Underdogs Rise Up: How Viola Davis and Frances Tiafoe Turned Their Backstory to Breakout Glory

The wall-to-wall coverage across broadcast and cable is over! The world was watching the pomp and circumstance around Queen Elizabeth’s homegoing events. With every angle covered in location and legacy, some folks aren’t sure if the whole Monarchy thing will survive without having to scale back.

While her son Charles has assumed the throne as King, there’s still a coronation ceremony in the works in the coming months. Imagine how some Brits feel about him taking over? Even a few Commonwealth countries are thinking about their next steps. That story is still unfolding and extends for 1000 or so years.

How ‘bout the other unofficial ‘Kings’ that fans these days are giving props to? There’s Viola Davis in her new movie role as ‘The Woman King.’ And there’s Frances Tiafoe who some think could be the next king of tennis (so to speak). Think of them not simply as ’rags to riches’ but more like ‘underdogs rise up’.

Next ‘King of Tennis’

Davis spreads her wings from TV screen to big screen as both star and producer. She plays a warrior in an all-female African army from the 1800’s. Tiafoe is the first Black American to advance to the U.S. Open semis since 1972 and Arthur Ashe. He’s stepped-up his game from junior tennis to being ranked top-25.

Their journeys played out differently but with a similar thrust. For Davis, it was looking around and being on the socio economic low-end. She still found a way out and way up to her breakthrough. For Tiafoe, he grew-up seeing wealth, it just wasn’t his own. They’ve turned their backstory to breakout glory with a:

  • Dream:- At 12, he got bit by the tennis bug from hanging around the Sports Center where his dad worked as a custodian. Dreams can happen by association, aha moment or even trial & error.    
  • Goal:- To build-on his desire and skills, a coach took him under his wings. Then one tournament after another he started to achieve his goal of eventually winning big on the youth circuit.   
  • Lane:- Davis decided to pursue this movie project as she considered new acting roles. Sometimes in careers it means re-inventing yourself in a new lane or a new line of success.    
  • Brand:- She’s expanded her cred not just as actress but as producer and can begin to carve her niche as a brand. Your brand is how you want others to see you, based on how you do you.      
Viola Davis

Davis shares how persistence and perseverance was needed to make the movie. Sometimes when a thing has never been done before, it can be a tough sell. But along the way it took moments of faith to the guide the hands of fate. That also came from personal experience in how she met her husband.

Tiafoe might not say he’s on the fast-track to #1. But he’s certainly seen as the latest American male tennis player who’s got next, once the big names like Federer, Nadal and others move on. They’re inspiring young and older to live out their dreams, even when times are hard or a job isn’t as it seems.

Talkback: Kobe gave us the mamba mentality. What’s the motivation mindset that works for you?

Tip: Underdogs rise up by turning dreams into brands and backstory into breakout glory.

Tracks: Alicia Keys – Underdogs – https://youtu.be/izyZLKIWGiA

Jennifer Hudson – Hallelujah – https://youtu.be/LgMCm5NWtII

Denzel Washington & Viola Davis Bring Stories to Life, Hit Dreams Beyond the Fences #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)

Here’s what love & happiness look like! It’s with POTUS & FLOTUS as they wind-down their White House stay. It’s Snoop and Martha’s stove-side chats with celebs or Blac Chyna & Rob with their new baby ‘DreamK.’ And it’s Denzel & Viola bringing stories to life and hitting dreams beyond the fences.

Talking to Global Grind about a recent meme Washington said “Those who can do, do. Those who can’t, talk about those who can. Are you just one that sits on the sideline to talk about other people, or can you step up?” It may be one of the realest things said about mastering a skill or bringing dreams to the world.

For Rob & Chyna it’s a little bit of ‘remember the time’ when they first met (or did the humpty hump). Maybe they’ve moved their hook-up from ‘hot and heavy to good and steady.’ That’s why getting more out of a relationship or earning more props on the job takes shifting some things and putting in that work.

Meantime for Snoop & Martha they’re finding new ways to mix it up. Here we have a west-coast rapper teaming-up with an east-coast lifestyle expert to serve-up potluck dinners. Go figure! At first it might not look like the perfect combination. But mixing things can tap into new talents and attract a new audience.

Washington & Davis star in the movie version of the Broadway hit Fences. It’s the story of a man who had pro baseball dreams. As Hot Steppers they’re showing us how to move from the sidelines to making dream headlines. It’s seeing a beautiful problem, bringing our A-game and raising more showtime appeal.

Groove-Track: Michael Jackson – Remember the Time – https://youtu.be/LeiFF0gvqcc

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

What love & happiness look like. POTUS & FLOTOS ready for the hike? Wind-down in their White House stay. Lots more time for golf play. Snoop & Martha’s stove-side chat. Celebs talk about this and that. Blac Chyna & Rob with their baby news. Denzel & Viola dream stories with some rhythm & blues.

Talking to Global Grind about meme Washington said. Those who can do, do; others bring hate instead. Some sit on sideline and talk smack. Others step-up and build their hun’ed stack. May be one of the realest things told. About mastering skills and doing dreams bold.

For Rob & Chyna a time to remember. Think of a hump day back in September. When they first met or did the humpty hump. But not wanting to be seen as a chump. To move from hook-up that’s ‘hot & heavy.’ Into relationship that’s ‘good & steady.’ Put in the work, make the shift. Earn more props and bonus gift.

Meantime Snoop & Martha mix it up. What’s in his bedazzled cup? West-coast rapper with hits and winners. East-coast lifestyle expert with potluck dinners. At first might not be a perfect look. Trying to out-smooth each other as a cook. A way to stir-up their talent cream. And attract a new audience stream.

Washington & Davis on movie set. Turns Broadway’s Fences to its best yet. Story of pro baseball dreams unsung. And taking our game to next rung. As Hot Steppers move from the sidelines. To making breakout news headlines. Seeing beautiful problem for their A-game. And raising more cred in biz acclaim.


Tip: Sometimes bringing dreams to life means seeing a beautiful problem and packing our A-game.

Talkback: What stands-out about these celebs being able to ‘drop it like it’s hot’ in their game?

Groove-Tracks: Michael Jackson – Vivian Green – Work – https://youtu.be/73JmpM3KLkc

Anthony David – Beautiful Problem – https://youtu.be/3WsAVJ9hkn0

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

Mark Zuckerberg Might be Thanking Viola Davis for Confirmation of Social Media Vision – #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 ‘Uppertunity’ – Get Lifted!”
With Higher Hopes, Bolder Dreams and Greater Teams (Old-School Flava)

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced recently that they’re working on tweaks to the Facebook ‘like’ button. At company headquarters they’re looking into another emoticon. So Zuckerberg might be thanking Viola Davis for her Emmy acceptance speech as confirmation of his social media vision.

During a Q & A at FB HQ he shared that they were not working on a ’dislike’ button. Instead he’s quoted by a CNBC staff writer as saying “we don’t want to turn Facebook into a forum where people are voting up or down on people’s post.” His leadership decision is based on something more than just the ‘like’ button.

As a social media guru Zuckerberg probably knows that every ‘like’ involves an emotion but the range of human emotions aren’t simply a ‘like.’ So he could point to Viola Davis as a good example. The heartfelt responses some had to her acceptance speech at the Emmy’s might better be captured by a ‘feel’ button.

Zuckerberg and his leadership team have big decisions to make that are beyond the Emmy Red Carpet. They have to think about how their decisions make the headline and affect the bottom line. He affirms that leadership is about the kind of community they create and the opportunities people have to elevate.

Davis made strong points from the stage. It’s as if her fashion statement matched her winning statement. Facebook hopes to do the same with the new feature they create for social media expression. Whether as Pope, politician or pop culture icon, leadership is sometimes about who or what you’re fighting for.

Groove-Track: UB40 – ‘Who You Fighting For’ – https://youtu.be/-6ctmd2NvdA

Theme:–The Year of ‘Uppertunity’ – Get Lifted!”
With Higher Hopes, Bolder Dreams and Greater Teams (New-School Flava)

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg recently said. Company’s focused on staying ahead. With tweaks to the ‘like’ button. Not being social media glutton. Another emoticon on drawing board. We haven’t yet heard the last word. Just might thank Viola Davis for her speech. His next software vision is in reach.

During Q & A at company HQ. Shared how they’re working with a new cue. A ‘dislike’ button not coming anytime soon. Instead they’re singing another tune. Won’t turn FB into an e-post freefall. Where folks vote up or down on people’s wall. Leadership based on doing more. Than ‘like’ button as the only score.

A social media guru that he is. One who know ‘likes’ are just part of biz. For human emotions to be made sane. A ‘like’ is not enough to cover the plain. Could point to Viola Davis for sure. Her speech left tears on the floor. So a heartfelt ‘feel ya’ button might better say. The range of emotions that come into play.

Zuckerberg’s core team has some big decisions. Beyond the Emmy Red Carpet promotions. Decisions that can spin-off a new headline. Or affect balance sheet and bottom line. For many leadership is about community they create. Not to mention opportunities where people elevate.

Davis made strong points from stage. Props to others on same page. Her fashion statement seen in black and white. A winning statement to sum-up the fight. Facebook hopes new feature does same. For social media expression game. Whether Pope, politician or popular hand. Leadership’s about where you stand.


Tip: Leadership is not just having a ‘like’ button but having a feel for where people really stand.

Talkback: What button should Facebook add to improve the ‘like’ feature?

Groove-Tracks: Duran Duran – ‘Pressure Off’ – https://youtu.be/jmF7OKCUnuM

Jordin Sparks – “One Step at a Time” – https://youtu.be/PIE5QtkxzvM

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