Ashley Graham and John Legend Are Dusting Off Shelf Space for More Awards & Pics of Their Best Selfie

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What do Ashley Graham and John Legend have in common? They’ve both topped lists that most folks wouldn’t even dream possible for them. Graham has graced the covers of Sports Illustrated magazine as one of America’s ‘Hottest Full-Figured Women.’ That simply means lots of voluptuous to go around.

For Legend, he was named People Magazine’s 2019 ‘Sexiest Man Alive.’ Let’s leave that to the ladies on what that means. It’s not as if he doesn’t already have his hands full. As a singing coach on NBCs The Voice, he can be seen on weeknights giving praise to emerging artists on their melody and high notes.

So, if folks are wondering what it takes to get named on any of these lists, for legend it might start with him being a crooner. He’s known for love-letter type music ballads that crossover music genres. Legend today, is like Sinatra of old. How his words flow does the same thing to fans today as Sinatra did then.

With Graham, it’s about being true to herself. She’s never shied away from her physical features as a plus-sized woman. Her self-acceptance has developed into inner confidence. This has carried over into becoming a pop culture crowd favorite on the runway and in the podcast world.

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Bu there’s one list they might say that everyone gets the chance to top. It’s the ‘Best Self Alive’ list where who you are aligns with your purpose and what you do is developed through strength, courage and wisdom. Even if we don’t make it into People Magazine or Sports Illustrated, we can still pack our:

  1. Handsome

It’s the first things ladies see in Legend. But Graham knows becoming ‘Best Self Alive’ might also mean turning what’s in your ‘hand’ into ‘some’ thing of value. Graham shares how she learned to sew at a young age. Not everybody brings handsome to the table like Legend. But most can hand-some value.

  1. Headband

Legend is known for featuring his wife’s headband creations on social media, especially when they’re on vacation.  It’s how she works creatively with her hand as well as her head. The real power players in the game also know that when creative minds band their heads together it raises the level of fine work.

  1. Heartstring

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Graham might say voluptuous for her was simply a ‘means to an end.’ She didn’t start out hoping to be full-figured. She just owned her package and celebrated her lineage. Even though she’s expecting her second child, Graham is still doing jumping jacks in the gym and stroking the heartstrings of fans.

  1. Home-feel

For Legend and Graham, being in the limelight isn’t something they necessarily crave. It simply comes with the territory. Even with their star power and rave reviews they give fans a kind of at-home, hometown feeling. They also get props for how they’re raising a family and developing success at home.

If Hollywood were to put together its ’40 Under 40’, then they’d likely top the list. He’s already gotten the major performance awards of Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony which is why he’s called an EGOT. Their good looks and humble charm make you wanna show them love ‘cause they got juice.

Tip: The ‘Best Self Alive’ list leaves room for packing your handsome, headband, heartstring and home-feel that adds to your success.

Talkback: Is John’s team the one to beat on this season of The Voice?

Tracks: Alicia Keys ft. 21 Savage, Miguel – Show Me Love – https://youtu.be/Qr1kiCDAdxQ

Lizzo – Juice – https://youtu.be/N8ZI1Jlrf-w

Fantasia and DJ Khaled tell Fans How They’re Keeping Their Game Strong and Fame from Going Wrong

The list is in (or out)! As word on the winners are announced, some folks are glad to come out on top. Well it depends on whether you’re looking at the election results or the MTV EMA’s. Candidates in political races usually give their acceptance speeches while award winners get to hold their prized statue.

In the case of the upcoming America Music Awards (AMAs), the list of nominees is out. Word is that Lizzo will be performing on the big stage. She’s been nominated in the Best New Artist category. Also expected to make a showing is Selena Gomez. She’s back in the game with a new attitude and market appeal.

Hot on the charts are two artists among our hit list of music biz players. Fantasia and DJ Khaled give us their take on how they stay relevant. Fantasia who’s best known from her days on American Idol, has released new music and settled into having a family life outside of the glitz and glamour of showbiz.

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For DJ Khaled, it’s always been about sharing ‘major keys’ to his brand identity. He started spinning records for the ‘Miami Vice’ scene and now he’s a top-rated music producer. In recent interviews and posts on social media, they tell fans how they’re keeping their game strong and fame from going wrong.

Her new album recently jumped to the #1 spot on the Billboard R&B list with a concert tour in the rollout. His latest collabs feature artists who have their own standing in the game but who’re ready to produce crossover hits for the charts and movie soundtracks. They keep stirring-up their skills with:

  1. Passion

Think about how television is a way to tell-a-vision. The shows we watch go from vision to script to passion. That may be one way how Fantasia and DJ Khaled keep fans wanting more. Sometimes their music is like soul-vision as they put vision to lyrics and music on a track with a stirring in rhythm & soul.

  1. Path

For them, the paths taken have been different, but the results have been similar. Hot music, awards lists, excited fans. It’s more than just going down some money-making path. It’s also about creating a lit-path. They’re likely to share some life-notes from their journey to bring more light to the passion within.

  1. Purpose

When you see Fantasia on stage, she’s like a next-gen Patti Labelle. When you checkout the music from DJ Khaled he’s like a next-gen Quincy Jones. Similar passions to how they affect the game. But how they affect everyday life itself is more about living with a higher purpose beyond themselves.

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  1. Peace

There are some artists who seem to make news for all the crazy reasons (not calling any names). Maybe they’re still trying to find their peace. For Fantasia and DJ Khaled there’s lots of blessings to go around coming out of their sense of peace. It keeps them in a state of rest when things bring stress.

The AMAs will air on TV during the weekend before Thanksgiving. Lots of artists will be in the building hoping to rub elbows and up their cred. Fantasia and DJ Khaled may have special seats up front. But even if they don’t their passion for music will keep them on a path where they’re thriving and winning.

Tip: The path taken for more exciting times is filled with passion, purpose and peace by how you tell-a-vision your dreams and stir-up your skills.

Talkback: If you’ve seen the nominees for AMA Best New Artist, who’s your pick?

Tracks: Mary J Blige ft. Nas – Thriving – https://youtu.be/98YJEr9NaXc

Jay Rock – Win – https://youtu.be/ZPFnwgsTOWM

Cynthia Erivo & Leslie Odom Jr. Know the Difference in a Career Being Low-Key or Off-Key is in ‘Positive Tracking’

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Is it the Christmas season already? All signs seem to suggest that rush is about to come. A visit to any major box-store these days will have you passing trees and decorations. There’re also the Christmas shows getting ramped up on cable. Even the Rockefeller tree has been picked to travel from upstate NY.

But a story that’s sure to catch some eyes before then is the movie release of Harriet, about famed abolitionist Harriet Tubman. Her network of ‘safe spaces’ made it possible for blacks to travel the ‘underground railroad’ from slavery to freedom. It was a low-key enterprise that changed the social game.

The movie features two reasonably known actors who some might say have had low-key careers. Cynthia Erivo and Leslie Odom Jr cut their chops on Broadway. Erivo starred in The Color Purple while Odom might be remembered from Hamilton. Now they’re set to raise their profiles even more primetime.

They’re busy on the PR tour for the movie. Erivo on a recent sitdown with Oprah talked about her showbiz journey as a British singer/actress. When asked whether the Harriet role found her or she found it, her response wasn’t off-key at all. She felt the role found her even though her dream brought her to this point.

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She said, “To dream, to be specific about the things you want in life, and to see them clearly, actually helps to bring them into fruition.” That may be another way of saying the difference in a career, business or social campaign being low-key or off-key is in positive tracking. This has elements of a:

  1. Vessel

Erivo saw herself as a vessel in this Harriet role. In one sense a vessel holds some content. You can pour into it and pour out of it. When a vessel sits in place it appears low-key. Erivo knows that whether this role looks low-key or not, the trick to being at her best was in what she could pour into it and pour out of it.

  1. Vehicle

The ‘underground railroad’ was like a “hometown network.” It wasn’t an actual railroad even though it served as a way for folks to travel from the south to places north. For Odom and Erivo, the vehicle that got their careers to this point is the Broadway stage. That was a ‘network’ to expose their gifts and riffs.

  1. Voice

Their musical background and singing skills come through in their work. Both have used music to blow the roof off with their voice. Finding your voice isn’t simply about having a hip sound. So they’ve used ‘positive tracking’ to keep their voice, goals and dreams hitting the right notes in the key of life.

  1. Vision

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Odom feels the Harriet story is one of vision. It’s where people saw something that seemed impossible and made it real. Erivo feels humbled by the chance to play this role. It’s one where the vision of the movie’s storytellers reflects the reality that the ‘underground railroad’ made possible.

These days Halloween’s getting competition from Christmas. You forget that Thanksgiving is somewhere in between. Whether their career is between being low-key or off-key isn’t something Erivo or Odom are worried about. They’re happy to be a part of a project of turning dreams into reality. Look at them now!

Tip: Dreams get turned into reality as you let it pour into you like a vessel and flow out of you like a vision.

Talkback: What’s going on: late Thanksgiving, early Christmas, Halloween in-Between?

Tracks: Selena Gomez – Look At Her Now – https://youtu.be/8u-_64S7plI

Lizzo – Good as Hell – https://youtu.be/SmbmeOgWsqE

Denzel Washington & Michelle Obama Take Us to a Place Where Having that ‘It-Factor’ Showcases Their Hit-Factor

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Sports and showbiz fans a buzzing with excitement. For some it’s the baseball World Series and their fav team. There’re also those who’re pleased that Nicki Minaj says she’s found love and happiness. Then there’re NBA fans who’re glad to get past some of the recent drama now that the season is underway.

We even heard from Michael Jordan in a rare TV interview. He’s getting high praise for his philanthropic work in the community. He’s also tried to explain how his career has shifted from scoring points on the court to producing slam dunk gains in biz. Plus, he’s grown on the socially conscious side of things.

Then there’s Denzel Washington and Michelle Obama, among the all-time favorites in pop culture. He was recently honored in NJ as a ‘living legend.’ Obama’s getting mad love on social media after posting a clip from her workout routine, with encouragement to women and folks in general on self-care.

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When you think about the major acting roles that Washington has in his body of work, and the ‘ab-licious’ physique that Obama showed in the video, it might remind us of why they’re so loved, admired and respected. They take us to a place where having that ‘it-factor’ showcases their ‘hit-factor.’

Whether it’s delivering powerful drama or being ‘no drama Obama’ their work drips with passion and oozes with mojo. That’s made possible when work connects with inner genius, the way a person might connect with their soul-mate. Moreover, personally and professionally it’s how their story connects with:

  1. Wellness

Obama posted that video of her workout to remind us that good health is important for wellness. It’s not so much about looking like a supermodel as much as it is about knowing that ‘we get out what we put in.’ That’s true for our human parts and for our inner genius in how we grow doing things that make us tick.

  1. Wokeness

Washington and Obama are mindful of how their example affects and inspires others. For them it’s not just about cashing-in (although both have done well in ‘Benjamins’). Beyond that they bring a certain wokeness about giving back, paying forward, lifting up, and standing down on issues of the day.

  1. Boldness

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In accepting his recent award Washington wasn’t shy about his faith or apologetic about his roles. Similarly, Obama isn’t shame about her past struggles around marriage counseling or about her road to ‘becoming.’ Their boldness is in knowing good things happen by working on their craft and their cause.

  1. Greatness

Washington will go down as one of the greatest modern actors. Obama is certainly seen as one of the greatest (maybe even finest) First Lady’s in modern time. In the same ways that a soul-mate might bring out the best in a spouse, it’s our inner genius that will bring out the greatness inside of us all.

So the World Series is known for having its ‘October surprise’ in playoff performance. Seeing Michael Jordan in an interview surprised many. A sure thing about Washington and Obama is their work isn’t much about trying to impress. But about doing things with style, grace & finesse to make new memories.

Tip: The thing about putting your inner genius to work is it turns your it-factor into a hit-factor with style, grace and finesse.

Talkback: Did it surprise you to hear Jordan say college athletes should get paid?

Tracks: Bruno Mars ft. Cardi B – Finesse – https://youtu.be/LsoLEjrDogU

Anderson.Paak – Make it Better – https://youtu.be/7Jj83FOlBF8

Tiffany Haddish Says Tyler Perry Adds a Secret Sauce to Light a Fire Under His Biz Dreams and Project Teams

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Remember when Tyler Perry appeared on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon? He was promoting his then new movie Nobody’s Fool which featured Tiffany Haddish. He talked about how he gave Haddish a new Tesla as a gift for her emerging talent. He was offering encouragement on her dream journey.

Well, fast forward to recent events and you see how thing have played out. This time it’s Haddish explaining how the car was a material gift, but the best gift that Perry gives today is for us to dream bigger. That’s what he wanted guests at his recent studio grand opening to take away from the event.

Here are two showbiz players who’ll tell you they started out on what might seem like the wrong side of the tracks. Haddish went through a period of bouncing around foster homes and later living in her car. Perry went through a period of homelessness and disappointments before selling out his plays.

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Now he’s 100% owner of the largest movie production studio in America, supposedly bigger than the three main Hollywood studios combined. Haddish is the newest host of the re-booted Kids Say the Darndest Things. Their stories remind us that it’s possible to turn lemons into lemonade.

Folks are still raving about the ‘glory to glory’ theme of the event. Some say it had a Met Gala feel. Others think it was like Emmys, Grammys and Oscars combined. Those events usually have guests leaving with a swag bag. But Perry’s guests might have left with a dream bag that had success tools like a:

  1. Compass

We know the many artistic sides of Perry. His work has traveled the world over. A compass is good for going in the right direction not just on the road but also the highway of life. It’s in going north, east, south and west in the direction of one’s purpose, calling, passion and dream guiding you to fulfill your destiny.

  1. Clock

They say it feels like time stops when passion is in play. You forget about time as in the clock edition and operate with time as in the divine edition. This way you’re not getting upset when things don’t work out on a rigid schedule. Perry’s seen both clock time and divine time at work that’s brought things to pass.

  1. Calculator

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Haddish will tell you she wasn’t the best student in school. She writes in her book of how a certain teacher helped her with reading. With all the success coming her way now, she’s probably happy for a calculator to add-up the checks. It’s also a success tool to correctly calculate risks for the next-level rise.

  1. Clip

She probably remembers days as a child having to wear certain hair clips. They were a staple back in the day. Today she’s excited about the video clip that came with the Perry invite. That’s another kind of memorable clip along with many others from the event that guests will cherish for years to come.

Perry says he remembers being invited by Oprah to one of her Legends Balls and thinking to himself, “why am I here?” Well it’s that personal reflection clip that inspired the past decade or more of his life. He’s grateful, mindful and fruitful. Maybe it’s a glimpse of life with unstoppable blessing on blessings.

Tip: A swag bag might come with treats for style & beauty. But a dream bag comes with success tools like a compass, clock, calculator and clip to fulfill your destiny.

Talkback: How crazy is it for Perry to now own what was once a Confederate military base?

Tracks: Koryn Hawthorne – Unstoppable ft Lecrae – https://youtu.be/us7hvF6lsoc

Anthony Brown & Group Therapy – Blessing on Blessings – https://youtu.be/p58HS6h3l10

Shakira & J-lo Bring a Wide Skill-Set as Two High Performing Stars in Music & Showbiz

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College athletes ‘bout to get paid! Well, it’s not happening tomorrow or this season. But it’s set to kick-in after a while in California with the new law signed by the Governor. Not everyone is happy with this new shift in sports marketing. Time will tell if fans think the players deserve to get a slice of the gametime pie.

While that works itself out, Shakira and Jennifer Lopez ‘bout to cash-in too. They’ll be the Superbowl’s halftime show headliners. It’s a first for both and a first for two Latin-infused artists to perform together. We can reasonably expect to see lots of shakes, rattles and rolls across the dance stage.

Some wonder if one really needed the other for this premier event. Both have similar backgrounds and achievements in the music biz, selling around 75 million records. They can sing in English, Spanish and Spanglish if it comes to that. They’ve both had their own world tours and soldout performances.

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What’s special here is that their musical medley could include a vast array of hits from hip hop, reggaeton, pop, R&B and Latin flava. What’s even more special is how they next-level their skillset as two high performing stars in music and showbiz. Their list of awards is too long to unpack right this minute.

Shakira with her belly dancing chops and Jlo with her Hustler movie role could bring a new level of sexy sizzle to the big show. Whether singing, dancing, acting or just sky-walking in the air, they’re ready to fulfill a dream that’s a long time coming. Their star power is an example of what it takes to be:

  1. Brand Conscious

Everybody knows sex sells in showbiz. But business savvy has taken them all the way to the bank. Jlo’s made her share of pop culture dollaz across music, movies, TV and consumer fragrance products. You get the sense that if they could find a way to be ‘brand conscious’ with dirt, they’d collect there too.

  1. Body Conscious

They’ve been known to use their bodies to tease male fans. Some people have a way to ‘fit it’ and others have a way to ‘flaunt it.’ It’s a case where fitness alone doesn’t make them hot in showbiz. These ladies are body conscious with it to the point where they know how to bring a swish and a swash.

  1. Socially Conscious

There’re two women Jlo admires, not so much for their ‘swish and swash’ but for their socially conscious dash. One is the notorious RBG – Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the other Michelle Obama. It’s the kind of socially conscious appeal she hopes to have, not as a duplicate but as a ‘Jenny from the block’ original.

  1. Style Conscious

It takes style conscious swag for folks to be so attracted to what they’re wearing. Imagine the number of outfit changes they’ll make during the performance? It only takes removing layer after layer right down to skin and more skin. We might even see a few magazine front cover spreads in time for the big event.

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Shakira is set to release the movie edition of her recent concert world tour. Jlo’s been getting Oscar buzz for her role in the Hustler movie. When these ladies bring it together it’s gonna be lots of hot momma ‘shaking and baking’ for the taking. If you know what I know, watchout for them wandering eyes. Hey ya!

Tip: Next-leveling your skillset is a good way for bringing high-performance hustle to the game and brand-conscious star power to your fame.

Talkback: Is college players getting paid a good thing and will it change the game?

Tracks: OutKast – Hey ya! – https://youtu.be/PWgvGjAhvIw

Mary J Blige – Know – https://youtu.be/hjCbGmVMcQI

Shaquem and Shaquill Griffin as Star Athletes Have Been Able to Drop Some Things to Achieve Their Dreams While Holding on to Something Special

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Who’s ready for some Cookie? For those not sure, we’re talking about the lead character on Empire. The show is making its last season run and fans will be watching for a host of reasons. If that’s not your TV ‘cookie’ of choice, then maybe you’re waiting for This is Us or the new smash show The Masked Singer.

While you’re thinking about your TV downtime, others might have seen the feature story on CBS’ 60 Minutes about Shaquem & Shaquill Griffin. They’re identical twin brothers playing in the NFL. It’s hard to separate them not just based on looks but also on the pact they made with each other as eight year-olds.

Shaq & Shaq (sounds like a law firm) grew up playing football in the usual youth leagues before making it to college. The problem was that initially one was accepted on scholarship and the other was left out to dry. Eventually they’d both get scholarships and play at the Division I level.

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They made their way through the rigors of the sport and were ready to go to the next level. The problem was that Shaquem didn’t get an invite to the NFL Combines. His brother put in a word with the Seattle Seahawks who later invited him to tryout. Dude then ran the faster 40-yard dash for a Linebacker.

The story focuses on Shaquem because he’s the first one-handed player in the NFL. But that’s not how he’d like to be remembered. He wants his stats to do the talking. He works at his game in areas and ways that others might take for granted. When it seems like things might hold us back, he shows us to drop the:

  1. Mask

So, about that show where stars perform behind a mask. Folks guess on who they think it is and then one is revealed. Interestingly, last season’s winner saw a jump in his cred. Well Shaquem didn’t hide behind his assumed limits and treat it like a mask. Nothing was gonna prevent him from achieving his dream.

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  1. Fear

It’s said we show up in life with two fears: of heights and loud noises. All others are learned over time. What Shaquem seemed to have done was work hard not only at the skill of the game, but also at dropping his fears. He might have realized that f.e.a.r. is really ‘fools error acting ready’ to distract or disable our goals.

  1. Scab

Remember when you’d get a bruise. It would hurt in the moment and for a day or so longer. Then a ‘scab’ would appear to protect the injured spot. Shaquem’s twin brother has been his protector through the long haul. But Shaquem has also dropped the ‘scab’ of not having both hands, where it doesn’t even matter.

  1. Excuses

When Shaquem didn’t get invited to the Combines that was some hurt. It might have even formed a ‘scab.’ But he decided he wasn’t gonna make excuses. He’d just keep plugging away. When he later got a chance at showing what he could do, he was able to run, tackle and catch like any player on the field.

No matter the career track or season, they’re some similar things we get to work on. Yes, there’s skill of the game, networking in the industry and challenges yet to overcome. When we make a pact or set a goal, we drop the mask, fear, scab and excuses for the passion we’ll make with an empire state of mind.

Tip: When folks make a pact or set goals, they’ll drop the mask, fear, scab and excuses for the passion they’ll make with an empire state of mind.

Talkback: So what’s Cookie up to these days and will fans see an appearance of Jussie?

Tracks: Jay-Z ft Alicia Keys – Empire State of Mind – https://youtu.be/QsZlY0Vz4-o

Chronixx – I Can – https://youtu.be/fUREgj4i684

Lilly Singh Gets a New Show, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson Gets a New Season as They Go Bigger and Shine Brighter for Work & Play Projects

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There’s lots of sports & showbiz milestones being celebrated these days. The NFL is in its 100th season and Monday Night Football celebrates 50. Then there’re those celebrities hitting their marks of career longevity and breakout opportunity. That’s where Lilly Singh and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson fit in.

Singh just launched her talk show on a major TV network. She’s best known as a Youtuber whose Indian heritage makes her the only ‘person of color’ host in the late-night space. Johnson just announced that his show The Titans was renewed for a second season. They’re on the map with years apart in experience.

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Things have been quite busy for Johnson with his recent nuptials. Of note, he and his longtime girlfriend were on their honeymoon when he left early to be a fill-in guest on the debut of Kelly Clarkson’s new show. Johnson says his lady loves Kelly and so he had permission to leave early to help-out a situation.

Singh who’s probably not yet a household name, gives props to Johnson and to Trevor Noah. Both have offered their support as she comes into her own game in the new Hollywood space. In a sense, they’ve been using ‘house money’ budgets from Broadcast/Cable Networks for their work & play projects.

They’re in their own lanes working to improve on personal/professional gains. There’s prob a lot for Singh to learn in Hollywood where Johnson can be helpful. And there’ll likely come a time when he’s a guest on her show. Johnson’s got so many projects on his plate, so his career advice might be how he manages:

  1. Focus

A circus juggler manages multiple balls going in circles in the air. They say the trick is as you focus on one ball at a time, it’s to focus on being centered. When you’re centered you maintain good posture, timing and purpose. Centering is what makes juggling acts work and multi-project acts in business soar.

  1. Fuel

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Johnson points to a rigorous fitness regimen to keep him centered and fueled. With all that he’s doing from sun-up to sundown, he’s got to manage his energy, passion and nutrition to fuel his drive. He knows that as with cars, there’re different grades of fuel needed to drive our dreams on the road to success.

  1. Franchise

A franchise is usually seen as a brick & mortar store that has hundreds of locations. But Singh will experience a different kind of franchise in showbiz. It’s where she’ll have to master a ‘production formula’ that keeps new episodes coming and new viewers watching, eventually into the hundreds of thousands.

  1. Fame

There’s fresh excitement as Singh starts a new show. Her core supporters will watch because they ‘knew her before.’ Others will come on-board as word spreads and they get to know her. There may be some slip-ups or mess-ups along the way but a good role model for her is how Johnson has managed fame.

While Singh’s a new name, Johnson’s one of the biggest in the game. He’s got five People’s Choice Award nods this year. His summer blockbuster ‘Hobbs & Shaw’ was a spinoff to the Fast & Furious series. They get to go bigger, shine brighter and let their dreams fly like a bird in every direction.

Tip: The key with ‘moving & shaking’ in biz is to go bigger, fly higher and letting your dreams fly in every direction.

Talkback: What’s it gonna take for Singh to rollout with a bang on the first season of her new show?

Tracks: Beyoncé – Bigger – https://youtu.be/k6A9vtrJF5I

Imagine Dragons – Birds – https://youtu.be/vOXZkm9p_zY

Tony Gonzalez and Simone Biles are Special Because They ‘Crush It’ Which Makes Fans Give Them Their Props!

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It’s the time of year again when season openers come at you fast and furious. There’s football on every channel. This week also saw the kickoff of two new talks shows. Tamron Hall and Kelly Clarkson aren’t strangers to the public eye. They’ve gotten new gigs to bring their personality to the daytime TV scene.

Some showbiz watchers and sport fans might still be talking about what happened over the summer. There was the NFL Hall of Fame induction of Tony Gonzalez, one of the best to have played the Tight End position. There was also Simone Biles and her other-worldly performance as a gymnastic champion.

These two, while in different sports, seem to have something in common. Gonzalez went from “shy-guy status” in high school to a major player in college. Biles went from rocky beginnings as a child to rock-solid performances as a gymnast. It’s not quite rags to riches, but sure seems like “impossible to possible.”

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This helped put them on the map professionally and in people’s hearts emotionally. When Gonzalez made it into the hall of fame this summer, he had lots of pleasant memories to share. And when Biles did that first-ever ‘triple double’ routine, it sent the Internet into a full-blown pop culture “fire alert.”

They will tell you that it hasn’t all been peaches and cream. Gonzalez recently share how he dealt with being bullied in his early school days. Biles has had to deal with social media riff-raff comments after news about a family member. But they’ve showed nothing’s gonna hold them back because they go to:

  1. The huddle

Every football play starts with the huddle. It’s where the next-step gameplan is shared. But the huddle isn’t limited to sports. Folks in business and media do some kind of huddle in their office meetings. Gonzalez says he even does meditation as a kind of self-huddle with mind, body and spirit in the mix.

  1. The hurt

Both have had to deal with emotional hurts in their journeys. Gonzalez tells the story of hiding from his family when he realized that the bully showed up at his graduation. But he would gather himself and use that as a turning point. It’s a case of turning pain into gain, hurt into greater self-worth.

  1. The hustle

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Back in the day there was a song call “do the hustle” that was as popular as the electric slide is today. Biles does her own hustle in the floor routine, but not a lot of people can match it. It’s hard to wrap your head around her doing the triple-double. She did two twists and three flips in one swoop.

  1. The heartstring

The hall of fame ceremony can be a tear-jerker for inductees and fans. Maybe Gonzalez held it together, but we’ve seen times when athletes reveal their soft, human, vulnerable sides. That’s where heartstrings sometimes get pulled. It’s where fans connect with their idols in ways that make them feel like family.

Gonzalez continues to shine off the field as an NFL sports analyst. The playing days of his career might be over, but his star-status hasn’t faded. Biles is a 2019 nominee of the People’s Choice Awards in the Game Changers category. They’re special in how they crush it which makes fans give them their props.

Tip: In sports, business or in everyday life people who rock the hustle, shake the hurt and rise to the occasion are special because they crush it.

Talkback: Who’s ready for those season openers that bring new goals, roles and excitement?

Tracks: Yuna ft Usher  – Crush – https://youtu.be/9SGHPQ2FVm8

Jaheim – Struggle Love – https://youtu.be/paQc_A0oPxM

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Hidden Potential

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

  1. Game Skills

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

  1. Dream Path

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

  1. Purpose Lane

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

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

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

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

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

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