AT&T 28 Days – 2014 Press Release – Making History Happen

28days attImagine the difference you could make in the community if you committed 28 days to service. Now imagine that you had the opportunity to team with others to support healthy living, the arts, or help kids learn more about technology with proven mentors like Olympic Gold Medalist Sanya Richards-Ross, hip-hop icon MC Lyte, and digital media leader Wayne Sutton. AT&T 28 Days is giving you the chance to do that and more this Black History Month with two opportunities to make history happen. Go to att.com/28days for a chance to join one of three teams on a month-long community service challenge, or learn how you can participate in weekly fan challenges.

There are two ways you can give back in 28 days:

1.) Join A Team For A Chance To Win $5,000

Starting January 9, 2014, people nationwide can enter individually at att.com/28days for a chance to join one of three teams dedicating the month of February to service in the communities. The selected teams of four will be paired with an AT&T 28 Days celebrity mentor and given weekly challenges, like helping a non-profit organization boost their Twitter followers by developing a communications plan. Teams will earn points by completing their weekly challenges and building awareness through social media. The winning team will receive a grand prize of $20,000 ($5,000 per team member).

2.) Enter Fan Challenges For Cool Prizes

Beginning in February, people can enter fan challenges for a chance to win cool prizes.  Fan Challenges will be announced weekly at att.com/28days.

As part of the team challenges each team will collaborate with three non-profit organizations selected as Friends of AT&T 28 Days.  Some of the weekly team challenges will help these organizations continue to make a difference in the community.   Learn more about the Friends of AT&T 28 Days below, and then check out how each team will help make history happen at att.com/28days.

WriteGirl

WriteGirl is an organization that gives teenage girls access to creative writing and mentoring programs. MC Lyte’s team will help increase awareness of WriteGirl, and find mentors for a day long workshop in February.

Oakland Center for Digital Arts & Literacy (OCDAL)

The Oakland Center for Digital Arts & Literacy (OCDAL) works to increase digital literacy among Oakland’s inner city and disadvantaged youth. Wayne Sutton’s team will help OCDAL’s Inspire Program reach grade school and high school students throughout the Oakland, California area.

National Urban League of Young Professionals (NULYP) Austin Chapter

The National Urban League of Young Professionals (NULYP) Austin Chapter, works with local youth to empower their communities and change lives, through the Urban League Movement. Sanya Richards-Ross’ team will help the NUYLP of Austin increase their social media presence and gain publicity around their community programs.

For more information on AT&T 28 Days, go to att.com/28days.

Black Thought

booker t washington“Have you grown to the point where you can unflinchingly stand up for the right, for that which is honorable, honest, truthful, whether it makes you popular or unpopular? Have you grown to the point where absolutely and unreservedly you make truth and honor your standard of thinking and speaking?”

-Booker T. Washington

Sometimes, a gentleman must utilize the power of his voice to tell individuals what they need you hear, and not necessarily what they want to hear. Trust, there exists a sharp contrast between the two. And sometimes, he must make a stand for what he believes is right and true. In some cases, truth brings an unmistakable pain of reality, often a reality that many people resist or ignore. And truth can sometimes be a nasty medicine that is seemingly unbearable to digest.

Nevertheless, a gentleman would be doing a terrible disservice by masking truth with pleasant, comfortable falsehoods. A gentleman must be a credible source of wise counsel. He bears the responsibility of imparting wisdom and providing useful knowledge. True, some spoken truths will certainly bring unpopularity. Standing steadfast by one’s moral convictions won’t be deemed as popular either. But this isn’t a popularity contest. This is about delivering a righteous word. This is about standing for substance of a higher standard – no matter what resistance you might encounter. Don’t waver. Stand tall. Stand confident. Speak truth. Make a difference.

Standard Recommendations – Face Moisturizer

Jack Black FacePolar vortex. Sure, the news climate calls for more sensationalized headlines to elicit attention, but truthfully, the climate has done a fine job by itself. I don’t require a fancy catchphrase to provide an education about how it feels outside. Wintry. Frigid. Blustery. Yes, this winter as been brutal in my region. That being said, let’s discuss a topic that rarely gets any attention within many masculine circles – moisturizer. Yes, we need to protect our skin gentlemen beyond regular body lotion. Do not allow yourselves to be deceived by the glacial temperatures outside your window. The sun is still out there. And as it seems that sub-zero temperatures will be around for the time being, understand that the sun does not leave for hiatus in the winter.

Ultraviolet light is just as damaging in the winter as it is in the summer – especially when it is reflected off freshly fallen snowflakes. It is wise to employ a moisturizer that is formulated with a sun protection factor (SPF) to help shield the skin from harmful ultraviolet light. A minimum SPF of 15 or higher is strongly recommended; meaning a product of SPF-15 will protect a gentleman’s skin 15 times longer with said sunscreen than without it. A note of caution, some sunscreens only address UVB sunlight (sunburn), while UVA sunlight (increased skin cancer risk) goes unattended. Select a moisturizer that offers absorption for both UVA and UVB sunlight.

Moreover, the lack of humidity combined with the intense need to turn up the heat can give rise to unwanted dryness. During these bitter days of cold, your skin can be continually robbed of much-needed moisture, potentially leading to cracking or flaking. For bothersome dryness, look for a moisturizer with oil or water-based emollients, as well as antioxidants (vitamins A, C, E) to protect against free radical damage. A good moisturizer may also be fortified with humectants which extracts moisture from the air and promotes retention within the skin. Some common examples are glycerin and glycerol. Now, the natural aging process cannot be stopped, but one can mitigate the process if the proper measures are taken. Do your face favor and employ a moisturizer in your life. Your face will thank you some years down the road.

The Standard #30

respectA man who fails to meet or exceed the level of expectation that he smugly demands of others should abstain from such demands in the first place. Intoxicated by grandiose delusions of false importance, said individual will never earn a modicum of respect from his peers, as he will be viewed as a fraud lacking substance and depth. Effective leadership does not consist of hollow rhetoric and anemic work ethic. Effective leadership does not belittle or ignore other viewpoints. An acolyte of arrogance, a practitioner of presumption and pretentiousness – please expect the absence of any deference from other individuals. You will duly receive what you give. A gentleman shall be judged by his deeds and examples. Ensure that you uphold the same standard you will hold others accountable for. Otherwise, a gentleman will never be an owner of credibility. Own your standard. Reinforce your credibility. Rightfully earn the respect from your peers.

Black Thought

King_Jr_Martin_Luther_093.jpg“There is nothing more dangerous than to build a society with a large segment of people in that society who feel that they have no stake in it; who feel that that have nothing to lose. People who have stake in their society, protect that society, but when they don’t have it, they unconsciously want to destroy it.”

“I submit to you that if a man has not discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.”

“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.”

-Martin Luther King, Jr.

Standard Recommendations – Collar Stays

Collar Stays Turnbull & AsserIts function is actually free of unnecessary complication. Its purpose is quietly basic and simple. For unruly shirt collars that stubbornly refuse to stay in place, the collar stay is specifically designed to, well, make your collar stay. Residing underneath your dress shirt collar, a small slot has been fashioned to house these plastic or metal accessories, thus eliminating the propensity for your collars to run astray. They afford much required weight to the dress shirt collar and prevents the tips from curling. Resting flat against your upper chest, the aesthetic is far neater and cleaner than a wild butterfly collar. Respected brands usually equip their shirt offerings with plastic stays, but I’ve found metal ones to be the better alternative. So, if you are really lucky, your selected shirt may arrive with a metal pair. For either option, remember to remove your stays before laundering or ironing. A few collar stays in your collection should suffice. This way, you can rotate each pair accordingly.

Standard Recommendations – The Rubber Sole

Allen Edmonds Mcallister

Allen Edmonds Mcallister

To be perfectly honest here, the delicate practice of dressing with elegance and sophistication need not be, well, delicate. However, some fashion fanatics espouse strict rules and regulations pertaining to said practice for dressing well. And even though there exists an expectation that a gentleman should be serious about his style; style should not be taken all that seriously. Now, that statement may appear to be contradictory, but allow me to explain further. True, style arrives with a seemingly complex array of principles, but a gentleman should not burden himself in an attempt to adhere to each and every one. Rules can be broken without consequence. And as we are discussing style, the consequences cannot be that dire.

So, the point of it all is to say this: I endorse the rubber sole. Allow me to be more specific: I endorse the rubber sole on a leather dress shoe. Now, before select members of the audience ready the torches and pitchforks, hear me out. I completely understand Style Rule #56: leather shoe, leather sole. Some hold the belief that a leather shoe with a rubber sole is somehow, somewhat less dignified than one with a leather sole. In my humble opinion, that is crazy. In the ever-changing universe of style – style changes.  

It’s just fashion people. Calm down. Here in Michigan, we were just treated to an arctic blast not seen in many, many years. Seriously, one day last week, temperatures were lower than the North Pole. Snow and ice made for very slippery conditions. And if you are a gentleman that has to traverse more than a few parking lots, a rubber sole can definitely be the best traveling companion. It provides much-needed traction and required stability. Slick parking lots – no worries. Slippery lobbies – no problem. Your anointed rubber sole can possibly be a saving grace.

Now, you may be worried that a big, clunky rubber sole will ruin the graceful aesthetics of a leather dress shoe. That is not the case at all. Modern dress shoes with a rubber sole can be just an elegant as those with a leather one. And some may even be more comfortable. Function over fashion. Goodbye rules; hello what best works for you. So, what is less graceful: rocking a leather dress shoe with a rubber sole, or potentially busting your tail in the parking lot? Sure, you can slip either way, but I hope you use your best judgment.

Black Thought

frederickdouglas“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”

-Frederick Douglass

As a parent, it is absolutely paramount that you ensure your child’s maturation is nurtured and cultivated for maximal, positive growth. To be certain, there are a myriad of unfortunate realities that work tirelessly to undermine and hinder your child’s development. Harsh realities such as poverty, crime, low self-esteem, bullying, and poor academic performance can lead to self-destructive behavior that regretfully transitions into adulthood. Moreover, if that adult decides to have children, there is a high risk that self-destructive behavior will be consciously or subconsciously transferred to the subsequent generation. Truth: Some of the biggest bullies, critics, and abusers live right in the household. And that is a reality that we cannot tacitly accept. We have to do better. We must become increasingly more active by protecting and educating our youth, ensuring that they are intelligently prepared for the life that awaits them. We have to encourage. We have to impart meaningful wisdom. We have to enlighten them. We must unconditionally love them. We must fortify the integrity of their spirit and reinforce the foundation of their character. They deserve our parenting best – let’s get to work.

The Gentlemen’s Ten – Moments I’m Looking Forward To With My Daughter

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As promised, here is my list of 10 moments that I am looking forward to with the upcoming birth of my daughter. There are so many moments that I can think of, so I have relegated this list to the early years of her childhood. I guess you can say I have a strong paternal instinct, which will only grow stronger throughout the years. And so without further rambling, here you go.

  • Yes, I have reluctantly come to terms with the reality that my eardrums will soon be assaulted by the tender wailing of a newborn at 3:13 in the morning. Nevertheless, I am looking forward to being that calming (hopefully) presence that rocks, bounces, or sings her to sleep. The idea of her curled up and laying peacefully on my chest will be well worth the impending, relentless sobs that will emanate from her tiny lips.
  • Now, you probably did not know that singing was included in my gentlemanly repertoire. Allow me to clarify, I can sing – just not all that great. But to the ears of a newborn, she won’t know the difference between Luther Vandross and an American Idol reject. So, she won’t mind. At least I don’t think she will mind. Nevertheless, with a cracking voice and all, I am fully prepared to belt out Isn’t She Lovely by Stevie Wonder.
  • As long as I can remember, the distinct presence of music has always been around my family. Seriously, music was always playing in my household. My mother would have small house parties where friends would gather for dancing and fun. Even the children (myself and my brother) got to join in the festivities; the music was far cleaner back then, as popular dance music wasn’t raunchy and hip hop hadn’t been pimped into the vulgar monstrosity you are accustomed to today. That is all to state: I love good music. So, I cannot wait for the occasion to arrive when I can come home from work, scoop my daughter up in my arms, turn on some fine tunes – Stevie Wonder will work just fine again – and dance a little jig with her around the living room. Hey, I used to recreate Michael Jackson’s Thriller in my grandmother’s living room, so this gentleman can cut a rug.
  • And speaking of dancing a little jig around the house, here is a little known fact about me: I have a silly side. If you follow me on Twitter or you are a Facebook friend, you would know that I am no stranger to posting something silly or crazy. Don’t allow the seriousness of some of my posts, or my affinity for neckties and pocket squares fool you. I am not as stuffy as my posts may appear. Not at all. However, sometimes a gentleman cannot be as silly as he may want to be, well, not without receiving some form of unwanted judgement. With my daughter, I can lower my guard a little and grant a certain level of self-deprecation to elicit her tiny giggles and smiles. I guess I better start practicing my goofy faces in the mirror.
  • Leaping small (emphasis on small) coffee tables in a single bound, I will decimate any and all bugs that may put a fright into my Little Ms. Palmer. Insects…beware of my size 12 wingtip that will come barreling down upon your soon-to-be-ended existence. Yes, I get to play a superhero. And the same warning applies for the boogeyman, animals small or big, things that go bump in the night, thunder & lightening, and even some people. Please don’t make me go Wolverine berserker on you. You’ve been warned.
  • I fully understand that for the first few years of my daughter’s life, food will be primarily provided by my wife. And shortly thereafter, her meals will consist of baby food. However, when it is time to sufficiently break her into adult food, I am ready to get my Rachael Ray on in the kitchen with a specialty in breakfast. Yes, my blueberry waffles are something serious. So, asking Little Ms. Palmer how many sausage links she wants or how much syrup her waffles will take is something I am definitely looking forward to. Oh, my omelette skills are pretty wicked too.
  • With the arrival of my daughter, the moments that require instruction and education will surely be some of the most cherished. Imparting the wisdom and knowledge that I have acquired over the course of my lifetime to my little one is really going to be something special. Watching her little face as she soaks up all the information that all her little maturing brain can handle, and looking at her wide eyes as she learns something new every day – yes, that is going to be special.
  • I am looking forward to those quiet moments with my daughter. Those moments where we both sit silently on the sofa, perhaps watching a cartoon and just enjoying each other’s company. Her nestled securely under my arm as we just sit. Or, those quiet moments when I am reading softly to her as she drifts off into sleep.
  • Holiday celebrations in my family were always intimately connected with my late  grandmother; everything centered around massive family gatherings at her home. More than the food, more than the gifts exchanged – the entire holiday experience was about the love of family. Unfortunately, after my grandmother passed away in 2007, our family tradition slowly faded away. Holidays are still enjoyable, as I now gather at my mother’s house with my two brothers. Nevertheless, my holiday spirit has not been the same. With over two decades of family tradition hardwired into my psyche, the abrupt cessation of our customary gatherings has been very difficult in terms of personal adjustment. However, with the birth of my daughter on the horizon, I am feeling much better about holidays now. A bundle of joy will now fill a void of varying sadness that has been meandering around inside me for 7 years now. Now my holidays will be a little more special with my little one in my arms.
  • Lastly, and this could be a little simplified, but I look forward to being a role model. No – a real role model. I won’t launch into a lengthy tirade against your favorite celebrity, but too many of them slyly prop their brand up to profit off starry-eyed children, all the while eschewing any standard value system we desire our children to learn from. But I digress – no worries here. I will be highest standard for my daughter by which all others will be measured against. And in terms of values and principles, that bar is going to be pretty damn high. Dignified. Love. Educated. Cultured. Polite. Hardworking. That is going to be her daddy – the one she looks up to.
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