#MustWatch: Michelle Obama Talks ‘Becoming’ In New Netflix Documentary

I was able to watch Becoming, a Netflix documentary featuring former (but more like forever) First Lady Michelle Obama while on tour promoting her book of the same name. The documentary was directed by Nadia Hallgren and was made by Mrs. Obama and President Barack Obama’s Higher Ground Productions, which currently has an exclusive deal with Netflix 

I, like a good chunk of the world,  have read Mrs. Obama’s book. I also had the opportunity to see her on her Becoming tour during her first night in DC (A DREAM!). If you’ve read the memoir, the documentary is a visual, condensed version of that but also includes footage from some of the tour stops (including the show I went to!), as well as community events, intimate moments with her family and staff, and more. 

I’ve already read mixed reviews from news outlets, but I don’t really care. I found it to be a good documentary to inspire and motivate, especially in these crazy times we’re living in right now. And you know me. I always love finding takeaways to share with you all.

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#MustWatch!: Magic Beyond Words: The J.K. Rowling Story

Definitely am getting back to inspirational movies and books y’all should check out. This #MustWatch flick might be a little odd for me to post but I really love it and watch it every time it comes on or I see it on On Demand.

My movie of choice? A TV movie: Magic Beyond Words: The J.K. Rowling Story. Now why, oh why, am I posting a Lifetime movie about J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, especially when Lifetime biopics are very hit or miss? Go with me here because I think there are a number of lessons to learn here.

Though the movie may not have gotten every detail about the author’s life correct, we see a journey of Joanne Rowling from childhood to Harry phenomenon. From the beginning, she had an active imagination and dreamed of a grand wizarding world. J.K. wanted to be a writer but, after some prodding from her father, she went on to study languages instead of writing because it was more “practical.” She then got a practical job which she liked, but it wasn’t her passion.

Some years later, she got married and had a child. However, her husband got drunk all of the time and turned abusive. She eventually left but struggled throughout the years being a single mom on assistance while she tried to find work.

J.K. eventually focused her time on developing the first Harry Potter book. It was an amazing read, but she still had her struggles with getting it published due to the fact that it was a children’s book. The first book was actually written in the 90s and, apparently, publishers weren’t taking a lot of children’s books at that time because they didn’t make too much money (imagine that!).

Of course, we all know that this story had an incredibly happy ending. J.K.’s work on Harry created a multi-BILLION dollar franchise which is still celebrated around the world! She and her family are SET. However, I think there were some key takeaways from this movie and J.K.’s life.

Just being “practical” with your life doesn’t best serve you.

J.K. was kind of pushed into getting a normal job but quickly found out that it wasn’t her purpose. So she went after what she truly wanted. Now, while I think that you have to pay the bills in some way while you work on your goals, I certainly don’t want any of you to give your dreams up completely to pay the bills. I balance both every day, though it can be difficult. However, I’d rather do that than unhappily work somewhere for the rest of my life with no hope in sight. I want to work on what I KNOW is my purpose in life and impact people that way.

You need a strong support system.

J.K. had great support from her mother, sister, and other friends. Though her mother did want her to be a little practical when it came to working, she encouraged J.K. to follow her dreams anyway. J.K.’s sister was actually the first to read Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone all the way through and told J.K. that she absolutely had to get an agent to get it published. It was the support she had behind the scenes that lifted her spirits and pushed her to keep going.

I don’t care what you say or how you feel. You need someone to talk to and encourage you on your good and bad days, even if it’s only one trustworthy person. That support is everything!

Passion, perseverance, and patience are key.

These words were actually mentioned at my organization recently when someone thought of what all was needed to work there. But it’s true. With J.K.’s life and work, she had to have all three of these things. She was passionate about what she worked on but also had to have patience and perseverance when her ideas were rejected.

We all have to have the same because things often don’t go according to plan. Rejections, obstacles, and failures come and you have to have major strength to keep pressing forward. Having a true passion for what we do and developing patience and perseverance keeps us going even when the inevitable rough moments come our way.

You can watch the movie with a free trial on Lifetime Movie Club or Amazon now. Watch the trailer for the film below!

#MustWatch! Todrick Hall Inspires Viewers From Behind The Curtain In This Netflix Documentary

Todrick Hall is famously known for his elaborate mashups and music videos. I wouldn’t say I’m a stan, but I greatly admire his drive, creativity, and talent. This documentary on Todrick, appropriately called Todrick Hall: Behind The Curtain, came out on Netflix last year. I watched it then and planned to write on it but fell off. So when it popped up on my things to watch the other day, I had to watch it again and share how I felt.

The documentary gives viewers an in-depth look at Todrick’s life and career literally behind the curtain. From the good days to the bad days to the extremely busy and crazy days. Check out the trailer below!

 

­­­­Of course, there were some great takeaways from the film. Here are five gems that inspired me…

Be Yourself

Even when Todrick was a kid, he was always different from other boys. Other little boys would be playing catch or other sports, but not him. Todrick enjoyed playing with dolls and making up stories about them, which would pave the way for what he does now. Though I’m sure that was hard for him, especially growing up, he stayed true to who he was and what he loved to do, even if others didn’t agree or thought he was weird. He was truly himself. He eventually got into theater, honing his craft of singing and dancing, which has opened the door wide open for what he does today.

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You Do What You Have To Do To Succeed

After competing in American Idol and making it to the Top 16, Todrick created his own YouTube channel and created his own opportunities for music and production. I knew he was a serious hustler, but I didn’t know just how much until I watched this doc. Yall. This man did an entire visual album for his second album, Straight Outta Oz, in TWO WEEKS. Literally music videos for 16 songs with a full cast and crew in fourteen days. Then he went out on tour literally right after performing it as a musical with Broadway-level sets and costumes. Todrick was constantly running around working and planning, and was sometimes a disorganized hot mess, BUT he got things done. He was always creating something or rehearsing something, because he was truly committed to putting out great music and then a great show for his fans.

Bruh. I have no excuses anymore. While I’m all for self-care and sleep, sometimes you have to push harder and sacrifice some things to make the most of your time so you can get stuff done.  And, let’s be honest. Sometimes, our need for self-care is really us just being lazy. We owe it to ourselves to give our all.

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Stand For Something

Being a gay, black man in this country was/is hard for Todrick. He still experiences homophobia even within his own family. In spite of that, Todrick used his art to express himself. His music not only tells his own story, but also takes a stand for equal rights for everyone, especially within the LGBTQ and African-American communities, and other important topics that other artists might stray away from, like gun control. That’s important because we live in a tumultuous time in this country where hate and drama seem to reign supreme.

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Show Love Always

Even though he’s Todrick Hall, and he’s famous, he still stops to talk to every fan who sees him passing by. He could be walking down the street, or in Walmart, and he makes the time. He takes what seems like a million pictures at meet and greets, always giving off this happy energy even if he’s probably dead tired. He seems so humble and down to earth, and I loved that about him.

Be An Inspiration

So many of Todrick’s supporters love his music, but they also are so inspired by his story. The fact that he has vulnerably opened up about his struggles and risen above them has literally saved people’s lives. People, young and old, straight and gay, white, black, Asian and other nations, look up to him so much. You see it all throughout this documentary the type of impact he has.

via GIPHY

While most of us may never reach that level of impact in terms of numbers, it was a reminder that we can still be a positive role model and commit to being good to those around us. It could be people in our family, in our churches, in our communities, or even at the job. I stress that I am not perfect at this every day, nor is every day a good one, but I’m striving to be someone that uplifts people instead of puts them down with my words and actions. Not for my own glory, but for God’s and so others might be better.

I absolutely loved this documentary, so I hope you guys check it out on Netflix or Amazon. Once you do, or if you’ve seen it, tell me what you think in the comments!

 

#MustWatch! Steve Harvey Speaks Out on Taking the Limits Off of Your Life

I really do love and respect Steve Harvey, man. I’ve been watching this guy since I was a kid, and to learn more about his story as I grew up inspired me. So I had to share this video from him for y’all.

Steve’s made a great career for himself, but what’s been most incredible to me is how he’s used his life story and gift of comedy to inspire and speak life to other people. In this video, he speaks about taking the limits off of God and yourself when it comes to your life, not letting people or circumstances stop you from pursuing your dreams, and other gems that I personally needed to hear this week!

It’s a little lengthy, but I promise it’s a must watch. I hope it gives you a little extra strength and motivation today and beyond!

#MustWatch! The Women’s List: Lessons of Dreams, Rejection and Perseverance

I’m such a bingewatcher. Sitting down with Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Instant bring me this incredible happiness and peace (though, in hindsight, I’ve become a homebody and am attempting to break out into the world more…mehhh). Anyway, I always rack up shows, movies and documentaries on my watchlists across the board, and finally decided to take the time to watch some of them as I began cranking out more ideas and content for this site.

As 2017 kicked off, I began to watch and read more films and books to shape my mentality for the things I wanted to accomplish this year. One of the films I had sitting in my watch list on Netflix was The Women’s List, a PBS documentary featuring 15 women in entertainment, business, politics, etc., including Alicia Keys, Edie Falco, Shonda Rhimes, Betsey Johnson and more.

Not only was it inspiring to watch because these are incredible WOMEN out here killing it in their respective fields, but there were a lot of great lessons throughout from these ladies. They all had moments of adversity or failure or setbacks, like we all do, and managed to keep going and reach success. It was crazy inspiring to watch, and had a lot of takeaways.

For example, one of the women featured, Sara Blakely (the inventor of Spanx), came up with and developed the idea for a whole year before she told a soul. Not even her family. The whole point is because when you first come up with your idea is when it’s at its most vulnerable.  Giving yourself time to work before you tell anyone allows you to grow more confident before someone comes along with concerns, poking holes in your dreams and possibly deterring you. Smart lady!

 

I watched Betsey Johnson speak while in my bed laying on her sheets (no lie), and I’ve always loved how she’s uniquely herself at all times from her designs to her style to her opinions. A lesson I took away from her was to not be afraid of putting yourself out there and just pray that someone relates to you. Clearly that worked for her. Hopefully, others can relate to what I share here from me just being B.

Another big takeaway came from Wendy Williams, surprisingly. Now, I’m not a huge Wendy fan, but I can’t deny that she’s been able to build a major name for herself, so I respect her. The lesson she reminded me of? You can’t do it all…at least you can’t do it all WELL. It really is okay to ask for help or to say no. Which, for a perfectionist/mini control freak like me, is easier said than done, but I try to do better.

Anyways, I strongly suggest you guys check this out! It’s a great watch for anyone, male or female, but ladies, you will definitely feel so empowered after seeing this. You can view this amazing documentary now on PBS.org or on Netflix!