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Saturday, July 1, 2017

Internet Not an Option, Now What?

Would you know how to fill your day if you didn't have the Internet? Well, there was a time when most of us relied on creativity to occupy our day without the help of the World Wide Web. 

An article penned by Emma Rathbone gently reminded readers of what it was like to create dance moves in the spur of the moment, whip out a notebook to create a piece of artwork, and to flip through a booklet to identify a precious stone.  

I believe the short essay, which can be found in the pages of The New Yorker, actually sounds Better Said Than Written.

Take a listen to Before the Internet.

So here's a question for you. How would you occupy your day if the Internet wasn't an option?

Send your views to or leave your comments below.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

How I Came to Love My Black Name

The following is an edited excerpt from my memoir in progress, Mommy Wasn't There
Over the years, I've gone through a love hate relationship with my first name - Tamika. My graduating high school class of 1993, had at least five Tamikas. I didn't feel unique. 
My grandmother would say to me, "What kind of name is Tamika? I'm just going to call you tomato." This made me hate my name even more.
It wasn't until my mid-20s did I start to like my first name. A woman who owned a Japanese restaurant told me my name originated from Japan and usually ends with the letter O. So, Tamiko.
I forgot what she said the meaning of my name was but I do know it was a popular name in the early 1970s. Contributors of the website,, says the Japanese name Tamika means 'Child of the People.'
After further research, I found out the name Tamika was most popular in 1975, which is the same year I was born. Based off of information collected from Social Security card applications for births that occurred in the United States, a total of 2,159 baby girls were named Tamika.
Got it. The name was hot in 1975, and it started to creep into Black-American homes in the late 1960s. But why? Of course, I did some more digging and found the American singer, Tamiko Jones. 
Jones' name at birth was Barbara Tamiko Ferguson. 

Tamiko Jones was born in Kyle, West Virginia and was raised in Detroit, where she started her music career. She was part Japanese, part British, and has Cherokee ancestry in her blood.
Tamiko Jones genre of music included rhythm and blues, soul and jazz. Her first hit was "Touch Me Baby" and in 1975 reached No. 12 on the R&B charts in the U.S. 

(press the play button)

Her voice reminds me of Donna Summers and Diana Ross. Both women whose albums I used to dance to while cleaning the house on Saturday mornings.
Mommy never told me why or how she came up with my name, but these days I'm feeling much better about my name Tamika. Or maybe I'll just start calling myself Tamiko.
To get ahead start on the memoir in progress, Mommy Wasn't There, visit

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The Man Inside the Purple Dinosaur

David Joyner knew he was destined to play Barney

If you grew up watching Barney & Friends, or parenthood started for you in the early 1990s, then you probably have encountered several earworm songs from the American children television series. 

David Joyner, who played Barney for 10 years, explained to Business Insider why "I Love You" was one of his favorite songs. Business Insider caught up with Joyner and he shared how his intuition led him to land the role of Barney the Purple Dinosaur.

The following video was initially published on

Clearly, Joyner followed his inner voice. What about you? We'd love to hear your views in the comment box below. Or email your views to

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

(H)afrocentric: Jewels Smith

Meet writer, cultural worker, and educator Juliana “Jewels” Smith. As an effort to connect with her students, Jewels created the comic book series, (H)afrocentric.

The entire series features four disgruntled undergrads of color and their adventures at Ronald Reagan University. "Before I knew anything about Ronald Regan, I knew he was racists," Jewels joked during her talk at the Drawing Lines - The Black American Experience. The event, which took place in early May, was held at The Great Hall at The Cooper Union in New York City.  

Jewels, who grew up in the 1980's, created (H)afrocentric as a way to challenge students and readers alike about the presumptions around race, class, gender and sexuality through character dialogue. 

Jewels published four volumes to date and in each issue, you'll find sprinkles of wokeness. "You're going to know who W.E.B Du Bois is," she explained. "(H)afrocentric is supposed to be a satire of what's going on right now."

Jewels dug deep to create the characters of (H)afrocentric. "I

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Work Culture: Exposure Can't Pay the Bills

If you're a creative trying to make a living out of your craft, you're probably familiar with the following story. 

Creatives aren't the only ones being paid in exposure. Entrepreneurs are also asked to give their products and services away for free.  

In this episode of Better Said Than Written, pastry chef and But-A-Cake owner Matha Figaro joins us to explain why being paid in exposure just isn't enough.

Take a listen ... 

Have you been offered exposure as compensation? E-mail your views to or leave your comments in the box below.

And if you're interested in experiencing the
But-A-Cake addiction visit 
the online store right here.

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Sunday, May 28, 2017

As a #WomanInHer40s I've Learned

Every decade of life is considered a milestone. 

  • Remember when you turned 10 you were so happy to be out of the single digits.
  • Then when you hit your 20s, you celebrated making it out of your teenage years with your dignity intact.
  • As you crept into your 30s, you believed you had life all figured out. 

But then the time machine of life pushed you into your 40s and panic start to set in because you think life is playing a trick on you. 

In this episode of Better Said Than Written, I share what life has taught me in my four decades of life.

So what has life taught you? Engage in the Twitter campaign, #WomanInHer40s, or E-mail your views to You can also leave your comments in the box below.

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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Reri Grist: A Voice That Flourished Through Travel

article by Timeline

Reri Grist sang and fought her way to auditions for which she was being passed over—and in the process managed to get the ear of Leonard Bernstein, one of the world’s greatest conductors. She never rested on her laurels, but set her sights even higher in some ways, and broader in others. She wanted to see the world.


To read more, go to:

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Sunday, May 7, 2017

Vietnam War: The Picture Max Was Allowed to Keep

A little piece of history through the lens of a Vietnam Veteran

There are just some stories you won't find in documentaries, history books or old newspaper clippings. Some of the most fulfilling stories are told by people who lived during a pivotal moment in time, and they come with pictures in tow which helps shape their story. 

Max, now 70, was a medic in the United States Army during the Vietnam War.

Twice a month Max worked at an emergency room in a civilian Vietnam hospital. As you can imagine, he witnessed plenty of deaths and trauma. 

Out of curiosity, a friend back home, who specialized in trauma care, asked Max to take pictures of what he saw in the hospitals and mail them back to him in the states. 

Max captured some gruesome images. Many of those pictures were sent to his friend, but a lot of them were confiscated by the Military Police. "They even took the negatives," Max explains. "They probably were afraid the pictures were going to end up in American newspapers."

The image in this post is one of the photos MPs allowed Max to keep. This photo was taken in December 1968 in the courtyard of a civilian Vietnam Hospital with a toddler he didn't even know. "The little boy just showed up,"  Max recalls.

While on duty and off, Max says he was always on guard. Hence why you see a rifle strapped to his arm. "I didn't feel safe unless I was back home in the U.S."

A Little Tidbit

As you can see, Max has a cigarette dangling from his lips. He first started smoking in 1958. And his brand of choice while serving in the Vietnam War was Pall Mall Cigarettes (red) with no filter. "Wherever particular people congregate - was their slogan," says Max.

Max spent ¢0.17 for a pack and $1.75 for a carton. Today a carton of Pall Mall goes for $26 plus tax.

Do you have a moment in history you like to share? E-mail your views to

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Money Method: The Great Tax Escape to Puerto Rico

Did you know there are tax loopholes for Americans living in Puerto Rico? Well, at least that's what I learned from's contributor, Alex Webb. 

But don't pack your bags just yet. There are several barriers to entry for you to consider before you make a run from Uncle Sam. 

Guest Post: Alex Webb, PolicyGenius Contributor

It has been said that the only things you can’t escape in life are death and taxes. While moving to Puerto Rico won’t help you live forever, it’s one of the few places on earth where Americans can legally escape many forms of taxation. Intrigued? You should be.

Global Taxation

Most countries tax their citizens on a residency basis. For example, if you are a Swedish citizen living in Thailand, you will owe taxes to Thailand, but not to Sweden. But the U.S. has a system of global taxation, meaning that if you are an American living in Thailand, you’ll still have to pay U.S. taxes. While there are deductions and exceptions, it’s nearly impossible to escape the IRS — unless you live in Puerto Rico.
That’s because Puerto Rico falls in an interesting legal grey area. It’s part of the United States, but it’s a territory, not a state. Puerto Rico doesn’t receive voting representation in Congress and Puerto Ricans—while being American citizens—can’t vote in federal elections. But they also don’t pay many federal taxes. Puerto Rico has the power to tax their residents, but, in an attempt to lure investment, they slashed the rates for new residents to next to nothing. And, since Puerto Rico is part of the United States, any American can move there and become a resident. All of this creates an unusual and fascinating tax loophole:
Americans who live in America pay U.S. federal taxes. Americans who live in foreign countries pay U.S. federal taxes. But Americans who move to Puerto Rico often don’t have to. With the correct tax planning, new Puerto Rico residents could legally pay a tax rate close to 0%.

How to Move to Puerto Rico

To gain and maintain your residency you’ll need to move your primary address to Puerto Rico, but you’ll only need to spend a minimum of 183 days in Puerto Rico per year. The rest of the time you can travel to other parts of the United States, or the world.
Beyond physically moving you’ll need to fill out some important paperwork. Act 22, also known as the “Individual Investors Act” is behind many of the tax advantages, and to receive the benefits you’ll need to apply for a tax exemption decree. If your application is approved, your individual tax exemption decree will have the full details of your exact tax treatment, which may vary from person to person.
If you control a corporation, you’ll need to look at Act 20, which provides for a 4% corporate tax rate — far below the 35% tax rate on the mainland United States. If you are an entrepreneur with, say, an online business, you may be able to relocate to Puerto Rico and attain large tax savings. 
Of course, your exact situation will vary and tax law is very complicated, so don’t use this article as legal advice.
This article first appeared on, which is a financial protection planning startup educating consumers on common monetary pitfalls of life. 
Alex Webb, founder of Take Risks Be Happy, is a freelance writer and author. 
Webb co-authored and contributed to books published by National Geographic, the Financial Times, and Skyhorse

Thursday, March 30, 2017

black~ish: Stepin Fetchit is an Eye Opener About Blacks in Advertising

As a Black-American woman in the midst of testing her multimedia journalism skills in advertising, my eyes are always wide open. I've been analyzing every single commercial and ad in magazines, newspapers, transportation hubs, as well as the ones that appear on my favorite television shows, black-ish.

The Richard Youngster episode that aired March 29, 2017, on ABC, opened my eyes even more. While social media expressed their disappointment of Chris Brown's appearance on the show, I was applauding the writers. About what? Blacks working in advertising and the lack of Blacks working in the business. I'm talking about the absence of Black creatives, talent, focus groups, and Blacks in executive positions at global agencies.

There were several truths in the episode, but the one that caught me off guard was how Richard Youngster was compared to Stepin Fetchit. Which, by the way, I never heard of until Andre, Rainbow and Ruby broke it down.

Unfortunately, most people missed the history lesson, and the in your face message of what it's like to be a minority working in advertising. Even industry advertising newsletters didn't get or send a memo. 

Lucky for me, I did get the memo because my eyes are opened...even wider.

Did you get the memo? Discuss in the comment box below or e-mail your views to

The Ladies of Caramel Curves Motorcycle Club

video by AJ+

It's so refreshing to see women coming together to support one another. We need more women uplifting each other.

Unfortunately, some critics didn't get message. Instead, they body shamed these women. 

Who wouldn't want to be part of a tribe whose members are doctors, lawyers, beauticians, bus drivers, etc.? 

Watch, listen and learn... from the ladies who burn tires.

Learn more about the clique of chicks on their Facebook page.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Young Voices: Let's Talk About Vinyl Digging

Welcome back to Better Said Than Written, the podcast supplement of Artz of Culturez where I make a personal connection with today's trending topics.

This is a special episode where my son has taken over the show. When I heard we were going to discuss vinyl records I just had to say yes. And so I handed him the mic.

We talked about how I got into vinyl digging, my top four vinyl records, and how my son has an ear for music and a love for Sade.

Take a listen...

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Sunday, March 19, 2017

Hip-Hop + Ballet = Hiplet

article by Great Big Story

The dancers of the Chicago Multicultural Dance Center plié, pirouette and jeté to their own rhythm in a new form called Hiplet. The dance draws on both the movements of hip-hop and classical ballet technique and is performed on pointe shoes. 

To read more, go to

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