Lebron James and Allyson Felix Share Something in Common that’s Less About Speed and More About ‘Flowe’

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The Grammy nominations are out and a bunch of first-timers top the list. It seems Lizzo, Lil Nas X and Billie Eilish are the new faces of pop music. Lizzo leads the way with eight nods while Nas X and Eilish scored six nods. It’s their first time being nominated and represent a kind of ‘next gen’ Grammy class.

Some pop culture watchers say it’s becoming less about album sales and more about music streams as a gauge for how fans are listening. That’s the situation in the music business while in sports there’s a similar debate. As new athletes come on the scene how do veteran athletes stay relevant in the game?

Carmelo Anthony faces that question as he joins a new NBA team in his late playing days. He might look to Lebron James and Allyson Felix for clues. They share something in common that’s less about speed and more about ‘flowe.’ That seems to be the key to how they keep their game up and their gifting relevant.

Felix was recently seen in an add with Usain Bolt with a stack of medals around her neck. She has passed Bolt as the most decorated World Championship athlete with the most gold medals. Now she’s looking towards the 2020 Olympics to add more hardware and to possibly make history with team USA.

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For James in his second season with the Lakers, he made history himself, becoming the first-ever player to score a triple-double with every NBA team over his career. The Lakers are off to a big start with the best record in the league. So how do they keep making it ‘do what in do’ in their careers? Well it’s with:

  1. Focus

Jams and Felix seem to do a good job managing their off-season focus and their in-season focus. When it’s off-season they’re busy building market cred and hometown impact with new projects. In-season they’re doing things that have fans thinking they haven’t lost a step from start to finish of the season.

  1. Leadership

James has played for three different teams in his career. Each time it seems he brings a new level of leadership to the mix. Felix has been running her tail off for as long as most can remember. She recently had an issue with a sponsor for lack of support during motherhood. She’s still showing poise and grace.

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  1. Outlook

Making it ‘do what it do’ in career is sometimes a question of outlook. As with the aspect of their leadership, how they see things gives them a sense of self-accountability. They know having a good outlook means seeing the big picture before the big moment, seeing the forest from the trees.

  1. Work-Ethic

Maybe one of the hardest parts of having a good work ethic is being able to do the things you need to do when you need to do them, when no one’s really watching. That’s what the off-season is probably like for James and Felix, even though today’s social media world gives fans more ways to be watching.

There’re probably more medals and championship feats left in James and Felix. Who knows, they might be a good pairing for an ad campaign too. He’s trying to win one more NBA crown and she as Track & Field’s queen, is trying to win one more Olympic event. Maybe ‘sports gods’ are waiting to play their part.

Tip: It takes a fresh stream of ‘flowe’, that’s focus, leadership, outlook and work-ethic to keep your game up and your gifting relevant.

Talkback: Can you see James and Felix together in an ad campaign? For what product/service?

Tracks: Alicia Keys – In Common – https://youtu.be/4HazJhPnrB8

Janelle Monae Ft. Erykah Badu – Q.U.E.E.N. – https://youtu.be/tEddixS-UoU

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

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

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

Marsai Martin & Michelle Obama Might Not be Related but Share Similar Points for Putting Your Best Foot Forward in the Game This Year

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There’s lots of talk these days about whose winning streak is the best. Whether it’s Tom Brady being in eight NFL conference championships in a row or Lebron James in eight straight NBA finals. Some think Brady has lost a step this season. Others feel James has a long way to go for another championship.

For those looking at things through a different lens, then Marsai Martin and Michelle Obama might be the focus. Martin who’s one of the child actors on Black-ish is set to be the youngest executive producer of a feature film. She’s teaming-up with other more seasoned players in Hollywood on the project.

 

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Then of course there’s Obama’s Becoming book tour which might be on break now, but books are still selling. She’s maintained her own streak in the #1 spot as the best-selling book in 2018 since the 50 Shades of Grey release. The tour is gearing-up for a return in February with U.S. and international dates.

Martin and Obama aren’t related but share similar points for putting your best foot forward. For Martin it’s been a few years since landing her role on Black-ish as she’s an inspiration to the young’uns. For Obama it’s been a few years since leaving the White House and she’s an inspiration to young and old.

Since the new year is off to a fresh start, they give us the feeling that we can run-on and see what the next level might be. Whether it’s getting started on the good foot, turning-up with the best look or bringing the right energy. Their success steps have been like going from seed to tree to fruit in ‘Becoming’ a:

  1. Breakout

Martin and Obama might say they were nurtured by people who believed in them. That helped them develop from a seed to having a ‘tree’ mentality. When others believe in you and your work then there’s a good chance that your breakout will come. Like a seed becoming a tree, you’ll breakout in the right soil.

  1. Blossom

They can point back to a time when things began to blossom. Like blossoms on a tree, it’s where a certain beauty starts to flourish before the fruit appears. Making 2019 a year of ‘Becoming’ is more than just having good ideas. It’s letting the ideas blossom into something that’s full of beauty, color and value.

  1. Brand

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When asked whether she’d ever run for President, Obama is clear; NO! In a sense, that’s not how she sees her brand. Now that they’ve moved beyond their own blossom stage, they’re carving out a niche that sets their brand apart. Your brand helps to establish the fruit of your labor in the marketplace.

  1. Breeze

Beyond the cooling effects of a good breeze is the laid-back feeling you get. It’s the ‘no problem mon’ attitude some project. Whether as a child star or player on the world stage, Martin and Obama bring a ‘cool factor’ to their work. Maybe it’s why they project to fans a kind of cool, relaxed, laid-back feeling.

Taking a page from Martin and Obama in 2019 might mean looking more closely at the steps of ‘becoming.’ They both use the idea of going back in time to a ‘younger self’ to project their best self.  That’s a way to ‘believe in you’ and get to the spot of being a survivor or the #1 spot as a ‘brand new me.’

Tip: Going back in time to a ‘younger self’ has helped others leap forward in time to project their best self.

Talkback: What would it mean for your current self to feel like 19 again?

Tracks: Alicia Keys – Brand New Me – https://youtu.be/wOSv1TIa58M

Destiny’s Child – Survivor – https://youtu.be/Wmc8bQoL-J0

Swizz Beatz & Alicia Keys Created a ‘Success Blend’ by Putting a Certain Market Fix into their Business Mix

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The holiday season is almost here which means one thing… folks getting ready for Amazon on the block? Nah, for the Rockefeller tree lighting? The tree got cut, moved and setup in its usual spot on the plaza. When the switch gets flipped lots of bulbs will light-up and so will visitors and New Yorkers for sure.

This time of year also brings excitement for the Soul Train Music Awards. The original weekly show is where the famous Soul Train Line got its start. These days you see it at weddings after people had a few drinks and the fun’s let loose. Soul Train created a unique spin on how we move, groove and are inspired.

So have Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys. They’ve created a ‘success blend’ at home and in the music game by putting a certain market fix into their business mix. Swizz has gone from teenage DJ to big-time record producer. He’s worked with many of the top names in pop culture. Now he’s back with some new tracks.

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Alicia took a break from NBCs The Voice. Maybe she’s putting the final touches on her latest project. They’re also working together in ways that go beyond the normal music story. Swizz wants to give artists of all stripes the chance to push their creativity where it’s not just to impress folks but to express a feeling.

After getting to a level in the game he chose to regroup and retool. He fell off the radar and went to Business School. He wanted to master the music side and the business too. If he could put together what he learned as a kinda ‘Hustle Love’ Letter to his fans he might say handle your business and handle your:

  1. Gift

Swizz is excited about the work put into his new album with a new spin on his gift. It’s been said that your gift is your gold. It’s like a hidden gem in you that needs to be discovered and extracted. Through a process of mining and refining you get to a point where it has value to consumers and the marketplace.

  1. Genius

Gift is to gold as your genius is to jewelry. Genius is turning gold into the finest pieces of jewelry with exceptional quality and bright sparkle. Swizz believes it’s important to work at your craft to crossover from pure gift to pure genius as your work quality sparkles. Along the way you might even make history.

  1. Niche

Swizz and Alicia might think of niche like a hole in the wall. If the marketplace is the wall, then niche is how you fill a void (hole). Maybe going to business school helped him see new ways for filling voids in the artistic space. Having his gift meet a niche gave him a shot at letting his creative juices flow again.

  1. Network

Swizz says he wanted to release an album that took him back to where he first started. In other words, he wanted to bring back the hook & feel to his music that connected with his early fans. That’s a nod to his baseline supporters. His focus was on making it good for the regulars before making it a hit for the charts.

Swizz & Alicia have created a success blend at home and in business with their unique style and flava. That’s caught-on for them in the marketplace. Maybe what has worked well is their ability for doing good work and spreading good times. Plus, it’s them having some good friends, good love and the good life.

Tip: A success blend at home and in biz is the combo of doing good work and spreading good times.

Talkback: Who’re you looking to see perform at the Soul Train Awards?

Tracks: Chic – Good Times – https://youtu.be/7j7rcSutYAQ

Faith Evans – Good Life – https://youtu.be/j28peB_dozs

Mahershala Ali & Ava DuVernay Gave Fitting Toasts to Folks and those That Mean Most #BigTimeUniversity

#BigTimeUniversity – “Small Talk, Street Dreams, Next Level”

This production of “Wise-up Weekly” Blogcast by Douette ‘Doc’ Cunningham is a presentation in “social media entertainment from the groove-track of life!” #WUWECAST

LOL Tube – Got Funny (or Just Fun)?

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Theme:–The Year of ‘Hotstepping’ – Get Jiggy, Get Woke!”
A Cool Way for Flexing Style, Game & Soul in How We Roll (Old-School Flava)

Another big moment, another tear jerker! That could easily describe some of the highlights from this year’s Oscars. With more black nominees in the running, it was a more diverse picture. There were a few special moments too. Mahershala Ali and Ava DuVernay gave fitting toasts to folks that mean the most.

Ali did it while accepting his Best Supporting Actor award. DuVernay shared hers during a Red Carpet moment. On his wife’s support Ali said “I want to thank her for being such a soldier through this process and carrying me through it all.” Hey hot shot, that’s the look & stock of a leader, hook & heart of a winner.

DuVernay is one of the newest producers in Hollywood circles. As the brains behind OWN’s Queen Sugar, she’s giving new talent the opportunity to rise and shine. The thing about leaders like her is that they can separate the diamond from the dust. They know where the dust ends and the dynamo begins.

Ali has been working his way up the acting charts with a recent role in the movie Hidden Figures. His approach to the acting craft was drilled into him by teachers and industry mentors. By his own words of ‘serving the characters’ he shared the accolade and the hook for winning of turning lemons in lemonade.

When asked about advice Oprah has shared with her that stuck, DuVernay gave some ‘Pop Sugar’ saying Oprah once told her “When something’s not going your way, don’t think why is this happening to me, but think why is this happening for me.” No problem: think like a leader and have heart like a winner.

Groove-Track: Karen Young – Hot Shot – https://youtu.be/zRwu-ld3jSU

Theme:–The Year of ‘Hotstepping’ – Get Jiggy, Get Woke!”
A Cool Way for Flexing Style, Game & Soul in How We Roll (New-School Flava)

Big moment on Oscars stage. Could have turned into rage. Tear jerker and crowd pleaser. Unforgettable show-stopper. Highlights of what was seen. More black nominees on screen. With special moments to boot. Breakout movies taking the loot. Ali and DuVernay on set. Maybe we ain’t seen nothing yet.

Good toast accepting his award. Best supporting actor applaud. Her moment on Red Carpet quiz. On doing it in showbiz. Ali thanking wife for being good soldier. A class act about being a shoulder. Through ups and downs thick and thin. To praising her with the win. Hot shot with look, stock and leader’s pin.

DuVernay new producer in the mix. A Hollywood circle of chics. As brains behind OWN’s Queen Sugar. Giving new talent chance to think bigger. Rise and shine towards the stars. In how they lay down their cards. To separate diamond from dust. Where dynamo begins is a must.

Ali working his way up. To key roles and filling his cup. With recent Hidden Figures role. Keeping it moving on his sole. Approach to acting craft well set. By teachers, mentors and life’s bet. ‘Serve the characters’ to get paid. Sharing the love and accolade. Winning by turning lemons into lemonade.

In terms of Oprah advice she keeps. Or wants to share with us peeps. About something not going your way. Just think and sometimes pray. What’s happening not about rain. But about turning things into gain. No problem, thus says the leader. Or those who have heart like a winner.

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Tip: The look and stock of a leader might show up in advice they give and in the confidence they live.

Talkback: Who can say they saw this Oscars mess-up coming?

Groove-Tracks: Chance the Rapper – No Problem – https://youtu.be/rgUp1e-2UTM

Childish Gambino – Redbone – https://youtu.be/ezbsbkqoRrs

This production of “Wise-up Weekly” Blogcast by Douette ‘Doc’ Cunningham is a presentation in “social media entertainment from the groove-track of life!” #WUWECAST