WonderWorks Debuts Wonder of Magic Halloween Spooktacular Show

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Actors dressed in Halloween costumes

WonderWorks is known for entertaining the whole family all year long, but they are setting out to give people a spooky treat this fall.

Their ongoing family friendly magic show will be transformed for the season, becoming the “Wonders of Magic Halloween Spooktacular.” The show will run from September 30, 2019 through November 2, 2019, with tickets being $18.99, plus tax, for all ages. The show is unique to the Pigeon Forge area, making it a special experience for all.

“We are really excited that Terry and the cast will be presenting a Halloween themed show for the first time. The show will be a little spooky but, as always, completely family friendly and tons of fun,” explains Ed Shaffer, general manager for WonderWorks in Pigeon Forge. “With the addition of the Halloween show to our lineup, fans of the Wonders of Magic will now have a chance to see three different shows throughout the year!”

The Wonders of Magic Show features Terry Evanswood, who has been awarded for putting on the Best Magic Shows in Pigeon Forge, and is the longest running headline performer in town. His shows are consistently sold out, and leave audiences in awe at the amazing magic that he is able to perform. The Halloween Spooktacular will offer guests a spooky good time, as it includes special costumes and props that have not been used in other shows. There will also be an array of spooky elements, including fog, haunting sounds, flashing lights, and plenty of eye-bending fun.

Being the only show of its kind in the area, the show times are expected to sell out quickly. Those looking for a family friendly way to get into the Halloween spirit will want to get their seats reserved early. Crowds can expect to be dazzled, amazed, and left in wonder at how Terry is able to pull off the spooky magic. This show is family friendly, with all ages welcome.

“This is going to be the event you don’t want to miss this year,” added Shaffer. “You will laugh, you will get a little spooked, and you will leave having created a great family memory.”

The Wonders of Magic Halloween Spooktacular show times will be 5:30 pm on September 30, 2019, 5:30 pm on Monday’s and Wednesday’s through October 2019, 5:30 pm and 8:00 pm on Friday’s and Saturday’s in October 2019, and select other dates. To see the full schedule and reserve show tickets, visit the site: wonderworksonline.com/pigeon-forge/the-experience/.

WonderWorks in Pigeon Forge offers 35,000 square feet of “edu-tainment” opportunities, billing itself as an amusement park for the mind. They offer over 100 hands-on exhibits covering natural disasters, space discovery, an imagination lab, a physical challenge zone, a far out art gallery, and a light and sound zone. WonderWorks is open daily from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. For more information, log onto their site: wonderworksonline.com/pigeon-forge/.

About WonderWorks
WonderWorks, a science focused indoor amusement park, combines education and entertainment. With over 100 hands-on exhibits – there is something unique and challenging for all ages. Feel the power of 71mph hurricane–force winds in the Hurricane Shack. Make huge, life–sized bubbles in the Bubble Lab. Get the NASA treatment in our Astronaut Training Gyro and experience zero gravity. Nail it by lying on the death–defying Bed of Nails. Conquer your fear of heights on our indoor Glow-In-The-Dark Ropes Course. WonderWorks is also home to Wonders of Magic, starring Terry Evanswood, the award-winning and longest running performer in Pigeon Forge. WonderWorks hosts birthday parties and special events seasonally. Open daily from 9 a.m. until midnight. wonderworksonline.com/pigeon-forge.

‘Star Trek’ Internship Program Launches at CBS Television Studios, Television Academy Foundation

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Star Trek logo

CBS TV Studios and the Television Academy Foundation are coming together to help a group of students live long and prosper.

The two have announced a partnership to launch the “Star Trek” Command Training Program, an internship open to graduate and undergraduate college students nationwide, in 2020.

Initially, the new program will place two interns per semester on a “Star Trek” series, providing them a “360-degree immersion” in the production process of the “Star Trek” universe. Selected interns will also be allowed to actively engage in writers’ rooms, wardrobe design, on-set production, animation and post-production on Los Angeles-based programs.

“When Gene Roddenberry created the original ‘Star Trek’ series over 50 years ago, it challenged stereotypes and championed diversity and inclusion in an unprecedented way,” said Alex Kurtzman, the executive producer who currently oversees the “Star Trek” universe. “The Command Training Program is our commitment to expanding that inspirational vision across the entire ‘Star Trek’ canon. The ‘Star Trek’ universe is an ideal place to celebrate new voices and perspectives. We want to provide the framework to begin entertainment careers in a meaningful way and can’t wait to get started.”

Applications for the program, which is designed to “reflect the franchise’s core values of inclusion and diversity,” will be open from Nov. 14 through Jan. 21, 2020, with final selections being announced at the end of March.

Continue on to Variety to read the complete article.

Stranger Things Renewed For Season 4 As Netflix Makes Overall Deal With The Duffer Brothers

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The Stranger Things Cast pose together for a picture

Netflix has renewed the worldwide hit series Stranger Things for a fourth season and signed series creators and showrunners The Duffer Brothers to a multi-year film and series overall deal.

“The Duffer Brothers have captivated viewers around the world with Stranger Things and we’re thrilled to expand our relationship with them to bring their vivid imaginations to other film and series projects our members will love,” said Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer, Netflix.

“We can’t wait to see what The Duffer Brothers have in store when they step outside the world of The Upside Down.”

“We are absolutely thrilled to continue our relationship with Netflix. Ted Sarandos, Cindy Holland, Brian Wright, and Matt Thunell took a huge chance on us and our show — and forever changed our lives. From our first pitch meeting to the release of Stranger Things 3, the entire team at Netflix has been nothing short of sensational, providing us with the kind of support, guidance, and creative freedom we always dreamed about.

We can’t wait to tell many more stories together — beginning, of course, with a return trip to Hawkins!”

View the the Stranger Things 4 announcement video

About The Series:

Stranger Things is a Netflix Original Series created by The Duffer Brothers and produced by Monkey Massacre Productions & 21 Laps Entertainment. The Duffer Brothers serve as executive producers on the series alongside Shawn Levy and Dan Cohen of 21 Laps Entertainment and Iain Paterson.

About The Duffer Brothers:

The twin brothers were raised in Durham, North Carolina and began making films in the third grade using the Hi8 camcorder they received as a gift from their parents. They went on to attend Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, graduating in 2007 with degrees in film production.

After graduating, the Duffer Brothers wrote and directed several short films, attracting the attention of both Warner Bros., which acquired their script for the post-apocalyptic horror film Hidden, and filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan, who hired them as writers for multiple episodes of the Fox series Wayward Pines.

Building on their growing success, the Duffer Brothers pitched their idea for Stranger Things, an homage to 1980s genre films. The series was picked up by Netflix and premiered in the summer of 2016 to critical-acclaim and went on to become a global phenomenon, with Matt and Ross at the helm as writers, directors and showrunners.

Stranger Things has garnered over 50 awards nominations, including those from the Emmys, the Golden Globes, the Grammys, SAG, DGA, WGA, BAFTA, the Art Directors Guild and the People’s Choice Awards, among many others.

About Netflix:

Netflix is the world’s leading internet entertainment service with over 151 million paid memberships in over 190 countries enjoying TV series, documentaries and feature films across a wide variety of genres and languages. Members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere, on any internet-connected screen. Members can play, pause and resume watching, all without commercials or commitments.

Selena Gomez’s dream came true when she spent her day with the sharks from “Shark Tank!”

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Selena Gomez poses with the Shark Tank cast smiling and waving her hand

The “I Can’t Get Enough” star finally cashed in on her birthday present by hanging out on set of the hit reality show. Gomez, who’s a self-proclaimed mega-fan of the show, was gifted a day with the sharks by her friends for her 27th birthday.

Sharing several videos and pictures from behind-the-scenes on Friday, Gomez clearly enjoyed her time with Mark Cuban, Kevin O’Leary, Lori Greiner, and Robert Herjavec. The singer wasn’t the only A-listers who was pumped for her day on the set. Herjavec posted a snap with Gomez and wrote, “Guess who made it into the tank!” But it wasn’t all fun and games for the superstar.

Corcoran revealed they had a bet on whether the next business pitch would get a deal from the sharks and Gomez lost.

She made sure to document the loss too. Sharing a pic of Gomez holding up a sign reading “I beat Selena,” the businesswoman couldn’t help but gloat.

“@selenagomez tried her hand at @sharktankabc making a bet on whether the next business would get a deal. She lost! I won!” she wrote. “And to her great credit, she was waiting on set to pay off her $10 debt. What a class act!”

Gomez recently celebrated her 27th birthday in July.

As The Blast reported, she got the surprise of a lifetime when Mark Cuban sent her a personal message inviting her to watch the sharks in action.

Continue on to The Blast to read the complete article.

CBS Saturday Morning Debuts “Mission Unstoppable,” a New Weekly Series Executive Produced by Geena Davis and Miranda Cosgrove Who Also Serves as Host

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Miranda Cosgrove poses for Mission Unstoppable poster

CBS announced today that new series Mission Unstoppable, featuring female STEM superstars, is joining the Saturday morning block “The CBS Dream Team, It’s Epic!,” which returns for its seventh season Saturday, Sept. 28th (9:00-12:00 ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

Each week, host and Executive Producer Miranda Cosgrove (iCarly) and an all-female leadership team showcase women on the cutting edge of science – including zoologists, engineers, astronauts, codebreakers, and oceanographers. Viewers will be inspired by female STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) superstars in leading fields including social media, entertainment, animals, design, and the internet – all categories key to the teen experience.

“Girls need to see themselves on and off the screen as STEM professionals, and as I always say, ‘If they can see it, they can be it.’ This new series strives to empower young women and showcase the many ways they can impact the world through careers in STEM.”

Academy-Award winning actor and advocate Geena Davis serves as co-executive producer of the series, bringing her passion for creating change in the portrayal of strong female characters in entertainment and media that positively influences young viewers.

“Strong female role models are essential to breaking down barriers and educating the next generation of leaders about gender equality,” said Geena Davis, Executive Producer, Mission Unstoppable. “Girls need to see themselves on and off the screen as STEM professionals, and as I always say, ‘If they can see it, they can be it.’ This new series strives to empower young women and showcase the many ways they can impact the world through careers in STEM.”

Serving as Showrunner is Anna Wenger, four-time Emmy-nominated producer for Billy on The Street, Between Two Ferns, and Sarah Silverman: We Are Miracles. Wenger’s expertise in narrative television and sketch comedy television series will provide Mission Unstoppable with its core intent to bring fun and science to life for young viewers.

Continue on to Businesswire to read the complete article.

40th College Television Awards Submission Period Begins Sept. 5

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College Television Awards logo

The Television Academy Foundation Awards Ceremony Celebrates Student-Produced Programs From Colleges Nationwide. The submission period for the Television Academy Foundation’s 40th College Television Awards is Sept. 5 through Oct. 3, 2019.

Each year hundreds of graduate and undergraduate students, representing colleges and universities nationwide, submit their media projects to television’s most prestigious student competition—the Television Academy Foundation’s College Television Awards.

The College Television Awards honors achievement in student-produced programs and will feature stars from today’s top television shows presenting awards to winners at the red-carpet awards ceremony.

Emulating the Emmy® Awards selection process, entries for the College Television Awards are judged by Television Academy members. Top honors and a $3,000 cash prize will be presented to winning teams in eight categories: drama, comedy, animation, nonfiction, promotional, news, sports and variety. The College Television Awards also includes two additional, donor-supported, categories: the Seymour Bricker Humanitarian Award and the Loreen Arbus Focus on Disability Scholarship.

In addition to the awards ceremony, the nominees will take part in a three-day television summit hosted by the Television Academy Foundation. The summit, designed to enhance professional development, will feature panel discussions, studio tours and networking opportunities with industry executives and Academy members.

The College Television Awards often serves as an entry point for a career in television for nominees and winners. Past alumni have worked as editors, writers, producers and other positions on programs including Ray Donovan, The Handmaid’s Tale, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, CBS This Morning, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Grey’s Anatomy, 60 Minutes, Empire and many more.

For additional information, visit TelevisionAcademy.com/CTA.

To read the complete article continue on to The Patch.

See Cardi B & Chance The Rapper In The Trailer For Netflix’s New Hip-Hop Competition Series

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Cardi B, Chance the Rapper and TI sitting in chais onstage

Netflix recently premiered the first teaser for the new hip-hop competition show, Rhythm + Flow, during Cardi B’s set at Philadelphia’s Made In America festival.

The trailer shows Cardi, Chance The Rapper, and T.I. as judges on the series. “Creativity doesn’t have blueprints,” Chance says in the new clip. Cardi adds, “It’s gonna be litty.”

The first four episodes of the three-week, 10-episode series hits Netflix on 10/9.

These Rhythm + Flow audition episodes will take place in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and Atlanta. On 10/16, three more episodes will be released, featuring cyphers, rap battles, and music videos.

The final three episodes, premiering 10/23, will focus on samples, collaborations, and declaring “the next hip-hop sensation.”

Continue on to Stereogum to read the complete article

Geeky Stars: Hollywood Celebrities Who Studied Science

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image of the famous Hollywood sign on the hillside

Do people possessing degrees in science, medicine, or technology always continue working in their own field of study? Absolutely not!

Many students, after graduating from college, end up pursuing other careers out of genuine interest.

Instead of looking for the usual academic, government, or industry jobs, many such science geeks adopted a slightly different path and became well-known celebrities. Let us have a look at what these celebrities were up to before choosing this alternative career.

Mayim Bialik

Celebrities

(Image Credits: iDominick via Wikipedia)

She is best known for her role as neurobiologist, Amy Farrah Fowler on ‘The Big Bang Theory’, Mayim Bialik was also the lead in a famous 90’s sitcom ‘Blossom. In 2000, she completed her BS in Neuroscience and Hebrew & Jewish Studies from UCLA. In 2007, she earned her PhD in Neuroscience from UCLA after completing her doctoral thesis. Her thesis was on ‘Hypothalamic regulation in relation to maladaptive, obsessive-compulsive, affiliative, and satiety behaviors in Prader–Willi syndrome’.

 

Natalie Portman

Celebrities
(Image Credits: Georges Biard via Wikipedia)

Natalie Portman debuted in ‘Léon: The Professional’ in 1994. However, she continued to gain recognition for her performances in movies such as ‘Closer’, ‘Black Swan’, and ‘V for Vendetta’. In 2003, she completed her BA in Psychology from Harvard University. Previously, in 1998, she was a semifinalist in the Intel Science Talent Search and co-authored the following study: ‘Frontal lobe activation during object permanence: data from near-infrared spectroscopy’ (doi:10.1006/nimg.2002.1170). In an interview for the New York Post, she mentioned, ”I’d rather be smart than a movie star.”

 

Ken Jeong

Celebrities

(Image Credits: Nan Palmero via Wikipedia)

Ken Jong is best known for his role as ‘Leslie Chow’ in the ‘Hangover’ trilogy and ‘Ben Chang’ for the sitcom ‘Community’. He is a physician, comedian, and actor. He completed his graduation from Duke University, followed by an MD from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Interestingly, in a sitcom on ABC, he portrays the role of Dr. Ken who is also a physician!

 

Rowan Atkinson

Celebrities

(Image Credits: Eva Rinaldi via Wikipedia)

For many of us, he has immortalized the character of ‘Mr. Bean’ through his perfect comic timing, Rowan Atkinson who has been awarded a CBE has also worked in acclaimed programs such as Blackadder and Not the Nine O’Clock News. He completed his BSc in Electrical Engineering from University of Newcastle and MSc in Electrical Engineering from Queen’s College, Oxford.

 

Lisa Kudrow

Celebrities

(Image Credits: Lan Bui via Wikipedia)

Lisa Kudrow gained global fame for her character ‘Phoebe Buffay’ in the famous sitcom, Friends. Although she played the character of a quirky masseuse, she was possibly more qualified to be the palaentologist instead of Ross! As a student, Lisa earned her BS degree in Biology from Vassar College. She spent some time doing research with her father, Dr. Lee Kudrow, a well-renowned clinician in the field of headache medicine.

 

Eva Longoria

Celebrities

(Image Credits:Georges Biard via Wikipedia)

She is known for her role as ‘Isabella Braña’ on ‘The Young and the Restless’ and as ‘Gabrielle Solis’ in ‘Desperate Housewives’, Eva Longoria received BS degree in Kinesiology at Texas A&M University-Kingsville. She earned her MA degree in Chicano and Chicana Studies from California State University and her thesis was titled ‘Success STEMS From Diversity: The Value of Latinas in STEM Careers’.

Continue on to Enago.com to read the complete article.

 

 

Can’t travel this summer? Try taking a virtual vacation

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woman smiling looking at laptop

By Sage Anderson

Sure, we’d all love to be jet-setting around the world, living out the summer travel fantasies that are only attainable for influencers with all their expenses paid and the 0.000001%. But more likely, you’re stuck behind a desk, aggressively swiping through your friends’ vacation Insta stories.

If you get creative, there are definitely ways to make your summer in an office less of a soul-sucking, cubicleland-locked nightmare. But sometimes you just need to be (mentally) where the Coronas are. And that’s where planning a virtual vacation comes in.

It’s an online oasis, a digital escape — whatever you call it, whisk yourself away through world wide web and sail to far-off destinations that are only a click away.

So shove your luggage back in the closet, toss out that tube of sunscreen, and secure your place on the couch. Let us give you the best options for your digital getaway. You can even wear that socks-with-sandals combo from the comfort of your own home — don’t worry, we won’t judge.

1. Go on a virtual destination experience 

Trekking across the globe from your own home has never been easier — everyone from big tech companies, to resorts and airlines have been utilizing the latest in VR and 360-filming technology to capture immersive vacation experiences. You can get a birds-eye view of bustling cities, or get up close and personal with undersea life.

The level of “realness” might vary – for example, Google Maps can use Street View to take you on a virtual safari of in South Africa, but you’ll probably need a VR headset to get the full experience of Hamilton Island, Australia’s breathtaking helicopter island tour video.

You can also use an app like Ascape, which describes itself as “the #1 travel agency for virtual reality trips.” The app hosts a multitude of 360 scenic virtual video and photo tours, with plenty of international options.

While Kayak.com may have played off this concept for an April Fool’s Day joke, we’re getting seriously close to Star Trek simulation room-levels of travel immersion. Okay, maybe not — but it’s still a step up from your average nature documentary.

2. Ride a theme park ride on YouTube

Let’s face it, the land of magic that Mickey Mouse built is overcrowded and expensive. Other big amusement parks are no different — so unless you want to personally reenact the Harry Potter ride 10-hour line debacle, there are other ways to beat the system.

Several dedicated theme park YouTube accounts have amassed a loyal following of serial park-goers and average Joes-alike, which make up a community known loosely as “Theme Park Tube.” The most famous of which is Defunctland, which shares the history of rides no longer in operation. But if you’d rather to strap yourself into the front seat of park attractions, we’ve got you covered.

Much like mall kiosks and VR “experiences” of yore, the ever-popular rollercoaster simulation has had new life breathed into it by first-person, ride-through videos. But these perspectives also act both as a way to experience rides from international parks and as a historical record of the aforementioned defunct attractions.

3. Check out adorable live zoo feeds 

Penquins at the Zoo

What does everyone need more of in their life? Adorable animals, that’s what! But if you’ve already exhausted the millions of cat videos on YouTube (which, how is that even possible?), there’s a more organic option.

A whole host of zoos already offer live cams and feeds to various habitats of their animals online. Love elephants? Check out the Houston Zoo’s Elephant Yard cam. Want to follow some pandas around and watch them do nothing? Smithsonian National Zoo’s Giant Panda Cam has got you covered.

We can’t guarantee that any of these creatures will do anything interesting when you tune in, but most of them run 24/7, so you’re bound to catch some animal tomfoolery at some point.

Continue on to Mashable to read the complete article.

Common Name, Uncommon Path

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Common seated at the panel at the Black Caucus

By Jovane Marie

With a career spanning almost three decades, Common’s journey in the spotlight has been anything but.

Along the way, he’s gained an ever-expanding list of titles and credits that run the gamut: rapper, artist, father, actor, activist, model, author, designer, philanthropist, Microsoft ambassador, and Academy Award winner, to name a few.

But if you’re thinking that’s enough to satisfy this modern-day Renaissance Man, you’re wrong. “I revel in the fact that in being all of these things, I don’t have to choose,” said the multi-hyphenate talent. “I want to do and be more…what I’ve accomplished so far is great, but there is always more to achieve.”

Voice of the Future
Common might’ve had his start in the music industry, but he’s no stranger to the world of STEM. In fact, he’s had a long-standing relationship with tech behemoth Microsoft dating all the way back to 2008, when the two partnered to launch Softwear (a play on “software”), a retro clothing line of T-shirts featuring MS-DOS (an operating system) font. Six years later, that partnership was re-birthed as the tech giant searched for a spokesperson to helm its first Super Bowl commercial. Common sent in a tape explaining why he wanted to lend his voice, and the rest—they say—is history. Since the inaugural commercial in 2014, the artist has lent his voice to a multitude of commercials, shorts, and presentations touting the importance of advancing technology and the infinite possibilities created by Microsoft’s artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities.

“Technology is possibility, adaptability, and capability,” he muses in one spot. “It’s not about changing what came before—it’s about creating what comes next. Right now, we have more power at our fingertips than entire generations that came before us…the question is, what will we do with it?”

Actor to Activist
Common’s firm footing in the entertainment industry might sound like a full-time endeavor, but he has consciously created the time and space to enrich and advocate for the causes he believes in. “The truth is, you don’t have to be an actor, or an athlete, or an influencer to make a difference,” he said in a recent interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Ernie Suggs. “All you have to do is have a desire the make the world a better place. Every human being can do it, and I have a desire to do my part.”

L to R-Lamar Johnson, Sabrina Carpenter, Russell Hornsby, Amandla Stenberg, Algee Smith and Common attend The Hate U Give New York Screening at Paris Theatre
L to R-Lamar Johnson, Sabrina Carpenter, Russell Hornsby, Amandla Stenberg, Algee Smith and Common attend “The Hate U Give” New York Screening at Paris Theatre.

This desire has manifested into fervent action focused on increasing and championing diversity and mentoring youth in the inner-cities of his home state, among other things.

In January, he delivered the closing keynote at the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion conference, a gathering of more than 250 Chief Human Resource Officers (CHRO) and Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officers (CDO) from an array of Fortune 500 companies on a mission to provide tangible, ready-to-implement strategies to encourage and increase diversity and inclusion both internally and within their local communities.

“My interest in promoting diversity was rooted in my looking in these communities and seeing certain people not having access to the same opportunities,” said the ardent advocator. “The undeniable fact is that we need to see more women and POC [people of color] in positions of power—same for different beliefs and those in the LGBTQ+ community.” “We have to figure out ways to increase the diversity, and that starts with a conversation. For me, I love being in a position where I can be a part of the paradigm shift and contribute to that conversation.”

Common performs onstage during OZY Fest
Common performs onstage during OZY Fest 2018 at Rumsey Playfield, Central Park in New York City.

Speaking to C-suite leaders about diversity isn’t the only way Common is lending his voice to the diversity conversation. In 2018, after African-American business partners Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson were racially profiled in a Starbucks—causing national outrage—the chain subsequently closed 8,000 stores for a day to conduct anti-bias training. The voice they heard in those videos, stressing the importance of anti-discrimination and inclusivity? Take a guess. The art of the give-back has further manifested into the creation of the Common Ground Foundation, an organization dedicated to reach and impact inner-city youth in Chicago through mentorship and college-preparation programs. For more than a decade, the foundation has intimately focused on nutrition, healthy living, financial living, character development, and creative expression—even holding youth leadership conferences and summer camps. With more than $230,000 in scholarships awarded, a 100 percent graduation rate among participants, a 99 percent college attendance rate, and more than 2,500 collective hours of community service provided to the community, the organization has earned the distinction of an impactful labor of love.

Common with classroom full of school children.
Common visits NYC elementary school for Back-To-School fundraising with Burlington Stores and AdoptAClassroom. JAMIE MCCARTHY/GETTY IMAGES

“I started the Common Ground Foundation because I wanted to help,” said the philanthropist. “I think making a difference in the lives of others is life’s greatest purpose, and I always believed that of we started with the youth, we’d be planting the seeds for our future to blossom.”

A Tale of Common Sense
Common, born Lonnie Rashid Lynn to an educator mother and youth counselor father, was raised in the Calumet Heights neighborhood of Chicago, where his foray into the world of music developed and thrived. Talented and precocious, he was writing lyrics by age 12, and at 15, formed a rap trio—C.D.R.—with two high school friends. Far from just an after-school hobby, the group served as an industry incubator, not only building his proficiency in writing, producing and performing, but also aiding in his personal branding as an artist.

“C.D.R. represented so much in my life, and it was the birthplace of a lot of artistic firsts,” remembered Common. “That acronym was a revolving door of different meanings—it mainly stood for Corey, Deon, Rashid [our names], but on other days, it was Compact Disc Recorder, or Recording Def Rhymes. We were learning how to record, making demos, writing songs, performing—just trying to figure ourselves out and do our thing.” Influenced by hip-hop’s titans of the time, including LL Cool J, Run DMC, A Tribe Called Quest, NWA, and Rakim, C.D.R. went on to gain a footing in the industry, having their songs played on the University of Chicago’s local radio station and opening concerts for Big Daddy Kane, Eazy-E, and Too Short.

Upon graduation, Common enrolled at Florida A&M University under a scholarship, where he majored in business administration. His artistic streak remained uninterrupted, however, and in 1991, after being featured in The Source magazine’s Unsigned Hype column, he left A&M to sign with Relativity Records. It was under this label that he released his first album, “Can I Borrow a Dollar?”, using the moniker Common Sense. The album was an underground success, and laid the groundwork (as well as a growing fanbase) for his subsequent albums and collaborations. To date, Common has won more than 20 awards from various distinguished award bodies for his lyrics, albums and performances, including a 2015 Academy Award for his and singer John Legend’s original song “Glory” (from the Selma soundtrack), three Grammys, four BET Awards, a Golden Globe, and an Emmy. He has also garnered over 40 nominations in the music industry.

More than Music
Had Common been content to produce records, pull awards, and perform his hits for dedicated fans around the world, that might’ve been the end of the story. But, true to his character, he always had his sights set for more—much more. He began making his mark in the film and television industry in the early 2000s, often making cameos as himself and later evolving into more complex roles in well-known films, such as American Gangster (starring Denzel Washington), Wanted, Just Wright, Suicide Squad, Selma (as activist James Bevel), and installments of the John Wick franchise, to name a few. His constantly growing acting portfolio, which currently includes more than 40 films, supports a long-term goal to eventually become one of the great actors of our time.

Common standing posing with his childrens book
Common with his children’s book, “I Like You but I Love Me”.

“I’m still working to get to where I want to be, and I’m always working to get to the next level,” he said. “The majority of roles I want, they’re looking at other actors for. But I’m always going to fight to prove myself.” As he works tirelessly to widen his range and nab multifaceted roles, Common is also focused on another goal: helping amplify the creative voices of others through his nearly five-year-old production company, Freedom Road Productions. To date, he has executive produced Showtime’s popular drama The Chi (created by screenwriter Lena Waithe, the first African-American woman to win an Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series), and last year, signed a deal to develop and produce new television series with Lionsgate TV.

On the Horizon
Common’s career in the spotlight has diverged into many paths during its three-decade journey, and it shows no signs of slowing down. Add to that his impactful work in mentorship, advocacy, and diversity, and a bevy of new projects within all of these fields, and it’s safe to say that he may never stop. Next up is his second book, Let Love Have the Last Word, a personal anthology exploring the core tenets of love to help others give and receive love to live better lives and build stronger communities. Following on the heels of his New York Times best-selling memoir, One Day It’ll All Make Sense, the book is sure to be a page-turner.

On the film front, the actor will feature or star in three upcoming films: The Informer, The Kitchen, and John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. Several TV series in collaboration with Lionsgate are also in the works. Simply put, Common wants to expand his experience, provide opportunities for others, and inspire.

“I want to live my passions, help others do the same, and make the world a better place, as much as I can,” he said. “This—all of this—inspires me to work harder and do more.”

DJ Khaled will get you there as the new voice on Waze

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DJ Khaled standing on a stage with a microphone in his hand

If it feels like DJ Khaled is everywhere in the transit world, that’s because he is. Popping up on Lyft scooters, ride-share driving undercover, and owning a ridiculous car collection, the hip-hop star is all about getting around. Now he’s helping you get where you’re going as a new navigation voice option in the Waze app.

Sure, his voice giving directions is part of a six-week promo with streaming music service Deezer for his new album. But that doesn’t mean you can’t embrace the advice-filled phrases the performer is known for. Waze, Google’s driving direction app, is used worldwide with 115 million users and has featured other celebrity voices for navigation such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kevin Hart, T-Pain, and Shaq. Bringing in known voices to give you driving directions is a feature that’s been incorporated into the app for years. A popular request was actor Morgan Freeman a few years ago.

One of the songs on his newest album Father of Asahd features singer John Legend, who is the latest voice option on Google’s digital assistant platform, Google Assistant. Legend’s AI voice launched last month.

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