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‘Creed,’ Coogler and Those Iconic “Rocky Steps”



There’s an iconic moment in the Rocky franchise that epitomizes not only the theme of the series, but also the nostalgic feeling that keeps us coming back in the first place: the “Rocky Steps.” The distinguished 72-steps in Philadelphia, PA that came to symbolize that feeling of knowing the underdog will rise to the challenge…and win.

After all, a lot of us are all underdogs at one point of our lives or another. We’re fighting to overcome many daily challenges and obstacles that get in the way of reaching our goals. We’re fighting because we believe we will win. The steps resonate with so many of us.

And Creed remarkably reminds us why, both on and off the set. Without going into detail, there’s a moment in Creed where Rocky once again takes on the climb of the steps. Just before getting to the top he says something along the lines of, “I think they added some more of these.”

They did. Except, it came in the form of protégé, Adonis Creed, the protagonist of the Rocky spinoff and illegitimate son of fictional character, Apollo Creed.

To emphasize just how amazing this movie and its maker were both on and off the set in keeping true to its underdog theme, let’s highlight a few parallels that prove exactly what makes Rocky so significant in the first place:


Photo: Warner Brothers

Photo: Warner Brothers

On the set: Rocky, old and retired, is given the challenge of dusting off his gloves in order to reignite and subsequently pass the torch to a fighter that ironically, no one really wants to see fight.

Off the set: A lot like Rocky in its prime, the idea of Creed was a risk in itself for young and on-the-rise director, Ryan Coogler. Not only did Sylvester Stallone not plan to continue on with the Rocky saga, but also after jumping onboard, Creed had faced low expectations from many.

On the set: Creed has received a lot of praise for its cinematography. One noteworthy fighting scene was even shot in only one-take. To the shock of many, the skilled cinematographer was none other than Maryse Alberti, a 25-year French veteran, and a woman.

Off the set: Fresh out of film school, Coogler had only one feature film under his belt, Fruitvale Station, that had not even been released before he presented the idea of Creed to Sylvester Stallone. Coogler’s sick father, who had also felt like an underdog and had made the Rocky films a tradition in his family, inspired the idea.

On and off the set: Another theme in Creed revolves around creating your own legacy. Although the film continues with and pays homage to an iconic film saga, it creates its own footprints that are relatable and in line with those of today’s generation.

All in all, Creed proves to be a phenomenal and iconic film in its own right, raising the stakes for today’s filmmakers and inspiring millions of young and hungry underdogs all over the nation.

Thank you, Coogler, for rising to the challenge of creating such an extraordinary and inspirational film of our time. You’ve won both our attention and our hearts and your faith and ambition has paid dividends.

I think we’re all feeling the urge to head to Center City, Philadelphia and climb those “Rocky Steps!”



Now signing off with the reminder: Don’t wait for the world to recognize your greatness, live it and let the world catch up to you.

Tamara Shanice is an actress, writer, lyricist and fashionable hustler who takes pride in entertaining and educating through her art. She's a wandering spirit who loves to travel the world and marvel at the works of God's paintbrush.



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Drake Releases Most Important Project of His Career



Today Drake released the visual for his song, “God’s Plan”. In this video, it showcases Drake giving back to communities, schools & even families in more ways than one. Whether it was signing checks for scholarships, paying for grocery bills or just handing stacks of cash to families, the 6 God decided to use the million dollar budget given for the video to instead, give it all away. 

It’s empowering to see celebrities use their platforms for good and to give back to those in need.

Drake, in case no one has told you yet – you’re doing amazing sweetie.

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‘The Real’ Surprises Staff Member at Community Academy of Philadelphia




Jeannie Mai, co-host from The Real took over Philadelphia to surprise a special staff member from the Community Academy of Philadelphia Charter School. The Assistant Operations Manager, Vilma Ray (also known to everyone as grandmom Ray) has dedicated over 16 years of her life serving the children and staff at Community Academy. She’s held multiple jobs for the school, to name a few – she’s driven the bus, mowed the lawns, cleaned up after students, supervised discipline room and the federal lunch program. Regardless of whatever the job was, big or small – she’s said to have completed each task with a smile on her face.


“Momma Ray is a miracle worker” – Alberta O’Brien, High School Principal.


Everyone that comes into grandmom’s Ray life, she is known to impact them in an empowering way. When needed, she is always a ray of sunshine and the backbone for everyone. It is because of this, Jeannie Mai came to the school to surprise and honor grandmom Ray for her years of service and commitment. Grandmom Ray originally thought she was randomly selected to play their infamous “Dimestore to Deluxe” game but little did she know there was a huge surprise for her at the end. Check out the segment of #TheRealOnTheRoad Philadelphia below:


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Why Being Kind is Too Much Sauce



You’re probably already aware that your smile could change someone’s day. We hear it all of the time: Smile. Be kind. Be courteous. Use manners.  But would you believe it if I told you that your smile could change someone’s life?

It can. Because it’s not just the smile, it’s also what comes with it. The confidence, the happiness, the positive vibes and energy that are released into world that may translate to a silent affirmation for someone else.

Smile, because you never know who’s watching feeding off of you. It’s a small act of kindness with a big impact on both the giver and the receiver.


And when it comes to small acts of kindness, too often we underestimate the power of them.

When you do things that aren’t required of you in hopes of helping or uplifting a person you know nothing about, not only does it become infectious, but the world finds a way to bring that goodness back around to you.

When Florida State University football player, Travis Rudolph, recently ate lunch with Bo Paske, an autistic boy who sat alone in the cafeteria, he could not have fathomed the national attention that small act of his was about to garner.

Not only did he help to bring more awareness to the autistic community, but he changed the lives of both Bo and his mother, and caught the attention of the media and sports community that will only prove to be beneficial to his career.
And all of this sparked from a picture he didn’t even know was being taken.

Again, you never know who’s watching you.

The powerful possibilities that come with randomly doing something nice for people are endless and rewarding. You could simply change their day by lifting their spirits or you could change their way of thinking about both the world and others.

Not only are acts of kindness significant, but they’re really easy to practice. Here are five ways you can be kind to someone today:

  1. Hand write a thank you note: handwritten anything is becoming so rare that taking the time to do so in the form of a thank you note will be sure to linger in the mind of the receiver.
  2. Support a dream or positive venture: You see it on your Facebook or Twitter timeline all of the time. Someone asking you to “like” their new business page or fill out a brief survey for their new idea. How long does it really take to do something like this? Do it.
  3. Compliment someone: You never know the kind of day someone is having. Write a compliment on your waiter or cashier’s receipt. Tell your coworker how great they are at their job. Tell the person on the train next to you how much you love their hair.
  4. Tell someone you appreciate them: It’s so easy to go on about our days expecting to receive certain things from certain people. Whether that’s money from mom or an invitation from your friend, tell that person you appreciate them for playing a positive role in your life.
  5. Smile: Like Nike, just do it.


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