Pro Basketball Player Donté Greene: When First-Class Character Meets Undeniable Athletic Talent

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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LAS VEGAS, NV – JULY 19: Donté Greene #13 of the Memphis Grizzlies looks on versus the Denver Nuggets during NBA Summer League on July 19, 2013 at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jack Arent/NBAE via Getty Images)

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.

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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.

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Donté,

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 

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Spoken Word Artist, Aisha Reid, is Balancing Motherhood So “Poetically”

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.

In this quote, legendary Rapper Jay-Z gives an explanation as to why rap should be considered poetry during an interview for his book Decoded.

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.

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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.

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Aisha,

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 

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Dear Chicago…

by Karl Nelson II, Intern Media 

Dear Chicago,

I find myself typing “Chicago shooting” into my Google search engine with the intention of continuing my research on the deadly shootings that took place in your city over the course of memorial weekend.

However, what I see next nearly causes my stomach to drop.  Two new headlines pop up on my screen; there’s been a deadly shooting on Father’s Day weekend and another right outside of a Chicago church just a day or so later.

My stomach dropping becomes the least of my worries at that point.  Instead, I feel myself beginning to get emotional as I try my best to hold back the tears as I sit on a side street in the middle of Manhattan.

Apart of me wanted to let my emotions fly while another part of me simply wanted to know why and how this continues to happen, almost as if it’s become the norm in a city with so much great history and promise for the future.

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Photo by the Chicago Tribune 

I begin thinking about a mirage of things.  What would I do if I were a resident of Chicago today?  What if I took a stand against gun violence right here in New York City?  What would happen?  Would I too be at risk?

Walking the streets of New York, obviously miles away from the “Windy City,” it might be irritating to hear others responding to the traumatic events that are taking place right outside of your windows.

But I promise you that my thoughts are beyond genuine, as I think about just over a year ago when I was living in my hometown of Baltimore, a city that found itself in the middle of tragedy, controversy, protests, the loss of life, and so many other things as a result of what many Baltimore residents viewed as injustice in their beloved city.

That being said, believe me when I say that I wholeheartedly sympathize with the residents of Chicago and desperately want to see nothing more than guns taken off of your streets immediately.

And I know that there are world leaders today who have received tons of backlash for voicing the same desires, but I’m one that doesn’t believe in the notion that if a tragic event rarely takes place, then that means it’s not cause to panic.

No.  I truly believe that a tragedy like the Memorial Day weekend shootings, 56 shootings on Father’s Day weekend as well as 40 shots being fired outside of a church just days ago is cause to do more than simply pause for a moment of silence like President Barack Obama recently echoed.  Instead, I believe that it’s this type of gun violence that calls for immediate action and long term solution, no matter who supports that notion or not.

To the residents of Chicago, God bless you.  My prayers will remain with you and the victims of these horrible and senseless shootings.

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Photo by the Chicago Tribune

 

Corey Packer: Filmmaker & CEO of ChestPound Films

Corey Packer is the Founder of ChestPound Films and one of the most seasoned filmmakers walking the streets of New York City today.

In his young career, he’s already had groundbreaking opportunities.  Corey has worked with Shade 45’s Sway on Sway In The Morning and has also worked with some of the best entertainers that the industry has to offer.

If Corey isn’t busy stuffing his resume with opportunities of that stature, then he’s usually working on projects of his own, sharing his creative genius with the public.

In fact, let’s delve into his most recent project, one that’s on the brink of receiving a great deal of notice.

Last summer, I had the opportunity to work beside Corey, filming the pilot episode for his new web series, Pierce.  After working with Corey, believe me when I tell you that he has a gift and work ethic like no other.

During the shooting of Pierce, the production team worked tirelessly, sometimes 16-hour days, and Corey was zeroed in the entire time.

As we all know, everyone has their own signature way of performing their craft, especially when it comes to an artist.

Great artists often find a formula that works best for them — a formula that helps them produce their best work.

As a Digital Journalist, I have my formula, and it’s that blueprint which keeps me comfortable throughout the editorial process.

Well, the same applies to Corey.

Corey films an endless amount of weddings, short films, music videos, commercials, etc.  In doing so, he’s able to visualize what he wants the production to look like as a finished product before even reaching that destination.

In our interview, Corey alludes to how his methods can sometimes be frustrating for those assisting him in the pre- and post-production phases.  However, I believe that’s what makes him unique as a filmmaker.

Just think about it for a second.  All of the greats are unorthodox in their ways, which is what makes their work legendary, right?

Have you ever heard top producers and artists insinuate that hip-hop mogul, Jay-Z, does less writing and more ‘spitting,’ so to speak, when he’s in the studio?

That might seem eccentric to many artists, but not to the unrivaled rapper.  Jay-Z is capable of going into the studio and reciting his rhymes off of pure memorization and spontaneity.

Well, just like that formula works for the legendary Jay, the same pertains to Corey Packer.

While filming the pilot for Pierce, I watched how Corey was able to get through an entire day of filming without spending much time jotting down notes or even referring back to the script.

That didn’t affect him in the slightest way though.  If anything, it helped him hone in on the filming process even more, piecing scenes together in his head.

For Corey, this method makes the video editing process a lot easier.

Corey is now embarking on a whole new journey as a filmmaker, as Pierce will showcase Corey’s talent and vision to a much broader audience.

Corey’s currently promoting Pierce under the banner of his company, ChestPound Films.  The Indiegogo (seen in the video above) he recently released to the public not only showcases his creative talent, but highlights his overall concept for Pierce.

Checkout our interview to hear directly from the masterful filmmaker himself.

Corey,

Thank you for using my platform, Intern Media, in telling the public about your newest project for the very first time.  I value your friendship and it’s been a pleasure to work with you in the past, bringing together young talent at its finest.  I’m excited about what the future holds for the both of us and I know that this won’t be the last time we work together to present the public with positivity and creativity.  I will continue to support your web series, Pierce, and consider yourself apart of the Intern Media family. 

Karl Nelson II, Founder of Intern Media

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Dear Ali…

by Karl Nelson II, Intern Media

Dear Muhammad Ali,

The beautiful thing about the life that God gives us is that we’re all born with gifts, talents and a since of uniqueness.  What we do with that is entirely up to us, but I want to personally thank you, Mr. Ali, for showing me that I can do more than just exist on this earth.  I know that I can change the world because of strong public figures like yourself.

You paved the way for so many members of the black community and beyond with your dedication to the sport of boxing and more importantly with your courage as an activist, as you took advantage of any and every opportunity to express your racial pride as a black man, resisting white domination during a time when racism was blatantly prevalent in our society.

Your greatness both inside and outside of the boxing ring will never be forgotten.

You did more during your time on this earth than simply exist.  You spoke out, stood for what you believed in and mastered your craft, inspiring the world.

And even as your illness grew over the years,  you didn’t lose that smile.  You didn’t abandon that charisma.  You continued to be that same Muhammad Ali that my uncles, my father and my grandfather loved many years ago and still love to this day.

You’re gone too soon, but I appreciate the legacy you leave behind.  My prayers are with your family.  God bless you champ.

– Karl

In the video that follows, fans honor the life and legacy of Muhammad “The Greatest” Ali on the day of his funeral.  

Ashly Rodriguez: Natural Hair and Beauty YouTuber/Vlogger

by Karl Nelson II, Intern Media

It’s astonishing when I see today’s youth build into one another, using their passions and talents to enrich young lives.

That’s exactly what Ashly Rodriguez is doing today as a Natural Hair and Beauty Vlogger.  To some, natural hair might seem like a trivial or trendy concept in today’s society, but Ashly is reminding us all of just how impactful the natural hair movement can be for many women and teenagers out there today.

Among Ashly’s early success, I find myself most impressed with her desire to provide resources to teenage girls — resources centered around the natural hair movement.

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Ashly plans to start a girls group at local after school programs in Boston, where she currently resides.  The girls group will cater to teenage girls who might be lacking the right resources.

Ashly is prepared to be a bridge builder for young ladies out there by informing them about current issues that teen girls deal with on a daily basis.  She wants to encourage these teens to embrace who they are and to love themselves first.

That’s a concept Ashly wishes she had grasped throughout her adolescence.

Ashly will be the first to tell you that she was shy growing up, not always tapping into her full potential, as she’s clearly doing now as a young adult.  As Ashly puts it, growing up, she rarely did things she wanted to do because she was “in fear of what others would think.”

In fact, it wasn’t until after high school that she realized the importance of stepping outside of her comfort zone and choosing to love herself, refusing to allow the thoughts of others have a handle on her life.

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Ashly’s bashful days are long gone.  She’s become an example of confidence and assurance, and she hopes to one day see everyone take on that approach.  That’s a mentality she believes will bring everybody closer together, and she’s determined to play her part in seeing that vision come to fruition.

Ashly’s immense audience is a great start to her making a huge difference in not only the world of beauty and natural hair, but also as a young positive voice for women and young people all over.

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She might have started this journey with a few thousand followers, but after a year of consistency and strenuous work as a Vlogger and natural hair endorser, Ashly’s following is now at a number that you almost won’t believe; 83.1 thousand.  And that number is growing by the day.

Checkout my exclusive interview with the 24-year-old naturalista, as we discussed how her journey with natural hair began, how she was able to develop such a large following so quickly, why Intern Media inspires her, and much more.

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Q.  What were you doing career wise before you decided to start your own YouTube channel and Vlog surrounding the topic of natural hair?

A.  Before I started getting into vlogging and Youtube, I was working with teens in the Human Services field.  I still work in that field, but as a Behavior Therapist.  It’s a good balance, as I get to do two things I love.

Q.  What would you describe as the major turn off for you when it came to using relaxers and flat irons in the past?

A.  The major turn off when I used relaxers and flat irons was how much time it would take.  I used to clear an entire day to be in the salon to get my relaxer done and my hair blown out.  Hanging in a salon for hours was the norm, but looking back on it now, that was crazy.

The second turn off was the burns.  I do NOT miss that one bit.  If the relaxer was left on too long, you’d start feeling your scalp start to burn or while using my flat iron, I’d get too close to my ear or forehead and burn myself.

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Q.  When you began your natural hair journey, was there anyone in particular who inspired you to make that decision?  Maybe another “naturalista” at the time?

A.  The beginning of my journey was interesting because I had no idea what I was doing.  I transitioned on accident because I moved and my salon was so far that I wasn’t able to get a relaxer.

A year went by and my hair was half natural.. half relaxed and I was left with two decisions; cut it off or get another relaxer.  So, I cut it.  After that, I continued to straighten my hair because that’s all I knew.

One day, I came across Kinky Curly Coily Me’s Facebook page, and I was amazed by all the beautiful styles and hair.  Then, I thought to myself, “I can do this.”  So, after I stumbled across her page, I always looked at it for advice or for new styles to try.  That definitely made the beginning of my natural hair journey a lot easier.

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Q.  How would you describe the natural hair movement back in 2014 compared to where it is today?

A.  It has definitely grown!  And there are many more people embracing their hair, which is beautiful!  I love receiving messages from women who are starting their natural hair journeys.  A lot of them say they feel very happy that they can embrace their natural hair.  There is so much more support!

Q.  For those out there that might not know, explain why the natural hair way is the healthiest way?

A.  I don’t knock anyone’s style.  You can rock your crown whatever way you’d like.  However, if you’re looking to go natural or if you have been scared because of what others think, try it!

It’s great to be able to embrace and nourish your natural texture and play around with fun styles!  Natural hair is so versatile.  One day you can have braids and the next a bomb twist out.  It’s fun!

Also, by being natural and using more natural products, you don’t have to deal with harming chemicals that are found in relaxers or other products.  Don’t care what others think.  It’s YOUR hair and it grows out of YOUR head.  So, embrace it.. LOVE IT!

Q.  You mentioned your hobbies outside of what you do as a voice for natural hair lovers.  Talk about the importance of having a life outside of your career and passions?

A.  It’s always great to be able to take time outside of your daily schedule to do something you enjoy doing.  To me, it’s really important to take time to yourself.

My months get really jammed packed sometimes between both my job and vlogging, but I make sure I set some time aside.  I hike, camp, catch basketball games, and sometimes I go kick some butt in bowling.

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Q.  When we spoke off the record, you told me about where your social media and YouTube following was just a year ago compared to where it is now.  Talk about how you were able to grow such a large following at such a rapid pace.

A.  It’s crazy to think that just a year ago I didn’t have a Youtube channel at all and had just about 4,000 followers on Instagram.  When I decided to really take off with sharing my experiences with my hair to others, I just planned things out and made sure I was consistent.

I know when I’m on social media, I like seeing things on my timeline.  So, I made sure I was trying out new styles once a week and was interacting with my awesome followers, which I still enjoy doing to this day.

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Q.  I love the fact that you want to touch the lives of women in a positive way through your passion for natural hair.  What kind of impact do you hope to have, big picture wise?

A.  I hope to be able to inspire teen girls and women, not only to embrace their natural hair, but to also embrace and love themselves!  Growing up, I was really shy and never did anything I wanted to do in fear of what others would think.

After high school, I realized that I wish I had stepped out of my comfort zone and had more confidence to love myself and do things for me.  So, when I realized that, I changed my mindset and that changed my life.  I hope one day to have somewhere or something for all of us to get together and celebrate how amazing we are for being ourselves!

Q.  Are teen girls your target audience?

A.  Teen girls and women are my target, but the main reason teen girls are really important is because I feel as though when you’re a teen, you’re kind of put off to the side.  While working in a teen center last year, I was able to chat and connect with the teen girls and hear what they’re going through.

The big topic other than them embracing their hair was self confidence.  I want to be able to inspire them to love themselves the same way I try to inspire women to do the same.

Q.  You’re currently working on starting a girls group at local schools in Boston.  What are your plans for this group and what’s the inspiration behind this new endeavor?

A.  Yes, I’m planning to start a girls group where teen girls are able to come hang out, chat and ask questions about topics from their natural hair to self respect and self confidence.

I want them to have somewhere they can feel comfortable and when they leave feel even better than they did walking in.  My inspiration to start this group comes from my time working with the teen girls at the teen center I mentioned earlier.  Daily conversations I had with them made me realize that there are other girls out there with the same issues and questions.  I want to be able to help, inspire and uplift others!

Bonus Q.  What about what I’m doing with Intern Media inspired you to take this interview?

A.  I think it’s incredible how far you have come with Intern Media!  It’s definitely grown and it’s great to see where it is now.  The people and stories you have touched on are always interesting and different.

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Ashly,

Words can barely explain how much you’ve inspired me with your work, your positive approach to life and with the impact you’re having on women, teenage girls and others today.  I’m so proud of the tremendous growth that you and your platform have experienced in just a year and I’m excited to see what’s next for you.  Welcome to the Intern Media family and I’m glad that we’ve become friends this year.  As the homie Drew would say, bless up! Lol.

Karl Nelson II, Founder of Intern Media

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Collision 2016: Endorsed by media from over 100 countries

by Karl Nelson II, Intern Media

Just in case you’re wondering what it’s like to attend a conference like Collision as a member of the media, here you go.

First things first.  For those media professionals like myself who truly love what we do and don’t view this as a job, it all starts when we receive word of the invite.  The feeling that runs through our bodies and the way that our eyes light up, it reminds us that we’re in the right profession.

It doesn’t end there though.  There’s a crazy level of preparation that comes with a responsibility like this; an endless amount of complex reading, grueling writing and research sessions, interview preparation, video preparation, and a test of your overall creativity.

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It’s almost like being a professional athlete.  You don’t just show up to the “game,” put your uniform on and walk onto the court or field for the opening whistle, tip or kickoff.

As a media professional, you must arrive to the scene hours in advance just like some of the worlds greatest athletes.

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You have to be mentally and professionally prepared to not only do your job, but to also look for opportunities to develop a career-changing story or a career-changing moment for yourself, for your represented platform and most importantly for your audience.

It’s this level of preparation that sometimes has me feeling like that NBA superstar arriving to the arena in my Johnston and Murphy shoes, tailored fit suit, Ralph Lauren backpack, and my studio Dre Beats headphones, of course.

Maybe the brief description that I’ve just provided you with will have you thinking about that reporter, journalist, or camera man the next time you’re watching a sporting event or attending one of America’s fastest growing conferences in the future like Collision.

In the event that this write up crosses your mind, just think about the thousands of media outlets out there today who are dedicated to bringing you and millions of others the very best media coverage day in and day out.

Intern Media is dedicated to doing the same in its own uncommon way, focusing on the established individual and the individual in today’s society who’s lacking a voice.

Thanks again to Collision, a technology conference colliding the tech world with prominent sponsors and some of the most profound media outlets around the world today.

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Collision: Changing the way we view technology

by Karl Nelson II, Intern Media

“We are changing the world with technology.” – Bill Gates

Today, Collision is widely known as “America’s fastest growing tech conference.”

According to collisionconf.com, Collision has grown to over 7,500 attendees in just two short years.  Their list of speakers, sponsors and media supporters is absolutely astounding.

Some of the organizations that will be represented at Collision 2016 include Stanford University, Tumblr, HBO Sports, NBC News, ESPN, ABC, the PGA Tour, The Guardian, CNN, and Buzzfeed; to name a few.

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Do you ever find yourself sitting back in awe, thinking about how much technology has evolved over the course of your lifetime?

As a society, we’ve seen the evolution of the computer, from the IBM PCjr to today’s MacBook’s.  We’ve seen the cellular phone evolve from the Motorola flip phone to today’s smartphones.

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We’ve also watched as Internet access has evolved to the point that today Internet speeds are at an all-time high, thanks to WiFi.  How about cable.  Can you think back to when we were only able to watch a diminutive catalog of channels on television?

Well, today, we have access to features like On Demand, premium channels, high definition quality picture, and much more.

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The beautiful thing about the evolution of technology is the fact that it didn’t evolve on its own.  There have been many brilliant minds behind technologies extensive growth and innovation.

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There are professionals that have created successful small technology companies. They’ve seen their companies grow from bottom tier to top tier companies, becoming forces in the tech industry.  Innovators have seen their ideas blossom into major inventions in the tech world.

Collision gives us exclusive access into the minds of these experts while also providing us with great insight regarding some of the networks, databases and products that we use everyday.

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Collision reminds us of how much technology has grown over the years and of where it’s headed, but this web summit doesn’t just succeed in doing this by inviting some of the best keynote speakers in the industry to their conferences.  Collision is able to highlight a lot of the technology brands that have contributed to the evolution.

Collisions attendees are guaranteed to leave the conference aware of its level of sponsorship — a list that includes fascinating sponsors like Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Coca-Cola, and Facebook.

This caliber of support speaks volumes to Collisions dedication to being a premier platform for professionals in the tech industry.  It also speaks to the focus that Collision places on educating their attendees and the energy that they put into highlighting some of the best technology companies that the world has to offer.

Collision 2016 is being covered by bloggers, writers and reporters from more than 100 countries and 750 outlets, with Intern Media now gracing that list.

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Some of the major media outlets that will be in attendance are BBC, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, CNBC, NPR, The New York Times, Forbes, Business Insider, Fox News, and Bloomberg.

I have a deep level of respect for platforms that find a way to multitask their efforts for the greater good and that’s what Collision 2016 is on the cusp of doing, as they’ll be covering an amassment of topics, from content to data and design, from enterprise to marketing, and from music to social media.

Here’s what a few major media outlets had to say about Collision:

“The giants of the web assemble.” – Wall Street Journal

“Everywhere you go it’s buzzing and it’s electric.” – Bloomberg

“It defines the ecosystem.” – The Guardian

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To Collision and its planners,

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for recognizing my platform, Intern Media.  I now consider you all to be apart of the Intern Media family and I will support your flourishing conference moving forward.  Continue to be a platform of many hats, from highlighting tech companies to providing an outlet for hundreds of sponsors and major media outlets out there today.

Karl Nelson II, Founder of Intern Media 

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Brian Macon: Changing lives with a basketball in hand

by Karl Nelson II, Intern Media

In the game of basketball, a lot of the time, we’re only accustomed to seeing the end result; the game or a player’s performance.

We’re not always able to see the blood, sweat and tears that’s poured out onto the basketball court in the offseason when individual players and teams are preparing for their respective basketball seasons.  We don’t see the ups and downs that a player or a team goes through over the course of a long season.

Just think about that for a second.  What if we were able to see more of those moments?

For the basketball fans of the world, we already have an appreciation for what we see from top athletes like a Lebron James or a Stephen Curry.

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Lebron James Fun Fact:  The two-time NBA Champion didn’t wear the number 6 in Miami for the reasons that most fans believe he did.  Lebron’s first child was born on October 6, 2004 and his second child was born in June of 2007.  According to Lebron, that’s why he wore the number 6 as a member of the Miami Heat. (msn.com, “30 interesting facts about Lebron James”)

So, just imagine how much greater that level of appreciation would be if we had more access to what’s going on behind the scenes.

What if we could witness Curry get up over a thousand shots a day? 

What if we could witness Lebron’s three-part workout, consisting of sprints on the track, weight lifting in the weight room and then skill work on the basketball court?

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Stephen Curry Fun Fact:  The NBA’s reigning MVP and the 2015 NBA Champion once said that if he were to play in the NFL, he would be a “second-string punter.” (complex.com, “30 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About Steph Curry”)

These are the things that we don’t get to see.

Well, that’s what a guy by the name of Brian Macon allows us to see.  Brian started playing the game of basketball at the age of six and he never looked back.

He’s now an elite basketball skills trainer based in Florida, responsible for a lot of the growth seen in both young and adult basketball players today.

Brian’s approach is the same for everyone that he trains, providing them with a level of training that is considered beyond the times, so to speak.

This is something that I’ve been able to witness on his social media platforms, a hub in which he posts a lot of his training videos.

He’s definitely taking advantage of this evolution of technology by putting eyes to the impact that he’s having on athletes as well as showcasing his knowledge of the game.

For Brian, it’s about packaging his work just like it is for the average journalist.

Brian’s not only preparing for an endless amount of training sessions or putting basketball players through workouts.  He also has those moments captured on video and then edited in a way that the viewer finds the content to be very fundamental and consistent.

However, even with putting that additional work in off of the court, who seems to get the bulk of the credit, if not all of it when you think about a player’s talent?

It’s the player, of course.  However, if there was a league or a broadcast that highlighted the trainers that stand behind these elite and most-improved athletes, we might actually see the tables turn a bit.

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Brian Macon giving a group of his young athletes instructions during a Handlelife basketball training session.

If there was an outlet dedicated to the journey of the trainer, hypothetically speaking, then I’m sure Brian would find himself showcased, as he’s having quite the impact as an important piece to Handlelife.

Handlelife is a sports training and lifestyle brand that focuses on motivating athletes as well as everyday people to work hard at perfecting their crafts.

Brian is a great representation of those grueling training sessions, the ups and downs that come with being an athlete, and of a game that is constantly evolving.

Brian grew up playing basketball and reached the collegiate ranks, making a name for himself in the sport.  As a student athlete at Miami-Dade College, Brian found himself ranked top 5 in the nation in assists.  And that was just after two seasons with the team.

Brian also helped lead his team to a conference championship.  After receiving those accolades at Miami-Dade College, Brian took an onward and upward move to Boston University.

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Brian during his playing days at Boston University.

At Boston University, Brian continued to be a floor general, leading his team in assists and becoming a co-captain after his first season with the team.

Brian’s career on the court might have ended after an ACL injury, but he didn’t let that stop him from continuing his love for the game, this time in a different facet though.

Brian decided to make the transition from player to trainer shortly after the injury, taking his personal experiences and years of knowledge to the up-and-coming ball players out there as well as those developing at the collegiate and professional ranks.

Today, Brian is one of the most pursued basketball trainers in the South Florida area and he’s managing Handlelife’s Florida division.

I have a lot of admiration for the empire that he has helped build, one that led him to working with two of my good friends, Paul Easton and Aaron Walsh of Drills And Skills Basketball.

As a basketball player myself and as someone who played from the age of six all the way up to the collegiate level, I can honestly say that behind every great athlete is a dedicated and highly-skilled trainer.

For many athletes out there today, that’s who Brian is to them and I’m proud to now have him apart of the Intern Media family.

Go to the next page of this article and checkout my interview with Brian as we went in depth with his history as a former player and now as a trainer who’s experiencing a lot of victories in his life.

These victories are not necessarily games won though.  Instead, the victories that Brian is experiencing today has everything to do with the lives that he’s impacting with his elite training methods.

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Brian at The Palace of Auburn Hills (Home of the NBA’s Detroit Pistons) teaching a group of youth at one of Handlelife’s clinics.

The #FightFor15

by Karl Nelson II, Intern Media

This is one of those stories where your mind is taken off of trivial things like sports, entertainment and material possessions.

This is one of those stories that makes you think about your struggles and your pain, whether that be financially related or not.

After watching Atlanta native and Iraq War Veteran, Derrell Odom, pour out his heart in front of the Atlanta, GA wage board and a large group of his peers, I was led to write this column.

For me, this mans story was a reminder of how blessed I am, but also of how stressed I am in the world that we live in today.

Here’s an individual who served in the United States Military and he comes home to not even be able to put food on the table for his family.

As Derrell testified that day, he advocated for a higher hourly rate and union rights as an employee for Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC).  To some out there, working in the fast food district is considered the bottom of the totem pole.

However, Derrell doesn’t see it that way.  He truly enjoys his job and sees it as a way to put a smile on the faces of KFC’s customers — the same people that he fought for in Iraq for two tours.

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As Coalition Forces respond to a car bombing in South Baghdad, Iraq (IRQ), a second car bomb is detonated, targeting those responding to the initial incident. The attack, aimed at the Iraqi police force, resulted in 18 casualties, two of which were police officers, during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.

There’s no reason why a hardworking citizen who has also served his country should have to explain to his child why there’s no food on the table or a roof over their head.

That’s something that Derrell is forced to do daily, as he’s only bringing in $7.25 an hour.  That’s an hourly rate that prevents many Americans from being able to pay their bills, afford health insurance and avoid having to apply for food stamps, according to fightfor15.org.

That truly breaks my heart and I believe that it’s a representation that America’s world leaders are not crossing their t’s and dotting their i’s.

Derrell’s case is unique.  He’s a very humble and giving citizen that doesn’t want anything astronomical.  Derrell’s not complaining about not being rich or not being able to purchase expensive material things.

He just wants a comfortable life for he and his family, just like so many of us.  There’s no question that Derrell and others who work in home health, child care and restaurants, would be able to live better lives if they were making at least a minimum of $15 per hour with union benefits.

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The video that’s featured in this column was more than a marketing tool for this #FightFor15 campaign.  What I saw was a relatable person with a voice — someone who is dealing with the day-to-day circumstances that many of us are also forced to face.

So, the question becomes, not just what is our country going to do about cases like this one, but what are we personally going to do to advocate for individuals like Derrell or even for ourselves?

I don’t have all the answers and I probably never will, but I will continue to use my platform to be an advocate for the people.

My elders have always told me that the best way to really make a difference is by each community making it a point to build their own communities up, brick by brick.

Just think about that for a moment.  How do we want our children and our children’s children to grow up?

My ancestors worked tirelessly to provide a young black male like myself with opportunity, and that’s what I want to do for those that come after me.

Derrell is one of many who are playing their part by being a voice for those who feel like they don’t have one.

I want to personally thank Derrell for being so courageous and for sharing his story with us — a story that has reached millions.  I’m glad that I could share it with my Intern Media family, which is growing by the day.

We have to continue to build into our communities.  It can’t just stop here.  While I value my stories, it’s about the actions after my work is published that matters even more.

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