Government Shutdown Wake Up? Self-Sufficiency Is The Only Answer

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Donald Trump’s administration enacted a partial government shutdown at midnight on December 22 after the Senate failed to break an impasse over the president’s demand for more funding to build a wall on the border with Mexico.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell sent senators home that Saturday until Christmas Day, all but guaranteeing the shutdown would last until then.

The government shutdown has now reached its 13th day.

The Secure Job Myth

Certain sectors of professional life have always been seen as bulletproof.

Federal government jobs are high on that list as the system employed by this country cannot operate without a working government.

We all have been fed the narrative of security and the infallible job that, if fortunate enough to receive, you must work until retirement to cash out for a golden parachute.

However, that dynamic is becoming archaic.

No longer is the world a monolithic place where there is only one train of thought for economic stability. Many who did not prepare for the whims of the 45th President, their fears were realized when his quest for border security encroached on their livelihood.

If that wasn’t bad enough, it was right before the holiday season for a toxic cherry on top of a poisoned sundae.

Alternative Facts

Today, there is a new reality that w all must face.

If you do not have a healthy mix of earned income, profit income, interest income, residual income, dividend income, rental income, capital gains, and royalty income you will feel the burn today.

Earned Income is revenue gained from working a job. I categorize small business owners here as well because you basically have created a job for yourself and others.

Profit income is revenue from buying and selling. Those who work in real estate understand this and also other investors like those in the stock market.

Interest income comes from lending money at a borrower’s rate. In poorer neighborhoods this is known as loansharking and can be a risky endeavor if you do not have protocol in place in case of a default on payment. Still, many who have liquidity have benefitted from short term loan arrangements where they can pocket the interest and do not need the loaned principal relatively quickly. I have written many business plans where the visionary was able to convince retirees or a group of investors to grant them short term loans for equity, interest, or both.

Residual income is when you get paid after the work is done. Many referral marketing businesses set people up for this level of revenue. Also creatives have gained this level of revenue from drafting books, crating licensable music, and more that will allow you to continue to profit from a catalogue of work.

Dividend income is revenue from owning stocks, investing in funds, and more that provide a payout based on an initial guaranteed investment.

Rental income comes from renting a property. The upkeep and maintenance might mean that you have cash reserves as an emergency preparedness measure, however, one certainty in life is that people will always need a place to live.

Capital gains are assets that increase in value over time. Precious metals like gold and silver, rare objects like minted coins or collectible art are a few of the options n this category.

Royalty income is revenue generated from others using your idea. With my consultancy, i’ve often sold concepts to companies and individuals or curated the concept for a percentage payout and/or ownership. This has allowed us to benefit from a well-thought out concept that we might not have had the capacity to operate on our own.

Persevere! We Have Your Back!

There is no singular answer to the changing times. The smart and the brave know to diversify as much as possible for fluctuation in life.

These are a few remedies to the issues we are all facing in life. If your goal is to start a business, rebrand your current business, or just have someone to help you navigate the terrain with a simple but informed conversation give us a call.

We are here to serve, even if the government refuses to.

Who Prepares You For Success? No One And That Is The Problem

Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain

Welcome to 2019.

There is more access to people, information, and agendas. The primary mode of social interaction: social media.

The primary desire of most people: success. As a result, there is an unending drive to be known for something and the belief that once achieved, nirvana is reached.

Looking back at 2018, there were many so-called examples of success where the successful still felt unfulfilled after.

Th is not a cautionary tale but an exploration into what truly makes one successful and if we’ve all gotten it wrong.

Hey There Superstar!

Famous is ever so attractive.

It is used as the new currency within small and large circles. Being famous for nothing is rewarded handsomely today. A quick way to jumpstart that journey is to hire a team of experts to make you somebody.

Well intentioned clothing stylists, hair dressers, master groomers, makeup artist, as well as jewelers, exotic car service providers and more.

People are sacrificing the quest for their true talent for a faster path to fame and looking the part is one of them. Social media’s seduction is ever-present and the need to compete for relevance drives many to create a falsified existence.

However, living for “likes” is a dangerous game as each faux show of support only inches the user deeper into the trap.

Dedicated To The Fallen Stars

In 2018 many successful people died via suicide.

It is always a strange thing for someone who seems to have it all together to take their own life. Humanity cannot really understand why a person who has achieved a so-called high level of desired success would take their own life.

I would contend that once the level of desired success was achieved a quandary of emotions clouded the achievement.

Fear.

Emptiness.

Doubt.

Anxiety.

Pressure.

Fame brings out the worst in us all because it is a hollow state. If you are not whole internally or seeking wholeness then the vapidness of fame will expose wider voids within.

Last year, the world lost electronic music DJ Avicii and hip hop artist Mac Miller. The two are believed to have died from suicide based on various news reports.

Each pushed himself to the brink creatively, physically, and spiritually to serve the masses with music. Each received back fame and financial gains.

Each lost their life well before turning thirty years old.

As a storyteller, Anthony Bourdain was a silent hero of mine. The chef turned culture narrator looked like a food critic but was really an experiencer of life. He traversed the earth, eating, drinking, and becoming intoxicated with all the stories that life holds.

As a mixed martial arts fight promoter, I would see him front row at fights and relish at his affinity for all of life’s exotic delights.

Bourdain died of an apparent suicide on June 8th 2018 at 61 years old.

The Pursuit of Happiness

I have been successful in my life.

It always came with caveats, though. No form of success is pure because you cannot truly appreciate it without some pain.

However, when you view success through the lens of fame as the primer then you won’t even know if you are successful or not.

True success has nothing to do with wealth, celebrity, or anything else non-substantive.

Happiness is success.

Find what you love and enjoy it.

Happiness is the pursuit of passion.

Relish in the joy found in truly being interested in something and pursuing it. Never forget to feed your spirit with love, light, and forgiveness.

As you recognize your success, be mindful that it doesn’t cannibalize you. If you ever believe that you would be better off if you were not on the planet anymore, do not be afraid to reach out to someone you love for assistance.

No one should die from the consequences of a successful life. Give yourself flowers today for waking up and attempting this big challenge called life.

You are loved and it is not because of any so-called fame but because there will never be anyone like you.

The Lost Art of Professionalism: So You Want To Be Talent?

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I am very hard on talented people.

Partly because I consider myself one of them and I know how easy it can be to become lazy. Natural ability is a sexy lure, however, it is easily defeated by a hard work ethic.

Talented people are complex, anxious, and in need of encouragement to keep them motivated. For most, motivation comes in the form of financial gains which fuels passion.

For the fortunate, those gains are realized and a dream of currency becomes available for people who want to consume the talent’s abilities. The bigger the payout, the better the performance of the talented or you would think.

She Wasn’t Ready

Tiffany Haddish is a comedian. Since her breakout role in the movie Girls Trip, Haddish has entered the popular culture matrix.

Haddish tweets her disappointment in herself

Haddish tweets her disappointment in herself

With more attention come more scrutiny and the demand to perform. Recently, Haddish performed at the James L. Knight Center in downtown Miami for a New Year’s Eve show.

Haddish bombed to the disappointment of fans who clamored to have her ring in their New Year. They left, tweeted their angst, and Haddish has now lost trust with a portion of her substantial fanbase.

No Excuses

I’ve always told all the creative people in my life that there will always be a higher expectation of them. Many people sacrifice their true creative self for responsbilities sake.

Family obligations, work deliverables, and sheer disappointment at the unfairness of life.

Those who have persevered and received the benefit of luck have an obligation to those who support them.

Everyone has a bad day at work but there are other times that the talented have sabotaged their own greatness. Haddish admitted that she was drunk and partying in Miami before her performance which clouded her memory.

She forgot her jokes and tried to play off her failures with cheap self-deprecation. The fact remains, legacies are created and destroyed by the actions of the talent.

You are not allowed to get drunk, be sloppy, or short change the audience for continued success. No one owes an artist or talented person anything and to be received well is a blessing.

An artist’s job is to provoke thought, create emotion, and help others move past their own trials and tribulations. A bad day is a bad day but with an excuse like partying you have to understand that the audience will smell privilege and entitlement not a casual mistake.

Be mindful of your position and your obligation to the audience. No one said having a fun job was going to be easy, but on the bright side your fun, discipline, and consistency is rewarded.

That can only be viewed as a blessing.

The Rosewood Massacre Happened New Year's Week

A perspective for your first week of 2019

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History is unkind.

The residents of Rosewood, Florida in the early 1900’s understood this well. The town of Rosewood had been a quiet, primarily black, self-sufficient community.

They had three churches, a school, a large Masonic Hall, a turpentine mill, a sugarcane mill, a baseball team named the Rosewood Stars, and two general stores, one of which was white-owned. The village had about a dozen two-story wooden plank homes, other small two-room houses, and several small unoccupied plank farm and storage structures. Some families owned pianos, organs, and other symbols of middle-class prosperity.

Racial violence at the time was common throughout the nation, manifested as individual incidents of extra-legal actions, or attacks on entire communities. Lynchings reached a peak around the start of the 20th century as southern states were disenfranchising black voters and imposing white supremacy; white supremacists used it as a means of social control throughout the South.

Trouble In Paradise

However, trouble began when white men from several nearby towns lynched a black Rosewood resident because of unsupported accusations that a white woman in nearby Sumner had been beaten and possibly raped by a black drifter. When the town's black citizens rallied together to defend themselves against further attacks, a mob of several hundred whites combed the countryside hunting for black people, and burned almost every structure in Rosewood.

Survivors from the town hid for several days in nearby swamps until they were evacuated by train and car to larger towns. No arrests were made for what happened in Rosewood. The town was abandoned by its former black and white residents; none ever moved back, and the town ceased to exist.

The Rosewood massacre took place during the first week of January 1923.

New Year’s Week

Every New Year promises that were made the last week of the year before are mulled over. Activation plans normally occur after New Year’s Day as most use the day for rest and reflection.

Pressure can mount on the ambitious and anxious to jumpstart personal and business progress.

Your old stodgy self is resistant to change. You must be different to adapt to the new reality you want to create for yourself.

Like the white residents of Florida who could not come to understand that the rules of the Jim Crow South actually motivated communities, inhabited by descendants of the Diaspora, to be self-sufficient.

Second class citizenship and inferiority complex creation was the goal not innovation. However, ingenuity prevailed and as a result lies were told to stoke fears empower the racial biases through fear.

Eventually, the town was razed and no help came to Rosewood.

During this first week of New Year’s take time to confront your fears, reflect on what you never want to experience, and design a plan of execution.

You cannot do things the same so decide what drastic changes you will make. Total upheaval is necessary and this constitutes a revolt of the culture you have lived in to your inner voice.

Fight the urge to go backwards and use this first week to confront the brewing tide within. There will be pressure and divisiveness like a riot.

Emotionally it will be a massacre. Know that through the initial turmoil in January you are sitting the tone for a 2019 full of game changing moves.

Resolution

The State of Florida declared Rosewood a Florida Heritage Landmark in 2004 and subsequently erected a historical marker on State Road 24 that names the victims and describes the community's destruction.

Rosewood descendants formed the Rosewood Heritage Foundation and the Real Rosewood Foundation to educate people in Florida and all over the world.

In 1993, survivors filed a lawsuit against the state government for its failure to protect them and their families.

Originally, the compensation total offered to survivors was $7 million. The legislature eventually settled on $1.5 million: this would enable payment of $150,000 to each person who could prove he or she lived in Rosewood during 1923, and provide a $500,000 pool for people who could apply for the funds after demonstrating that they had an ancestor who owned property in Rosewood during the same time.

Life is full of challenges and it is unfair. Keeping history in the forefront of your mind while exploring your own evolution will allow you to work things out while others are inferring their popular opinions upon your evolution.

Let your resolution be to use this week for innovation. Expect conflict and even an emotional massacre. Understand that this week is the pivotal one in your history that will lay the way for your future.

The New Gatekeepers: Music, Bullshit, & The Digital Wasteland

Late rap artist XXXtentacion

Late rap artist XXXtentacion

Rap music. I used to love H.E.R.

Before I became a fight promoter, communications specialist, journalist, or brand manager, I was a budding music impresario.

Enraptured my the stories of those before me like Berry Gordy, Russell Simmons, and Sean Combs, I devoured all the info I could about the music industry.

My love first started in the early nineties during the golden age of hip hop.

Groups like A Tribe Called Quest and the collective known as the Native Tongues enlightened me. Nasir “Nas” Jones painted pictures that I saw vividly. Tupac Shakur educated me while evoking my toxic masculinity simultaneously.

Everything a teenager needed was within these recordings and I retained more info from these scribes than my prescribed textbooks.

I caught the bug and would stop at nothing until I understood how to get into this business and monetize musical creativity.

Howard University

It was after my acceptance and enrollment into Howard University that I began to strategize. I read somewhere about a book called How To Make It In The Music Business by Donald S. Passman. The book was written by a prominent music industry attorney who laid out all the mechanics of the business.

After reading the book, some collegiate peers and I decided to create a musical collective and release independent albums. Our main distribution source was the school bookstore and we moved units.

This exhilarated me and I decided to go a little further with some of the artists post-graduation. However, as we were focused on being independent and aligning with a major record label we didn’t see what was coming.

A new world where the internet and new marketing mechanism known as social media would combine to create newer methods to stay independent.

What we didn’t know was as the quest for marketshare developed among the independents and the majors was like an arms race. Ultimately, the indies would win but at the cost of a major integrity erosion creatively.

Today there is no creative integrity at all.

How To Make A Viral Star

Vulture recently published an expose on how to make a viral star aka a SoundCloud rapper.

In the article, a ten-step program is detailed that guarantees transforming a local rapper or minor celebrity into a meme and then a viral sensation using a set of proven marketing tricks.

It includes tactics like: social-media influencer campaigns, meme-ing the artist, Musical.ly placements, World Star promotions, and something called “controversy projects”.

These special projects seems to mean planting faux feuds between artist’s and igniting drama to stoke controversy and online attention.

Some of the case studies of this method are current artists: Lil Pump, XXXtentacion, Tekashi 6ix9ine, and more.

When you look at the beefs between artists like Trippie Redd and 6ix9ine and understand that they are manufactured to generate buzz, it is disgusting.

In any business, I always teach my clients that integrity is everything. Although you must build perception it is not a by-any-means-necessary business.

In fact, I always advise people that creation of a false perception is to your longterm peril.

When you think about 6ix9ine’s “affiliation” and then de-affliation with the Nine Trey Blood gang, was it real? If so, why would the artist quickly abandon the organization and its members once he was under investigation by the FBI and eventually indicted? Sure fear of prison time but most true gang members are pre-prepped of the threats of street danger or government probing prior to joining.

Artists like XXXtentacion become victims of their own success by being murdered from social media location monitoring from street individuals.

All of these occurrences prove one thing, the game is not based on music but shenanigans. True creativity has given way to marketed gimmickry and there is an engine to boost it.

To all looking to make a mark in the music business I implore you to cling to your value systems more than ever.

Your brand should stay away from trickery to be successful and you need to look no further to these unfortunate experiences by creatives as to why.

One thing is certain, the curtain has been pulled back and we no longer are guessing about the reasons why certain artists today go viral.