Eddie Kidd: The Man Behind GRIND GRIND Clothing Line

Eddie Kidd standing with camera man just before an interview with Fox 2 News after becoming a grant recipient. Picture retrieved from Eddie via IG: gg.kidd

Eddie Kidd standing with camera man just before an interview with Fox 2 News after becoming a grant recipient. Picture retrieved from Eddie via IG: gg.kidd

One man’s life experiences gave him the idea to create the most influential and motivational clothing brand in Detroit. GRIND GRIND (GG) Clothing Line is the one brand that offers all the encouragement and drive that one individual may lack. From it’s ambitious phrases printed on its apparel to the very face behind the brand, GG ‘s goal is to “spread the message of chasing your dreams,” no matter what obstacles that could be in the way.

Eddie Kidd is the 24-year-old behind the GG clothing line.  Before his brand, Eddie was a full time student athlete.

“I graduated from Brother Rice High School 2012 as a state champ under legendary coach Al Fracassa. I was blessed to play for Northwood University on a scholarship and after my redshirt (freshman) year I transferred to Notre Dame College where I was the starting corner,” says Kidd.

Due to his mother falling ill in 2014 with congestive heart failure and Pancreatitis, Eddie decided to lay football to rest in the beginning of his redshirt junior year.

“Football was something I loved and had so much passion for, but family is most important to me so I decided to hang up the cleats. I’m thankful for everything the game had brought me discipline, friends, drive, education and so much more.”

Even though Eddie had to retire his dream of one day playing in the NFL, he did not quit on the vision of making his positive presence felt in the league. Thats when another dream began to form and that dream was GRIND GRIND. Eddie was inspired by his mothers illness to start his clothing line.

“She had been in and out of the hospital for a year and had gotten down to 90 pounds. At that point I knew it was time to go harder,” says Kidd. “I also seen this as an opportunity to give people a chance to wear apparel that had a meaning/purpose behind it, but also fashionable.”

And that’s when Eddie started making his brand come to life. He began with only placing “GRIND GRIND” on a few shirt for him to work out in.

“I used the only two words I could find fit to describe my life and then people started rocking with what I was wearing.”

But it took more than just a few shirts and people to get his clothing line to where it is now. Eddie says that it took the three things that mattered to him most: God, vision, and support.

“We promoted GG through social media, word of mouth,website, of course our lifestyles . I feel like my lifestyle was the most beneficial promotion, for individuals to see the obstacles that I’ve faced and how I’ve stay diligent to overcome them speaks volume,” says Kidd.

Today, besides the billboards that are posted around the city displaying the logo and catch phrases, GRIND GRIND is also in the works of opening up their first store located right in the heart of the city. They’ve even received a few accolades along the way.

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“GRIND GRIND is doing amazing & it’s all glory to God,” says Kidd. “We recently received an award from the state of Michigan & Mayor Mike Duggan, which was a huge blessing. Football season is also starting so a lot of NFL and College players will be rocking GG.”

According to Eddie, his hardships and other life experiences is part of what contributed to GG coming this far.

“It not only pushed me to want to be the best businessman, but to use my testimony to go change, help, motivate, and inspire someone else. I refuse to let one situation determine my future for my life,” says Kidd.

“I decided I was going To show individuals that there is a different way rather than just sports and music like the misconception I had growing up in Detroit. I wanted to let people know that with God first anything is possible when you CHASE YO DREAMS AND GRIND TWICE AS HARD.”

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Lando Bando Talks About Creating The HipHop Lab, Dex Osama and Signing Rocky Badd

Photo by Kenny W. (IG @shotbykenny) 

Photo by Kenny W. (IG @shotbykenny) 

What started out as only a vision in the mind of a high schooler is now a big shot today in the city of Detroit. 

If you’ve heard of The HipHop Lab then you heard of Lando. Lando, a 23-year-old cinematographer, host, producer and entrepreneur created his famous YouTube Channel back when he was 18-years-old in 2015, keeping us updated with the latest Detroit music and news.

Most people can agree that you either can hit or miss in the entertainment industry, however Lando knew he was gonna be very successful because entertainment was something that he loved. 

 “My parents didn’t think a YouTube channel was going to make money and wanted me to get a real job,” says Lando. 

At the time of the creation of his show, Lando had a entry level job at 7 Eleven. He later decided to quit his job to dedicate all his time to his channel and building a brand. 

“I told my parents that The HipHop Lab was going to make thousands... they didn’t believe me,” says Lando. “Now I’m actually making those thousands and they see it.” 

Lando’s channel had its breakthrough after he interviewed Detroit rapper and one of Meek Mills newly signed artist, Dex Osama. A while after the interview hit the internet, the rapper was fatally shot and killed. His death brought a lot of attention to Lando’s interview and channel.

On The HipHop Lab, the rapper talked about seeing his death in the near future. See full interview below.

 

“That interview was bitter sweet ‘cause it was an important interview for me, but it was his death...it was crazy that he predicted his own death, it was a wow factor...”

Fast forward today, Lando’s channels has over 92 thousand subscribers and over 43 million views.  He’s accumulated a wide audience that’s still growing from the west and mid-west coast.  He’s even interviewed celebrities like Deb and Waka Flocka from LHH, Tee Grizzly and more. He even films music videos and collaborates on albums with artist such as Sada Baby, BandGang Lonnie, and more.

“It really just took a lot of consistency to gain the audience I have,” says Lando.  “As far as making music videos and making albums, it was always something I wanted to do, so when I was able to do it I couldn’t wait!”

Now, adding onto his brand, Lando is also managing artists. His first signed artist is Detroit raptress, Rocky Badd. 

 “I knew Rocky since 2015 and seen were I could improve the business side of things so it made sense to sign her.”

He decided to sign Rocky this past October and since then her career has skyrocketed with the help of The HipHop Lab.  

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“Since working with Rocky her numbers have increased across all streaming platforms,” says Lando.

Today Rocky stands on a platform for 217K followers on Instagram and has had some dope projects released, including “The Real B,” and “Badd Publicity.” 

 “I definitely want to pick up more artist, but I don’t wanna bite off more than I can chew at the moment,” says Lando in hopes to one day expand his business.

It’s obvious that his success did not happen over night. So in regards to those who want to take the same path in the entertainment industry, I asked Lando to offer up some advice on how to do it. 

“The advice I want to give is don’t settle and get comfortable,” he says. “It’s hard to manage everything and still have a successful personal life, it literally all flows down to the process of elimination.”

To sum it all up, you have to keep working hard, make goals and challenge yourself in order to make it into this industry. Along with being in this business you have to make sacrifices. And once you start doing all those things you can, too, one day be successful.

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#TheLipBar's Melissa Butler tells why she created her brand and goals of expanding internationally

Photo by Bre'ann White (@breannwhlgn)

Photo by Bre'ann White (@breannwhlgn)

What started as a hustle out of a kitchen is now a national brand and business. If you’ve never heard of #TheLipBar, it’s a black owned cosmetic line created by Melissa Butler. Celebrities including Taraji P. Henson has been seen rocking this lip line and its also been featured on the Wendy Williams Show and spotted in People Magazine, Elle, Essence and more.

In recent news, Melissa just expanded #TheLipBar from being accessible online to also being available in 100 more select Target stores in every state, including in Southfield, Michigan.

To celebrate the expansion she held an in-store event at the Target in Southfield today to share the excitement with people from her hometown. As busy as it was, luckily I was able to grab a quick interview.

Photo from today's event at the Target located on Southfield Rd in Southfield, Mi.

Photo from today's event at the Target located on Southfield Rd in Southfield, Mi.

“I feel great, it's good to have my city support me in such a way and come out,” says Butler.

“We wasn't supposed to get started until 12 p.m., but there were people here at 11:30 a.m. already shopping.”

Before #TheLipBar, Butler was working in business and finance at Barclays international investment bank on Wall Street. She then realized that she didn’t fit in that type of working environment and decided to start her own business.

Six years ago #TheLipBar started out with Melissa creating beauty products from a variety of soaps and body butter at home.

“I was frustrated with the beauty industry and wanted to challenge it. I wanted to change the lack of diversity;  the fact that most cosmetics were filled with unnecessary chemicals.”

Melissa decided that with her homemade cosmetics she would somehow change the industry instead of continuing to complain about it. This led her to be on ABC’s “Shark Tank” in 2015. However, after pitching her idea, it was rejected.

Now in 2018, Melissa’s products are sold in 142 Target stores across the country. #TheLipBar has also been sold in Forever 21 and at Nasty Gal.

“So much work was put in. Everyday is work,” says Butler.

“There are a ton of things that equated into launching in Target, so for any entrepreneur out there I'd say do the work, do the research, but also know that it’s going be hard and it’s going to be no’s, and it’s going be failures but that's fine you just have to keep going.”

Now that Melissa’s small business has skyrocketed, her brand has partnered with Ashley Blaine from Netflix’s “Dear White People” to introduce the summer collection and to address the beauty industry about their false inclusivity of people of color. New colors from the summer collection includes “Jezebel” and “Haut Mess” just to name a few.

Image of Melissa's post announcing the campaign with Ashley Blaine. Photo by Nathalie Gordon (@photonathalie)

Image of Melissa's post announcing the campaign with Ashley Blaine. Photo by Nathalie Gordon (@photonathalie)

Melissa says her next goal is to expand out of the country and allowing people more access to her products.

“We get customers to shop with us from  Brazil, Paris, London and Canada all the time,” says Butler.

“The biggest goal is to make responsibly-made, vegan, cruelty-free and affordable cosmetics very accessible, so not just Target, but in Walmart, Walgreens; everywhere.”

#TheLipBar will soon add on affordable, chemical-free facial products in addition to the bold lip shades offered.

“It’s intense, but I’m excited to keep growing and challenging the beauty standards.”

 

From Drama to Comedy: Hardball actor Michael Perkins takes a new route in Showbiz

Photo Credit: Rudy Valentino Photography

Photo Credit: Rudy Valentino Photography

Ever seen the movie Hardball? Yes? Ok, remember the character Kofi who was with G-baby when he was killed? Well yeah, this is Kofi now (pictured above) and his real name is Michael Perkins.

Michael was only 14-years-old when he was chosen to play the memorable role of Kofi in the 2001 Chicago based film. This was his first acting role, which ignited his career in entertainment.

“I started acting in 2000,” says Perkins. “The career honestly chose me; never saw myself acting at all. Just so happen to be in the right place at the right time for my calling.”

Hardball has since been and still is a movie that has impacted many of its viewers till this day, including Chicago natives like Michael himself.

“It's still surreal to me. The older I get the better I understand what that film did and still does to a lot of people," says Perkins.

"At a young age I didn't really understand it but now I do. Especially, being from Chicago, seeing what Chicago is going through now and just hearing from other people what the film means to them is very cool.”

After Hardball Michael took a 10-year hiatus from acting in order to pursue other opportunities, including getting a college education.

“College was my way of getting away from acting.  I wanted to do my own thing and experience the college life that so many people talked about.”


Michael graduated from Alabama A&M University in 2009 where he obtained his B.S. in Business Management. He then went on to earn his M.B.A. It was until the end of grad school in 2012 that Michael decided to get back into the showbiz.

“It was during my last year of graduate school when I decided to get back into the industry. I had to grow up and know that acting was what I wanted to do.”

This time around, he decided to take the comedy route, playing in the 2016 TV movie and series Curious? and in one episode of the 2016 series #Adulting. But what made him make the change from acting in dramas like Hardball to doing comedy?

“I honestly did it for no reason.  I did a comedy show at college and people thought I was funny.  I use it as a way to talk shit about things without people getting hurt and feeling victimize.”

Michael has since performed stand-ups at Comedy Store, Flappers Comedy Club, Icehouse Comedy Club and a few small night club spots in LA.

Michael also created his own podcast through iTunes called, “Live from the Couch,” where he talks about different topics relating to life, relationships, education, entertainment and the Black experience.

“I started the podcast in November of 2017. It started from a little segment I did on my Instagram where I would talk about current events or things in daily life from my perspective.  A few people liked what I was doing and felt I should turn it into a podcast. So that’s what I did.”

Michael plans on using his podcast as a vehicle to get his voice out and to help others. 

“I would love to get sponsored and even do live shows at theaters and clubs.  I want to in the future start my own company, so the podcast will be one of my first projects.”

But this isn’t the only thing he’s been working on. Other than movie and show auditions, Michael recently has been planning and writing his own comedy web series and a short film. More information will be announced in the future.

Meanwhile, Michael was able to share some advice and tips for being on set for a show or film based on his own experiences.

“The most important thing about working on set is being friendly and polite. You are working with people for 10-12 hours out the day so no one wants to work with an asshole, which would be the con part of being on set- working with bad people. “

“Being prepared is very important also. Knowing your lines and scenes helps the shoot go very smoothly. Also being coachable and listening. Directors might want something different so you have to be able to give it to them. Things can change on a fly doing a film so you have to be ready for it. “

As far as advice for aspiring entertainers; whether in acting, hosting or comedy, Michael says to just go out and do it. 

“Once you start working on whatever it is you want, the creativity and energy just starts going.  Also, DO NOT GIVE UP!  You decided to be in an industry with no time table at all! The only failure you can have is if you give up.”

“And keep a strong support system around you. Good, honest people are hard to find in this industry.  Find them and keep them with you.”

 

Reporter and Host Tessa Cevaal talks about working for E! News and more

Tessa Cevaal hosting for AfterBuzz TV at the TBS "The Last OG" and "Search Party" premiere in April. Photo Credit: personal picture of Tessa retrieved from Instagram @tessa_cevaal

Tessa Cevaal hosting for AfterBuzz TV at the TBS "The Last OG" and "Search Party" premiere in April. Photo Credit: personal picture of Tessa retrieved from Instagram @tessa_cevaal

Getting into the entertainment bizz is all about WHO you know. You also have to intern, have good work ethic and have a passion for it. In this case Tessa Cevaal has it all and knew all the right people to get to where she is now.

If you don’t know her already then you’re about to find out! Tessa is a production assistant for E! News and an entertainment reporter and host AfterBuzz TV.

As a production assistant, Tessa's job involves assisting show-producers, pitching and writing stories, track scripts with talent and much more. And if you haven't heard of AfterBuzz before, it's an online network that was founded by former E! host Maria Menounos and producer Keven Undergaro, to discuss all of your favorite TV shows.

She currently hosts season 7 of ABC's "Scandal After Show and Review" and FOX's new show "The Four: Battle for Stardom After Show and Review" on Thursdays at 8:00pm and 9:00pm PST in webcast or podcast form.

Tessa found her passion for journalism while attending the University of Colorado Boulder. The flame was ignited through theatre.

“I grew up heavily involved in the theater, but knew that I didn’t want to continue pursing it professionally,” says Tessa.

“However, through acting I realized that I had a passion for people, which probably sounds a little odd, but I love interacting and talking to people on all walks of life and realized that I had a passion for interviewing.”

Tessa then realized she also had a passion for storytelling and began taking more communication and journalism classes during her undergrad, which made her become a journalism major with an emphasis in broadcast news. Once she found her field of study, Tessa began interning and working as a production assistant for TV shows including VH1’s “Bye Felicia!” and MTV’s “Are You the One? Ethan and Amber Baby Shower.” 

“I was hired as a production assistant through the production company that I was interning for at the time, Lighthearted Entertainment. They were the ones producing the shows that I was hired for,” says Tessa. 

“I was able to land the internship through school. The head of the company came in as a guest speaker in one of my classes and I built up enough courage by the end of class to go introduce myself to him after. I told him how passionate I was able television and how compelling his talk was that he told me to come work for him that coming summer.”

Tessa continued to be heavily involved in internships, completing 8 while in college. This is what ultimately landed her an internship with E! News after graduating in spring 2015. 

“I became close with my internship coordinator who knew that my goal was to ultimately get into entertainment news,” says Tessa.

 “My last semester she told me that she had recently met an old alumni who was working and E! News and connected us. Once we connected, he was kind enough to connect me with the internship supervisor at E! News who ended up hiring me.”

Once hired as an intern, Tessa had to uproot her life from Colorado and move to LA. While there, she said her best friend helped her with her living arrangements.  

“My best friend from growing up helped me a ton. She was finishing her degree in LA at the same time and integrated me into her friend group who all helped me find a place to live.”

Through E!, Tessa was able to go out in the field on shoots, carpets and junkets and get hands on experience with taking notes, pictures and assisting crew. One of her favorite experiences as an intern was being able to meet people including celebrities. Her internship essentially helped her get her production assistant position at E! News in May of 2017.

Tessa pictured with Jason Kennedy, Catt Sadler, and Maria Menounos at E! News. Photo Credit: @tessa_cevaal

Tessa pictured with Jason Kennedy, Catt Sadler, and Maria Menounos at E! News. Photo Credit: @tessa_cevaal

Being a former intern additionally helped Tessa become an on-camera host for AfterBuzz TV.

“I was able to build strong connections and demonstrate my hard work ethic. Upon leaving my internship, I made sure to maintain the relationships I had created which ultimately lead to an interview for my job later down the road.”

“I found out about AfterBuzz through Maria Menounos. I had met her as an intern at E! News while she was still hosting there after she had given an internal talk about her experience in the industry,” says Tessa.

“She had talked about starting AfterBuzz and I was really interested so I approached her afterwards. She was kind enough to connect me with the staff at AfterBuzz.”

Tessa (far right) and co-hosts on air for "New Girl" AfterBuzz TV AfterShow. Photo Credit: @tessa_cevaal

Tessa (far right) and co-hosts on air for "New Girl" AfterBuzz TV AfterShow. Photo Credit: @tessa_cevaal

Once connected, Tessa had to audition for the hosting position and did so by creating and submitting a self-tape along with a formal questionnaire. Tessa has now been hosting for the AfterBuzz for one year. 

One thing’s for certain and that’s Tessa is determined and has a zeal for journalism and entertainment news. And if it wasn’t clear already; it’s all about experience and who you know in this field. But there’s other important pointers necessary to pursue this type of career, according to Tessa. 

“My biggest advice would be to work hard, and stay true to who you are. I think a lot of people try to be like their idols or mimic what they think they need to look and sound like, but it never comes off as truly authentic. And who wants to watch someone that is unauthentic?”

So now you know her! You can watch or listen to Tessa host and interview guest for AfterBuzz at Afterbuzztv.com/shows

The Wonder Woman Behind the Scenes: Shanae Cole talks about working for HGTV, Warner Bros. and more

Shanae at the 2017 Prime Time Emmys. Photo Credit: Shanae Cole via Instagram @itswondawoman.

Shanae at the 2017 Prime Time Emmys. Photo Credit: Shanae Cole via Instagram @itswondawoman.

When people see the DC superhero, Wonder Woman, one must consider how multitalented and powerful she is. From her abilities to fly, breathe fire to being the symbol of equality, power, and truth makes her unparalleled. Although she may be portrayed as a fictional character, somewhere in this world Wonder Woman exists and Shanae Cole is her!

Originally from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Shanae is a 26-year-old goddess with a variety of talents and super powers in the media and production industry. Some of her abilities include working in post-production for all the popular shows you can think of, including the Emmy’s, Victoria’s Secret Fashion Shows, MTV Awards, The Oscars and many more. And her favorite superhero just so happens to be Wonder Woman.

 “I admire Wonder Woman because of what she represents; she's strong, wise, confident and fights for the betterment of society, and she doesn't  let  being  a  female  stop  her  from going after  what she wants,” says Cole.

In post production, Shanae has fulfilled both coordinator and assistant editor duties. As a post coordinator, her job involves creating spreadsheets to track incoming content such as clips, headshots and music for nominated  shows and talent. As an assistant editor most of her tasks includes creating string-outs for packages and organizing assets.

“I loved working on the Primetime Emmy Awards,” says Cole. “Our department started work early because we had to watch all the nominated shows then create packages based on what category it was nominated for.”

“Was this process labor intensive? Yes, but I enjoyed it because not only was I creating something visually appealing, but I was also being introduced to shows I had never watched before which was great.”

Shanae and other post-production crew members at the 2017 Oscars. Photo Credit: Shanae Cole via Instagram.

Shanae and other post-production crew members at the 2017 Oscars. Photo Credit: Shanae Cole via Instagram.

In most recent events, Shanae helped out at the 2018 Billboard Music Awards where she said the experience was really fun.

“I was in charge of distributing show assets to media outlets like Access HollywoodThe Hollywood Reporter and Vibe and also uploading those assets to the app so that subscribers would have access to it.”

As of now she is working in Culver City, California as an Associate Producer on the HGTV show, My Lottery Dream Home. She has previously worked for other big names including Viacom, Warner Bros., and TV One.

“One thing I liked about working in post was the fact that we were able to dress up on show day and actually enjoy the show,” says Cole. “Once the packages were sent out, our work was done until after the show which gave us time to mix and mingle with the celebs.”

“I met a lot of great people during these shows, but I was ecstatic when I met Ellen DeGeneres and Denzel Washington.”

In addition to her many talents, Shanae has also worked as an audience coordinator for events such as the Teen Choice Awards and Nickelodeon Kids Choice SPORTS Awards.

2016 Kids Choice Sports Awards. Photo Credit: Shanae Cole via Instagram.

2016 Kids Choice Sports Awards. Photo Credit: Shanae Cole via Instagram.

 “Working as an audience coordinator kind of happened out of nowhere,” says Cole.

 “I was at an industry event and was telling an industry professional about how I loved Nickelodeon and she said, ‘I am actually looking for audience coordinators  for the Nickelodeon Kids Choice Sports Awards and I 'd love to bring you on board.’”

Shanae said that it was her personality and energy that made the industry professional consider her a perfect fit for the job.

“After the SPORTS Awards, she put me on to other shows. I enjoyed being an audience coordinator because I love talking to people and doing anything I can to ensure that they have a great time and experience.

Shanae also works just as much on the scene as behind the scenes.  When on camera, she collaborates on projects with her twin sister, Shaniece Cole. Both Shanae and Shaniece have done commercials for AT&T and PopSugar Beauty (shown below).

“Although we love working behind the scenes, we also love to perform (acting and dancing). When it comes to the opportunities themselves, our talent agents are the ones that send us out on auditions, and then it’s up to us to book it!”

Shanae’s ultimate goal is to one day produce and star in a sitcom with her twin sister to show how versatile they are.

“This goal not only utilizes our behind the scenes skill-sets, but also our talent abilities and creativity.”

Shanae also has goals of one day using her abilities to work on a movie.

With such an extensive background in media and production, you can see why Shanae is in fact  a wonder woman. She can literally do it all! And for those who aspire to work in the same field, Shanae advises whoever you are to be persistent!

“Sometimes it may take a few months or years to obtain a goal, but if you continue to sow seeds- applying to jobs, fine-tuning your resume, sharpening your skills, networking- you will eventually achieve that goal.”

“I feel like all women should strive to have the attributes of Wonder Woman. We are powerful beings and we are capable of changing the world,”says Cole.

“Do I believe that I possess some of these traits?  Yes, this is why I can relate to her."

From Football to Modeling: Rashad Irvin shares how he signed to NYC's Wilhelmina Modeling Agency

Photo Credit: Harvey Jackson II

Photo Credit: Harvey Jackson II

A few years ago the thought of becoming a professional model never crossed Rashad Irvin’s mind.

“I was so focused on football, I couldn’t see myself doing anything else,” says Irvin.

Since way back when, Rashad has always had dreams of making a career out of football. At 6’3 and 200lbs, Rashad played WR throughout his high school and collegiate career at University of Toledo. Unfortunately because of the multiple injuries he faced, he had to consider other career options.

“I tore my ACL my sophomore year and senior year of high school and again during my sophomore year of college,” says Irvin. “All three times were due to the way I landed or planted my feet.”

Rashad says the first two times he tore his ACL; he came back playing better than before he had his injuries.

“I think because I was so determined to overcome the injury, therapy and the extra work I put in was just a part of my routine.”

After the third tear in 2015 was when doctors told Rashad he should start thinking about his future outside of the game. His knee was now full of scar tissue which caused some complications with his healing process.

 “I was devastated. Imagine doing ONE thing your whole life, and on a random day all of what you worked for is gone?!”

“I was down and out for a couple months because I didn’t know who I was when football was gone. I lost my sense of identity.”

That same year was when Rashad also decided to take on modeling.

“Me and my best friend, Sadre Howard, were walking around the Fairlane Mall and I was stopped by a Detroit fashion stylist named Raine Webb and she asked me if I modeled,” says Irvin. “I laughed as if she was telling a silly joke, but she was serious. She gave me her information and I reached out a few days later.”

With the help of the Detroit Stylist, Rashad started doing photoshoots and landed a few features on a fashion website. Being featured officially made him a published model which led to other photographers wanting to work with him. As his portfolio grew, more opportunities came, including with NIKE in 2016.

“A friend of mine sent me a text saying that Nike was doing a casting for a campaign they were shooting for Detroit’s first Nike store,” says Irvin. “I drove from Toledo to the Westin Hotel in downtown Detroit for the casting and a few days later, they let me know that I was picked to be a part of the project!”

For the campaign, Rashad was featured on a billboard in downtown Detroit (shown below). And it was at that very moment that he decided he wanted to have a professional modeling career.

Photo of the original billboard from the 2016 NIKE campaign feat. Rashad Irvin

Photo of the original billboard from the 2016 NIKE campaign feat. Rashad Irvin

 “I was so excited to be a part of my favorite athletic brand’s campaign,” says Irvin. “The icing on the cake was when I kept getting calls and texts about people seeing me on a billboard!  It was truly a humbling experience.”

Shortly after, his career took a turn for the better when a friend messaged him about a casting call for Wilhelmina, one of the biggest modeling agencies based in New York, LA, Chicago, Miami and London. The casting was at Row House, a popular restaurant in Harlem. Within a few days Rashad got on a 12 hour bus ride with only his wallet, a pillow and an overnight bag in hopes of being signed.

 “When I got there, the line was wrapped around the corner,” says Irvin. “I waited in line for about an hour before I met with Olga from Wilhelmina,” says Irvin.

Olga Tavarez is the Head Scout for Wilhelmina and has worked in the fashion industry for more than 20 years. The moment Rashad walked into the casting he stood out from all other candidates. And because of the potential Tavarez saw in Rashad, he decided to sign him to the agency.

Because of Wilhelmina, Rashad has worked with multiple multimillion dollar brands including Ralph Lauren, Target, Michael Bastian , Bedgear , Grungy Gentlemen and many more. He also had the opportunity to meet celebrities through the agency, including Dej Loaf and Machine Gun Kelly.

Photo Credit: Tarrice Love

Photo Credit: Tarrice Love

“Modeling has given me opportunities to meet so many people,” says Irvin. “I’ve been around a lot of creative and inspiring people. I enjoy just meeting new people that I can inspire or be inspired by.”

By January 2017, Rashad made the big move to New York City to continue his modeling career and to start pursuing an acting career.

“Through modeling I had opportunities to act and I found that I really have a passion for it,” says Irvin.Modeling has and continues to open doors for me and allows me to learn about people, and more importantly about myself.”

Once settled in NYC, he began taking acting classes at The Producers Club and Magnet Theatre under the instruction of Anthony Abeson and Hannah Chase. Since then, Rashad has been booked for multiple short films and commercial roles.

 As of this year, Rashad is now under the management of Mogul Management Group. To find out more about Rashad and his booking information, visit iamrashadirvin.com

 

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LA Clippers Host and Producer, Frenchy, discusses his career in entertainment

Photo Credit: Jacob Gonzalez

Photo Credit: Jacob Gonzalez

If you’ve recently been to any Clippers home games then you’ve seen Francois "Frenchy" Nicolas in action. As an ln-arena host for the LA Clippers, reporter and producer, Frenchy has branded himself as the face for entertainment. He’s interviewed celebrities including Nick Cannon, Kevin Hart, Quavo, Common, Nas and many more.

“Since I was a child I always knew I wanted to work in entertainment in some shape or form. I originally wanted to be a lighting director, but that all changed after a class trip to the Jacob Javitz Center,” says Frenchy. “PIX11 (WB 11 at the time) was doing a live broadcast from the convention and I remember seeing the crowd and how everyone was so excited. That day I got to meet Kaity Tong (anchor) and she interviewed me, and that’s when I think the seed was planted.”

Frenchy started working towards his career in entertainment while attending Brooklyn College. While there, he interned at Hot 97 and had a part-time job working for the NY Knicks.

“I knew I had to keep myself around the action in order to make something happen,” says Frenchy.

After graduating, it wasn’t hard for Frenchy to transition into his career field since he was already working. He landed a job as a blogger for Dj Enuff's website ThatsEnuff.com.

“Not only was I writing, but I was also going out and doing interviews for the website. It was great practice for what was to come,” says Frenchy. 

Some of the challenges Frenchy faced as a rising journalist was not receiving any responses whenever he had an idea to pitch.

“A big part of our job as journalist is constantly pitching new show ideas or stories, so when you get no response, it can definitely be discouraging, but you have to keep going.”  

But the big question is: how did he get the opportunity to become a host for the LA Clippers?

“I was working at Madison Square Garden for the NY Knicks, NY Rangers (NHL) and NY Liberty (WNBA) in the summer,” says Frenchy. “After being there for six years and filling in as a back-up host for the NY Liberty, I got a job working for the Harlem Globetrotters and ended up going on a US/Canadian tour with them for five months. At the end, the Clippers reached out and I took a leap of faith, flew out to LA for the audition and killed it!”

Photo Credit: Photographer, Tony (IG: hombrefeo)

Photo Credit: Photographer, Tony (IG: hombrefeo)

 This upcoming season will be his third year with the LA Clippers. In addition to In-arena hosting, Frenchy has also hosted the 2017 and 2018 All-Star Games.

“It was a dream come true. I used to watch the event on TV as a kid, so to now be that guy hosting in front of 19,000 people is amazing,” says Frenchy. “It’s the biggest night in sports and you feel the energy in the city leading up to the big event. Once you work for a team in the NBA as a host, the league picks who they want for the big game.” 

Frenchy has also hosted the 2017-18 NCAA Final Four for CBS Sports Network as well as the Army/Navy Football game in Philadelphia. In addition, he’s an LA Red Carpet Correspondent for Hot 97 radio where he gets the scoop at the VMA’s, AMAS and more.

“I never stop working,” says Frenchy. “I look at one of my media heroes, Steve Harvey, who currently host four TV shows and has a radio show. If he’s doing all of this at 61, then I really need to step my game up!”

Photo Credit: Frenchy via Instagram @Gofrenchy

Photo Credit: Frenchy via Instagram @Gofrenchy

Apart from being the face of entertainment, Frenchy is currently producing a show for All Def Digital called "FOH" which focuses on issues that affect today’s youth and being a voice of reason. He’s also producing a new show called "Behind the Dream" that’s coming out this summer. 

To conclude the interview, Frenchy shared some words of advice for aspiring journalist and media personalities.

“Figure out why you really want to do this. Being around celebrities and taking pictures on carpets is cool, but everyday isn't that and it takes time to get there,” says Frenchy. “Also do your research and read things that you wouldn't likely read or listen to expand your mind. It'll make you a better-rounded journalist.”

 

 

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Stop Bashing the LGBT Community

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I hate when people try to shame the LGBT community. All love should matter and be accepted. Even with the laws created, people still try to dismiss the LGBT community. Then people try to be hypocrites and bring religion into the picture to excuse their homophobia. So now we can cut the bullshit, because I have some research to support my argument!

For all you Christians and holy people who like to bring God into this and enjoy telling people of the LGBT community that they will "go to hell for sinning," guess what? I have read the bible too! So let's break out the book!


 God made 10 commandments, which are listed in Exodus 20:2-17: 
1. "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me."
2. "You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments."
3. "You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain."
4. "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it."
5. "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you."
6. "You shall not murder."
7. "You shall not commit adultery."
8. "You shall not steal."
9. "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor."
10. "You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s."


Secondly, there is a list of the seven most deadly sins, which are: 
Lust – to have an intense desire or need: “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28).

Gluttony – excess in eating and drinking: “for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags” (Proverbs 23:21). 

Greed - excessive or reprehensible acquisitiveness: “Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more” (Ephesians 4:19). 

Laziness – disinclined to activity or exertion: not energetic or vigorous: “The way of the sluggard is blocked with thorns, but the path of the upright is a highway” (Proverbs 15:19). 

Wrath – strong vengeful anger or indignation: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1) 

Envy – painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage: “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation” (1 Peter 2:1-2). 

Pride - quality or state of being proud – inordinate self esteem: “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).


Notice how NONE of the commandments or the seven deadly sins mention ANYTHING about being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. And PLEASE don't throw the Sodom and Gomorrah bible story out there to prove a point because that won't work! First of all if anyone is as educated and religious as they try to act, then they would know that Sodom and Gomorrah wasn't destroyed just because of homosexuality.

The two cities were destroyed because of its excessive wickedness! Ezekiel 16:49-50 declares, "Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me..."

The people of the cities committed rape, had anal and oral sex with animals, plus more! Both cities surrendered themselves to sexual immortality and preservation! So no, God did not destroy the two cities mainly for homosexuality! 

You can't help who you love! It's been scientifically proven that people can be born gay. It's has been proven that women can be born with more testosterone, which makes them masculine, and a man can be born with under exposure to testosterone, making them feminine. The number of chromosomes we are born with also effect our sexual orientation.You can't change how a person feels or how that person is  born.

And if God really was against homosexuality as people make it seem, there would be plenty more cities burned in sulfur by now. So do your homework before you try to involve the Holy Bible! Love is love, let these people live. And before you try to shame the LGBT community, think about the sins YOU committed and could possibly be damned for before you try to point out anyone else's! 

And if God himself actually does considers homosexuality wrong, then it's no better than any other sins. No sin is greater than the other, we all have our own dirt, including the ones who mainly try to attack the LGBT people.

Confessions of a Shopaholic

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A girl's best friend's are definitely her credit cards/charge cards. Shopping is the best way to fill any type of void, at least for me. Whenever I'm mad, sad or stressed a little retail therapy is something that I can always depend on. It puts me in a happy mood. There's nothing like buying a new pair of shoes or buying name brand clothing. And I definitely love that new purchase smell. I'm mainly a fan of online shopping, I love the anticipation for something to arrive at my door step. But shopping can also bring on negatives.

For example, not managing your money or keeping up with your charge cards are major negatives. 
You want to know how much is in your bank account before shopping. That's one thing I always check first and never spent down to your last dollar! If you do that, you have a serious problem. Ok, I'll be honest, I've done that before a few times, but it was very necessary for whatever reason. Also make sure when using charge cards you pay back the money you spend. Charge cards are to help build credit (and to spend money you don't have when you see something cute), therefore keep up with the monthly payments so your credit can remain in good standing. Also, MAJOR KEY ALERT: never pay the whole amount on your charge card at once, you won't build credit that way. 

As a college student, I learned to shop smart and manage money. And while being a college student, that's the time loaners and banks try to come for you, offering credit cards and harassing you with emails to get a visa with a credit of "$1000". They figure, if you're taking out loans for college, you might do the same with a bank because "we need/want the money". It's all tempting, but don't give in unless your know you can handle it.

Coming from me personally, I have fell for the persuasive trap of getting credit cards and charge cards just so I could buy clothes and necessities. It's been plenty of times where I've walked into stores such as PINK and Macy's and fell for the line, "would you like to apply for a charge card for an extra 20 percent off on your purchase?"  Then get stuck with a 15 percent interest rate on whatever I spent. But the great thing about that is, I have parents! So they paid most of my charge cards off. It's been times where I went crazy and charged $500 here and there and didn't have it, so thank goodness for them!

So word of advice, if you're a college student, this is the time you start building credit and the time stores will persuade you to get a charge card, DON'T DO IT UNLESS YOU CAN CONTROL YOUR SPENDING AND MONEY. Also, credit is EVERYTHING, don't mess it up being unwise. Remember, you need good credit to buy a car and a home in the future. Take it from me, a person who loves to shop. 

COLLEGE TUITION

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I think it is crazy insane how much people have to pay just to receive a higher education, especially when most people graduate and cant even find a job with their own damn degree.

I began to second-guess myself about my own major because of it. Was I going to get a good job with a degree in communications? Should I study to become a doctor or nurse so I can live stable?‘Cause you know what they say, “Money is in the medical field.”

According to the College Board, the average cost of tuition and fees between 2015 and now was $32,400 at private colleges, $9,400 for state residents at public colleges, and $23,890 for out-of-state residents attending public universities. That’s insane! The average college student has to take out student loans and if they’re lucky; get a scholarship to pay off college. And no matter how many study table hours you get, you still end up owing! Oh, lets not forget these student loans have inflation rates as well. The average amount of debt a college student racks up by the time they graduate is around $29,000. That’s PER student.

So first of all America, you tell society to go to college so that everyone can have a great paying successful job and to avoid falling into poverty. You tell us all the opportunities that come with obtaining a degree and sugar coat the fact that we still have the possibly of being broke AND in debt regardless of whether we graduate college or not. People make it seem like obtaining a degree will put us on a whole other social and economic level when there's still a 50/50 chance of us not being financially stable.

I’m starting to think that the government is only interested in people investing their money into institutions and handing out loans so they can double the amount students borrowed. It was never about encouraging society to be in a good financial standing point like they make it seem.

The killing part is, I learned that colleges over seas, like in Canada, are free institutions. What is tuition? But of course there was a catch to why these institutions are free… the citizens of those countries pay way more tax money than us! If only it was easy to move over seas to go to school FOR FREE! Too bad you’d have to establish citizenship and start paying high ass taxes as well.

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Lord of the Rings Actor Sean Astin Helps Campaign for Hilary Clinton

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Today a meet and greet with the Oscar award-winning actor, producer, and director; Sean Astin was held by the EMU college democrats . If you are not familiar with Sean, he played Mikey in "The Goonies" and Samwise in " The Lord of the Rings." You might even recognize him as the football player who had dreams of playing for Notre Dame in the movie "Rocky."

Astin has been traveling state to state in support of Hillary Clinton's campaign for president. He's been visiting different college campuses to encourage students, 18 and older, to register to vote and to support Hillary in the election. 

During his meet and greet he explained how he began working with Hillary Clinton. 

" I met Hillary in 1992 when working on Bill Clinton's campaign and that's how we became acquainted, and was able to work on both of her campaigns," he said.

Sean Astin emphasized the importance of voting and letting young adults voices be heard when there is a call for action. He also explained why he was so Pro-Hillary and against Donald Trump.

" I believe in her as a person, I think she could make a difference," he said. But Trump on the other hand, Astin asked students why would they want someone who said "mean, nasty negative things" to be their president? And whenever Trumps speaks it makes him want to "punch the TV,"  then a few laughs echoed through the room.

Apart from Astin speaking of how he is deeply involved in politics, I was able to squeeze in a few questions about how Sean's earned his career in Hollywood.

" Well, because of my parents. They were very famous, so I was able to get into the acting business through nepotism."

Sean Astins parents are John Astin, who played the father in the 1964 film " The Addams Family," and Patty Duke from "The Patty Duke Show" in 1963. 

Astin also extended his advice for those who have interest in acting as well.

" Build a resume and perfect your craft, whether it's in school or outside of school," he said. "Don't just search 'talent agency' on google either and don't pay anyone to be your talent agent because it doesn't work like that."

As a celebrity Sean Austin has managed to set a great example for his fans and college students today. Outside of his acting career, he contributes to his country by using his voice to encourage others to register to vote and to make people realize how important their decisions and opinions are.

" If you want to make a change, don't just mope around and b*tch about it, do something about it! Vote!"

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Let's Talk About Sex

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I don't see how this generation (90s babies) have all these trust issues, but most of y'all have sex with any and everybody without protection. That is such a contradiction because in order to have raw sex you have to TRUST your mate. You have to trust and believe that your sex partner isn't out there having sex with multiple people and trust that they aren't infected, or at least tell you if they are for your own health and safety. 

Y'all think these STDs are a joke. Does anyone even bother to ask if their partner has been tested or have a history of catching any STDs anymore? Or when's the last time their partner had sex?  Let me remind you that some of these STDs are NOT curable. And once you catch a STD, curable or non-curable, you are at a higher risk of catching HIV.

Genital Herpes and warts, for one, are NOT curable. You can treat and managed the symptoms all you want and make it look like you're clean, but it's not going anywhere because these viruses survive in your blood stream. Genital herpes can cause painful genital sores. Genital warts are soft growths that occur on the genitals.They can cause pain, discomfort, itching, and it can cause cervical cancer in women!! Both of these STDs can be passed on in simple ways, such as skin-to-skin contact or other direct contact. Even a condom won't save you from passing it on or catching it. It's so easy to catch anything!

Even with the other STDs that are curable, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and trichomoniasis, they still have the possibility of leaving strains in your blood stream, which makes it easier to catch that same STD a second time or possibly have two STDs at once. 

So if you want to act like you REALLY have trust issues, play that role 100% to the T and GET A CONDOM. Unprotected sex should be for that one special person only! The person who you know you will spend your life with and have kids with, not everyone you like. People are so careless these days with who they have intercourse with.

I understand it my feel better without a condom, but it's better to be safe than sorry. That's what they invented ultra thin for anyway lol. And always keep in mind that SOME people lie about being infected or don't mention being infected at all. Those are the people you have to worry about running into. So please choose who you have sex with wisely and play it safe!

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Education on Electoral Processes

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I'm so amazed at how many young adults are not educated  on what the caucuses and primaries are. The participation and promotion of young people voting is great, but it seems like half of us don't know what's going on or why. People are under the impression that this electrical process decides who becomes president and it doesn't!!!! This electoral process is to help nominate a candidate for the presidential election. So here's a little 101 class for the dummies!

In a primary, residents cast their ballots and in a caucus, there is local gathering where voters openly decide which candidate to support. "The caucus format favors candidates who have a dedicated and organized following because a small band of devoted volunteers can exert an outsized influence in the open setting of a caucus," according to online sources. States choose whether they want to hold primaries or caucuses. 


At a caucus, members of a political party meet in person at an appointed time and location to discuss the candidates and debate their merits. The voting for candidates happens either by raising hands or by separating into groups, and manually counting the votes by counting the number of supporters of each candidate. On the other hand, a primary allow those who are eligible to vote to cast a secret ballot. 

And lastly, each state has a certain number of delegates that represent the state at the National Convention of either the Democrat or Republican political party. It is at this event that the party's presidential nominee is chosen and this doesn't happen until JULY FYI!!!!! "'The delegates of each state are 'awarded' to one of the presidential candidates and the candidate with the most number of delegates on his/her side wins the nomination. Some states use a winner-take-all approach and award all their delegates to the winner of the caucus or primary in that state. Some states award delegates in proportion to the percentage of votes the candidates receive,'" according to online sources.

Therefore don't panic YET! Just because Trump or whoever else you're not favoring is in the lead does not mean they are going to be the next president right now. Relax and educate yourself before you panic and rant on Twitter. Class is now dismissed!

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Black on Black Racism

Photo from scene in the 1993 film Minace II Society

Photo from scene in the 1993 film Minace II Society

I know it's a lot of racism towards minorities and specifically black people. But I think we may be trying to handle everything wrong to eliminate racism. First we need to look within our own community. It's a lot of racism towards our own kind based on how light or dark our skin complexion is. It's always been fair colored or light skinned against the dark skinned. 

I think this all started way back when slavery was around and I believe it's even mentioned in the Willie Lynch letter on how to control slaves. The fair skin was always divided from the darker skinned people. Light skinned blacks were house workers and got better treatment, especially if they were kin to their master. The darker blacks were always kept as the field workers and hard laborers. From then on it was always installed in our minds that light skinned people were better than the darker ones as far as beauty, being qualified for a job and so on. This also may have installed jealousy and anger in some blacks who are darker, then eventually the lighter skinned blacks grew with animosity. Even now, if you don't see it, racism between us is live and active. 

When people make the posts on Instagram Or Twitter saying " light skinned girls do it better" or "light skin is out, get a dark skinned," That's all considered as racism within our own group. When we categorize lighter colored black men as feminine and weak, that's discrimination! We divided ourselves into subgroups based on complexion and then we use our skin complexion as an excuse to compete with each other. When we say " I only like dark skinned girls/boys" or "I don't like anyone that's darker than my skin complexion," THATS ALL RACISM TOO. How can we want better for our kind when we discriminate against and segregate our own people ?
We skipped a very important step, we have to find a way to eliminate that problem first before we can move on to the bigger picture. After we become one team and work together, THEN we can try to find a way to completely kill racism.

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BOYCOTT BEYONCE

Ever since Beyoncé's new single came out and she performed at the Super Bowl, there has been a terrible uproar. As mentioned in my Super Bowl Recap, people are trying to boycott Beyoncé because apparently the music video sends a negative message to police officers. She has also been called out by media figures on it. Rudy Giuliani, the former major of New York said Bey "attacked" the law enforcement and that it was an "outrageous" performance towards police officers that "protect" us.

Then news anchor, Tomi Lahren even tried to call Beyoncé out, which ended pretty badly. She said on live television that Beyonce was married to a past "drug dealer who sold crack cocaine" and that with his past, that's no way to save black neighborhoods. Off topic much? She showed no remorse in tongue lashing Beyoncé all because she thought it was wrong for the singer to pay tribute to the Black Panthers during halftime. Right after her rant, the Beyhive attacked her on social media.

 

First off let me say this, ITS BLACK HISTORY MONTH. The Black Panthers were a BIG part of our history, so there's nothing negative about that. The Black Panthers weren't "violent," they practiced SELF DEFENSE because some white people, especially the law enforcement was VIOLENT against black people. And once again, the justice system is corrupted! We have the law enforcement killing innocent children (specially black) and getting away with it. So please don't try to attack Beyoncé for sending a harmless message. It was a political music video, which also celebrated and uplifted black people and history. The music video was dedicated to us to remind us that WE are beautiful people, and that our lives matter just like everyone else's. It takes all the demeaning things we've been called and turn it into something positive. Bey is basically saying, "Let society continue to look at us as  'Negros' or 'Bamas,' and people with big ass noses because we are beautiful either way. We built this country and bare the weight of it. Not only that, it touched back on what happened during Katrina and black culture. So don't tell me that her halftime performance or music video was "outrageous" or "inappropriate" because it was positively impacting and inspiring. And if you misunderstood the message, then you must be close-minded.