Monday, December 30, 2013

Mandela: A Long Walk to Freedom - An Inspiring Tribute

Nelson Mandela lived 95 long years.  Amazing.  He blessed us in so many courageous ways.  When I sit and think--really think about his vision, his sacrifices, his strength and his unwavering commitment to humanity, it leaves me speechless.  And after seeing the movie, Mandela: A Long Walk to Freedom, all I could do was shake my head in disbelief. This really happened.  

The story of Nelson Mandela.... Whew.  A few months ago, I said to a friend, "How in the world does someone tell THAT story?"  So many layers. Decades of history.  Political control.  Cultural relevance. Apartheid.  Legacy.  Pain and heartache.  What an undertaking!    

William Nicholson's (the film's screenwriter) and Justin Chadwick's (director) interpretation of Nelson Mandela's life is uncomplicated and moving.  This film is the reason why movies should be made: To tell stories that entertain, agitate, educate and make you think.  I'm still thinking about this movie...    

Idris Elba as Mandela.  My goodness.  His portrayal is so captivating that it demands your undivided attention.  The movie begins with Mandela in his 20's.  He transforms from a charming ladies man to a husband and father, who eventually makes mistakes.  Mandela's anger over a friend's death ignites his fire to fight for equality.  That commitment changes his life, everyone who loves him and the future of a country.  Idris physically changes throughout the movie to age 75, but his presence remains strong and dignified until the end.  A commanding performance. An award worthy performance. 

The movie also depicts Winnie Mandela's struggle. Mandela loves his Winnie.  And she loves him, but more poignantly, she believes in him and his vision.  She continues to fight with him, for him and the people of South Africa for 27 years.  Her spirit is fiery and her strength is undeniable, but when she and Nelson touch each other for the first time in 21 years, she is simply....a woman in love.  It is the most heart-rending scene in the movie. Naomie Harris (who played Winnie Mandela) showed up, rolled up her sleeves and gave this role her everything.  Beyond impressive.
Idis Elba and Naomie Harris as Nelson and Winnie Mandela.
I grew up knowing Nelson Mandela was a hero of our times.  After seeing the film, I still believe he is.  But now, I realize he was a man with a fearless drive to do the right thing. He was a man who was passionate about humanity and forgiveness. A man who taught the world so many valuable lessons.  An example of love.  A champion of the people.  A great man.  

Friday, December 27, 2013

My Theme Song For 2014....

Being happy is a choice worth making.  Try it.  *sips tea*  Want some?  It's delicious. :)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Best. Christmas. Card. Ever!

So yeah...I feel like a failure in life.  My Christmas cards are NOTHING like this.  *kicks rocks*  :-)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

10 Things Santa Will Do After Christmas

  1. Triple check his list to make sure everyone received their gifts.

  2. Check Instagram to see all of the beautiful #MerryChristmas pictures.

  3. Get a massage.  After visiting 842 million homes and traveling 221 million miles to reach each kid, "exhausted" is an understatement.

  4. Date night with the Mrs.  He's been working long hours and she's been patient.  It's "her" time now.

  5. Hit the gym.  A diet that consists mostly of milk and cookies can wreak havoc on a waistline.

  6. Stop by the barber shop.  Make sure his beard is still tight.

  7. Sign and distribute elf bonus checks.  They're the forgotten heroes in all of this.

  8. Take the sleigh in for a tune-up.

  9. Call his publicist - Officially decline FOX News' invite to come on and talk about fictional characters and their racial backgrounds.

  10. Download the new Beyonce album.  #fan

Friday, December 13, 2013

Christmas Came A Little Early, No? (Thanks Beyonce)

Sooooo, Christmas came a little early!  I went to sleep last night and woke up to: 

Beyonce dropped a *gulp* 14-track video album on iTunes around midnight last night. Yep--each song comes with its very own video. *gulp again*  Listen.  Even if you don't like Beyonce (What the !@$& is wrong with you?), you gotta respect her brand: Bold and freakin' fearless. 

No marketing.  No promotion.  No warning.  Nada.  Just greatness.  Well played, B.  Well played.  #VirgoNation


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Friday, December 6, 2013

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

PR Tip: Make Sure Your Website Is Media Friendly

So, you have some amazing news to share about your company.  You decide to send out a press release to make the announcement.  Because it's unique, informative, relevant and compelling (Press Releases 101), a reporter takes notice.

He/she wants to find out more info, so they go to your company website.  Happens every day.  Make sure it's ready. Here are some tips:

Is your site organized, professional and easy to navigate?  Nothing pains a reporter more than having to stumble all over a site.  Keep it simple, intuitive and user friendly. Remember, reporters are on deadline, so they don't have a lot of time to "find" things on your website.  They will leave and move on to the next story.  *Include a "search" function so reporters can find what they need quickly.

Is it social media friendly?  Don't forget, bloggers are the media too. Always make sure your website content is shareable in the social media space.  Including easy "share" buttons on your site will help with that.  Killer content helps too.  If the content on your website is engaging, helpful and unique, bloggers will share it with their followers.    

Are there downloadable photos, images, videos?  Reporters and bloggers like to include photos/images/videos with their stories.  Make sure they can download these items quickly from your site.  The photos/images should be high resolution and the videos should be quality.   

Include a "Press Room" section.  Reporters and bloggers will love you for this!  It's a one-stop shop for them.  Your press room should have a press kit, which includes: your bio, company fact sheet, recent press releases, recent media coverage and photos/images/logo. Be sure to make a PDF version of your press kit that can be emailed to anyone. *Make sure your press room is always current/updated.

Links - Limit them & make sure they work.  Don't include a ton of links to other sites on your website.  Links can be like wild goose chases to reporters.  Remember, the clock is ticking. They have to turn in their story. No time to waste! And for the love of God, make sure your links work!  Double check, triple check - do whatever.  Make sure they all work.     

These are just a few tips.  I could go on and on, but I don't want your head to explode. :)  Start here.  Access your site again after you implement these things, and continue to work and make it better. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Tie Tuesday (Paul Walker)

My mouth literally fell open when I heard the news about Paul Walker. What?  No.  Really?!?!  I mean, really??  It was an Internet hoax.  It HAD to be.  Unfortunately, it wasn't. 

Paul Walker.  I mean, this guy is a movie star who's known for driving fast cars in his films. And...he's killed in a car accident?  Still hard to believe.  

And for those who can't quite understand why so many people were distraught about Paul's death, here's why:   

He was an embedded fixture in pop culture.  And not just as a pretty face.  Yes, he was freakishly handsome.  Like, take-your-breath-away good looking, but that's not it.  Paul was a part of one of the most successful movie franchises ever, Fast & Furious (Universal Studio's biggest franchise of all time.) 

The multiethnic cast, gorgeous stars, family elements and consistent storytelling has worked for Fast & Furious.  The movies have grossed almost $3 billion worldwide, and continue to dominate the international film market also.  

So, Paul Walker was a world famous super star.  Huge.  And his impact on our culture was undeniably real.  He passed away a few days ago and people are still talking about it.  Still in shock.  His influence and impact won't go away because he died. We'll keep talking about him.  We'll keep swooning over those piercing blue eyes.  We'll keep watching his movies. We'll always remember him.  Watch and see.    

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