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

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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

Steve Harvey & Gabrielle Union Tell a Few Secrets on How to Keep Your Performance Level Up and Your Favorability Ratings High

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So who thinks the Grammy Awards was a hit? Well it depends on what group you ask. There’re some who feel the Grammy’s got a problem with Hip-Hop. But there’re others who feel that women were well represented across award categories and show performances. That Alicia Keys is something else.

Even with the star power on stage and in the building, the showbiz talkers say it still wasn’t up to par with fan support. Yea Cardi B did her thing along with some of the other special honors, but the show didn’t get the traction it once had. Maybe they’ll go for new blood in the main office or production team.

It’s what Steve Harvey and Gabrielle Union are constantly working on. They tell a few secrets on keeping your performance level up and your favorability ratings high. Sometimes it’s finding new ways for getting your work to be seen as valuable. Because when familiarity sets in things can get stale, stagnant or stuck.

For example, social experts say by February that 80% of new year resolutions fall apart. Plus, as folks think about their work goals for the new year, they’ll be looking for something to set themselves apart in job performance. So what will it take to level-up the passion in your game this year?

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Well Harvey and Union keep finding new ways to flex their muscle while keeping the clients happy. He recently hosted the NFL Honors which took him back to his stand-up comedy days. Union is set to join the Judges panel on America’s Got Talent (AGT). Giving it their best means being ‘new and improved’ in:

  1. Hustle

Harvey shared his stand-up comedy formula for telling jokes. When you hear him break it down you get a sense for what works for him on stage. With other hosting gigs and projects he’s able to turn that formula into new moments of energy and smarts. That’s how hustle-love helps him keep his performance level up.

  1. Flava

Ever notice how fast-food chains keep their menu ‘new & improved’? Sometimes it’s by adding a new topping to the burger. Other times it’s in adding a new ‘special sauce’ for flavor. Well Harvey and Union seem to get that. It’s how they add a new ‘topping’ to their skill set or ‘special sauce’ for more flava.

  1. Vibe

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Now that Union will be sitting in the Judges chair, she and the other newbies on the set are sure to bring a new vibe to the show. It’s as if vibe is a higher form of flava that comes with teamwork. It’s the chemistry of the collaboration from working together. Vibe is another way to make yourself a sought-after player.

  1. Buzz

When bad things happen in careers or showbiz there’s a kind of ‘dark buzz.’ The news makes it to the tabloid section of social media. But when good things happen there’s a kind of ‘light buzz’ where you’re in the spotlight. They’ve seen both, having to go from dark to light and light to bright for more market appeal.

Harvey’s well on his way to turning his mojo into more jokes. Sounds like he’s thinking about returning to the stand-up stage. Union will be working hard on being a treat in her new AGT seat. They know keeping performance level up and favorability ratings high takes new rounds of hustle-love to make it rain.

Tip: Being ‘new and improved’ at work means keeping your performance level up and your favorability ratings high with new rounds of hustle-love in the game.

Talkback: What’s it gonna take for the Grammys to step things up next year?

Tracks: Travis Porter – Make it Rain – https://youtu.be/CEsaGwCWIkQ

H.E.R. – Make it Rain – https://youtu.be/ybGX43zYVAM

Tamar Braxton & Geoffrey Owens Get Real About Passion, Pain & Fame as They Rebound in Their Showbiz Careers

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Well the government shutdown is over and thankfully our public servants can return to work. This wasn’t the kind of workplace blip because of a change in career or starting a business. This was a standstill that was out of their control. It’s wild how some elected officials try to take credit for them going back to work.

Then there’s the Kanye West lawsuit recently claiming he was the reason for the successful rebooting of Jay-Z’s career. But a more exciting story is the Big Brother TV appearance by Tamar Braxton and SAG Awards appearance by Geoffrey Owens. They’re getting lots of love from fans for their comeback stories.

Braxton and Owens get real about passion, pain, fame as they rebound in their careers. For Braxton it’s about doing a brand reset from her time on the daytime TV show The Real. For Owens it’s more like a career reboot, after working at a food retail chain to make ends meet when his acting gigs dried up.

They’ve been through some moments that brought pain along the way. But even through those times they kept thinking about their passion for music and acting. They know how fame can have a way of ‘spitting you out’ from pop culture circles. But now they’re ready for their Act II as they refresh their showbiz feed.

Owens was part of a SAG Awards feature by sharing highlights from his career story. He ended his comments with the words ‘I am an Actor!” If Braxton had to do something similar, she’d probably end with the words “I am an Entertain-her.” Their advice on career reboot or brand reset might also include:

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  1. Create your lane

Braxton started out in the music business with her sisters before becoming a solo artist. She’s part of the Braxton Family Values reality show and even had a spinoff with her own show. Her success has meant being creative in a certain lane. And when there’s room to grow, going further by creating her own lane.

  1. Concentrate your skills

Owens spent time in the shadows of Hollywood when he had no roles. But as things went viral after being spotted working at a food store, he’s now in a different place. Acting gigs started opening up with a recurring role on a Tyler Perry produced show. So he’s able to concentrate his skills and pay the bills.

  1. Collaborate your efforts

Her music career is on the comeback with a new album release on the way. Part of what she might have learned from her time at The Real is how to collaborate her efforts. Even as a solo artist she still has to work with producers, promoters and influencers. That’ll help her project go from studio grade to platinum.

  1. Circulate your work

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Owens might have agreed to do the Sag Awards feature to show appreciation for getting a second chance. But it might also be a good place to circulate his work. Meantime, Braxton’s appearance on Big Brother gives her the chance to do the same. She’s got fans voting for her in the publicist challenge.

Even in business the idea of a reboot, reset or refresh happens when companies says they’re ready for a do-over. Braxton and Owens are doing what it takes to keep the comeback wheels turning. They’ll have a new attitude and passion at work. They’ll be networking with peers and putting the career pieces together.

Tip: When you’re creative in your lane it opens the door for creating your own lane and taking things to the next level.

Talkback: Who’s ready to give Braxton and Owens credit for their brand reset and career reboot?

Tracks: Tamar Braxton – Pieces – https://youtu.be/MMisBuTKreM

Patti Labelle – New Attitude – https://youtu.be/QWfZ5SZZ4xE

Checkout Spike Lee and Regina King Exchanging Notes on ‘Being in The Running’ and Getting That First Shot at the Big Prize

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It’s maybe one of the biggest no-calls in an NFL game. That’s the general feeling among players and fans after the Saints-Rams championship. Even the Rams defensive player helped make the point. That turnover moment will be remembered for how it took away Saints momentum during the late stretch.

Then there’s the roll-call coming out of Hollywood with this year’s Oscar nominations. Lots of buzz around Spike Lee getting his first pick ever. There’s probably just as much attention Lee will receive if he wins as Regina King got when she won at the Golden Globes. Imagine what we’d learn if they exchanged notes?

Lee and King spent a lot of time ‘being in the running.’ Over the years Lee has produced a host of films that made waves in pop culture. But it seems he kept being overlooked by the Academy. King was a child actor on the sitcom ‘227’ before becoming a Director and making her powerful statement at the Globes.

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They’d tell the story going from no-call in Hollywood to roll-call in nominations and going from first-look to getting that first-shot in industry. They kept doing their thing even when overlooked. As they worked on their performance styles and pleasing audiences, they had love for the fans and hustle-love for the game.

Lee has produced films that raise social awareness and deliver entertainment value. Sometimes he appears on sports-talk shows debating crossover topics. King has seen roles from the small screen to the big movie sets. And she’s preparing for a new career goal in 2019 as she steps-up her game with some:

  1. School Days

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There’s the movie School Daze that Lee produced around the HBCU college scene. But there’s also ‘school days’ that King is ready to tackle. She knows there’s more to learn about herself, her craft and showbiz as an industry. That’s probably a satisfaction Lee now feels having gone down that road.

  1. Challenge Days

King realizes that her goal will come with some challenge days. These aren’t just days of a social media challenge which can get out of hand. Folks are doing crazy stuff for no good reason. The challenge days King expects involve doing big stuff for greater results. Such challenge days can bring greater meaning.

  1. Tough Calls

With the Saints game, one view is that the no-call was a tough call to make. That’s maybe why the NFL plans to consider whether pass-interference plays will be subject to video review in the future. There’re tough calls to make when it comes to being in the running and getting your first shot at the big prize.

  1. Pitch Calls

Over the years Lee has probably done a few ‘pitch calls’ where he’s made the case for his next project. A part of stepping-up her game means King will have to do the same. Making the pitch often involves figuring-out the niche. That helps with opening new doors and bringing new ideas to the marketplace.

The Vegas bookies will give the odds-on favorite for which team has the best chance to win in the Superbowl. The showbiz talkers will get into the nitty-gritty on who’s got the best chance to win in each Oscars category. Lee and King know it’s not an easy road, but they meet the challenge by taking a shot.

Tip: Showbiz & sports stars know success is in having love for the fans and hustle-love for the game.

Talkback: Is it time for Spike Lee to win that big one and for pass-interference calls to be reviewable?

Tracks: Buju Banton – Not an easy road – https://youtu.be/5JQcn9w_PUk

Ella Mai – Shot Clock – https://youtu.be/RR1_p1zjeSI

Tyler Perry and Steve Harvey Bring a Dose of Laughs and a Drop of Reality to Get Folks Juiced-up for the Holidays (and Beyond)!

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No more drama! No more Madea? If fans had to choose they might say ‘No more drama for $200’ as Tyler Perry says he’s retiring the Madea character. It might be easier for them getting rid of the drama in life than for seeing the end of Madea. But at least Perry threw-in the fact that their layaway got pre-paid.

More Family Feud! More Little Big Shots! That’d be no-brainer for Steve Harvey. He’s set to host an upcoming holiday special where kids get to say and do their talent thing. While Perry and Harvey enjoy doing those projects, they know that in showbiz you gotta find ways to reinvent yourself.

In their work, they deliver a dose of laughs on stage and a drop of reality off stage. Even if it doesn’t get everybody excited for the holidays it might get some fans juiced-up for the new year. Either way, there’s enough good times and good vibes that can take us into next year for going from pre-lit to major hit.

Harvey says his wife loves to decorate for the season. Whether that means going with a pre-lit tree or starting from scratch is anyone’s guess. But the path we take to being fully-lit personally & professionally means embracing the things in life that come pre-lit: gifts, talents, calling, purpose, passion and dreams.

Perry and Harvey might explain in their tweetable moments that they’ve done the same in their careers. The holiday trees at home and across the country get to standout by adding some decorations. A good mix of ornaments, ribbons, tinsel and a tree-topper. So, success in going from pre-lit to major hit takes:

  1. Skill

While talent is something that usually comes naturally, skill is doing it with your eyes closed. Perry and Harvey spent years developing their skill by turning an ability into a capability. While talent gives us the ability to shine, skill gives us the capability to elevate things that come naturally to a level of superiority.

  1. Smarts

Harvey jokes about how his new beard has made him look and feel smarter. Well at least in the eyes of his grandkids. They keep quizzing him and he keeps answering. The smarts that makes folks lit professionally comes with more knowledge (as in book-smarts) and insight (as in street-smarts).

  1. Social

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Perry was a recent presenter at an event honoring the legacy of Nelson Mandela. You remember, it’s where Beyoncé graced the stage like an African goddess. What he’s doing by supporting everyday lives at home and abroad shows a level of care and influence that brings social impact.

  1. Soul

Perry and Harvey give props to the God-side in them reaching new heights. Sometimes the things that hold us back are tied to F.E.A.R. – a case of ‘Fool’s Error Acting Ready’ to kill your hopes and dreams. But when God stirs your soul you get juiced-up with a new vision for going from pre-lit to major hit.

The Madea winddown tour is set for next year. Perry believes it’s time to bring new things to life. That’s also true when the holiday season ends and the resolutions-rollout begins. When we hit the stage for the upcoming 2019 wind-up it’s a good time for ‘no more drama’ and celebrating a ‘new you, new woo.’

Tip: Going from pre-lit to major hit personally and professionally means you don’t stop ‘til you get enough skill, smarts, social and soul.

Talkback: What’s in-store for your holidays, for your new year?

Tracks: Mary J. Blige – No More Drama – https://youtu.be/em328ua_Lo8

Michael Jackson – Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough – https://youtu.be/yURRmWtbTbo

Steph Curry and Jennifer Lopez Give Fans the Best Feeling for Stepping-up Their Game and Living Their Best Life

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Lots of celebrations getting ready to happen over the next couple weeks. The office parties will have a little more ‘workplace buzz’ than usual. In college sports, the Heisman Trophy winner will be announced. But another winner, 9-year-old Riley Morrison, recently got the attention of NBA star Steph Curry.

She wrote a letter to Curry asking why she couldn’t find his sneakers in girls’ sizes. After making a quick check with the manufacturer, he got back to his young fan with great news. His response was good enough for helping her get those shoes. But he also threw in a few surprises that made for a nice story.

Another kind of story, maybe a ‘second act’ version, is what we see in the latest project by Jennifer Lopez. Lopez might say it’s never too late to bounce-back from a breakup or get a breakthrough after a setback. Curry and Lopez give fans the best feeling for stepping-up their game and living their best life.

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Whether it’s the letter from Curry or lessons from Lopez on living your dreams, they know what it means to be on a winning team or star in the show. There’re some things you might have to do more of. There’re some things you might have to do less of. And there’re some things you might have to do ‘more or less.’

Curry wanted his young fan to see in real time that he heard her concern. He took a few steps to make it right. And he gave her more reason to work on her game. But even beyond the playing court, the office or the workplace of the day, Curry’s letter was good advice for young and old on how to:

  1. Fear less

Someone once said “be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.” Curry saw that in his young fan. Clearly, basketball is a major love for her. It probably fires-up her world. Why wouldn’t you fear less when something you love lights-up your soul, brings heat to your game and energy to your grind?

  1. Limit less

So what Curry did was have his shoe company update the website to show ‘boys’ sizes versus ‘girls’ sizes. That small change took the limits off who could order those shoes. Curry wanted her to see that if they can take those limits off the website, she can also take any limits off what she could achieve.

  1. Dream more

Lopez might see herself in that little girl. She’s been in showbiz from the TV screen to the Hollywood side of things. Her latest project reminds us that when we dream more good things can happen. Curry sent a similar message to Riley in his letter by giving her first-dibs on the next release of his sneaker line.

  1. Party more

He even invited her to a special Women’s Day celebration next year. He plans to have her attend the event and maybe even get prime seats at a home game. They say no good deed goes unpunished. But Curry’s good deed will likely light a bigger fire for his young fan to go on and celebrate even more.

Some might say there’s no party like a holiday party. Curry’s seen a few parties in recent years as back-to-back NBA champ. Lopez has gotten quite a few awards across film, music and television. She knows a good party makes the journey more fun. They’re ‘game’ about having no limits and living their best life.

Tip: When it comes to living your best life, those who fear less tend to dream more and those who limit less tend to party more.

Talkback: How’d you feel if Curry or Lopez singled you out for a party invitation?

Tracks: Usher ft. Young Thug – No Limit – https://youtu.be/3w0yqAdJ1iY

Beyonce ft. J. Cole – Party – https://youtu.be/XWCwc1_sYMY