirt roads to big-country dreams.

Chin gave credit to her fans in Jamaica and the U.S. She also touched on the bond she developed with Adam Levine. Whether on a startup journey or the comeback trail it helps to have a co-sponsor in your corner, a vintage performance to standout from the rest and resilience like a rock to enjoy the love fest.


The Year of ‘Growmance’
Where Love Beats Fear in Upping Our Game This Year” (New-School Flava)

“Jamaica celebrating with the U.S., Tessanne wins The Voice prize chest.” That’s how Carson Daley capped-off the show. After a season of singers going toe-to-toe. Chin among three season 5 finalists. The competition felt like pure bliss. Wowing fans as the show begun. Bringing down the house and having fun.

The reggae backup singer from yard. Worked with Shaggy and Cliff, not a bad card. Performed duets with many a superstar. Winning it all and a brand new car. Now ready to do her own thing. With a Universal Music contract as her ring. Lots of inspiration for today’s dreamers. Career changers and job seekers.

Chin seen early on as one of a few. Her melody fell over you like dew. Showcased her singing voice with a little twang. Speaking accent different from how she sang. Gaining more in crossover appeal. A glimpse of being the real deal. Her passion-voice louder than singing. In how talent comes alive in her bringing.

Not much else she wanted to do. Chin knows it’s important to ‘be you.’ With her first-love in the lead role. A way of working on her professional goal. Seeing herself years ago. Closer to being in today’s flow. Having a next-level vision gives her new streams. From small-island dirt roads to big-country dreams.

Crediting local and overseas fans. Touching on the bond with Levine’s hands. Whether startup journey or comeback trail. Dreamers don’t quit even if at times they fail. Good to have support from a co-sponsor. As someone who holds-down your corner. A vintage performance from the rest. Lets you enjoy the love fest.

Tip: Upping your game means moving past your past, working on your present and zooming into the future.

Talkback: Was ‘Bridge Over Troubled Waters’ Tessanne’s breakout performance on the show?

Pope Francis Gets ‘Person of the Year’ Nod and Guess Who’s Crying Foul?


Theme:– Operation J.U.M.P. For Jobs, Justice & Unsung Dreams

The top-ten list came together. It included President Obama, Senator Ted Cruz and Edward Snowden. Some might say the answer was a no-brainer. Cruz was too much of a new-comer and rabble-rouser. Snowden was too much a hot-potato. So Pope Francis named ‘Person of the Year,’ guess who’s crying?

There’re more people cheering than crying foul so let’s stay positive. Time Magazine Editors made the decision with input from readers. Francis also received a majority vote on other more informal surveys. He’s seen as a breath of fresh air in religious affairs. His focus seems less dogma and more karma.

He’s a man who espouses love over fear and hate. He challenges the trickle-down theory of economics. He encourages the religious establishment to think outside-the-box and serve outside the walls. Francis epitomizes the belief of ‘shared purpose, shared pain, shared gain.’ Well so does Operation J.U.M.P.!

It takes shared purpose to turn unsung dreams into a unifying reality. It takes shared pain to know everybody needs help after losing their jobs due to no fault of their own or their homes when there’s enough fault to go around. It takes shared gain to see how less people having more is bad economics.

Since the ‘Person of the Year’ announcement some have been labeling Francis as a Marxist. That’s like saying he’s an undercover Communist. Isn’t it funny that whenever someone rises up for civil rights and social justice they get tagged in a negative light? Francis must know something about that from the past.

Footnote: Operation J.U.M.P. is a mix of economic justice ideals and social-change reveals that might lead to community resolve made of steel.

Ted Cruz Walks out of Mandela Memorial but is Lukewarm on Gun Reform


Theme:– Operation C.R.U.S.H. Against Gun Violence, Bias and Clouded Vision

It was a typical morning in Newtown. Some parents dropped-off their kids before doing a little Christmas shopping. Then news broke the airwaves and broke hearts. Since then there’s been more angst than action. Think about it, Senator Ted Cruz walks out of Mandela’s Memorial but is lukewarm on gun reform.

It’s hard to imagine that the tragedy of Newtown has not moved the needle much. We saw wall-to-wall media coverage. The event brought social outcry and community vigils. Some of the surviving parents went to Washington to plead their case. But even that wasn’t enough to get common sense to budge.

Residents in New York and Connecticut can think back to recent weather-related storms. The damage caused by Superstorm Sandy was bad enough. But it was the loss in electric power that added insult to injury. Many people went without power for a few days, even weeks. So, local elected officials took action.

Well, since Newtown it’s almost as if ‘we the people’ experienced another power failure. Everybody agrees that this was a horrible event. Many vowed to do everything possible to honor those lost. And now a year later, we’re still waiting on those with a heart in Congress, to put their muscle where their mouth is.

Even after former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ experience it seemed that wasn’t enough of a wake-up call. She’s still recovering from the trauma of the incident and scars from the after-effects. This makes one wonder if there’s something in our cultural psyche that could be scarred as well.

Footnote: The debate in some circles is about gun reform versus gun rights, but maybe it should really be more about the near-term and long-term effects in the community of a power failure.

Kevin Hart and Lebron James in Dream Role as Cops and Ballers?


Theme:–The Year of ‘Growmance’
Where Love Beats Fear in Upping Our Game This Year” (Old-School Flava)

It seems 2013 has been a banner year for Black films. There was Lee Daniels’ the Butler featuring Oprah and Forest Whitaker. We had Fruitvale Station and ’12 Years a Slave.’ For laughs, Tyler Perry gave us a ‘Madea Christmas’ experience. So, how about Kevin Hart and Lebron James as Cops & Ballers?

Hart is ‘hot in Hollywood’ these days while James is back-to-back NBA MVP. Word is that next year they’ll star in a new movie called ‘Ballers.’ Hart’s character lives in the shadow of his NBA superstar brother (to be played by James), and gets a chance to tryout and live his dreams at a basketball fantasy camp.

The script is being written by Hart and others. So take a page from Hart’s success ‘cause living your dreams is like turning scripts into movies. It’s going from vision to reality by scripting your ideas and acting-out your hunches. This works as a kind of ‘dream simulator’ for putting your dreams in flight.

James’ movie has been in the works for some time. It’s had a couple false-starts and changes along the way. Sometimes this happens with movies and with dreams. There’re setbacks and miss-fires. It takes a ‘dream motivator’ to keep hopes and dreams alive. That’s what a good book or inspiring movie can do.

Superhero flicks have also been raking in big bucks this year with Iron Man and Man of Steel just to name two. A box office movie franchise is more like a ‘dream elevator’ than career-ladder. It’s why everyday dreamers, movers and shakers work hard bringing out their own superhero, one success-floor at a time.


The Year of ‘Growmance’
Where Love Beats Fear in Upping Our Game This Year” (New-School Flava)

2013 was a banner year. Black films not bringing up the rear. Lee Daniels’ The Butler with Oprah role. Forest Whitaker as her honey-love soul. Fruitvale and 12 Years a Slave. Not critics choice but still some rave. Tyler Perry films ‘Madea Christmas’ folks. Kevin Hart and Lebron James with Cops & Ballers jokes?

Hart’s ‘hot in Hollywood’ these days. James still gets back-to-back MVP praise. Some time next year new movie shoots. As ‘Ballers’ going back to their roots. Hart’s character in the shadow of his brother. Played by James as NBA superstar scorer. Gets to tryout and live his dream. Playing on basketball fantasy team.

Script being written by Hart as well. Really shouldn’t be a tough sell. Take a page from Hart’s success reel. Living your dreams brings a good feel. Vision to reality, scripts to clips. Ideas, hunches and big-money trips. Being in a ‘dream simulator’ both day and night. Helps with putting many-a-dreams in flight.

James’ movie in the works for a while. Few false-starts and shifts in action style. Happens with movies and dreams for the making. There’re setbacks and miss-fires for the taking. Lock-in a ‘dream motivator’ to keep hopes and dreams on track. Like a good book or inspiring movie brings payback.

Lots of superhero flicks raking in the dough. Iron Man and Man of Steel letting Benjamins flow. Bring on the box office movie franchise for real. Takes a ‘dream elevator’ to fast-track the career deal. It’s how dreamers raise their game and industry cred. Becoming mover and shakers who’re a step ahead.

Tip: Upping your game means looking your dreams in the eye and giving it wings to fly.

Talkback: When it’s released, would you go see the movie ‘Ballers’ with Hart and James?

Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs Spoke Truth to Power Unexpectedly


Theme:– Operation J.U.M.P. For Jobs, Justice & Unsung Dreams

It seems the ‘floodgates of realism’ broke wide open recently. First it was the Pope who called attention to the widening economic gap worldwide. Then President Obama delivered his income inequality speech quoting the Pope. But it was Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs who spoke truth to power unexpectedly.

Blankfein was participating in an industry forum where he shared how the economic recession changed him as a person. He went on to describe the American economy as one that creates wealth better than it spreads the wealth. No one expected someone with his power to identify the problem so simply.

It’s probably what the folks from Occupy Wall Street were trying to say. Industry reports indicate that much of the economic gains since the recession have gone to the ‘one percent.’ These are basically the rich and super-rich. It’s like a CEO getting a 100% salary increase and workers get a cost of living bump.

So Operation J.U.M.P. and others ask the question, Is this a social or moral disconnect? Inquiring minds want to know. How does an executive explain a 13 million dollar salary while a large percentage of the workers are below the poverty line? Supply versus demand can’t be the only market-based reason.

It’s not a surprise to hear the Pope address this subject. He’s seen as a next generation leader. As Fast-Food workers organize for improved income standing, they’re counting on shifting the game as well. Whether he knows or not, it might take a changed person like Blankfein to spread economic justice for all.

Footnote: Operation J.U.M.P. might not be a silver bullet for economic justice but it sure recognizes that not everybody was born with a silver spoon in their mouth.

Nelson Mandela’s Journey Comes Close to Being the Ultimate in Sacrifice


Theme:– Operation C.R.U.S.H. Against Gun Violence, Bias and Clouded Vision

Almost immediately kind words began pouring in from world leaders. One said we lost a giant. Another talked about him as a model of forgiveness and reconciliation. Oprah said Mandela will always be her hero. Rewind a few decades and we see a journey that comes close to being the ultimate in sacrifice.

As a young boy his life was on a typical track but as a young man Mandela chose an atypical path. He began to challenge his country’s track-record of social injustice. This landed him in prison for 27 years. There were many who joined the chorus to free Mandela. As fate would have it, he changed the nation.

His story is one of taking a stand. He stood on the side of ‘right’ even when it wasn’t convenient. He stood for a set of principles even when it rattled his popularity. Some see Mandela as a mash-up of Washington, Lincoln and Dr. King. He brought revolution, emancipation and inspiration in his lifetime.

But he’s also a mash-up of more distant heroes. While in prison he may have used an ‘Ezekiel eye’ to see his people in the ‘valley of dry bones’ oppressed by Apartheid. Later, his ‘Joseph journey’ took him from prison to the Palace. Along the way he had his ‘Moses moments’ in leading the country to higher ground.

So back to today’s reflections and we see a man who was once hated but now immensely loved. He was treated like scum of the earth but is now revered as statesman of the ages. Mandela didn’t allow his life to be crushed by social injustice but instead used conviction and convincing to crush social injustice.

Footnote: We can easily say that Nelson Mandela’s life was more than a blip on the radar. It was like a shining star that trail-blazed across the open sky for the whole world to see and love.

Solange Knowles Looking to Make Waves Among the Big Fish


Theme:–The Year of ‘Growmance’
Where Love Beats Fear in Upping Our Game This Year” (Old-School Flava)

Some in the urban fashion world are abuzz with the news. It seems sista girl is ready to step outside the shadow of her big sister. With Beyoncé busy wrapping-up her ‘Mrs. Carter’ World Tour, little sis is ready to rock her own boat. That’s right, Solange Knowles is looking to make waves among the big fish.

She posted on Instagram her new role as Art Director & Creative Consultant with Puma. She now gets to put her own spin on athletic fashion. Solange’s journey leaves clues for going from starting job to dream job. It might be fuel for going from rejection to being a top selection. It’s about how she filled-in the blanks.

This new gig didn’t happen by chance. She’s been developing her skills somewhat in the background. Many know of her recorded music. It’s where her first love was born. But Solange and other dreamers raise their game and fine-tune their passion by doing for free what they eventually hoped to do for a fee.

She doesn’t have anywhere close to the mass-market appeal of her sister. Beyoncé can sell-out stadiums in the U.S. and overseas in a heartbeat. But Solange might say that’s not really the comparison to make. For dreamers it’s really about turning ability into a capability that serves a market or community.

Maybe this shows there’s enough room for many-a-dream in the ‘consumer ocean’ marketplace. Those dreams come in different shapes and sizes. They’re loaded with unique talents and features. They come with varying bells and whistles. Solange puts it together in a venture that’s more like a life’s adventure.


The Year of ‘Growmance’
Where Love Beats Fear in Upping Our Game This Year” (New-School Flava)

Urban fashion world is abuzz. What many are talkin’ ‘bout cuz! She’s stepping outside her sister’s shadow. With a glimpse through her own window. With Beyoncé World Tour soon to close. Little sis ready to stick-out her nose. Solange Knowles now looking to make waves. Among the big fish and style craves.

Posting on Instagram her new role. Puma Art Director & Creative Consulting goal. To put her own spin on athletic gear. Bringing new trends on what to wear. Her whole story leaves clues. Starting job, dream job, paying her dues. Might be fuel for going from rejection. And how to fill-in the blanks for top selection.

New gig didn’t come by chance. Sort of like a give-and-take romance. Developing skills somewhat behind the scene. Now she’s ready to pull more green. With recorded music tooting her horn. That’s where her first love was born. It’s how dreamers build passion by doing for free. What they hope to do for a fee.

Less mass-market appeal than her sister. Didn’t stop her from thinking bigger. Beyoncé sells out stadiums in a heartbeat. Solange got to watch from the front seat. Might not be the comparison to make. As much as the fears she had to shake. Dreamers seize-on their ability. To serve a community or market capability.

So there’s lots of room for many-a-dream. In the ‘consumer ocean’ market-stream. Dreams come in different shapes and sizes. Loaded with unique talents and prizes. With bells and whistles to boot. And greater heights to shoot. Solange puts it together in new venture. To be continued in her life’s adventure.

Tip: Upping your game means thinking outside the box or outside the shadow of being a secret-admirer.

Talkback: Can Solange make a bigger name for herself outside of her music career or the ‘Bey’ Brand?