Category Archives: Relationships

Milestone Summer – Family Ties

Milestone Summer – Family Ties

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Already this summer may go down as one of the most eventful periods in my life. It started out with me celebrating the first birthday of my son Max. Not to be outdone, the following weekend I saw my brother become a husband. Witnessing the marriage of my little brother, as his best man, in front of our family was probably one of the most emotional moments of my life. So between that and the one-year celebration of my son, it’s been quite a summer thus far. With that said there’s been a lot of reflection a lot of introspective days just thinking about where I am where my family has come from and where we’re going. Knowing everything that emotionally struck me when I found out I was about to be a father to where I am today has been quite a path traveled.

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Max Turns 1!!!!

With that said there’s been a lot of reflection, a lot of introspective days just thinking about where I am where my family has come from and where we’re going. Knowing everything that emotionally struck me when I found out I was going to be a father to be where I am today is a major step. In conjunction with that seeing where my brother is at has made me so happy and so proud of everything that he has accomplished.

Interestingly enough, the announcement to my parents that I would be expecting a child and the announcement from my brother that his girlfriend had accepted his proposal all happened within the same November week back in 2015. So to have the wedding and Max’s birthday fall within a week of each other was kind of interesting and pretty cool. I say that now as I think back to the same younger brother who I used to play video games with, play ninja tag and get into fights with, to now seeing him as a grown man and myself now as a father is just a testament to the power of family.

#BestMan #BigBrother #MagicalMountainWedding2017

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I have always said that nothing matters more to me and nothing is more important than family. It is a foundation that not only holds me together in some of my weaker moments but is the foundation that I plan on building and raising my son upon. It’s something that I’m still trying to capture in words right now, where I am where the time has gone and yet almost feeling like we are all at a point of new beginnings. I’m in the early stages of life within Parenthood and now my brother is embarking on the journey of marriage. It really is a brand new world. I look forward to what it will mean for him and I look forward to the life that I’m going to craft out for myself and my son.

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SAMURAI RIDES: CELEBRATING LOVE AND FAMILY WITH THE 2017 MAZDA CX-5

SAMURAI RIDES: CELEBRATING LOVE AND FAMILY WITH THE 2017 MAZDA CX-5

Mazda cx 5

This has been quite an eventful summer. The last edition of Samurai Rides featured me celebrating the 1-year birthday of my son. This time around I had the honor of celebrating my brother’s wedding as Best Man.  With so many major events taking place across so many states, I need to have faith in the transportation I use for myself and my family. Fortunately, I was riding in 2017 Mazda CX-5 and let me tell you it took care of me, my son, my parent’s, anyone that needed to move around the event space for that wedding weekend. Mazda had us covered.

The last time I was driving a Mazda CX-5 I was in Atlanta preparing the final details for the Nomadness Summer barbecue so I know just what type of work this vehicle can put in. Fortunately, this time around I didn’t have as much stuff to carry and pick up. There was no food or alcohol runs,  just a few guests and some luggage bags for the festivities. More so than anything I needed to make sure that the ride was comfortable for my son. This was his 1st time him going to upstate New York and I wanted to make sure it was a comfy ride for him going up and back. He slept for most of the time so I take that as his stamp of approval. Up front in the driver’s seat Sirius XM and my USB port kept the tunes steady.

Mazda does a great job of combining convenience, control, and power with race car like design that still has this luxurious touch to its interior. Mazda is well-known for its stellar designing, especially its well-stitched leather interiors.

The weather that weekend was a little unsettled including more rain then I personally would have liked to see at a wedding but we worked around it. I will say that as always Mazda handled perfectly on the road despite the conditions of rain and wind. Nothing was able to mess up a ride. There was more than enough space in the ride and in the trunk. I would say that if you’re really looking for maximum space you probably want to look at the CX 9  but if you’re someone who is pretty modest with the loads that you’re going to be carrying then you’ll do great with the 5.

On the detailed side the Mazda’s crossover SUV currently ranks near the top of the SUV pack via U.S News and World Report. All this power and style will run you about $25K which is an amazing price. Mazda has been knocking it out the park with their recent redesigns. They have figured out how to pack so much into an affordable package and it’s a win/win for the people.

Hop over to Mazda.com for more info for this top on the line Crossover and stay tuned, the next edition of Samurai Rides will be a fun one, trust me.

**Check Out My Previous Auto Reviews**

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New Podcast Launch – Who’s Listening EP.00

New Podcast Launch – Who’s Listening EP.00 & EP.01

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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.

 

**UPDATED – LISTEN TO THE FIRST OFFICIAL EPISODE 01 HERE**

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

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

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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 Mysterious Month of Me – Facing Birthday Doubts

The Mysterious Month of Me – Facing Birthday Doubts

The Mysterious Month of Me

I don’t think I’ve ever had a month go by as fast as March has this year. The 1st fatherly Month of Me is complete and it has been one of extreme introspection. I’m trying to figure life out now without snapping at folks or losing my mind. The responsibility of fatherhood weighs on everything I do. Every time I look I’m my son’s eyes I’m dedicated that much more to not give up. Yet and still life is dead set on pushing me to my “adulting” limits. The juggling of family, finances, and feelings can get very tricky.

March does always remind me of a number of standout individuals in my life. I’m thankful for those people and the overall community that stands with me. The emotional pick me ups are clutch at a time when I’m battling serious feelings of inadequacy. The thing is, life doesn’t always provide a guy the outlet to release in the manner needed. I’m approaching a year since I left New Rochelle and so much has changed within me.

SMS MOM DD

I’m attempting not to hold so much inside but that is part of who I am at times. I’m trying to still be true to me in a world that wants my skills and talents but wants it in a different package. The emotions of life and daily economics clash often. It’s a puzzle I’m still working on. All the while Max gets bigger, smarter, more aware…….his Daddy’s story is an interesting one to say the least, but it’s still in its’ opening chapters.

As a new phase of this parenting operation approaches, I look forward to life presenting more opportunities. I also expect life to continue fighting me at every turn. Nothing worth having comes easy. I’ve slowly made moves to reestablish elements of life that make me full like my old self. The evolution of me, the progressive work of Jason continues and I’m looking to let Love, Faith & Family drive me forward.

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SAMURAI SIT DOWN W/ HIP HOP PUBLICIST SANDRINE AKA DRINEEE “THE HOPE DEALER”

SAMURAI SIT DOWN W/ HIP HOP PUBLICIST SANDRINE AKA DRINEEE “THE HOPE DEALER”

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It’s been a while since I last interviewed someone so its with great pleasure that I share this latest edition of Samurai Sitdown. I’ve always been about shining light on good people doing work that you may not be ever of or just good people in general. We need a lot more positive energy in these crazy times and this woman’s constant flow of hope filled, encouraging words in the midst of her steady Hip Hop representation are one of the things I look forward to while navigating these Internets. A jewel that’s been tucked away in the Dirty South, let me introduce you to Texas’s own Ms Sandrine.

A video posted by sandrine ✨ (@drineee) on

Can you please introduce yourself and tell us what you do? 

My name is Sandrine, also known as Drine, or Drineee on all social media platforms for all intents and purposes lol.  I’d like to say I wear many hats, or at least I try to anyway. Since 2011 I’ve transitioned from hip-hop journalist, to record label marketing rep to publicist. Oh, I’m also in finance as well.

It’s a pleasure to finally chop it up with you. Thank you for you time and lets hop right into things. Proper representation of culture and self are a big issue in many spaces right now. What does culture mean to you? In terms of Hip Hop, Nationality and Region?

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Hip Hop culture is one the most powerful forces in our society, period.  It started as a creative outlet and has turned into something way bigger than I think anyone could imagine.  When we saw politicians worrying about what 2Pac had to say, I think that’s when it really resonated that this was way deeper than rap. It’s more than music, it’s a way of life.  There are so many layers to it and I think that’s why we love it so much. 

True. That’s why we love it and why so many before us hate and fear it.

There’s a song for hustling, for your mama, for the come up, for love, for death and for everything else and the best part – it’s all genuine.  It’s easy to make a pop hit but it lasts a year, if that, and if they’re lucky, maybe some years because really, they aren’t talking about shit. When you make music with meaning it’s always going to outlast music for the moment.  

Continue reading SAMURAI SIT DOWN W/ HIP HOP PUBLICIST SANDRINE AKA DRINEEE “THE HOPE DEALER”

Branding Management During Times of Crisis via Evita Robinson

Branding Management During Times of Crisis via Evita Robinson

Evie Awesome

There is turmoil in the streets of the United States. We are in the midst of a period of social unrest that the U.S hasn’t seen in years. Recent and continuous killings of Black men by the police have pushed the nation to a crisis point that is being noticed far beyond the continental U.S.  As an entrepreneur it is often a difficult balance to represent your growing brand while dealing with troubles that transcend business. The time, energy and commitment to your business could easily be undone if you act incorrectly during this time of high emotions and sensitivity.

Crisis management process diagram, business concept

Nomadness Travel Tribe creator Evita Robinson is the embodiment of being the Face of your Brand so she understands the symmetry between business and personal quite well. She dove into this topic via Facebook Live and shares some great insight.

Check out for video below.

Sometimes it’s bigger then just the business. Make sure you are following Evita in all her many ventures so you got miss the big things she has upcoming.

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THE STORY OF THE SOCIAL MEDIA SAMURAI: COMMUNICATION SHORTCOMINGS

THE STORY OF THE SOCIAL MEDIA SAMURAI: COMMUNICATION SHORTCOMINGS

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It seems that every and all things comes down to communication. What you say, how you say it and in my case who you elect to say it too. I’ve always viewed information as selective. Everything isn’t for everyone to know and I would base this on my own personal check list of criteria. What is the overall value of this info, does it relate directly to the person I’d be telling it too, is the info complete in itself or part of something larger I may not want to share at this time, is this something that makes me happy? That’s just an example of what runs through my head both personally and professionally when I express myself. In a time when it seems that a majority of people express themselves first then think about it later I’m definitely part of the “Think twice, press send button once” crowd. For the most part it’s a communication method that has served me well.

Yet, there are still lessons to be learned. In personal matters I’m extremely tight-lipped with things until I’m ready to share. It’s a way that many don’t always get/like but it’s what works for me so I honestly don’t need it to make sense to others.  When I’m not happy I play things really close to the chest. When I am happy I don’t want to mess things up by talking about it too much. It’s an internal balance for me and I can admit that in trying to reach that balance I’m not usually worried about other people’s view on it. I’m a guy that overall doesn’t like to waste words so that has resulted in folks not hearing what they think they should.

I’m learning that’s not always the best way to approach things. As much as I speak to the power of family, friends and community, I am realizing that my cause is better served by having more faith in the people I trust to react well to whatever it is I have to share. Even if the initial reactions aren’t that positive, the result of having more open communication in the end will show who truly is down for supporting me.

A photo posted by nightfall914 (@nightfall914) on

There is no blueprint to this thing called life. You’re going to get thrown an array of things you may have no idea how to handle and your best bet is that you make sure that with each passeing situation you handle it better than the one before it. I’m committing myself to that level of improvement. Wish me good luck.

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The Fresh Face Of Fatherhood

The Fresh Face Of Fatherhood

MaxXTags

At the time I’m writing this, I am 22 days into my role of dad. It’s a drop in the Fatherhood bucket as I think to the 35 years that my Father has put in thus far. You hear people talk about what makes a Father and how it feels to be a Father but I can honestly now say I had no clue until it happened. I don’t mean that in some magical incomprehensible way. It’s more like a new set of senses and feelings suddenly turn on that you never had to use before.

Continue reading The Fresh Face Of Fatherhood