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

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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

John Legend & Chrissy Teigen Celebrate Showbiz, Motherhood and How They Refresh Their Shine for a Brighter & Wider Fanbase

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Who remembers the fast-food chain that made famous the question ‘where’s the beef?’ It was a way of saying their burgers had more beef than their competitors. These days the question some are asking is ‘what’s the beef?’ Nicki and Cardi are still working on the answer. Drake and Meek Mill say they’re done.

Well there’s no ‘beef’ between John Legend and Chrissy Teigen. Actually, there’s nothing but love. Sometimes sexy love other times ‘hustle love.’ Teigen says she’s getting back into the sexy swing of things now that she’s upped her role in motherhood. With two mouths to feed ‘hit and run’ has new meaning.

Legend is busy doing the showbiz thing after winning an Emmy for his work with the ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ production. With this award he joins a select group of celebs who’re among the EGOTs. He’s the youngest and first black male to get an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony for his artistic roles.

This summer they spent a few weeks in Bali where Teigen appeared in social media posts wearing her ‘headband of the day’ while hubby John serenaded her with a song. That’s a long way from her days as a teenage catalog model and then gaining major fame as a Swimsuit cover model.

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Whether it’s the sexy love between them or the ‘hustle love’ that fuels them, they celebrate how they refresh their shine for a brighter and wider fanbase. Teigen has a new cookbook while Legend is set to release new music. It’s the passion for doing their thing that tells us about how they up their game using:

  1. Script – learn the job, produce the work

Every job has ways for getting stuff done. It could be as simple as learning a script and executing the task. That’s how it goes for TV sitcoms and scripted programs. As a songwriter and singer, Legend knows the process. He uses that same skill to learn the job and produce the work with other projects as well.

  1. Sound – find your voice, rock the game

With most work assignments there’s usually a learning curve. It takes some time to get the feel and flow of things. After a while a rhythm develops. That’s how it happens in the music biz and in other lines of work. There’s the groove track to which you add lyrics. This way you find your voice and rock the game.

  1. Screen – stretch your sights, see the big picture

A beach trip or Caribbean vacation is often a time to slow down and chill. Some might even checkout the view as the sun rises and sets beyond the horizon. It’s like watching time pass on life’s big screen. You get to stretch your sights while seeing the big picture. This does wonders for R&R and helping dreams go far.

  1. Stage – do it up, bring the fun

The stage is where performance comes together. John Legend’s stage as a music artist is different from Teigen’s stage as a model. With your job or career, when things come together on the work stage there’s usually a sale, a promotion, a cheer or other forms of excitement as a return on commitment.

It seems like their celebrity side hustle of ‘headband of the day’ videos have taken a break. As they get back-to-the-grind they’re juggling work, kids and other steps that come with the role. And as they get out of bed to face another day they’re doing those things to shine in ways that moves fans and dollars.

Tip: As we get out of bed to face another day it calls for ‘hustle love’ which means doing those things to shine in ways that moves customers, fans and dollars.

Talkback: Hey Tiffany Haddish, what’s the beef between Nicki and Cardi? (I don’t Know)

Tracks: Ne-Yo – Sexy Love – https://youtu.be/mgaeGW-2z6w

Vivian Green – I Don’t Know – https://youtu.be/HNg80zNpPwU

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

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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.

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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 – https://youtu.be/xpVfcZ0ZcFM

T.I. ft Chris Brown – Get Back Up – https://youtu.be/B9qZz-m6BL4

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

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

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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.

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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 – https://soundcloud.com/officialmaryjblige/bounce-back-20

 

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

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

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?

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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)

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 – https://youtu.be/iKFzEz7L9MM

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.

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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 – https://youtu.be/cVaYKCE4i40

Janelle Monáe – Electric Lady – https://youtu.be/LPFgBCUBMYk

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