Rihanna and Senator Susan Collins turn a ‘Song & Dance’ into Giving People and Communities a Real Chance #HometownChat

Hot Shot (Old-School): “Real Talk with Industry Players and Biz Leaders”
– Ray Lewis, TV Sports Analyst & Retired Football Player

Hot Shot (New-School): “Real Talk with Industry Players and Biz Leaders”
– Curtis ‘Wall Street’ Carroll, TED Talk Presenter

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#HometownChat – “Smart Community, Special Service, Civic Dreams”

These days pop star Rihanna is going big on making her voice heard. Sometimes this shows-up on the mainstage but recently it was in meeting with the new French President on the world stage. She and Senator Susan Collins are turning a ‘song & dance’ into giving people and communities a real chance.

Collins was one of the key players with the recent healthcare vote. She’s been a steady head on doing some things to stabilize the health insurance market. While others tried a tactic of making ‘threats to see them sweat,’ she continues to believe that the ‘repeal and replace’ song & dance is played-out.

Meantime, when Riri isn’t working with top-notch record producers, she’s busy working on her Foundation efforts as well as the Global Citizen initiative. She’s hoping to gain support from the new French leader on creating educational opportunities that can benefit those beyond her pop culture community of fans.

As a public official, Collins is aware of the American landscape known as the Rust Belt. This area includes places where industries like steel, coal and automotive once played a major part in the economy of those regions. It’s as if officials who understand these communities qualify for the Rust Belt Award.

What we have today isn’t just Rust Belt related, but also could feel like the rusting of community or the American Dream. It’s why Collins sees her vote and approach to public service as central to her ‘We the People’ oath. So the choices presented to gov’t officials, ‘party people’ and citizens everywhere involve:

  1. Leading to change the system or aiming to destroy the system.
  2. Serving to play politics or committing to advance sound policy.
  3. Winning to score important points or wrecking the country to make a political point.
  4. Moving things forward for the better or rolling things back for the worst.

There’s a push to get fresh blood in the political arena. This means having new people running for office across all levels of government. They will have a chance to focus on leading to change the system or aiming to destroy the system. It takes leadership to help change things while storms often destroy things.

Think about how we relate to storms. One view is based on radar image which shows the spread of rain. The other based on satellite image showing the spread of terrain. Having a positive impact on the social system means dealing with the ‘rain of issues’ over the terrain of communities in order to change things.

In every sports league there’s a system of rules and relationships that keep things jumping. Whether it’s through the NFL’s front office or the NBA’s referees and fan clubs, various individuals have a role to play in its success. But what would happen if the hype of the game exceeds the return value of the game?

That could be what’s clouding public service. Politics is good for selling ideas in media. But policy is good for selling results in government. When hype of politics exceeds purpose of policy we end up with people choosing to play politics over advancing sound policy. It’s a kind of ‘Make America Constipate Again.’

Yea it’s no secret that winning is part of playing the game. There’s a time to play offense and a time to play defense. There’re times to score points and times to hold the other side from scoring points. All this happens within the rules of the game. Those rules are there to protect players, the game and the brand.

When rule changes come up, it’s about improving without wrecking the game. The idea of changing rules or flipping the script can be good for effectiveness. It shouldn’t simply be about trying to score political points or possibly wrecking the country to make a point. The Constitution & Rules protect our institutions.

It’s often said that the difference between an optimist and a pessimist is in how they see a glass of water. The optimist sees it as half-full while the pessimist sees it as half-empty. This is also true for how public officials might view their proposed policy, whether it’s in moving things forward or rolling things back.

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Collins probably realizes that if things involve some kind of repeal or rollback to darker times then that might present a pessimist view. But if the idea is to move things forward to the next version-in-time then that might offer a more full and optimist view. Isn’t that what the American Dream should be about?

Rihanna understands that if there were such a thing as a fill-up station for the American Dream, that education would be an important part. Even beyond that, it’s about achieving a fuller measure of equality, healthcare, justice and empowerment. That’s not just in having a better deal. It’s going after a fuller deal.

History has shown that progress takes small steps by man (woman) and giant steps by mankind. It’s what can happen if we let Community 3.0 bring a new ‘song and dance’ to politics, everyday people and the American Dream. This could deliver fresh effects in the Rust Belt and United Streets of America.

So if public officials as well as the rest of Americans are serious about doing the right thing for citizens in town and country then there’s a next-level choice they’ll have to make. They can choose to keep seeing things rolling back in time or moving forward to something beautiful that’s fueled by American Oxygen.

Block Talkback: Can the Rust Belt regions or other communities forge a new identity or will we see more rusting of America?’

Groove-tracks: Rihanna – American Oxygen – https://youtu.be/Ao8cGLIMtvg

Eminem – Beautiful –  https://youtu.be/lgT1AidzRWM

Senator Kamala Harris & Blue Ivy Carter Spread ‘Boomshakalaka’ to Woke Things Up – #HometownChat

Hot Shot (Old-School): “Real Talk with Industry Players and Biz Leaders”
– Jay-Z, Entrepreneur, Rapper & Mega Mogul

Hot Shot (New-School): “Real Talk with Industry Players and Biz Leaders”
– ‘Black Nostalgia,’ Cultural Commentator

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#HometownChat – “Smart Community, Special Service, Civic Dreams”

The July 4th fireworks are behind us but guess who showed-up at the BBQ? It’s Blue Ivy Carter doing some lyrical ‘spitting’ from daddy’s new album ‘Jay-Z 4:44.’ It’s like the apple of his eye not falling far from the tree. Blue Ivy and Senator Kamala Harris are spreading some ‘boomshakalaka’ to woke things up.

Harris has been making her voice heard as a freshman Senator on Capitol Hill. She’s about asking tough questions in her role on the Senate Intelligence Committee. She’s even been asking constituents and citizens to think about what affordable healthcare should mean at a time when it seems to be up in the air.

Some people are trying to understand what Blue Ivy is saying on the track. Plus, what would you call the sound clip, a good PR move for sure? Well 50 years after Newark’s uprising others are trying to figure-out what our government officials are doing and saying about the next steps in public policy or community.

In the case of public policy, some wonder what to call a healthcare bill that doesn’t seem to want more people to have healthcare. That might be a different kind of PR with ‘politically ratchet’ results. So we find a growing frustration among citizens about the tedious nature of healthcare features, fixes and services.

Think back 20+ years when consumers and techies became frustrated by software features, fixes and services. Industry leaders and decision makers came up with what’s simply known these days as IOS solutions. What can we learn from their ingenuity that can be applied to public policy or community?

  1. What people want to see is change that’s more than just going through the motion.
  2. What officials should do is more than just a patchwork but more like some process-work.
  3. What systems learn is how to make things work for all users, whether in the ‘hood or the ‘burbs.
  4. What effective results show isn’t just good for income streams but also in outcome measures.

Who doesn’t remember those times when using some software tools or logging into the Internet felt like going through a traffic jam? There’d be a message across the screen saying ‘it’s working’ while the screen just sat there. It wasn’t always a click of the mouse or a flick of the wrist that did the trick.

These days it feels like the message we get from public officials says ‘it’s working’ but who knows if the change we see is just going through the motion. Maybe people feel the same way about the approaches to inner city issues or rural town concerns that feel like more of the same ol’ going through the motion.

Oftentimes in the tech world, software fixes are made as a patch to the system. This provides a quick and easy way to respond to a problem. That’s fine and good for those ‘1-2-3’ to handle problems. But when things are more involved it takes a thought-out upgrade process to make the problem go away.

What tech leaders know is that after a while a fix needs to be more than a patchwork and more about a process-work. In other words, a patch might be good for ‘classic community’ but it takes effective process-work for ‘smart community’ so that some persistent problems might be handled or go away over time.

It’s what happened back in the day when technology went from DOS to Windows or from flip phones to smart phones. The power players knew there needed to be a system’s approach to fixing problems. That’s kinda how they ended up with developing IOS solutions as an Integrated Operating System model.

There’re three key reasons why the IOS approach helped technology change for the better and move us leaps and bounds. In these changes we saw improvements in how fixes got done. We saw progress in how features became more user-friendly. We saw how certain pre-wired functions made life a bit easier.

This was the best thing yet in how consumers used technology. What if there was a similar approach to public policy and next level community? It’s why Community 3.0 offers SOS solutions to help advance social outcomes and services that could lead to the best thing yet in citizen-friendly solutions.

The tech shift helped boost incomes as companies made more Windows-based software or user-friendly apps. A similar shift when applied to ‘social change’ as an SOS approach can also bring positive change whether in the ‘hood or ‘burbs. It’s in boosting hometown service, civic dreams and social outcomes.

Recently, the TV show Jeopardy had a category called ‘Stay Woke.’ Some thought it was meant to be the socially-conscious version of the expression. They soon learned it was meant in the normal sense of ‘things that keep us physically awake.’ e.g. coffee. That meaning disappointed viewers on social media.

Maybe that’s the dilemma people are having with the healthcare view of Repeal & Replace. What it means for one group is different from another. It seems the real discussion should be about healthcare Repair & Repaint. Even Insurance Companies know you don’t write-off a property unless it’s ‘totaled.’

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Senator Harris and Blue Ivy might know something about a hot playlist to ‘jam the block.’ But Harris would likely agree that to ‘upgrade you’ in community and public policy, we should remember the words of Margaret Mead, a 20th century Anthropologist and cultural figure. She said “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.”

Block Talkback: Should the healthcare discussion be about ‘Repeal & Replace’ or ‘Repair & Repaint?’

Groove-tracks: Childish Gambino – Redbone – https://youtu.be/ezbsbkqoRrs

Beyoncé – Upgrade You –  https://youtu.be/6nr8hPnZfMU

Solange Knowles & ‘Chance the Rapper’ Used Their Awards Appearance for a Greater Cause – #HometownChat

Hot Shot (Old-School): “Real Talk with Industry Players and Biz Leaders”
– Oprah Winfrey, TV Host & Entertainment Mogul

Hot Shot (New-School): “Real Talk with Industry Players and Biz Leaders”
– Kevin Hart, Comedian & Actor

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#HometownChat – “Smart Community, Special Service, Civic Dreams”

It was another sunny day in LA as Red Carpet watchers came out for the pre-show. So it was in England as well, as Solange Knowles performed a music set for concert goers. Then she got on a plane headed for LA. Knowles & Chance the Rapper used their BET Awards appearance for a greater cause.

She was there to honor a social activist; he was there to receive the Humanitarian Award. After receiving her own award earlier in the show, Knowles embraced the work of those working to address issues of brutality and criminal justice. Meanwhile, Chance is no stranger on empowering kids on the block.

He was almost brought to tears by a surprise clip from former First Lady Michelle Obama praising him for his work. With the lead-up to the Essence Festival and Independence Day celebrations underway, there’re many getting ready to get their groove on. Others are also considering the issues of the day.

For some, these times feel like there’s a kind of fog over the country’s social/political optics. Whether it’s in cases of laws being enacted or rights being revoked, it’s not clear how long it’ll take for this fog to burn off. How can we get through the fog? What does the fog look like? Well here are some things to consider.

  1. When vision is low, turbulence is high.
  2. When clouds are in the way, civic instruments have a role to play.
  3. When sunshine is blocked, social/civic development gets cooled.
  4. When haze is in the air, proceed with caution or move to higher ground where things are clear.

The healthcare debate and criminal justice matters have taken center stage in recent days. There’ve been a series of court rulings and proposed Senate legislation that have communities wondering ‘what are we, worst-in-class citizens?’ Some are even thinking out loud ‘how could anyone be so mean?’

An often quoted word of inspiration says ‘where there’s no vision, the people perish.’ This might also be modified to suggest where there’s no vision, no sense of common purpose, no justice, the people perish. What we see in the back-and-forth is that when vision is low turbulence is high in matters of public affairs.

As an example, the turbulence on a flight can happen during the first 10 minutes of takeoff or later at higher altitude. Low lying clouds have a way of making the early part of the ride bumpy. In the case of higher altitude, it’s usually due to a phenomenon called ‘air pockets.’ This is like a pothole in the sky.

When clouds are in the way a pilot has to use on-board instruments to help see through the fog. In the case of our country’s optics, that’s what the Special Prosecutor role headed by Robert Mueller is all about. But there’re other civic instruments and institutions that as citizens we get to add our say.

We look back on our history and see those moments when ‘America was born, died and came back from the dead.’ This is seen from the events leading up to America’s Independence to the Civil War period to the age of Civil Rights. They’re times when the light of progress came through after dark days of pain.

Solange and Chance are helping us get through the fog or dampness in the air by letting their light shine through. Just like when the sun is shining it warms the air, when the light comes through, our social and civic development grows. But when the light is blocked our social/civic development gets cooled.

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They also know when haze or ‘air pockets’ are in the path, to proceed with caution or move to higher ground where things are clear. When vision is high it points us towards that higher ground. In a sense that’s what can be achieved through the collective efforts of ‘Community 3.0, Vision100 and the United Streets of America.’

So where do we find ourselves on issues of the moment? Some of the concerns have been around for a while. It feels like same old stuff, different day. Maybe we’re at the crossroads of belief and relief. We’re trying to believe there’s room enough for fresh change while hoping for some relief from the confusion.

When it comes to technological change we’re in a phase known as ‘the Internet of things.’ This is where more of our electronic devices and home appliances are connected to the Internet. This way there’s more we can do to measure and manage the efficiency in our daily lives by being more connected.

To advance our effectiveness in social change, there needs to be a mindset that a “Community of things’ will move us from the ‘politics of things’ to the ‘common purpose of things.’ How we get there might seem a bit fuzzy. But it could mean connecting ‘Mission Ready Blocks’ (MRBs) with ‘Mission Rocking Beats.’

Abraham Lincoln once said Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character give him power. Martin Luther King Jr. is quoted as saying Every step towards the goal of justice requires sacrifice and suffering; the tireless exertions and passionate concerns of dedicated individuals.

Where we are today fits those quotes. Those in power show us their true character. What they propose assumes that anything goes. Lincoln and King would have us know we must fight for opportunity and against injustice. These things we can do in the meantime until sunshine comes after dark days are gone.

Block Talkback: These days should we fight for something (like healthcare for more citizens) or fight against something (like brutality and social injustice)?

Groove-tracks: Baby Cham ft Alicia Keys – Ghetto Story – https://youtu.be/loPRsrqrDXc

TLC – It’s Sunny –  https://youtu.be/EolE4i0UmWw

Maxine Waters: No Silent River, Nancy Pelosi: No Political Walkover; But It’s Not Just Them! – #HometownChat

Hot Shot (Old-School): “Real Talk with Industry Players and Biz Leaders”
– Will Smith, Hollywood Actor & Philathropist

Hot Shot (New-School): “Real Talk with Industry Players and Biz Leaders”
– Ne-Yo, Music Producer & Stage Performer

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#HometownChat – “Smart Community, Special Service, Civic Dreams”

Recently there was a flurry of activity around the first 100 days. Some attended rallies or were at a convention and of-course D.C. networking events. In some circles there’s a war of words going on. For one thing, Maxine Waters is no silent river and Nancy Pelosi no political walkover. But it’s not just them!

Waters has been making her voice heard in a very significant way. ‘Queen Maxine’ has made strong statements about governing and the things that lead to communities rising. She’s got cred on the link between public policy and American history, based on her background and work in the trenches.

Pelosi made history years ago by becoming the first female House Speaker. Even as minority leader she’s leading the way as a gut check on things that might become a social train-wreck. For example, she sees the health and well-being of America as not just in taking care of a few but doing so for the many.

In a general sense the public policy debate throughout our history has been like a war for the soul of a nation. The battle these days isn’t just around Constitutional order but between the ‘pissed-off vs. stay-woke’ crowd for the sanity of the nation. This seems to go back and forth throughout America’s history.

In one corner are events around the Civil War. It was a protest flashpoint by those on a path that seemed like a more pissed-off union. In the other are events leading up to and during Civil Rights. It was a flashpoint for those who sought a more perfect union. This cycle shows up and affects us in new ways by:

  1. Challenging our understanding of Articles in the Constitution.
  2. Distorting the message of equality which led to the Emancipation.
  3. Stirring-up resentment on the subject of Immigration.
  4. Building roadblocks to a sense of community and trust in our Institutions.

Every game on the playing field has rules in the books. These rules are important to making sure that teams know what’s in fair play and what’s more like a foul. They help referees and umpires make calls that keep things moving. Without some basic rules a game would be more of an uncontrolled free-for-all.

The major rules of governing are found in the U.S. Constitution. This document has roles and responsibilities for each branch of government. Many public policy issues get tricky by challenging our understanding of these Articles in the Constitution. But things get messy when the rules don’t apply fairly.

That’s what happened after Independence, leading up to and during the Civil War. The Constitution made the slave reference as having three-fifths representation. This led to a distorted view of those Americans. That sentiment along with the Constitutional view of States Rights led to the confederacy spinoff.

But even after the Emancipation there was still public policy that created a ‘Jim Crow’ atmosphere. This prompted rounds of civil disobedience during the Civil Rights era. What we saw with public policy after the Civil War might be happening now after Civil Rights as a ‘new & improved’ version of ‘America in reverse.’

We find times in history where different groups are used as a scapegoat. Back in the day immigrants from some European countries were seen as a threat to American society. Now there’s a new stirring-up of resentment on issues of immigration. Pelosi and Waters might say the reasons are Un-American.

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The Statue of Liberty as a symbol of freedom was a gift from France for the mutual exchange during the American Revolution. Some want to view immigrants as a threat. This usually happens when a war of words feels better than a war of ideas. Thankfully, an inscription on the statue sees us as an asset.

Over the years especially between the Civil War and Civil Rights, whenever two steps of progress were made there was a step backward into shades of years gone by. That would be like a company improving a product and then reversing good changes. When people realize a feature is gone it causes a backlash.

In the case of social change the backlash can cause roadblocks to a sense of community. It creates a level of distrust in civic institutions the way consumers might begin to distrust a company acting shady. What’s happening nowadays helps explain the steadiness of protest and need for a Community 3.0 plan.

The ongoing confusion and whiplash feels like a professor describing a subject one way and a totally disputed way next day. This makes it harder to prepare for mid-terms or finals. Waters and Pelosi know that next year the focus will be on mid-term elections. It’ll be interesting to see who passes the test.

Late-night shows and cable anchors have their hands full each week. The material for political analysis and satire is overflowing. In between the laughs and the lessons is some food for thought on many social issues. But it’s good that other voices help us stay calm or keep things fun and lose until the pain is gone.

Block Talkback: Does Bernie Sanders have a point about the link between Wall Street and Government? What can be learned from the link between Progressives & Dems or Conservatism & GOP?

Groove-tracks: Daley ft Jill Scott – Until The Pain is Gone – https://youtu.be/_MrqznD97y0

Skip Marley – Calm Down –  https://youtu.be/eyq74jtdgnY

Barack Obama & John Kasich Return to Political Spotlight with More Faith in the People – #HometownChat

Hot Shot (Old-School): “Real Talk with Industry Players and Biz Leaders”
– Jamie Foxx, Actor, Artist & Comedian

Hot Shot (New-School): “Real Talk with Industry Players and Biz Leaders”
– Pharrell Williams, Global Music Superstar & Fashion Designer

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#HometownChat – “Smart Community, Special Service, Civic Dreams”

There’s lots of talk these days around the basketball court and the halls of Congress. Whether it’s looking at the first 100 days or getting ready for the White House Reporters Dinner or enjoying the NBA playoffs. Plus, Barack Obama & John Kasich have returned to the spotlight with more faith in the American people.

Obama has been on a post-presidency honeymoon, spending downtime in scenic locations. He recently met with students in Chicago discussing the importance of civic engagement. While it might feel like he’s walking a tightrope as former President, he’s working on preparing the next generation of service leaders.

In the case of Kasich, his return is largely due to his book tour. He’s concerned about the static nature of today’s public policy with the feeling that more gets said than done. His time as Ohio Governor and as presidential candidate stands-out in the minds of those who see the nation being challenged by divisions.

Sometimes policy arguments are more left versus right, middle-class versus 1%-class, starched-collar versus no collar. Increasingly it seems to be about voices that are softest versus loudest. With social media as an added ingredient for dissent it can be difficult to get a handle on how public policy might:

  1. Improve economic stock value at home and abroad.
  2. Bridge community strength in the city and countryside.
  3. Reduce social divide across the have’s and the haven’ts.
  4. Embrace personal security within the issues and without the threats.

A constant concern for everyday folks is whether their money is well spent. For some there’s more month than money and something might get postponed or dropped from the budget. But if there’s a will there’s a way to make it to the next check. It’s in how households survive based on what’s spent and what’s saved.

With talk of setting aside money for a border wall, it makes some wonder if that’s the right priority. How might that improve our economic stock value at home or abroad? There’re airports that need upgrading and buildings that need repairing. There’re projects that need investing and towns that need boosting.

A few years ago a bridge in Minnesota collapsed, killing some motorists. It’s a popular roadway serving the Twin Cities area in Minneapolis. Further investigation showed a structural design flaw. The bridge has been replaced but government reports show many more structures in cities and countryside need repair.

This bridge is a major thoroughfare used by those in the Twin Cities. Their economies are closely tied to the commerce that moves on the span. The importance of such a bridge shows the value of public policy whether it’s in connecting two cities or linking community strength between the city and the countryside.

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When traveling the highways and byways of America there’s much to see and much that’s not seen. From the rolling hills to the urban skyscrapers, there’s a sense for where resources are plenty and where it’s otherwise few. There’re pockets of ‘McMansion Estates’ and relics of rundown hometown squares.

With this comes a feeling of the have’s and the haven’ts. This might be seen in tax policy or healthcare programs. Some argue that the discussions are presented as a choice between having universal appeal or unrestrained profit. The policy debate will have the most credibility by serving the haven’ts just as well.

More and more we find personal security as an ongoing concern. There’s the issue of financial identity information kept out of the wrong hands. Others worry about getting pulled-over on the road where something minor becomes major. There’re some laws that appear to out-muscle the civil rights of citizens.

Public policy debates are helpful by an approach to the subject around the pros and cons of the issues. Sometimes when it’s a debate around safety the threat is about losing federal funding. But what’s to be gained by projecting a fear of others other than demonizing and dividing groups of people?

In parenting situations there’re different ways for getting the attention of a child. Sometimes it’s a stern look or raised voice for ‘putting the fear’ in them. However, there’s a fine line when crossed that might lead to intimidation or abuse. It’s probably better for a child’s self-esteem by ‘putting the faith’ in them.

Maybe that’s where Obama and Kasich can agree with good public policy working wonders by ‘putting the faith’ in people. As with smart parenting, it takes understanding the issues and the effects on a child. The next generation of Community 3.0 service leaders will make a difference by advancing smart community.

So in the words of Obama, if we are the change we seek, then citizens are agents of change to policy-makers. In the words of Kasich, if politicians are too locked-in to own their shadows, then citizens will have to step-out of the shadow. History shows that when people free their minds, the rest will follow.

Block Talkback: Why should officials who tend to put fear in people be anymore trusted by the public if ‘putting the faith’ in people is better for making a difference in community?

Groove-tracks: En Vogue – Free Your Mind – https://youtu.be/i7iQbBbMAFE

Beyoncé ft Kendrick Lamar – Freedom –  https://youtu.be/dOuZA5ftyJw

Shannon Sharpe & Angela Rye Share Some ‘Bread & Butter’ on Staying Woke and Being Real With Folk – #HometownChat

Hot Shot (Old-School): “Real Talk with Industry Players and Biz Leaders”
– ‘Diddy’ Combs, Rap Mogul & Game-Changer

Hot Shot (New-School): “Real Talk with Industry Players and Biz Leaders”
– Lebron James, Pro Player & Philanthropist

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#HometownChat – “Smart Community, Special Service, Civic Dreams”

It’s been an interesting few weeks in sports, business, politics and culture. You could count those ‘shaking your head’ moments. There was enough to make it to the SNL highlight reel. But Shannon Sharpe and Angela Rye choose to share some ‘bread & butter’ on staying woke and being real with folk.

Sharpe had a few thoughts on the American Dream as a response to Dez Bryant’s social media comments. Rye had some thoughts on public policy as a response to another TV guest. It wasn’t the first time they’ve had to tackle a hot-button issue. They take pride in getting the word out on such matters.

There were also those who made news for making comparisons to Dr. King’s legacy and Rosa Parks’ advocacy. It was an interesting line of reasoning to link King’s social tactics with current political antics. The other tried to compare the United Airlines debacle with Rosa Parks’ action on justice for a people.

If there were ever a time to put things in a Community 3.0 perspective it’s now when we’re not sure if people are serious or making a joke. After the dust settles on these recent events there’ll likely be a new order of things from making sense of what happened. The role pop culture will increasingly play is to:

  1. Export clips in entertainment and import nuggets in enlightenment.
  2. Engage progress in system accountability and explain the process of self accountability.
  3. Experience more fun in the groove and put more hustle in the grind.
  4. Elevate ideas that clear-up confusion and express emotions that send a good vibration.

The Fast & Furious movie franchise took over the box office lead in its eighth release. It ranked #1 setting records in weekend-opening revenue. The movie saw the return of the regular cast of characters with a few new additions. Where it made big waves was with an international audience pulling most of its sales.

An ongoing ‘balancing act’ with pop culture involves ways to export clips in entertainment and import nuggets in enlightenment. Nowadays, people are paying more attention to getting jiggy and staying woke. It’s not enough to laugh out loud without making sense of the new order of things happening around us.

In the early days of America’s beginnings much time was spent crafting laws and the language of social engagement. There were emerging issues at stake that would determine the foundation of our nation. Some of those matters were handled fairly and squarely. Others seem to linger-on or live-on in new ways.

That’s partly where Bryant and Sharpe are coming from. It’s as if they’d like to see more happening in pop culture to engage progress in system accountability and to explain the process of self-accountability.  Maybe it’s not happening fast enough when compared to shifts made in technology over recent years.

These days there’re more tech tools at our fingertips. The smart phone is one such device that’s made the world smaller. Furthermore, seeing headsets hooked to phones is part of everyday life. This creates options to experience more fun in the groove, hustle in the grind and make community smarter.

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Those who put more hustle in the grind let their best unwind. We see this with Sharpe and Rye as they do the things to broaden their influence. Maybe they as well as Bryant help us see that the political swings between left & right or the social swings between smooth & coarse call for greater impact possibilities.

In one sense, Sharpe knows we’ve come a far way since our founding. But there’re dreams that don’t make it because of system roadblocks. Bryant’s take is that even with system roadblocks there’re still ways to move past these circumstances. This isn’t a case of ‘either or’ but of both making good points.

The debate over who’s right and who’s off may end soon. But some debates can fall short if they do little to elevate ideas that clear-up confusion or express emotions that send a good vibration. While the topic is good for getting people stirred-up it might take a bit more of a personal ‘aha’ to get folks turned-up.

Sharpe says that’s what happened to him. He had some trying circumstances growing up being raised by a grandmother. It was her influence then that helped him reach great heights. He knows that while that worked for him it’s not always the results others see from coming up on the rough side of ‘Mean Street.’

With Easter behind us and Summer ahead what might pop culture do for Community 3.0 and vice versa? Well, it would be great for Bryant and Sharpe to deliver a ‘Coming to America’ moment. That’s the broader perspective people get not just from visiting, but by seeing the light that becomes eye-opening.

Bryant will be back for another season with the Cowboys. He’s probably getting in shape for his return. If he’s on his game he’ll likely have a few more replay moments for cheering fans. But beyond work & play, the more that people experience ‘Coming to America’ moments the more value there is to pop culture.

Block Talkback: Does Rap get a bad rap when people generalize about its affect as an art form or is the pop culture pendulum swing between ‘smooth & coarse’ something that’s been around for ages?

Groove-tracks: Common – The Light – https://youtu.be/OjHX7jf-znA

LeCrae ft Ty Dolla $ign – Blessings –  https://youtu.be/i58IH2D8sWQ

Beyoncé & Chrissy Teigen Do Other Things Behind the Scenes To Impact Social Culture – #HometownChat

Hot Shot (Old-School): “Real Talk with Industry Players and Biz Leaders”
– Oprah Winfrey, TV Personality & Media Mogul

Hot Shot (New-School): “Real Talk with Industry Players and Biz Leaders”
– Sergio Garcia – Pro Golfer

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#HometownChat – “Smart Community, Special Service, Civic Dreams”

It’s safe to say that two things driving pop culture are music and fashion. Take a look through any popular magazine and there’s so much to see in style pictures. You’ll find it at Awards Shows too starting with the Red Carpet. But Beyoncé & Chrissy Teigen do other things behind the scenes to impact social culture.

Beyoncé has grown in mainstream relevance since her time in Destiny’s Child. These days as mother and wife she’s preparing for her new twin arrivals. Beyond what she does in studio and on stage, she’s also inspiring a growing list of colleges offering courses with content in the area of ‘Bey Brandalicious.’

Teigen who made a name for herself on the fashion runway is also playing that nurturing family role. Her dude John Legend keeps turning out music that puts him in the Billboard Awards arena. It’s also their acts of civic consciousness that seem to drive topics of conversation in the classroom and on social media.

Lessons from their celebrity-life chapters & verses remind us of how the value of pop culture is more than just hooks and looks. It’s why these college classes might show that when pop culture is at its best, celebrities and other personalities make a difference in ways that are not just trendy but also timeless by:

  1. Sharing information that widens the scope of general understanding.
  2. Spotlighting showbiz moments that bring thrills to everyday enjoyment.
  3. Celebrating stories that give sense to today’s new realities.
  4. Spreading views that provide clarity to free-speech in public spaces.

Remember those times of what’s hot and what’s not? Well it’s been said that you live life forward, but understand it backward. This is true for those who’ve grown-up before our eyes. The things we see from watching them go through growth and change might have true meaning to our personal experiences.

There’s a special feeling in thinking back to the before-and-after times in general understanding. That’s one reason why fans can become die-hard supporters of their fav artists. What they provide as an experience in fun and dance is just a part of why they’re admired and cause others to be so inspired.

Sometimes it’s being able to say ‘I was there when.’ Whether it’s going to a concert or performing in the mirror, there’re moments in pop culture we savor because of a certain thrill it brings to everyday enjoyment. Beyoncé has a way of pulling this off in her appearances, even if it’s just in a snap or gram.

Furthermore, in each decade from the past we find those moments that stick in our cultural memories. Some can point back to the hippies of the 60s, the discos of the 70s, maybe the styles of the 80s and so on. Along with these flashbacks are certain signature events in the life and times of those decades.

These days many look to social media to get the skinny on what’s happening culturally. Teigen who reigns supreme with her posts recently did something for someone whose goal was to finish beauty school. So Teigen paid off the balance of what was needed in tuition to complete the program.

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Celebrating stories like these can help us respond to today’s challenging realities. It’s one way of providing hope when others feel like life’s saying nope. The person receiving this random act of kindness from Teigen might view this gesture as an example of what pop culture has done for her lately.

The U.S. Constitution affords us as citizens the benefit of free speech. This means that people are able to have and hold opinions without fear of reprisal. Now, not everything someone says or believes is necessarily all there is to know on a subject. We have the option to hear and study these ideas further.

Beyoncé and Teigen aren’t the traditional social experts. But they seem to have a way of cutting through the noise and bringing clarity to free-speech in public spaces which can be easier said than done. They know sometimes it’s better to get a point across through art or poetry than through theory or prose.

The cultural dilemma nowadays is balancing the voice of the people and the views of the pundits. It’s getting past the bad news and connecting with the good news. It’s stepping-up our game in order to do the things that bring change, gain a measure of choice and give us the courage to face those challenges.

How pop culture moves us is similar to how the weather shifts. Sometimes the temperature at the start of the day doesn’t change much throughout the day. Other times there can be a huge swing in temperature from daybreak to nightfall. Sometimes we have small shifts and other times huge swings in social culture.

The real story in what we express and enjoy about pop culture is in how love looks good or music makes us go or how we grow and have fun. The benefit from savoring this depends on if we take an approach that’s forward-looking or backward-looking. In the end, these times have helped many reach their best.

Block Talkback: When it comes to taxes, if the storyline of ‘Everyday America vs Enterprise America’ never goes away, how should folks bridge the gap and feel like there’s enough breaks to go around?

Groove-tracks: Janet Jackson – What Have You Done for Me Lately – https://youtu.be/r9uizdKZAGE

Usher – Love Looks Good –  https://youtu.be/AC2t6cjss1E