Posts Tagged ‘Put Your Dreams First’

CREATIVE FOOD FRIDAY

May 29, 2009

Picture 6

by Nancy A. Jimenez

christian dior / federico diaz

Christian Dior

federicodiaz

SISTER SWANS: THEDA SANDIFORD

May 27, 2009

THEDA SANDIFORD

Serving the Cyber Generation

Theda Sandiford

Theda Sandiford

Sister Swan

1. What are you working on right now?

I’m working on setting up Jeremih, Lyfe Jennings, New Boyz, Lil Boosie, Reflection Eternal, Shawty Lo, Ginuwine, and Nicki Minaj. Along with Method Man & Redman, Camron, Mike Jones, Paul Wall. I’m also working on a series of mixed media self-portraits focusing on health, wellness, dreams and multiracial themes.

2. What book(s) are you reading?

The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb and The Reagan Diaries. I love non-fiction.

3. Share something you do for work that’s harder than it looks.

Online press is really much harder than it looks; there are a lot of personalities that need to be massaged to make a placement happen. On both sides with the talent, their managers, label staff and the outlet as well.

4. Describe a moment of sweet vindication.

When I started in digital marketing ten years ago @ Def Jam, I had to beg the staff to pay attention to the internet now people say to me you were right… snicker snicker

5. What’s the most dangerous aspect of the waters you navigate?

As someone who is outspoken, I need to keep in mind that people don’t always want to hear what I have to say. Yet as a digital media consultant, I’m being hired for my opinion and know how. So it is a balancing act, knowing when to listen and when to speak.

6. Name two places you call home.

Union City NJ and Lilburn GA, I have homes in both cities.

7. Who are your influences?

My parents are my number 1 influences. They taught me to channel my anger into achievement. My mom’s favorite quote is “don’t get angry get smart.” Every time I am annoyed, I hear her voice in the back of my head and the stress dissipates.

8. What is your favorite creative food?

Sushi, of course. I like to let the sushi chef at Katsuya in LA to make whatever he wants to serve. I am a willing guinea pig.

9. What is your guilty pleasure?

Star Wars is my #1 guilty pleasure. I’ve seen all the films well over 100+ times

In Honor of Notorious B.I.G

May 21, 2009
Breakfast of champions of rap

Breakfast of champions of rap

Pulling out some of my photos from the ’90s, from a time I am so blessed to have lived and worked in; a decade that gave us hip-hop’s golden era. I found the photos of BIG in this note, and reconnected to a time when hip-hop had purpose; had a sense of humor; had much more respect for its women (and indeed a chorus of female voices to boot); had a hunger for innovation that eclipsed its need for shine. Hip-hop’s commitment to being dope is what turned the spotlight on her in the first place. BIG represents that for me. An inrcedible lyricist and magnetic personality who could not be denied, who brought the shine to him.

He visited me with Cease at GAVIN four days before his last. Our interview didn’t feel like one at all. We all laughed as the two of them played the dozens over salmon croquettes, eggs, and yes-Welch’s grape. I ordered in because of the tension that BIG being in the San Francisco/Oakland Bay Area, Tupac’s first Cali home, meant back then. He had so much security; traveled in an unmarked van. So many times I think back on that day, wishing security had been as tight in LA as it was in the Bay. He loved the energy of the Bay, too, because the Bay was always more inclined toward hip-hop unity in diversity than its SoCal counterpart. When Ricky Leigh called me at 4am on March 9, 1997, none of the competition, none of the beef, none of the parties, none of the bullshit mattered. Hip-hop’s collective heart was broken for the second time in six months.

including Michelle S., Foxy Brown, Joey Arbagey, Franzen Wong, Latin Prince, Sway

KMEL Dream Team: including Michelle S., Foxy Brown, Joey Arbagey, Franzen Wong, Latin Prince, Sway

He rose from the table, grabbed his cane (he was recovering from a car accident), snapped some pictures with me, bear hugged me and went on to KMEL and WILD, where he gave the infamous final radio interview caught on video. We saw each other again at the album listening event held by BMG distribution. And listening to that album was like hearing greatness pour through speakers.

One thing I have yet to find is the “Life After Death” buyway he autographed for me at the BMG mixer. I remember what it said though: “To Thembisa, thank you for being different.”

Biggie, thank you for being you.

Doin' it BIG

Doin' it BIG

The United States of 50 Cent

April 4, 2009
So my new favorite Sunday show, The United States of Tara comes to a close this weekend.

united-states-of-tara-promo

In a nutshell (pardon the pun) Toni Collette deftly dances between her central character, named Tara, and that woman’s other personalities, or ‘alters’: T, a petulant, hypersexed teenager; Alice, a prudish but alluring homemaker cut from Donna Reed’s cloth; Buck, her male alter who lives at the intersection of trailer trash biker and delusional Vietnam vet. And then: there’s Gimme, the feral child, an alter that screeches, cowers, destroys and even pees on sleeping relatives in the middle of the night.


The show has led me to draw an unlikely parallel between Tara and of all people, 50 Cent. Now, I am not a shrink, and I don’t think 50 Cent has multiple personality disorder. On the contrary: I think he’s got a firm grasp on who he is. But the Showtime series, executive produced by Diablo Cody, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of Juno, got me to thinking about all the personalities 50 has revealed to us thus far.

For the show’s central character Tara, there is Curtis Jackson. He listens more than he talks, is a brilliant creative (like Tara, who is a muralist—only his mediums are movies, music, books and apparel). Low-key and perceptive, Curtis is probably the least exciting of all the personalities, but loveable for the same reasons.


tara1

50-cent-2

Then there’s Tara’s polar opposite, T. Less than half Tara’s age with twice the sex drive, and no regard for consequences. T’s attitude is ‘all me all the time’, period. And while the only way to dial T back is to banish her to the shed in the family’s back yard, sometimes it’s cool having T around because she knows how to have a good time. In 50’s amusement park, this character is the irrepressible Pimpin’ Curly. A newly revealed personality, Curly rocks plush furs, a red sistercurl ‘do (okay, it’s a wig cocked to the side, but roll with me here), fresh kicks, and a mouth as foul as his attitude. And it works for him. His bitches love it. And the money they bring him is all that matters; he’s a legend in his own mind.


tee-2

Pimpin' Curly

Even among Tara’s alters, there is a voice of reason. The same holds true for Curtis. In Tara’s world, there is Alice, perfectly coiffed with clipped speech. Alice’s work is in the home, but make no mistake—she’s all business. You better have it together around Alice, and if you don’t she’ll help you with that. Even the show’s subway posters for Alice read ‘She’s One Tough Mother’. Enter Earl, the equivalent personality for Curtis. Straight-laced and accomplished in the corporate world, he’s one tough brother. He’s even shared co-consciousness with Curly and faced him down, telling Curly, “I’m not afraid of you. You’re goin’ to hell. Hell, hell, hell, hell, HELL!”

AliceEarl

Who among the United States of 50 measures up to Buck, Tara’s chain-smoking, crotch adjusting male alter? Well, that’s easy. 50 Cent. He’s as male as male gets. Swagger and shit-talking beyond belief, right down to the monogram pistol holster. To let this guy tell it, he’s invincible. And he has a point: he survived Southside Jamaica, Queens, the drug trade and being served a dishonorable discharge from the rap game after being shot 9 times. Exacting revenge on the same industry that left him for dead says he’s right.


buck

50-cent3

I was 50’s advertising writer for “How To Rob” and Power of The Dollar. Our bond goes back to 1999 B.B. (Before the Bullets). He even generously blessed the back cover of my book with a quote.


“There are only a couple people I still keep in touch with from my days at Columbia, people who totally focused on my project and did their best for me. Thembisa is one of them.”
—50 Cent, Shady/Aftermath recording artist and G-Unit branding phenomenon


I’ve been in the presence of both Curtis and 50 Cent. I have witnessed the warm smile of one soul transition into the sneer of another at close range. More recently, I have been thoroughly entertained from afar by Curly and Earl, who prove that Curtis hasn’t lost his sense of humor, and may have even found some self-deprecation after all the success he’s achieved in music, business, film, and fashion.

When an alter overtakes Tara, she transitions as a result of a word, action or behavior that triggers their appearance. Unlike Curtis, Tara is still wondering what cataclysmic event brought on her mental state. Curtis’ near-death experience answered that question for him. See, I believe he knows why these personalities are manifesting, and more than that, wields them in a way Tara can’t. All this shrink talk from The United States of Tara begs a few questions.


What do you think triggers Curtis? Is there a Gimme in his arsenal of personalities? If so, when will we get to meet him? Or is he holding that one back before he self-destructs?


curtis-21

I for one can’t wait to find out.


Showtime’s The United States of Tara finale premieres Sunday, April 5 at 10pm. My book Put Your Dreams First: Handle Your [entertainment] Business streets April 23. The new album from 50 Cent, Before I Self Destruct is slated for release later this year.

Making Black History With Emmanuel Jal

February 15, 2009

Creatives need each other. For inspiration, for affirmation, for that unique connection and understanding only fellow creatives can provide. It explains in part why we collaborate, why we make moves together as communicators.

Learning from each other as we teach with our words.

Mshaka and Jal: Learning from each other as we teach with our words.

I am drawing fresh, potent inspiration from a man of deep conviction and endless generosity: War Child author, emcee philanthropist and filmmaker Emmanuel Jal. I had the pleasure of being introduced to him by Nefertiti Strong and Richard Pelzer of MEGA Dream, who both told me he wanted to learn more about the business from me. We became instant family, tied by our work and our love for art, our commitment to making people better through understanding and education. When they asked me to support his cause, there was no hesitation. I laced him with a galley of Put Your Dreams First. A week later, he said he was “digging the book and learning a lot”.

After reading his story, I had to do my part to make sure others learned it. I mean, if this brother could lose his family, his village, and his childhood and rise to prominence as an emcee without hoes, bitches or bling, I could support his efforts. I created a Facebook event for his film’s NYC engagement with all the details:

http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/event.php?eid=49801144796

Watch us ring the closing bell of the NY Stock Exchange here:

http://www.nyse.com/events/1234264451643.html

02-09-12cb_1

Joining Emmanuel on the podium from Left to Right – Marva Allen, Owner of Hue-Man Bookstore; Fields Jackson Jr., Founder and CMO of Racing Towards Diversity Magazine; Nefertiti Strong, President and CEO of Catch A Dream Entertainment; Thembisa Mshaka, Author of Handle Your Entertainment Business (in stores April 23rd); Richard E. Pelzer II, President and CEO of MEGA Management Inc; Gail Mckenzie, President of Contact International Inc; Larry Cox, Executive Director of Amnesty International; Larry Liebowitz, Executive Vice-President in Charge of US Markets and Global Technology of NYSE; Emmanuel Jal; Violet Tabor, Executive Director of FACESNY; Jaime Carey, CMO of Barnes and Noble; Sally Richardson, President & Publisher of St. Martin’s Press; Robert Marchman, Chairman of the NYSE Euronext Diversity Council and Executive Vice-President of NYSE Regulation’s Enforcement Division and Lacy DuBose, Agency Fields Executive of State Farm Insurance.

Mshaka with Agent Regina Brooks, Serendipity Literary Agency and Jamie Carey, CMO, Barnes & Noble

Mshaka with Agent Regina Brooks (r), Serendipity Literary Agency and Jaime Carey (center), CMO, Barnes & Noble

Gail Mckenzie, Attache' to the President of Gabon, Mshaka, Nefertiti Strong, MEGA Dream

(l to r): Global Exchange: Gail Mckenzie, Attache' to the President of Gabon, Mshaka, Nefertiti Strong, MEGA Dream

Once a child soldier in his native Sudan, he is now building a school for his decimated village to educate a new generation. He is fasting daily, having only dinner, until the 300,000 EUROS needed is raised. The way he sees it, if 100,000 people give 3 apiece (do the exchange math America, for us it’s closer to 5 bucks), the Leer Academy (named for his village) will be funded.

You MUST see this film!

You MUST see this film!

So don’t wait-here’s another chance to make Black History in the spirit of global citizenship that President Obama embodies. Hit up http://www.emmaueljal.org and support his non-profit, GUA Africa now. His incredible documentary about a harrowing journey from battle to hip-hop and back home to his family after 18 years is playing until February 22 at the George Faison Firehouse in Harlem, definitely catch it if you’ll be in NYC.

I watched the film and his performance on February 12th and was moved beyond measure. His album is a heady mix of African rhythms, rock riffs and operatic vocals that does not disappoint.

emmanuel-jal-book-ad

You can get the album and memoir of the same name everywhere right now.