NBC’s “Rise” star Damon Gillespie Gives Advice to Rising Stars

Photo Source- Facebook

Interview by Maria Rochelle

I know the last time we did an interview, I asked you “where do you see yourself in a year?” and your response was “Hopefully as principal character on Broadway or feature film or TV.” Now, just this year you have been cast in the show “Rise” as Robbie (less than a year) and here you are seeing this dream come true. How does that make you feel?
I’m ecstatic. Honestly, I’m still trying to process it. It seems like at any minute now, I’m going to wake up and start crying because it was a dream.

Can you tell me about the character, Robbie, that you’ll be playing on “Rise”?
Absolutely. Robbie is a very stoic type of person. I don’t want to give anything away, but he has a lot on his plate and he absolutely won’t let other people see it.

How are you preparing for this role as Robbie?
Well, he’s a football player. I’m not…anymore (lol). I now go to the gym 5-6 times a week, and I have completely changed my diet. Also, Grace and I have been on a “Friday Night Lights” craze just to kind of get a feel for the style of the show.
I also bought the book “Drama High” and although my character isn’t in it, it gives me a little bit of insight as to how the teachers were.

Has the show started filming?
Yes. We filmed the pilot at the end of March into April. Now that we’re picked up, we have to announce the series, and when it will air, to the press.

What advice would you give to someone who is interested in being in the entertainment industry?
Don’t give up. Although I’ve had some success, it has been anything but easy. I’ll say this till the day I die, if you want something bad enough, you’ll find a way to make it happen. Don’t give up. Don’t give up. Don’t give up.

This next question is totally off the wall. If you were going on a camping trip, who would you take with you and why?
“The circle” …The circle are my brothers by choice. They have been my best friends since high school and some middle school. I didn’t go on my first camping trip until I was in college and it was with them. I would choose them over anybody any day.

Tell me three fun facts about you.
I’m an actual rapper outside of the TV show. Side note (I rap in the show)
I love playing Xbox a little too much.
I hate bananas…A Lot. They are the worst to me.

If there was one thing you could change in the world, what would that be?
Our ears.
Here’s what I mean by that. Not to get political, but I see, hear and read so much on the internet about our society and how messed up it is, but nobody seems to be listening. What I mean by listening is, listening to the other side and compromising as opposed to “it’s my way or the highway”. Growing up in the south and living in the north, I’ve been exposed to the left and the right side. My conclusion is nobody is listening. Nobody is trying to make things better. Everyone is trying to have things their way, which happens to be “the better way”.

Now, you and your girlfriend, Grace, are filming “The Grace Show” where you do a weekly video, you two are hilarious together. What was the inspiration behind this?
Well, we had talked for months about doing it but we needed the right equipment and the right material etc. She didn’t realize that I could actually edit videos, fairly well. Once she discovered that, she started. She said, “Work studio. NOW!!!!”

Now, I know you two are having fun. Do you write scripts before the video or just wing it?
We honestly just have subjects that we want to talk about and we just talk to each other. That’s how we are off screen too. We just get each other. We know how we work. We’ve just always been a great team.

With you being an actor, dancer, and singer, do you think you as an creative guy has a more powerful inner life and if so , why?
Absolutely.
That’s not me trying to sound confident; it’s just that being a creative person requires you to put everything on the table. You have to go to places, emotionally, that people don’t like to go to. We as creative people or “artists” have to be able to say, “Here are my issues, my insecurities, my vulnerability, come and listen to them and try to love me afterward”. To do that, we HAVE to have a powerful inner life.

When you don’t get a part, how do you deal with rejection? Do you see it as that…that you’re rejected?
It depends honestly. In this business, there are certain projects that you audition for where you say, “I’m perfect for this.” and you get super invested and dedicated. Other projects, you read a description and go, “On what planet, do I, a 5′ 8” bi-racial, prepubescent little boy, play Kristoff in Frozen on Broadway?” But you do what you can.

If so, how do you handle rejection?
It’s tough, because for a long time I would put up a facade and say that I was okay, and just “move on”. When you see your friends booking things left and right and you’re working three jobs to pay the rent it can take a toll. I recently stopped focusing so much on, “getting the job” and more about just staying creative. Whether that’s writing music, recording it, learning new songs on the guitar, doing the Grace show, or taking class. Anything I can do to feel like I’m creating, helps me forget about not booking the next gig.

What impact do YOU want to make on the world?
I want to be a mogul for positivity, and a symbol for perseverance. I don’t want to change the world, I just want to be somebody that people look at and say, “That’s a cool dude. He’s always a treat to be around. He’s always a hard worker. I also feel like we would be great friends.”

Nipsey Hussle Opens The World’s First Smart Store in Los Angeles

Photo Source: Facebook- Nipsey Hussle

 

Independent rapper Nipsey Hussle made history this past weekend on June 17th,  with the opening of the worlds first smart store. Friends and fans alike were invited to the star studded grand opening event of his Marathon Store. Hosted by Big Boy of of Big Boy’s Neighborhood on Power 92.3 , this monumental event featured celebrity appearances including his longtime girlfriend Lauren London,  Nav, 21 Savage, Russell Westbrook, Vegas Jones and Demarcus Cousins, Jim Jones and more. The new smart store, which houses his Marathon clothing brand,  comes equipped with programable technology, which gives  customers exclusive access to the rappers music with their purchases. Nipsey also created a downloadable app that gives customers special features for each item they purchase.

Photo Source: Facebook- Nipsey Hussle

In a recent interview with Los Angeles based radio station Power 106, the Mailbox Money rapper discussed the importance of having ownership,  and stated one of his biggest accomplishmnets as being the owner of his full music catalog. Having full ownership of his music catalog  gives the young music artist and entrepreneur  the ablility of creating passive income for himself, with the monthly collection of streaming revenues from all of his work.  The entertainmnet field, with all of its many perks and stipulations, can sometimes bring out the worst in celebrities and cause them to “sell their soul” as the common saying goes, but we applaud Nipsey Hussle for always staying true to his roots, and the legacy he wants to leave with his fans. It is important for the younger generation to realize the importance of investing and have ownership of multiple assets, rather than just racking a laundry list of liabilities.

3 Business Lessons We Can Learn From Sean “Diddy” Combs

Written by Adrena Martin-Tolbert

Music mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs has recently topped the Forbes list of the 2017 highest paid celebrities. The Harlem, New York native worked hard to achieve the level of success he has reached today, with no plans of backing down any time soon. Through his music production company Bad Boy Entertainment, which he launched in the early 90’s, he has worked with and launched the careers of many artists including the late Biggie Smalls, Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey and more. Along with being a music mogul, part of his career success can be attributed to his role as a business man, with ventures including his Sean John clothing company,  Revolt TV, and stakes in tequila DeLeon and alkaline water brand Aquahydrate.  No matter where you are in your journey to success, we can all learn these 3 business lessons from Mr. Combs, and use them to propel our own careers forward.

Speak it into existence

“Ten years from now we’ll still be on top.” These are the lyrics from Diddy’s verse on one of his  most iconic songs he featured on with the late Biggie Smalls, “Mo Money, Mo Problems.”. Even during the early stages of his career, Diddy did something that most people fail at doing, speaking things into existence. Along your journey to success, and especially when you are just starting out, it can be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It can be especially hard when we see all the odds stacked against us, and the many reasons why we THINK we can’t be successful. Whether you are trying to get a higher position at your job, or be the owner of a successful  comapny, we have to get get into the habit of seeing what we want our lives to be in the future, and literally speaking it into existence.

 

Focus on Your Strengths

No successful person has ever accomplished anything alone. For the past 10 years, we have seen Diddy be the face of, and represent the Ciroc brand in every aspect of his life. You could easily mistake him for being the sole owner of the company. Back in 2007, he signed a 50-50 marketing  deal with alcoholic beverage company Diageo, owners of Ciroc, to come up with the marketing strategy and push behind the brand. This deal allowed Diddy to focus on one of his major  strengths, which is being a marketing genius. In life, it can be hard for us to trust others with the one thing we love the most. As a new business owner, organization founder, or even manager on your job, it can be hard to loosen the reigns up and give control to other people. It can be especially hard to really find someone that you trust to take care of your “baby” and care for it like you will. In order to reach the next level of success, you have to learn how to delegate the smaller least important task to other people, so that you can focus on what it is that you are truly gifted at and enjoy doing.

Never let Failure Keep You Down

Back in 1991, before the start of his career, Diddy promoted a concert, which featured the late rapper Heavy D. The event venue, which was the Nat Holman Gymnasium at City College, had a capacity of 2730, but event tickets sold totaled at least 3,000. On the night of the concert, because some people who had previously purchased tickets were unable to get inside the venue, a stampede took place, which left 9 people dead. After such a tragic incident, Diddy could have easily taken the lost and given up on his dreams, and understandably so,  but he pulled himself together and kept going to become the mogul he is today. Every successful person has experienced their fair amount of failures in  life. It’s not about how many times you fail, but how quickly you get back up and keep moving with your life.

 

Selena Gomez Supports the LGBTQ Community in a Recent Letter

Billboard recently  reached out to various  pop  stars to write love letters to the community for Gay Pride Month, which happens every June. The music star opened up about her mom’s  gay friends and her experience with her mom’s own gay friends saying  that she had no idea that they were even gay. She just saw them as “kind, fun and loving friends,” and that’s how it should be!

In her letter she wrote: “I remember as a young child going to brunch on Sundays with my mom and her group of friends. I had no idea they were all gay as I didn’t even comprehend what that meant at the time. All I knew is that I loved being surrounded by these kind, fun and loving friends my mother had around her. I definitely give credit to her for raising me in an environment that was incredibly open-minded and non-judgmental. She also surprised me at my 16th birthday party with a performance by the most beautiful drag queen singing my favorite song. I don’t think most 16 year olds can say that!

My co-writer Justin Tranter couldn’t believe I had never seen the Madonna documentary Truth or Dare and so while we were in Mexico he sat me down to watch it with him. I loved it and was especially struck by how groundbreaking it was for the gay rights movement and how far LGBTQ rights have come in my lifetime. There is still a significant amount of work to do and I look forward to the day when a person is never judged, discriminated or feared for their sexuality.”

This Funny Text Between Chrissy Teigen & John Legend Peaks Inside Their Perfect Relationship

Written by Christina Anderson

Chrissy Teigen showed a glance of a text to her fans on what her love life is like with John Legend. Both have been together for 10 years.
Here is what the text looked like:
Did u have a mouth guard made?
That is on your side of the bathroom?
I can’t find mine but found one on your side that doesn’t fit. Maybe it was pre veneers
Maybe I can just wear one like the boxers wear. I don’t have time to fit another
Ok I’m going to bed goodnight
On the Tweet, it said 10 years in.
It is kind of funny because these mouth guards are floating around the house and that seems to be the worst of their problems in the long span the two have spent together.
Some time back John Legend told everyone that it was the text messages and calls on the phone that made him fall in love with Chrissy.
When they first started dating, their relationship was word based through mainly messages and phone calls. That helped because they were in a distance relationship and spent a lot of time apart.
On Entertainment Tonight he told everyone that Chrissy is wonderful with the keyboard and she can say some of the most heartwarming things. Chrissy’s personality and humor shined through their communication, and it grew into a strong marriage.
His song All of Me was written for his wife as both are welcoming a new baby into their lives. The movie that he promoted in the past was Southside With You, that is based on Barack and Michelle Obama’s first date.
John wrote a song for the film named Start and the bases around the song is that you don’t know how it is going to be with someone and you should give love a try. Life is too short not to take a risk on love, and if you do, you just might have a wonderful relationship like Chrissy and John.

Oprah To Be America’s Next President?

Written by Salina Jivani

She’s an icon, a powerhouse and an idol. A humanitarian who’s both charitable and ambitious, Oprah Winfrey is the epitome of a great woman and a born leader. It’s no wonder she’s an inspiration to women around the world. Plus, her charm and popularity don’t seem to weaken or fizzle with age.

With the culmination of the 2016 Presidential election that began the term of President Donald Trump, Ms. Winfrey has already been thrust under the spotlight multiple times as Americans seek out and speculate about who could take the presidential reign during the country’s next election in 2020 .

And with her achievements tucked firmly under her toes and the respect she’s garnered from people everywhere, it’s no surprise Ms. Winfrey’s name continues to pop up time and time again in a political context. People love her, and they want to see more of her in a role that will impact them as Americans.

So, is Ms. Winfrey a contender for the next campaign? Does she have any political ambitions, and is there a chance we might find ourselves witnessing the country’s first-ever female, African American president in the next election?

Or is it all speculation? High hopes?

For the most part, Ms. Winfrey has steered clear of politics, only stepping in to support former president Barrack Obama when it seemed he might lose to his opponent Hillary Clinton in the 2008 elections, but perhaps that show of support is what has her fans rooting for her to take a larger role in the political arena.

Oprah Winfrey was recently asked point blank her plans to run for presidency in a recent interview where she talked about a woman who confronted her in a public bathroom about not doing enough to show her support toward democrat Hillary Clinton.

The answer? Well, if you’re a big Oprah fan, you’ll be disappointed to know this flamboyant and well-respected icon has politely declined running for office. Her exact response?

“I never considered the question, even a possibility. I thought, ‘Oh gee, I don’t have the experience, I don’t know enough.’”

Although we may have missed our opportunity with Ms. Winfrey, she still continues to top the list of possible contenders for 2020. But even if she does stay true to her word, we can look forward to other possible candidates in Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and even former First Lady Michelle Obama.

Although some might argue none will be nearly as real, compassionate or fun as Ms. Winfrey!

Surprise Visit From Beyoncé to Mom Tina’s Mentees at Alvin Ailey Show

Photo taken from Tina Knowles Instagram page

Music mogul Beyoncé, surprised her mom Tina Knowles’ and some of her mentees in her mentorship program this weekend, at an Alvin Ailey Dance Theater company performance this past weekend.

The pregnant superstar dropped by the show on March 11th, just to show the “Tina’s Angels” mentorship group and the dancers some love. “Tina’s Angels,” a mentor group consisting of teen girls, were at the show to check out the Alvin Ailey dancers, and got to hang out with the Queen and the dancers backstage.

Photo taken from Tina Knowles Instagram page

 

This just goes to show that you can never be too busy to make time for the ones you love!

10 Facts about Entrepreneur and Shark Tank Star Mark Cuban

Written By Ariel Wallace

Mark Cuban is an Entrepreneur and Co host of the hit television show Shark Tank. We all know he is owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, but here’s 10 cool facts you didn’t know about him!

1.Mark Cuban was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

2.When Mark Cuban was a child he sold sets of garbage bags to save up for a pair of shoes he liked. Cool beans, looked like the business ethnic was already inside him.

3.Mark was such a genius at a young age , he started taking Psychology classes at the University of Pittsburgh during his Junior year of High School.

4.Mark’s Grandfather Morris Chobanisky, emigrated from Russia. He fed his family by selling merchandise out of back of a pickup truck. I guess Cuban took a page out of his Grandfather’s book.

5.Mark paid off his College tuition by giving dance classes to cover is education. Who knew this Jazzy guy had dance fever in him!

6.Cuban was the first Basketball team owner to launch his own blog.

7.Mark Cuban was more business minded than we thought, he purchased the Landmark Theaters Chain and Magnolia Pictures in 2003. There’s popcorn and lickerish sticks laying around somewhere in his bedroom.

8.When we thought Mark Cuban could become anymore strategies, he goes on fourth to launch a Social media app called Cyber Dust in 2014.

9. Mark also wears the producer hat as well. Turns out this talented guy was Executive Producer for Akeelah and the Bee movie.

  • 10.The last interesting fact about Mark Cuban , he gained his revenue by selling companies like Micro solutions and Broadcast. I will surely take a lecture from this man any day of the week. Certainly he did it by hard work, patience, and leadership skills.

5 Celebrity Men That you Thought Were Black

Written by Ariel Wallace

1. Dwayne “The Rock Johnson”, Wrestler , Actor, and model is actually Canadian, and his mother is Samoan with looks like his who cares? The Rock was named Sexiest Man Alive back in 2016 for a reason. He surely still add sugar to my coffee.

2.Terrance Howard

Not the beautiful hazel eye bandit that everyone loves! He stole our hearts with Empire, not he’s making us guess what he is? Terrence’s parents are actually both Bi- racial. Terrance parents both have blue eyes. Beautiful genes flowed to such a handsome Man.

3.Jim Jones

The former Diplomat member who America loves, is bound by another race. Jim’s mother is actually Aruban and his later father Puerto Rican. Can you say double the trouble! Nothing like a Latin lover.

4.Boris Kodjoe, this tall glass of water is actually German and Austrian. Speaking German is a plus! Big ups for Nicole Ari Parker snatching him up in time. Happy 11th Anniversary to the beautiful couple!

5.Swizz Beatz, The Rapper, Producer, and lyrical genius. Is ravishing with his exquisite taste! Go cutie, ” you hit the hammer on the head” with this one. Turns out he is actually Puerto Rican.