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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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

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

Taraji P. Henson & Terry Crews Reveal Why Nothing Compares to the High They Feel in Their Careers These Days

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The hype is over! With another Superbowl in the books, some in biz are counting their wins and maybe even losses. Whether it was the low-scoring game or the low-lights from the halftime show, the game saw a dip in viewership. The crowd-favorites were the pre-event concerts and post-game after-parties.

As the cross-talk in sports circles about the game and the culture gets heated, folks wonder if there’s a message for the NFL brand. As a former NFL player, Terry Crews might have something to say from a sports point of view. While Taraji P. Henson might let ‘Cookie’ say her piece as an ‘Empire’ cultural icon.

But beyond that, they might reveal why nothing compares to the high they feel in their careers these days. He’s the newest host of America’s Got Talent World Edition while she just got her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. They both remember a time when they had to flip the script in their careers.

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Henson says she started out doing sitcoms in the early days, thinking that comedy would be her thing. Crews shares how he had to turn his playing days into stage plays as a new form of ‘hustle-love.’ Now it feels like with major roles coming in that they could share tips on being a ‘go-to’ person in the workplace.

If there’s one good reason why they’re doing their best work or getting the best assignments it might be in how they traveled the road to excellence. They developed their craft, project by project. It’s like the ‘got milk’ campaign for building strong bones, their career might have its own 4-part slogan for strong game:

  1. Got Made?

When you think about how milk ‘got made’ there’s a process of going from raw grass to pure milk. For Crews & Henson the journey has been a process of going from raw talent to pure gold. How they got made hasn’t been about getting there fast, even-though their careers now seem to be on a fast-track.

  1. Got Trade?

They spent time learning the ropes as they played the roles. There was a time when having a skill meant applying it to a certain trade. This way folks often made a living with their hands. But these days ‘got trade’ might also be about developing your brand as a trade and making a living with all ‘hands on deck.’

  1. Got Paid?

Henson finds herself doing Empire on the small screen and breakout movies on the big-screen. Crews is also wearing many hats in a similar way. They use their skills and build their brand to create ‘got paid’ money moves. That means they turn their off-season in one area into their on-season in another area.

  1. Got Praised?

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Crews tells the story of hosting a talent show back in high school. It was his way of getting his mom to support his early showbiz dreams. Now things have come full-circle in hosting AGT as a worldwide TV franchise. Maybe the way he ‘got praised’ back then was a sign of how he’d rise to doing big things today.

Henson shared how she got more serious roles after early days in sitcoms. She adjusted her ‘flow and style’ to land those gigs. The same is true for Crews in going from the football field to a different field of dreams. Some say watching them ‘hustle-love’ in their career lanes gives us a certain kind of high.

Tip: When it comes to being one of the ‘go-to’ persons at work, it takes developing your craft project by project to the point where you bring a certain kind of high to the marketplace.

Talkback: What kind of high do you get watching Henson and Crews do their thing?

Tracks: India Arie & Musiq Soulchild – Chocolate High – https://youtu.be/3F8R-vBB4O4

Ledesi – High – https://youtu.be/MEiM2iokvFs

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