Miles Triplett, an independent film director from Atlanta, Ga, recently debuted his new film “In The Moment,” in a week long theater run in the city. This was a huge accomplishment, considering the fact that many actors and directors have never had the chance to see their work in major theaters next to big box films.
VEU Magazine owner Adrena Martin, had the chance to sit down with Miles, and one of the movie head stars DeMarcus Curry to talk more about the film, gaining distribution, entrepreneurship and more.
“Ready to Love” was a new dating series that premiered in October 2018, from film producer Will Packer, on OWN TV. It was a journey of real-life dating interactions of successful African American men and women in the 30’s and 40’s, who were looking for authentic love and relationships.
On the day of the season finale in December 2018, we had the pleasure of speaking with cast member Ashlee about her role on the show, upcoming business endeavors, and more. Watch the full interview below.
Many are familiar with the “Pattie Pies,” which were made famous by the legendary singer Patti Labelle, but what you may not be familiar with is the story behind the desserts. Darry Chambers, from Historically Black Since @historicallyblacksince on Instagram, had the chance to speak to the creator of Pattie Pies, Kinna Thomas via Instagram live, and learn more about her story, business, entrepreneurship and more.
Check out the full audio from the interview below.
VEU– Give a short introduction for those who may not be familiar with you. I’m a George Lott, Actor, Artist, Writer, & CEO of #T8FLIGHT Entertainment. I am from the “itty bitty” Plant City, Florida.
VEU: How did you start your journey in acting? I started in The Drama club in school growing up which introduced me to theatre. I’ve done numerous of stage plays…but there was something that attracted me about TV/FILM so I moved to Atlanta to break into the industry.
VEU– You are easy to find in anything you do. Describe your style in 3 words? Peculiar Original Fearless
VEU– Did you enjoy working with the cast of your new movie LITTLE? What did you learn from the experience? I had an amazing time while I was on set. I learned to always be prepared..you never know when an opportunity may come. I was originally brought to set as a “Featured Extra” but the director Tina Gordon Chism saw something in me…she put me on the spot, I delivered and she upgraded me..and I became apart of the cast.
VEU– Who is your favorite person to work with so far? The Director, Tina Gordon Chism…her energy was amazing!! it was an honor to see a beautiful black Queen running the set. I had never seen it before…Black Girl Magic. ….also I cant pick just 1 lol….I have to give a special s/o to Marsai Martin…she pitched the movie at 11 years old..3 years later it happens… not only is she starring in it…but she’s a Executive producer…and is now the youngest executive producer in Hollywood!!
VEU– Name some people on your bucket list to work with?
Will Smith, Angela Bassett ,Viola Davis, Sandra Bullock, Meryl Streep, Jamie Foxx, and Denzel Washington
VEU– What Actor do you admire the most? Will Smith All dayyyy….I grew up watching him..I relate to him in so many ways…I’m naturally goofy and like to make people feel good. I have my heart set on being in Bad Boys 3..someway some how.
VEU– It is often said that creating is healing. How does working as an Actor your spirit? It allows me to be transparent…and dig deep within myself…and if there is anything I wasnt aware that I subliminally dealing with..I’m forced to address it. As an actor you cant tell someone else’s story…unless you stand in your Truth.
VEU– What encouraging words do you have for others entering your field? Jump….and build the parachute on the way down. You have what it takes..but it’s going to take everything you got.
VEU- Anything else you would like the world to know? I’m a dope photographer….I shoot headshots for other actors. And I also do brand consulting for those in the Entertainment business looking to make a name for themselves
Last Thursday, author, salon owner and now restauranteur Gocha Hawkins, along with Hennessy VSOP Privilege,hosted a festive grand opening celebration for Atlanta’s newest cafe Gocha’s Breakfast Bar. VIPs flocked to the upscale restaurant, located in Atlanta’s affluent Cascade neighborhood, and cheered on as Gocha – along with City of South Fulton Mayor Bill Edwards and South Fulton Chamber of Commerce President Dyan Matthews – cut the ceremonial grand opening ribbon. The party continued inside with music by DJ Roots Queen, complimentary cocktails by Hennessy and a lavish buffet of Gocha’s Breakfast Bar specialties such as shrimp and grits, “Krunch-Tastic” French Toast, “Better Than Yo Momma” Biscuits, and Candied Maple Bacon.
Special guests included Rasheeda Frost (“Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta”), author Monyetta Shaw, Malaysia Pargo (“Basketball Wives”), Khalilah Abdul-Baqi (Ego Entertainment), WNBA athlete Angel McCoughtry, R&B singer Sammie, Je’ Wesley (Cocktail Chronicles), Merlin Knight (VP of Membership Services, South Fulton Chamber of Commerce), Dr. Catherine Foster Rowell (Councilwoman, City of South Fulton), restauranteur and consultant Greg Cole and more.
In 2015, Tuskegee University graduate Pharoah Kirk announced the creation of the CHRISTIAN HENRY brand. Headquartered in New York, designer and founder Pharoah Kirk brings a dynamic approach in men’s suiting by pairing classic Italian and English tailoring techniques with modern silhouettes. Kirk scours the globe each season and finds innovative materials to experiment with, providing designs for the modern, successful man who loves to make a bold statement in every room he enters. Read more of his journey below.
1) Tell us how you got started in your field
Bigger named brands and businesses may have swept the country of every professional dressed across the country, but there has been a need of extra care and quality. After bootstrapping the business with $25,000 in personal capital, I set out to create an international luxury brand that would help to not only educate those about custom suiting but to meet the needs and wants of every man internationally. After noticing that there was a lack of Blacks within the fashion industry of custom clothiers, it has become a mission of mine to revamp the spectrum of how the world sees designers.
Raised under parents that were entrepreneurs of dry cleaners in Detroit, Michigan, this helped to shape my entrepreneurial spirit at an early age. The setting provided a foundation for me to not only learn but also for me to gain tutelage learning how to service customers. From an early age, I aspired to present the confidence and uplifting self-esteem to others that I knew clothing could provide.
2) Talk to us about the initial startup stages with your business
I’d be dishonest if I painted a picture of happiness and say that this was me at all times. The initial stages were a tad bit challenging at times. But there was perseverance. There was determination. I knew that I had a burning fire like no one else simply because I wanted to be successful. Like any other startup company with no investors, startup capital, or funding, it can be an overwhelming feeling at times to wonder where sales were going to come from or how revenue should be spent to continue growing the business. There has been a great process of internal business maturation, but also a self-reflection, prioritization and a firm understanding that not everything needed to be tackled at once.
3) What is the most rewarding part for you about what you do?
There is no greater joy to see the excitement and smile on a man’s face once he is trying on his new suit that he helped to create, design, and be apart of as far as the decision-making process. A client once told me that, “I had low self-esteem previously, but knowing that I have on clothes that actually fit my body properly, and it helps that random strangers give me compliments as I walk down the street. It’s so uplifting to my spirits.”
That compliment along with other similar compliments that I have received over the course of my business career has helped me to know that business is not just about how much you’re profiting, but it’s about how much you’re making an impact to the individuals that you service.
4) What has been the biggest lesson about overcoming obstacles and failure that you have learned throughout your business journey?
Overcoming obstacles and failure is monumental. It’ll either make or break you as a person. The biggest lesson that I have learned is that you cannot allow yourself to have negative emotions in the world of business. It can be detrimental or catastrophic to your business if you allow these emotions to be seen, heard, or assumed. I operate with a strong level of positivity. Positivity is infectious because it allows the world to witness vibes that genuinely make someone beautiful inside and out.
5) Tell is about upcoming projects you are working on
Currently, there are two focal projects that I am currently working on. 1. Because we have recently entered into the “red carpet” season (Oscar’s, Grammy’s, etc.), my team and I are working diligently on making sure that all of our clients look their best on the red carpet and after-parties with never seen styles and designs before. This means that we are partnering with celebrity stylists and professional agents to make sure all provided clothing is prioritized and perfect for every signature event. 2. We are creating educational curriculum for the symposiums of the NFL that will help to educate rookies on the importance of their attire. This is extremely important to the building of their brand but also to the adherence for their employers.
6) How did your experience at an HBCU prepare you for your current entrepreneurial endeavors?
While attending Tuskegee University, the institution and student life helped to prepare me for battles of management of personal funds, proper etiquette of business meetings, and punctuality of time management. A lot of HBCU graduates often share stories of their unique experiences, but after all stories are told, there is a sense of “togetherness” in the air. It’s a feeling that individuals whom have never attended an HBCU can feel. No matter what HBCU you attended, that bond is truly something unique.
7) Leave us with some words of advice you can offer to aspiring and current entrepreneurs?
There are three key elements for aspiring and current entrepreneurs that are critical to their success.
1. Organization – Without this, your business will fail. Look into utilizing all resources that can help you to stay on top of organization. There are various apps and software that will be your best friend during your journey.
2. Education – Look into your local cities for programs that are offered for aspiring and/or current entrepreneurs. These programs may be in the form of incubators, workshops, and seminars. These are a wealth of knowledge not only from the material that is given, but to the individuals that you will meet.
3. Networking – This is a key element. Putting yourself out there to meet individuals whom you may or may not know is extremely important as it helps to bring awareness and future services or sales to your business.
How did you start your journey in acting? While attending high school in Bridgeport Connecticut, we had a substitute teacher who was an aspiring actor. That teacher’s name was Michael Jai White. As his career began to unfold, it made me consider that there were other possibility for brothers in the hood besides rapping, sports & being on the other side of the law. Around 10 years after that, I auditioned for & booked a few roles in New York. My employer relocated me to Atlanta in 2009 & in 2011 I shot my first project as a co-lead in a Studio 11 short film entitled “The Promise” which was co-directed by LisaRaye McCoy, who along with actor Mel Jackson, featured in the short. That experience is what gave me the confidence to continue.
What character do you play on The CWs Black Lighting? My character’s current alias is Slim, but he started off on season 1 as a lieutenant for the 100.
Do you relate to your character? I can absolutely relate to Slim. Slim has done a lot of dirty work to climb the ladder of the 100. He started as a runner, who was eventually promoted to lieutenant. From lieutenant, he worked his way up to Capo. Stay tuned, because Slim may be working his way up again!
What is it like working with an amazing cast? Phenomenal! Not only are you working with some great talent, but you’re learning as you watch them in action. Also I must say, the crew is top notch!
Were you familiar with the Black Lightning comics? There weren’t many black super heroes to admire back when I was growing up, so he was one of a few that me & my friends could pretend to be as kids.
What is one role you would love a chance at playing? Definitely the Pharaoh Akhenaten, the African King Memnom or an action film like Predator where I can give an alien/monster this work!!
What actor do you admire? I can’t just name one to be honest. Michael Jai White, Lawrence Fishburn, Samuel Jackson, Morgan Freeman, Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ed Norton, Terry Cruz, Matt Damon, Jim Carrey, Denzel Washington, Forest Whitaker, John Travolta, Bill Murray, Joe Peshi, Robert DeNiro, Steve Martin, Dwayne Johnson, Cress Williams, William Catlett…..those are just SOME of the actors I admire….my list of actors I admire is just as extensive!
It is often said that creating is healing. How does being an actor heal your spirit? Acting forces you to step outside of your own personal experience to explore the what if’s & ebbs & flows of an alternate persona. Not only can that be gratifying at times, but it also makes you reach down deep into your core in order to find out who your character is & during that process, you can also learn about yourself.
What encouraging words do you have for inspiring actors? Belief is the 1st tool in your toolbox for success. Next is DO THE WORK! Study your character, learn your character so you can do whatever is necessary to bring that character to life. Also, hard work is not just exclusive to being in front of the camera. Take your health seriously. Lastly, be PROFESSIONAL. That includes set etiquette, being reliable & being personable. These things go a long way in this industry.
What else can we look forward for you? There is a lot on deck for me in 2019! NDA’s limit what I can share, but what I can say is stay tuned & I will drop hints when the time comes! IG: @aqenatenIMDB & Facebook: Alphonso A’Qen-Aten JacksonWebsite: www.aqenaten.com
Anything else you would like the world to know? I’ve been locked up, I’ve been homeless, I’ve been hopeless, I have been my own worse enemy for more times than I can count. But in addition to all that, I’m also a father, a fighter, a role model & dammit, I’m a King who will not rest until I achieve my goals!
We all know so many people who don’t enjoy working their 9 to 5. We know so many people who say that one day they want to work for themselves and have their own business. But then why isn’t it that we see more people actually walking the walk and being self-employed?
The answer? They’re fearful. Fearful of what, you may ask?
There are quite a few reasons people are afraid to take the leap from corporate to entrepreneurship. Here are some of the biggest reasons below:
1)They’re afraid of taking a risk.
Corporate life is seen as being more secure because more is guaranteed. You have a set salary, health benefits, etc. and not all of those things are set in stone with owning your own business. The average person likes things to be dictated to them rather than having to figure out how to make all those things work for themselves.
2 )They’re afraid they’re not smart (or knowledgeable) enough.
What if I make a mistake with recording my income and expenses? How do I take care of self-employment tasks? Who would be the best partners or employees for my business? Again, having to figure things out is an essential part of entrepreneurship. The best way to succeed is to know a little bit about everything, but most people are used to being specialized in one skill, because that’s what corporate life teaches us we should do.
3 )They’re afraid to change their lifestyle.
We perceive big changes as intimidating, when many changes can be very good for us. You won’t know unless you do something different.
4 )They’re afraid of selling.
Running a business means constant promotion and constantly making connections. You need to be able to say why your product or service is worth spending money on and why it’s better than other competitors. The sales aspect turns a lot of people off, because they’re afraid of coming off as pushy or aggressive.
5)They’re afraid of letting others down.
This is especially true if you have a family that’s dependent on you. Many people wishing to have their own business are afraid of not being able to provide for their spouse, children, or anyone else that may depend on their income and benefits.
Regardless of the reason you may be afraid, while some may have merit in certain situations, many of these fears are exaggerated or just downright wrong. For many people, becoming an entrepreneur is the best decision they ever made.
Tyler Perry upholds his reputation as a notable philanthropist with his latest act of generosity. The entertainment star announced on his Instagram on Thursday that he had paid for all of the items that customers had on layaway at two different Walmart locations in Atlanta, Georgia.
In the Instagram video, Perry said, “I know it’s hard times and a lot of people are struggling, I’m just really really grateful to be able to be in a situation to do this. So God bless you. Go get your stuff.” It was reported that Perry covered layaway balances for approximately 1,500 people, totaling $434,000.
In such trying times, it’s great to see those we look up to making a difference, especially during the holiday season.
Okay so when I first had the idea of becoming an actor I was younger, I believe in middle school. I actually talked my self out of doing it because I felt that it was an unreachable goal. I was like “nobody is going to be the next Denzel ” so I let it go. After I experienced more of life, I had a new perspective of it. I told my self that I could do anything that I wanted to do. So a little over a year ago I told myself that I’m going to go into acting. It was a crash course of learning what’s what, where to study, getting signed, etc. After creating, working on my craft, working on different projects, and just learning from other good actors I’ve built a pretty solid foundation to start off my career. Within my first year of acting I found myself signed, on TV shows, commercials, and other films. It’s a great feeling to achieve or progress at something you love and all I can say is that I’m blessed and cant wait to see what happens next in my career.
VEU: What character will you be playing in this new edition of the classic Boomerang on BET?
In the new show Boomerang I will be playing the role of Devonte Jenkins. He is pretty much the guy your mom warned you about.
VEU: Do you relate to your character?
Devonte is a character that I am becoming very familiar with. In real life I’m not a Devonte, but in the acting world a lot of my roles have been a version of him. Devonte is what you call a “F Boy” far from who I am, but always fun to play.
VEU: What is it like working with Executives Producers Hallie Berry and Lena Waithe
Just to be on a project with both of those names attached is amazing. I’m such a fan of Lena and the shows she creates, so I know the audience is going to love the show. Halle Berry was an original cast member of the film and just having her on it gives it a special feel. Like c’mon its Halle Berry.
VEU: What is your favorite part about the original?
Eddie Murphy was for sure. His character was just so cool to me. I watched the movie a couple of years ago and enjoyed the film and Marcus’s journey from start to finish. After that I went on an Eddie Murphy binge spree on Netflix.
VEU: What actor do you admire?
WILL SMITH. I can talk about Will all day. Everyone that knows me, knows Will is my favorite. The way that he grabs your attention and makes you feel everything he’s going through. I’ve probably cried on way more Will Smith movies than I should have haha. One day I hope I can touch an audience the way Will does. LEGEND.
VEU: It is often said that creating is healing. How does being an actor heal your spirit?
Acting and creating gives me freedom. Freedom to express my thoughts or feelings anyway I want and when you can take that freedom and turn it into something powerful. No better feeling.
VEU: What encouraging words do you have for inspiring actors?
Just do it. Every actor that I spoke to when trying to find my way all said the same thing, just do it. You are only capable of what you see in your mind. Dont limit yourself. “You dont need validation to say that you are an actor, live as one and that you will be”, words from my friend Sam Adegoke. His words helped a lot and I hope it will help the next person. Who knows you might be the next person answering questions about your acting and giving advice to other aspiring actors. Always Believe.
VEU: What else can we look forward for you?
The new show on BET starts in February, keep an eye out for Devonte. I also have some pretty big projects of my own coming 2019. Directing Debut, a feature film and more. Dont want to speak to much on everything just yet but 2019 will be big.
VEU: Where can we learn more about you ?
You can find me on Instagram and all other social media @DarrickWatkinsJr
VEU: Anything else you would like the world to know?