Chicago has been synonymous with gun violence for a very long time. The stories you hear about the Windy City have always been told by outsiders, though. You know, the people who’ve never hung out at the 31st street beach during summertime  time Chi, or the people who don’t know that there’s a difference in the mild sauce you get from Harold’s, and Uncle Remus opposed to anywhere else.

The negative imagery that surrounds the city is depressing and scary, but that’s because it’s being told by people who aren’t from Chicago. Emmy Award-winning writer and Chicago’s very own, Lena Waithe, has fought tooth and nail to bring a more humane depiction of the city we Chicagoans love so much, with her drama series “The Chi.”

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“Musicality in hip-hop is sort of a lost art, and Common always used real musicians. It’s keeping real music alive at a time where most people aren’t.”

-Robert Glasper

Glasper, a rap icon, legendary pianist  and Common’s new group mate  almost perfectly puts into words how some of us fell  in love with the intricacies of our favorite artist’s music, in conjunction with the way they deliver heartfelt lyrics.

Common has always been credited with delivering some of the most soulful and powerful music for the culture. So teaming up with longtime friends and legends in their own rights, Robert Glasper and drumming icon Karriem Riggins, was the perfect way to yet again breathe life into the artistry of rap and hip-hop.

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The 1980’s was a very important time in the hip-hop, because this is when hip-hop made the transition from fad to pop culture. It went from being viewed as an underground counterculture, to thrusting its way into mainstream society. So many cultural icons gained their notoriety during that time, and the first House Party movie also served as a launching pad for several of these soon to be iconic figures in their respective fields, while introducing other legends to a younger generation. From the late Robin Harris, John “Pops” Witherspoon, and George Clinton, on to Martin Lawrence, Tisha Campbell, and of course Kid ‘N Play, House Party helped to propel each of their careers  to even bigger heights. For Kid ‘N Play, it was a defining moment that led to the duo becoming Hip-hop and Pop icons.

The Kid ‘N Play duo consists of Christopher “Kid” Reid and Chris “Play” Martin who both hail from Queens, New York. As legendary as the first House Party was, could you imagine Kid ‘N Play not playing their respective roles? Well, that’s what almost happened. I To their surprise they were still selected, but not so much because of their audition as much as it was the frenzy they stirred as they were leaving drawing crowds of fans and shifting the belief that the movie starring them could be very successful.

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Picture you’re boarding your next flight and you immediately notice that there’s something vastly different from the others that you’ve taken. The staff is very welcoming which is customary, but all of the seats are more spacious. You have a seat, strap in, and glance at the menu for the day’s trip and notice that you’re selecting between lamb chops or filet mignon. The good stuff. Now imagine this airline being black owned and operated. This was the vision of Michael Hollis, an extremely successful businessman who set out to create a black owned luxury airline. The late Michael Hollis of Atlanta Air was one of the first African Americans to realize how great of an opportunity it would be to pioneer a string of black owned airlines.

Hollis didn’t get into the airline industry as a former pilot, nor did he have any experience in the aviation business. In fact, Hollis at the time was a lawyer and a very well-known and well-respected man. He became widely recognized at an early age due to his prominence in several youth based political groups. At only 15-years-old, he was named head of the Atlanta Youth Congress, and was later appointed to a community-relations commission that helped address race. Sam Massell, president of the Buckhead Coalition and a former Atlanta mayor told The Atlanta Journal Constitution in a 2012 interview. “He was a boy wonder and helped us understand issues just surfacing in that arena.”

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The heavyweight champion in boxing, has historically  always been one of the most prestigious titles in the sports arena. With the UFC becoming more and more of a draw, boxing has somewhat taken a backseat to the UFC. While boxing continues to try to regain its prominence, there’s one guy who sits atop the heavyweight division and come second to none. His name is Deontay Wilder.

Wilder stepped into the ring late, he didn’t start boxing until he was 19-years-old. Growing up Wilder was an all-around athlete, playing basketball, baseball, football, and he ran track as well in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

But it was a birth defect to his oldest daughter, Naeiya, that  led him to his true calling in the boxing ring. Naeiya was born with Spina Bifida, which is a birth defect where there is an incomplete closing of the backbone and membranes around the spinal cord. Wilder dropped out of college and took to the ring to be able to afford the proper care for his daughter.

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Everyone’s path isn’t always a straight line to get their dream job. In order to get there, many people have to go through the process of narrowing down interests, some even take the crappy jobs to make ends meet. I’m sure you know somebody who  took one of the good old fashioned commission based, door-to-door salesman positions, just to try to stay afloat financially. I worked several and only for one day, needless to say I never sold a thing! Others have avoided such fortunes or misfortunes, depending on how you view it. And as for artist Dave Kinsey, he was one of the people that wasn’t obligated to do so.

For those who may not know, Dave Kinsey is a Los Angeles based artist who hails from Pittsburgh, PA. Kinsey always had a unique passion for art and design, and was determined not to deter from his interests. After graduating from high school in 1989, he enrolled at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. He also attended the Art Institute of Atlanta before making the move to California in 1994 and pursuing his dreams of becoming a designer, while being afforded the time to continue his work as a painter.

Sure, moving to the other side of the country is a huge adjustment, but when your dream job is at your fingertips, it’s time to pack those bags! Besides, trading in those cold, Pennsylvania winters for Cali weather is never a bad look.

Kinsey was fortunate enough to have met a friend that taught him how to fully operate computer design programs. As prehistoric as it may sound to some of the younger readers, computer programs didn’t always come equipped with the software that allowed graphic design. His ability to adapt so quickly from manual, hand drawn design to digital changed his fortune and value to those he would design for. In fact, for that time, Kinsey was completely ahead of the game.

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“Here, within these lines, on this concrete court, this patch of turf, here, you are defined by your actions. Not your looks or beliefs. Equality should have no boundaries. The bonds we find here (the court/field) should run pass these lines. Opportunity should not discriminate. The ball should bounce the same for everyone. Worth should outshine color. If we can be equals here, we can be equals everywhere.”

These are the words of actor Michael B. Jordan, as he narrated a commercial last February for Nike. A commercial that featured LeBron James, Serena Williams, Kevin Durant, former NFL wide receiver Victor Cruz, Olympic champion Gabby Douglas, soccer star and LGBT activist Megan Rapinoe, and Olympic hurdler Dalilah Muhammad

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Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com, the world’s largest online shopping retailer, is worth $105.1 billion dollars, according to Bloomberg Technology. That is more than Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft whose net worth sits at $93.2 billion dollars. Not so long ago, in 1999 Bezos’ work space consisted of just a basic computer, a phone, and a desk that he built from a door, stabilized by two-by-fours in his garage. The visionary spray painted the words: AMAZON.COM on the wall of his work area, breathing life into his dream way before the world took notice. Now, he holds the title as the richest person in the world.

Bezos said, you have to be resourceful and self-reliant. He firmly believes that those traits helped him propel his startup company from his garage, into a $100 billion dollar corporation.
Bezos, who just celebrated his 54th birthday on January 12th, was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He credits his first job with his grandfather as the source for honing in on the aforementioned traits. Bezos spent his summers with his grandfather working on his South Texas ranch. Bezos was born to a teenage mother and a father who worked as a circus performer whom he didn’t know growing up. When Bezos was four-years-old, his mother told his biological father to stay out of their lives, and he obliged. His biological father was unaware of the success he encounter as an adult until the book “The Everything Store” about Jeff’s life was being written, and the author reached out to him for an interview.

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