*“It’s like ‘Teen Summit’ only to a broader audience,” said Lena Jenkins-Smith executive producer of the new Internet based series “The Young Hustle.” “There are interviews to address different topics. It’s cool…a platform. We are putting the series out one show at a time.”
The much needed outlet for young “millenniums” follows the hustle of young entrepreneurs. Not new to filmmaking Lena’s credits include executive producer of Primetime Emmy Award winning comedian/actor Katt Williams’ Stand-up Specials, which include “The Pimp Chronicles Pt. 1” (HBO), “Katt Williams: Priceless Afterlife” (HBO), “Katt Williams: Kattpacalypse” (Showtime), and “Katt Williams: Great America” (Netflix) – to name a few.
“Katt started my career in entertainment. He showed me the ropes,” said Jenkins-Smith who was a teacher before Katt hired her to be his assistant. She went on to be his tour manager and executive producer on this special film projects. “In a male dominated industry most men are not trying to set you up…let you know the secrets. He even gave me credit and accolades that I never received before. It was…a long time learning from one of the best in the industry. It was important to get recognized for what I had done. He’s funny but kept me on my toes, he made me stronger.”
I’d like to give Katt Williams (Friday After Next, Repo), who has always given me interviews when asked, the credit he deserved for sharing the wealth, and I am not talking about dollar wealth. For me, knowledge is wealth. With that wealth of experience and knowledge Lena has gone on to do outstanding work for herself. She went on to form Young Millennium Records releasing her son’s work, a 17 year-old Inglewood, California rapper named Cyrus who now resides in Atlanta. The imprint went on to sign two other artists Camryn Levert, 22 year-old daughter of Gerald Levert – an R&B singer from Vegas, and Kallie Rock, a 26 year-old Pop singer from Orlando, Florida. Lena has even added author to her credits with a book release on racism in inner-city communities titled “Uncolored” (Book Baby Publishing, @Amazon).
“My son is one of the artists, Cyrus,” Jenkins-Smith said about her label. “He was the 1st signed. I got Camryn, Gerald Levert’s daughter. She is more Pop, an amazing artist. That’s all I have time for right now.”
Lena, who has two other children, informed me that “The Young Hustle” series basically shares the journey of young entrepreneurs that are using online technology to make money so they can inspire others.
“It’s a kids based showcase…it has a teen artist game-show component. It shows young entrepreneurs not giving up…it shows what they go through. It’s like using Tik Tok. An app, but a teen show,” Lena explained. www.CyrusSmith.com www.Uncolored.world
SYNDICATED COLUMN: Eunice Moseley, MS, MBA, MPhil has an estimated weekly readership of over ¼ million with The Pulse of Entertainment. She is also a Public Relations Strategist and Business Management Consultant at Freelance Associates, and is Promotions Director (at-large) for The Baltimore Times. www.ThePulseofEntertainment.com. EVENTS: “Uplifting Minds II” Entertainment Conference (ULMII), founded by Eunice in 1999, is into its 21st year. Next events are coming to Los Angeles Saturday, November 7, 2020 via Zoom Video Conferencing and to Baltimore Saturday April 17, 2021 at Security Square Mall. The ULMII event is a free conference offering an Entertainment Business Panel Q&A Session, a Talent Showcase and Talent Competition (vocal, songwriting, dance and acting) where aspiring artists have a chance to receive over $15,000 valued in prizes/product/services. Log onto www.UpliftingMinds2.com for more information or to RSVP for Zoom Access email [email protected]
Ross Williams: ‘Made It Out’ Author Recalls Escape from Streets of New Orleans and Corporate America
*Ross Williams made it out, and then he wrote a book about it.
Growing up in New Orleans’ 7th Ward can be rife with challenges. The horror stories far exceed the successful ones. Ross’s journey is an exception, and an exceptional one.
Surrounded by a solid family with community values, Williams attended Tulane University where he studied sociology. He has gone on to become the author of two best-sellers within an eight-month span.
“Made It Out” is testimony not only to his journey, but also to the similarities of surviving the streets and corporate America. His follow-up book, “Crabs In A Barrel: War On Racism,” gives a different perspective on the phrase that focuses more on the barrel than on the crab.
Author is just one of Williams’ many hats. He is also CEO of Williams Commerce Writing Services, which aims to empower job seekers, authors and entrepreneurs.
Zenger News invited Williams for a Q&A session to learn more about his break-out book and journey of discovery.
Percy Crawford interviewed Ross Williams for Zenger News.
Zenger: How did you break the cycle, so to speak, and make it out of the 7th Ward in New Orleans?
Williams: Really learned as much as possible. So, really learning what cursed prior generations and trying to avoid those same things. A lot of that came from learning from my parents who were born in the 1940s, so a lot of my family members are older. So, I have a lot of old-school values. I had the chance to learn about life before my era… I was able to accumulate all of that and just learn from every lesson or loss that I had in life and just never settled.
Zenger: What was it like growing up there and seeing some of the things you experienced?
Williams: I had a sense of pride about my community. My mother’s side of the family has been part of the St. Bernard, 7th Ward community since it was established back in the 1930s and 40s. A lot of people talk about the downfall of the neighborhood. Of course, I discuss that in my first book, “Made It Out,” some of the things I experienced. But one of the big things my neighborhood helped with was just building a confidence about myself and my abilities. At first it was basketball and then it became a swag with everything I do. I believe that I can be the best at whatever I put my mind to.
Zenger: What made you decide to even write a book?
Williams: Really to help other people to make it out of situations that they encountered. At first when I was writing my book, it was kind of like making it out of the inner city. I felt my lessons were applicable to any environment that you can grow up in. Like I said, learning from mistakes, gravitating towards positive energy, and learning from your losses. I really just wanted to give people the blueprint because halfway through the book it became about making it out of corporate America and becoming an entrepreneur. As of right now, even just picking up from there, I’m trying to show the world that I’ve made it out since then. Since the book, I’m still making it out.
Zenger: You actually make parallels in the book about the similarities of making it out of the street life and making it through corporate America. As crazy as it sounds, there’s not very much separation, is there?
Williams: I think in society with social engineering, a lot of us feel that if we are a different race or different religion, society has taught us that the next person is very different from us. And we can’t see eye-to-eye just because we come from different worlds or experiences. Gangstas and crooked people growing up in inner cities are no different than white collar gangstas. White collar gangstas are actually more cutthroat because at least in the neighborhood you know who to look out for. In corporate America, a lot of people have ulterior motives, but they project friendly energy. It’s not really necessary. It’s not these people need me to get by like in the neighborhood. It’s just out of malice. That’s why I feel like it’s grimier in corporate America because of how it’s presented to you.
Zenger: It can be difficult to navigate that.
Williams: Right. And something that my neighborhood taught me, once I started communicating with people in higher level CEO positions or people that made in the upper six figures or north of that, just the intellect and growing the confidence once I interacted with these people, it’s like, “Oh, I can sit in these positions too.” A lot of times we are made to look at certain people as if they are superior to us, especially when we’re coming from inner cities. But we have the same abilities as those people. A lot of those people had easier routes to get there. That’s one thing of just gaining confidence along each step of your journey.
Zenger: Did you anticipate becoming a best-selling author and your books having the kind of impact that they have had?
Williams: Humbly speaking, my mom always told me, “Don’t step at all if you are going to half step.” So, I know the tears, the blood and sweat that I put into each project, or even a client’s book. I put that same energy towards everything. I’m very strategic and I move with a sense of urgency. I visualized the successes that I have had in my career so many times over and over, that all of the excitement is poured into the process each day. So, when it happens, I’m kind of militant about it, so I’m really not surprised. I really put my all into each thing and utilize my natural skillset. I haven’t been surprised so far.
(Edited by André Johnson and Judy Isacoff)
The post ‘Made It Out’ Author Recalls Escape From Streets of New Orleans and Corporate America appeared first on Zenger News.
Mariah Carey Opens Up About Racism During Childhood and More in New Memoir
*Five-time Grammy singer and recording artist Mariah Carey is one of the best-selling female solo recording artists of all-time, with a portfolio full of memorable hit songs since bursting onto the music scene in the late 1980s.
Yet, she also has vivid memories of the racism she endured growing up a bi-racial child in the 1970s and early ‘80s in Huntington, New York, about 32 miles from New York City. Carey is one of three children born to a white mother and an African American and Venezuelan father.
In her new book, “The Meaning of Mariah Carey,” the 50-year-old writes about several incidents that opened her young eyes to bigotry and racism. One incident that stands out in her mind was when she was a young girl and one of her grade school friends came over to the house for a visit.
“The parents didn’t know I was Black. They didn’t know that she (their daughter) was going to go into a Black man’s house,” Carey writes. “They’d only met my mother. The girl burst into tears because she was so freaked out. Mind you, my father is this gorgeous, tall man that looked like a movie star to me and then to see that happen. It just changes your perspective on things, and it twists it. It was just heartbreaking.”
Carey writes about another incident in school that involved a teacher that didn’t know that the future singing star had a Black father and white mother. When students were assigned to draw their parents, the teacher corrected Carey after seeing what the youngster had drawn and colored.
“I was basically traumatized by the teacher who thought I had used the wrong crayon because I had drawn my father with a brown crayon,” recalled Carey. “These are the kinds of experiences that stay with someone at such a young age, even if there isn’t malicious intent on the part of a teacher, or even perhaps a close friend who was unaware that my father was Black.”
Carey is happy that her book has been released in this present climate of racial discord and the heighten national debate about racism. The book, which Carey said took three years to write, is an important tool to talk about racial attitudes between white and Black people. She shared, however, since the release of the book, her nine-year-old son Moroccan has been bullied by a white supremacist he thought was a friend.
Carey said her book is more than reflections of the racism she endured as a child, as she also writes about her 2001 hospitalization due to mental health issues because of exhaustion and other factors; her strained relationship with her mother; dating baseball star Derek Jeter, who was also biracial; her ex-husband, Tommy Mottola’s role in trying to sink the success of “Glitter,” which she starred in 2001; throwing shades on J.Lo; and much more.
During a recent interview on “Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen,” Carey said that there’s a possibility that the book may someday come to life as a film or mini-series with Lee Daniels’ involvement. “The Meaning of Mariah Carey,” the songstress told Cohen, “is written in a very ‘visual way.’ ”
Journalist Recalls Prince Visiting Him to ‘Gobble’ Pain Pills ‘Like They Were M&Ms’
*The late-great Prince is said to have had a pill addiction so bad that he once gobbled up a friend’s stash of prescribed opioids.
According to Page Six, in “This Thing Called Life,” author Neal Karlen recounts an injury he suffered in 1997 while Rollerblading and the conversation he had with Prince about the “unlimited” supply of Percocet pills he was prescribed for the pain from breaking several bones in his leg.
Karlen said Prince wanted to come over immediately, which “was not in character.”
“He’d been to my apartment but not for a few years, and for him to schlep so far to pay a little sympathy call felt … meaningful,” Karlen recalls.
Turns out Prince just wanted some painkillers, according to Karlen.
“I didn’t even have time to offer him a glass of water before he spied the white Walgreen’s bottle of pills in my living room,” he writes.
“Prince gobbled a third of the bottle like they were M&Ms, and my heart sank. It was f—king true. I’d heard rumors for years that he’d been off and on heavy painkillers ever since the ‘Purple Rain’ tour a dozen years before,” he continued.
Prince reportedly carried on a conversation with the Minneapolis writer from 1985 until two weeks before his death.
On April 20, 2016, Prince died of an accidental overdose of fentanyl at age 57.
Elsewhere in the book, Karlen writes:
He would really begin to learn, or care, about other people and their needs starting around age 40. He gave away instruments and computers. He funded libraries and school lunches. He gave a million dollars a year to the Minneapolis Urban League. And he didn’t care that his philanthropic efforts, even though they dwarfed most celebrities’, were kept as quiet as if they were his most lethal secrets.
But eventually he tried. He hugged long-lost friends. He talked nostalgically once in a while. And it saved his life, long before an overdose of fentanyl took it. …
“This Thing Called Life” is in bookstores now.
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