Category Archives: People

EPISODE 18—When your name helps pave the pathway to greatness

In this episode of Planet Noun, a chat with an up-and-coming…award-winning jazz musician Jazmin Ghent.

When she learned she won the 2019 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Jazz Album, Ghent was in the midst of a trip to Australia.

“So I was absolutely shocked, so shocked, and I feel like it changed the dynamic of that whole trip in Australia. I just know it’s no one but God, and I’m beyond thankful, and I don’t take it lightly. You know, I’m representing women, African American women in music, in Jazz music, so I’m beyond thankful and grateful.”

When she’s not belting smooth tunes from her saxophone, she’s in the classroom teaching music to children in Polk County, Florida.

We talk about her pathway to jazz music, the saxophone, and how names and other language used with children can affect the trajectory of their lives.

She also talks about how words from musicians she looks up to helped guide her path.

“I did this Show Your Talent competition. The judges were Marcus Miller, Brian Culbertson and Boney James… It was surreal to be in front of these people I grew up listening to,” Ghent said.

“I was so nervous before I played, and Brian Culbertson came up to me and said ‘you know what, just have fun. And if you have fun, everyone else will have fun, too.’ That was the moment where I was like—maybe I could do this and record, and write and make this a career. That would be a defining moment.”

Ghent says she is on a constant path of self-improvement when it comes to her musical gifts.

“I feel like there’s this unattainable goal that I have for myself that I’m constantly working towards. I just know I had a love for music and it’s what I wanted to pursue. I can’t see myself doing anything else. So that’s what turned it into a career…”

Planet Noun is all about the People, Places, Things and Ideas that teach us, prompt us to make a difference and do more with what life presents. That’s exactly what Ghent is doing with her teaching and her music.

Listen to the entire interview —featuring Jazmin Ghent, winner of the 2019 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Jazz Album.

Learn more about Ghent’s music on her website.

You can also follow her on social media:

Facebook

Twitter

YouTube

SoundCloud

Instagram

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Episode 17: Warming up for the glow up with confidence, featuring Patrick Fenison

WARNING: This episode contains cussing. And it’s not all bleeped out. So govern yourselves accordingly with earbuds and such.

The Glow Up. Been hearing a lot about that lately. First of all—what the F is that? Well, intuitively, I know what it is…but I had to consult a reputable source…

So…the Urban Dictionary tells me the Glow Up is when you go from wack-looking to gorgeous… another definition is to rise to the top from the bottom of whatever aspirational ladder a person is climbing. The Free Dictionary’s idioms section says something similar—Basically, it’s a fantastic transformation—that’s very real.

Who doesn’t want the Glow Up? I mean, who isn’t fascinated by someone’s rise from out of nowhere?

Thing is—I’ve learned—it’s hardly EVER from nowhere. The folks you love and adore today—famous folks or maybe other folks—have likely been working their tails off for YEARS in order to get the results that are now visible to lots of people.

A lot of more time-established shows and podcasts interview folks AFTER their glow has started, and there’s everything RIGHT with that.

But what about the folks who are somewhere in the middle, folks who are not quite at the top or at the bottom, but somewhere in between?

Well, today’s guest took time off of his grind to talk to me.

His name is Patrick Fenison. He’s one of many people committed to meeting their aspirations.

We start our conversation with the time Pat started recognizing his glimmer—when he KNEW he was born to be a performer.

3:45—When Pat knew performing was for him
5:42—Pat ain’t got no sense! His path to becoming a comedian
8:10—I’m going for it!
14:09—Creating a fanbase, then a move upsets hometown momentum
23:43—Everyone’s not going to believe in you; the importance of guarding curating your energy spaces with like-minded people
34:13—A story behind his video “Drop It”
46:30—Where to find Pat on social media

Find Patrick on Facebook and Instagram

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Episode 16: Putting smarts to your money with Jason Thomas

Do you wish your money were more intelligent?

Well, that’s what Jason Thomas specializes in—making money work smarter for his clients to enable them to meet their financial goals.

Thomas is co-founder and president of The PILL Method, a financial counseling company that uses education and technology to show their clients ways to more astutely use their dollars and cents to move toward their financial goals and debt freedom.

“It can begin with simply having a checking and a savings account,” He told Planet Noun. “It does not require you to go get [a] loan, it doesn’t require anything else. What we can basically really show you—how to make your money smarter.”

Thomas joined Planet Noun for a conversation from his home in Jamaica, that’s where he and his wife Carmen and two sons moved recently from the United States.  

The couple also provides financial coaching through Future Family Finance.

Episode 16, featuring Jason Thomas, dives right in with no breaks.

The conversation begins with information about his family and partner-run companies and flows from there.

1:03—More about the PILL Method. What it is, how it got started, and how it works.

2:26—Interest rate vs. interest cost. What’s the difference?

28:17—How Thomas got into financial counseling/what led him to become passionate about helping people get out of debt.

32:16—Why some folks leave his seminars angry

38:05—Thomas conducts free seminars to introduce folks to The PILL Method. So how does he make money?

Connect with Jason and learn more about The PILL Method

Twitter

Facebook

YouTube

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EPISODE 15: Crafting characters that can step from a book’s pages and walk down the street

Any day is a good day to profess affection… so—I admit—I’m in love. With books written by today’s guest! So, there’s this character named Elouise Norton who has captured my heart! Why? Because she’s so human… It’s like I know her.

I’m stoked that I got to interview her creator during a visit to Los Angeles!

Critically acclaimed crime fiction writer Rachel Howzell Hall is the author of several books, including the Lou Norton series, and another title They All Fall Down, which will be released on April 9.

We discuss a range of things from her origins as a writer, how she can explores through her characters, the dualities and unexpected realities of her page people—her characters, and more!

Take a listen to Rachel Howzell Hall on Planet Noun Episode 15!

Part 1—00:00-08:10
Where it all started

Part 1a—08:16-17:07 How a character, Detective Elouise Norton, was a tutor to Howzell Hall

Part 2—17:04-29:02
Characters you don’t expect… dualities and unexpected realities.

Part 3—29:05-36:20
Rachel’s journey toward crime fiction

Part 4—36:28-42:37
Reconciling characters and subject matter with a churchy upbringing

Part 5—42:40-end
Most gratifying moments as an author, and maximizing her time as an author who also has a family and a full time job

Links to stories mentioned in episode:

Torrance bowling alley shooting

Rachel’s social media links:

Instagram

Twitter

Website 

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Episode 14: Repackaging life and a museum—with George O. Davis, CAAM Executive Director

February is Black History Month in the United States…a time to focus on the contributions and achievements of African Americans not only in the past, but to hear stories of those who are still with us, still writing their stories.  George O. Davis is such a person. Part of his work involves helping  to expose museum visitors to the stories of others.

Part 1:

00:43—Davis’s Pathway to CAAM
==========

Part 2:

22:23—Rundown of the museum’s features and a few current exhibits.  By the time this episode drops, a couple of those will be on their last days. Here is a link list that includes information on the artists mentioned in this episode and exhibit dates:

An exhibit on the Los Angeles Freedom Rally. This took place in May of 1963. 

Robert Pruitt—Devotion — This exhibit ends on February 17, 2019.  Here’s what the Los Angeles Times says about his work.

One of the past art exhibits at CAAM featured Nina Chanel Abney.

African American artists Davis mentions who are being featured at other museums in the city. 

Los Angeles County Museum of Art—Charles White: A Retrospective

Bruce’s Beach in Manhattan Beach, Calif. was talked about in this episode.  More on its history along with another area black beachgoers used to frequent in the Santa Monica area called The Inkwell.

Part 3: 

24:56—Davis talks about:

  • The importance of expanding the knowledge of black history among and beyond black folks
  • Museums as a way to increase that knowledge
  • Visiting such Places with an open mind
  • Taking in the Things—the exhibits, information, art, the facts and Ideas they convey
  • Acknowledging the facts of history and reckoning with that information to grow beyond our country’s ills…past and present. 

Other links related to this episode:

History of CAAM

More on George Davis’ s appointment as CAAM executive director

CAAM Social Media:

Instagram

Facebook

Twitter

YouTube

Bruce’s Beach in Manhattan Beach, Calif. was talked about in this episode.  More on its history along with another area black beachgoers used to frequent in the Santa Monica area called The Inkwell.

Other mentions in Episode 14:

The Broad 

Davis also talks about a multi-million dollar painting purchased by Sean Combs (After all these years, I still instinctively call him Puff Daddy. Well, looks like he’s Art Daddy now!)

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EPISODE 3—Balikbayan Boxes: Care Packages in Reverse with Jason Reblando (Repeat)

Since Christmas is around the corner, here’s a question for you: 

What’s the value of a can of Ensure? Spam? Or a pack of Doritos or other snack you can pick up during a Target run or at the corner store?

Well, if you’re a member of the Filipino diaspora, everyday items, snacks and other treats can have additional meaning attached to them if they’re shipped to the Philippines from abroad in a Balikbayan Box. 

It’s a tradition I had no idea about until a year or so ago.  It was then I realized that—among all the groups of color I grew up around in Los Angeles—there are some folks whose traditions I’m more familiar with than others. I don’t pretend to know everything about anyone, but as an eternal student, learning as much as possible is a constant goal. It dawned on me last year that I knew next to nothing about the Filipino diaspora and Filipino Americans, and wanted to learn more. 

This-here interview was released last year, and was so interesting I wanted to share it again this year!

So if you’ve heard this before—welcome back, and stick around. If you’re hearing this for the first time, let’s dig into this holiday repeat of Planet Noun Episode 3—Balikbayan Boxes: Care Packages in Reverse with Illinois-based artist, photographer and author Jason Reblando.

Happy holidays! Merry Christmas, Happy everything! Take a listen to a holiday repeat of Episode 3, with guest Jason Reblando. He’s an Illinois-based artist, photographer, and author. Jason joined me on Skype.

This has been a holiday repeat of Episode 3 with guest Jason Reblando, an Illinois-based artist, photographer, and author. He was on Skype.

Here’s a link to Jason’s article about Balikbayan Boxes on City Lab.

Learn more about Jason, his book projects and artwork on his website.

Find him on social media:

Twitter: @JasonReblando

Instagram: @jjrebs

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EPISODE 12: Getting all up in the family’s body business on Thanksgiving


Thanksgiving is almost here! That means it’s almost time to throw down on all those bounties that’ll grace our holiday tables this week!

Thanksgiving is also Family Health History Day… A time to discuss and learn more…. Diseases or health events that tend to run in your family…

Yeah… I know that  is NOT a sexy discussion to have while passing the lamb, ham, turkey, chicken, greens, potatoes, tomatoes—you name it.

But if you’re family is gathering for this holiday or any other one—could be an opportune time to consider easing in those not so appetizing discussions about your family health portrait…. Just try to time it when Cousin so-and-so is NOT about to fork a piece of sweet-tater pie in their mouth.

My guest today is Doctor LaKeischa McMillan… she hosts the Housecall with Dr. Mac Podcast… In addition to doctoring, she also mothers and wifes (It’s my podcast, I can make up words). The cast is a joint venture with her husband, Wendell.

So Dr. Mac joins us with the skinny… or the fat—depending on how you throw down in the kitchen—on having unsexy conversations about family health during Thanksgiving or any season when family gathers.

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Cancer’s wiggety-wackness, gratefulness…and prayer (yes, this post will make sense)

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, PGFD firefighter Jesse McCullough, his wife and one of his daughters at a Sunday afternoon fundraiser to help defray costs of McCullough’s cancer treatment. Gov. Hogan heard about the event and stopped by to offer emotional support. Hogan also fought cancer for about a year and a half. His diagnosis came just several months after his inauguration in 2015.

(At the Water’s Edge, Maryland) — Grateful. I’m deeply grateful that folks allow me into their time and spaces to ask questions and be nosey in both good and extremely difficult times.

Some folks I cover for work really resonate my heart strings. From Brandi Garrett at The Maddy Wagon whose daughter, Madison, is a childhood cancer survivor…to Roya Giordano and family who lost their teen son/brother Mathias to bone cancer. 

Earlier today for work, I got to cover a fundraiser for a firefighter who is battling colon cancer. It has spread…He says the chemo seems to be holding it at bay right now, but he told me it isn’t curable so he’s essentially buying more time to be able to spend with his wife and watch his daughters grow some more…He’s looking into clinical trials in the D.C. area and in Boston, but isn’t eligible for any of those until all other treatment options are exhausted.

So….Since my blog is a personal project, and because it’s no secret I want everyone to be happy and healed, I have requests:

  • If you are a praying person, pray.
  • If you only put positive thoughts & speech into the universe, do that.
  • If you do none of the above, just hope for the best so Prince George’s County firefighter Jesse McCullough gets better. 
  • If you know a phalanx of prayer warrior grannies or aunties who always smell of peppermints and/or wear white gloves to their houses of worship even in the summer heat…ask.them.to.pray.  Not just any grannies or aunties. The ones who call everyone either “sweetie,” “dear heart,” or “baby”…(pronounced BEHHH-buh) or some other variation.  That encompasses a wide variety of grannies/aunties of different backgrounds with only the sweetest levels of sweetness.

Big G upstairs be listening to them, for real. 

 #McCulloughStrong

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Aretha

Yes, it was imminent.

Yes, it was coming down the pike, as it is for us all.

But there’s still a hefty morsel of numbness that nestles itself in my soul for a little bit once I hear someone’s life exit is final.

Been kind of blah all day.

Been trying to put words to my feelings.  Trying. Still not there yet.

Why will I miss Queen Aretha?

She was the only artist who could make me raise a hand, and say a heartfelt Hallelujah for ALL the life reasons Click To Tweet

Because she was who she was.  She earned first name only status with an exclamation point (ARETHA!) AND ascended to royalty  (Queen of Soul).

Because she played a role in the Civil Rights Movement and helped others. Much-much respect!

Last but not least, I’ll miss her for accompanying us through the human experience.  She was the only artist who could make me raise a hand,  and say a heartfelt “Hallelujah” for ALL the life reasons: From “Precious Lord” and “Mary Don’t You Weep,” to “Bridge over Troubled Water”…

And from “Daydreaming” to “Son of a Preacher Man,” and “Dr. Feelgood,” which could be the reason some of y’all exist today.

There was only one Aretha.

Missed, she will be.

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Episode 10: She ain’t no one trick pony: Behold, Stacia who doeth many things Wright

Our guest for Episode 10 is one of those people who does many things well! Her name’s Stacia D. Wright, an event and media strategist and owner of B. Reel Media Management, LLC. As I’ve said in previous episodes, small business owners fascinate me because of the risks they take and lessons they’re open enough to learn in order to keep progressing along the entrepreneurial pathway.

@StaciaDWright has a thing or three to say about knowing your worth, the value of your time and what you bring to any table. If you want to start your own business, her reminder: Working for others has invaluable lessons as well. Click To Tweet

Through her business experiences, Stacia has a thing or three to say about knowing your worth, the value of your time and what you bring to any table. If you want to start your own business, her reminder: Working for others has invaluable lessons as well.

In addition to running B. Reel Media Management, Stacia is a wife and mommy. She’s even made a video to help teach her daughter Ginneh how to potty, and was surprised when the tune traveled around the globe to other parents having a doozy of a time teaching their young-uns how to independently use the toilet. Stacia also appeared on a local television station, and the video was featured on the websites of other media outlets as well.

Fox5DC
Today
Daily Mail

Connect with Stacia on social media:

Facebook: @StaciaDWrightofficial / @TheDriveSDW

Twitter: @TheDriveSDW

Instagram: @StaciaDWright

Episode Receipts/Mentions:

The Stacia D. Wright Show on Brite Radio Son Screen Film Festival

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