In Episode 6 of Last Chance High, Cortez makes an emotional trip to the prison where his father is serving a life sentence for murder. Deeply affected by the visit, Cortez begins taking his medicine regularly, and soon shocks his teachers with a new sense of self-control and openness.
It starts with a sincere smile and slight smirk then it happens - Jacob Latimore avails himself to me as a conduit to his fans. The world has witnessed the entertainment prodigy mature from local FM radio stations in Milwaukee to the silver screens across the country and they should brace themselves for what is happening next. Always humble and open to speak about his journey, the bass in his voice indicates he is a boy no more, rather a maturing young man.
Presented with the immediate task of describing his relationship with music, Jacob professes it is what he was born to do and he loves to do it. Arguably predestined in the womb since his father and uncle contributed to the music universe, this moment was defined when he recounts squatting in his father’s rehearsals and commanding the imaginary audience in the studio. “I’ve been around music my entire life, but I was 9 years old when I was formally introduced into the industry. I have grown up and my music has changed too. I focus on things that are mature and relatable to me now - relationships and heartbreak.”
The multi-talented sensation has been noticeably successful in the past year, sharing scenes with creative legends Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, and Jennifer Hudson. Our digital age has allowed us to re-live moments time and time again but nothing comes close to the nostalgia of the first time. “I am always humbled by the people who know me before I can even introduce myself. When I first met Usher and Chris Brown, those experiences were mind blowing. They knew me, they knew Jacob Latimore.” One could only believe opportunities like that require a heart of humility and mind of understanding, both of which Jacob possesses. “I study Michael Jackson, not just his performances but interviews too. His talent inspires me. That generation had a different standard of music and performance, unlike artists now. They put in the time and work for perfection. I want to return to that, hard work and practice for perfection.”
It is easy to assume that Jacob has reached a level of success, but his aspirations far exceed any of those assumptions. When asked what success means to him, in an authentic tone Jacob replies, “When I have impacted the world. A big single is a good start, but when your fans are inspired beyond your music and encouraged to live better, that’s when you have reached success.” During this close encounter with this gifted talent, I am awe inspired by his maturity and passion for performing. I conclude by asking how he wants the world to view him, he replies, “Jacob Latimore is a complete artist. I am a true talent. I have a God given gift to entertain and that is what I am going to do.”
Needless to say, I am a believer and wait his moment of greatness. Catch Jacob Latimore starring in The Maze Runner in theaters September 19th.
“I have to embrace change. It’s required for me to grow. Change is required of all of us to grow.”
At the start of the school year in primary school, we can remember being asked, what do you want to be when you grow up? Brad James confesses he always drew blank and never had a direct answer to that question. He could recount a list of all the things he imagined he would be, inclusive of a secret agent, attorney and surgeon, but could not settle on just one. As the universe pulled him into the profession of acting, James now realizes this was divine. “Acting is perfect for me. It allows for me to be all of the things I wanted to be when I was growing up, what profession allows you to do that?” James asks.
Born of mixed heritage but reared as a person of color, Brad James hails from Augusta, Georgia, a small town 45 minutes away from Atlanta. The town was too small for his big dreams and he later relocated to Atlanta. While seeking his dreams on the big screen, he acknowledges that he has tangoed with the lines of how he identifies himself and the influences that effect how he is viewed as an actor. “I am a man. I am a black man and I am all of these things before I am an actor,” states James.
In a virtual time machine, he recalls enlisting into the United States Marine Corp, working as a waiter and even a door-to-door salesman as the humbling work experiences before connecting with acting. Each job opportunity plays a huge role in his professionalism and appreciation for acting as his past experiences keep him humble. The former Marine officer turned heartthrob actor transitioned from training on battlefields into homes and hearts around the globe. “When I left Marine bootcamp, it was like leaving a hostage situation,” he says jokingly. “The sun looked different when I got out. I learned some life skills, but that experience taught me to be appreciative for my opportunity as an actor.”
The self-professed novice thespian accepts that he has been granted access into his dream and cherishes the moments that make his career journey surreal. “Every moment on this journey is a big moment. I have these moments that happen all the time. I don’t know if there is one singular time, but I realize there will be more of these. Every time something new and exciting happens I have a moment. When strangers stop you, especially the ones you don’t expect, like an old Asian couple, I have one of those moments.”
With a tone of modesty, Brad defines his personal successes and love for his craft. “I feel successful because I am on a journey that enables me to love everyday. Being successful means I am doing exactly what I set out to do. Being successful means I’ve made a decision and now I’m carrying it out,” says James. In this moment of truth, he ends with saying, “The fact that I can wake up everyday knowing that I am doing what I set out to do, that’s success to me.
Tune in to the new season of Tyler Perry’s For Better, For Worse weeknights on OWN Network.
THRIVE is an unconventional documentary that lifts the veil on what's REALLY going on in our world by following the money upstream -- uncovering the global consolidation of power in nearly every aspect of our lives.
A “tortured soul” is the frequent reference aligned with the chosen keepers of laughter.
One can only assume if you spent each moment of your life wanting to deposit happy into the lives of others, you can’t possibly be happy with yourself, right? Wrong. Karlous Miller believes that comics are tortured souls just as much as he believes a person can read horoscopes to identify their mood for the day. “I grew up great and had an awesome childhood. I don’t use comedy to account for my shortcomings or to give me permission to say inappropriate things on stage. I have always enjoyed making people laugh,” confesses Miller.In an unusual transition from neighborhood firefighter to qualified laugh practitioner, Karlous has always known it was his destiny to be onstage with a mic in hand and laughter floating his way. “I want people to come to a show and forget about it all. They should get lost in that moment, nothing else should matter.”
Growing up in a place with a population less than 21,000 people, this naturally funny guy makes his hometown of Oxford, Mississippi smile with pride. His latest appearances on NBC’s Last Comic Standing and MTV’s Wild ‘N Out have catapulted him into households and hearts around the country. As if frequent television appearances aren’t enough, Karlous has taken his mission to provide funny to souls around the world through his comedy performances in Europe and Africa. “I am a world away from small town Oxford and never knew jokes would take me this far. I am able to travel the world and meet people I never thought I would meet through comedy. It’s crazy.” From local lounges to national comedy appearances, the universal color of laughter allows for comics to traverse racial lines where skin color simply doesn’t matter. “I am from Mississippi where things are just black and white. Through comedy I have hung out with people in Germany and they knew me and that matters.”
Standing on the shoulders of comedic phenoms like Richard Pryor, Redd Foxx and Flip Wilson, the desire to succeed far exceeds any echo of doubt. Like any artist, Karlous is a student to his craft and takes preparation very seriously. “I am always ready because there is not always time to prepare before a show. I stay fresh and creative. Any good comedian should be able to read a crowd and deliver based on that. If you have a script and stick to it, the audience knows. That’s not performing, that’s reciting. I am a performer.”
Humbled by the opportunities provided by his passion for comedy, he cannot just recount one memorable moment in his career. “I don’t have just one. Memorable things happen to me all the time. Like the first time you see yourself on television or the first time you get a call from another celebrity asking you about an opportunity. It’s crazy how you go from watching someone, to being introduced to now having a friendship with someone that you looked up to. You actually have friends that you are fans of.”
Karlous Miller’s humility and humorous aura are effortless. When asked to define success in career, he quickly responds, “I can’t tell you what success looks like right now, because I am in pursuit of it. Michael Jordan didn’t look at the NBA and say I am successful - he played the game to win.” The question isn’t how he wants to be remembered, because Miller says he never wants to be forgotten.
“My music is fuel for the soul and a light in a dark world.”
Yaya is short for his forename, Yair, a Hebrew name meaning for he will enlighten. The 17-year old California native is the grandson of Phillip Bailey from the legendary group Earth, Wind and Fire, so arguing his musical genealogy is unnecessary. “I’ve always been an artist. I don't believe being an artist is something you decide to do. I believe people were created to create, procreate, recreate. I love words and the power of words.”
“When I was young music was always playing. Artists like The Roots, Outkast, EWF, Fela Kuti and so many others. All genres and eras of music I heard as a youth contributed to how I grew as an artist.” Yaya’s music can be described as a super hybrid between Reggae and Gospel genres. In a culture saturated with artists lacking true creativity, Yaya believes his music will make a lasting impact in the hearts and minds of his audience. This musical prophet affirms his music will act as a mirror reflecting the inner self. “My music will bring to light some things that have been left in the dark, exposing truths. Opening eyes, touching hearts. It will make a community where we lift each other up not hold down. I want people to unmask their true self, releasing all that the world paints of them. And the belief in the truth of life in Jesus Christ.”
The phonetically gifted young artist stays true to his namesake as he is fluent in Hebrew, French, Spanish and English. When asked his purview on success he replies, “Success as an artist to me looks like commitment. In that respect I’m successful. I’ve made it. When my fans are supporting my mission to complete Marcus Garvey’s Black Star line amongst many other revolutionary reforming acts, I’ll feel real good.”
Awe inspired by the intellect bottled in his youthful frame, I conclude our talk with a simple ask of what inspires him to create music. Effortlessly, he replies, “Life. God and His Holy Spirit.” The universe seeks balance and with a genuine talent like his, Yaya is the equalizer in the current music turbulence.
Based on Elmore Leonard's novel "The Switch," "Life of Crime" is a dark caper comedy starring Jennifer Aniston, John Hawkes, Yasiin Bey, Will Forte, Mark Boone Junior, Isla Fisher and Tim Robbins. The wife (Jennifer Aniston) of a corrupt real estate developer (Tim Robbins) is kidnapped by two common criminals (Yasiin Bey and John Hawkes), who intend to extort him with inside information about his crooked business and off-shore accounts. But the husband decides he'd actually rather not pay the ransom to get back his wife, setting off an unbelievable sequence of double crosses and plot twists that could only come from the mind of Elmore Leonard.
"Two struggling pals dress as police officers for a costume party and become neighborhood sensations. But when these newly-minted ""heroes"" get tangled in a real life web of mobsters and dirty detectives, they must put their fake badges on the line