Comedian and Radio Personality “GRIFF” Proves that You Can Still Be Spiritual and Funny At The Same Time

Interviewed by Tianna Sheree

How did you get started in comedy?

I wanted to be a comedian since I was 3 years old and I never had a backup plan. I’m 46 and I’ve been doing comedy for 23 years. I count it because I always remind myself of the journey and not the destination. My mom worked at a Convalescent Home when I was a kid, and she would put the people in a half circle in their entertainment rooms at the facility and she would just let me do whatever I wanted and I really didn’t have a real set. I was probably just making faces, dancing around and spinning, but in my mind I was the best.

It seems like you had a plan and always knew what you wanted to be huh?

Yea I wouldn’t know any other way.  I was a kid from LA, surrounded by gangs and stuff and being funny as a kid was kind of unheard of. I had a teacher very early tell me “So you want to be a comedian,” and I said “no I don’t want to be a comedian, I am going to be a comedian”. She said” if you are going to be a comedian then you need to read these books”. She introduced me to Dr. Seuss, Mark Twain, and Michelle Silverstein and I learned very early in my life that to just be a comedian is not about being funny, but it’s also about being smart.   So, I kind of pride myself on almost being a sociologist and understanding the norms of different people.

 

How do you cohesively mix being a Christian and comedian, and how do you deal with the critics?

My whole thing is I’m not a Christian comedian, I’m a comedian that loves Christ. If I call myself a Christian comedian then it takes away from me and puts me in a box.

 Amen. I think a lot of us need to understand that we are a combination of many things correct?

Yes, but we are human beings first. We’re never going to get there. No human, no Christian, or no person in a religion gets to the end until you die.   It’s a constant battle. It’s an everyday being better than I was yesterday and everyday testing and not thinking about the one you failed yesterday.  It’s waking up with great expectations and trusting God to head my life.  You know comedy is a very single thing. It’s nobody else out here but me. I’m not on a team, I’m not in a band. I never wanted to be in a group. You know doing comedy it’s just me against everyone, so I learned to trust God above everything.  You have to understand that in 23 years, only a couple of times have I known where my income comes from.  Other than that, in those times, you just wing it.  Other than that I just trust God that if he gifted me with this, then HE would have to provide. I’ve never chased money and you can’t just dangle money in front of me. I don’t want anything from money.

 

How was it being the first American to tape Comedy Central Africa?

It actually wasn’t a big deal to me and my team, because I’m always the first to do something. I’m always a trailblazer and I’ve never followed the path of other people. I’ve trusted my own path and I’ve always become the first.

I listen to your show every morning! Can you please tell us about “Get Up Mornings with Erica Campbell”

“Get Up Mornings with Erica Campbell,” what a blessing. We celebrated 2 years on May 10th and when I tell you my life has been changed in these past 2 years, it’s crazy.  In November 2013, I heard the Lord tell me, just as clear as I’m talking to you that 2016 would by my year of abundance. It would be my year that everything that I worked on would come into fruition, and HE would bless me in a way that I have never seen in my entire life. But I’m so human that instead of being thankful and rejoicing, I was like “What about 2014?” You telling me something that’s really no help right now Jesus(laughs).  When that year came, you know January 1st, I just realized and believed in my soul that between now and December 31st at 11:59pm, that the Lord was going to bless me in a way that I wouldn’t understand. I wasn’t going to let the enemy bother me at all. On April 20th I pretty much had the worst year of my life. My wife and I started the process of divorce, and I never in a thousand thoughts would have imagined that I would lose my family, in a year that was claimed by God.

 

Eventually I got a phone call from someone that I had met many years ago and he said that there was a position opening and he would let me know what was happening shortly. But the crazy thing is that the man that called me was like GRIFF, we really picked you because you’ve been on radio before and we really think you would be a good fit for this person. He remembered me from doing something I did back in 2006, and I hadn’t talked to this man in ten years. It really just makes me think that the seeds that God sows now, aren’t for now, they’re for way later. You always have to be nice to people. You always have to be thankful and grateful. It’s so crazy because every time I would see Erica I would always say “Hey let me get on one of your interludes on one of your albums. Let me do something crazy!” Erica would always say “Man let’s talk about it.” Everything pays off you know, I can’t even say enough. This is truly the first time in my career that I’ve had real management, and God has truly put me around some great people.

 

What advice do you have for upcoming comedians, that might help them along their journey?

I wanted to be a comedian for so long that you now, in 1997, Monique’s comedy club in Baltimore, Maryland was the first comedy club that payed me. I got $300 from doing about 6-8 shows, and I had been doing comedy for 2 years and that was the first time I had gotten paid. And on that night, I became a comedian. After becoming a comedian, the very next night, I became a radio personality, and then time after that I became sports recorder of the year. Point being, I’m a creator, and when you are a creative you have a responsibility for the things that you say. You really have to dig within and find out what you’re doing it for. I never did it for the money. I’ve always did it for the responsibility that I have as a human being.

Taraji P. Henson Is Dedicated To Bringing Awareness To Mental Health

With mental health being one of the most important aspects of our well being, yet one of the least talked about, we are glad to see more celebrities speaking out and bringing more awareness to it. Taraji P. Henson is doing her part to release the stigma associated with mental health, especially in the African American community. On September 22, the actress will officially launch the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation, named after her father who suffered from mental health issues.

She stated “I named the organization after my father because of his complete and unconditional love for me; his unabashed, unashamed ability to tell the truth, even if it hurt; and his strength to push through his own battles with mental health issues. “My dad fought in the Vietnam War for our country, returned broken, and received little to no physical and emotional support. I stand now in his absence, committed to offering support to African Americans who face trauma daily, simply because they are black.”
This raises the question of what role do celebrities have at ending the stigma associated with mental health, not just in the African American community, but in general. How much of a responsibility can we put on them, without pointing the finger at ourselves? I’m sure there are many of us with friends and family suffering from various mental health. How often do we check on them or offer assistance? Something for us all to think about.

The Problem with Charlamagne

Written by Jasmine Osby

A few weeks back, I finished reading Charlamagne the God’s book Black Privilege. And I was blown away.

I had gotten the book for Christmas; a gift my mother intending on grabbing for me after hearing me rant about how moving and influential Charlamagne was every morning on his show The Breakfast Club, alongside DJ Envy and Angela Yee. As an emerging industry professional myself, Charlamagne seemed a standard to attain. I truly considered him a media god.

 

But once I started reading the autobiography, I kept putting it down. My attention was not retained and, often times, found myself reading a paragraph or two and falling asleep. I was beginning to think the book was a bore.

 

It wasn’t until I’d read The Autobiography of Gucci Mane that I was able to focus on Black Privilege. And then BOOM, like a cosmic awakening, Black Privilege dug into me and I was transported to the many places Lenard McKelvey frequented and bloomed.

 

I was that eight-year-old being molested by a family friend, the big nosed kid with the fro who went from being made fun of to being the man. At night when I slept, my dreams airlifted me to Moncks Corner and I was that guy trapping out the drive through and the scared youth in jail hoping his dad would once again come rescue him.

 

I was Wendy Williams side kick and I was that hopeless radio guy who waited patiently for the next best opportunity. Every time I picked up Black Privilege, I found myself in Nard.

 

After finishing the book, I was filled with fire. The only opportunities were the ones I created! As a rising journalist and publicist, I’d mastered putting the weed in the bag and now it was time for the big leagues. And Charlamagne was my plug.

I immediately called my home girl.

“Sis, I just finished Charlamagne’s book!” I exclaimed. “Everybody in the crew needs to read it. It’s for us!”

“Girl, you know he a rapist?”

I was in shock.

So wrapped up in the novel, I’d been avoiding social media; unwilling to leave the Moncks Corner that had become my own. But upon returning, the scandal was everywhere. Trusted mentors and entertainment professionals from everywhere were splattered across my timeline sharing slander and allegations against my imaginary mentor figure. And my mind went into overdrive; stuck somewhere between a member of the Me Too movement and the industry.

I was torn. And as a sinking feeling swelled in the pit of my stomach, an invisible cloak slid over my mouth and I said nothing.

I remained silent for multiple reasons. Mainly because I felt like I’d be attacked. It wasn’t that I didn’t care, I just didn’t care enough to say anything. The risk of risking a collaboration with my Media Guru was too great. My ambition was greater than my morals and I was tearing at the seams.

The logistics were typical.  According to Billboard, a young woman named Jessica Reid accused Charlamagne of raping her at a party in 2001 when she was 15-years-old. Charlamagne denied the claims and the victim refused to cooperate with the prosecution. Ultimately, the young media mogul plead guilty to a lesser charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and was sentenced to three years probation.

And despite Reid’s desire to reopen the 17 year old case, the South Carolina Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett A Wilson issued a statement on July 12 the dismissed rape charge against Charlamagne would not be reopened and that he is innocent of the dismissed allegation.

I remembered Charlamagne discussing a situation similar to this in his book. I wondered if this was the same situation; I wondered if they were different. Either way I hope it wasn’t true.

Though the case against Charlamagne was not reopened, the situation surrounding the allegations is one all too familiar in todays age. The #MeToo movement is alive and well, with everyone’s favorite TV dad, record exec and movie guy falling prey to it around every corner.

While Charlamagne is no Harvey Weinstein, the sheer doubt cast upon his name following the reemerging of the incident was enough for many fans to turn their back on him and his brands. And, while I waited to get all the facts before making a final decision, I cannot lie and say heavily shaded side eye was cast in the direction of him and his Breakfast Club cohorts. Still, despite having facts, I still was conflicted.

As a journalist, I found myself upset with Charlamagne for getting “caught’. I watched as he was thrown into the same pool as Russell Simmons and Bill Cosby. But was he really caught? As a member of the media, I knew things were sensationalized and blown out of proportion all of the time; especially if there was a big name attached to it. But as a woman, was it really fair to downplay another woman horrific experience as just sensationalism?

As a woman, I was concerned for Jessica Reid, her children and her family. What does it feel like to walk around a victim for 17 years while watching the accused blossom and grow on the main stage? What if she’d pinned the wrong guy? How had she coped?

I also thought of Mook Mook, Charlamagne’s wife and their two daughters. I wondered if they’d saw the accusations; I wondered how his wife felt. I was concerned for them all.

As a fan, I felt a great sense of relief. Charlamagne was fully cooperative with the investigation and took a DNA test, which did not produce any evidence that he had sexual contact with the girl, according to TMZ.

I was thankful for the testing and that he was cooperative with the investigation. The last thing I wanted to see what the career of another successful, black man in entertainment go up in flames for the entire world to see.

It was something we’ve seen back to back these past few years. Favorites withiin the community succumbing to a demise built on a bed of allegations, sexual inappropriateness and vile sentencing’s. Thankfully, that doesn’t seem to be the case with Charlamagne. However, it did leave me filled questions.

Would this negatively impact Charlamagne’s brand and would IHeart catch flack for not disciplining the morning show host? How many men accused in the #MeToo movement didn’t do what they were accused of? And how many women were victims of sexual assault but never came forward?

More than anything, who in this industry could really be trusted? Trusted to be honest or trusted to be real? It was all a blur. I’d heard horror stories from both male and female colleagues about experiences with sexual harassment and assault while working in the entertainment industry. None of the stories were pleasant and most had either failed or catapulted in the industry.

As far as Charlamagne was concerned, I was happy my dog was off the hook. However, a daunting lesson hung over me. I knew from reading his book that Charlamagne hadn’t been the best guy in his earlier years, in fact he was downright disgusting. However, he’d been a well known mogul for years!

Yet still, something from his past was able to come back and bite him in the ass.

As a young professional, the tale of Charlamagne is a warning lesson for everyone coming up in entertainment, especially Hip Hop. For whom much is given, much is required. And just as soon as an opportunity is given, it can be stripped away.

I am thankful that isn’t the case with Charlamagne The God. Yet still it is a daily reminder that despite all of the bright lights in this industry, right around the corner, darkness is lurking.

 

 

 

 

This Tuskegee Native and Disc Jockey is Playing His Way To Success

Tuskegee, AL native, Tuskegee University alumni and disc jockey Oscar Austin knows the definition of hard work, staying true to your character, and never forgetting where he comes from. Learn more about him and his passion as this weeks creative spotlight feature

What does entrepreneurship mean to you?

To me, entrepreneurship means someone has an idea, vision, mission, and passion​which turn into thriving business. Simply, an entrepreneur has the drive to design and build an empire, with the big picture in the forefront.  ​You may be the only one to see it and are optimistic enough to believe in the dream you have.

What inspired you to get started in your field?

What inspired me to create a disc jockeying and audio visual business is my true love of music. I admire and respect all ​genres of music, composition, medleys, and sounds. The way music speaks to the heart ​can be therapeutic. The art of music is such a universal language. It​ ​crosses all boundaries.

What is the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome so far?

The biggest obstacle I’ve had to overcome in my career is the pursuit of ​a communication​s studies ​degree from The University of Alabama to advance my career. ​ ​I had to put my passion on ​a brief hold, to obtain​ further knowledge and abilities​ ​to enhance my creative ideas for my business.

 

The 3 fun facts I want others to know about me are: (​1​)​ I have a strong love for my ​hometown​,​ Tuskegee, A​L ​ and the preservation of ​its rich history​; (2)​ I was the Golden Tigers mascot for Tuskegee University Athletics ​; (3) ​I love having fun​; ​ ​I ​am very spontaneous.

My word of encouragement to future entrepreneurs is keep striving to make your dream happen. ​Honestly, obstacles, naysayers, and dream-crushers will always be there to deter you from accomplishing your goals. “I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has had to overcome while trying to succeed.” Booker T. Washington

3 Reasons to Have a Side Hustle

Written By Tiffany Terrell

Side Hustle. Often many people never pursue their side hustle because they end up talking themselves out of the situation. Telling everyone about their idea of how they will make extra cash to do things they love, or even money to sit aside for a rainy day. It’s great to have feedback from close friends or family. It’s also can be a double edge sword. If the person you’re speaking with has a 9 to 5 mindset they can usually talk you out of a side hustle. Let’s set the record straight. It is nothing wrong with having a job or career. Truth is people don’t become wealthy on someone else clock. Most entrepreneurs often start off with side hustles. Typical an entrepreneur find a niche and turn it into a business.

Time. Everyone has the same 24hrs. If you consider the average person works 8 hours a day. Considering a person has 16 hours left out the day. Sleep. Let’s say you sleep 8 hours. What do you have left 8 hours? Magic. You have 8 hours left. Great. Well some people are parents, have errands after work, and just plan busy. If you take at least 2 hours from your 8 hours you have left, it can change your life significantly.

Blocks. Touching most of the reasons why many give up or don’t go through with the plan. The truth is no one knows if the side hustle will work. Doubt goes through everyone mind. The question is why not? Imagine if every million dollar corporation gave up. Most of them started with ideas, some started with side hustles, and the rest started with no money in their pocket.

3 Reasons Every Person Should Have a Side Hustle:

  1. Multiple Streams of Income. You can never make too much money, there’s no such thing. Having multiple streams of income is important. No one thing is secure. Imagine losing a job that pays you over $50,000 a yr. You have no other source of income. Once you lose the position how exactly will you survive? Savings. Awesome. How much did you save? Was it enough to suffice for a year? The average person absolutely not. This is why side hustles are important. Most don’t call it side hustle. Can be just extra income. Great. Let go from the 8 hours a day. Now you’re free to pursue even more. Being that you built the side hustle. It makes it easier to make more money.
  2. The Internet is a great tool. The internet has made it easier to have a side hustle. You can operate a business off of an IPhone or Smart phone. WOW. You don’t have to have any sort of PC to operate a side hustle. Even social media is at your fingertips. Giving you free will to connect with over millions of individuals to gain customers for the side hustle.
  3. Lead to bigger opportunities. “The side hustle can lead to bigger opportunities”, the bigger picture for people is the hustle will eventually lead to “financial freedom”. The easy part is starting. The hard part is staying consistent. Consistency is key when it comes to the “Hustle”. While picking which side hustle is suitable be sure to pick one that you’re passionate about.

If Michelle Williams Can Get Help With Her Depression Can I?

Written by Tianna Sheree Maxon

I am so very proud of singer Michelle Williams. The steps she has taken to let everyone know that she was dealing with depression is such a brave thing to me. I often wish more celebrities would use their platform to help raise awareness for people dealing with depression. There are so many of us dealing with similar feelings and not expressing it.  Michelle is showing women that it is ok to get help. She is showing she is dealing with similar situations no matter how much money she may have. Though I admire what Michelle did, I also understand that it may not be as easy for myself or others to take those same steps towards getting help.

Michelle is beautiful and very talented. She is a key member of one of the world’s biggest girl groups in the world. Let’s be real she had worked next to Beyoncé. One of the greatest entertainers in the world. Clearly Beyoncé sees greatness in her as well. Yet Michelle has been talked about since she joined the group. There is never a moment someone doesn’t state how Michelle was off beat, or the “poor Michelle” comments. With a career like hers, no one should ever feel bad for her. She is also engaged to the man of her dreams. Michelle shows that no matter how beautiful, talented, rich or in love you are, depression is real.  It truly takes knowing yourself and having people who know you around.

I have once thought about checking myself in a hospital and getting help. I’m sure many have thought about going to see therapist, or taking a long mental break when everything seems to hit at once. I think about how easy or hard it would be. One thing Michelle has is a strong bond with her family and friends. Though my family is around, I can honestly say that I’m not sure if they would be as supportive. I need them to be supportive now while I’m dealing and not when I deicide to check myself into a mental hospital. What would people think of me if I did check myself into a hospital? I think about who would pay my bills. Heck my bills may be adding to the depression lol. For real! Who is not stressed trying to make it in life. I can’t afford to take a break, or take some time to speak with someone.

Over all we have to understand ourselves and what we as individuals need. I have to understand that I am not famous and there may be a sigma place on me. Should I care? No, just get help the best way I can. Not caring who is with me, but also keep those who truly are. No one has time to be depressed. Everyone should have the chance to live a happy life and their best life. Thank you Michelle for starting a conversation and bring awareness. Get well soon!

 

 

Vintage Is The New ‘In’ Look for This Summer

Written by Samantha Skinner

Vintage looks have always been around and from time to time you will notice that different time periods will come out. This is true for this year, as well. Not only have you seen many of the vintage appeals that are found in the dresses, with their light cotton that flows effortlessly, but also in many of the other cute items that you find hanging on the racks. Most often you will find some pretty decent finds in thrift stores and vintage shops that provide these types of clothes that are coming back. What era is coming back though? So many are asking this question because they do not want to go too far behind, but they want to make sure that they’re at just the right spot for the job.

The vintage look is in and with it comes so much more…

Flowing dresses from the 70’s when flower children were in session. You can find many of these sundresses around and with the same patterns that were on them so many years ago. However, they are still just as cute and still just as in style. If you’re looking for something to wear this summer, these dresses are calling your name.

Pair them with a cute pair of flats or sandals.

Wearing flowers is showing all the power. The 70’s is definitely making a comeback in a lot of the summer clothes that you see everyone in. Not only are the flowers a symbol of the power, of the peace and of so much more but they provide the wearer with something cute to wear around. Floral patterns are back in so if you don’t currently have something in your closet that has this pattern, now is the time to get it. Wear floral jumpers, shorts, shirts – just about anything!

Through the look of the past, you’re gaining the future ahead. So many outfits that once were worn by your grandparents are now coming back. Bell bottoms came back, didn’t they? Now the free flowing, lightweight fabrics of the same era are coming back once again. You can find almost everything in floral print, in lightweight material and the comfortable appeal that follows.

Vintage is the new in and if you have a chance to check out what all is next, then make sure to look into what is hiding in the vintage closet. You might be surprised to see what they have hanging up. If you want to wear something that really makes you stand out, then vintage is the way to go. Not only are you going to look awesome, but you will also be someone that can pull of the look because it is coming back. It is summer, wear something cute, but also something comfortable.

Happy sunny days!

10 Tips For Real Estate Investing

Written by Victor E. Bomi, ATLCO REAL ESTATE ADVISORS

1. Don’t Speculate – A lot of beginner investors watch shows like HGTV and think that it is as easy as buying a property for $80,000, putting $30,000 and somehow they will sell it for $300k and make a $189k profit. The key for you to be a successful investor is to set a reasonable expectation from the beginning. You need to know what properties in excellent condition within a 0.5-1 mile radius of your target investment property are selling for. We call these COMPS. You also need to know what properties with the same bedroom/bathroom as your investment property are renting for if you intend on renting.

Invest based on real numbers that you can actually see, not based on what you “want” them to be. Also, when it comes to renovating homes always be conservative with your repair estimates. Get bids from licensed contractors and add a 10-20% contingency for unexpected expenses to that estimate. If you do these things – you will sleep better at night when investing in real estate.

2. Not All Agents Understand Investors – Real Estate Agents are great to have on your team, however a lot of them don’t understand the real financials that go behind actually investing in real estate. Most of them come from a traditional retail background and don’t actually invest in real estate themselves. So it is important to work with experienced real estate professionals who can educate you on the market and professionals that understand key metrics such as cap rate, vacancy rates, return on investments, holding costs, cash on cash returns, net income, cash flow and some of the other financial metrics that investors need to know.

Ask the agent and professional what types of returns have they been able to get their investors? Do they even have experience working with investors? What type of investors do they usually work with? These are 3 simple questions you can ask to qualify your agents before ever deciding to do business with them.

3. BUY GOOD DEALS! – Don’t Pay Retail for an Investment Property – You make your money when you “buy” – this is an age old saying in the real estate investing industry. It is important as an investor that you focus on buying “good deals” because this increases your overall return on investment. Good deals can be defined as any investment in which you are acquiring the property at steep discount to retail.

Typically most of our investors look for 65-70% “all-in” discounts off the retail price. all in means the purchase price + renovation costs added together can not equal more than 65-70% of the actual retail value of the home. Regardless of whether you aim to be a landlord or a rehabber, this rule of thumb will keep you in business longer and leave you with a lot of equity in your investments.

This rule works mainly for single family residential acquisitions but for commercial acquisitions the key to understanding if it is a good deal is to pay attention to the net cash flow of the investment and look at the expenses / debt service. To determine the value and overall returns for those types of investments. At ATLCO, we specialize in finding this types of opportunities for our investors and educate our clients on a lot of these key financial metrics to make sure that they understand the profitability of each investment. The key here is to be patient and not jumping on the first opportunity you get just because you really want to do a deal.

4. Teamwork Makes The Dreamwork – Don’t try to do it all by yourself. The most successful investors have a team of people around them that work together to help them accomplish their real estate investment goals. Who is your real estate attorney? Your licensed agent? Real estate investment advisor? Your contractor? Insurance agent? Your asset manager?

The key to being a successful investor is to focus on your own strengths while letting the real estate professionals around you focus on their strengths. When you have a great team working with you then you will be able to accomplish your real estate goals in a much more efficient and prudent manner. Since its inception, ATLCO has spent a lot of time building relationships with key resources that our investors would need in order to be successful; all in house.

5. Learn Your Market. – It is also good to be proactive and educate yourself. Don’t just rely on the information other people give you. The real estate market is cyclical. It goes up and it goes down. Pay attention to which market cycle you are in. Educating yourself about the market is key when you first decide to invest in real estate so learn what areas are hot, what areas to stay away from, and where the market is trending.

Pay attention to where corporations are moving into in your market, where there are a lot of cash sales going on, where there is a lot of construction activity and positive percentage of population growth, where the schools are great, and upcoming plans by the city to create new developments, commercial centers, in the area. Those are some key indicators to notice when trying to educate yourself about your market and trying to decide what areas to invest in.

6. Don’t Get Emotional – It can be very easy to fall in love with a project that you are a part of however this is where most beginning investors start to lose their money. Focus on your numbers when investing and your key financial metrics that must be met for you to generate the most profit and most net return on your investment. Basically, don’t take on a project like it is a house that you will be living in. Instead, know what amenities other retail homes which have recently sold in your area have. There is no need to reinvent the wheel or try to be “super extravagant” when it comes to flipping / renovating homes, because it can cost you money and increase your project costs.

Don’t ever fall in “love” with a deal, just because you really like the house, or love the area . Make sure that numbers actually work first before deciding to move forward with any prospective real estate investment. Don’t OVER-RENOVATE your projects. its okay to save money by going with mid-grade appliances or fixtures if it means you will get to keep some cash

in your pocket. Always remember, it is better to pass on a deal because it doesn’t fit your required return on investment than to OVERPAY and buy a bad deal.

7. Have A Realistic Plan – It is important for beginning investors to set realistic expectations for what they can accomplish in a given period of time. Have a good understanding of your current financial situation, your monthly income, monthly expenses, and what you can realistically afford to invest into real estate investment projects. Real Estate Investing, like other investment strategies, involve risks and is not for everybody. One of the things I enjoy the most at ATLCO is being able to sit down with each investor, learn about their story, their background, discussing their financial goals, and putting together a practical and executable real estate investment plan that can help them accomplish their financial goals.

8. Define Your Key Strategy – There are many ways to make money in real estate such as wholesaling houses, buying tax sales, renovating houses, buying rentals for cash flow, developing new construction, acquiring commercial properties to lease or flip, etc. These are just a few of the ways that investors we work with at ATLCO tend to invest. The key tip here is to make sure that you have a focus and a niche.

Don’t try to be a jack of all trades in the beginning of your investing career. You will be better off picking a specific investment strategy and surrounding yourself with the resources needed to be as successful as you can in that investment strategy. There is a lot of money to be made in all those niches I mentioned above. When first starting out, pick a strategy and give 110% to be successful at that strategy, then move on to newer strategies if you desire to do so.

9. Be Flexible – Yes, I may have said having a “defined” strategy is important, which it is, however something that is also equally as important is to be flexible. What will you do if your primary strategy is flipping and you decide to invest in an area that is more suitable for is more suitable for buying & holding properties? Will you give up or will you look for an alternative?

The correct answer is to look for an alternative, such as considering another market that may be more suitable for that strategy, or consider implementing a new strategy such as buying & holding. The key here is to not think small and limit yourself to just one place or one market and consider expanding your horizons (and working with people who are local experts in those new horizons in which you are considering).

10. DON’T OVER LEVERAGE YOURSELF – Did you hear about the slaughter that happened in the 2008 housing crisis? If you did, you are not alone. Many investors lost everything, their entire net worth, cash flow, and wealth were wiped out during the housing crash. A lot of the investors who were wiped out over-leveraged and speculated, believing the market was going to keep rising (speculation / counting on appreciation). Instead of over-leveraging, try to maintain a good mix of properties in which you have financed and work towards adding a few free and clear acquisitions to your portfolio as well. That way in the event of another financial crisis you won’t lose “everything” because you can still count on the monthly cash flow from your free and clear investments, especially if they have a low vacancy rate.

Grammy Nominated R&B Legend, Chante’ Moore Releases New EP, “1 Of 4”

VEU: Let’s get into your EP 1 OUT OF 4. Tell us about that

CM:It’s out right now! They can download it right now via Instagram, Twitter, Spotify, Apple Music, and all the places that you can stream music, you can find it right now.

VEU: The first single from the album is called “One Love.” Can you tell us about the inspiration behind that song?

CM: It’s about love and relationships and getting along with the one you’re in love with, and getting in sync. Being able to go through the good times and bad, being friends and lovers, all of those things is what “One Love” is about.

VEU: It reminds me of your “Chante’s Got a Man” song, off your “This Moment is Mine” album. It’s one of the songs that I think a lot of us young women have held on to about how to treat a man in a relationship. Do you still hold truth to some of those things?

CM: Absolutely. I believe in loving and giving the best you can. Whenever you are in love, love should show on the outside as well as the inside. You can’t say “I love you,” but I ain’t doing this, or not doing that. Love is an action word. So get out there and show the person you love that you love them, because if you don’t someone else will.

VEU: You are releasing this project on your own label correct?

CM: Yes maam. CM7 records, this is my third release off of that, I have “The Rise of the Phoenix” which released last September, and then my Christmas album was in December of last year and now “1 of 4” which is the first of the other four releases.

VEU: How does it feel taking charge and being in charge of your own label?

CM: Well you know control is a good thing, but it’s also about taking responsibility, just like being a parent. You know it’s a wonderful thing to give birth to something, but then you have to take care of it, and it’s your responsibility to nurture and feed it, and to help it grow. That’s what I’m doing now, is learning exactly how to do that, and doing the best that I can so that my music can be released to the world, you know, and if they don’t get a chance to hear it, then it’s on me. So, I love the responsibility, however it’s a lot of it, it’s heavy, but it’s good work.

VEU:  If you could leave one thing behind and have people remember you for besides your music, what would it be?

CM: That I’m grateful. I’m grateful to be here. I’m grateful to love and do music for a living. I’m grateful that I’ve had the lengthy opportunity and career that I’ve had for over 20 something years now. It’s been something that’s wonderful, it’s been a wonderful journey. I don’t know about thing, because it’s more than one (laughs). I love the Lord and that’s a wonderful thing. I love that he afforded me the ability to sing for a living, for the world, that I’ve been able to travel. For every song that’s come out of my throat, every time that I’ve been able to get up and sing and fulfill my obligation.

VEU: It’s interesting you brought up the Lord. I know that your parents were both in the ministry, and so were mine. Was it a challenge coming out and working with artists like R. Kelly, and The Isley Brothers, coming from such a religious background?

CM: No, I’m responsible for what I sing, and they both are people that come from religious backgrounds as well. Most people into R&B come from the church, and I know one thing for me that I’ve learned from coming from the church, is singing what I believe. The things that I sing, that come out of my mouth those are the things that I believe in, and their real opportunities and real things that have happened to me, I think that’s what it’s about. I think that’s what it’s about, singing with conviction and being able to invite people in.

VEU: It’s been a pleasure interviewing you. Is there anything else that you would like to add, or want people to know about you?

CM: No, just “1of 4”, keep looking for the next three, which will be out intermittently throughout the 4 quarters of this year

Actress, Writer and Producer Terri J. Vaughn Covers VEU Magazine

Actress, Writer and Producer Terri J. Vaughn covers the May/June 2018 issue of VEU Magazine. Interviewed by Tianna Maxon, Mrs. Vaughn shared with us how she broke into the entertainment industry many years ago, landing her long term role on the “Steve Harvey Show,” starting her own production company, new podcast show, and more. She also shared with us one of the secrets to maintaining longevity in this industry.

Also featured in this issue is upcoming Chicago rapper King Jak, custom men’s wedding suit designer Miguel Wilson, former TV star turned entrepreneur LaTangela Newsome, Colour U Cosmetics founder Karen Stallings, and more. You can also find articles on the latest fashion trends, utilizing the universe to improve your life, and incorporating Moringa into your diet.

Click here to read more from this issue. Digital and print copies are both available.