Jordan Peele & Iyanla Vanzant Take Audiences on a ‘Sharp Turn, Best Life’ Ride that’s Filled with Ooh’s and Aah’s


The countdown is underway for the next big events on the pop culture calendar. Some fans can’t wait for the NCAA March Madness team selection. Others are looking forward to the iHeartRadio Music Awards. But in the meantime there’s Jordan Peele and Iyanla Vanzant taking fans on a ‘sharp turn, best life’ ride.

For Peele it’s in the success of his movie Get Out which won at the Oscars for Best Original Screenplay. It’s the first time that’s happened for an African-American. The movie is part horror, part thriller and part comedy. It starts out with a car making a sharp turn on a local street as the plot unfolds.


It was a different kind of March Madness in the season opener for Iyanla’s ‘reinvention show’ on OWN. Things didn’t work out the normal way where the guest accepts the chance to find a path towards their best life. Peele and Vanzant generally put their gifts to work on their first audience.. which is themselves.

They know the road to redemption or achieving aspirations usually starts on ‘Self Street.’ Oftentimes how we reach higher is an extension of our comfort with self. Peele and Vanzant turned what appeals/reveals to self as a formula for a successful movie or unscripted TV show that could have been counted out.

In a recent ‘Oprah at the Apollo’ interview Peele gave an inside look into the steps he took in moving his dreams in the right direction. Vanzant often shares hers by saying that she had to do the work to achieve the healing before her place of shining. Their first audience of success started out by taking:

  1. Preparation Steps

Before celebration there’s always preparation. That’s true whether planning a party or going after your dreams. Before becoming a computer engineer I took preparations steps in college. Before going after my dreams in business I took preparation steps as a novice-in-training. These steps help put us in the game.

  1. Production Steps

It’s been said that people can have beginners luck when playing a game for the first time. Things kinda come your way even without trying hard. Where beginners luck ends is where production steps begin. It can be a surprise to do things well the first time. But you build production value doing it again and again.

  1. Breakout Steps

We expect to eventually have breakout steps along the way. The ‘Get Out’ movie is a sort of breakout step for Peele after leaving his Comedy Central gig. Vanzant had her breakout step when she first hosted a daytime talk show. They’ve used breakout steps in taking a risk or setting out as a trailblazer.

  1. Comeback Steps

They’ve also shown they can turn setbacks into comebacks. It’s something we’re teaching our daughter who’s been dealing with a leg (hamstring) injury. Each time it seemed like she was ready to return to her sport she’s had to pull back. Comeback steps help us with raising our game and elevating our dreams.

The journey of a 1000 miles begins with the first step. Whether we choose to walk, run or drive there can be lots of oohs and aahs on the ride. Steve Harvey reminds us that things might go south or get rough as part of God’s plan. But those who get back up keep things moving because they have dreams to celebrate.

Tip: The dream journey of a 1000 miles starts with preparation steps that might set us on a path as trailblazers taking breakout steps.

Talkback: Is it drama or trauma that makes things come alive in Get Out or on Vanzant’s TV show?

Tracks: Drake – God’s Plan –

T.I. ft Chris Brown – Get Back Up –


Sterling K. Brown & Mary J Blige on What it Means to Think Like the Best, Stay on a Roll and See What The Next Level Shall Be

2018 Theme
The Year of ‘Got Shine?’: Where The Things You Know and How You Flow Bring More Star Power for Sure


Things on the East Coast these days might be a little topsy-turvy with political back and forth. Things on the West Coast were a little nerve-wracking after the Tsunami warning. But Hollywood kept the lights on to make this year’s Oscar nominations. Awards season is in full swing and Sterling K. Brown is on a roll.

He made history in winning a SAG award as the first black male actor in a category. He pulled-off a similar feat earlier in winning an Emmy. He’s not the only one on a roll as Mary J Blige got her Hollywood Star recently. She’s also getting Oscar buzz with her nomination and showing us how to bounce back.

Just ask Steve Harvey about being on a roll. His revamped talk show was renewed for a second season. They remind us to act like a success, think like the best and see what the next level shall be. It’s doing what you love and loving what you do. But it’s really how they tap-in to the five success groups of life.


Everybody shows up with talents and gifts. These and other asset groups are like bread slices. They feed our success which feeds our family. Books have a table of contents. Food items have a nutrition table of contents. Well it’s the five success groups that help them stay on a roll in order to reach their goal.

The saying goes “You get out what you put in.” Not only do they tap-in, they also put-in to stay on point. It’s not always easy or a slam dunk. How that’s done differs from one job role to the next. They know that when you act like a success and think like the best, sooner or later you get to beat-on your chest.

So whether it’s to keep that 2018 resolution on track, make that career move or put that dream project in breakout mode, here’s what stars like them do to get more out of life’s success groups. Before they can beat on their chest the key is in answering four questions for how they might:

  1. Think like the best poker player and ask what’s in your hand?

Every card player gets dealt a hand. It’s the starting point for how they play the game. Every breakout star turns the talents and gifts they were dealt into something that’s widely felt. Plus, what’s in your hand isn’t just about the cards you can play but about handling your business when your number gets dealt.

  1. Think like the best game-changer and ask what’s in your hustle?

There’re stats that players use to get a sense for their averages. Every sport has its main stats that help determine performance. No two stats are the same but one thing’s certain is that hustle can change the game. Athletes who’re able to stay on a roll or go to the next level bring extra hustle beyond the muscle.

  1. Think like the best song-writer and ask what’s in your hook?

There’s the hook and there’s the chorus that keep us humming our favorite song. The chorus gets repeated two or three times. The hook is the vibe-line that gives the track more playback. It’s what keeps a business, brand or relationship on a roll. It’s the hook that keeps the folks coming for more playback.

  1. Think like the best stage performer or social leader and ask what’s in your hope?

Nobody gets up on stage and hopes to be a flop. You expect to do your best and leave an impression or excitement with fans in the audience. Moreover, most social leaders pursue an agenda where there is some worthy objective. The things you hope for are those for which you feel worthy or feel are worth it.

Years ago someone helped me see what’s ‘in my hand.’ It’s an asset sometimes delivered through ideas, insights and maybe a dose of inspiration. Music adds to how I bring a hook or extra hustle beyond my writing muscle. This way I’m putting my talents and gifts to work to meet life’s situations with finesse.

Tip: The things that keep you on a roll involve using what’s in your hand to bring hustle to your passion and the hook to your brand playback.

Talkback: What’s the hook to your favorite song that keeps it on playback?

Tracks: Mary J Blige – Bounce Back 2.0 –


Bruno Mars ft Cardi B – Finesse –

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)?


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 –

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.


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 –

Childish Gambino – Redbone –

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

Issa Rae & Sanaa Lathan: Shining Their Career Glory in a New Light #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?


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

The Oscar noms are in and what a difference a year makes! It seems the controversy of #OscarsSoWhite a year ago has been heard. Now it’s about #OscarsSoColorful! There’re more diverse nominations telling a broader story. Maybe that’s why Issa Rae & Sanaa Lathan are shining their career glory in a new light.

Here’s what Rae’s book publisher said about free e-books on the weekend of the women’s march: “All are stories of strong women overcoming adversity, taking second chances, and figuring out their place in the world.” A case of first impressions being good, second chances making us better for reaching our best.

Rae started by imagining her place in the social maze as an ‘awkward black girl.’ This was a first step to building on her dream for telling stories. Now she’s the brains and beauty behind the cable show Insecure set for a second season. With other projects about to pop, she’s carefully worked on finding her lane.

Lathan known from the movie Love & Basketball is set to star in a new TV series. With real life cultural themes in the forefront, she’s made a name for herself as a kinda modest maven of Black Hollywood. Maybe she’d say it takes an ‘electric lady’ to create your happiness even when ‘life’s a bitch’ or a test.

You get a sense for her work as Rae stands in the doorway of her office with a picture of Boyz in the Hood on one side and Love & Basketball on the other. For her it’s not just about bang bang or romance & finance. It’s about bridging the gap and living the life between what’s not and what’s hot. Well alright!

Groove-Track: Cece Winans – Well Alright –

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

Oscar noms in the air. What a difference since last year. Controversy not lost in time. But right now it feels sublime. Not seen as #OscarsSoWhite. More diverse nominations so right. A broader story of who’s got game. Not of the past and the lame. Issa Rae, Sanaa Lathan are tight. Shining career glory in new light.

Rae’s book publisher had idea. Giveaway e-books to those saying yea. On weekend of women’s march doing this. To bring some sista girl bliss. Stories of strong women adversity overcoming. Second chances, figuring out place in the running. First impression that’s good. Better to best as they knew they could.

She starts imagining self in social maze. And getting past any immature craze. First step in living the dream. Doing more to build-up steam. Telling stories with brains and beauty. That’s like her creative duty. As head of cable show in second season. Other projects ‘bout to pop in her lane that’s the reason.

Lathan from Love & Basketball fame. Set to star as new TV dame. Real life themes in forefront. Sexy style and glam in her hunt. A kinda modest maven in Hollywood. Flipping the script to scenes in Hollyhood. The ‘electric lady’ creating her happiness. Even when ‘life’s a bitch’ or test, bump the sadness.

Getting sense for Rae’s work in a nutshell. Takes seeing her make a soft sell. With office pictures seen on the wall. Boys in the Hood, Love & Basketball, tough call. Not just about bang bang hit ‘em up. Or romance, finance, in filling her cup. Gap between living life as what’s not. And doing alright in what’s hot.


Tip: Good times might bring romance and finance but better yet is a bumping song or happy dance.

Talkback: What might Issa Rae say she’s not and who thinks Sanaa Lathan keeps staying hot?

Groove-Tracks: Nick Grant – Get Up –

Janelle Monáe – Electric Lady –

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

Chris Rock & Stephen Curry Made a Name for Their Game When Stuff was on the Line #BigTimeUniversity

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

LOL Tube – Got Funny? 


Theme:–The Year of ‘Flashlighting’ – Get Seen!”
A New Way to Shine with Highlights, Insights and Media-bites that’s Exciting (Old-School Flava)

It was the NBA buzzer-beater for the ages! The shot was taken over 30 feet from the rim with 0.6 secs left on the clock. That was Steph Curry on the court while Chris Rock held court at the Oscars. He was in rare form during the opening monologue. Rock and Curry made a name for their game with stuff on the line.

The name they made for themselves is “clutch.” During post-game interviews Curry said “I’ve always tried to push the envelope and keep getting better, but a lot has to go right to get to this point.” Curry and Rock show us what can happen when ‘dare greatly’ is something done lately for work goals or leadership roles.

Rock took the stage and dealt with the diversity issue head-on. He mentioned some easy things that could be made to have #OscarsSoWhite be a thing of the past. Sometimes the hardest thing to do when it comes to social issues or work goals is change. It might make things better but it can be hard to foster.

In one sense it’s a matter of getting or seizing opportunity. But in another it’s about making the right choice. With little time left on the clock Curry had to take a shot. Yes, he could have missed it. But if he didn’t take the shot they wouldn’t have had a chance at the win. That’s true for sports and dreams alike.

Curry also set a new record for 3-point shots in a season. That might have been achieved out of a personal challenge. It’s like throwing a challenge flag to yourself, your co-workers or the powers-that-be. Rock and Curry show how to minimize letting ego, excuses or bad experiences block the larger blessings.

Groove-Track: Patti Labelle – Don’t Block the Blessings –

Theme:–The Year of ‘Flashlighting’ – Get Seen!”
A New Way to Shine With Highlights, Insights and Media-bites that’s Exciting (New-School Flava)

NBA buzzer-beater of the ages. With another shot from Curry that amazes. Taken over 30 feet from the rim. With 0.6 secs, game on the limb. Steph Curry among the best modern-day ballers. As Chris Rock held court at the Oscars. Doing it big in their main thing. When stuff’s on the line for the gold bling.

Showing up on-time and in the clutch. For them it’s not asking much. Post-game interview giving us a feel. For how Curry turns his wheel. Pushing the envelope to get better. Has to be right point to flash go-getter. It’s what happens when people can dare greatly. Doing it for work goals or leadership roles lately.

Rock took stage and dealt his cards. On diversity beyond the barnyards. Giving some changes that could be made. So that Oscars no longer gets shade. Change is hard to do even with social vision. Or workplace goals driven by a mission. Change to make things a little better. But can be very hard to foster.

Often a matter of opportunity seizing. Or primetime performance breezing. Making the right choice at right time. Being able to celebrate past lemons or lime. Little time left on clock for a shot. Could have missed but hitting it was hot. True for sports and dreams anew. Even though at times you can feel a bit blue.

Curry gets in the 3-point record books. Shots that hit net like catchy song hooks. A personal challenge good for motivation. To self, friends and across the nation. Like throwing a flag to the ground. Picking it up as lost & found. Minimize ego, excuses and bad breaks. Worth it to not block blessings for dream sakes.


Tip: When things in your game are on the line, taking the shot is good for strengthening your spine.

Talkback: Now that the Warriors made the playoffs, which team has the best chance to give them a run?

Groove-Tracks: Ruben Studdard – Take the Shot –


Fifth Harmony ft Kid Ink – Worth It –

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

Build Real Crossover Appeal: Steve Harvey’s Branding Moves Hit a New Groove (Part 5)


Theme:–The Year of ‘Brandemonium’
Where Hopes & Dreams Become Real on Breakout Teams” (Old-School Flava)

Are you ready for the red carpet preview? How about the acceptance speech review? Well that’s what you’ll find during the season of Awards Shows. We go from the Grammys to Oscars with the Stellar and NAACP Image Awards in between. Celebs like Harvey can get various awards due to crossover appeal.

It’s all a part of building diverse market branding. Some award shows are about movies, others about music. There’re the Hollywood A-listers and Fashion Ave stylistas who’re recognized for their personal acclaim or catwalk pizzazz. Harvey might say it’s about positioning your brand as a box of chocolates.

There was a time when the value of work was in the idea of widgets. So, productivity was a measure of how many units could be made in a period of time. These days making widgets has become fairly simple. It’s no longer just about the box but about how what’s inside the box meets a niche or base audience.

Harvey expands his base with new rounds of success. He’s gone from stand-up comic to radio jock to sitcom star to game show host to Image Award winner for his national talk show. Each time his base grows he brings more market value that benefits a wider niche, bringing many happy cash-money returns.

When the awards season is over he’s still building his brand like cheese. There’re many types and ways cheese adds flavor to a meal or smiles to a selfie. Whether through his appearances at conventions, book signings, movie premieres or community events, his branding keeps him in good standing.


Theme:–The Year of ‘Brandemonium’
Where Hopes & Dreams Become Real on Breakout Teams” (New-School Flava)

Ready for the red carpet preview? How ‘bout the best speech review? That’s what’s up at award shows. Where folks get to give thanks on their toes. There’s the Grammys, Oscars and other big grabs. Stellar and NAACP Image Award fabs. Celebs like Harvey make a steal. Because of their crossover star appeal.

All a part of what they’re building. In diverse marketplace branding. Some award shows are about movies. Others honoring the music groovies. Hollywood A-listers and Fashion Ave stylists. For their acclaim and catwalk favorites. Put together in brand positioning. Like a box of chocolates for the tasting.

Was a time when value seen in work. Came from the idea as a widget clerk. Productivity a measure in unit numbers. Made in a period of time between slumbers. Nowadays making widgets is easy to stack. More than just about the box-n-go pack. But about audience base and fan niche you can track.

Harvey expands his base again and again. Building on each round of success top-ten. Gone from stand-up comic to radio jock. Game show host to sitcom star block. Image Award winner for his talk show. Brings new market value helping the base grow. With many happy cash-money returns in the flow.

When awards season over he’s still building. His brand like cheese for ad selling. Many types and ways cheese puts flavor. In a meal or smiles for a selfie savor. Through his talks at biz conventions. Book signings, premieres and community connections. Taking his branding and standing in many directions.

Tip: Building crossover appeal is about connecting with a base that loves your box of chocolates and expanding your niche to those that love your overall package.

Talkback: Are Award Shows about the award or about the recognition that can further build your brand?”