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  • Royalty meets royalty: Prince Harry, Duchess Meghan, Beyonce and Jay-Z meet at 'The Lion King'

    British royalty met American royalty at the European premiere of "The Lion King."

    The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were photographed chatting with Queen Bey and Jay-Z on the London red carpet Sunday, and we had no idea so many icons could fit together in one picture. 

    Duchess Meghan wore a black Jason Wu dress with sheer sleeves along with white diamond Nikos Koulis earrings and a Gucci clutch. Beyoncé wore a custom gold Cong Tri gown with a thigh-high slit. 

    The Duchess hugged Beyoncé and Jay-Z before Harry walked over to join the trio. 

    "You guys are busy," Prince Harry could be heard saying to the couple in a video. 

    "No more busy than you," Queen Bey responded. 

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  • Nun arrested for ‘helping five priests rape deaf children

    A Roman Catholic nun stands accused of helping five priests sexually abuse deaf children.

    Kosaka Kumiko, 42, allegedly helped the priests cover up anal and vaginal rapes, fondling and oral sex at the institution for deaf students in Argentina.

    The abuse allegedly took place in the bathrooms, dorms, garden and a basement at the school in Lujan de Cuyo, a city about 620 miles northwest of Buenos Aires. Authorities began investigating Kumiko when a former student claimed she made her wear a nappy to cover up bleeding after she was raped. At least 24 children have come forward to report abuse at the school.

    Children said priests Nicola Corradi and the Rev. Horacio Corbacho repeatedly raped them by an image of the Virgin Mary inside the small school chapel. Nobody else would have heard their cries because the other children at the school were deaf.

    Abuse by priests is alleged to have taken place where children went to confession as well as elsewhere in the grounds. ‘They always said it was a game: ‘Let’s go play, let’s go play’ and they would take us to the girls’ bathroom,’ said one of the women who claims that she was abused at the school in Argentina. Five priests were previously arrested in late November by police who raided the school and found porn magazines and about $34,000 in Corradi’s room.

    This week Kumiko, who is originally from Japan but has Argentine citizenship, was arrested and charged over the allegations she helped them.

    She also stands accused of physically abusing students in her care. Authorities in Argentina say she had been on the run for about a month before turning herself in. Local media showed the nun in handcuffs and wearing her habit and a bullet-proof vest as she was escorted by police to a court hearing. Kumiko denied any wrongdoing during the eight-hour hearing on Thursday.

    Authorities say that she lived at the Provolo Institute for children with hearing problems from 2004 until 2012.

    She was first investigated when a former student accused of making her wear a nappy to cover up a hemorrhage after she was allegedly raped by priest Horacio Corbacho. Corbacho, fellow priest Nicola Corradi and three other men were arrested last year after they were charged with sexually abusing at least two dozen students at the Provolo Institute. They are being held at a jail in Mendoza and have not spoken publicly since the arrest. If found guilty, the accused face 10 to 50 years in prison.

     

    Corradi had earlier been accused in Italy of abusing students at the Provolo Institute in Verona, a notorious school for the deaf where hundreds of children are believed to have been sexually assaulted over the years by two dozen priests and religious brothers. Advocates for clerical sex abuse have expressed anger that Corradi wasn’t sanctioned by the Vatican and allegedly went on to abuse children in Pope Francis’ native Argentina. A Vatican investigative commission recently visited Mendoza to learn more about the case against the priests.

     

     

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  • Those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.

    When you’re feeling insecure, you typically don’t notice the hundreds of people around you who accept you just the way you are. All you notice are the few who don’t.

    In what way is the fear of rejection holding you back? How would your life be different if you didn’t (subconsciously) care what everyone thought about you?

    To answer these questions, we must understand that the vast majority of our fears and anxieties amount to one thing: Loss.

    We fear:

    • Losing our youth.
    • Losing our social status.
    • Losing our money.
    • Losing control.
    • Losing our comfort.
    • Losing our life.

    We also fear, perhaps more than anything else, being rejected by others. This kind of fear is widespread and debilitating if left unaddressed. Why is this fear so deeply entrenched in us? In ancient tribal times, being rejected from the safety of the community could have meant death. So it’s no wonder, really, that we want to be accepted by others.

    Fear is an instinctual human emotion designed to keep us aware and safe – like the headlights on a car clearly illuminating the twists and turns on the road ahead. But too much fear, like high beams blinding us on a dark, foggy road, can cause the loss of the very thing we feared losing in the first place.

    This is especially true when it comes to fear of rejection

    Do you look for acceptance and reassurance from others?

    If so, you now know you’re not alone.  And what I’ve learned over the years is this: Constantly seeking acceptance and reassurance from other people is a dead end journey. These things can only be found within you, not from others. Because any look, word, or reaction from someone else can be warped and misinterpreted.

    In this post I want to share some tips that helped me feel self-assured, and eventually allowed me to overcome my fear of rejection and my relentless tenancy to worry about what everyone thought of me…

    1. Realize that fear itself is the real enemy.

    Franklin D. Roosevelt so profoundly said, “Only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Nothing could be closer to the truth. This is especially true as it relates to self-fulfilling prophecies.

    A self-fulfilling prophecy is a false belief about a situation that motivates the person with the belief to take actions that cause the belief to come true. This kind of thinking often kills opportunities and tears relationships apart. For instance, you might wrongly believe that a group of people will reject you, so you become defensive, anxious, and perhaps even hostile with them. Eventually, your behavior brings about the feared rejection, which wasn’t there to begin with. And then you, ‘the prophet,’ feels that you were right from the very beginning: “I knew they didn’t like me!”

    Do you see how this works? Look carefully at your own tendencies. How do your fears and beliefs about possible rejection influence your behavior toward others? Take a stand. Instead of letting fear show you what might be wrong in your relationships, start looking for signs of what might be right.

    2. Let go of your “end of the world” thinking.

    All variations of fear, including the fear of rejection, thrive on “end of the world” thinking. In other words, our emotions convince us that an undesirable outcome results in annihilation.

    • What if they don’t like me?
    • What if he rejects me?
    • What if I don’t fit in and I’m left sitting alone at the party?

    None of these things result in the “end of the world,” but if we convince ourselves that they do, we will irrationally fear these outcomes and give our fears control over us. The truth is, we – human beings – are inefficient at accurately predicting how future misfortune will make us feel. In fact, most of the time we avoid consciously thinking about it all together, which only perpetuates our subconscious fears.

    So ask yourself: “If disaster should strike, and my fear of being rejected comes true, what are three constructive ways I could cope and move forward with my life?” Sit down and tell yourself a story (write it down too if it helps) about how you will feel after rejection, how you will allow yourself to be upset for a short while, and then how you will begin the process of growing from the experience and moving on. Just doing this exercise will help you feel less fear around the possibility of rejection.

    3. Question what “rejection” really means.

    If a person discovers a 200 carat white diamond in the earth but, due to ignorance, believes it to be worthless, and thus tosses it aside, does this tell us more about the diamond or the person? Along the same lines, when one person rejects another, it reveals a lot more about the ‘rejecter’ than the ‘rejected.’ All you are really seeing is the often shortsighted opinion of one person. Consider the following…

    If J.K. Rowling stopped after being rejected by multiple publishers for years, there would be no Harry Potter. If Howard Schultz gave up after being turned down by banks 200+ times, there would be no Starbucks. If Walt Disney quit too soon after his theme park concept was trashed by 300+ investors, there would be no Disney World.

    One thing is for sure: If you give too much power to the opinions of others, you will become their prisoner. So never let someone’s opinion alter your reality. Never sacrifice who you are, or who you aspire to be, just because someone else has a problem with it. Love who you are inside and out, and keep pushing forward. No one else has the power to make you feel small unless you give them that power. And when someone rejects you, don’t inevitably feel it’s because you’re unworthy or unlovable. Because, in many ways, all they’ve really done is give you feedback about their own shortsightedness.

    4. Let your presence overpower your fear.

    Ever noticed how people who are struggling with emotional challenges tend to tell you how they don’t want to feel? Fair enough, but at some point we all need to focus on how we DO want to feel.

    When you’re in a social situation that’s making you anxious, forget what you don’t want to feel for a moment. Work out how you DO want to feel right now in the present moment. Train yourself to live right here, right now without regretting how others once made you feel, or fearing the possibility of future judgment.

    This is YOUR choice. You CAN change the way you think.

    If you were delivering life-saving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on your mother in public, you’d be 100% focused and present. You wouldn’t be thinking about what bystanders thought of your hair, your body type, or the brand of jeans you were wearing. All these inconsequential details would vanish from your consciousness. The intensity of the situation would motivate you to choose not to care about what others might be thinking of you. This proves, quite simply, that thinking about what others are thinking about you is YOUR CHOICE.

    5. Let go of your need to always be right.

    The reason your fear of rejection sometimes gets the best of you is because a part of you believes you’re always right. If you think someone doesn’t like you, then surely they don’t. Right? WRONG!

    People who never learn to question their emotions, especially when they’re feeling worrisome or anxious, make life much more difficult than it has to be.

    If your perception is always so accurate, why do you make so many mistakes? Exactly! It’s time to let go a little. Being more confident in life partly means being OK with not knowing what’s going to happen, so you can relax and allow things to play out naturally. Relaxing with ‘not knowing’ is the key to confidence in relationships and peace in life.

    So here’s a new mantra for you ... say it, and then say it again: “This is my life, my choices, my mistakes and my lessons. I have nothing to prove. And as long as I’m not hurting people, I need not worry what they think of me.”

    6. Embrace and enjoy your individuality.

    Constantly seeking approval means we’re perpetually worried that others are forming negative judgments of us. This steals the fun, ingenuity, and spontaneity from our lives. Flip the switch on this habit. If you’re lucky enough to have something that makes you different from everybody else, don’t be ashamed and don’t change. Uniqueness is priceless. In this crazy world that’s trying to make you like everyone else, find the courage to keep being your remarkable self. And if they laugh at you for being different, laugh back at them for being the same.

    It takes a lot of courage to stand alone, but it’s worth it. Being unapologetically YOU is worth it! Your real friends in life will reveal themselves slowly – they’re the ones who truly know you and love you just the same.

    Bottom line: Don’t change so people will like you; be yourself and the right people will love the real you. 

    7. Use rejection as a priceless growth opportunity.

    As soon as someone critiques and criticizes you, as soon as you are rejected, you might find yourself thinking, “Well, that proves once again that I am not worthy.” What you need to realize is, these other people are NOT worthy of YOU and your particular journey. Rejection is necessary medicine; it teaches you how to reject relationships and opportunities that aren’t going to work, so you can quickly find new ones that will. It doesn’t mean you aren’t good enough; it just means someone else failed to notice what you have to offer. Which means you now have more time to improve yourself and explore your options.

    “Will you be bitter for a moment? Absolutely. Hurt? Of course, you’re human. There isn’t a soul on this planet that doesn’t feel a small fraction of their heartbreak at the awareness of rejection. For a short time afterwards you will ask yourself every question you can think of…

    • What did I do wrong?
    • Why didn’t they like me?
    • How come?

    But then you have to let your emotions fuel you! This is the important part. Let your feelings of rejection drive you, feed you, and inspire one heck of a powerful opening to the next chapter of your story.

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  • Jay-Z Has Entered the Legal Weed Business

    Jay-Z has teamed with the California weed company Caliva as Chief Brand Strategist, focusing on the social justice issues around legal weed.

    Jay-Z will join the California-based cannabis company Caliva as Chief Brand Strategist as part of a new multi-year partnership.

    The rapper will help the company with creative decisions, outreach efforts and strategy, though a big component of his role will focus on the social justice issues surrounding legalization. Specifically, Jay will work to improve the representation and participation of previously incarcerated people who are still being kept out of the legal weed business in large numbers. Per a statement, Jay-Z’s efforts in this realm will include “advocacy, job training and overall employee and workforce development.”

    “Anything I do, I want to do correctly and at the highest level,” Jay-Z said in a statement. “With all the potential in the cannabis industry, Caliva’s expertise and ethos make them the best partners for this endeavor. We want to create something amazing, have fun in the process, do good and bring people along the way.”

    Jay-Z reached out to Caliva after an extensive search to find a suitable partner in the cannabis industry. “For Jay-Z to seek out Caliva as a partner is humbling and confirms our mission of being the most trusted name in cannabis,” says Caliva CEO, Dennis O’Malley. “To find that we were in complete alignment around our values and ethos was just a home run. We believe this partnership is unparalleled in this or any business and we could not be more pleased to be working with him and have him as our Chief Brand Strategist.”

    Jay-Z’s decision to focus on the social justice side of legal weed complements the work he’s done in criminal justice reform. The rapper served as an executive producer on a docuseries about Kalief Browder — the teenager who died by suicide after spending three years on Rikers Island while awaiting trial for steeling a backpack —while he was also one of the most outspoken advocates for Meek Mill, using that MC’s case to shine light on unfair sentencing and probation practices. Following Meek Mill’s release from prison, he and Jay-Z helped launch a new foundation dedicated to criminal justice reform, the Reform Alliance.

    Jay-Z is the latest rapper to enter the legal marijuana business. In 2015, Snoop Dogg launched his own weed brand, Leafs by Snoop (it’s distributed in Canada by the weed giant Canopy Growth), while last year 2 Chainz partnered with Green Street Agency and Mazel Management Group to launch his own company, The Gas Cannabis Co. Other MCs like Wiz Khalifa, Freddie Gibbs and Juicy J have all developed their own signature strains, while in 2018 Cypress Hill’s B-Real opened his own dispensary in California, fittingly naming it Dr. Greenthumb’s.

     

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  • Saying yes to happiness means learning to say no to the desires that drain you.

     

     

    They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world: someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for.  I don’t think anything could be closer to the truth, and yet all too often we find ways of complicating things for ourselves.  We look for happiness where it does not exist .... in shallow goals and desires ... in possessions, quick thrills, and impressing the wrong people.

    So say it out loud with me:

    “To be happier, I do NOT need…”

    1. To please everyone – Be careful not to give so much of yourself to others that you end up completely losing yourself.  When you go around pleasing everyone but yourself, you are the one that gets hurt in the end.  The late and great Herbert Bayard Swope said it like this: “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.”  That is spot on advice if you ask me.  Because truthfully, you are never going to please everyone anyway.  At some point you will hold an unpopular opinion – one that gives you meaning and makes you feel alive.  And when you do, you ought to hold on tight, tune out the noise, and make it count.
    2. Everything to be easy – You have to do hard things to be happy in life.  The things no one else is doing.  The things that frighten you.  The things others can’t do for you.  The things that make you question how much longer you can hold on and push forward.  Because those are the things that define you.  Those are the things that make the difference between existing and living – between knowing the path and walking the path – between a life of mediocrity and a life filled with happiness and success.
    3. Certainty and guarantees – Some people build too many walls in their lives and not enough bridges.  It sounds crazy, but they would rather be certain they’re miserable, than risk being happy.  Don’t be one of them.  Open yourself up.  Take chances.  Run free.  To accomplish amazing things, you must not only act, but also dream, not only plan, but also believe.  Be a dreamer, a believer, and a courageous and cheerful thinker.  Be a positive motivator, a productive doer, and a go-getter who keeps her head in the clouds and her feet on the ground.  Let the spirit of passion and possibility ignite a fire within you to do something worthwhile today and every day, and don’t forget to spread your enthusiasm to those around you.  
    4. To be better than others – The size of our universe shrinks dramatically when we place ourselves at the center – when we think everyone is our competition – when we think we have to be richer, smarter, and more attractive than the person sitting next to us.  Such a goal just keeps a person alienated and tirelessly running in place.  Now, on the flipside, take someone who doesn’t keep score, who’s not looking to be richer, or smarter, or more attractive, who has not the slightest interest even in being better than anyone else: she’s free.  Bottom line: Compete with yourself only.
    5. More control over everything and everyone – Sometimes we put too much interest into trying to control every tiny aspect of our lives.  Learn to relax and ride the path that life takes you sometimes.  Incredible change will happen in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you do not.  Freeing yourself from trying to control the insignificant and uncontrollable things lets you experience more of the goodness around you.  In fact, the greatest joys are often the unexpected surprises that arrive when you are flexible and open to life’s twists and turns.
    6. Immense moments of glory – Graduations, wedding days, lavish vacations – these times are often fun-filled and deeply celebrated, but these times pass, because time passes.  This is something we rarely grasp at first.  True, lasting happiness is found in the appreciation of all the small things.  For me, there are random moments – making a beat, coming home to my wife and children, playing chess with my sons, standing in the kitchen watching my wife cook, hearing a giggle from my sons who’s playing PS4 in the other room.
    7. Relationships that are “supposed to” provide happiness – Relationships are essential, but happiness originates from within.  It is not dependent on external validation or on other people.  You become vulnerable and can be easily hurt when your feelings of security and happiness depend entirely on the behavior and actions of others.  Keep this in mind.  Never give all your power to anyone else.  Until you make complete peace with who you are, you’ll never be content with what you have or who you’re with.  Learn to love and respect yourself first, before loving the idea of other people loving and respecting you.
    8. Perfect harmony in all relationships at all times – Harmony in relationships is nice when it’s sincere, but too often we try to fake it.  Effective communication is king.  You have to talk it out sometimes.  After all, the only way to be happy in life is to live with integrity.  This means: Not settling for less than what you know you deserve in your relationships.  Being clear and asking for what you want and need from others.  Speaking your truth, even though it might create occasional tension.  Behaving in ways that are in agreement with your personal values.  Making choices based on what you believe, and not just what others believe. 
    9. A superior time and place – The reason many people find it so hard to be happy is that they always see the past better than it was, the present worse than it is, and the future less resolved than it will be.  The key, of course, is to do the opposite.  Appreciate your past without reliving it, handle your present with confidence, and face your future without fear.  Life is simply too short to spend at war with yourself.  Letting go of the past and future is your first step to happiness and peace in the present.  Realize that you are today where your thoughts and actions have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts and actions today take you.  Bottom line: You can’t stop the future.  You can’t rewind the past.  The only way to live is to press play, and Rap over the beat.
    10. Happiness 24/7 – Absolutely no one is happy all of the time.  Because you simply can’t be happy unless you’re unhappy sometimes.  This is a harsh truth, I know.  Just keep in mind that it’s perfectly normal to experience considerable fluctuations in your level of happiness from day to day, month to month, and even year to year.  Believing and expecting otherwise will only lead to disillusionment.  But even when life is less than blissful, you are still in charge of how you respond.  The greatest act of faith some days is to simply get up and face the day, with a smile.

     

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