Tuesday, October 28, 2008

10 Reason Why Not to Get a Job in Hollywood

This one's personal...

"To be or not to be, that is the question". The question being whether to return to a full-time job is the best decision for me. I love having the freelance freedom of scheduling my day as I choose, however the work is not as consistent as I need it to be. But I'm not alone, everybody is feeling some economic strain in this country.

So recently after tossing another resume into an online bottomless job pit, I said to myself "computers don't hire people, people hire people! So what are YOU going to do? Blog about it? [Laughing as I type] Get the lead out your ass and start networking! Referral is how it's done in Hollywood and all over the world in fact! Just remember quality is what you seek in business, not quantity."

And while seeking recently, I stumbled upon a web post from personal development guru, Steve Pavlina, called 10 Reason You Should Never Get A Job. It has given me great insight into the kind of work I'm really looking for. Just click the title to read his article in full. Below are a few points that hit home with me the most:

  • Getting a job and trading your time for money may seem like a good idea. There’s only one problem with it. It’s stupid!...Because you only get paid when you’re working. ...Smart people build systems that generate income 24/7, especially passive income. This can include starting a business, building a web site, becoming an investor, or generating royalty income from creative work.
  • Employee income is the most heavily taxed there is..The tax system is designed to disguise how much you’re really giving up because some of those taxes are paid by your employer, and some are deducted from your paycheck..You only get paid a fraction of the real value you generate.
  • The idea that a job is the most secure way to generate income is just silly. Does putting yourself in a position where someone else can turn off all your income just by saying two words (”You’re fired”) sound like a safe and secure situation to you?
  • When you want to increase your income, do you have to sit up and beg your master for more money? Does it feel good to be thrown some extra Scooby Snacks now and then? Or are you free to decide how much you get paid without needing anyone’s permission but your own?If you have a business and one customer says “no” to you, you simply say “next.”
  • What’s the alternative to getting a job? The alternative is to remain happily jobless for life and to generate income through other means. Realize that you earn income by providing value — not time – so find a way to provide your best value to others, and charge a fair price for it.
So will I continue to pursue a traditional full time job? I'm undecided. I think what's most important is that I continue pursuing opportunities in general and stand firm to working smarter not harder. Eventually ideal opportunities will present themselves.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Jennifer Hudson: May You Hold Strong To Your Faith. (UPDATED)

It's days like today that remind me why I got out of television news as fast as I could. There's rarely any soul in it to me, just scandalous headlines and repetitive reports written to keep you glued to screens and at the mercy of advertisers. Thus, it's a "good" news day for local and national networks, but a very sad and devastating one for singer and actress, Jennifer Hudson.

According to Associated Press, one of two people found dead in a south side Chicago home is a relative of Hudson. However, MTV.com and local Chicago news reports state that both are relatives, one being her mother, Darnell Donerson, 57, and the other, her older brother, Jason, 29.

While more information about this violent murder of her loved ones reaches our eyes and ears, I hope most of us will try to remember that before American Idol, the Academy Award, the new album blazing the music charts, Jennifer Hudson was and still is a person deserving of privacy and respect. And though our inquiring minds may want to know every detail, do we really have a right to just because she's now a celebrity--a status she's still growing into? Truly, who gives a damn about "celebrity" when your mother and brother have just been snatched from your life.

As Jennifer attempts to handle this travesty publicly with recording devices and flashing bulbs capturing every moment, I pray that her faith in God will strengthen and comfort her spirit privately as she, like us, tries to makes sense out of the senseless.

Sincere condolences to her family, friends, and fans.


The body of a young black boy recovered from a sport utility vehicle this morning is now confirmed to be Jennifer Hudson's missing 7-year-old nephew Julian King, an FBI official told ABC News.

Police found the body in a white SUV on Chicago's west side; authorities had been searching for him since Friday. Julian hasn't been seen since Hudson's mother and brother were found shot to death in their home Friday afternoon.

Police issued an Amber Alert Friday for Julian and were looking for a 1994 white Chevrolet Suburban.

An Illinois State Police spokesman confirmed to ABC News that the Amber Alert had been canceled, but declined to comment further on the investigation.

Blair Underwood Aha! Moment: Oprah.com

Before heading off to my new adventure for today, I checked my inbox and came across this insightful article about Blair Underwood posted on Oprah's website. Don't have time today to post a lot of it but it's definitely worth reading and practicing in our own lives. The full article can be read HERE at Oprah.com. Below is an excerpt:

The Dirty Sexy Money actor thought solving problems made him a man. Then his wife taught him that sometimes, the best solution is just listening.

"...When my dad wasn't around, my brother and I were the de facto men of the house. We learned to repair the VCR, to change the oil in the car, to lock the doors at night. If there was a tornado coming, or if there had been robberies in the neighborhood, it was up to us males to make sure our family was secure.

I took this role to heart when I was young and feeling my way around my relationship with my wife-to-be, Desiree. I wanted to be her rock, her protector. If she had a problem, I wanted to solve it. I thought that's what was expected of me.

As a man, it can be confusing to know what role to play. There I was, with the woman I would soon marry, trying to jockey for position in her life. What did it mean to be her significant other? That night, I understood that it meant I needed to hear her when she spoke to me. Trying to come up with ways to solve her problems gave me a false sense of control, and when I offered up unsolicited advice, I was disrespecting a strong woman who knew how to handle her own life. I was relieved as well; she didn't expect me to always have an answer for her. She wasn't coming to me for a repair. She just needed a shoulder to cry on. ..."

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Linda Hamilton, Lisa Leslie Receive High Honors From Diamond in the Raw Foundation

This past Sunday, October 19th, I was again in the presence of greatness. At LA's Mountain Gate Country Club, unsung heroines behind the camera, the stuntwomen, paid tribute to their "sisters in stunt business" through it's inaugural Diamond in the Raw Foundation luncheon. From movie sets to basketball courts, great women were recognized for their excellence in athleticism, trailblazing, and other accomplishments in the entertainment industry.

Founded just three years ago, Diamond in the Raw, was created to introduce at-risk young girls to various jobs in the entertainment industry that they may have never thought of before. So not only were stuntwomen given honors at the event, but also women and young girls in the program that embodied their courageous spirit. Among the 2008 honorees were award-winning actress, Linda Hamilton, and Olympic gold medalist and LA Sparks champion, Lisa Leslie. Watch the video to see red carpet arrivals, interviews, and to hear more about the foundation from co-founder, LaFaye Baker.


The website again is www.diamondintheraw.com. There, you'll find not only info on how to volunteer but also the different programs Diamond in the Raw uses to help young girls see beyond their circumstances and reach their fullest potential.

Monday, October 20, 2008

CAAM Honors Muhammad Ali, Howard Bingham, & KJLH

How do you know when you're in the presence of greatness? Here's a few clues: first, without request people stand and eagerly applaud when it enters the room; secondly, no matter where you go in the world, the story of how this greatness came to be is an inspiration to everyone regardless of race, religion, or creed; and third, it's contribution to the world can not be measured soley by scientific data, but also by barometers of the heart.

Saturday, October 18, I stood in the presence of greatness as the California African American Museum honored the legendary Muhammad Ali, famed photographer, Howard Bingham, and long time community-favorite radio station KJLH at it's annual black-tie gala and fundraiser, "An Artful Evening At CAAM." Watch the video for highlights from the event.


Visit www.caamuseum.org for more information on museum events and how to give your support. Currently, "A Moment in Time: Bingham's Black Panthers", Dewey Crumpler's "Of Tulips and Shadows", and "Black Chrome" are all on exhibit.

Learn more about the self-taught photographer, Howard Bingham, in this recent interview with National Public Radio. And see even more of Bingham's outstanding photography and Ali collection through his books.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Swarm The Box Offices For Secret Life of Bees

Whether in front of the camera or behind it, "The Secret Life of Bees" is a testament to female power in Hollywood. Written, produced, adapted for screen, and directed by women there's no mistaking this film's feminine touch. But to categorize it as a mere "chick flick" is an insult. "Secret Life of Bees" is a universal story of the human spirit told from the perspective of young girl seeking love and answers to questions that only God can answer. It has depth--moments that will make you laugh, cry, and better appreciate the America we live in today. So that's two reasons to swarm the theater--a universal story and outstanding filmmaking.

Here's another. It wasn't until midway through "Secret Life of Bees" that it hit me how much the film reminded me of Alice Walker's, "The Color Purple". As very young girls, both Lily (Dakota Fanning) and Celie long to know why they have experienced so much pain so early in their lives. Rejected by heartless fathers, both are separated violently from the one person they cherish the most, and both unexpectedly receive the love they long for from strong women they hardly know. And eventually they both become strong enough to stand up to the one that hurt them the most and forgive. So, if you loved "The Color Purple" then you'll probably love "The Secret Life of Bees" as well. And that's a third reason to hit the box office to see this film.

And if nothing else I've written compels you to see this movie, then my last selling point is the cast. Queen Latifah, Dakota Fanning, Alicia Keys, Jennifer Hudson, and Sofie Okenedo--all that Oscar worthy talent and creative energy in one film portraying characters as rich and layered as your mama's best homemade triple-deck cake--should pique your interest a little. It's definitely worthy of all the buzz it's been receiving.

I saw it again opening night not only to support it financially, but also to catch glimpses of my own upbringing. Though the story is set in 1964 South Carolina, the film was shot in Burgaw, NC during the winter. The trees, the house, and the distinct personalities of the Boatwright sisters all remind me of home, and especially of my grandmother and her sorority of strong women always dropping by the house. And just like in the Boatwright house, the piano, black history artifacts, doilies on furniture, and the always present and tempting cake or pie on the kitchen table were also customary in my grandmother's home. (Happy Birthday, Big Mama! I miss you! Rest in Peace!)

Whatever motivates you to see "The Secret Life of Bees" I don't believe you'll be disappointed. But if you need more convincing visit the official website HERE for cast and crew interviews and behind-the-scenes footage. To learn more about Sue Monk Kidd's book from which the film was adapted click the book cover.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Two Fats Ladies and Director, Gina Prince-Bythewood: Soul Food in Secret Life of Bees

You might wanna say grace before viewing this one! Lawd! I can't wait to get home to North Carolina where "Secret Life of Bees" was shot to experience some REAL soul food! When you see the golden brown cornbread and delicious desserts sitting pretty in this video, I swear you'll begin to salivate.

Now before some of y'all get all "boogie" and Hollywood about the fat and unhealthiness of it all, let me remind you soul food historically was about survival--taking basically nothing and making it into something that nourished the flesh for a long, hard day of not mere work--but slavery. The "soul" was added, in my opinion, because of the creativity of it passed down through the generations--just like "soul" music. And the combination of great soul food and soul music is a Divine experience.

Secret Life of Bees: Faith Based Film or Story of Faith?

How do you define church? Better yet, how do you define faith? Set in the "Bible Belt" of the south, "Secret Life of Bees", transcends chapter and verse and religious denominations to tell a universal story of the heart. In this video, cast members, Alicia Keys, Jennifer Hudson, and others express their thoughts on the underlying theme of faith and love in the film.

Jada Pinkett, Will Smith, Secret Life Of Bees Cast at Hollywood Premiere

Will Smith talks to TV Guide TV about wife's new role as Executive Producer of "Secret Life of Bees", then Jada shares what she loved about the story. Watch too more red carpet interviews from the Hollywood premiere with cast members Dakota Fanning and Jennifer Hudson.

I REALLY like this movie! Full Review to come in a day or so.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Halle Berry: A New Fragrance & Sexy Esquire Article

Access Hollywood - Celebrity News, Photos & Videos | ARTICLE - Glam Slam: Berry Good Perfume!

Posted using ShareThis

“It’s my second baby!”, the new mom told Access today about her latest gig.

She’s teamed up with Coty to create her own signature perfume called “Halle by Halle Berry.”

“Because my name is really on it, it was really important that it be something that I chose that I love…and it was a special time in my life to do something like this,” she added.

Halle, who mixed scents in her bathroom for years, has been very involved in the two-year process to create a fragrance which incorporates some of her favorite scents…mimosa and fig.

The fragrance collection will be available next spring and Halle hopes it will be around a long time, much like Elizabeth Taylor’s fragrances have had staying power.

“Her perfume is still selling today, not that I’m putting myself in the same category as her by any means, but I would really love it if you know 20 years from now, there was still a bottle of this somewhere that somebody could buy and that somebody actually still wanted to buy it,” Halle told us. “That would make me really, really happy.”


Check out Esquire's October issue with a great new article written by Halle herself, "The Sexiest Woman Alive, 2008." Here's an excerpt:

"Sexy is not about wearing sexy clothes or shaking your booty until you damn near get hip dysplasia; it's about knowing that sexiness is a state of mind -- a comfortable state of being. It's about loving yourself even in your most unlovable moments. I know a little bit about that."...

"When it comes to what I think is sexy about men, I like forearms. That's my body part. They're generally exposed, available, a little bit vulnerable. A forearm is different with every man, and when it comes to forearms, size matters. I don't like them slight."...


Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Andre Benjamin: Hip Hop to Hip Clothing Designer

Video Source: Current TV

Check out Outkast's, Andre 3000's new clothes. Very "dapper" I must say. It's a bit "Idlewild", with hint of Fonzworth Bently, and a dash of "Family Matter's" Urkel. But throw out the highwaters and keep the suspenders. Me likey!

Read about Andre's NY Fashion Week launch HERE

Monday, October 06, 2008

Who Really Attends Movie Premieres?

I saw this article on Yahoo titled, "Who Really Goes to Movie Premiere's Anyway?" by Leslie Gornstein and thought it to be very enlightening for those who aren't "in the know". Here's an excerpt:

Los Angeles (E! Online) - Are premieres strictly invite-only, or can any celeb walk the red carpet?--Anabel

I've learned almost any celebrity of the "C" caliber or higher can attend any film premiere he or she wishes, with or without an invitation.

Where would that put Heidi and Spencer [They're cast members of The Hills.], if they decided to crash a premiere that was not their own? Well...

"I would certainly let them walk the carpet if they showed up!" says Ava DuVernay, whose firm, DVA PR, has organized many a premiere, including Dreamgirls. "The press loves them, and I am there to get press for the movie."

So how do celebrities find out about these premieres in the first place?

"Usually the film publicist will do a blast and reach out to the publicity community and ask them to submit names of talent who are in town and who might be a good fit to attend the premiere," DuVernay explains. "Names are submitted, and from there, the filmmakers and studio decide who will get an invitation extended to them."

The goal: filling up the roster with enough celebrity attendees to get the press to show up.

Rarely, a low-level "celebrity" will appear at a premiere unbidden.

"Usually it's someone of the level of Phoebe Price, or the random model or video girl," DuVernay says. "Then it's up to the organizers to decide whether to let them walk the carpet, and whether we can get them a seat."

From my own experience, there's nothing worse than seeing the "random model", actor, or "video girl" get on the carpet and all the flashing lights stop. Worse yet, no one knows their name and not one media outlet chooses to ask the individual a question. Some hear the "crickets" and cut their walk short. Others, Lord, stay too long and you wish Apollo's Sandman Sims would pull them away. Oh well, such is the so called glamorous life. Hope they get your name right, video girl!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

On My Way to Toronto to Rock Witchu, LL Cool J and Janet Jackson

This may sound crazy, but I'm serious! Sometimes opportunities surprisingly fall into your lap. And when they do, you don't question, you act in faith. So when the opportunity to go to Toronto to interview opening act, LL Cool J, backstage at Janet's Rock Witchu concert came, I took it.

In a future post I'll share more from my trip and LL's interview. But in the light of Janet's recent illness, I thought I'd create this video first. So get in the backseat with me as I ride to Toronoto's Air Canada Center, chat a little backstage with LL--aka the G.O.A.T. (The Greatest of All Time)--then get some "Feedback" from a smiling fan still basking in the after glow of Toronto's show minutes before my flight back to LA.


And no, Habib had never heard of LL either. But despite our differing musical knowledge and tastes, it was a great and interesting ride to and from the show.

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