Category Archives: Entertainment

New Podcast Launch – Who’s Listening EP.00

New Podcast Launch – Who’s Listening EP.00

WhosListening00

Funny how life goes in circles. Years ago I was a pretty solid fixture in the internet radio/podcasting/online streaming space. I co-hosted a Toronto-based online show. I made regular appearances on a number of pretty popular online shows and even on my personal blog I was doing a video blogs very heavy.

Now, to have stepped away from that and then see you that same media blow up with a current surge of podcast activity I won’t lie it’s bittersweet. I think I have a habit of being too far ahead of the curve and several times I’m so far ahead that I missed out on the chance to monetize what it is I’ve already been doing.

With that being said, Facebook over the past week just rolled out a very interesting feature. They announced this back at the tail end of last year and now it’s finally hitting. They announce the audio only feature within Facebook live so if you’re not someone who is camera ready at the moment but has a lot to say, has a voice that needs to be heard or a voice that the people want to hear this is the perfect thing. Obviously, you would do your recordings for the benefit of a live audience at the same time your material is saved which you can direct people back to or share across social media.

This past week I introduced “Who’s Listening”.  Episode 00, the pilot episode. This is me stepping back into the podcast world with this first episode. I spoke about the Yankee captain Derek Jeter having his number retired along with a few Yankee memories. I touched on the NBA playoffs as well. In addition, there was social media talk about virtual reality and “Smart” tech like voice recognition.   The main topic of the show was the  “black women are trash black men or trash” t-shirt fiasco that hit the internet last week. I definitely gave some opinions on that so without further ado drop down and take a listen to the pilot episode of  Who’s Listening.

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NYC Hosts Word of Mouth Marketing Summit – [WOMMA 2017]

NYC Hosts Word of Mouth Marketing Summit – [WOMMA 2017]

womma logo

The New York Times building played host the annual WOMMA Summit this past week. The summit featured speakers from a number of major brands like MGM Grand, Tito’s Vodka, BuzzFeed, Wendy’s and many more.

WOMMA which stands for word-of-mouth-marketing presented two days of panel discussions, informative sessions that dove into various aspects of Social Media communication, content creation and the overall effect of digital activity on society. Many brands spoke about how they craft their respective voices along with the teams and systems that go into creating the content that the consumers see on a daily basis.

The online comedic wit of the Wendy’s brand was center stage for that chat courtesy of their V.P of Media, Ads & Social Brandon Rhoten.

Univision EVP Jessica Rodriguez opened up the Summit speaking on ownership of responsibility within her digital teams and the effects of “influencers”.

They also had a number of sessions that spoke not so much to a specific business purpose but how Society as a whole interacts with social media. As social continues to grow and evolve around us it’s playing a greater role in and having increased influence on day to day life. Topics such as prejudice, discrimination, fake news and more were touched on via author Emanuel Rosen

In addition to that WOMMA also addressed the issues of influencers in a few respective sessions. Kevin Knight of Experticity broke down what actually makes an influencer on various levels of scale, what their responsibilities are and how do they best express and deliver on the message of a respective brand.

It’s very informative to get a look into what larger mainstream businesses are doing and thinking in regards to social media. Learning what their methods are that result in the content that they create and what are the do’s and don’ts are that they apply to their own digital spaces. These things are important to be aware of as many of these brands set the trends that up-and-coming businesses and entrepreneurs tend to follow. Not to mention we see on a daily basis many mainstream bands continue to get social wrong and put themselves in positions where not just are they acting in error but then they are put on full display for the world to see just how out-of-touch they are. Truthfully speaking in today’s climate with social media as established as it is you should know the ramifications of the things you do in our business. Nothing is secret and customer service is now a spectator sport. How you treat your customers is no longer lost within phone calls and snail mail complaint letters.

Nicole Portwood of Tito’s Vodka says it best. “We focus on being as human as much as possible vs. being so product-driven.”

This sentiment does well in summing up the overall tone of the WOMMA Summit. Word of Mouth Marketing essentially is a reminder that no matter how far social media advances it is the social aspect, the direct person to person element that carries the greatest value for businesses to succeed. WOMMA isn’t stopping with the summit either. There are a number of events upcoming via WOMMA to continue the conversation of how our communication is evolving and impacting our business.

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SAMURAI SIT DOWN: ACTRESS, MODEL & SINGER – GENESIS VAL LEON

SAMURAI SIT DOWN: ACTRESS, MODEL & SINGER – GENESIS VAL LEON

Genesis Val Leon

Multitasking is a term that people toss around a lot. It’s true that today we find ourselves doing various things at the same time. Well, today I want to present to you a woman that truly embodies the definition of multitasking. A triple threat in everyone sense of the term, meet Genesis Val Leon today’s Samurai Sit Down feature.

Please introduce yourself, where you’re from and what you do?

My name is Genesis Val Leon and I am a curly-haired actress, singer, and model from the Bronx, New York

What was your earliest Inspiration for acting and modeling

I’ve been performing as early as 8 years old. I was that kid that would dance to TV commercials and even the car alarms that would go off on my street. My first classical music/ voice classes started when I entered second grade. I vividly remember my dad playing music from an old record player. We literally would go around the world through music. I remember him playing Tommy Boy, Queen, Whitney, Michael, Prince, Ana Gabriel, Selena and so many other. He gave me one of my greatest traits which my broad music palette. It was something we shared and still till this day do. My dad is an engineer but has an immense love for music (singing)

As for acting, my mom. My mom has the most electric and contagious personality I have ever encountered. Think Rosie Perez meets Sofia Vergara with the most beautiful accent. I remember attempting to imitate her while she would try to reprimand me and getting in so much trouble. I also remember writing apology songs and performing them whenever I got in trouble. My mom is also a huge Novela ( Hispanic Soap Operas) fan. And boy, that’s where the fun really started. You have not really laughed until you’ve watched a novela episode.

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As for modeling, it just came with my personality. My first “pageant” was when I was 5 years old. I wish you all can see this video. I always had big hair and I guess my mom had put my hair in two ponytails. Well, I decided I wanted my hair out. Next thing you know, I walked out with my hair out in this gorgeous fro and strutted my way across the runway, made a detour and walked through the crowd- absolutely messed up the entire order and the organizer had to go and get me.

GVL Coming Soon

Continue reading SAMURAI SIT DOWN: ACTRESS, MODEL & SINGER – GENESIS VAL LEON

The Rock and Under Armour Have Been Cooking Up Something Real Good

The Rock and Under Armour Have Been Cooking Up Something Real Good

ROCK UA

What happens when today’s top action movie star links up with the innovative Under Armour Brand? You get the new Project Rock collection which looks to capture the intensity that Dwayne Johnson himself brings to the gym within the first over head-to-toe performance training collection for men and women.  The Project Rock collection is now available on UA.com and selective retail locations.

Check out a few images from this awesome collaboration along with statements from UA and The Rock!

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· COOLING TO CRUSH IT
UA CoolSwitch pulls heat away from skin for a cooling effect that helps you perform longer.

· GO HARD, BREATHE EASY
ArmourVent® mesh breathes & releases excess heat.

· SWEAT NOTHING
HeatGear® fabric wicks sweat to keep you dry & light.

The SuperVent Project Rock Training Collection debuts with a full product suite for men, featuring SuperVent tees, tanks, shorts and leggings. And for the first time, a women’s performance collection is available, including exclusive cut and sew styles for tanks, leggings, accessories and much more. Price points range from $34.99- $89.99.

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Also part of the collection is the Project Rock Delta training shoe—an exclusive version of the UA Delta trainer shoe that is inspired by Dwayne’s grueling training sessions. This cutting-edge footwear is built with Under Armour’s signature Charged Cushioning technology that absorbs impact and returns explosive energy. The training shoe also offers extended ankle support for increased stability and deep flex grooves to provide extra flexibility where you need it most. The Project Rock Delta is available globally today, retailing for $139.99.

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Brand integrity is a serious thing and when you think of The Rock there’s a certain faith you have in him when it comes to things of a health and fitness nature. I can’t wait to get a few pieces from this collection for myself.

If you like what you see here then please make sure you take a look at the Fall/Winter preview I was invited to recently.

**Click Here to view**

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Media Updates – Sharing New Content and Features

Media Updates – Sharing New Content and Features

SMS UPDATES

It’s been a while since I’ve taken time to share some of the things I’m doing. Fatherhood has changed the way I work and my ability to focus on “me” is in a bit of flux. Slowly but surely I’m reestablishing my digital presence, getting my creative juices flowing and putting content out into new spaces. It feel’s good. I view 2014 as a pivotal year. It was in that year that I covered my largest events, wrote my biggest (at the time) article

Thinking back a bit I view 2014 as a pivotal year. It was in that year that I covered my largest events, wrote my biggest (at the time) article and landed my first client as a consultant. I’m using that year as a reference point for the things that worked for me professionally and how to implement them within my new reality.  That’s within the social media industry and beyond.

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On the writing side of things, I’ve had a few recent pieces published via Complex. Sports connects to folks on so my levels so it’s cool to share thoughts within that space.  Here are mentions from my Knicks and Warriors stories.

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I’m also looking to bring a new outlook on Fatherhood to the forefront. Classic Daddy narratives often paint us in a position of voiceless, emotionless workers. As more dads are taking on the day-to-day hands-on duties of parenting in addition to work, it needs to be understood and respected that we are just as invested in the lives of our kids as anyone else.

In the last week, I’ve been featured by a couple of pro daddy platforms. It’s all about Max and whatever I need to do to keep him smiling.

Good Afternoon everyone👋😍 Meet @NightFall914 & his handsome son Max. This great guy knows the meaning of happiness. You can clearly see his efforts are well received in the joy his son has. A true man, a great father and positive role model. Let’s show him a warm welcome for being such a great Father on his journey as a father. I am proud of you @NightFall914 continue to be the amazing man you are. God has blessed you brother. Congratulations once again!!! Welcome to Fatherhood 👍😎 #FatherRights #DadCaresToo #DailyMessage #DailyInspiration #SingleDadLife4Ever #Daddy #Son #Daughter #Mommy #SingleDadLife #MommyLife #FathersWithoutBorders #ProudFatherOfALittleGirl #ProudParents #Postivevibes #PositiveChanges #SharedMoments #NewParents #FatherHood #ParentHood #Parenting

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The other feature was a great Q & A interview with DadofDivas. This is something I really want to build one going forward.

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Snippet from Dad of Divas Interview Feature

It’s a new world for me in many ways but with a new motivation to press forward, I’m excited about the future. Also as I have reached and helped many of my readers, I ask those of you viewing this to please reach back to me if you see something that you think I could a match for. Online features, writing, public speaking. I’m wide open to opportunity.

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Under Armour Sneak Peek Fall/Winter Clothing Line

Under Armour Sneak Peek Fall/Winter Clothing Line

UA2017 FALLWINTER

With the arrival of spring, most of us are awaiting the return of pleasant warmer weather. The days of heavy jackets will soon be behind us. Yet for the creative teams at Under Armour, who operate 2 seasons ahead, this time of year represents the presentation of the new fall/winter line. I know cold weather is the last thing on your mind so consider this a peak into potential Xmas gifts.

UA prepared a nice fashion show to Introduce the line. Take a look below at the various styles upcoming from UA.

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No matter the occasion UA prepared a very nice fashion show to Introduce the new seasonal items. Take a look below at the various styles upcoming from UA.

Under Armour has a focus on comfort, maneuverability, warmth and keeping dry during your fitness session.

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Women, Men and children pieces on display for Q3/Q4 2017!!

Don’t forget that Under Armour provides very comfortable footwear too. I have a UA gym shoe that’s great for on my feet.

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Under Armour’s upcoming pieces look good and their trademark sweat absorbent fabric type was there within their fleece’s and hooded workout apparel. I’m making a few mental notes for items I want to check out when September rolls around and I suggest you keep your eyes on Under Armour as well though out this year.

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Facebook Suffering From Severe SnapChat Envy

Facebook Suffering From Severe SnapChat Envy

FaceChat

As social media continues to grow and evolve Facebook still reigns as the dominant site. In addition, its native messenger is the top communication app followed by WhatsApp which FB acquired In 2014. Add Instagram to the Facebook team and you’d think Mark Z would have no issues at all regarding digital dominance. So can someone explain why every week we’re hit with another feature upgrade ripping off Snapchat? They’re not even trying to be subtle with it.

Instagram stories may go down as the one understandable and well executed Snap rip off of them all. On the most visually focused platform, taking the core snap function and making it complementary element of IG was smart. You have the main platform for the best images you take while utilizing the 24 hr cycle of the stories feature to give real-time interaction. Adding the LIVE broadcast feature from Facebook into the Instagram system creates the perfect short form social media platform. From there I would have loved for the Facebook team to focus on new features to make FB/IG/WhatsApp stand out from Snap. No such luck.

WhatsApp & FB Messenger have both been given a useful 24 hr Snap status features. In addition, they’ve also been flooded with childish filters/masks that have taken a life of their own on SnapChat. I’m sure there are those that love this but personally, I don’t get it. Imitation at all costs when you’re already the dominant force in the industry reeks of insecurity. Maybe its a ploy to pull in more Gen Z users who prefer images over classic text content?

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Let’s not forget that Facebook tried to acquire SnapChat back in 2013 but had it’s $3 Billion offer snubbed but the up and coming app. I guess if you can’t buy them out you recreate them on your own terms.

FB SNAP

Here’s a look at the timeline of FB vs Snap activity. What do you think of Facebook ‘s Snap feature integrations?

**Check Out My Previous Auto Reviews**

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SAMURAI RIDES: THE 2017 MAZDA CX 3 – BIRTHDAY EDITION

 SAMURAI RIDES: THE 2017 MAZDA CX 3 – BIRTHDAY EDITION

#SamuraiRides #DriveMazda

After a short hiatus for the heart of the winter season, Samurai Rides is getting ready to welcome in warmer days. Before we hit the official start of Spring those good folks at Mazda sent me a little gift. Seeking to make my travel a bit more comfortable, the Mazda CX 3 Grand Touring was dropped off for me to enjoy my birthday week in style. Sitting at the top of the subcompact division you know the quality that Mazda delivers. When I saw the Dynamic Blue of this ride, my favorite color, I was in heaven, but enough chatter let’s dive into another edition of Samurai Rides.

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First off I can imagine what you are thinking? How on earth is he really reviewing a sub compact vehicle? Isn’t he tall? Yes, it’s well documented that I’m rather over sized but that is beauty of the CX -3. Even for someone of my height Mazda’s latest CX Compact car didn’t restrict my movement, comfort or enjoyment what so ever. I’ll admit I had to lean that driver’s seat back so heaven help who ever attempts to sit behind me. Outside of that it was all good. This is the 2nd year for the CX-3 after its’ initial introduction into the Mazda line up last year. It’s essentially a replacement for the Mazda 2 which is no longer available in the U.S.

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Max & Mazda. Matching Blue as we hit the road.

Truthfully, after a solid debut Mazda is just tweaking a few things for 2017. They have made a few features available in lower trims besides the Grand Touring edition. You can enjoy the redesigned 18 inch wheels at the mid level trim now as well as the  i-Activsense package which offers adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, automated emergency braking, and more. Mazda shaved off nearly $800 to bring that add-on option pack just under $1200.

Another thing I will say is that the CX-3 Is not the ride to get if you’re planning on lugging around a lot of stuff. There’s modest trunk space here. You should be ok with your weekly personal groceries but massive shopping trips will have you putting bags in the rear seating space.

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Design wise Mazda remains the master of giving the look of cars costing more than they do. Surprisingly luxurious would be a great way to describe the sleek appearance of the CX-3.

This ride looks like a mini SUV but it handles like a car smoothly navigating the road. You’re getting 146 horses out of the 2 liter 4 cylinder engine. That’s getting you from 0 – 60 in 8 secs. Not bad at all. It definitely did the trick as I celebrated my birthday around New York City. In this case the smaller ride made parking that much easier.

Overall, my streak of good times with Mazda cars continues. From the seamless on road handling, to safety features, to the always simple entertainment media interface, Mazda’s consistent delivery of quality shines through with their 2nd run of the CX-3. In all honesty I really only see competition coming from within their own brand. What I mean is that the price of the Grand Touring starts around $27K at which point you may be tempted to hop up to the CX 5 for a solid increase in power and size. So, aside from some possible in-fighting, Mazda is looking pretty strong to close out the first quarter of the new year. Take a look below at a few images and swing by Mazda USA for even more CX-3 info.

Stay Tuned Samurai Rides has something special on deck to usher in the Spring.

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Hulu Wrote The Blueprint For Today’s Streaming Media

Hulu Wrote The Blueprint For Today’s Streaming Media

huluworld

Phones, Tablets, Lap Tops and Desk tops are no longer just number crunching devices. They pack all the entertainment value of your cable TV at a much less cost. You can select the same program at your own leisure and often bypass commercials. How the average person consumes their entertainment has changed radically as our world now come with us in our pockets. While streaming platforms like Amazon and Netflix may be the biggest brands on the block, Fast Company just released an interesting look back at just how Hulu got the ball rolling for the streaming giants of today. Take a look below. At the end you can link to FC’s ongoing Innovation series that this piece came from.

Remember when Netflix was a DVD-by-mail service? And its chief rival was the brick-and-mortar outlet Blockbuster? Feels like an eternity ago. Now Netflix looks over its shoulder at HBO on one side and Amazon on the other. But it was the breakthroughs generated by the less-praised and underappreciated Hulu that pointed the way to all of their success.

Fast Company put Hulu on the cover of our second World’s Most Innovative Companies issue in 2009. That decision was not a dig at Netflix or a mark of suspicion about its business. (Reed Hastings of Netflix had been a cover subject three years earlier.) Rather, it was a reflection of game-changing steps that Hulu was taking. At that time, Hulu was run by former Amazon executive Jason Kilar, who had to manage an assortment of owners—including both Fox and NBC—that had yet to embrace the idea of streaming their content. While Kilar had access to a rich trove of TV shows, he faced an ownership structure that was internally divided. For several of his many-headed bosses, the prospect of Hulu was at best a test, and at worst a threat to their core operation.

Kilar’s tactic was to play these owners off against each other just enough to keep them at bay, while he and his team furiously worked to create a new kind of viewing experience. Suddenly, streaming TV and even movies was easy, fun—and legal. At that point, the model was ad-supported in a user-friendly way that still hasn’t been replicated: Viewers could choose which ads they wanted to see, increasing the value for advertisers by constructing a qualified audience.

Eventually, Hulu’s corporate structure—not to mention the rise of streaming elsewhere, among its owners and most notably via Netflix—put the company on its heels and Kilar out of a job. But the user experience, design, and mass-market acceptance of streaming were all created or accelerated by Hulu. The most common narrative of innovation success often follows a single disruptor—Steve Jobs, Phil Knight, Mark Zuckerberg—without appreciating how much rests on the shoulders of progenitors and peers who advanced the game.

Today, of course, we expect to be able to stream everything via apps. (Back in 2008, most viewing happened on a desktop computer via the web browser.) Hulu is among a constellation of providers continuing to advance a revolution whose ultimate outcome is still unclear. Hulu hasn’t reaped the lion’s share of the rewards from its early innovations, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t have a powerful impact. And it continues to play a role in pressing Netflix, HBO, and others to keep advancing.

Via Fast Company

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SAMURAI RIDES: BACK ON THE ROAD WITH THE NEW 2017 MAZDA 3

SAMURAI RIDES: BACK ON THE ROAD WITH THE NEW 2017 MAZDA 3

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I was excited to see my first Mazda of the new year. The Mazda 3 rolls in with its 2017 edition in a gorgeous Cherry Red and I’m ready to roll out. I had a number of errands to handle in the tri state area so I was putting in those miles on the I-95. Highly enjoyable miles as Mazda never fails to provide me an excellent driving experience. Another edition of Samurai Rides is on deck!!!

After 2-3 years of auto reviews, I have to say that consistency is the word that comes to mind when I think of Mazda. Inside and out the attention to detail is steady across the brand and all its models. Focusing in on the Mazda 3 this time around and things are still as solid as ever. With this being my third spin in the 3 I can confirm that Mazda is definitely subscribing to an approach of not trying to reinvent the wheel. The short list of updates for the 2017 model echo those of the Mazda 6.

On the outside you get a new grill and headlight design. The rear bump is modified slightly as well. On the higher trims your 18 inch wheels have been tweaked a bit. The 16 inch standards wheel are unchanged from 2016 though. Hop inside and you get a few more revisions.

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The center console gets some additional space as Mazda switches up from a manual to an electric parking brake. Your flip-up screen is full color now as well. For a brand that boasts some of the best interior designs for under $30K you’ll get an upgrade in fabric and trim styles this year.

Just like the Mazda 6 the biggest driving update the G-Vectoring Control system to tighten up the steering a bit. The 3 hugs those curves just as well as the 6 does so this new GVC technology is a great move for a brand that has already locked itself into a very respected spot in the auto industry.

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Even covered in snow Mazda shines brillantly.

The 2017 Mazda 3 got a real good run with me as the weather dished out sun, rain, ice and snow and at no point did the 3 suffer in performance. In addition to that, I put that new heated steering wheel feature to work with the heated seats. Cold was not allowed in this ride.

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I’ve had nothing but glowing sentiments towards Mazda from day 1. The new 2017 Mazda 3 strongly continues that trend delivering a great combination of grace, style, innovation and power. If you’re looking for a great ride in a smaller package this is definitely the car for you. See more of the Mazda 3 here!

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