*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.
Male Model and Dancer in Janet Jackson’s ‘What Have You Done for Me Lately’ Video is Now a WOMAN / LOOK
*In the late 1980s, Rudy Houston was a well-recognized and talented model and dancer, perhaps best remembered as the leading man in Janet Jackson’s “What Have You Done For Me Lately” video.
He was the guy that women went crazy over because of his looks and dance moves. Houston was also the man who singer Pebbles was asking in her song, “Mercedes Boy,” if he wanted to ride with her in the song’s video, released in 1988.
While Rudy Houston was his name back in the day, today, he is a she…and goes by the name Lana Houston.
And according to Lana Houston, she is now “all-woman” in every sense of the phrase.
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Her sex change journey has been a long road, which for the most part, remained out of the media’s broad reach, until now because Houston is back and wants the world to know.
“Yes, it is true that I have transitioned from male to female,” Houston said in a statement that appears on I Love Old School Music’s website. “I began my transition from male to female in 1995. I needed time away from the entertainment industry to find my inner peace and embark on my intense and wonderful journey to womanhood. I am finally at peace. I am currently residing in L.A., where I work as an artist painting portraits and abstracts.”
Houston said she is grateful for her sex transition and to have fans. She is also looking for songwriters and music producers to collaborate with.
“Thanks to all those who were concerned about my whereabouts,” Houston said. “I’m back from the ‘dead.’ ”
Kristen Welker: Presidential Debate Moderator is One Bad-azz Sista!
*OK Kristen Welker, let us join the chorus of praise you are getting for your stellar job of moderating Thursday night’s presidential debate. In fact, one of the participants owes you an apology. We’ll get to that later.
For those experiencing Welker for the first time and don’t anything about her, she grew up in Philadelphia and graduated from Harvard in 1998. She became NBC’s White House Correspondent in 2011, and was recently named co-anchor of NBC show Weekend Today.
Welker, 44, is only the second black woman to moderate a presidential debate alone. The first was ABC News journalist Carole Simpson in 1992.
Earlier this month, two other journalists tried their hands at moderating and it didn’t turn out so well for them. Fox News’ Chris Wallace caught heat for his moderation of the first Trump-Biden debate, while USA Today’s Susan Page was also criticized for her handling of the vice-presidential debate between Mike Pence and Kamala Harris.
Even Wallace admitted he was “jealous.” During Fox News’ post-debate coverage, in so many words he said he wishes it was him instead of Welker at last night’s debate:
“I would have liked to have been able to moderate that debate and to get a real exchange of views instead of hundreds of interruptions.”
But in all honesty, Welker didn’t have a complete fool in Donald Trump to deal with like Wallace did. In any event, it’s obvious Welker didn’t want to deal with the BS Wallace had to deal with, as she was praised specifically for managing to keep the Trump and Biden in line, and controlling the conversation – though she did have the advantage of the candidates being muted during each others’ allotted two minutes.
Meanwhile, fellow journalists are also praising Welker’s performance. NBC’s Chief White House Correspondent Hallie Jackson called it “a career-defining moment,” while another sista, Fox News anchor Harris Faulkner said she “gave the American people a real debate.”
Also, PBS White House Correspondent Yamiche Alcindor said she was “beaming” watching Welker.
I’m beaming watching Kristen Welker. Such an amazing moment for her and for all who know of her hard work and dedication to journalism. Go girl!
— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) October 23, 2020
Author Brigitte Gabriel said she did a better job than Wallace, and one person went so far as to suggest she deserved a medal for her performance.
Get this woman a goddam medal.
Kristen Welker was amazing at this #PresidentialDebate2020
— Kimberly Saltz (@_AttorneyAtPaw) October 23, 2020
And despite calling Welker “terrible and unfair” ahead before the debate, Trump took time during the debate to praise the moderator’s performance.
“By the way, so far I respect very much the way you’re handling this,” he said.
And for even those words of praise to come out of HIS mouth is nothing short of a miracle and is the closest thing resembling an apology to ever come from Donald Trump.
Dayuuuum Kristen, you are one bad-azz sista!
Pastor Cal Keeps Love Alive on ‘Married at First Sight’ (EUR EXCLUSIVE!)
*For 11 seasons, “Married at First Sight” (MAFS) has been the ultimate experiment in matchmaking as couples who have never met – complete strangers – tie the knot.
If you are not familiar with the popular Lifetime series, people looking for love are matched by relationship experts (Dr. Pepper Schwartz, Dr. Viviana Coles, and Pastor Calvin Roberson-known as Pastor Cal) and agree to tie the knot before meeting their mates.
The show follows the couples for a few weeks as they experience their first meeting at their weddings, their honeymoons, meeting each other’s families, and other milestone events all the while being counseled by the experts. At the end of each season, the couples are given the chance to continue in their marriage or get a divorce.
While some may question the show’s premise, the EUR spoke to Pastor Cal recently and he said the series is genuine.
“My job on the show is to get these couples, put them together, and make sure they stay together,” said Pastor Cal. “My goal is to look at their differences, see where they’re compatible, counsel them and in some cases, threaten them, to make it work. All the experts, our focus, is simply making sure the couples stay together.”
As for a method in which the couples are matched, he added, “There isn’t a solid formula we apply to every couple. It has to be tweaked as we find out people’s peculiarities. It can be nerve-wracking but it’s rewarding in the end.”
Like many MAFS seasons, there are surprising revelations and this one, featuring couples from New Orleans, is no exception.
“Season 11 has brought us so many surprises,” Pastor Cal said. “Even in casting, one of the couples we thought would get along much quicker is one of the ones lagging behind. And one couple we thought would move slower to intimacy are moving ahead. And that’s with Miles and Karen being the slower and Woody and Amani being the faster of the two.”
He continued, “Also, by my own admission, I fall on the sword on this one, I was not expecting Bennett and Amelia to get along so well. I thought she would be put off more by his lack of profession. It was a big surprise to me.”
The next MAFS season will include Atlanta couples and after that the show heads to Houston, which is casting now. Pastor Cal told the EUR that the show adapts to the couples from each city.
“I believe that every city we film in brings a certain flavor and the participants from that city take on the flavor from that city,” Pastor Cal said. “New Orleans is laid-back, they party, and it’s a very fun city as opposed to a city like D.C. that is very political, buttoned up, and tight. But definitely we found that every city influences the participants. We definitely see different personalities coming out of each city.”
Speaking of Atlanta, Pastor Cal is the lead pastor at Progression church in the peach city. He and his wife Wendy have a marriage coaching organization that offers marriage and relationship conferences, boot camps, and seminars worldwide.
While COVID-19 may have slowed down the in-person events, that has not stopped people from contacting Pastor Cal for love connections, “Because of COVID, we’re online. I get more people through DM’s, email, etc. asking me to match them.”
And how does the church feel about the show?
“My church actually loves it.” Pastor Cal said. “They are so supportive and such an incredible group of people. They tell people about the show. Our church was actually founded on relationships, so it was an easy fit. Our church was founded on positive marriage and positive family.”
Look out for Pastor Cal’s book, “Marriage Ain’t for Punks,” slated to come out next year.
If you are interested in being on “Married at First Sight” and live in Houston, click here to apply.
For more information on MAFS’ current season, click here.
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