Intern Media goes to the 2017 Sports Emmy Awards

by Karl Nelson II, Intern Media

The 2017 Sports Emmy Awards, which was held at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City Tuesday night, featured some of the best talent in sports television today, including ESPN, NBC, FOX, and Turner Sports.

Some of this year’s big winners included the late Craig Sager, Charles Barkley, the 2016 Olympics in Rio, and Bob Costas.

The red carpet was star studded, to say the least. Ex-Yankee Alex “A-Rod” Rodriguez, NFL wide receiver Brandon Marshall, HBO’s Andrea Kremer, and figure skater Tara Lipinski were just some of those who made an appearance on the red carpet that night.

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At the ceremony, I had the opportunity to catch up with some of the biggest names in sports and media, including former New England Patriots linebacker and three-time Super Bowl champion Willie McGinest, five-time MLB All-Star Frank Thomas, and civil rights activist Dr. Harry Edwards, who’s worked as a staff consultant for the San Francisco 49ers and Golden State Warriors.

Checkout snippets from our interviews below.

The Interviews 

Dr. Harry Edwards 

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Q. What are your thoughts on the state of the NFL and NBA when it comes to the diversity in management?

A. Well, I think this is always an evolving situation and one of the things that we’ve learned dating back to Jesse Owens, Joe Louis, and much less Jackie Robinson, is that there are no final victories.

It’s always an issue of adjusting to the latest set of circumstances and reactions to those circumstances.

I think both leagues are going to have to get smarter. They’re going to have to learn to manage and deal with the impact of social media, which is the greatest driving force in social change in history. And unless we do that, it’s going to turn into chaos.

Both leagues are poised to get out in front of this thing. Whether or not they’ll actually have the intellectual dexterity and the mental facility to get out and do it the way it’s supposed to be done in this age of instant communication to millions of people simultaneously is another question.

Willie McGinest 

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Q. What’s your million-dollar advice for athletes coming out of college getting ready to embark on their NFL journey’s?

A. Be professional. Take pride in your work. It’s a huge business and it will go on with or without you. So, make your decisions and understand that you’re in a unique position.

There are certain things you need to do while you’re in position. You need to go out and be the best football player you can be for the organization. Also, you have to understand that there are a lot of kids and young people that look up to you and admire what you’re doing.

You’re under a microscope, so everything that you do is going to be watched, scrutinized and criticized. So, be professional, make good decisions and work harder than anybody around you.

Q. How soon do they need to start thinking about what their lives are going to be like after the NFL?

A. Soon because it’s not promised. You’re one injury away and the average career for an NFL player is 3 and a half years. So, things come and go pretty quickly and if you’re not consistently taking care of yourself or playing at a certain level, that can be it for you.

Guys go through things. It happens. Guys retire after a couple of years. So, you have a choice everyday to make sure you’re doing something positive that’s giving you the power to keep you going. So, if it doesn’t work out, you have another plan in place.

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Q. What can we do to make sure that more young kids of color grow up playing the game of baseball? How do we make sure the diversity in the sport continues to improve?

A. I really think that we should get our kids to go to more camps because the camps right now are craving for kids 7-12. We have to get our kids involved early because if they start at 13 or 14, it’s not going to happen.

You have to learn to love baseball early in life.

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Alvin Ailey Dancer Chalvar Monteiro Talks International Tour, Fashion, Misty Copeland and much more

by Karl Nelson II, Intern Media

Freestyle dancing enables one to express themselves. It’s a safe place for many dancers to create moves that aren’t planned or calculated, but contrived freely. This form of dancing allows a dancer to personalize their movements, giving it their own custom flavor. These dances are perceived as modish, fresh and fun. Freestyling is about freedom in movement to any genre of music.

In case you’re wondering what picture I’m trying to paint here, allow me to introduce you to a professional dancer who knows a lot about the art of freestyle dancing; Chalvar Monteiro of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

Chalvar has been known to post eye-catching videos of himself on his personal social media pages doing freestyle dances. The settings are constantly changing whether it be a concept video as Chalvar walks through Times Square among the people, or a candid video of him dancing freely while on tour.

As I gave much thought to this idea of freestyle dancing  while pinpointing what I wanted the angle to be for this story, I couldn’t help but create a correlation between Chalvar as a dancer and my audience as individuals with their own sense of abandon, or freedom, so to speak.

Some of you reading this story now are educators, musicians, CEO’s, athletes, entrepreneurs, and more. Well, it’s important for you all to know that no matter what your passion or craft is, the healthiest thing you can do is to personalize what you do and find a way to enjoy your craft in a custom sort of way.

Allow me to use my craft as a way to better explain this long but necessary tangent. As a Digital Reporter in the media industry and as an entrepreneur as well, writing, communicating and creating content is a part of my daily life. And while these things require me to study, learn and produce, I’ve never neglected the freestyle aspect of my craft.

What am I referring to?

I’m referring to the moment in my busy day when I sit down and try to relax, as I write and speak freely about topics that are relevant to my life and to the lives of my audience members. You see, no matter how much work I do with the company I work for or even with the interviews and columns that I execute, I’d be nothing without my ability to be able to modernize my work and practice it freely without barriers.

That’s what Chalvar does as a dancer.

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Does he have specific dances and techniques that he must follow as a member of Alvin Ailey?

Of course he does, but perhaps it’s those things mixed with the fact that he loves his craft enough to spend time in the public and in the studio just dancing within himself, that makes him an even greater addition to one of the most prolific dance companies in the world.

That being said though, if you’re not careful, you’ll find yourself jumping on the bandwagon after seeing the name “Alvin Ailey” throughout this story time and time again. Instead, what I’d challenge you to do is embrace this opportunity to get to know Chalvar the person — the same guy who worked tirelessly for years to become one of the youngest and few males to grace the Alvin Ailey stage.

Simply put, the boy is bad.

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I knew who Chalvar was early on in my college days when I started dating Aubree Brown, who is a good friend of Chalvar’s and who danced with Ailey II in the past.

At that time, Chalvar was attending SUNY Purchase College, one of the top performing arts colleges in the country. He left his mark on their dance program, dancing in a mirage of shows, choreographing performances and spending many nights locked away in the dance studio, perfecting his craft.

And even then, when in most of his performances he followed elite choreography, that didn’t stop him from decompressing with freestyle dances when he could, keeping the creativity and personal connection to the art form very much so alive.

Monteiro might be a newer addition to Ailey, but he’s not new to the company lifestyle as he was dancing professionally before he joined the company.

In fact, it was his accolades after college that contributed to Alvin Ailey’s second company, Ailey II, bringing him on a couple of years ago, where he became a quick commodity among other members of that team, including Brown, who recently added a notch to her belt, performing at the VMA’s at Madison Square Garden with the iconic Beyoncé Knowles.

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It was Monteiro’s success with Ailey II that gave him some leverage as he auditioned for the first company, where he ultimately transitioned to, adding his name to a decorated list of legendary dancers who have been apart of Alvin Ailey’s long history.

Today, the young talented dancer is making a name for himself, one performance at a time, for a company that’s been known as a New York powerhouse since 1958.

He’s currently on tour with the company, traveling and seeing the great things this world has to offer overseas while doing what he has a love and passion for the most; dancing.

Chalvar’s story is a testament that you can’t let others hold you back from being who you are and from not just doing what you love, but doing it differently than the norm.

That’s what Chalvar is doing with his life right now. This isn’t a guy who’s worried about what you think about his decision to live his dream, dancing at a professional level. His focus is different.

For him, it seems to be more so about inspiring those who see him dance and changing their perspective about the art form for the better.

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Take a look at our interview which was set in the busiest and most historic attraction in New York; Times Square. We covered everything you could possibly imagine from his run with Alvin Ailey thus far, the international tour they’re on now and how the amazing Misty Copeland has inspired and influenced his dance career.

You’ll hear it from Chalvar himself at the end of the interview, but it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t also say it. CHOOSE TO BE INSPIRED.

 

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Chalvar,

It was a treat featuring you in an interview for my platform, Intern Media, in Times Square — a very historic place in the Big Apple. You were great man. You absolutely owned that interview and I appreciate your openness to the tough questions I presented lol. I’m proud of you man. It’s crazy to say that this is only the beginning for you, considering you’ve attained so much success so soon, but I’m going to say it! This is only the beginning for you, and I’m excited to see what’s in store for your future. You’re apart of the Intern Media wall now, and we’re grateful to have you as part of the family bro. Continue to be great and inspire us all as you already have been!

Karl Nelson II, Founding Editor of Intern Media 

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If New York Is ‘The Place Where Stars Are Born,’ Then Consider Pop Artist Renita Cotton Reborn

by Karl Nelson II, Intern Media

BROOKLYN — It’s one thing for an artist to have work ethic, but when you couple that with an “It” factor, that artist is destined for greatness.

Pop singer and songwriter, Renita Cotton, has both the work ethic and the God-given talent to take her career to great heights, and she’s already off to an impressive start.

Her singing career might have only started a little over a year ago, but there’s something about her stage presence, confidence and pizzazz that leads me to believe she might have told a ‘little white lie’ when I asked her how long she’s been pursuing a singing and songwriting career professionally, in which she responded so modestly, “So, I’d say, professionally, probably about a year and a half I started doing some background work for people.”

I interviewed the young entertainer this past spring, and after spending some time with her on that beautiful day in Brooklyn, I now understand why she’s climbing up the ladder so quickly.

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Renita has that trait most people would kill to have.  Her mix between discipline and the assurance that she has in her ability is immediately evident when you interact with her.

Renita was the perfect featured talent for an interview that was set in one of the busiest and most attractive sites in Brooklyn, NY; Brooklyn Bridge Park.

She came prepared with her exuberance and her stylist, showing me just how seriously she takes the idea of being a walking brand.

She’s a young New Yorker who has figured it out, so to speak, making “the city that never sleeps” work in her favor.  As many of you already know, New York is the place for stars to form and chase their dreams and aspirations from the ground up.  If it wasn’t, then I most certainly wouldn’t be here myself.

Renita’s ability to not only write her own music, but to also do a masterful job of performing it in front of audiences of all sizes, is proof that she’s built for this. And if she ever slips up and let’s that left arm hang too much while on that stage, I’m sure her mother will correct her, maybe saying something like “You know you have that one arm that’s a little dead there.” A comment that Renita would likely respond to by saying, “Well, haha. Thanks mom,” with a slight bit of innocent sarcasm.

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Renita understands the concept of “journey,” but that hasn’t stopped her from carrying herself as if she’s already reached her destination.

It might be hard for some of us to admit it at times, but I think it’s safe to say that in whatever we do, we have to have at least a small chip on our shoulder. That way we’re able to keep our eyes on the prize, understanding that mediocrity is never an option.

Renita’s coming off of a few very successful performances — performances that brought more music lovers along for her journey as an artist with two sides to the story; singing and songwriting.

In hip-hop, there’s a much bigger focus placed on writing your own lyrics, despite the 2015 “beef” between rap stars Drake and Meek Mill, a beef that started over Meek’s disbelief that Drake authors his own lyrics. However, it’s not really considered a big deal if singers elect not to write their own music.

Even the great Beyoncé has ghost writers.  That being said, it’s very rare and absorbing when we come across a Pop artist who is able to both write and perform their own music while also exemplifying a strong stage presence.

That description has Renita written all over it, and her journey has now been added to the Intern Media wall — a wall that includes many other journeys, even some that are still being written.

Checkout my interview with Renita and support her journey as an independent artist in the beloved Big Apple.

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Renita,

It was great hearing your story and being able to share it with my audience.  You have a lot of talent and you’re just at the beginning of your career, but more importantly you have great character.  That’s why there’s no doubt in my mind that you’ll do great musically and that you’ll inspire tons of people along the way.  Stay true to yourself and continue to walk around with that exuberance and confidence that you so greatly possess.  I know we joked about the day when reporters will be knocking on your door begging for an interview, but just remember that every joke has a little bit of truth to it! Welcome to the Intern Media family Renita!

Karl Nelson II, Founder of Intern Media

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Aubree Brown: Professional Dancer with Ailey II

by Karl Nelson II, Intern Media

Baltimore native, Aubree Brown, has danced her way to the top in the styles of modern and jazz. When I met her she was a sophomore at Purchase State College. Even then her work ethic on Marley was like no other. She might not have been putting in work on the punching bag three times a day like my favorite prize fighter, Floyd Mayweather Jr., but two to three sessions in the dance studio a day is a pretty big deal too.

It wasn’t until her second summer dancing as a scholarship student at The Ailey School, that I was able to see her skill and elegance with my own eyes. Watching this beautiful ballerina grace the stage was a moment I will never forget. I’m not sure if it was my relationship with Ms. Brown or the tribal theme performance that made the experience so surreal. All I know is from that moment on; I knew she was going to be special to the dance world.

The stunning Ms. Brown has had her heart set on dancing professionally for the Alvin Ailey Company since her youth. Well, let’s fast forward to November of 2014. Brown is currently in her second year with Ailey II and she’s touring all over the world.

Determined and dedicated to her craft, Ms. Brown’s dream came true. She’s gone from campus performances to world tours and who knows what will happen next. Brown has just returned home to New York City after a month long tour where she had the opportunity to dance in Canada, Wisconsin, Minnesota and a slew of other places. She even performed in Jamaica with her fellow Ailey II dancers back in September.

I had the opportunity to catch up with Ms. Brown during Ailey II’s recent tour. We discussed many things from when her love for dance began, to her time as an Ailey II dancer, to her life off-stage and much more.

When did your love for dance begin?

“At a young age, my mother signed me up to be a cheerleader for the Randallstown Panthers in my hometown of Baltimore, MD. In the beginning, I loved it, but then eventually I started losing interest in chanting the same cheers and doing the same steps all the time. I wanted to do something that was more captivating and had more meaning.

“From there, I was accepted into Sudbrook Magnet Middle School where Dance was my magnet and I minored in Drama and Spanish. Each class that I took, I fell more and more in love with dancing, especially ballet. I loved the gracefulness of ballet and how challenging the steps were, but somehow it all became natural to me. That’s when I realized that I had found something that I was meant to do. I also enjoyed performing in dance recitals and being able to express myself through movement, instead of words since I was such an introverted person. Dance became my outlet and my release.”

You’ve dreamed of dancing with Alvin Ailey since the first time you saw them perform in your hometown of Baltimore, MD. As a young girl, what was it about the performance that grabbed you the most?

“Around the age of 10, I went to see Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. One of the pieces that they performed was a piece entitled, Revelations, one of Alvin Ailey’s masterpieces. Everything about that performance was beautiful to me from the humanistic movement, the music, the story line, and of course the dancers. Not only was the dancers’ technique flawless, but their giving spirits also pulled me in as an audience member. From that day on, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater became my dream company.”

You stayed very busy in your four years in the Conservatory of Dance at Purchase State College. How did your experiences there prepare you for a professional career in dance?

“The Conservatory of Dance not only helped me enhance my technical skills as a dancer, but also my artistry and versatility. Working with various choreographers and their own personal styles at Purchase definitely helped me in that aspect. It forced me to be open minded with no limitations. The dance world is so diverse these days and there are so many job opportunities, but if you limit yourself to specific styles, you are also limiting yourself from being successful in this competitive dance world.”

You’re now in your second year with Alvin Ailey’s second company. What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve faced as an Ailey II dancer and how did you overcome it?

“Working with Ailey II has been an interesting learning experience. The most important thing I’ve learned is that you have to be able to block out any and everything that could get in the way of you accomplishing what you want to accomplish. Sometimes I have to remind myself how hard I worked to get to this place and how much harder I have to work moving forward.”

Where has been your favorite place of travel since you’ve been dancing professionally?

“So far my favorite place has been Paris, France. It’s somewhere that I’ve always dreamed of visiting one day and the fact that I made it there was an amazing experience for me. You see pictures or see movies that show off the beautiful city, but it’s nothing like seeing it in person. Paris is everything and more you ever thought it would be.”

Do you still enjoy life in New York after six years of being there?

“Believe it or not, I do (laughs). Sometimes the city can be a bit overwhelming with the fast paced life, the busy streets, the noise, and the traveling, but there’s also a beauty in all of that as well. Sometimes when I’m away in other cities, it can be very quiet and boring which makes me miss the crazy New York life.”

What do you wish the future holds for you in your career and life in general?

“In the future, I hope to look back on my life and be able to say that I’ve accomplished everything I’ve ever dreamed of and that I’ve learned something from each experience. Everything in life that we encounter is a learning experience. I want to learn something new about myself everyday in everything that I do.”

How would you describe yourself when you’re off stage in comparison to your personality when you’re performing?

“Off stage, I can sometimes be a very shy person and introverted at times. Just like Beyoncé, I have an alter ego. When I step on the stage, another person comes out because I’m so comfortable with my craft and it’s an outlet for me to be able to express myself through movement instead of words. I feel even more alive on stage than I do off stage.”

Outside of your dance life, what are some of the things that you enjoy the most?

“I enjoy ‘me time’ whether that be sleeping, relaxing, shopping, etc. Being with a professional dance company that only has 12 dancers and a hectic schedule, you don’t really get a chance to take time out to breathe and reflect. So, whenever I get the chance to collect myself and take my mind away from the chaos, I take it!”

What has dance taught you about life?

Dance has taught me to be open minded and limitless. If you set boundaries on yourself, you won’t make it very far in life. There are so many endless opportunities out there waiting for us, but in order to grab them we have to be open. The same thing goes for dance. Even though I have a strong background in Ballet and Modern, I tried other styles of dance as well to show that I can be a versatile dancer, which has opened up more doors for me.”

What’s your advice to someone out there, male or female, who is striving to get their big break as a professional dancer, but hasn’t come face to face with it yet?

“Be open, be versatile and be YOU. If you know you have a strong background in dance, but also have a love for constructing pieces, try choreography. If you love Ballet, but maybe one day you would like to become one of Beyoncé’s backup dancers, try Hip Hop and Street Jazz. If you want something so badly, make it happen. Nobody can make anything happen for you, but you. In the process of all of that, be you. Don’t get caught up in comparing yourself to others. Find what makes you stand out from the rest and that’s when someone will notice and remember you.”

I don’t believe one has to be in any specific place or profession to impact lives. With that being said, as a dancer how can you and fellow dancers impact those around you?

“Being a generous dancer and person, in general, will help impact the lives of others. As dancers, competitiveness can be our downfall at times and we lose our humility. We have to continue to learn from each other and help build each other up. We also have to be generous to those who aren’t dancers. The greatest feeling in the world, as a dancer, is knowing that you’ve touched someone in the audience, whether it be one person or a thousand.”