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HBCU Homecoming Rules + Playlist

It’s HBCU Homecoming Season! The time of year when historically black college and university alumni from across the country come together to fellowship for the biggest friends and family reunion football game of the season.

I can already smell the food on the grill, see the hugs, hear the band, and see the pageant waves from the homecoming queen and the royal court during the parade, but before you make your homecoming plans here are a few rules for alums:

1. Plan to use your vacation day(s) or plan to be off work so that you can enjoy yourself and recover from the weekend! Pace yourself!

2. Don’t go to people’s tents uninvited and eat their food and drink their drinks when you haven’t been invited to do so or didn’t contribute.

3. Have a place to stay or get a hotel room.

4. Wear comfortable shoes at the tailgate and walking on campus.

5. Drink some water and stay hydrated and know your limits. You’re not 21 any more.

6. Stretch before you go to the party, so you won’t have to utilize an Icy Hot patch the next day after strolling, droppin’ it too low, or dancing too hard.

7. Have a designated driver.

8. Take pictures and make new memories. However be aware that you have a job-career now, so be cautious of what you upload to social media or update your “privacy” settings or “close friends” list.

9. We remember you before the degrees and titles and also how you treated folks years ago. As Dr. Maya Angelou said, “People may forget what you said or did, but they’ll never forget how you made them feel” remember that and act accordingly.

10. Get tickets for different events you and your crew plan on going to and have cash for various vendors.

11. Have a portable cell phone charger.

12. Have fun! This is not about work or your career right now .

13. Do NOT pretend like you were a student at that school when you weren’t.

14. Last but certainly not least, have fun, and don’t forget to contribute your time, money, and resources back to your HBCU to impart into future generations.

Follow me on Twitter: @asiamber and let me know what HBCU you represent in the comments and check out the HBCU Party Anthems for the Young Alumni! (songs circa 2009-2013 #iykyk)

Apple Music Playlist

Tidal Playlist

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Usher

Some people on Twitter started a debate about which R&B singer is better? Chris Brown or Usher? In my opinion vocally Usher is the winner! He’s been a star since he was a teenager in the 90’s til now in 2021. Usher performed on stage with Michael Jackson and helped pave the way for other male R&B stars like Chris Brown. I think Chris Brown is a great performer and dancer, but recently I haven’t heard him sing without auto tune. Longevity, dance moves, and good music clearly makes Mr. Usher Raymond the winner! Click the link below to here the Usher Playlist on Spotify and click here for Apple Music and here for Tidal.

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My thoughts on 30.

January 15th was my 30th Birthday! I feel blessed to share a birthday with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated’s Founders’ Day. I’m grateful to God for another year of life and for the lessons I’ve learned and am continuing to learn.

Check out www.anchor.fm/asiamber and other platforms to listen to the “As-I-Amber” podcast “30 on 30” episode and follow me on Instagram TV @asiamber, where I go more in depth about the life lessons I’ve learned so far. I never would’ve imagined turning 30, a milestone birthday, amid a global pandemic.

I wanted to be on an exotic beach chillin’ with my toes in the sand listening to the ocean waves crash. Instead of being on an island for my 30th Birthday, I was home chillin’ with a nice adult beverage, seafood, and a good book, and a movie counting my blessings.

The pandemic, being in quarantine, and life, in general, have taught me that things don’t always go our way and that sometimes we make plans, but God laughs.

It seems like yesterday I was a 16-year-old who just got her driver’s license and was on MySpace listening to the girl group, Danity Kane. Now, I’m an official adult that pays bills, has to wear contact/glasses in order to see far away clearly, yet still watches Disney Plus, needs a snack, and a nap to function. The young people on Tik-Tok would call me “old” and older adults call me “young.” I feel in between.

In my twenties, I had lots of adventures as well as ups and downs. I gained weight, lost friends, gained friends, and lost weight. I studied abroad and graduated from college, moved back home with my parents, then moved out of state to a city where I knew no one. I worked in photography, applied for numerous jobs, and now work in Corporate America. I traveled the world visiting New York City, Italy, Greece, London, Paris, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. I’ve also gone to numerous concerts seeing Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Ariana Grande, Kendrick Lamar, Janet Jackson, Solange, Jazmine Sullivan, Drake, Future, Migos, OutKast, Monica, Erykah Badu, and JoJo perform. I guess you can say I like music and live my life to the fullest.

My travels to Paris, Greece, London, & Italy.
At Beyoncé & Jay Z’s #OnTheRunII Concert in 2018.

I know it is 2021 and this is not an episode of Netflix’s “Bridgerton” set in the 1800s. Yet, depending on your culture or environment in some places when a woman hits her 20’s and early 30’s the majority of her peers in her age bracket have children and are getting married and if you’re not a mommy, fiancé, or wife by a certain age you’re looked at differently.

Currently as an unmarried thirty-year-old woman with no children I enjoy my freedom to pick up and go without having to consider anyone else, yet sometimes some people peculiarly look at me because of that. There is an unspoken, yet loud sound of the tick-tock of an accomplishment timer and biological clock. We are bombarded with various messages about getting older and what that means regarding fertility or relationship status.

Society tells us what we “should” be doing or accomplishing by a certain time frame. Then in this digital age, it is so easy to compare our lives to what others choose to display on social media and we think that we “should” have accomplished certain milestones by a certain age, and if not you’re somehow “behind” or a failure in life.

But, I’m here to remind you all and myself that God made you a unique individual. Everyone is displaying their highlight reel on social media, but you don’t always know their behind the scenes. Everyone’s life path is different and it does not make you better than or less than if you have achieved or experienced certain things more or less quickly on this journey of life.

Remember you are fearfully and wonderfully made. According to Galatians 6:4-5 (MSG) “Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.”

I feel like a butterfly that has gone through metamorphosis during my 20s and is now breaking from the cocoon to take flight. I’m continuing to live my life like it’s golden and am excited for all the things that God has in store for me. Cheers to this new chapter of life!

Listen on iTunes/Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and wherever you listen to podcasts.
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Stevie Wonder Playlist

Living legend, Stevie Wonder, is a musical genius in my opinion. Here’s a playlist of some of my favorite songs of his. Click below to listen on Spotify and click here to listen on Apple Music click here for Tidal.

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Melanated Rock Songs

I love all genres of music, and have created a playlist of Rock influenced songs from and inspired by Black artists such as Jimi Hendrix, Lenny Kravitz, Prince, and more!

Playlist available below on Spotify. Click here for Apple Music and click here for Tidal.

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#BrownSkinGirls

On “The As-I-Amber Podcast” “Brown Skin Girls” episode I am discussing the subject of colorism with two other millennial age Black women. Click here to find a platform to listen or go to http://www.anchor.fm/asiamber or listen on Spotify and Apple Podcasts search under “As-I-Amber.”

Listen on Spotify & Apple Podcasts.
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Ghosting

On this episode of the “As-I-Amber” podcast special guest, Solomon, and I are discussing “ghosting” and millennial communication. Click here or go to http://www.anchor.fm/asiamber to find a podcast platform to listen. Also, available on Spotify & Apple Podcasts.

Listen on Spotify & Apple Podcasts
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Grandmother

Amber and her grandmother chat about life on the latest episode of “The As-I-Amber” Podcast.

Listen now on www.anchor.fm/asiamber or click the link below to listen on Spotify. Also, available on Apple Podcasts and other podcast platforms.

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Aaliyah, Brandy, & Monica

Aaliyah, Brandy, and Monica albums are still in heavy rotation years later. It is still crazy because they were teenage solo stars making hits competing with grown folks on the R&B charts and their influence is still felt.

Check out the Spotify playlist below.

We hear the growth, maturity, and development in their voices and lyrical content. Check out the playlist consisting of all 3’s first 3 albums. Click here for Apple Music and Click here for Tidal

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Certified Loser Boys

Amber and a special guest discuss the 2021 dating scene and rapper Drake’s “Certified Lover Boy” album.

Click here to listen or go to Spotify Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, or whatever platform you listen to podcasts on.

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What Yeezy Taught Us…

Amber and special guest, Solomon, discuss their complex relationship with producer-rapper, Kanye West. Click here to listen. Also, available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify Podcasts, and whatever other podcast platforms you listen to.

My “Kanye Rant” lol

I do NOT like or agree with Kanye West’s current political beliefs or like everything he says or does. Yet, I cannot deny the man is musically gifted and over the years has produced such good music. Can y’all believe it’s been 17 years since Kanye’s debut album “The College Dropout” was released?!

I remember when I first heard the song “Through The Wire” at a leadership conference in middle school. The speaker was talking about overcoming obstacles and how this new producer, Kanye West, recorded his album with his jaw wired shut after surviving a car accident. I remember everybody rocking Polo T-Shirts and backpacks and teddy bears. I remember HBCU bands playing Kanye’s ”All of the Lights” during football games.

Kanye has always been outspoken: from his comments about former President George Bush and how black people were negatively impacted by Hurricane Katrina to him interrupting singer, Taylor Swift’s award acceptance at the 2009 MTV VMA’s to say Beyoncé had the better music video. Many question how Kanye went from being the socially conscious rapper with songs like “All Falls Down“, “Jesus Walks“, and “Heard ‘Em Say” and making appearances on “Def Poetry Jam” and fast forward to present day to Kanye making more controversial statements like saying slavery was a choice and being a supporter of Trump, who has spoken so negatively about so many marginalized groups to include Black and Brown people who happen to have been some of Kanye’s day one fans.

In my opinion, it is difficult to support an artist who praises a political figure that you don’t support, has questionable antics, and who has actions that contradict everything they write or talk about.

Check out a young Kanye on “Def Poetry Jam” circa 2004.

Also, Check out Kanye’s mom, the late Donda West’s book “Raising Kanye“, it’s quite interesting.

Sigh, I enjoy(ed) Kanye’s older music and I can’t deny his talent. I know that artists and people evolve, and I wish him well, but I miss the “old” Kanye West circa 2004-2011. Maybe I get nostalgic because those were my teenage and college years. However, I really am concerned about Kanye’s mental health since the passing of his mother, Professor Donda West, and I am hoping he is getting counseling or treatment. I just feel like “The Current Kanye” is in a trance or alternate universe compared to 17 years ago, yet like his debut album’s ad-lib echoed, “WAKE UP MR. WEST!” Your original fans miss ya! Kanye recently dropped a Gospel type album titled “Jesus is King” featuring his Gospel choir from his “Sunday Service” music concerts. Who am I to say if Kanye’s relationship with Jesus or God is genuine or a marketing tactic? Maybe turning to religion is a source of comfort for him. Who are we to judge?

Anyway, enough Kanye ranting, but what’s your favorite Kanye West song, album, or moment? Click below to listen to the Spotify playlist and click here to listen to the playlist on Apple Music.

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Culture Experience: Atlanta

BIGGIE voice: “It was all a dream I use to read WORD Up Magazines.”

This past weekend I visited The Culture Experience in Atlanta, GA, which is a nostalgic photo exhibit taking you back to the late 90’s and early 2000’s! I found out about the exhibit via social media. If you’re in your late 20’s and older you’ll really appreciate the exhibit that takes you back to your younger years of VHS tapes, dial up Internet, landline telephones, and CD players!

According to the website http://www.cultureexperienceatl.com, “Culture Experience is an interactive photo exhibit that highlights moments in history, community, nostalgia, and pop culture in ATLANTA! From the late-’90s iconic SO SO DEF Billboard to the historic celebration of HBCU Homecoming, this interactive photo exhibit takes you on an expansive journey through more than 20 milestone moments. Unlike other photo popups, we customize each exhibit for each city. This means that we are always new, always fresh, and always tailored “For The Culture.” Atlanta, GA has the perfect mix of pop-culture and heritage.”

“Good Burger” and “All That” were my favorite things to watch on Nickelodeon in the 90’s!

I really enjoyed myself and am happy I went on a Sunday afternoon when it was not crowded. Less people and fewer germs= a great time!

So So Def! I was too young to attend Freak-Nik in ATL.

My best friend since college and I and a total of three other people were at the exhibit and we felt like we had the place to ourselves and weren’t rushed because it was hardly anyone else there at the time of day we selected. Tickets have to be pre-purchased online and are around $29 per adult. For more information please check out their website or Instagram page @cultureexperience_atl.

MARTIN voice, “Waaazzzup wazzzup wazzzup”!!!

Also, the people that work there are friendly and even if you go alone they can help take pictures. We were there for about an hour visiting the exhibit which is located near the West End near two historically black schools, Spelman College and Morehouse College. Check the exhibit out while it’s still in the city.

BET’s 106 & Park Set!!!!
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The South Got Somethin’ To Say!

As part of the NYU: Music Industry Essentials Program I am part of here is one of my assignments talking about the rise of Southern Hip Hop/Rap. Check out the playlist links below and read the article. #MusicUproject

Click here to listen on Apple Music, listen on Tidal, and click below listen on Spotify.

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From Disappointments to Destinations

Ever since I was a young child I’ve been inquisitive about various cultures, writing, music, and different viewpoints on life. I started traveling abroad in college during my Senior year at Fort Valley State University, where I graduated in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications.  I remember during my Junior year of college walking across campus one day and seeing flyers for an all expense paid Study Abroad program to China. So, I got a passport and applied for the program. The semester was coming to an end, but I didn’t hear anything about the study abroad program for a while. I mean for weeks I wondered in anticipation and thought that God had forgotten about me. I questioned my worth and if I was good enough to be selected. I figured the study abroad program already picked who they wanted for the program. In addition to wondering when and if I would be selected I was still trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life after college. I had applied for an internship in another state and was excited about it only to find out that out of all the applicants I was not selected. Even with my 3.5 GPA, prior internship experience, and extracurricular activities I still wasn’t considered “good enough”. I felt so hurt and let down. Rejection sucks, but it’s sometimes a part of life or if you believe in God his plan for your life. So here I am a rising Senior in college with no plans after school was over and going through other life challenges and growing pains. I remember crying and just feeling really down and that’s when I got a phone call from my Spanish professor, Mrs. Dubriel.

I wondered why out of all people she was calling me, especially since I was not the best Spanish student and got a C in her class. Well, little did I know that Mrs. Dubriel was now over the study abroad program. She called to tell me that the Study Abroad program was not going to China anymore. I felt devastated and thought well there goes another rejection for the week, but then her next sentence literally brightened my day. Mrs. Dubriel said, “Instead of going to China, we have selected the country of Italy and are you interested in going because the person we originally selected can’t go anymore?” I said, YES MAM and we talked about all the travel details. As soon as I got off the phone I literally cried and ran around the room like I was at a church revival meeting. LOL! Here I was thinking that I would get my hopes up and I was selected by my alma mater’s Stanley E. Rutland Globetrotters Study Abroad program to travel for free to various Italian cities during the month of September 2012.

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Going to Italy changed my life for the better and I am forever grateful. It gave me the travel bug and inspired me to travel more. So, after I graduated and started working in “the real world” I researched various” affordable” travel groups for young people and heard about the travel group for young adults called, EF Ultimate Break while listening to Spotify. Check them out on www.efultimatebreak.com During September of 2015 I went with EF Ultimate Break to London and Paris, and in July of 2016 I went to Athens, Mykonos, and Santorini, Greece. I think that EF Ultimate Break is the best way to travel for young adults ages 18-29 because everything is taken care of from your flights, food, and transportation and you don’t have to pay all at once. They can break the cost down into monthly payment plans. Also, Go Ahead Tours for adults 29 and above is similar to EF Ultimate Break. All you have to have is a passport and an open mind.  There is nothing like traveling. It’s like once you start you cannot stop. I don’t know where I want to go next, but I am happy that I’ve had the privilege to travel and meet various people in my life’s journey.

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The Beyoncé Bracket & Playlist

Happy Birthday to Beyoncé! Listen to the B-Day episode on “The As-I-Amber Podcast” on www.anchor.fm/asiamber I finally finished The Beyoncé Bracket. I didn’t create this game. I just found it on social media and filled it out. As a member of The Beyhive, 🐝 I found this bracket’s song selections were kind of difficult to choose from, and certain songs on the bracket are better performed live in concert versus just listening to in your headphones.

There is also different energy on stage when Beyoncè is performing on tour alone versus performing with Jay-Z. I’ve also provided a blank copy of the bracket, so you all can play too. Click the link below to listen to my favorite songs on my Beyoncé Playlist on Spotify and click here for the Beyoncé Playlist on Apple Music and here for the playlist on Tidal.

This bracket game is similar to the NCAA March Madness Basketball Tournament bracket instead of teams it’s songs. Out of the categories given you pick the song out of the two that you like more and that song advances to another round with other songs. Kind of like 2 basketball teams play a game and the winner moves on to the next level game and competes with other teams. It’s fun! Let’s play!

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Sampled Songs Playlist

Vinyl records, cassette tapes, and CD’s are antiques in 2020, but good music is timeless. Below is a playlist I created featuring older songs that have been sampled over the years by different artists. What’s your favorite sampled song? Check the playlist out below on Spotify. Apple Music users click here and Tidal users click here.

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Then & Now : 90’s Sitcom Actresses

Before “reality tv” and Instagram models took over our screens these actresses graced our televisions and magazines playing iconic roles from some of our favorite childhood shows. Whether you wanted to be the Pink Power Ranger on the playground or have your hair straightened like “Ashley Banks” these characters left a mark on us 80’s and 90’s babies. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and also see what these actresses are up to now.

  1. “Laura Winslow” was played by actress Kellie Shanygne Williams- Jackson best known for her role as “Steve Urkel’s” neighbor, classmate, and love interest on the ABC sitcom“Family Matters” and is now a wife, mother, producer, speaker, and philanthropist.
  2. “Topanga Lawrence” was the character “Corey Matthew’s” high school girlfriend on the ABC sitcom “Boy Meets World.” The character was played by actress Danielle Fishel. After the series ended she graduated from with a degree in Psychology from Cal State Fulerton and has reprised her role in the Disney Channel’s “Girl Meets World” and works behind the scenes in tv and is now a wife and mother.
  3. “Ashley Banks” from the NBC sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” played “Cousin Will’s” youngest cousin. She was played by actress and singer Tatyana Ali. After the series ended Tatyana’s 1998 debut album, “Kiss The Sky” went gold. She also graduated from Harvard University with a degree in African-American studies and government. Tatyana still acts, produces, sings, and is also a wife and mother.
  4. “Kimberly Hart/”The Pink Ranger” from FOX Kid’s “Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers” sitcom was played by actress Amy Jo Johnson. Amy Jo also starred in The Disney Channel Original Movie “Susie Q.” She is now a singer-songwriter and producer-director that lives in Canada.
  5. Zaria Peterson” from Robert Townsend’s WB sitcom “The Parent’Hood” was the oldest and stylish daughter on the show. She always had the best hairstyles! After the series she married and had children and starred in different music videos such as T.I.’s “Whatever You Like” and Reuben Studdard’s “Sorry 2004″ More recently she was the voice of the cartoon character “Roberta Tubbs” on “The Cleveland Show” and is the voice of “Jenny & Kiki Pizza” on the Cartoon Network series “Steven Universe” and made an appearance as “Chantal” on The OWN Series, Queen Sugar”.

6. “Tiffany Warren” the daughter on the NBC Sitcom “In the House” was played by actress and model Maia Campbell. After the series ended Maia went on to be in the music video for Tyrese’s “Sweet Lady” and films like “Trippin” and “Seventeen Again.” More recently Maia appeared on the reality series “Iyanla Fix My Life” a few years ago to get some guidance with her battles with drug addiction, parenting, and mental health issues. Keep her in your prayers.

7. “Hilary Banks“, cousin Will’s at times ditzy, yet fashionable cousin on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” was played by actress Karyn Parsons. Karyn went on to be in 90’s films like “Class Act” and “Major Payne.” More recently Karyn is a mother, wife, and now an author of the children’s book “How High The Moon” and creator of “Sweet Blackberry“, a line of animated films about unsung Black heroes.

8. “Kelly Kapowski” the popular high school student from the NBC sitcom “Saved by the Bell” was played by actress Tiffani Theissan. After “Saved by the Bell” ended Tiffani went on to star in “Saved by the Bell: The College Years” and the FOX series “Beverly Hills: 90210.” Tiffani went on to star in the 2020 “Saved by the Bell” Reboot and is the star of the MTV comedy clip food show ‘Deliciousness.

9. “Lisa Turtle” the wealthy and fashionable friend on NBC’s “Saved by the Bell” was played by actress Lark Voorhies. After the series ended Lark made appearances in movies such as “Civil Brand“, “How High“, and “How to be a Player“, more recently she appeared on the Dr. Oz show talking about her issues with her mental health, and will be making appearances on the 2020-2021 reboot of “Saved by the Bell

10. “Denise Huxtable” who was the free spirited rebel character from “The Cosby Show” & “A Different World‘ sitcoms was played by actress Lisa Bonét. After those shows ended Lisa was married to rock star, Lenny Kravitz and had their daughter, actress Zoe Kravitz. After Lisa and Lenny divorced she married actor Jason Mamoa and had two other children. Lisa appeared in 90’s films such as “Enemy of the State“, “Biker Boyz“, and “High Fidelity“, but hasn’t really acted in a while.

Who were your favorites growing up? Comment below.

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#LastTraintoParis |The Album

Back in 2015 on the way to Paris I listened to the #LastTraintoParis album and now in 2021 I got a chance to write about it!

I am part of the Deconstructing essay and music documentary series. Check out our latest #throwback piece, Diddy-Dirty Money’s-#LastTraintoParis album. Click here to read about it and follow us on social media 🎶 @demusicseries 📲 #BadBoy #takethattakethat #waybackWednesday #throwbackThursday

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Chill Mix II

Here’s a playlist of some of my favorite songs from various older and newer R&B/Pop artists.

This playlist is also available below on Spotify; on Apple Music (click here) and on Tidal (click here).

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Aloha

On the latest episode Amber discusses visiting Hawaii, the power of creating vision boards, and friendship. Click here to listen or go to www.anchor.fm/asiamber Also,available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and other platforms.

Hawaii was so beautiful and fun! #hotgirlsummer

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Missy & Timbaland VS The Neptunes

These super producers have created some of the best songs from the 90s and the 2000s! I would love to see them in a Verzuz Battle. Here’s a playlist I created below on Spotify. Click here for Apple Music and click here for Tidal.

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What moving away from my hometown taught me…

I moved away from my hometown in Columbus, Georgia for a job in South Carolina back in August of 2019. If you would have told me that a global pandemic would happen 6 months later and that by the end of 2020 I would be living back home due to the office closing and then becoming a caregiver for my Dad I probably wouldn’t believe ya! However, there is nothing like having an opportunity, getting out of your comfort zone, and moving to a different city with no close friends or family there. Whew Chile! It’s been an emotional journey. This past year has shown me how to stop relying on myself so much and to rely on God more, and trust His plan and not my own. Starting a new job position in the middle of August 2019 and also having to quickly find a nice affordable apartment and moving all within a two-week time span, to meeting new people, making new friends, and adjusting to life in a new city and state, then moving back has been a lot. On top of all this back in October of 2019 I was in a car accident that totaled my car. I was fortunate enough to walk away without any physical trauma, and I was able to quickly get another vehicle. Praise God!

I feel like I’ve gotten a little bit closer to God and am becoming an even stronger person that is blossoming into more. Sometimes it takes going elsewhere to really see what you’re capable of. It makes you more appreciative of certain things that “home” offers like never having to use a GPS device or always having somebody nearby if an emergency happens and oddly you see who really is your “friend” when you are away in a different phase of life. I also see how certain people are your friends for reasons, seasons, and life times.

Thank God for technology like text messages and video chat apps like iPhone’s FaceTime and the “old school” phone call. Sometimes living in a different city is a fresh start for better and more opportunities and a new chapter in the book of life for lots of people. I’ve never been afraid to explore or go on adventures, but it’s a difference between visiting a place for a short time for a vacation versus living there for a while.

Exploring South Carolina at a butterfly release event and a real butterfly landed on me. I also happened to be wearing a butterfly shirt too!🦋 A literal symbol of change and metamorphosis.

In 2009, I went to college in-state at Fort Valley State University, which is only an hour away from my hometown. While I was a senior in college I studied abroad through a scholarship award in various Italian cities. After graduating from undergrad I’ve traveled to different U.S. cities and European cities and not speak the language, but to up and leave everything I know to go elsewhere has been exciting, scary, lonely, and fulfilling all at once. Living in a smaller city like Columbus, GA all my life things were in my comfort zone.

I am not bashing my hometown or the people there because it’s helped in shaping who I am and who I am becoming. In my opinion, sometimes certain cities lack certain industries or scenes for people of certain age brackets, and more or better opportunities sometimes exist elsewhere. Of course, if all you do is go home and to work and never do any activities outside of that or try to go places or participate in things that interest you then ANY city you’re in will be boring or easy to complain about.
There are pros and cons to anything in life, and so many creative, talented, smart individuals from smaller cities and towns leave because they may feel limited or want better for themselves or maybe they’re tired of running into the same people they had middle school math with at the grocery store or the same people running and doing the same things all the time.

The South Carolina State House

You get my drift. Overall moving so far has been beneficial for me and I would recommend anyone whoever has a good opportunity to move. I know it’s scary, but life is so much bigger than your town and you can always visit or move back. So many people live in regret, but you only get one life. Never forget or be ashamed of where you come from and as The Notorious B.I.G. said: “Stay far from timid, only make moves when your heart’s in it and live the phrase sky’s the limit.”

Exploring South Carolina back in September at The Jubilee Cultural Festival where I met author-actress, Karyn Parsons, who played “Hilary Banks” on the ‘90’s sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.”
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We Will Always Love You!

Whitney Houston didn’t have to distract audiences with flamboyant sets, dance routines, and costumes she just sang. It’s very rare that a performer can just rely on vocals and personality to emotionally captivate an audience in song and film. Whitney, like lots of other people had her share of struggles, just displayed on camera. It’s bittersweet, because she was on a comeback. However, Whitney’s legacy will most definitely be her vocal range and ability to sing every genre from Gospel to Pop. People forget that “I Will Always Love You” was a country song, written and originally performed by country star, Dolly Parton and “I’m Every Woman” was originally performed by r&b diva, Chaka Khan.Whitney paid respect to other female vocalists, but her version of the song is what people of a certain age usually think of first.
I will always remember where I was when I found out about the deaths of Michael Jackson, Aaliyah, and now Whitney Houston. When I was little my mother use to play Whitney’s music on cassette tape in the car all the time! I think their impact is different for various people, but I grew up listening to their music, singing their music around the house, and watching them on award shows and movies in the 90s. For young black girls growing up in the 90s, we didn’t have “Princess and the Frog”. “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella”; starring Brandy as Cinderella and Whitney Houston as “ The Fairy Godmother” was a “big deal”! Whitney Houston paved the way for other solo artists like Brandy, Beyoncé, Mariah Carey, and Monica. There will never be another “Whitney Houston”, she will be forever missed by her family, friends, and fans.

Click here to listen to the Whitney playlist on Apple Music and below to listen on Spotify.

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90’s Girl Groups

This weekend the next #Verzuz battle will be R&B girl groups, SWV vs Xscape! I like both groups, but I grew up with my Mommy playing SWV around the house and in the car while I was in my car seat so I’m biased, but if we’re talking song writing credits it’s gotta go to Kandi and Tiny of Xscape. Anywhoo, If you’re a fan of R&B and 90’s Girl Groups check out this Spotify playlist below. Click here for Apple Music & here for Tidal.

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#PoseFX Playlist

Songs from the show #PoseFX!!!

Click here for Apple Music and Tidal and below for Spotify.

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The 2018 Bob Wright Business Empowerment Symposium

I had an opportunity to attend the sold-out 4th Annual Bob Wright Symposium on Business Empowerment. The all-day breakfast and luncheon took place in Columbus, Ga at The Columbus Convention and Trade Center. The event was started by Chairman Dr. Bob Wright, a retired optometrist and former Columbus City Councilor Businessman and philanthropist. He was very involved in the civil rights movement and is also a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated. In 1985 he founded a technology and logistics company called Dimensions International and sold it for millions to Honeywell. He now heads an investment firm and continues to be a leader in the community.

The purpose of the business symposium is to provide the Columbus, Georgia community with the opportunity to network and promote business and economic development, as well as engage with local leaders, trailblazers, and entrepreneurs. This year’s theme was “The Year of the Woman.” There were various female panelists from different business industries discussing the challenges and successes of being a trailblazer, entrepreneur, and “glass ceiling” breaker. The enlightening and inspirational women’s empowerment panel discussion was moderated by ABC correspondent and journalist Byron Pitts and the keynote speaker was ABC journalist Robin Roberts.

The first speaker of the morning was Dr. Valerie Daniels Carter, President and CEO of V&J Foods Holding Company, the largest female-owned franchise organization in the country. The restaurant empire is comprised of restaurants such as Burger King, Auntie Anne’s Soft Pretzels and Captain D’s.

Dr. Daniels-Carter spoke of the importance of her faith and knowing whose you are and who you are. Dr. Daniels-Carter is also a board member of the Green Bay Packers and minority owner of the Milwaukee Bucks Basketball Team. Additionally, she is a graduate of the historically Black college, Lincoln University.

Dr. Daniels-Carter told an interesting story of how she was waiting for over 5 hours at a job interview and how rude the interviewer was to her to keep her waiting. The day was over and the interviewer was leaving and finally acknowledged her presence, but said they would have to schedule the interview at another time because he was on his way to go hunting with colleagues. So, that day instead of going home Dr. Daniels-Carter asked the interviewer if she could tag along to go hunting with them and the interviewer said sure.

She went hunting with the interviewer and his male colleagues to the mountains and you’ll have to read the rest of the details of the story in her book “Your Business Is His Business”, but long story short the interviewer eventually respected her and she got the franchise she was interviewing for. Dr. Daniels-Carter told the story because of the many barriers she’s faced being a black woman in a predominately white male space. Dr. Daniels-Carter dropped many words of wisdom, but the two that stood out were “failure is not bad all the time” and it’s okay to cut back because “it’s better to do a couple of things really great than do multiple things really bad.”

Dr. Daniels-Carter also shared a touching story of how her now deceased husband worked two jobs before they married and he saved his money from one of his jobs just for her. On their wedding night, he told her that the money was hers for any business she wanted to start because he believed in her. She said she was blessed to have an amazing support system and that you can teach a trait and have determination, but you cannot teach personality and that with God you can fight the giants of life.

Between speakers, there were breaks and a time for the audience to ask quick questions. The next two speakers on stage were Kimberly A. Blackwell, a top marketing and advertising executive, and top communications strategist Alexis Davis Smith. Alexis Smith spoke of the importance of diversifying your business and that for her every opportunity to make money isn’t always good. She believes in aligning with companies whose values align with her employees and the company’s culture. She also stated to be humble and strategic and open.

Kimberly Blackwell also dropped nuggets of wisdom by saying there’s a difference between being invited and being included. She also stated a candle doesn’t lose light by lighting another candle. Kimberly Blackwell also made her side hustle her main hustle and made sure she had money saved and opportunities coming her way before she left her old job to pursue her own business.

Next lunch was served. After lunch, the fourth speaker was Rose McElrath Slade, who is the founder, president, and CEO of Strategjc Resources, Inc., an international organization specializing in management consulting and information technology. Rose Slade spoke of her strong faith in Jesus Christ and how he has guided her from health battles to business endeavors. She also spoke of the importance of financial literacy and delayed gratification and remember to look before you leap. The next speakers were sisters Yukia Harris-Walker and Yuneisia Harris, owners of Curvaceous Couture Bridal Collection for curvy women. They also had a reality show called “Curvy Brides” that aired on TLC. They both spoke about the struggles they faced trying to find wedding dresses and outfits for their body types and through that struggle birthed their business of plus-sized fashions. Also, Emmy Award-winning makeup artist, Eva Jane Bunkley, spoke about being hard working and adaptable. Because of Hurricane Florence Keynote speaker Robin Roberts was a little late, so speakers Melissa Harville-Lebron, who is a NASCAR team owner and lawyer and Dunamis Clean Energy CEO, Natalie M. King, spoke about learning something from every experience of life. Natalie King spoke about the importance of minorities getting involved in industries that are often foreign to the culture so that they won’t be left behind. King also spoke about green energy, horticulture, and the medicinal marijuana industry and how it’s taboo, but a lucrative business.

Finally, the keynote speaker, ABC journalist Robin Roberts, came on stage and talked about her family and faith and coming from a small town and not being limited in life and that anything is possible. She spoke of how she is always grateful, but never content. She also said to make your mess your message and that money heightens what’s already there, to begin with.

Robin talked about embracing similarities with other people and how education and sports helped her in life. She grew up in Pass Christian, Mississippi. She talked about her father, who was a Tuskegee Airman, and the important “3 D’s” in their household: Discipline, Determination, and as Robin said, “Da Lord”. Robin’s energetic and positive energy radiated through the room and she spoke about her Rockin’ Robin Production Company. Robin even hugged some audience members and she answered a lot of questions before she had to leave to go back to NYC.

I was one of the audience members who asked a question about her production company and if they were looking for help. She was so generous and gave my information to her assistant! I feel so grateful. After Robin Roberts finished speaking I left, but there were two more speakers Stephanie Burnley and Dr. Michele Hoskins who spoke after Robin. It was my first time going to the symposium and I’m really happy that I was able to go. It’s so important to invest in yourself and your community. I give the event a perfect 10! If you want to know more about the symposium go to http://www.bwsbe.com and check out the social media hashtag #BWSBE2018 for pictures and video snippets.

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Interludes & Short Songs

Why couldn’t these songs be more than 2 minutes long?! These are some of my favorite interludes and short songs. This playlist is also available on Apple Music click here and on Spotify on the link below:

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The Girls’ Room #NewPodcastEpisode

New Podcast Episode! On this episode Amber and Racquel discuss Verzuz, The BET Awards, and other pop culture shenanigans. Click here to listen on www.anchor.fm/asiamber, iTunes, Spotify, and wherever else you listen to podcasts.

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Travel and Concert Ticket Tips

I still daydream about being in Greece and 🏊🏾‍♀️ swimming in the Mediterranean Sea, eating authentic gyros, and seeing history. I feel blessed to have had these experiences and want to share some travel tips. ***FYI- Some of these tips were applicable before the 2020 pandemic.

Santorini, Greece Summer 2016
  • Have an open mind and be open to trying new foods and experiences.
    • Ask, research, and Google various legitimate travel groups and payment plan programs where you can pay 💰 for your trip in installments.
  • For concerts sign up to your favorite artists fan club website or use certain entertainment credit cards because they usually offer presale codes or preferred seating.
  • If you travel within the U.S. frequently invest in TSA pre-check, so you can skip and don’t have to stand in the lines as long as others. It’s $85, but last five years.
    • Get a passport from your local post office at least 3 months before your trip. If you already have one make sure it’s not close to expiring because you may need to renew it.
    • Understand the culture and customs and laws of the place you’re traveling to. What you can do in the USA you may not be able to do in whatever country and what’s considered “normal” in the USA may be “abnormal” overseas and vice-versa.
    • Get a visa depending on what country you’re traveling to.
    • Know where the U.S. Embassy is and sign up for their alerts etc.
    • Google or watch YouTube videos of common phrases, courtesy, and sayings in the country.
    • If you’re in college go to your foreign language department or ask about study abroad programs and scholarship requirements.
    • Have an up to date shot/vaccination record.
    • For safety purposes do NOT post your exact location on social media until AFTER you get back.
    • Travel off season. If somewhere is crowded or more expensive in the summer try going during another part of the year.
    • Call your bank and credit card provider to let them know you’ll be out of the country.
    • Call your cell phone company to establish an international phone plan.
  • For more information click here to listen to “The As-I-Amber Podcast” on Spotify and Apple Podcasts by clicking here.

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Virtual Insanity

Virtual Insanity

Cassette Tapes, CD Players, VHS, Floppy Disks, Flip Phones,  are now “useless”.

Jamiroquai’s song “Virtual Insanity” randomly came on shuffle on my playlist and I started thinking of all the technology and gadgets that have appeared within my millennial lifetime. Coming of age in the 90’s and early 2000’s technology advanced and we adapted it into our everyday life. Today we have so many forms of communication and are able to have constant access to people and information, but are we really putting forth an effort to communicate and pay attention? I was on a busy intersection one day and the person in the next lane was driving and taking pictures of themselves on the phone and almost caused an accident!

Sharing is great, but sometimes it’s information overload! However, way too many compare themselves, seek attention and validation through followers, likes, photos, and statuses that they just can’t be!  Every now and then log off and take your eyes off of a screen please.

Now, I’m not knocking technology because I really enjoy social media, and when it’s used properly it’s great from making business or career connections or keeping in touch with family and friends it’s a wonderful tool. Maybe reality television and social media have some in my generation in an alternate universe, but sometimes social media can be kind of shallow.

There’s a fine line between sharing things online and turning social media into your personal diary.

Listen to the Virtual Insanity episode of my podcast on www.anchor.fm/asiamber

It’s interesting how some people make assumptions solely based off of strategically selected pictures or videos and assume people don’t have problems or go through things.

Just because people “look” cute in a picture does NOT mean they have a “good” relationship or are free of problems. You do not see or know all the hard work or obstacles someone may face even though they smile in every picture or seem to be happy in every status. Dig deeper and make sure your online persona and offline life actually match up and that you are not idolizing or envying or comparing your unique life to other people based off of pictures. It’s okay to disconnect sometimes and engage in eye contact with people or limit your screen time.

Everyone is displaying their “highlight reel”, but you don’t know their behind the scenes.

 

 

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Millennial Mix

Get your Jersey Dresses, Air Force Ones, Razor flip phones, and T-Mobile sidekicks out. Your MySpace Playlist is going on another #MillenniumTour soon. Here is a Millennial Millenium Mix playlist taking you back to homeroom and MySpace Top 8 and 106 & Park days. 🎶 Also, available on #AppleMusic under “asiamberjamz.” Click here for Apple Music.

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Mary J. Blige #BlackMusicMonth

Queen of Hip-Hop and R&B Soul, Mary J. Blige, chronicles her 30 year career in the Amazon Prime Documentary “My Life.” Additionally, she goes in depth about her sophomore album “My Life.” Below are some of my favorite Mary J. Songs. Click here for the playlist on Apple Music and Click here for the playlist on Tidal.

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Michael Jackson Playlist

Today marks 12 years since Michael Jackson passed away. I’ll never forget when I heard the news on the radio as I was picking up my brother from baseball practice and all the pop and r&b stations started playing Michael Jackson’s 🎶 catalog. I had a chance to write about Michael’s song “Stranger in Moscow” from the HIStory album. Click here to read it. What are some of your favorite Michael Jackson songs or albums?

Check out my Michael Jackson playlist available below on Spotify and click here for Apple Music.

Spotify Users:

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Quincy Jones #BlackMusicMonth

In honor of June being Black Music Month, Amber and radio legend, Ms. Queen Rasheeda Ali, discuss legendary music producer Mr. Quincy Jones. Click here to listen to the podcast episode.

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Bad Boy Records #BlackMusicMonth

Bad Boy Records, founded by Sean Combs aka “Puff Daddy” aka “Diddy”, was a hit factory in the 90’s and early 2000’s. Here is a playlist down memory lane from Bad Boy Records artists and remixes from artist such as the late Notorious B.I.G., Mase, Faith Evans, 112, Total, and more. Here is a playlist link for Apple Music click here. Also, check out the “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop” documentary about Bad Boy Records only on Apple Music.

(left) Diddy and Mase in The “Mo’Money Mo’ Problems” video and me on the right at the video set recreation at The Culture Experience 90’s exhibit in Atlanta,GA.
The Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Documentary on Apple Music chronicling the history of the Bad Boy Record label.
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MTV: TRL Mix

Growing up I use to watch MTV in the mornings before school and TRL after school! My music playlists are filled with every category from Ratchet to Religious to Pop. I have always loved all genres of music, but has someone ever looked at you funny because you don’t “look like the type” to listen to certain music. Well, music is not limited to only a certain culture or race, it’s universal! So, here is just one of my Rock/Country/Pop playlists. Be sure to let me know some of your favorite songs from the TRL era! Spotify playist availble below and click here for the playlist available on Apple Music too.

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So So Def #BlackMusicMonth

So So Def Records, founded by Jermaine Dupri, changed the game in the 90’s ushering a new age of Southern R&B and Hip Hop hits from artists such as Kris Kross, Xscape, Da Brat, Usher, Ghost Town DJs, INOJ and more. Here is a Spotify playlist of So So Def, based artists and songs. Click here for the playlist on Apple Music.

So So Def set at the Atlanta Culture Experience in Atlanta, Georgia
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Songs In A Minor

On this episode of “The As-I-Amber Podcast” Amber and Solomon discuss the 20th anniversary of Alicia Keys’ debut album, “Songs In A Minor.” Click here to listen. What are your favorite songs off the album?

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Barbie Pose

On the latest episode of “The As-I-Amber Podcast” Zac and Amber discuss rapper Nicki Minaj and the hit FX tv series “POSE.” Click here to listen.

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OutKast Playlist

Screen Shot 2019-05-25 at 4.16.24 PM

T-Shirt from Buckhead Thread from #OneMusicFest

Apple Music users click here: https://music.apple.com/us/playlist/outkast/pl.u-2aoqPGztzJq2JY

Tidal users click here: https://tidal.com/playlist/41bb011c-845c-4a7e-b1a2-1bded7a42986

Spotify users click below:

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Girl Group 2020’s

Just a few songs from my favorite girl groups from this decade, the 2020’s. Click below to listen on Spotify and here for Apple Music, and Tidal.

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MySpace Mix

You had at least one of these songs on your MySpace page or voted for it on 106 & Park! Listen here on Apple Music or below on Spotify.

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Generation NEXT

Amber and a special guest discuss Millennials and Gen-Z. Listen here on http://www.anchor.fm/asiamber. Also, available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

Available on Spotify & Apple Podcasts
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Hit Different

*New Episode” of “The As-I-Amber Podcast” go to www.anchor.fm/asiamber to listen. 📲 We’re discussing how things “HIT DIFFERENT” now and how our viewpoints have changed.

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Prince Playlist

It has five years since the legendary musician, Prince, passed away. He may be gone, but his music and legacy continues to live on. Here is a playlist with some of my favorite songs of his. Click below for the Spotify Playlist, Click the underline for the playlist on Apple Music, and Click the underline for the playlist on Tidal.

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The Isley Brothers VS Earth, Wind, & Fire Playlist

Timbaland and Swizz Beatz recently announced that the next Verzuz Battle on Easter Sunday will be The Isley Brothers vs Earth, Wind, & Fire! Who are you going for? In the meantime here’s a playlist to get us ready. Click below to listen on Spotify, Click here to listen on Apple Music, and Click here to listen on Tidal.

From My Dad’s DVD Collection
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Mask Off?

Check out the latest episode of “The As-I-Amber” podcast now on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and other platforms. Click here to listen.

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Pray for my Daddy | Go Fund Me

Please help my daddy, Dale Williams. On December 21, 2020 he contracted Covid-19 and was placed on a ventilator in the hospital. While on the ventilator, Dale suffered a stroke which caused immobility on his left side. By God’s grace after spending almost two months in the hospital Dale is now home and recovering and will have physical and occupational therapy. We need help covering expenses that insurance won’t cover. Click here to donate.

Please, please, if you can find it in your heart to help my family get through these difficult financial times with your prayers and your donations, whatever amount you can send will be greatly appreciated. Please share the Go Fund Me link here to donate!

May God bless you tenfold for your generosity.

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Jay Z’s “American Gangster” album

I had the opportunity to write about two songs, “I Know” & “Blue Magic” off of Jay Z’s “American Gangster” album. Click here to read about it on As Told By Kia’s website.

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Beyoncè’s #Homecoming

Beyoncé’s #Homecoming film chronicles the singer’s 2018 Coachella music festival performance. Beyoncé was scheduled to perform at the 2017 Coachella music festival, but was pregnant with twins Rumi and Sir Carter, and had to postpone her performance to 2018. The Coachella music festival held in the California desert was way too expensive for my budget, so I was happy her performance was live-streamed on YouTube to watch for FREE! I was so hyped to be able to see an amazing performance from the comfort and air-conditioned atmosphere of home. I remember April of 2018 setting my alarm to wake me up so I could watch Beyoncè’s highly anticipated Coachella performance on YouTube. As soon as the drum line and band and dancers came out I screamed in excitement! Beyoncé’s epic two-hour 2018 Coachella performance had a live Black drum-line and many other band members, dancers, and even cameos from her husband Jay-Z, her sister Solange, and her Destiny’s Child group members Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams. One of my favorite parts was when Beyoncè and the band swag surfed and danced to O.T. Genesis’ “Everybody Mad”, and oh so much more! As an HBCU graduate and Beyoncè fan, I felt so proud and validated that she paid homage to Black college and band culture during her 2018 Coachella performance and she is financially giving back to HBCU’s!

I remember in high school some questioned my choice and looked down on me when I said I was going to a historically Black school for college. My college experience at Fort Valley State University gave me opportunities to travel the world from NYC to Italy and has helped to shape me into the person I am. I wanted to see more of the behind-the-scenes of Beyoncé’s iconic and legendary performance. I may be biased, but Beyoncé’s work ethic is phenomenal! I’ve been blessed to have seen her in concert four times and she gives her all on stage! Who else can sell out stadiums in seconds, make award-winning albums, make films, have a family, and go on a world tour all within a short time span?!?! With that being said don’t forget to watch ” HOMECOMING” on Netflix and listen to the “Homecoming” album as well as my “As-I-Amber” podcast episode available on Spotify, iTunes/Apple Podcasts and other podcast platforms.

 

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Jingle Jangle & Christmas Playlist

On this episode Amber discusses the holidays and the Netflix film, “Jingle Jangle.” Click here to listen (www.anchor.fm/asiamber) Also, available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify Podcasts. Don’t forget to check out my Christmas Playlist on Apple Music, Spotify, and Tidal . Just click on whatever underlined platform you have and the playlist will be there.

Listen on Spotify & Apple Podcasts
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The ArchAndroid

On this episode Amber & Zac are discussing Janelle Monáe’s #ArchAndroid album. Click here to listen or go to http://www.anchor.fm/asiamber. Also, available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

Listen on Apple & Spotify Podcasts