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Before Moving to LA Read This!

My move to LA has been one of the best moves that ever happened to me, but I wish someone gave me a guide book to the city before moving here.

LA has so much to offer and it also has some very real challenges. To help you prepare I came up with a guide to help with important things to consider.

  1. Financial Preparation-

I am starting here, because this can literally make OR break you. The stories of coming to LA with $1,000 are great and good inspirational stories, but you are going to be in a word of hurt if you do that in or after 2017.

Here’s why. The cost of living is something we hear a lot about as it pertains to LA, but that does not put into perspective what it means. Groceries are more expensive, housing is not just more expensive, but it can be extremely to have a safe place to live if you are not prepared to drop in excess of $2,500 for a studio, and then buy appliances and a window unit. You read that right not central a/c a window unit and buy appliances. So if your mental calculator is not the best, your total move-in costs could quickly exceed $3,000 for a studio with no real updates completed since 1990.

Another aspect to prepare for is the super competitive housing market. Here today gone today explains apartments in LA. If the apartment is a great deal, comes with a stove and fridge (or 1 of the 2) expect it to be gone quickly. Shopping around is a luxury in LA.

Check out the housing links for Craigslist, HotPads, and Westside Rentals to help you find a place to live prior to moving so that you can unpack your bags and not find yourself couch surfing for months on end.

  1. Physical preparation-

The hustle and bustle of the city is real. That said you need a healthy outlet to sweat out the alcohol, possible stress, and being photo ready for the LA weather.

Start early. Before you move find a park near you to go running or map out a route in your neighborhood. LA is a city where a gym membership is nice, but plenty of people stay fit with a hike and boot camp.

  1. Spiritual preparation-

This is probably the biggest and most important point. Know who you are before you get here. Something a sound spiritual life can only provide. Moving to LA you are going to encounter your favorite actor or singer in random places. You may be invited to countless events, and there is always something to do. Be sure those opportunities do not define you and that your self worth does not need a backdrop, exclusive party, or celebrity picture to let you know you belong.

The amazing thing about LA is there are great spiritual outlets. There are churches, Buddhist temples, and everything in between to meet spiritual and religious needs you have.

  1. Work Ethic-

Point blank have it before you get here. You may be the best in Middle America, Dallas or Houston, TX or even Miami, but there are 100k people in LA who are just as good and probably better. What is going to differentiate you is your work ethic. No is going to be something you hear a lot of. It may come in the form of “let’s talk later”, “let’s do lunch”, or “something came up”, but be diligent and stay ready. You have to be prepared like never before which is why your spiritual preparation aligns with your work ethic.

  1. Professional Preparation-

Be good at many different things and master one. LA is the land of opportunity. You should be knee deep in what you say you want to do. You may be moving to be an actor, but do not be afraid to dust that degree off and find a 9-5 until things get moving for you.

You may DJ on the weekends or in the evening, but drive for uber/lyft until you establish a network. In LA most people have multiple hustles.

This connects to the spiritual preparation portion, be kind and be humble. The person in yoga pants could be a yoga instructor, the VP at a major network, or your next publicist. LA is a casual city. You just never know who is who. I know social media makes you believe you have to dine at $100/plate restaurants nightly and brunch every day just do not fall into the trap that if that becomes your lifestyle you no longer feel the need to be kind and to stay humble.

  1. Learn the Areas-

Prior to moving to LA I thought I knew where I wanted to live. After over a year in Los Angeles I now realize I knew nothing. Here are a few neighborhoods I have learned about.

Hollywood

I first crashed with a friend in Hollywood. I loved the walkability and inexpensive Uber/Lyft in the area. The downside can be pricing and parking. Be prepared to only have street parking except from 8am – 6pm and not on Mondays for the street sweepers, which I never saw.

The Valley (Sherman Oaks, North Hollywood, Van Nuys)

Surprisingly this area comes with some fairly nice spaces. You can get more bang for your buck and you can get some good updated spaces. The downside is you are far from a lot of things and rarely does anyone travel to the Valley if they do not already live there. The area is also great for those who work at studios and dancers. North Hollywood also has a train station to help get you through the city.

Mid-City/ Koreatown

This area has decent apartment pricing. The challenge is parking. There is rarely parking available so if you live in one of those areas be prepared to pay for a spot if the option is available.

Ladera Heights

This neighborhood is a true gem. You can find homes that remind you of suburb from your local community. For me it reminds me of some neighborhoods in Houston. After taking a look at my place I walked to Starbucks, the cleanest one I have EVER seen, and found nearly 50 people playing Chess and checkers. Everyone seems to be friendly and it is not too close to the airport, but close enough for you to get there for $5 in an Uber/Lyft.

Good luck with the LA move. May it lead you to the next level of your journey!

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You Can’t Recreate Her…

 

It’s taken me a few days to put all my thoughts together! This post is a review of The Formation Tour performed by Beyoncé. A buddy of mine, T. Davis and I attended the concert together and we literally left the show in awe. Two concertgoers who’ve attended a myriad of different types of shows with different genres, but this show stood out.

Saturday, May 7th the Houston native and pop superstar proved there’s nobody coming close to her.

From the time you touched the parking lot there was a certain energy about everyone you encountered. Some dressed in costume replicas of her music videos and others dressed up like they were ready for a red carpet.

Rappers Paul Wall and Slim Thug got the crowd warmed up with DJ Khaled. Scattered among the concert goers were Adrian Peterson, actor Kendrick Sampson, from How to Get Away with Murder and none other than Beyonce’s father and former manager, Mathew Knowles. The crowd of almost 60,000 fans was amped up and ready well before the Queen hit the stage.

Beyoncé opened the show with “Formation” the first single released off of her Visual Album, Lemonade. Though protesting was threatened very little could be seen as every one in the building had their eyes on the stage during the show. With a wide brimmed hat backed by at least 8 dancers the performer took the reigns of the show and kicked things into high gear.

Though the show had considerably less dancing, from Beyonce, than we are used to seeing the massive 6 story video wall, that rotated and opened up throughout the show proved to be more than enough compensation. Performing songs like Me, Myself and I for the first time on a tour, Kitty Kat and stand up out hits Sorry and Don’t Hurt yourself the audience gladly sung along. The roars were deafening as excited men, women and children of all ages belted out their favorites.

Beyoncé transformed her show with new choreography, new looks and working from one stage to the next and a catwalk complete with a escalated floor.

Then the coup de gras she performed in water. I’ve seen performers fly across the arena (she’s done that before) and though impressed there was something spiritual about the performance of Freedom in a water pit.

If you’ve ever wanted to see what the fuss is about or see a show like no other this is the show to check out. From production, to live vocals, to dancing and a fiery stage presence this show is arguable one of the best to be seen since the likes of Michael Jackson.

Do yourself a favor and check out the Formation Tour, because as Beyonce stated in, the song “Don’t Hurt Yourself”, they CAN’T RECREATE HER… NAW!

 

Click Here to View Concert Footage

 

Photo Credit: Beyonce.com and Joseph Williams

Hip Hop Comes out… Sort of

#OutinHipHop

Last week VH1 and the Love and Hip Hop brand delivered a round table discussion that was actually positive. No fighting, cursing word wheeling, slander filled conversations, but civil dialogue. They brought people of color together for a civilized conversation about a social, religious and cultural topic, Homosexuality in the Hip Hop Culture.
The show was navigated by journalist and ABC anchor and television personality, T.J. Holmes.
Holmes navigated the broad topic and was accompanied by noted hip hop artist DMC and Big Freedia. Among the panelists included Ray J, Fizz, and Emil Wilbekin, Pastor Delman Coates, Buttahman, Clay Cane, Chuck Creekmur , and Michael Arceneaux.
The show began discussing Miles (a participant in the show Love and Hip Hop LA) coming out process, internal conflict he faced, as well as what reality he may face from a very religious black family and being a up and coming hip hop artist.
Miles discussed not wanting to be shunned and or disowned by his family and disregarded by his church. Admittedly I had not watched much of Love and Hip-Hop LA this season, but Mile’s story resonated with me. Over the past 9 years, I began to accept my sexuality (all be it in stages) I’ve encountered so many men who are held captive by the love they fear they will lose by being who they simply are. Their taste in clothes doesn’t change, their mannerisms won’t change, their respect for their family won’t change and their love of God or their spiritual being wouldn’t change. However their family and some friends would surely reject them for not having the same attraction.
The show was a dartboard of topics, but T.J. Holmes did a great job of navigating things and keeping the show moving. Of the topics on the show, one of the most heated exchanges took place around religion and hip-hop’s effect on participants and listeners of hip hop. The panel discussed religion and its role in keeping people closeted. The irony was that hip hop artists who degrade women, glorify a gluttonous lifestyle, and degrade their brother’s and sisters could then have a moral compass was the elephant in the room.
The topic was very interesting as you could see the stage of religious leaders was definitely split. As Pastor Delman Coates, eloquently explained Jesus himself never mentions anything about same sex love, marriage or interactions. He put into context the mentioning of homosexuality in the bible and explained the church should be welcoming same gender loving members without commenting on their respective private life.

This topic could have been an entire show by itself. Pastor Jamall Bryant on via Skype providing counseling and prayer for the afflicted gays while Pastor Delman Coates lauded the church to welcome everyone and to love the individuals regardless of sexuality. He touched on not nitpicking sins.

The show progressed so much and discussed stories and impacts of words like “faggot” or “fag” so much that several of the artists on stage stood up to announce they wouldn’t use it having witnessed the conversation of how those words effected so many.
Perhaps the most poignant moment aside from Pastor Delman Coates was the point Emil Wilbekin made. The former Vibe Magazine editor in chief, stated that straight men and hip hop in particular will wear clothes designed and styled by a gay man, but mock, disrespect, and ridicule a gay man. Again the irony in the conversation was abounding. A community that feels like “non-black” artists exploit hip hop, yet they will exploit the styles created by gay men.
I’ve often wondered how the individuals (rappers / hip-hop artists) who by in large don’t contribute positive images of young African-American youth in their artistry can then get so spiritual and religious to condemn someone else. Surely there are worse things than being gay, unless of course you’re black and then you could have sold drugs in your neighborhood that led to countless deaths, arrests, and subsequent spiraling activities that leave many African Americans stuck.
We have to begin to evaluate how we’ve defined a group of people who aren’t bad just based on their sexuality (LGBT Community). They aren’t demonic and they aren’t evil. We instead need to have a higher level of consciousness that makes us evaluate individuals based on their works and their words. I’ve seen more young men and women influenced by artistry that doesn’t represent reality and instead crafts an invisible cage around their mind. Let’s start to look past sexual preferences and start to just make good quality music. Something to make us feel good, make is move, and hopefully motivate us.
Check out the link below to #OutinHipHop

#OutinHipHop

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My Favorite App

I’ve always struggled with packing for a trip. Business or personal I always want options and I always think you can’t have too many options. A normal weekend trip would have me lugging a 50lb bag through the airport. 

I think I finally hit my stride in terms of packing around the age of 28. I packed dress shoes I could dress up or down, black jeans that can be dressed up or down and 2-3 pairs of sneakers (usually 1 pair to sneak in a workout or two). 

I found this article to be helpful for the men who struggle with packing as well. For those of you who want to pack a blazer for a potential dressy event or to dress up to an evening event. 

This isn’t an advertisement for Jack Threads, I personally love their deals. They always have a smorgisboard of deals and items most men can use and are always looking for. Particularly for shoes and accessories you can find deals for normally high priced items for $100 or less on any given day. 

Guys be sure to download their app and they also have good tips for men and read how to Pack a Blazer below.  

 

Jack Threads – How to Pack a Blazer