The Mic Is Open Was Born With a Purpose

by Karl Nelson II, Intern Media

“What do you do for a living?”

That’s a question that Dabriel Fulton was recently asked.

How did she respond?

She responded like the amazing soul she is.

“I make dreams come true.  I inspire, uplift….I know my purpose in life, and once you know your purpose you can help others unveil theirs!  The key to my success is, I am not greedy.  I love helping us all succeed.”

Coming from a CEO, that’s a very powerful statement and it speaks to why Dabriel is where she is today.  It speaks to why her platform, The Mic Is Open, has been around since 2011 and is better than ever in 2016.

Allow me to breakdown what was said in Dabriel’s quote.

“I make dreams come true.”  Dabriel wants others to experience what she’s experiencing right now; dreams becoming reality.  She’s doing everything in her power to see that happen for other people.

She’s created a platform that’s specifically geared towards emerging artists who are in need of a stage to showcase their talents, which further speaks to Dabriel’s desire to help other people see their “dreams come true.”

“I inspire, uplift….”  Not only does Dabriel inspire those who take part in The Mic Is Open, but she inspires the other creatives like myself who are also emerging in the midst of dreams and aspirations.

To see a young and educated black woman from my hometown of Baltimore creating her own lane and placing a focus on helping others attain success, it doesn’t get anymore inspirational and uplifting than that.

Dabriel says she knows her “purpose in life.”  For a lot of people, it takes them decades to find out what their purpose is in this life. Individuals like Dabriel and myself feel that God has blessed us with knowing our purposes at a young age.

That being said, it’s one thing to know your purpose and it’s another thing to have the courage to walk in that purpose.  Dabriel has that courage.

When she started performing at open mic nights in college, she might not have known that one day she’d be called upon to get on a stage in front of large crowds and host events geared towards providing others with much needed exposure, but she’s accepted that task fearlessly and in turn, she’s inspiring others to walk in their purpose as well.

“The key to my success is, I am not greedy….”  There are individuals and platforms that value money more than they value people and their experiences. That’s what makes Dabriel’s platform so pure though.  Greed isn’t an issue.

Dabriel would much rather someone come and attend her event, have a great time and walk away inspired. She’d rather an artist come and perform at The Mic Is Open and be able to focus on their performance, not the amount of money it costs to perform.

Dabriel ends her answer by saying “I love helping us all succeed.” There are people out there who will step on anybody’s throat to get to the top.  However, I’ve never felt that stepping on people to achieve success is the right answer in life.

Just like famous comedian, Kevin Hart, has alluded to in the past, there’s no reason why we can’t all shine together.  It’s true.  If people spent more time trying to work through their challenges to achieve success and if they came together with others and spent less time hating on one another, we would all be able to experience success together.

Dabriel wants us all to experience success together and I promise you that when you meet her in person, you’ll feel that she genuinely wants to see others happy in their lives and careers just as much as she is today.

Checkout our exclusive interview below and hear directly from Dabriel as she tells me about her recent interview with famous Rapper French Montana for Elle Magazine, her collaboration with Lyft, Saturday’s edition of The Mic Is Open, and more!

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Q.  How excited are you for this Saturday?

A.  I’m super excited.  Just gearing up and getting things ready.  You know I’m a one woman show, so there’s a lot of pressure on me. New people are even hearing about The Mic Is Open.  They’re messaging me on social media, sending me emails, just trying to reach me.

Q.  The last time we were together, you were gearing up for another The Mic Is Open in New York City.  What went well with that one?

A.  With the last event, what went well was I was able to have the venue for that entire day opposed to just being given a certain amount of hours.  The event prior to that one, everyone wasn’t able to get in.  I did make proper movements for the next one though. I booked a larger venue that was more spacious.  The only thing with that is I wanted to have the event at the same place again, but they were like “Oh no.  You have to rent it out for the entire month,” which was crazy.  The venue alone is over $2,000 and then you have a $2,000 deposit.  Things just add up.

Q.  Did the event sell out last time?

A.  Yes it did, which was awesome.  I’m looking forward to that happening again. I’m definitely looking forward to taking the show on the road too.  I’ve really only had the showcase in Baltimore and New York.  My next venture will be LA.

Q.  After having a successful turnout, when you go back to the drawing board to get ready for the next The Mic Is Open, what are some of the things you’re saying to yourself in terms of what you want to accomplish the next time around?

A.  My last event, I spent $8,000.  So, the plan is to spend less and do more, if that’s possible.  Get more sponsors. Get more people.  Get more A&R’s to come out.  Just become bigger and better, but also smarter.  I need to make smarter moves.  So, that’s where I’m at with The Mic Is Open this time around.

Starting off, I didn’t have a budget and that’s very important.  You have to create a budget so you know what you’re working with.  And if you’re financing things for yourself, you definitely have to set some parameters for yourself and for your event.

Q.  Are there any specific qualities you look for when you receive submissions from artists?  If so, what are some of those qualities?

A.  I have requirements.  When people submit, I want to see previous or past performances.  I want to see stage presence.  I want to have a link to your music or your poetry.  I want to give artists multiple opportunities for me to be able to listen.

I more so listen to the lyrics rather than the delivery.

Q.  Last time we spoke, you told me you were going to take a little break to gear up for some other ventures. Did you actually take a break and if you did, what were some of the things you accomplished and learned about yourself during that time?

A.  I know I said I was, but I didn’t haha.  I didn’t get a chance to. Once you do one show, you’re like okay what can I do to make the next one better.  Elle magazine had asked me if I would be able to do an interview with French Montana.

I was like cool.  I figured that would be a way to plug The Mic Is Open. So, we did this interview called Rap Therapy.  It’s going to be in the magazine as well as on their website in the days or weeks to come.

You always have to keep working and grinding until you reach where you want to be. I’m five years into it, but I still haven’t reached even half of what I want to accomplish.

But long story short, nothing happens over night.  I feel as though if I work hard, even harder than I’m working now and just keep pressing forward, I’ll be able to achieve some of the bigger goals I have for myself.

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Q.  Can you talk about your collaboration with Lyft, what it entails and how it came about?

A.  Well, I’m always on my phone and checking emails. An email popped up from someone that appeared to be a manager from Lyft. The person told me they had been following what I’ve been doing and that they thought it was awesome.

They told me they wanted to provide me with their services and partner up.  I emailed them back and the next thing you know, we have a partnership.  Lyft sent us the logos and our own promo codes. I was super excited because having events in New York City, it’s either the train or cab.  Parking is really scarce. Especially, because I’m having this event in Chelsea.  There is no parking.

So, this gives you the opportunity to get to and from your destination and if you want to have some drinks, you can have some and not be worried about it.

Q.  Is this going to be an ongoing partnership?

A.  They actually want to do something even bigger in the future. That’s in the works as well, so I’m looking forward to that.

Q.  Are you thinking about plans for expansion or are you more so focused on just continuously perfecting what’s going on right now and making sure that you’re selling these events out time and time again?

A.  I don’t really focus on selling out.  I just focus on providing a quality experience for the artists and all the guests who attend.  So, when I plan a show, I’m thinking “Okay. How much would I want to pay to get in the show?  What does the show have to offer? Will there be drinks?  What does this ticket include?”

Although you’re always going to have expansion in the back of your head, my focus is on perfecting this one particular event so that I know A, B and C are the moves for each event.  That way, I can follow the same protocol when I get to places like LA and Japan.

We all see the bigger picture, but we have to perfect the smaller picture first to get to the next step.

Q.  When Saturday is concluded and people are out of the venue, what are you hoping that they leave with?

A.  I want people to leave with an experience.  I want you to come to my experience.  I want them to leave saying they “had a great time and was able to interact” with certain people. I want them to say, “Dabriel was really down to earth.”

Their impression of me really matters to me.  A lot of people say they don’t care what others think, but I care because I want you to have a lasting impression.  I want you to feel good about the environment.  I want you to feel good about the host, which is me. I want you to feel good about the artist.

The Mic Is Open is a platform for emerging artists to showcase their talent.  It’s a safe place.  When you’re here, you feel loved, you feel excited, you feel welcomed. It’s not a competition.  People who are emailing me are like “So, how much do I have to pay to perform?”

It’s not that kind of show.  You don’t have to pay to perform.  I never want someone to have to pay to showcase their talent.  That’s just not what we do over here.

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Dabz,

It was great interviewing you for a second time now.  I wish you the best tomorrow with another edition of The Mic Is Open.  I know you’ll be great. Thanks for having the courage to be an inspiration to the world and for being a bridge builder for the emerging artists out there today. God is truly working in your life and it’s good to see you embrace the purpose He’s given you.  If you only knew how your story impacts my life….You will always be apart of the Intern Media family.

Karl Nelson II, Founder of Intern Media

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There are mascots and then there is the “Hopster”

by Karl Nelson II, Intern Media

LONG ISLAND CITY — July 17th marked the first ever Homebrew Festival presented by the Hopster Beer Company.

The man you see in the video above is none other than the Hopster himself, the one who made all of this possible.  The Hopster’s love for beer, the joy he gets from bringing people together and the focus he places on the beer consumer is exactly why the first ever Homebrew Festival was a major success.

I just mentioned “the beer consumer.”  The beer consumer is who the Hopster had in mind when he decided to start the Hopster Beer Company, becoming one of the first beer companies to create a mascot that represents the beer drinker, not the beer itself.  And if you haven’t figured it out by now, “the Hopster” doesn’t just refer to the man you see featured in this story, but it’s also the name of the actual mascot for beer drinkers all over the world.

Think about that for a second.

Can you recall a time when you found yourself watching a beer commercial and saw a mascot that was created for the average beer drinker?

I know I’m a young guy, but still, in my 25 years on this earth, I can’t recall one time turning on the television or opening my internet browser to watch a sporting event, sitcom, movie, TV series, or any other type of television or online program, and seeing a commercial or advertisement that catered to those who drink beer. Instead, what I’ve seen during these advertisements are beer brands, time and time again, showing off their mascot in an effort to persuade us beer drinkers to taste their product.

Their alluring tactic is quite simple; a clever mascot to represent their brand of beer.

During our interview, the Hopster gave me examples of beer brands like Coors Light, also known as “the Silver Bullet.”  He also mentioned Samuel Adams beer and how their mascot is a brewer and patriot holding up a mug filled to the brim with beer.  

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While beer brands like Coors Light and Sam Adams have been extremely successful over the years, the Hopster is content with taking a different route. What route might that be?  He decided to create a mascot for the beer consumer.  

That being said, while the idea was his, it was his wife who added her much needed two cents to the equation, becoming an intricate factor in why the mascot was eventually named “the Hopster.”

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Prior to our interview, the Hopster told me about the months leading up to the Homebrew Festival and about the immense amount of preparation that went into making the grand opening for this festival a huge success as he and his team worked alongside the owners of the Beer Closet to bring this festival to the Long Island City community. 

During our interview, the Hopster said giving people opportunities to market their brands was a major focus for this festival.  He might have been mainly referring to his fellow homebrewers, but little does he know that by putting on this event, a journalist, a podcast out of Queens, NY, an emerging New York-based clothing brand, and many members of the community, all left the festival with potential opportunities and future opened doors in our respective lives and careers.

That’s right.  A New York-based construction worker by day and an artistic homebrewer by night is who paved the way for tons of cross-promotion to be handled on a beautiful Sunday afternoon just weeks ago.

Not only did people enjoy the festival and have an opportunity to taste some amazing craft beers, but they were able to connect with one another from a life and business standpoint, which didn’t really take much effort given the atmosphere and the high-character individuals who were involved.

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Me with Ann Marie Vasquez, the lovely wife of the Hopster.  She’s been very instrumental in assisting her husband with the operations of the Hopster Beer Company, basically operating as second in command to her husband since day one.  During our interview, she told me about how the company started, how far they’ve come and how dedicated they are to creating an unforgettable experience for the “beer consumer.”

Even though I was at the festival as a member of the press, there was no way I was going to let the day go by without tasting the vast selection of crafted beers that debuted at the festival.  After all, they do say “When in Rome, Do as the Romans Do.” So, when at a homebrew festival… I think you guys can take it from there.

Out of all the crafted beers I tasted that day, I found it to be quite ironic that my favorite selection was the Hopster Beer Company’s special; the mango double IPA.

As someone who drinks in social settings, I won’t lie to you all.  I’m not the biggest fan of IPA’s.  However, I also won’t lie to you and say that I did not enjoy every sip of that mango double IPA.  And to think that it was created by accident, to say the least.

During the interview, the Hopster filled me in on just how much of a coincidence the mango double IPA was, telling me that, at the time, he wasn’t necessarily trying to create this fan favorite.  However, once he tasted the final product and allowed others to, it immediately became one of his signature crafted beers.

That’s not a surprise to me at all considering all the positive feedback it received from so many people at the festival.

The Hopster’s genuine personality, his love for people, his interest in beer, and his desire to bring people together with future events and new signature beers, speaks to his success in the beer industry and it’s proof as to how he continues to elevate his company.

I appreciate this guy for setting the stage for what was a great turnout and an impactful event for the Long Island City community.  This is only the beginning.

Hopster,

I can’t thank you enough for putting the Homebrew Festival together and for having me there as one of the leading sources for media coverage.  It was truly a pleasure and I will carry those memories with me as my journey in journalism continues.  I appreciate you taking the interview and I’m sure this won’t be the last time people see our names side by side bringing great experiences and unique content to the public.  Continue to create opportunities for your fellow homebrewers.  On behalf of the beer drinkers out there, thanks for providing us with our own mascot!  From here on out, like you said, we’re all Hopsters when we put beer to our lips!  See you soon and welcome to the Intern Media family!

Karl Nelson II, Founder of Intern Media

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#AltonSterling

by Karl Nelson II, Intern Media

To Whom It May Concern,

I’m furious.  Heading back to the office tonight, I was concerned about what I would be eating for dinner, my financial responsibilities, the bus ticket I have to purchase for travel, my birthday plans for this year, and the time lost after working overtime today.

Those were my exact thoughts until I began scrolling through my news feed on Instagram.  That’s when I saw the video of an alive and struggling Alton Sterling, at the time, as two police officers “restrained” him — one with a knee in his stomach and chest and the other with a forearm pressing against Sterling’s chest and a loaded gun in hand which was pointed at Sterling.

My demeanor immediately changed.  I went from sadness to anger and unapologetic fury.

I then scroll down further to see a picture of Sterlings son, a 15-year-old boy who will never get to see his father walk in the house to greet he and his family again. Under this image was a caption from an individual who will remain anonymous — an individual who expressed their belief that there are police officers out there who do go to work everyday to protect and serve, without a doubt.

However, this individual also expressed their belief that there are police officers who are predators, those who will not hesitate to kill you.  Well, I’m sorry that I’m not sorry, but I couldn’t agree more with that notion.

As I read that caption, the anger inside of me was now only getting worse, as I came across another social media post.  This time from Russell Simmons, a public figure who never shies away from speaking up for his community or putting his words into action.

Mr. Simmons’ post read “The violence is not new, it’s the cameras that are new.” He couldn’t have been more right.  We’ve heard and read about these incidents before. Our elders have seen these horrible images and have witnessed horrific events for years, but we’ve somehow grown immune to it all.

But when I watched that video tonight, I couldn’t help but think about all of the incidents we haven’t seen on tape.  Those confrontations that weren’t recorded.  It makes me wonder if my stomach, my mind or my heart would even be able to handle seeing those images.

What we all witnessed happen to Sterling is a mirroring image of the other several cases we’ve unfortunately had to grieve over in the last few years, dating back to Trayvon Martin.

For me, what I saw tonight was a reminder that the same could happen to me, my younger brother who has his whole life ahead of him, my close circle of friends who are like brothers, my father, my uncles, my grandfather.  Those thoughts bring me to tears, but also cause my fists to clinch.

Why does this keep happening?  Is it foolish to believe that this kind of violence can ever stop? What can I do?  What can we do?

I know what I want to do.  I want to approach every police officer I see, not to be controversial, but to simply tell them that “when I see police officers in the streets, I don’t feel instant relief or safety.  Not at all.  You know what I feel?  I feel the need to get completely out of their way so that I make sure that there’s no chance in hell of any mixup during our interaction, a mixup that could lead to violence.”

I want to tell them that they “need to change their perception right now.  Not later. Right now.  And they need to do it collectively, across the board.”

In my current job, I assist hundreds of customers.  I’m in absolutely no control of how they feel about the company prior to meeting me, whether that be in person or on the phone.  But guess what.  When I do interact with customers, I have the power to change their perception about not only the company, but about me and all of the thousands of other employees wearing the same logo on their chest. That’s my job when I interact with these people.  It’s to change the perception and to change it for the better.

That’s the job of police officers as well.  And all I’m going to say is more of these officers better start working to change their overall perception or soon they won’t be viewed as protectors and great service men and women.  Instead, police officers will be viewed as the enemy.

Family, I write this column unapologetically.  I repeat….unapologetically.  Maybe more of us should take on that same mentality.  Be blessed.

– Karl 

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Chanel Murphy: The “F” in “food” should stand for “fabulous”

by Karl Nelson II, Intern Media

Chanel Murphy, a self-taught chef and the Founder of My Fabulous Food, is bringing a new flare, some glitz and glamour, so to speak, to the art of cooking. Chanel’s elegant approach to her “fabulous food” brand, from her fashion to the perfection she strives for with each new recipe, is making quite the impression on foodies throughout the world.

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We all know that social media is at an all-time high right now, but even with that being the case, it can still be difficult to find a newsworthy story located thousands of miles away.

Well, fortunately for me, I didn’t have to purchase a plane ticket or take that eight or nine hour drive to North Carolina to land this story. Instead, I put my youthfulness to the test and kept my eyes on the plethora of talent surfacing the hundreds of social networks available to us.  It was then that I came across Chanel’s profile, which I found to be very inspirational and extensive, proving to me in less than 60 seconds of just how seasoned of a chef she’s become since 2015 when she first started her business.

The girl is simply something special when it comes to not only her ability to make a good dish, but also in how she presents her cooking to the public.

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Chanel’s constantly putting her cooking skills to the test, whether that be adding a new recipe to her arsenal or catering an event for many food lovers to come out and enjoy her work.  Her consistency is why her following continues to grow so rapidly today.

And just to think that Chanel has only been in this industry since her college years.  That speaks to her natural gift in this area and more importantly to her dedication to her craft, which you all should know by now is what inspires me the most as a journalist.

Chanel’s talent as a chef and the authenticity of the food she makes has the power to not only fill up a hungry tummy, but to touch people’s lives in a new way.

It was great to hear from Chanel in our interview, as she shared her recent collaboration with a well-known personal trainer in Charlotte, NC, Taylor Calamese. It was that collaboration which enabled Chanel to teach youth about how to make delicious and healthy meals.  This joint effort combined Chanel’s love for cooking and Taylor’s expertise in health and fitness, educating some of North Carolinas brightest children.

Those are the kinds of experiences more young people need, especially in a world where the wrong foods are always right in front of our faces.  This is what I mean when I say “Chanel has an opportunity to impact lives with her talent.”

How many times have you been at an event, eating and mingling with familiar faces and some new ones?

For a lot of us, that’s every month, if not more frequently.  Well, just think about attending an event, doing the usual, but then being so blown away by the quality of the food that you just can’t leave the venue without speaking to the chef.

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That’s the kind of affect Chanel’s product is having on her consumers today.  And the fact that she’s an all around sweet person only makes her that much more dangerous in the food district.

Before I even started this platform, I told myself that the aim was to create something that’s outside of the box and to take something as simplistic as journalism and make it attractive to the naked eye again.

That’s exactly what Chanel is doing as a chef.  She’s adding a swagger and creating an atmosphere around her cooking that I’ve just simply never seen before, and I couldn’t be more proud of what she’s accomplishing.

The fact that Chanel’s a self-taught chef speaks to her natural talent, but features by Intern Media, Food Beast and her recent appearance on Fox 46 in Charlotte speaks to the hard work she’s putting into her craft.

In an exclusive interview, Chanel gave me some great insight into how she got started and what makes her food experience special and unique.

Be sure to checkout the in-depth interview following my write up, and like I always tell you guys, choose to be inspired.

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Chanel (on the right) during her appearance on Fox 46.

Q.  You’re a self-taught chef.  It’s difficult for some to cook a quality meal with the help of a recipe book, show or YouTube tutorial, let alone teach themselves.  That being said, I find it extremely impressive that you had the know-how to teach yourself to cook and to cook at this level, for that matter. How have you been able to accomplish this?

A.  Well, I’ve always loved to eat, but I started cooking and experimenting in college.  I definitely burned a few meals along the way, and it was a process that took me years to perfect.

I have a collection of recipe books, and I have a natural love for learning.  Continuous learning and determination is key.  I find inspiration from many sources, and my natural creative abilities help with my presentation skills.

Q.  At what point did your services begin to become a high demand among other food lovers?

A.  When I started sharing meals that I cooked on Facebook and Instagram, I started getting messages from a lot of different people.  Some people wanted to order food, and others wanted me to teach them how to cook.

Q.  What’s your vision for the mobile catering company that you’re planning on launching in the near future?

A.  In the future, I plan on opening a food truck that serves gourmet meals to-go and that also provides event catering services.  I want to serve unique meals that no one would expect came off of a food truck.

I also plan on providing personal chef services for individuals who are too busy to cook for themselves.

Q.  You recently partnered up with a local personal trainer in Charlotte to host a healthy cooking class.  How did that come about?

A.  Taylor Calamese, of TC Lifestyle Fitness, reached out to me to host a healthy cooking class back in March.  We’re both passionate about what we do, and I believe we recognized that in each other.  The class taught students how to cook delicious wholesome meals in a healthy way.

Q.  You recently appeared on Fox 46 in Charlotte.  What dish did you cook on the show and what was that experience like for you?

A.  My cooking segment on Fox was amazing!  I made quiche, which is one of my favorite dishes.  It’s super easy to make, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to share my recipe with others.

Q.  Given the fact that you enjoy dining just as much as you enjoy cooking, where is your favorite place to dine in?  What’s your signature dish when you eat there?

A.  Yes!  I love eating out too.  At one point, I wanted to write restaurant reviews. AZN Asian Cuisine is one of the best restaurants in Charlotte.  A lot of people don’t know about it, but their Korean short ribs are absolutely amazing.

Q.  What’s one of your personal favorite dishes that you make?  Take us through the process of making it.

A.  I love to cook crab legs.  I love them simply steamed, topped with Cajun seasoning and served with drawn butter.

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Chanel,

Thank you for taking this interview from many miles away and allowing me to share your talent and your story with my audience. You’ve inspired me with your craft and I hope I’ve done the same for you.  I’m sure this won’t be the last time we work together, but until then keep doing great things and testing the boundaries as a self-taught chef with a lot of pizazz.  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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Dabriel Fulton: A true mogul in the entertainment world

by Karl Nelson II, Intern Media

Sometimes life has its way of putting a limit or a cap on what we’re able to achieve and who we’re able to inspire, which is why some people never quite reach their full potential.

That being said, the best thing for us to do as individuals is to challenge ourselves to step outside of our comfort zones in whatever it is that we do.

For some of us, that means creating a lane of our own, something I’ve harped on in many of my past write ups, whether it was pertaining to myself or my features.

Well, when I think about the power in taking an entrepreneurial approach to life, I think about Dabriel Fulton, the Founder of The Mic Is Open.

The Mic Is Open is a unique platform that, as Dabriel puts it, “gives anyone with a voice a platform to be heard.”

Whether you’re a comic, poet, singer, rapper, or any other form of an artist with a voice, The Mic Is Open is the outlet for you, as it exposes you to a broad and diverse audience.  That audience is made up of fans of entertainment as well as people of influence in the entertainment industry.

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When Dabriel put this platform in place, she herself was an artist just like those that she is supporting today.  At the time, she was performing poetry at open mic nights and while it was an outlet for her, she also saw its limitations.

That’s when The Mic Is Open was born, so to speak.  Dabriel related to the “up-and-coming artist” and she wanted to provide a platform for as many of them as she could.

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Some people pursue things like this for their own personal gain, but not Dabriel.  In fact, as she explained to me in a recent interview, she could care less if she gets rich from this endeavor or not.

To her, the mark of true success is in the lives that she’s able to touch and in the exposure that she’s able to provide artists with, as a result of her platform.

There are not many entrepreneurs or professionals, in general, that could choose to take on this mindset, but Dabriel is extremely serious when it comes to putting the artist first.

I admire this attitude and I believe that it’s a product of Dabriel being around top moguls in the entertainment industry like Dame Dash and others.  Dabriel has had to work extremely hard and smart throughout her career and that’s why she’s where she is today.

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Dabriel understands the journey and she’s fine with taking the bumps and bruises that come along with it because she believes in learning from situations.

Dabriel has worked to eliminate any loop holes in her skill set, and when you’re there with her in person, you know that she deserves to be here; a mogul in her own right.

I’ve been watching Dabriel’s success rather closely for the past several months.  That’s something that I regularly do when searching for my next big story.

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Well, I admire the fact that Dabriel has built into my movement by taking this interview and giving me an exclusive look into her career as well as who she is personally.

Dabriel is proud to be a Baltimore native and feels extremely blessed to have experienced so much in such a short period of time.  Coming from a city like ours, we’re often accustomed to seeing people held back by their circumstances, so she’s happy to be an inspiration to those back at home.

Dabriel hasn’t come this far to stop now though.  After a very successful New York showcase of The Mic Is Open back in March, she is now preparing for an even greater showcase this summer.

As you can see, Dabriel is putting her foot on the gas in 2016, and the sky is only the limit for what she’s capable of doing next.

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Dabriel,

Thank you for sharing your story with my audience and for introducing my platform, Intern Media, to your audience.  I know that you’re a private person and that you sometimes make your power moves in silence, so I appreciate you stepping outside of the norm for this story.

I hope to work with you again very soon and I can’t voice enough just how proud I am of not only your success, but your hard work and for your generosity with today’s artists.

Continue to impact lives with your platform and keep giving God the glory for your success as you’ve already been doing.  God bless you and welcome to the Intern Media family.

Karl Nelson II, Founder of Intern Media

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