How Can Pepsi Set Precedent For Meaningful Social Dialogue?

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Photo via TV Line.

As we may know by now, Pepsi and Kendall Jenner are both on the receiving end of a very controversial advertising campaign which was originally posted on YouTube on Tuesday April 4, 2017.

I don’t traditionally address topics pertaining to trendy pop culture headlines. However, due to the massive reaction of this incident in particular, I feel more than compelled to address what can we learn from Pepsi’s mistake. In addition, I also hope that we can use this opportunity as a catalyst to create meaningful conversation, discussion, and dialogue in an effort to improve the condition of our planet and humanity across the globe.

Yesterday morning, Thursday April 6, 2017, I happened to come across Pepsi’s following press release via Twitter.

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Upon first sight, I was slightly unsettled when I read, “We did not intend to make light of any serious issue.” My first thought after reading this sentence were the three words, “any serious issue.” According to my observations and due to the overwhelming reaction to this campaign, it seems as though this advertisement turned out to be a lot more than just any serious issue. In the eyes of many, any political and social protest is a very serious issue.

Naturally, as a result of what I had observed, I felt a burning desire and responsibility to address the current issue at hand from a perspective and outlook which can inspire people to connect, engage, and transform the landscape of our current society.

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Later on in the day, after I returned from work, I felt as though is was only right for me to record a video in an effort to address and voice the following questions and concerns:

  • Can positive social action remedy negative social reaction? (6:25)
  • How can a huge mistake lead to a groundbreaking opportunity? (7:23)
  • Who needs to take action? (9:59)
  • How can we thrive if we divide? (15:13)
  • “This is an opportunity to bridge.” – Bernice A. King (16:13)
  • We all make mistakes! (18:02)
  • How can we correct our mistakes? (18:45)
  • How can we as people effectively articulate our concerns? (19:54)
  • Who’s going to lead the charge? (21:06)
  • What does leading the charge entail? (22:49)
  • The time is NOW! (23:38)

In closing, I believe that now is the perfect time to turn our intention into action. Now is the time to lead a charge where our mission is to correct the many negative deeds of humanity. The time is NOW. The moment is NOW. The second is NOW!

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(Uh • Kway • Us) Aquaus Kelley is a forward-thinking Brand Strategist, Cultural Curator, and Educator. As the Founder of A Lovers Ambition Lifestyle Group, he specializes in identifying talent and creating opportunities for brand development, exposure, and growth. Aquaus has worked with companies and organizations such as Cornerstone Agency, City Year Miami, Universal Music Group, and W Hotels. He is extremely passionate about helping companies adapt to culture and building value between brands and their consumers centered around love. His ultimate mission is to use his influence to project positivity across the globe and invest in the collective future of society through the arts, education, entertainment, and leadership.

What Is Our Definition of Work?

Earlier this evening, after checking my notifications on Twitter, I decided to check out the profile of someone I recently interacted with after she tweeted a quote by a women named Myleik Teele. The quote that she tweeted courtesy of Myleik stated the following, “You can’t be on year 2 expecting 10 year results.”

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Screenshot via Twitter.

Interestingly enough, I interviewed Myleik for behindthehustle.com back in 2015 for one of our “3 Lessons Learned” articles. In other words, I know her hustle! Speaking of hustle, I also know that when I share a common interest and philosophy with someone else, the least I can do is check out their profile to see what it is they do for work. In this case, I decided to check out the profile of @Reality_Check5. After checking out her profile and seeing that she is the DC Membership Manager for Women of Color in Communications, I decided to check out her company’s Twitter handle, @ColorCommntwk. It was here that I saw the following tweet to an article by Kayla Matthews via Inc. magazine about research saying that “40 hours Is Too Long Of A Work Week.” This really caught my attention and interest.

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Screenshot via Twitter.

As a result of this tweet, I was compelled to reply that our view and perspective of “work” will often determine whether or not we feel as though 40 hours is too long of a work week. I believe that when we do what we love, we’re more committed and devoted toward living and working with a greater sense of purpose. Thus, the energy that we are fueled with through passion and purpose will allow us to put in the adequate amount of hours required to achieve our goals. Most of the time, this will far exceed 40 hours!

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Screenshot via Twitter.

This thought is essentially what led me to the following question, “Are we really working too long…or maybe, are we really working too wrong?”

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Photo via Twitter.

What Is Our Definition of Work?

Are we allowing our “work” to occupy our time or optimize our time? Are we working towards meaning, significance, and purpose or towards making ends meet? Let’s take the money out of the equation and ask ourselves, “Why are we working?” More importantly, why are we working 40 hours? What are we working 40 hours on? Would we be doing what we are doing if we were not paid to do it?

After a while, I believe that there comes a point and time where we must truly assess what we are doing and why. As Michael Jr. Comedy once said, “When we know our why, our what has more impact because we are walking in or towards our purpose.” This is often what differentiates those of us who live life on purpose from those of us who unfortunately fall into the dangerous time warp of society. Let’s ask ourselves, “How might we discover our purpose?” As a result, I’m sure this will eventually help to alleviate the pain of both working extra long and extra wrong.

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(Uh • Kway • Us) Aquaus Kelley is a forward-thinking Brand Strategist, Cultural Curator, and Educator. As the Founder of A Lovers Ambition Lifestyle Group, he specializes in identifying talent and creating opportunities for brand development, exposure, and growth. Aquaus has worked with companies and organizations such as Cornerstone Agency, City Year Miami, Universal Music Group, and W Hotels. He is extremely passionate about helping companies adapt to culture and building value between brands and their consumers centered around love. His ultimate mission is to use his influence to project positivity across the globe and invest in the collective future of society through the arts, education, entertainment, and leadership.

What Do We Look For In Emerging Artists?

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Photo via FACT Magazine.

Back on November 24, 2015, I had the honor of being interviewed by one of my favorite new music discovery platforms, fanum.fm. When asked the question, “What characteristics or qualities do I find attractive in new and emerging artists?” I answered as follows:

When I was an A&R and music publisher, I was often asked: “What do I look for in emerging artists?” As strange as it may sound, this was never a simple question for me. In fact, I was always looking for better ways to explain what catches my attention. Even today, when it comes to discovering new and emerging talent, there are a few elements that I find myself…well…a “sucker for” — here they are!

1. Production Quality (Songs)

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Photo via GrungeCake.

My introduction into the world of recorded music came through producing and writing songs alongside a very good friend of mine. We were HUGE fans of The Neptunes and were always intrigued by the quality of their production and how they worked with a wide variety of artists. When it comes to identifying artists who catch my attention, I’m very production driven.

Here are a few attributes which I tend to look for:

  • Good selection of sounds (electronic, live, sampled, etc).
  • Catchy melodies and chord progressions.
  • Clear and audible vocals.
  • Interesting vocal and/or instrumental arrangements.
  • Thoughtful lyrics and storytelling.

In October of 2015, I was talking to one of my friends in the lobby of my apartment building. A few minutes into our conversation, I heard an ear-catching melody underneath some foreign female vocals. I immediately had to pause the conversation to find out exactly what song was being played. Thanks to Shazam, I discovered it was “Come” by Jain – a singer/songwriter from France. Due to the flavor and quality of her production, I was positively exposed to her music. As a result, I continue to follow her work as she proceeds to build her brand.

2. Brand Potential (Cohesive Aesthetic)

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Photo via The Fader.

I firmly believe that a strong brand should entail a cohesive aesthetic across all media platforms. It’s important to avoid confusing our potential consumers and make sure that they know where and how to find us. Our website, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Soundcloud, Twitter, and Youtube all serve as primary and secondary touch-points for people to find us. They need to be in sync. A GREAT example of an emerging artist with a cohesive aesthetic is Kali Uchis:

I’ve always been a sucker for the small things that tend to add up as our careers manifest down the line. Do you notice how Kali’s quality visuals match her personality, style, and theme across all channels? Even her color scheme is a consistent baby blue and pink. Brand cohesion plays a huge role when it comes to catching and keeping our consumers attention.

3. Diligence, Honesty, and Initiative

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Photo via Google.

Practicing diligence, taking initiative, and being honest with one’s self is truly what helps to set an artist up for the long-haul in regards to defining their legacy. I believe Kehlani is a prime example of this. Her current label, Atlantic Records, considers her a “mindie” act (‘Major’ artist with ‘Indie’ bonafides), having her fan base as an independent artist before garnering the attention of the majors.

It’s apparent that her hard work is just beginning to pay off, while her more subtle honesty bleeds through her music. In an interview with The Fader, she talks about going through foster care, losing her father as a child, and her wavering sexual identity. These are all topics that many artists shy away from for fear of compromising how they are viewed in public. Kehlani is different. She realizes that to inspire others is to accept herself for exactly who she is. She is such a shining light of truthful experience and authentic artistry! For this reason, Kehlani is continuing to win over fans and supporters even through her public challenges and setbacks. Keep striving Kehlani, keep striving!

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(Uh • Kway • Us) Aquaus Kelley is a forward-thinking Brand Strategist, Cultural Curator, and Educator. As the Founder of A Lovers Ambition Lifestyle Group, he specializes in identifying talent and creating opportunities for brand development, exposure, and growth. Aquaus has worked with companies and organizations such as Cornerstone Agency, City Year Miami, Universal Music Group, and W Hotels. He is extremely passionate about helping companies adapt to culture and building value between brands and their consumers centered around love. His ultimate mission is to use his influence to project positivity across the globe and invest in the collective future of society through the arts, education, entertainment, and leadership.

Thundercat – Bus In These Streets

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Photo by: Theo Jemison courtesy of MTV

We came across Thundercat‘s “Bus In These Streets” release via BRAINFEEDER a few weeks ago on soundcloud. The old school feel and introspective vocals backed by the production editing and programming of Flying Lotus is what initially caught our attention. Clearly, we’re far from the only ones whose attention it happened to catch. S/O to @deeperkayy for being one of the first to drop the heat on Twitter. That’s right, we scrolled through all of the tweets pertaining to “Bus In These Streets” just to find him. We know…we’re SUPER nerdy…sometimes quirky.

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Nonetheless, enjoy the tune!

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A Lovers Ambition Lifestyle Group is a brand development agency that specializes in creating opportunities for brand development, exposure, and growth. With an emphasis on culture and lifestyle, the primary focus of A Lovers Ambition Lifestyle Group is to help companies adapt to culture and build value between brands and their consumers centered around love. Our social mission is to leverage the influence of popular culture to create social change and invest in the collective future of society through the arts, education, entertainment, and leadership. We are driven by AMBITION, fueled by PASSION, inspired by INNOVATION, and suckers for STRATEGY!

The Story Behind: #WeLOVEHubCity!

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Preface!

On July 19, 2015, I asked myself the following question, “Where can we create a global community for those who express an interest in changing the world?” As big and futuristic of an idea as this may sound, please allow me to express how we can begin to manifest our ideal thoughts into ideal actions. Here are the two magic words, “START LOCAL.”

On Saturday May 28, 2016 at 4:18 am, I recorded a voice memo detailing my ideas and thoughts on the impact and importance of starting local. This came after sending an email over to Anand Patel. Anand happens to be the co-owner of Hidden Grounds Coffee, a local business here in New Brunswick, NJ.

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In October of 2013, I interviewed Anand for behindthehustle.com. We sat down to discuss both the hardships and successes that come with opening up a new business. Since then, I have made an effort to stay informed of what’s going on at Hidden Grounds.

The email that I sent to Anand was in reference to 365 by Whole Foods, “Friends of 365” program. This is an entrepreneurial move aimed to incorporate a sense of localized, independent, and creative entrepreneurial spirit by installing third-party vendors inside of its 365 by Whole Foods stores. A few minutes after I sent this email, I had an instant epiphany…”START LOCAL.”

Why Start Local? Proximity Matters!

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On January 2, 2016, I posted a video of Bryan Stevenson’s 2015 Zeitgeist Minds talk. Here he discussed the importance of being proximate to the problems in our world. “Proximity teaches us things that we cannot learn from a distance” Stevenson says. “When we get proximate to problems, we see things and hear nuances and details that we cannot see from a distance. In order to solve problems and create breakthroughs, we must get very close and inside of the problems that we intend to solve.” Starting local enables us to foster closer and more intimate relationships in the communities which we serve.

I Thought To Myself!

“With so many local businesses, companies, organizations, and schools here in the City of New Brunswick, how can I leverage my talents in an effort to add value to my local community at large?”

Naturally, my first instinct was to go to social media. I went straight to Twitter and Instagram to search for local businesses, companies, and organizations in the New Brunswick area. For some reason, I decided to check out New Brunswick’s Hyatt Hotel on Twitter.

@HyattNewBruns (517 Followers)

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After viewing their profile, I immediately thought to myself, “Why does the Hyatt only have 517 followers?” I was then curious to see how much of a brand presence our city government and school district had on their social media profiles as well.

@CityofNewBruns (4,311 Followers)

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@nbpschools (268 followers)

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Seeing these numbers were highly intriguing! Not only did I begin to see a trend, more importantly, I began to see an opportunity. According to U.S. Census data, the City of New Brunswick’s population is roughly around 57,000 residents. If this is the case, I asked myself the following question: “How might our local businesses, government agencies, and schools do a better job in regards to engaging with our community?”

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Living In The City!

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As a graduate of Rutgers University, a resident in the City of New Brunswick, and a substitute teacher throughout New Brunswick Public Schools, I feel as though I am extremely proximate to the diverse culture and lifestyle New Brunswick has to offer. However, along with the great potential of our city will come challenges. One immediate challenge that I have observed over the years, is a lack of awareness when it comes to business, community, education, and government initiatives. In a city with roughly around 57,000 residents, how might we do a better job in regards to reaching and engaging with our community?

The Power of Social Media!

In an age where both digital and social media presence move the world, I believe that our online platforms are the single most important places for businesses, communities, schools, and government agencies to connect and meet at scale. This leads me to my BIG ESSENTIAL question:

How might we leverage digital and social media platforms to bridge the gap between business, community culture, education, and government?

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Introducing: The #WeLOVEHubCity Initiative! 

The #WeLOVEHubCity initiative is a solution to our problem. This initiative is essentially the culmination of the last 5 years of my life. Since graduating from Rutgers University in May of 2011, I have worked on numerous community service initiatives as a City Year Corps member while living in Miami, FL. While in Miami, I also spent my “free” time working as a field marketing rep for Cornerstone Agency. I owe it to Cornerstone for introducing me to the world of branding, entertainment marketing, and promotion. When I returned back to New Jersey in late 2012, I began to work for New Brunswick Public Schools as a Substitute Teacher.

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The combination of all of these unique experiences is ultimately what I feel enabled me to develop the #WeLOVEHubCity initiative. My love for culture, community, education, entertainment, and leadership are just a few things that I feel fuel me with the passion to pursue an initiative of this capacity. Through digital and social media curation, our mission is to bridge the gap between business, community culture, education, and government in the City of New Brunswick, NJ.

Where Might We Begin?

Through promoting the usage of the #WeLOVEHubCity hashtag to our businesses, community organizations, government agencies, and schools throughout the city, we are proactively encouraging digital conversation and dialogue on all social media platforms. In turn, this will help to endorse healthy engagement, the exchange of ideas, and the increase in brand awareness for the entire City of New Brunswick. When we curate content generated through the usage of the #WeLOVEHubCity hashtag, we will then share it across all of our @WeLOVEHubCity social media accounts.

Where Might This Lead Us?

Our @WeLOVEHubCity social media accounts will serve as “digital hubs” for the intersection between business, community culture, education, and government initiatives throughout the City of New Brunswick. Imagine a digital community center that serves as the hub of Hub City. Imagine a place where we are proud to share the accomplishments, best practices, and talents in business, community culture, education, and government. It’s a huge win for everyone involved. When we are able to pull together as a collective for the City of New Brunswick, we will also begin to economically thrive across all sectors. This will serve as an inspiration for other cities throughout the State of New Jersey and across the nation!

Collaboration + Partnership!

If you love what you hear, we would love for you to hop on board in some capacity. We understand that collaboration and partnership is essential to the healthy development and execution of ideas. We also know that we have a long way to go and thus will need the full support of the New Brunswick community at large. We would love to begin talks to discuss partnering with the following community leaders:

  • New Brunswick Public Schools
  • The City of New Brunswick
  • Rutgers University
  • Community organizations
  • Local businesses

Interested in saying hello? Shoot us a note at hi@welovehubcity.com. We are looking forward to hearing from you.

Oh…we almost forgot. Please, spread the word and follow us on social:

Website: welovehubcity.com
Facebook: @welovehubcity
Instagram: @welovehubcity
Twitter: @welovehubcity

Cheers!

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(Uh • Kway • Us) Aquaus Kelley is a forward-thinking Brand Strategist, Cultural Curator, and Educator. As the Founder of A Lovers Ambition Lifestyle Group, he specializes in identifying talent and creating opportunities for brand development, exposure, and growth. Aquaus has worked with companies and organizations such as Cornerstone Agency, City Year Miami, Universal Music Group, and W Hotels. He is extremely passionate about helping companies adapt to culture and building value between brands and their consumers centered around love. His ultimate mission is to use his influence to project positivity across the globe and invest in the collective future of society through the arts, education, entertainment, and leadership.

Launches We LOVE: 365 by Whole Foods

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Photo courtesy of Whole Foods Market via entrepreneur.com.

We first caught wind of 365 by Whole Foods while browsing through Fast Company magazine’s “100 Most Creative People in Business” June 2016 issue. Interestingly enough, we then caught a second wind when Juicero tweeted about juicing at the 365 by Whole Foods grand opening in the Silver Lake section of Los Angeles, CA on Wednesday May 25, 2016.

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As they say, “Hearing things twice is just as nice.” (Okay, this may not always be the case) but regardless, we decided to revisit our issue of Fast Company and dig a little deeper into what the 365 by Whole Foods launch is all about!

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Photo courtesy of Coley Brown for The New York Times.

Coming in at number 51 on Fast Company’s 2016 #MCP list is Jeff Turnas. Turnas is a 21-year Whole Foods veteran who was appointed to take over the new 365 by Whole Foods helm as president. “With Whole Foods’ same-store sales slightly declining, 365 by Whole Foods is an effort to compete with value-minded stores such as Trader Joe’s, Sprouts, and Fresh Market. These stores predominantly cater to younger and less affluent shoppers” says Sarah Kessler of Fast Company. “365 by Whole Foods is hoping its new brand will appeal to a broader demographic and fit into neighborhoods that might not support a higher-end store.”

365 by Whole Foods will offer a simple design and streamlined products (Whole Foods’ own 365 line) in an effort to mitigate operational costs and lower prices for customers. However, what really caught our attention in particular is 365 by Whole Foods, “Friends of 365” program.

Friends of 365 is an entrepreneurial move developed by Turnas to incorporate a sense of localized, independent, and creative entrepreneurial spirit by installing third-party vendors inside of its 365 by Whole Foods stores. As mentioned by Kessler, “The Silver Lake store features a café by Allegro Coffee Company and a NYC based vegan-burger restaurant, By Chloe” which of course happens to be one of our favorite vegan spots in the city!

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According to Kessler, 365 by Whole Foods expects to launch 3 stores by the end of the year and another 10 in 2017. It is estimated from various sources that Whole Foods has signed ~ 16-19 leases for 365 stores around the United States. We don’t know about you, but we’re definitely looking forward to welcoming them to the east coast when the time is ripe (pun intended)!

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Do you think that 365 by Whole Foods may turn out to be the youthful version of the traditional Whole Foods for budget conscious health-focused millennials? We guess we’ll have to wait and see!

Word Around The Web:

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A Lovers Ambition Lifestyle Group is a brand development agency that specializes in creating opportunities for brand development, exposure, and growth. With an emphasis on culture and lifestyle, the primary focus of A Lovers Ambition Lifestyle Group is to help companies adapt to culture and build value between brands and their consumers centered around love. Our social mission is to invest in the collective future of society through the arts, education, entertainment, and leadership. We are driven by AMBITION, fueled by PASSION, inspired by INNOVATION, and suckers for STRATEGY!

7 Days of Wisdom (Episode 16)

7 Days of Wisdom is an original weekly video series presented by A Lovers Ambition Lifestyle Group and hosted by Aquaus Kelley. Our mission is to foster growth and create a community of success and significance. Through sharing meaningful advice, knowledge, and insight gathered throughout our daily experiences, we aim to empower, encourage, and inspire our community to achieve their most passionate aspirations.

In This Weeks Episode We Discuss:

  1. Time Telling The Truth (1:05)
  2. Paying Attention To Details (6:53)
  3. Tapping Into Resources (13:11)
  4. Quotes of The Week (15:25)

This Weeks Resources Include:

  1. Time Tells The Truth: Tai Lopez
  2. iPad Mini Courtesy of Tai Lopez

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(Uh • Kway • Us) Aquaus Kelley is a forward-thinking Brand Strategist, Educator, and Music Publisher. As the Founder of A Lovers Ambition Lifestyle Group, he specializes in identifying talent and creating opportunities for brand development, exposure, and growth. Aquaus has worked with companies and organizations such as Cornerstone Agency, City Year Miami, Universal Music Group, and W Hotels. He is extremely passionate about helping companies adapt to culture and building value between brands and their consumers centered around love. His ultimate mission is to use his influence to project positivity across the globe and invest in the collective future of society through the arts, education, entertainment, and leadership.

Empowered: The Story of MankoFit

Earlier today, I was talking to a friend of mine about fitness, health, and wellness. She asked me if I knew of someone by the name of Massiel “MankoFit” Arias. Although the name sounded slightly familiar, it still didn’t quite ring a bell. A few seconds later, I asked to see her Instagram. After a few quick glances, I knew that I had seen her somewhere before. I sent out a quick text to one of my close childhood friends, Thomas Johnson. I wanted to see if he was familiar with her. 5 minutes later…he replied, “Yes, I am.”

Thomas is a Health and Fitness Coach and also the CEO of GetUpNGetFit. GetUpNGetFit is a health & fitness company that helps clients learn how to implement healthy and safe lifestyle habits that will allow them to live an optimum lifestyle. This past weekend, Thomas, my brother, and I all went out to celebrate my brothers birthday and the release of one of my other friends mobile app. When we returned from the city, Thomas shared with me some insight on MankoFit. He told me how she is very well known within the world of fitness and how she is doing a great job at making a positive name for herself.

Hearing about someone once might gain my acknowledgement. Hearing about someone twice definitely gains my attention. It was finally time to hit that search button. As expected, I did all of my preliminary searching via Google. I also checked out her Twitter, Youtube, and website. I liked what I had seen. I could tell that she is very passionate about her work. She has the drive of someone who is out here fighting to prove something. The ambition of someone fighting for a specific cause. What really caught my attention however is her mini-documentary above. ‘Empowered – The Story of MankoFit’, does a great job at portraying how Massy utilized fitness as a medium to overcome her depression.

We all know that life is full of obstacles, hardships, and setbacks. How we choose to overcome the challenges that stand in our way is ultimately what helps to build our character and craft our own unique story. Ask yourself, what are you doing today to make your journey more fulfilling tomorrow?

This video (which is very well shot), was directed by Eliu Cornielle of EC Media Studio. It’s super empowering, inspiring, and motivating…Enjoy!

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(Uh • Kway • Us) Aquaus Kelley is a forward-thinking Brand Strategist, Educator, and Music Publisher. As the Founder of A Lovers Ambition Lifestyle Group, he specializes in identifying talent and creating opportunities for brand development, exposure, and growth. Aquaus has worked with companies and organizations such as Cornerstone Agency, City Year Miami, Universal Music Group, and W Hotels. He is extremely passionate about helping companies adapt to culture and building value between brands and their consumers centered around love. His ultimate mission is to use his influence to project positivity across the globe and invest in the collective future of society through the arts, education, entertainment, and leadership.

YAW – Hump Day

Last week as I was perusing through twitter on a routine hunt to connect with new faces, I came across a profile that included Artist Mgmt/DJ in the description. The person’s name happened to be Mike Cellucci. What happened next? Of course I had to reach out and inquire about some of the acts in which he manages.

The first act that he sent me is an MC named YAW (pronounce Yáo). I checked out his twitter and then clicked on a link to his bandcamp page. As soon as I heard ‘Cool‘, I wanted to listen to more. When I heard ‘The Office Fling‘, I was sold. It doesn’t take me long to identify talent once I encounter it. YAW has the ability to tell magnificent stories that everyday people can relate to. He verbally paints pictures that stick vividly to ones mind. His latest project is entitled, Hump Day and specifically discusses the interaction between male and female regarding a variety of issues; dating, courting, relationships, infidelity, etc.

Sit back, vibe out, and enjoy!