Watch Solange and Esperanza Spalding Perform at Peace Ball

Watch Solange and Esperanza Spalding Perform at Peace Ball

Solange and Esperanza Spalding were among the performers at the Peace Ball: Voices of Hope and Resistance event in Washington D.C. tonight. Held at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the nonpartisan gala was billed as a celebration of “the accomplishments and successes of the past 4 years and the vow to continue to be the change we want to see in the world.”

During the course of the night, Spalding performed while accompanied by dancers, before Solange later took the stage and did a set that included A Seat at the Table cuts “Weary,” “Cranes in the Sky,” “Mad,” and “Don’t Touch My Hair.” Solange was introduced to the stage by distinguished activist Angela Davis, who called the singer-songwriter a “legend” and said we would need her to write the anthems of the times ahead.

Ringing in the apocalypse w artists. The only way through.

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Solange highlighting the Busboys and Poets Peace Ball. #washingtondc #washington #inauguration #inauguration2017

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#solange #peaceball @officialistmag #TGAUNIFIED

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?????? #solange #peaceball #blackpower

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3 Unique Things That Successful People Do Differently

You’re reading 3 Unique Things That Successful People Do Differently, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’re enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

Are you already wavering on your New Year’s resolutions? It’s okay, you’re not alone. If you want 2017 to be the year that they stick, you are going to need some proven routines to keep you going. Where better to look than at the habits of highly successful people?
We all know the typical things that successful people do differently – wake up early, set goals, network – but what does the next level of successful behavior look like? No matter whether your passion is baking or real estate, everyone has something at which they strive to be successful. While there is no one defined behaviour for successful people, anyone who has spent extensive amounts of time reading interviews of and articles by successful people can agree that there are similar attitudes and behaviors that they possess. There are universal traits and practices that are common to all successful people regardless of their background and field of influence. If you want to create a culture of success in your life, here are the most common and effective habits of successful people to get you started. 
They set daily goals.
Most successful people attest to the fact that they do not simply wake up to an agenda filled with random activities. Instead, most successful people come up with large, long-term goals. American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault, for example, states that “at the beginning of each year, I set the key priorities and key objectives”.[1] These priorities and objectives are part of a larger, long-term vision, and are easily achievable when broken down into smaller pieces. Every day, then, successful people take the initiative to set themselves small, daily goals that contribute to the priorities, objectives, and long-term vision. They then plan their day ahead of time to ensure that they have activities and appointments planned that address each of their goals.
They take care of themselves first.
The most valuable resource you have is yourself. Successful people, especially those in the service industry, understand that they need to continually work on their personal brand and physical appearance. They also understand that their social life is as important as their finances and, as such, set aside enough time for leisure activities with friends and family. They know when to stop working. They also know that their bodies need good food, hydration, rest and sleep. On top of physical maintenance, they look out for experiences and relationships that will enhance their lives. They read widely from good authors and engage in positive conversations. They understand that you cannot change the world if you have not taken care of yourself first.
The concept of remembering to attend to one’s own needs is captured by the term self-care. It was coined by and remains a pillar of the work that mental health professionals do every day. There are countless resources that uphold the importance of the practice as well as provide resources in its pursuit. If you are unsure of where to start, I recommend an interactive self-care flowchart by Jace Harr entitled, “You feel Like Shit: An Interactive Self-Care Guide”. It walks the user through his or her needs, beginning with the most basic. As the landing page asserts, it is designed “for people who struggle with self-care, executive dysfunction, and/or who have trouble reading internal signals”.[2] It is a simple, straightforward, and effective first step at attending to yourself when you are not feeling your best.
They meditate.
This may seem trivial to many people, especially given the number of things vying for our attention these days. However, successful people always make time to meditate. What they do during this quiet time varies by personal preference and time of day. If it is the end of a busy day, they might take time to reflect on their goals as well as the day that has passed: their achievements and failures, the status of their personal relationships and their spirituality. The successful people who do this understand that when so much is going on that you do not have time to reflect, it is easy to miss out on the lessons. Since they are continually seeking ways to improve themselves, they take time to reflect on their strengths and areas for growth. If they are feeling particularly drained or negative, they might use the quiet time for positive self-talk. Other times, if they are feeling particularly stressed or overworked, they might choose to focus on their breath and enjoy ten minutes of not thinking at all.
If you are interested in starting a practice but unsure of where to begin, there are many support out there for you, beginning with the mogul Oprah Winfrey. She is a huge proponent of meditation, stating that it has shifted her life in ways that she never imagined. She is such a firm believer in the practice that she has instituted period of “Quiet Time” twice a day in her network offices.[3] For those who do not work for Oprah, she has collaborated with spiritual guide Deepak Chopra to create a number of free 21-day guided meditations. There are others with free meditations available, including Tara Brach. If you prefer music or silence, there are free apps available that help you to time and keep track of your meditation sessions.
While there is no script that successful people follow, there are traits that are common amongst them. If you are seeking practices that will give you a boost in your productivity and overall success in life, consider the importance of goal setting, self-care, and meditation. Make each of these practices a pattern of behaviour and you will surely be on the road to success.

Wheeler del Torro ( is a nutritional anthropologist and author. His most recent book, Boss Up!, provides a step-by-step guide to creating a powerful executive presence in order to be perceived as a leader and reap the benefits that go along with it. When he is not researching, lecturing, or hosting popups, Wheeler is out setting the next culinary trend.
[1] Bulygo, Zach. (n.d.) “Business lessons from American Express CEO Ken Chenault”. Kissmetrics Blog. Retrieved on 23 December 2016 from
[2] Jace Herr.
[3] Interview with Oprah Winfrey. Facebook Live stream.

You’ve read 3 Unique Things That Successful People Do Differently, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’ve enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

Cuba Gooding Jr. Files for Divorce From His Wife Sara Kapfer

Cuba Gooding Jr. and Sara Kapfer Divorcing January 2017

Cuba Gooding Jr. Files for Divorce From His Wife Sara Kapfer

After more than 20 years of marriage, Cuba Gooding Jr. has reportedly filed for divorce from his wife Sara Kapfer. According to TMZ, the actor is asking for joint legal custody and physical custody of their daughter, Piper, 10, and is willing to pay spousal support. The filing comes almost three years after Sara filed for legal separation in April 2014. The two were high school sweethearts and dated for seven years before tying the knot in March 1994. Together they have three children, sons, Spencer and Mason, and daughter, Piper.

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Let’s Talk About The Big Twist From ‘The Good Place’ Finale


The Good Place
just wrapped up an excellent first season with back-to-back episodes, the latter with some big reveals and bigger changes in store for what will hopefully be season 2. I have thoughts on all that went down coming up just as soon as I rule the fart inadmissible…

Well, that makes much more sense, doesn’t it?

For a lot of this season, something seemed off about what we thought was the Good Place. It wasn’t just the presence of Fake Eleanor(*) and Jason, but the fact that Tahani seemed so conceited and offhandedly mean, that Chidi was both a bad writer and someone who was miserable virtually all of the time while in what was supposed to be Heaven, and that other people in the neighborhood seemed to be having problems independent of the ones being caused by Eleanor and Jason. Two explanations seemed possible for this: sloppy writing that sacrificed thematic consistency for the sake of jokes, or the Good Place was meant to seem off. And since Mike Schur shows don’t tend to sell out their characters and worlds if a punchline calls for it, the idea that there was more here than meets the eye made much more sense.

(*) If there’s one disappointing aspect of the reveal, it’s that we lose the chance to call our main character Fake Eleanor. Even if the rebooted storyline still has Vicky pretending to be another woman named Eleanor Shellstrop, we know now that she’s the fake.

As a result, the revelation in “Michael’s Gambit” that it’s the neighborhood that’s fake, not Eleanor — that Michael is actually a Bad Place architect who came up with an elaborate new method of torturing humans, with Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani, Jason, and Janet as the only ones there who aren’t in on the prank — wasn’t a jaw-dropping surprise(*), but it was hugely satisfying. It fit most of what seemed wrong with the premise to date, and as Jason notes, he even said (back in episode 4) that he thought this was all part of a prank show.

(*) Though based on my Twitter mentions tonight, many of you did drop your jaws. But as someone who didn’t, this serves as a nice counterpoint to Westworld, a show I didn’t get a ton of value out of once the Internet had solved the mysteries ahead of schedule, because the mysteries superseded whatever else the creative team was trying to do. Here, I enjoy the characters, the tone, and the worldview, so even if I had been told what the twist was in advance (as opposed to it being a nagging suspicion in the back of my head), I’d have still gotten pleasure out of the show as a whole.

Comically and narratively, the show gains far more than it loses with this information. It’s damn hard to generate laughs out of minor imperfections in Heaven, as we saw throughout a season that trended more towards funny/clever than funny/ha-ha most of the time. The show’s best episodes from a joke standpoint were the ones featuring Trevor and the other Bad Place employees, and now it turns out that that virtually everyone we’ll see is one of Trevor’s co-workers, and hates Eleanor and her friends just as much as Trevor did. As entertaining as it was to see Ted Danson play a character as joyful and anxiety-prone as the good version of Michael we thought we were watching, he should be able to equal, if not pass, Adam Scott in the portrayal of smug, gleeful villainy, and now every other guest star can join him. Plus, because Michael is for now trying the experiment all over from scratch, he still has to spend some of the time playing that version of the character we already liked, and if Eleanor is successful in foiling his plans again, we may get to see panic and despair that’s even realer than the last time he put on the hoodie.

And where the idea of wiping the main characters’ memories of everything that happened in the first season so they can relive the events — as explicit a use of the reset button as you’ll see on a TV show — could in theory be incredibly annoying, the approach here instead feels very promising. It’s not just that Michael has already made changes, starting with giving Eleanor a different fake soulmate, but that the quest to remember the truth and break this cycle now becomes the point of the thing. It’s a reset button involving characters who don’t want to be reset if it means more psychological torture, not to mention forgetting about each other and the things they’ve learned. (And rebelling against her Bad Place overlords seems a better use of Kristen Bell’s skillset than when Eleanor is at her most abrasive.)

What seemed to be the original premise — bad woman admitted into Heaven via clerical error tries to learn how to be good enough to stay — never felt like enough to fuel years and years worth of stories. The introduction of Jason suggested the plan was to keep revealing new imperfections to the Good Place so that Chidi’s Pygmalion routine with Eleanor didn’t have to be stretched out past the point of usefulness. This, though, is more exciting. You can question some of the character logic involved — as Shawn notes, this is an awful lot of effort being put toward torturing four people, and their misery levels varied wildly over these months (really, Chidi is the only one who’s been unhappy for most of his time here) — but as much as I enjoyed this first season, this new/old status quo feels like a better use of all the resources available to The Good Place, and a chance for a very good show to (like some other Schur comedies) maybe become a great one.

Lots of other thoughts, since discussion of the twist could risk overwhelming talk of various silly and/or interesting things that happened in these two episodes:

* Schur has chosen to go radio silent for once after a finale, leaving us to puzzle through all the implications of what we just saw. The thing I’m most curious about: is the Medium Place where Mindy St. Claire lives a real location in the afterlife? Our Janet is one that Michael swiped from the Good Place, but she’s been reprogrammed at least enough to not realize where she’s working now, so it could be that the Medium Place and Mindy are also part of this elaborate con. But if it’s meant to be real, it’s problematic in the way the Good Place was when we were meant to be believe it was good. After all, Mindy is spared physical torture and all the other things that happen in the Bad Place, but an eternity of solitude, with nothing she really enjoys — even if there’s also nothing she entirely hates — feels incredibly cruel for all but the most hardcore loner. (If, say, Ron Swanson was sentenced to the Medium Place, it would probably have a lot of people in it to annoy him. You know, maybe working with Leslie Knope was Ron’s Medium Place?)

* That said, I’m pretty sure I once owned Cannonball Run 2 — but not The Making of Cannonball Run 2 — on VHS.

* As with Shawn, Schur probably could have tried stunt casting the role of Mindy. Instead, he went with a talented but lesser-known comic performer in Maribeth Monroe. Monroe appeared a few times on Parks and Rec as Elise Yarktin, the head of the Indiana Organization of Women, who once gave her award to Ron.

* Another Parks alum: Jama Williamson, who played Tom’s wife in the first few seasons, was the Bad Place co-worker who inadvertently inspired Michael’s gambit. And that was the voice of Parks writer (and occasional guest star) Joe Mande was Todd Hemple, the brimstone demon who got confused about conference room availability.

* The flashback that opens up “Mindy St. Claire” should also have been a clue that something isn’t right with what Eleanor’s been told, since Real Eleanor/Vicky is nowhere to be seen as the grocery carts come barreling towards our heroine.

* The “Mindy St. Claire” flashbacks also reveal another key piece of the emotional puzzle for Eleanor: she got emancipated as a teenager because her parents were so awful and selfish, she decided she would rather be on her own, forever. (Also, Eleanor’s supposed to be 14 in that flashback — faking her age to more quickly get away from her parents — since Bell is playing Eleanor by the time she’s in her late teens.)

* Among the things Eleanor did to lose points during her life: heckling of mall Santas (x9), salad bars sneezed on (x12), scalped Epipens (x4), started fire in mailbox to get mailman to take off shirt, showed a 9-year-old The Shining, brief Instagram flirtation with Kid Rock, lifetime ban from Build-a-Bear, movie endings ruined (x35), took selfie in bathroom at great aunt’s funeral, and cyber bullying of pregnant woman from spin class.

* Shawn, meanwhile, doesn’t need much evidence to convict Jason: “Oh, he’s from Florida. Bad Place.”

* Of course fedoras are required headgear when you go to the Bad Place. Of course they are.

* The twist also makes “Chidi’s Choice” work much better in hindsight, in that the whole point of it was showing what an annoying person he was in life, and explaining how he wound up in The Bad Place with the other three.

So that’s it for The Good Place — for now, at least. As I said last time, I feel pretty confident about renewal (more than for Parks at certain junctures), but we won’t know for sure until NBC announces something, which may not be until the upfronts in May.

What did everybody else think? Are you excited by this new direction, or would you have rather Schur stayed what seemed to be the course?

Alan Sepinwall may be reached at

Podcast #271: The Power of Wonder

We’ve all likely experienced those moments in life in which our breath is literally taken away; at the same time that we feel existentially small, our spirits seem to greatly expand. It’s a singular feeling that we call wonder. 

But why do we feel wonder? What purpose does it serve in our survival and flourishing as humans? Why does it get harder and harder to feel wonder as you get older? Is it possible to recapture that lost wonder — to manufacture it in some way?

My guest today explores these questions in his book Wonder: From Emotion to SpiritualityHis name is Robert Fuller and he’s a professor of Religious Studies at Bradley University. Today on the show, Robert and I discuss the psychology and biology of wonder, why researchers haven’t really studied wonder, and the benefits of experiencing it in our lives on a regular basis. We also explore how wonder shaped the lives and careers of men like John Muir and William James, how religion ritualizes wonder, and whether we can take action to experience more wonder in our lives. This podcast will leave you wondering a lot about wonder. 

Show Highlights

  • What is wonder?
  • What causes wonder?
  • Why wonder is the least-studied of our emotions
  • Why wonder doesn’t fit into the typical family of emotions and feelings
  • How wonder impacts the way we see the world
  • The evolutionary advantages and benefits of wonder
  • The experiences that can cause wonder
  • Why kids experience wonder more easily than adults
  • Famous men whose lives were guided by wonder
  • How wonder connects to other disciplines/sciences likes psychology, physiology, philosophy, etc.
  • The connection between wonder and rituals, religion, and spirituality
  • Does exploring the science of wonder take some of the wonder out of wonder?
  • Can wonder be facilitated in one’s life? Is there something we can do to inject more of it into our existence?

Resources Mentioned in Podcast

If you’re looking to understand how wonder works and why we need it in our lives, pick up a copy of Robert’s book WonderThe vignettes about John Muir and William James were very enlightening and inspiring.

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Cold Shoulder Olive Dress

Dress: Topshop | Shoes: Banana Republic (similar) | Purse: Gigi New York | Watch: Arvo Collection | Bracelet: David Yurman | Bracelet: The Styled Collection | Bracelet: The Styled Collection

Okay, how adorable is this little dress?! The cold shoulder sleeves are just the cutest! Since Spring is approaching, I paired it with some pale pink pumps (lol @ that alliteration)! I’ve also been wearing these bracelets from The Styled Collection nonstop because they are so cute!

This week has been super crazy, so I’m looking forward to the weekend! Do y’all have any fun plans?!