- We will be providing Thanksgiving care packages to FIVE families in Maryland on November 21st and 22nd.
- The packages will include canned/boxed goods and a gift card to their local grocery store.
- Intern Media is accepting monetary donations and canned/boxed goods.
- Monetary donations: $5, $20, $50…anything helps. *Methods of payment: Venmo/Cash app, PayPal, cash, or check.
- ALL proceeds will be going to the families.
- Donations will be accepted until the 21st.
by Karl Nelson II, Intern Media
More than 200,000 breast cancer cases plague America every year, but early detection has led to a decrease in the amount of cases in recent years.
In 2017, more than 250,000 new cases of “invasive” breast cancer are expected to surface across the country. That’s not to mention the some 60,000 “non-invasive” breast cancer cases that are also expected to pop up in the U.S. before we reach the new year.
According to breastcancer.org, while breast cancer can be very rare among young women in America, it’s extremely common for women who are 41 years of age and older. These statistics might not give the average woman in America much of a positive outlook on their health. However, there is good news.
The number of breast cancer cases has declined tremendously over the years and that has a lot to do with a doctors’ ability to detect the disease in its early stages. “These decreases are thought to be the result of treatment advances, earlier detection through screening, and increased awareness,” the website says.
Early detection is what helped Leith Walsh beat breast cancer — not once, not twice, but three times. Leith is now telling her story so that others will know what to do if they too become a victim of breast cancer.
“I have proven that early detection by self-examination and mammogram was critical in finding my cancers. It saved my life,” Leith said in our interview.
Leith’s son, Aaron, was affected by what he had to witness his mother go through during each of her journeys to recovery and he’s now using his major platform as an elite basketball trainer to not only get Leith’s story out there, but to also provide funding to breast cancer awareness efforts.
He’s hosting a Breast Cancer Awareness Clinic at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia, to make his contribution to such an important cause.
I had the opportunity to interview both Aaron and his mother to talk about the event as well as Leith’s experiences with breast cancer.
My interview with Leith.
All three battles with breast cancer
Q. How did early detection contribute to you beating breast cancer for what’s now been the third time?
A. Early detection was very instrumental in each of my fights with breast cancer. My first breast cancer was caught at an early stage — stage one. Therefore, the cancer had not yet spread to any areas of my body, which allowed the doctors to aggressively treat the cancer. I was treated with surgery, chemo therapy and radiation therapy. These treatments stopped the cancer from moving to other areas of my body and killed any cells that may have slipped into parts of my body.
The second breast cancer was different from the first. The first cancer was found in my right breast and it was called Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC). This kind of breast cancer can quickly invade the surrounding tissue of the breast and if it’s not caught early it can become metastatic and move to the lungs or bones.
The second cancer was found in my left breast and it was found before it reached a stage. It was called a Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS). This cancer was also caught very early. I was only treated with surgery and radiation therapy. DCIS usually stays in the breast duct. It doesn’t spread beyond that area.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer for the third time over the summer. This time it was found in the left breast and it was a IDC. This one was also found early and I was treated with surgery. However, the surgery was a little more invasive because the cancer invaded some of the surrounding area of my left breast. So, yes, I have proven that early detection by self-examination and mammogram was critical in finding my cancers. It saved my life.
Q. What tips do you have for women who are (1) fighting breast cancer today and (2) for women who have never been diagnosed with breast cancer?
Leith’s breast cancer tips
A. My tips for those who are fighting breast cancer today is to accept help from your friends and family members who are offering. Women often feel that they can take care of everyone else while taking care of themselves at the same time, but it’s important to have people’s support when facing such a life threatening illness.
Having a strong faith in God was the number one thing that helped me get through such a difficult time. It was my faith in God that kept me sane as I dealt with my third breast cancer.
You must also become an advocate for yourself or at least have someone who can advocate for you. Conducting research to find out as much information about your cancer and the best treatments is very important too. Write down questions for your doctor because while you are in the doctor’s office, you will not remember or hear half of what the doctor is saying to you. Have someone with you during your doctor’s visits.
An important tip for every woman is to become more mindful of your environment and lifestyle. If you are fighting breast cancer, make sure you change your diet and go organic. Eat healthy, incorporate lots of green, exercise, and stay away from process foods.
It’s important that every woman — regardless of age — conducts regular self-examinations. Breast cancer does not discriminate with age. Women in their twenties, thirties, and older all develop breast cancer. Yes, those over forty have a higher risk, but it’s better to start early by developing the habit of regular breast examinations. It doesn’t matter if you have breast cancer in your family or not, every woman is exposed to the risk of developing breast cancer.
My interview with Aaron.
Q. How has seeing your mom deal with breast cancer affected you personally?
A. Seeing my mom battle with breast cancer has affected me tremendously. Her journey to recovery all three times was very intense. Witnessing her get through something that’s so mentally, emotionally, and physically draining has really motivated me.
My mom and I are currently in graduate school. To see her get through the semester while battling breast cancer for the third time taught me a lot. I learned that even during tough times you can achieve anything if you keep fighting. That was a big lesson for me because there were several times that same semester when I thought about dropping one of my masters — part of my dual degree program. However, at the time, I asked myself multiple times: how can I quit something when I have so much less going on than my mom?
Watching her deal with cancer, work full-time, be a mother, be a wife, and still do what she had to do for school really motivated me.
Q. Other than basketball itself, how important was it for you to have a clinic during breast cancer awareness month — merging your platform with such a serious cause?
A. It was extremely important for me to have this clinic. I understand that I’m blessed with a platform, so it’s only right that I use it to make a positive impact. Even though it may not be the biggest platform, I still need and want to make my contribution.
All of the proceeds raised from this clinic will be donated to Feed the Fight Breast Cancer Awareness. The funds will be used to help those who are underprivileged get mammogram screenings for early detection. I saw firsthand how early detection helped save my mom’s life, so I’m really looking forward to this opportunity.
In addition to raising money and bringing awareness to this cause, I also look forward to talking to the players about my mom’s story. The truth is, if she didn’t mentally fight back, cancer could have easily won. So, hopefully this will show the players that if they keep fighting and have faith in God, they can overcome anything!
Thank you so much for being open with my audience and sharing your amazing story. You’re obviously a very strong woman given everything you’ve been through and just like Aaron, I have also been truly inspired by your testimony. I’ve always referred to my mother as “superwoman” because I’ve seen her juggle so much as a mother, wife, entrepreneur, and spiritual mentor. Well, I’m now giving you that nickname as well because you are without a doubt a superwoman.
by Karl Nelson II, Intern Media
The 2017 Sports Emmy Awards, which was held at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City Tuesday night, featured some of the best talent in sports television today, including ESPN, NBC, FOX, and Turner Sports.
The red carpet was star studded, to say the least. Ex-Yankee Alex “A-Rod” Rodriguez, NFL wide receiver Brandon Marshall, HBO’s Andrea Kremer, and figure skater Tara Lipinski were just some of those who made an appearance on the red carpet that night.
At the ceremony, I had the opportunity to catch up with some of the biggest names in sports and media, including former New England Patriots linebacker and three-time Super Bowl champion Willie McGinest, five-time MLB All-Star Frank Thomas, and civil rights activist Dr. Harry Edwards, who’s worked as a staff consultant for the San Francisco 49ers and Golden State Warriors.
Checkout snippets from our interviews below.
Dr. Harry Edwards
Q. What are your thoughts on the state of the NFL and NBA when it comes to the diversity in management?
A. Well, I think this is always an evolving situation and one of the things that we’ve learned dating back to Jesse Owens, Joe Louis, and much less Jackie Robinson, is that there are no final victories.
It’s always an issue of adjusting to the latest set of circumstances and reactions to those circumstances.
I think both leagues are going to have to get smarter. They’re going to have to learn to manage and deal with the impact of social media, which is the greatest driving force in social change in history. And unless we do that, it’s going to turn into chaos.
Both leagues are poised to get out in front of this thing. Whether or not they’ll actually have the intellectual dexterity and the mental facility to get out and do it the way it’s supposed to be done in this age of instant communication to millions of people simultaneously is another question.
Q. What’s your million-dollar advice for athletes coming out of college getting ready to embark on their NFL journey’s?
A. Be professional. Take pride in your work. It’s a huge business and it will go on with or without you. So, make your decisions and understand that you’re in a unique position.
There are certain things you need to do while you’re in position. You need to go out and be the best football player you can be for the organization. Also, you have to understand that there are a lot of kids and young people that look up to you and admire what you’re doing.
You’re under a microscope, so everything that you do is going to be watched, scrutinized and criticized. So, be professional, make good decisions and work harder than anybody around you.
Q. How soon do they need to start thinking about what their lives are going to be like after the NFL?
A. Soon because it’s not promised. You’re one injury away and the average career for an NFL player is 3 and a half years. So, things come and go pretty quickly and if you’re not consistently taking care of yourself or playing at a certain level, that can be it for you.
Guys go through things. It happens. Guys retire after a couple of years. So, you have a choice everyday to make sure you’re doing something positive that’s giving you the power to keep you going. So, if it doesn’t work out, you have another plan in place.
Q. What can we do to make sure that more young kids of color grow up playing the game of baseball? How do we make sure the diversity in the sport continues to improve?
A. I really think that we should get our kids to go to more camps because the camps right now are craving for kids 7-12. We have to get our kids involved early because if they start at 13 or 14, it’s not going to happen.
You have to learn to love baseball early in life.
by Karl Nelson II, Intern Media
How often do you find yourself making the following statement?
“There are not enough hours in the day.”
For me, that quote is very much so a part of my daily life.
Well, the same goes for Lauryn Marie Burks, a young author who published her first children’s book at just 5 years old.
While adults often feel the weight of the world on their shoulders, it’s important to remember that children feel the pressure of the world too, even though their stresses are uniquely different.
For some young people, they’re juggling things like school, sports, friendships, peer pressures, and more.
As for Lauryn, even at 5, at the time, she dealt with the pressure of “staying on task” and adapting to her parents’ sometimes “hurried” lives.
It was challenges such as those that prompted Lauryn to write her first book — “My 100 Hands.”
The title of the book was inspired by something in particular that Lauryn said to her father one day when she was rushing to put on her clothes, shoes and coat.
“Daddy, I wish I had 100 hands,” Lauryn said, at the time.
That statement sparked a later response from her dad.
“What would you do if you had 100 hands?” he asked Lauryn.
It was that question that caused Lauryn to ponder.
“This sounds like a children’s book,” Lauryn thought to herself.
Well, being the “bright, articulate, imaginative child” that she is, Lauryn began writing “My 100 Hands.”
Lauryn created characters in the book — “hands” that had the ability to assist her with tasks like homework and could also cheer her up when she was feeling down.
The book was such a success that both children and adults happily supported it, and I was one of those people.
In fact, months ago, while in my hometown of Baltimore, I visited my church, Bridgeway Community Church. As I set among the thousands of members in our congregation, there Lauryn was.
She had popped up on the big screen in a pre-recorded interview with a member of the church.
I was both impressed and inspired by how Lauryn carried herself during the interview and with how well she articulated the creative approach she took in writing her first book and now other published works — “My 100 Hands Go To School” and “Pretty Hand Goes To Paris.”
Following the church service, Lauryn was in the lobby signing several copies of her books for people like myself, who wanted to support her.
I could have easily walked out of the church that day without finding out more about Lauryn’s story, but the true journalist in me wouldn’t allow me to make such a mistake.
I’m glad I made the decision to support Lauryn because now Intern Media has added such a unique and inspirational new journey to its wall — a journey that’s far from over, as Lauryn continues to impress readers of every age.
Lauryn is setting the stage for more young writers and creative thinkers, who are also on the rise.
Take a closer look at our interview in its entirety and let your imaginations run wild just like Lauryn’s does as a young author.
Q. What made you want to write a book?
A. Well, my dad was getting dressed one morning and he was rushing me to do stuff like put on my clothes, my shoes and my coat. I went up to him and I said: “Daddy, I wish I had 100 hands.”
He didn’t listen to me at the time, but then all of a sudden he came back to me and he said: “What would you do if you had 100 hands?”
I responded, saying, “Well, daddy, I could get dressed easier if I had 100 hands. I could make lemonade. I could clean my room.”
From there, I came up with a big list of ideas and then all of a sudden it sounded like a children’s book to me.
Imaginatively, I wished I had 100 hands, so my 100 hands kind of popped up at my door step. They were now mine and were ready to help me do stuff. So, that’s where the title came from.
Q. If you could choose three hands to keep with you everyday, which ones would it be and why?
A. My first hand would be Smarty Hand because he helps me with my homework, and if I didn’t understand something at school, I’d have him there to help me.
My second hand would be Pretty Hand because she’s really nice. We both like art, books and all kinds of other things.
My third one would be Happy Hand because any time that I’m down or I don’t feel well and I just need someone to cheer me up, I always know who to call; Happy Hand. He makes life fun and interesting, and even though he gets into trouble, he’s still one of my favorites.
Q. How did it feel to have so many people buying your book at Bridgeway?
A. It felt great to see all of the people coming and buying my book, giving some good reviews on it and it just felt nice to see my name in the spotlight. I’m just happy that I accomplished all of these things. It made me feel positive.
Q. You’ve done group readings with other children. What is the best part about reading to other children?
A. The best part is seeing all of the happy faces when they come in and when they leave. It’s great reading to other people and seeing that they appreciate my work.
I get to see the school and the children and what they’re learning. It just makes me so happy when I go to schools and see their projects of their “hands” and I love it because it’s really cool. It’s really cool to see the different art projects and the artwork on the walls about the hands from my book. It just makes me happy.
Q. How have your parents helped you as a young author?
A. My dad helped me edit my story. He’s helped me print and edit since I was 5, when I started. I mainly wrote the story, and it was fun writing.
My mom and my dad have pushed me and made me feel like I can do anything that I put my mind to. So, I’m just happy about that. They help me do a lot of things.
Thank you for sharing your story with Intern Media and its audience. More importantly, thank you for being an inspiration to the youth and to adults with your creativity as an author. I wish you much more success in the years to come, and I’m confident that you’ll continue to have an impact on the people you come across just like you had an impact on me. God bless you and your family. Welcome to the Intern Media family!
Karl Nelson II, Founding Editor of Intern Media
by Karl Nelson II, Intern Media
If you’ve ever doubted the notion that the youth are our future, it’s young people like Katrina Surcel-Debes and Lauryn Marie Burks whose lives serve as a constant reminder that the future of our communities and the world at large truly does lie in the hands of our children.
What these two young ladies have accomplished thus far is proof that investing in today’s youth is the smartest thing we can do as a society.
Lauryn is set to be my first Intern Media feature of 2017, but her story takes me back to a very special and memorable moment in the two-year history of my interview series; my interview with Katrina at the Park School of Baltimore in the summer of 2015.
At the time, Katrina had just finished the third grade as a Lower School student at the Park School, my alma mater.
While balancing school, sports, and childhood, Katrina still managed to develop her own business, Kiki’s Harvest All Natural Granola — making granola from scratch and selling it to local buyers.
Katrina is fearless, and with the unwavering support from two loving parents who encourage her to think outside of the box, it’s no mistake that she’s where she is today.
It’s interesting how one can live on this earth for many years, but experience life in a whole new way by simply tapping into the talent and youth of a child.
When I interviewed Katrina on that summer day, I learned about the makings and dealings of granola — something I had never really given much thought to before.
It was Katrina who opened my eyes to something new, and without even realizing it, she taught me about the nature of running a successful business from the ground up — something even some adults have never been able to master.
Katrina’s story is evidence that you don’t have to be an established and successful adult to start something and to create a lasting platform. You can be a child and be more ready than ever to cement a career of your own.
To hear from a third grader, at the time, who didn’t skip any steps in what can be a difficult process in running a business, and to see her actually embracing that level of responsibility, that was reassuring for me.
The fact that Katrina became a business owner as an elementary school student gives me all the confidence in the world, knowing that she’ll be shaping society for the better for many more years to come.
Thank you for inspiring me. I know that most adults will tell you that it’s children who can learn a thing or two from us, and that’s true. However, I want you to know that it’s adults like myself who can also learn a thing or two from the youth. And that’s what happened here. I’ll never forget how much fun it was to interview you on that beautiful summer day at the Park School, and having your mom there in support of you was special as well. You’re an amazingly talented kid, but more importantly you’re a person of great character and your future is beyond bright. Continue to be a game changer, not only at Park, but in life in general. I will continue to follow your journey and I promise you that I won’t be surprised at all to see you change the world around you for the better because you have a loving family behind you, a strong educational background, and talent that cannot be taught. You’ve been apart of the Intern Media family since our interview and you’ll always be! Thanks Katrina.
Karl Nelson II, Founding Editor of Intern Media
by Karl Nelson II, Intern Media
“I teach ordinary people how to create extraordinary lives!” – Dr. Gloria Mayfield Banks
Have you ever found yourself in the “ordinary” category during this journey they call life?
If so, that’s actually good news because Dr. Gloria Mayfield Banks has mastered the art of helping people transform their lives from “ordinary to extraordinary,” and she started with herself.
Today, Gloria is an internationally renowned motivational success strategist and sales trainer with a Bachelor’s degree from Howard University, an MBA from Harvard University and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.
She has built a multimillion-dollar enterprise as an author, a founding partner of Charisma Factor, and as an Elite Executive National Sales Director with Mary Kay where she holds the No. 1 ranking in the nation out of 3.6 million women around the world.
Gloria recently published a book, Quantum Leaps, which highlights 10 specific steps to help you soar and take your life to extraordinary heights.
All of that being said though, those who know Gloria’s full story would likely tell you that her life is nothing short of a testimony, given the odds that fell in her lap early in life.
Banks was diagnosed with dyslexia at a young age and still faces challenges because of it today. That’s not all though. Earlier in her Mary Kay career, Banks became a victim of domestic violence abuse in a relationship that she was in at the time.
To some, these are obstacles that usually have a bad ending.
That wasn’t the case for Gloria though.
She didn’t allow her dyslexia or experience with domestic violence be the ending to her story. For her, those challenges were just the beginning of an amazing transformation.
Curious as to what that transformation looks like?
Here you go:
- Gloria has been best described as “Energy in Motion!” as a prolific businesswoman with high energy and an inspirational teaching style.
- Gloria has trained professionals in six continents, helping them achieve new levels of success.
- She’s set down with Oprah Winfrey to talk about women empowerment and girls in leadership.
- She’s shared her secrets of success with national media audiences, appearing on CNN with Soledad O’Brien, ABC-TV, and CNBC with Donny Deutsch on “The Big Idea.”
- Banks has been featured in “Fortune,” “Black Enterprise,” “Glamour,” and “Ebony” magazines.
- Harvard Business School documented Gloria’s success in a case study titled, “Gloria Hilliard Mayfield at Mary Kay Cosmetics.”
Banks is now happily married to Ken Banks and they share four adult children. During our interview, Banks described her relationship with her family as pure “joy.”
My talk with Gloria was more than just an interview, it was an experience and I now encourage you to enter into this life changing experience yourself and get ready to take your career and your life to a level where it’s never been before!
See the additional pages for this exclusive interview on the keys to success, the state of the black community, education, Quantum Leaps, reaching your full potential, Gloria’s interview with Oprah Winfrey, how she overcame the challenges of dyslexia and domestic violence, and more!
by Karl Nelson II, Intern Media
Freestyle dancing enables one to express themselves. It’s a safe place for many dancers to create moves that aren’t planned or calculated, but contrived freely. This form of dancing allows a dancer to personalize their movements, giving it their own custom flavor. These dances are perceived as modish, fresh and fun. Freestyling is about freedom in movement to any genre of music.
In case you’re wondering what picture I’m trying to paint here, allow me to introduce you to a professional dancer who knows a lot about the art of freestyle dancing; Chalvar Monteiro of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
Chalvar has been known to post eye-catching videos of himself on his personal social media pages doing freestyle dances. The settings are constantly changing whether it be a concept video as Chalvar walks through Times Square among the people, or a candid video of him dancing freely while on tour.
As I gave much thought to this idea of freestyle dancing while pinpointing what I wanted the angle to be for this story, I couldn’t help but create a correlation between Chalvar as a dancer and my audience as individuals with their own sense of abandon, or freedom, so to speak.
Some of you reading this story now are educators, musicians, CEO’s, athletes, entrepreneurs, and more. Well, it’s important for you all to know that no matter what your passion or craft is, the healthiest thing you can do is to personalize what you do and find a way to enjoy your craft in a custom sort of way.
Allow me to use my craft as a way to better explain this long but necessary tangent. As a Digital Reporter in the media industry and as an entrepreneur as well, writing, communicating and creating content is a part of my daily life. And while these things require me to study, learn and produce, I’ve never neglected the freestyle aspect of my craft.
What am I referring to?
I’m referring to the moment in my busy day when I sit down and try to relax, as I write and speak freely about topics that are relevant to my life and to the lives of my audience members. You see, no matter how much work I do with the company I work for or even with the interviews and columns that I execute, I’d be nothing without my ability to be able to modernize my work and practice it freely without barriers.
That’s what Chalvar does as a dancer.
Does he have specific dances and techniques that he must follow as a member of Alvin Ailey?
Of course he does, but perhaps it’s those things mixed with the fact that he loves his craft enough to spend time in the public and in the studio just dancing within himself, that makes him an even greater addition to one of the most prolific dance companies in the world.
That being said though, if you’re not careful, you’ll find yourself jumping on the bandwagon after seeing the name “Alvin Ailey” throughout this story time and time again. Instead, what I’d challenge you to do is embrace this opportunity to get to know Chalvar the person — the same guy who worked tirelessly for years to become one of the youngest and few males to grace the Alvin Ailey stage.
Simply put, the boy is bad.
I knew who Chalvar was early on in my college days when I started dating Aubree Brown, who is a good friend of Chalvar’s and who danced with Ailey II in the past.
At that time, Chalvar was attending SUNY Purchase College, one of the top performing arts colleges in the country. He left his mark on their dance program, dancing in a mirage of shows, choreographing performances and spending many nights locked away in the dance studio, perfecting his craft.
And even then, when in most of his performances he followed elite choreography, that didn’t stop him from decompressing with freestyle dances when he could, keeping the creativity and personal connection to the art form very much so alive.
Monteiro might be a newer addition to Ailey, but he’s not new to the company lifestyle as he was dancing professionally before he joined the company.
In fact, it was his accolades after college that contributed to Alvin Ailey’s second company, Ailey II, bringing him on a couple of years ago, where he became a quick commodity among other members of that team, including Brown, who recently added a notch to her belt, performing at the VMA’s at Madison Square Garden with the iconic Beyoncé Knowles.
It was Monteiro’s success with Ailey II that gave him some leverage as he auditioned for the first company, where he ultimately transitioned to, adding his name to a decorated list of legendary dancers who have been apart of Alvin Ailey’s long history.
Today, the young talented dancer is making a name for himself, one performance at a time, for a company that’s been known as a New York powerhouse since 1958.
He’s currently on tour with the company, traveling and seeing the great things this world has to offer overseas while doing what he has a love and passion for the most; dancing.
Chalvar’s story is a testament that you can’t let others hold you back from being who you are and from not just doing what you love, but doing it differently than the norm.
That’s what Chalvar is doing with his life right now. This isn’t a guy who’s worried about what you think about his decision to live his dream, dancing at a professional level. His focus is different.
For him, it seems to be more so about inspiring those who see him dance and changing their perspective about the art form for the better.
Take a look at our interview which was set in the busiest and most historic attraction in New York; Times Square. We covered everything you could possibly imagine from his run with Alvin Ailey thus far, the international tour they’re on now and how the amazing Misty Copeland has inspired and influenced his dance career.
You’ll hear it from Chalvar himself at the end of the interview, but it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t also say it. CHOOSE TO BE INSPIRED.
It was a treat featuring you in an interview for my platform, Intern Media, in Times Square — a very historic place in the Big Apple. You were great man. You absolutely owned that interview and I appreciate your openness to the tough questions I presented lol. I’m proud of you man. It’s crazy to say that this is only the beginning for you, considering you’ve attained so much success so soon, but I’m going to say it! This is only the beginning for you, and I’m excited to see what’s in store for your future. You’re apart of the Intern Media wall now, and we’re grateful to have you as part of the family bro. Continue to be great and inspire us all as you already have been!
Karl Nelson II, Founding Editor of Intern Media
by Karl Nelson II, Intern Media
He was one of the most prolific basketball players to come out of Baltimore. Among the many Division I options that were on the table for him, he chose to take his talents to Syracuse University where he averaged over 17 points and over 7 rebounds a game, setting a record for 3-pointers made (90).
Drafted by the NBA as a 2008 first-round pick, he kicked off his NBA career with a 40-point debut in the NBA’s Summer League in Las Vegas, before going on to spend the first four years of his professional career with the Sacramento Kings.
These are just some of the accolades for Donté Greene. Perhaps though, the most imposing thing about this young brother is exactly what the title to this story says; “first-class character” and “undeniable talent.”
It’s that combination that separates Greene from the pack.
I’ve come across so many people who have had off-putting experiences with athletes, whether it was because of their character or something else. That’s why it’s important for us to highlight those athletes who exemplify great character, a heart for others, and who represent positivity.
That’s who Donté Greene is.
Greene has done an amazing job at taking the “highs with the lows,” as he would call it.
Perhaps though, the most imposing thing about this young brother is exactly what the title to this story says; “first-class character” and “undeniable talent.”
What are those highs and lows for Greene?
Well, his career hasn’t necessarily been a walk in the park. The Baltimore breaded professional ball player has dealt with his share of adversity, and believe it or not, it started on the night of the 2008 NBA Draft — a night where he was expected to be selected early in the first round. Instead, he was snagged as one of the last few picks in the first round.
Greene used that as motivation though, as he put on the most impressive showing in his Summer League debut, proving to his fellow athletes and to coaches that he belonged in an NBA uniform.
From there, his NBA journey began, but it wasn’t too long after that when Greene would face adversity again. This time though, it was a move from the NBA to the NBA Development League (D-League). This move came after he set on the bench for most of his rookie season.
While some players would have assessed the situation, viewing it as a major set back, Greene did just the opposite. He viewed it as an opportunity to help his organization and get better in the process so that when he did get an opportunity to move back up, he’d be ready.
Greene put on a show during his brief stint in the D-League, and days later, he was back in a Sacramento Kings uniform. After that, he would experience the business aspect of basketball, as he was released from the team in 2013, ultimately bouncing around the league a bit before ending up overseas.
According to Greene, landing overseas was probably the hardest thing he’s had to deal with, but not only for the obvious reasons of being on the outside looking in as far as the NBA goes. The thing that hurt him the most about the transition was being away from his family, specifically his kids who mean the world to him.
Well, another transition could be approaching for Greene if he continues to have success overseas. That’s a turning point that the Orangeman says he’s ready for, considering he hasn’t laced up his kicks for an NBA game since 2013.
Greene says he doesn’t take his position in life for granted though and that he’s had a lot of time to mature as a player and as a person, even though his children know him to be a “big kid,” always leaving a favorable lasting impression on those he comes in contact with.
Greene is the perfect role model for other young and older athletes out there today, as he exemplifies a love for the game of basketball and a level of character that keeps him involved in the community and grateful everyday for the opportunity he’s been given to provide for his children.
Checkout our exclusive interview below and CHOOSE TO BE INSPIRED.
Q. Something that most people might not know about you. You were born in Germany, which I believe had a lot to do with your mother working for the National Security Agency (NSA), at the time. Tell me a little bit about that.
A. My mom worked for the NSA 13 years before she had me. Germany was great! I lived there until I was four years old and then came back for another year between the ages of 12 and 13. Living overseas helped me become more cultured. Living among different nationalities and lifestyles…I thought it was cool. Looking back on it, I’m glad it worked out the way that it did.
Q. You were selected in the first round of the 2008 NBA Draft. The one-and-done notion is something that’s received a lot of attention for years now, especially after years of seeing guys go to the league straight out of high school. What influenced your decision to leave Syracuse for the NBA after your freshman year?
A. I went into Syracuse knowing it was a possibility for me to get drafted after one year. I just wanted to go to school, work as hard as I could and get better. After my freshman year, I knew I had a child on the way and a family to take care of. So, the decision was a no-brainer for me. My dream was within my reach, so I had to take it.
Q. You’re widely known by your fan-base for the five seasons you spent as a Sacramento King. A lot happened during that time, including a short stint in the D-League in 2009. Can you explain what those five years meant for your basketball career and what you learned about yourself during that time?
A. It was great for me. I love Sacramento as a city and the fans really took me in. Great family town that loves their basketball. The D-league helped me get my game back on track after sitting for half my rookie year. It was actually a lot of fun playing with guys who had been pros for a minute trying to get a look in the NBA. But for my career, it helped me see the business side of being a pro, learning the ends and outs of everything.
Q. You represented the USA twice (2006 and 2007) in the FIBA games. What was it like playing in the FIBA games?
A. It was a blessing. To be able to walk out there with that USA on your chest and represent your country was a great feeling. Also, the traveling part. We were in Serbia for about two weeks, having a blast sight seeing and experiencing a different culture. Playing against younger players, who I would see later in the NBA, was crazy! Definitely a trip to remember.
Q. You actually attended school in Japan when you were younger. Do you recall what that experience was like?
A. Japan was beautiful! When my mom told us we were moving there, I didn’t know what to think. Would I like the food? Are people going to speak English? Once I got there, I realized they knew more about the American culture than I did. My three years there was great though. I still have many friends from my early school days who I’m in contact with.
Q. You won a gold medal in the 2006 FIBA games. How special was it to win a gold medal while you were still in high school?
A. Very special! Not everybody can say, “I won a gold medal for my country doing something I love.” It was a tremendous honor and something I will never forget.
Q. Donté, you went on a tear in your freshman year at Syracuse, averaging over 17 points per game and over 7 rebounds per game. You started in all 35 games and you also set a record for 3-pointers made (90). No wonder you were a first-round pick following that performance. How did it feel to add your name to the elite list of players to come through that program, specifically Carmelo Anthony who also grew up in Baltimore and played at your alma mater, Towson Catholic?
A. It was a dream come true. When I started to take basketball seriously at the age of 13, all I wanted was to get a scholarship at a big-time school and make it to the NBA. Now, to follow behind Melo was the icing on the cake. Even though I didn’t kill like he did, I got my name in the record books and I can always call myself an Orangemen.
Q. You scored 40 points in your NBA Summer League debut. Explain your mindset going into that game, a game that set the tone for the start of your NBA career?
A. I had probably the biggest chip on my shoulder out of all NBA rookies. I was predicted to go mid-first round and slipped to the end of the first round. I wanted to go out and prove all those NBA teams wrong that looked over me. I wanted to show that I was here for a reason and that I belonged in the NBA. And that’s what I did, haha.
Q. You might have been sent to the D-League for a few games, but after some great performances you were brought right back up. Explain how you were able to succeed in the midst of that adversity.
A. When I got down there, I didn’t look at it as a punishment. I looked at it as a reward for me sitting on the bench knowing I could be out there helping my team. I went down to the D-League to have fun and get better. What made it easier was I was with a great group of guys who just wanted to play ball and win. We did just that.
Q. In the last three years, you’ve bounced around a bit from the NBA to overseas play. What has that experience been like for you? How have you handled the ups and downs and remained positive through it all?
A. For me, I think it’s helped. I’m definitely more mature. I had some growing up to do and I believe I’m on the right path to step foot back in the NBA and be successful. You have to understand that life is full of ups and downs. You have to take the highs just as good as your lows. Only worry about what you can control and leave the rest to the big guy upstairs. Believe in yourself and anything is possible, as long as you put that work in.
Q. Where are you in your professional career today? Do you have plans to try to get back in the NBA, or are you focused on dominating the league you’re in now?
A. I want to get back in the NBA. I think it’s time for me to come back home and hoop…but just trying to prove myself all over again. Being in Dubai for two years kind of hurt me. I have to go out, put the work in and show what I can do.
Q. You’ve always been a humble person and a guy with a lot of character, which is why I’m not surprised you’ve experienced success in your life. Speaking of which, you have children who are very near and dear to you.Talk about how having your kids has changed your perspective on what success means and on life in general?
A. My kids are my EVERYTHING!!! I do this for them. I always wanted to be the young cool dad, and to be fair I’m the biggest kid you might meet. When I’m on the court and I might need a little pick me up, I think about them to get some energy. When I’m overseas and missing them like crazy, I’ll tell myself it’s for them to have a better life. It’s not just about you when you have kids, and I’m blessed to have my little ones.
My man, thanks for taking this interview and for being so open about your journey thus far. It’s crazy to think that just years ago, we were in open gyms on the same court and walking the Towson Catholic hallways. I always respected your character and your talent of course. Made it easy to root for you to win in life bro and that’s exactly what you’re doing today. Continue to set an example for those around you as a great father, a guy active in the community, and as a pro athlete putting in the work on the court. Welcome to the Intern Media family. Your story has just been added to the Intern Media wall and we’re family bro, so you already know the support will continue. Be blessed fam.
Karl Nelson II, Founding Editor of Intern Media
by Karl Nelson II, Intern Media
BROOKLYN — It’s one thing for an artist to have work ethic, but when you couple that with an “It” factor, that artist is destined for greatness.
Pop singer and songwriter, Renita Cotton, has both the work ethic and the God-given talent to take her career to great heights, and she’s already off to an impressive start.
Her singing career might have only started a little over a year ago, but there’s something about her stage presence, confidence and pizzazz that leads me to believe she might have told a ‘little white lie’ when I asked her how long she’s been pursuing a singing and songwriting career professionally, in which she responded so modestly, “So, I’d say, professionally, probably about a year and a half I started doing some background work for people.”
I interviewed the young entertainer this past spring, and after spending some time with her on that beautiful day in Brooklyn, I now understand why she’s climbing up the ladder so quickly.
Renita has that trait most people would kill to have. Her mix between discipline and the assurance that she has in her ability is immediately evident when you interact with her.
Renita was the perfect featured talent for an interview that was set in one of the busiest and most attractive sites in Brooklyn, NY; Brooklyn Bridge Park.
She came prepared with her exuberance and her stylist, showing me just how seriously she takes the idea of being a walking brand.
She’s a young New Yorker who has figured it out, so to speak, making “the city that never sleeps” work in her favor. As many of you already know, New York is the place for stars to form and chase their dreams and aspirations from the ground up. If it wasn’t, then I most certainly wouldn’t be here myself.
Renita’s ability to not only write her own music, but to also do a masterful job of performing it in front of audiences of all sizes, is proof that she’s built for this. And if she ever slips up and let’s that left arm hang too much while on that stage, I’m sure her mother will correct her, maybe saying something like “You know you have that one arm that’s a little dead there.” A comment that Renita would likely respond to by saying, “Well, haha. Thanks mom,” with a slight bit of innocent sarcasm.
Renita understands the concept of “journey,” but that hasn’t stopped her from carrying herself as if she’s already reached her destination.
It might be hard for some of us to admit it at times, but I think it’s safe to say that in whatever we do, we have to have at least a small chip on our shoulder. That way we’re able to keep our eyes on the prize, understanding that mediocrity is never an option.
Renita’s coming off of a few very successful performances — performances that brought more music lovers along for her journey as an artist with two sides to the story; singing and songwriting.
In hip-hop, there’s a much bigger focus placed on writing your own lyrics, despite the 2015 “beef” between rap stars Drake and Meek Mill, a beef that started over Meek’s disbelief that Drake authors his own lyrics. However, it’s not really considered a big deal if singers elect not to write their own music.
Even the great Beyoncé has ghost writers. That being said, it’s very rare and absorbing when we come across a Pop artist who is able to both write and perform their own music while also exemplifying a strong stage presence.
That description has Renita written all over it, and her journey has now been added to the Intern Media wall — a wall that includes many other journeys, even some that are still being written.
Checkout my interview with Renita and support her journey as an independent artist in the beloved Big Apple.
It was great hearing your story and being able to share it with my audience. You have a lot of talent and you’re just at the beginning of your career, but more importantly you have great character. That’s why there’s no doubt in my mind that you’ll do great musically and that you’ll inspire tons of people along the way. Stay true to yourself and continue to walk around with that exuberance and confidence that you so greatly possess. I know we joked about the day when reporters will be knocking on your door begging for an interview, but just remember that every joke has a little bit of truth to it! Welcome to the Intern Media family Renita!
Karl Nelson II, Founder of Intern Media
by Karl Nelson II, Intern Media
BROOKLYN, NY — “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”
I can recount many times that I’ve either heard this phrase directly or in passing, and for a long time I believed it. However, I’m here today to tell you that it’s a false statement.
I know what you’re probably thinking. How can I make such a bold claim about a phrase that’s lived for so many years?
Well, for me, it’s quite simple. That phrase can’t be true because the last time I checked, words have a tremendous amount of power in nearly every aspect of life.
“Be careful what you say. You can say something hurtful in ten seconds, but ten years later, the wounds are still there.” – Joel Osteen
Here, American preacher and televangelist, Joel Osteen, speaks to just how powerful words can be, alluding to how something that’s said today could very well stick with a person years later. And if what’s said is hurtful, imagine that staying with you several years later while you’re on the cusp of achieving something you’ve worked extremely hard for. That could be mentally devastating for you.
Words can often make or break a situation. What we say out of our mouths can ultimately be the determining factor as to whether we experience positivity in our lives or allow negativity to creep in.
“If we understood the power of our thoughts, we would guard them more closely. If we understood the awesome power of our words, we would prefer silence to almost anything negative. In our thoughts and words, we create our own weaknesses and our own strengths. Our limitations and joys begin in our hearts. We can always replace negative with positive.” – Betty Eadie
In this quote, American bestselling author, Betty Eadie, seems to hint at the fact that we sometimes take for granted the power of our words and our thoughts. In fact, Eadie says we would do a much better job of guarding our words and thoughts if we had a better understanding of their power.
Eadie also states that when it comes to our thoughts and the words we utter, it’s us that create “our own weaknesses and our own strengths.” That being said, I ask you, do you really believe in the whole “sticks and stones” concept?
To take things one step further, think about the power of music and how it has a history of being able to impact the world at large.
Think about hip-hop and how powerful it’s been in some of the most shameful times in our American history. If it weren’t for hip-hop, a lot of communities wouldn’t have had an outlet to express themselves or mentally escape from adverse periods in their lives.
Well, where did hip-hop originate from?
Hip-hop derived from spoken word (poetry). That shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone considering the poetic tone we hear in hip-hop music.
“I hope readers take away from this book that rap is poetry. It’s thought-provoking; there’s thought behind it,” Rapper Jay-Z said. “There’s great writing in rap as well.
Well, I think it’s safe to say that New York-based Spoken Word artist, Aisha Reid, understands the power of words as she’s now spent over a year stepping onto many stages performing poetic monologues that depict her emotions, her life and the many visions she possess as an artist.
Several months ago, I watched Aisha walk out on that stage full of confidence and not just recite her applauded poem, “King,” but also perform it. The way she engaged the crowd with her delivery and appeal really moved me. So much so that I had no choice but to approach her for an interview immediately following her performance.
The way she aggressively, emotionally and colorfully gave her description of what she views as a true “king” in today’s man, it really had the undivided attention of those in the audience.
As a journalist who’s constantly inspired by the ambitious work of others, I instantly wanted to know more about Aisha’s story as a poet and as a woman who is obviously empowered.
In our interview, we covered a lot of topics, including the filming of “King” and how she’s been inspired to write a complimentary piece to that poem, what she loves about motherhood, and how she would like people to react to her live poetry.
I just want you to know that your words are extremely powerful and the way you described today’s men as “kings” during your performance in Queens, NY was very intriguing and appreciated. I love the fact that you’re balancing motherhood and career. The world needs more moms like you and our generation can truly benefit from your strong voice. Many people might tell you that poetry is not a career path that you’ll be able to live comfortably from, but as my mother always tells me, “God doesn’t give us gifts or passions by accident.” That being said, continue to make it happen and make your audience see poetry in a way they’ve never seen it before. I know that’s how I felt when you graced the stage several months ago. Welcome to the Intern Media family!
Karl Nelson II, Founder of Intern Media