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Being a Person Who Stutters in the Media Industry

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Growing up, I always wondered why I was born with a stutter. The growing fear of negative reactions toward my stuttering eventually led me into silence. What I didn’t realize at the time, was that I was actually given a gift. What may seem like a set back for someone else, I learned to use as a come up for me. I knew that I had dreams and I knew that I did not want my fear of stuttering to stop me from sharing my voice.

 

As a child, I always had a passion for video production. I remember when my twin sister and I put on these “make-believe” television talk shows in our grandmother’s living room. I would produce, direct, and videotape the show while my twin sister would act as the TV host. At this time in my life I had a severe stutter but for some reason when I directed these shows, I did not think about my stutter at all. That was when I first began to realize that although I may have had a stutter, I could be creative and produce different outlets that would speak for me.

While in college, I decided that I wanted to pursue my dreams of becoming a television producer. I remember doing my first broadcasting internship at VOA News, an international broadcasting company in Washington, DC. During my internship, I was involved in helping out with TV technical operations, which included camera work, floor direction, audio production, and other forms of TV production. One day, I was asked to floor direct a live news broadcasting show. I decided to face my fears and take on the challenge. I remember feeling terrified and nervous, because it was my first time floor directing. In addition, I was afraid that I would stutter severely while communicating with other crew members through the audio headset. I was given the responsibility to cue the reporter with hand signals as well as verbally communicate with the staff. I hoped that I would not potentially ruin the live show because of my delayed responses due to my speech impediment. Well it happened… I stuttered while I was floor directing. However, the show went well and I felt proud of myself. At that moment I realized I couldn’t allow fear be attached to my stutter.

After my internship that summer, I was grateful to have had the opportunity to be involved in other television production work, such as helping out with Premios Tu Mundo (Your World Awards) for NBC Telemundo, Nickelodeon HALO Awards, BET Honors and Billboard Music Awards. Before helping out with these award shows, I remember thinking “what if I stutter and I don’t respond fast enough during the show?”, or “what if I get looked at crazy when stuttering while asking a question?”. These were the thoughts that haunted me. But I had to realize that by having these thoughts, I was only limiting opportunities for myself. Like they say, action speak louder than words. So I made sure that I always worked very hard and the producers saw that and because of that I kept getting called back to do another show. It felt great knowing that despite having these challenges with my stutter, other people saw my potential.

 

I want other people like me to be inspired. We shouldn’t be worrying about what others may think of us.  We all have potential and we all deserve the right to follow our dreams and aspirations, despite our challenges. We ALL can become who we dream to be.

 

“We were all born with a certain degree of power. The key to success is discovering this innate power and using it daily to deal with whatever challenges come our way.” – Les Brown

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Many Unite for R&B Holiday Benefit Concert To Raise Funds for Philadelphia’s Ronald McDonald House

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On Thursday, December 20th, several local R&B artists joined forces for the inaugural R&B Holiday Benefit Concert. This year’s showcase, held at Philadelphia’s historic Trocadero Theatre, benefited families being supported by Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House.

This Holiday Benefit Concert was a labor of brotherly love, with every single event organizer and performing artist involved having direct Philly ties. Attendees were serenaded with hits from each emerging artist as well as several of their favorite holiday classics such as “Joy to the World,” “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” “Silent Night” and more. This year’s concert lineup included:

  •  Julian King – contemporary R&B artist fresh off a concert tour in China
  • Star Castillo – Trenton native with the ability to fuse R&B, Pop and Soul into her renditions
  • Judaea – previous America’s Got Talent contestant and rising R&B star
  • Good Girl – R&B quartet from Philly striving to revive and lead the next girl group era
  • Audrey Jackson – internet darling, R&B songstress and head of It’s All Music, The Movement LLC
  • M!SHEL – Armenian and Jewish singer / songwriter powerhouse heralding from the suburbs of Philadelphia

“We could not be more excited to be able to come up with such a fun and engaging way to give back to our community,” says event organizer and host Delilah Dee of Delilah & Co. “Sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of what’s truly important during the holiday season so I’m grateful that I, alongside Revli Management, AB Media Group and Kelsi with an Eye, were able to rally together to organize this showcase benefitting the families of Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House.

All those involved decided a month before show date they wanted to team up to give back to a local organization while also providing a platform for local talent. In less than a month, a venue was secured, non-profit organization was selected, artist line up and vendors were finalized for the concert. Not sure how the turn out would be since the team only had a short amount of time to put together this event, it is safe to say all involved felt a deep sense of gratitude to see that the community supported the initiative – the concert ended up being a sold out event.

What a great way to close out 2018.

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#delilahcotv x Shaquille Tyrell Presents Black & Latinx Mixer

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BAE ALL THE WAY

Poet, Michael Phillips, Breaks Down in Front of Students at his Alma Mater

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Michael Phillips agreed to speak to students at his alma mater, Community Academy of Philadelphia, CS (CAP) about Black History and being Black in America. Little did he know, this would be an emotional full circle moment for him.

Phillips has been doing spoken word for quite a few years now. Although he’s performed around the East Coast, he mainly takes to his social media to speak about race and love issues in a poetic way. He speaks highly of a creative writing teacher at CAP, who is the sole purpose behind his love for poetry.

“Ms. Vázquez is the reason why I’ve been able to do what I love since high school. She really made me appreciate poetry as a creative outlet to release any and all pain I’ve felt internally. I’m thankful for her”

Michael Phillips with Ms. Vázquez

Phillips confidently went into various classrooms from grades 5-8, along with some high school classrooms to perform his spoken word pieces. It wasn’t until he entered Ms. Vázquez’s room, the very person who inspired him to do poetry in the first place, that he sort of – broke down. It was a full circle moment for him, in that he saw himself as a student who too once sat in those same seats, without a clue as to what it would mean being a Black man growing up in America after high school.

He hopes that through his words, he is able to inspire the minority community to come together and appreciate themselves from within. Phillips wants the youth to know they have the power to change the world, to start thinking about what they can do presently that can essentially positively impact future generations to come.

Check out the video below:

 

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