Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Letter To God...From The Thanksgiving Turkey

This is totally something I would do.  I'd probably also include a PowerPoint presentation with the letter to further explain my position.  LOL!   #Virgo 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tie Tuesday (Shuggie Otis)

I loooooove music!  All kinds.  My personal catalog includes everybody from James Taylor to Tupac Shakur.  I'm attracted to artists who aren't afraid to step out of the box and be true to themselves. 

That's Shuggie Otis.  He's a serious, accomplished musician first.  An incredible guitarist.  I respect that.  And although his music is clearly influenced by jazz, R&B and blues, his psychedelic & eclectic style always shines through. 

Over the years, Shuggie has worked with Etta James, B.B. King and Jackie Wilson just to name a few.  He scored his biggest hit with "Strawberry Letter 23."  And then he just kinda disappeared - for almost 40 years.  Earlier this year, he released new music with his "Wings of Love" album. Yes!   

Throughout the music industry, Shuggie has been sampled by Beyonce, Outkast, DJ Quick and many others.   

When asked about Shuggie Otis recently, Lenny Kravtiz (another one of my favorites) said, "He's a great example of an artist that erases the borders between genres.  His sweet voice paints intoxicating pictures full of vivid imagery."

I couldn't have said it any better.... 


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tie Tuesday (Andy Warhol)

I love people who are talented, unique and...bold.  People like pop artist and cultural icon, Andy Warhol.  He's one of my favorites!  It's been over 20 years since his death and we're still talking about him and his work. If that's not the definition of longevity, I don't know what is!

His art wasn't subtle or shy.  It grabbed your attention and wouldn't let go until you acknowledged it.  His signature brand was the fusion of his personal style and artwork.  He was a creative thinker who always seemed to be ahead of his time artistically.  Super smart dude.

In addition to being an artist, Andy was also a filmmaker.  He made nearly 60 movies during his lifetime.  And he didn't stop there.  He published magazines and several books too.  A real artist. 

Some of his work: 

Monday, November 18, 2013

PR Tip: Newsjacking - It's Legal & It Works

If I had a $1 for every friend or associate who asked me for PR help with their business, project or personal brand, I'd be able to buy all the cupcakes in the world!  As much as I love cupcakes and helping people, realistically it's impossible to help everyone, so I don't.  I can and do give PR tips all the time though. 

So here's one of my favorites: Newsjacking.  Yes, it's legal.  No, it's not unethical.  PR folks do it all the time.  

News is constantly happening.  Every hour. Every minute.  Newsjacking is simply injecting your ideas (i.e. your business, your product, your service, etc.) into a hot, current news story. The key to newsjacking is timing, so make sure you're following your local and national news outlets daily. In other words, stay ready!

Once that breaking news happens, create something (blog post, video, tweet, article, etc.) relevant and appropriate (that's key too!) that will grab the media's attention.  Newsjacking is responding to a news story, and adding value to it that will be beneficial for the audience/readers.      
Here's an example: 

The Super Bowl is a big deal, right?  You already know the media is going to be talking about the teams, the plays and the halftime show. (Remember, stay ready.)  So, remember last year when Beyonce shut it down with her halftime performance?  Like, she literally SHUT IT DOWN!  The power went out and the game was delayed for about 20 minutes.  Well, here's what the Oreo cookie folks tweeted minutes after that happened: 

Perfect!  They newsjacked the Super Bowl outage.  The tweet went viral because it was savvy, fun and relevant.  

Last thing - Be careful and use good judgement with newsjacking.  You don't want to newsjack a negative, somber story and/or make light of it.  You do that and you'll be looking at a PR disaster. If you don't believe me, google "Kenneth Cole Cairo tweet."  #Yikes

Monday, November 11, 2013

The REAL Issue With That Racially Offensive Home Depot Tweet

Last week, everybody was up in arms about a racially insensitive tweet that Home Depot posted from their company account.   

Take a look: 

Pretty offensive, right?  Yep.  There's no need for me to go into details about WHY it's offensive. If you don't know, I honestly don't have the time or energy to break it down for you.  But take it from me - a reasonable, rational, super nice, liberal black woman with a great smile - It. Is Offensive.  

OK-enough about me...  

So, listen.  I like Home Depot (told you I was nice).  I shop there often and when I purchased my new home five years ago, I visited their store 4-5 times a week for months.  I was there so much the staff knew me by name!   

From a PR perspective, I commend Home Depot for taking swift action after this tweet was posted. They acknowledged it was wrong, stated their zero tolerance policy for things like this and terminated the agency and employee who were responsible for the post. They're also reviewing their social media policy so that incidents like this won't happen again.    

But here's the real issue with that tweet.  It shows first-hand the lack of racial diversity among employees in major corporations and national advertising agencies in this country. In other words - I can almost guarantee you, there were no African Americans in those initial meetings about the content of this post. That tweet was posted by someone who didn't know any better and/or someone who has had little to no racial sensitivity training. Either way, it's bad. 

I'd like to think if there was an African American employee working on this project and someone suggested this terrible tweet, that employee would have paused and said, "Wait. A monkey and black men?  Hell no."  Crisis averted. 

Companies aren't perfect. What happened with Home Depot could have happened to any Fortune 500 company in America.  But if corporations want to continue to grow and prosper, they should have a diverse and inclusive employee base - from the board room to the mail room.  Why? Diversity breeds a culture of fresh creativity and innovation.  It allows people from various backgrounds to contribute to the success of the business.  

If companies don't embrace diversity and understand the importance of cultural sensitivity, we'll continue to see these kinds of public mishaps and crude blunders.  

Note: Diversity = Attributes such as gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religion, physical ability, age, etc. 


Friday, November 8, 2013

10 Reasons Why a 'Roots' Remake Is a Bad Idea

Brace yourself.  *long sigh*  History (The History Channel) just announced plans to remake....Roots.  Yes, Roots.  One of the most celebrated and groundbreaking TV programs of all time.  And no, I'm not kidding.  Roots - the miniseries that debuted in 1977 and earned a record 36 Emmy nominations, winning nine, including best limited series.  

A remake?  Nice.  And by nice, I mean no.  Here are 10 reasons why a Roots remake is a bad idea:

  1. Just because Django, The Help, The Butler and 12 Years a Slave did great at the box office doesn't mean the remake of Roots will do the same.
  2. Hollywood has a terrible track record when it comes to remakes.  The odds aren't good.

  3. Black people have other stories to tell.  Wake up Hollywood!

  4. Greatness (Roots) stands the test of time.  It is what it is. (Air the original).

  5. Twitter will completely shut DOWN if this remake really happens.  Explode!

  6. Roots is a classic.  You see anybody remaking Gone With The Wind?

  7. This remake is a perfect example of doing too much.  And doing too much always backfires. 

  8. A remake seems so lazy.  Create new content! (TV writers have completely run out of new ideas.)

  9. Prettttty sure America has capped off on remakes for the decade. (In other words...folks are sick and tired of remakes.)

  10. The History Channel can't give 10 reasons (good ones) why a remake of Roots is necessary. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Tie Tuesday (Chiwetel Ejiofor)

I love, love, love to see the world wake up and embrace & respect someone's talent.  LOVE it! 

Case in point:  Chiwetel Ejiofor.  A British-Nigerian actor known in America for his roles in Amistad, Inside Man and American Gangster.  Chiwetel started out as a theater actor and has since, balanced stage productions with film and television commitments.   

His latest role as Solomon Northup in 12 Years a Slave is....brilliant, to say the least.  His talent is so dope that there are scenes where he doesn't even speak and he KILLS it.  Just amazing. 

The buzz has already started about an Oscar nomination for Chiwetel.  Shame on Hollywood if they don't honor him!  He deserves it and then some.    

In the meantime, learn to pronounce his name correctly.  You'll be talking about him for a long time.  Chiwetel is pronounced Choo-EH-tell.  Ejiofor is pronounced Edge-ee-OH-for.  Got it? 

Monday, November 4, 2013

12 Years a Slave....A Brutal, Heartbreaking History Lesson

Soooo, the hype around the movie 12 Years a Slave is real.  In terms of publicity and marketing, Fox Searchlight Films has done a great job.  No--scratch that.  They've done an excellent job!

Everyone's talking about it, tweeting about it and encouraging their friends & family to see it.
Well, guess what I did this past weekend?

First things first!  Let me just say that the movie is a unique combination of exceptional talent, riveting storytelling and historic relevance.  Although there have been many movies that depicted slavery, Director Steve McQueen's
12 Years a Slave tells the story from a different angle.  It's a compelling narrative of Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man and violinist from New York who is abducted and sold into slavery.  

It's based on a true story, and it's heartbreaking and disturbing.  Brutal and uncomfortable.  Super emotional.  But it is a movie about slavery, so I expected that.  And it's not just a story of survival.  It's about the will to live - despite horrific circumstances and broken spirits.     

Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon Northup 

Do I think you should see 12 Years a Slave?  Sure. 

One of my Facebook friends actually challenged black people to muster up "courage" and go see it.  Hmmmm.... Instead of her asking black people to see the film, I wish she would have encouraged "non-blacks" to see it.  

Movies like this represent an ugly part of history that most people want to ignore or downplay.  But it is real.  It did happen.  And generations later, people are still hurting.  This is not just a movie for black people.  It's a historical account of the the life of a slave.  A history lesson.    

Personally, 12 Years a Slave really made me think.  Really think....  Especially the line in the movie where a male slave says to Solomon, "If you want to survive, do and say as little as possible."  Wooo.  

Slavery was abolished many years ago, but a lot of people's mindsets (black & white) have not....  Pun intended.  #FoodForThought