Mamoudou Athie

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Mamoudou Athie's personality is like a breath of fresh air. I could hear the smile in his voice as he and I spoke. I felt as though I knew him for years. It is nice to come across anyone who laughs as much as I do! He continues to break through Hollywood with his upcoming movie Patti Cake$. He plays the mysterious Basterd the Antichrist. Patti Cake$ is a Hip Hop drama filled with comedy, life lessons, and freestyles. You may recognize him from the Netflix series The Get Down, as the legendary Grandmaster Flash. Mamoudou is lighting up the big screen with his break out performance. Patti Cake$ will be released August 18, 2017.

 

Basterd The Antichrist's character was dark and mysterious, Very different from your personality in real life. In what ways did you prepare for this role?

I talked to Geremy [director] and it was a lot of people who influenced me. My classmate Mickey Theis was a big influence. He is one of the most sensitive actors I worked with. He reminded me of Basterd, who is also sensitive. He is not really an antichrist, the grey eye is to keep people away, which is why he keeps himself contained like that. Mickey and I did a play together and I was not into the role at all. During the play, I turn around to look at Mickey and the look on his face said he needed a friend right now. I began thinking, "I need to do my job, I need to help my friend."

 

How did you come across the opportunity to play in Patti Cake$?

Well, it was kind of like a typical casting situation. I got an email from my agent and I was like, "Nah, I’m good [laughs]". Long story short, the casting director reached out to me and I read the script. My best friend Yahya, who played Cadillac in The Get Down, did not think the script was for him, but it might be for me. After reading the script again, I was like I have to do this movie, it's something really special...I have to be a part of this. 

Is it tough disguising your accent?

No, but it depends on the accent. I swear I tried to do an Italian accent and it was trash [laughs]. The English dialect came a lot easier. I grew up in Maryland, so the southern accent is a lot easier for me.

Did you have any doubts about playing this role?

Yes, because I only read the surface. It is such a strong thing to call yourself  the antichrist. I was like, "Nope, nope, nope, nope [laughs]." I am so glad you decided to take that role “me too, believe that”[laughs]

Were there certain music skills you had to acquire before the movie?

Yes, I had to learn how to play the guitar. Jason taught me how to play from scrap. I wish I kept it up more, because it is a wonderful skill. That is the wonderful things about acting, you learn new things. And a little bit of the MPC machine.

Are there ways Basterd’s personality is like yours in real life?

[Laughs] Let's think, it is hard to say. I think he is a loyal friend and very committed to his art. I am also kind of sensitive too, let me stop playing [laughs]. He loves music and I do as well.

Christine M. Carter

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Success isn’t easy. It comes with many long nights and many thoughts of, “Will my time ever come?” 31 year old Marketing Strategist Christine M. Carter knows about the nitty gritty that follows success. She is a contributor for Forbes, HuffPost, and Health. Christine is also profiled in Women’s Health Magazine and Ebony! She has the key to achievement. She wants you to be the BEST YOU! 7EVEN Reign has the latest!

10 years ago Christine started a retail marketing firm to help small retailers. “I had success with PR, I could write good pitches. The best way to get your work out there is to lend a voice to other publications. I created my own site, writing articles for other publications for retail marketing.”

My retailers were wondering how to reach “Generation Y”, before we were called Millennials. No one was talking about “Generation Y”. I started writing for Inc. I never turned down writing for publications. People tell me, “I read an article you wrote years ago.”
— Christine M. Carter

What is your platform?

I believe in telling honest stories of my generation. My articles relate to what a Black Millennial mom is going through, real estate, marriage for Black Bride, and the work place for Inc. It is always going to be my honest insight driven for those categories.

At what age did you begin marketing? How difficult was it for you to have that mindset?

I was 21 years old. It was hard for me to execute my business, because I did it in the middle of a recession. At the time, I did not consider the recession as an external factor, but your environment definitely matters.

Do you believe that in order to pursue your dreams, at times It Is necessary to relocate? Location matters?

I do think it is necessary, it depends on what your dream is. If you want to be an actress, you cannot expect to stay in Iowa when the production companies are in New York and Los Angeles.

 

I had to work at Nordtrom and a bank part time when I wasn’t getting business, because it was a recession.
— Christine M. Carter

How tough is it to balance mom life and work?

It is extremely tough and everyday is different. But, if you are able to have organization and the mindset that things might change, it is a little easier and manageable.

Thinking back, did you ever see yourself where you are now in your career?

I did not, truly did not. I do not have a "Where do you see yourself in 10 years". I like to dip my hands in different pots. Children are unpredictable [laughs] and if I did have a plan it would not be 10 years out.

Describe your day to day life?

In the mornings, I get my children ready, take my son to daycare, I go to the gym, and I could be in the office or traveling. I am currently traveling to different departments under global corporate strategy. In the afternoons, I pick up my children, cook dinner, and then it is bedtime. Motherhood is very rewarding, seeing how they form opinions is very rewarding.

What are ways you have gained new skills?

I gained new skills through reading other articles and publications by contributors. I gained analytical skills and the ability to read census data. There are different ways to develop your skills professionally. I know I have become a better writer, because I am better at analytics and insights. I add more data to my articles.  

What advice could you give to someone looking to start, but not knowing where to begin?

I would tell that person to make a list of their strengths and weaknesses, their likes and dislikes. They should combine the two and search opportunities they are strong in and like to do. They will find something in that for sure.

What type of approach do you use when contacting other businesses?

Get a pitch prepared, address a problem they are having or fulfill a need for that person. Business is "What are you doing for me?". No matter what, you are always selling and pitching yourself. Know your strengths and what will make them want to have you as a contributor or partner.


Be sure to follow Christine on social media! Do not be afraid to reach out and connect with her, opportunities wait for no one!

Twitter: @cmichelcarter

Instagram: @cmichelcarter

N A Y O


This part of my journey is the most important. Everyone always tell me to enjoy your process. I’m having to trust Him and not beat myself up.
— Nayo

From one Journalist to another, Nayo is golden. She is talent driven, people driven, and a woman with a plan. I noticed her spark and the love behind her passion. Although she is not on TV yet, she is already a star and a part of my sister circle. Nayo is a natural on and off camera. She is the Talk Show Host for her YouTube channel Meet The People, and it has taken off! When you speak of Black women making winning moves, you better include Nayo! She is taking everyone by a storm and truly turning her Dreams into a Reality!

 

What is it that you do?

I am a Broadcast Journalism major at Howard University. My ultimate goal is to have a late night talk show [on network TV]. You don’t see women on late night television, most are comedians are on light night. I do freelance for TheGrio.com, it reports on politics, regular news, sports, and African American news. I interned with them last year. I am an Entertainment Journalist at school and the General Manager of Spotlight Network, owned by Howard University.

Since freshman year, I have hosted my own Youtube show called, “Meet The People”. I meet the person and I find out their purpose. The interviews are about 8-10 minutes. [To name a few] I have interviewed radio personalities, Fabulous, and the creator of the TV show Girlfriend’s. I interview local people as well. I love telling stories. I feel like that’s what I was put on earth to do. I want to be on a national network by 25.

Who inspires you?

I remember when I was little I wouldn’t go out and play between 4 p.m -5 p.m because Oprah was on. Now, I love Zuri Hall, Stacey Ike, and Gia Peppers. Zuri Hall is the only Black Reporter for E News. She's killin’ it. Stacey Ike is on Reporter Tonight and Gia Peppers hosts all the Wizards’ games in D.C. She was also the correspondent for the Essence Festival this year. I admire their drive and work ethic.

How did you create Meet The People?

A conversation with a friend inspired me to start my show. I was on the phone with her talking about life and she asked, "What can you do to make yourself stand out before you get to Howard?". Since then, it’s always been something I’ve loved. My first two videos were shot on my iPhone. At first, I struggled with not knowing what to name it. 

How do you connect with celebrities?

For the Essence Festival, I sent constant emails to the press team until they replied. The interviews I had with the Celebrities after the show, was all God! I introduced myself, being friendly, being myself, and treating everyone with respect. For my show, I reach out to people who are local in DC.

 

What has been your toughest challenge?

I had really bad experience and it affects everything I do. I had opportunity to work an award show, but I ended up getting fired because I was asking for too much and asking to do more. They were rude and it was unpaid. It made me question whether or not I should ask for certain things. I try not to burn bridges, because the industry is really small.

What’s next in your journey?

That’s a really good question. At Howard, I'm trying to gain more credibility, so I can leave a mark once I graduate. I'm currently working under the anchor Bruce Johnson. He has been in the industry for over 40 years. I want to continue building my brand.

Stay tuned for exclusive interviews from the Essence Festival!

Continue to support a young black girls dream! I will be national by 25!
— Nayo

Stay connected with Nayo and subscribe to her YouTube channel Meet The People.

Spotlight Network

Instagram: @nayo_campbell

Facebook: Nayo Campbell

Vibe With Me


J'na is a beautiful soul. I truly enjoyed our conversation and getting to know her on a personal level. She has created a home with Vibe Magazine and Billboard. I know for a fact she is going to take her career to higher levels. Even when life hit her from different angles, she kept fighting. J'na is what I call a woman with determination. She wants you to be inspired! 

 

Who is J’na? [Jay-Na]

I'm a bubbly, energetic, charismatic person. It didn’t happen overnight, but I’m definitely a fighter. I have gone through a lot since I was young. It’s so much easier to go through life positive. I’m here because I survived,  I fought and did what I had to do. A positive outlook on life has helped without a doubt. My parents divorced when I was really young and it affected me a lot. Recently, my mom passed away. I do everything with her in mind. She had cancer, but you couldn’t even tell she was fighting. She had a smile on her face, even through chemo she was all smiles. If she could smile through that, you can smile through any hard day. Nothing is really as bad as it seems.

Describe your career.

I am a Contributor Writer for Vibe.com and a freelance writer for Billboard. I was an intern with Vibe the summer of 2015. In January 2016, I was hired as a freelancer. During the day I aggregate news stories. I do a lot of research to figure out what current pop culture events are happening. I research to contact people to interview. I like to get things done way ahead of time. I highlight what I want to add and important quotes or information that people may not know. I read my stories like five times, I’m such a perfectionist. I would love to continue interviewing people. I want to make my writings and interviews personal. I want to make celebrities with high profile jobs appear more humanized. I want my readers to understand them. I like to dive a little deeper, looking back into their personal archives, asking things they want to talk about.

How did you begin working for Vibe Magazine?

When I was in college, I liked writing about music and entertainment. In May, I began my first internship at College Humor. By July of that year, I didn’t think I wanted to do it anymore. They weren’t interested in what I liked. I had a successful blog my sophomore year in college (30,000 views). After finishing my College Humor internship, I stumbled upon an internship for Vibe. I sent my resume and I didn’t hear back from them. It turns out the email from them went to my spam mailbox. I went in their office and told them about the legacy of Vibe. I got on the train [to head home] and I got an email saying, “You start next week”. 

Which celebrities have you interviewed?

JoJo

Michaela Coel: "Chewing Gum”

Jazmine Sullivan

Nile Rodgers

Kari Faux

Hit Boy [Producer who wrote Niggas in Paris]

I went to the VMA’s and interviewed: ASAP Ferg, Chance The Rapper,  and Justine Skye

I went to Broccoli City and interviewed Rapsody and Sir the Baptist

I interviewed the children of Ol Dirty Bastard from Wu Tang Clan, as a Father’s Day piece

What is the best part of your job?

Connecting with people who are high profile and seeing underneath the glitz and glamour. They are regular people. I like to see the human side of people who have extra ordinary lives.

How far do you want to take your talents?

I always wanted to do something in front of the camera. I am a dancer and I love being in front of people, because that’s where I really shine. Sway is my favorite person. He is so chill and really cool. I met him twice, and he actually takes the time to talk to you. I would love to do something like that, but in another dimension. It would be fun to expand in that way. When I get older I may go from music to harder news.

Have there been any roadblocks along the way?

It was just me and my sister after my mom passed. We started staying at a family friend house. We had a lot of mental strain during that time. We have a cute condo now where I can thrive and do my best. Having to transition on our own was very very stressful. Trying to get into New York was the worse. 

WHAT IS THIS CHAPTER IN YOUR LIFE CALLED?

This chapter in my life is called, the “Young Grasshopper Phase”.  I’m doing well and getting amazing experience, but I’m only 23 and have so much to discover about the industry and myself.

 

Twitter: @jnajefferson

Instagram: @jnajefferson

I Was Made For This


24 year old Mecca Leggett knows all about music and providing artists on the rise with major exposure. She is so dope! She describes herself as unpredictable, spontaneous, compassionate, and adventurous. She knows all about wordplay and promoting artists. Mecca is giving you an opportunity to flourish within your career. We need more Music Journalists like her. She has met artists from all over. One day you will see her on your TV screen. She is wasting no time with her dreams. 

 

Who is mecca?

I am the Blog Editor and Music Journalist for The Reach. The Reach is produced by Chi Media, the multimedia company. The founder of Chi Media is Chidi. I met him and connected. I started out writing for him. I run the blog side of everything now, it did not release until this year. It wasn’t really a point to write, because we didn’t have a website until now. The cards fell perfectly.  

How do artists contact you?

They contact The Reach through our submission tab [on our website] to set up interviews. If it’s someone [we have in mind] we want to interview, then we will make that connection as well. It’s not only South Carolina artists, but we do want South Carolina artists to have a voice. We want everyone to know about us.

Was blogging your idea? How did you feel putting yourself out there in general?

They came to me with the idea. Chi always knew my background [in writing]. He presented the idea to me of having a blog and running it. I was nervous at first. For a minute I wasn’t releasing anything, I was just helping with background information. Once we launched our website in February, I was nervous, but everyone was reading my stuff. The internet is harsh, but I’ve been getting good feedback.

What is your ultimate goal career wise?

I would love to continue to help become the company I know we will be in the future. I want to do a lot for myself, live life, interview artists in the country and all over the world. Ultimately, that's the goal.

Which celebrity would you like to Meet most?

Kid Cudi, easy one [laughs]. He’s my favorite artist, I love Kid Cudi. I love everything he stands for. I think he’s a misunderstood artist and I get that. When I was going through a hard time his music got me through a lot of sh*t. He’s a goof ball and an amazing artist. I just want to bask in the glory of him. Nobody has touched and reached me like he has. He holds a special place in my heart.

Who has been your favorite artist you have interviewed thus far?

$pidey [has been my favorite], we talked about his recent project Forever Gorgeou$. My biggest take away was the meaning behind it. Forever seems like a long time, but continue to be positive, continue to live the right way, and keep the right ones around you. What you do in this lifetime will last as a whole. Forever Gorgeou$ features his friends and family speaking. His sister explained what forever meant to her.

CLICK HERE to check out Mecca's interview with $pidey!

What can expect the reach in the near future?

[Expect] More blogs and sit down interviews are coming back for artists. It's a lot of fun things happening this summer. Stay tuned. 


If your music needs great exposure, Mecca is your girl! Don't stop, this industry needs you! I look forward to interviewing you again in the future.

Mecca's Twitter:  @MeloMeOut

Mecca's Twitter: @MeloMeOut