Motivate Me Monday: What is your passion?

“A passionate belief in your business and personal objectives can make all the difference between success and failure. If you aren’t proud of what you’re doing, why should anybody else be?” – Richard Branson

It is important to always be aware of what your passionate about in life because it is easier to achieve what you love then it is to achieve something you do not love. Everyone has the ability to do what they want in life as long as they keep the faith and never allow anyone or anything to get in their way. As a woman, stepping into a world that is highly male dominated world has many challenges in itself. The music world is very very competitive and certain paths such as rapping and DJ’ing are very male dominated, so as a female there are already two things you are up against from the very start. Female DJs are not rare but they are competing in a competitive and highly male dominated world which is never an easy thing to do. DJ KDOT knows and relates to this very well because she has been DJ’ing for over 5 years. She was willing to share with others about her journey in the music world as a DJ, here is her story:

1. Who is Khadijah Thomas? Tell me a little bit about yourself
My name is Khadijah Thomas but I go by KDOT  I am 22 years old soon to be 23.  I have a B.S. in Management Information Systems from the Illustrious North Carolina A & T State University. I am also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. initiated into the Amazing Alpha Mu Chapter and I am currently a technical specialist for Apple but most importantly I am an Entrepreneur. I am originally from Buffalo, New York. I consider Rosedale, Queens (NYC) home as that is where my family settled when they came from Trinidad.

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2. How long have you been a DJ and what is the reason behind wanting to become a DJ?

I have been a DJ for 11 years; I started learning at 12 right before I turned 13 and it’s something that runs in my family. I was the first girl grandchild and happened to be the first girl in my family interested in DJ’ing. My Dad and uncle were my biggest influences as they have been doing it for years.

3. How was the name DJ KDOT created? 

Well my step sister gave me the nickname KDOT back in 8th grade and for whatever reason it just seemed to stick with me and everyone. It was only natural  that it became my DJ name once I actually started to branch out underneath my family.

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4. What obstacles have you faced and/or still face as a female DJ?

As a Female DJ there are a few obstacles I face with it being such a male dominated industry. Small things like when I am going to set up for events and have a gentleman helping me carry equipment a lot of people will assume the  guy is the DJ and not me. I even get questions like “so do you really DJ or is this something you do for fun?” There is a stereotype behind female DJs not having skills and that’s one thing I focus on the most; the art and skill of DJ’ing. Outside of that one of my least favorite thing to deal with is the egos of other male DJs, especially when working together. Overall I think as a person I vibe with people naturally and stay focused on myself so I have never had a traumatic experience but it does happen occasionally.

 
5. What keeps you motivated?

Ultimately my love for music and a good time is what keeps me motivated. Also my desire to be my own boss as well. There is so much freedom within being a DJ that is   indescribable. Singing and dancing was something I did early in my life until I fell in   love with DJ’ing so the music has always been a big part of my life.

6. Who are 3 of your favorite DJs that inspire you? 

DJ Spinderella – We can’t talk about female DJs without thinking about her. She was one of the first female DJs I knew of.

DJ Kid Capri – His energy is unmatched and he puts passion behind what he   does. True entertainer

DJ MC – I met him through my network at NCAT and he was one of the first seasoned DJs to really take an interest in my craft and actually want to help me.   Most importantly he is HUMBLE.

 
7. What advice do you have for female DJs who are just starting out?

The best advice I could give is to learn who you are as a DJ because you will not be like anyone else. Find your style and also be open to work on other styles as well. If you take your craft seriously people will take you seriously.

8. Where do you see yourself in the next 2 to 3 years?

In the next 2 to 3 years I see myself traveling a lot more to DJ. Between my background and musical preferences I would like to think I am very versatile and  would love to be a traveling DJ.

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9. How were you able to make a name for yourself? Are you available to be booked for events? If so what type of events? 

Networking was the biggest thing as far as making a name for myself and ultimately my performance. I am available to be booked for a variety of events including: Weddings, Baby Showers, Birthday Parties, School events, Fashion Shows, Clubs, Mixing needs etc.

10. How would you define success?

I would define success as the point in which I have accomplished my set goals   and even though I will continue to strive for more I am content with all that I have. On a smaller scale, getting request for my business cards or compliments after my performance makes me feel successful.

11. Are there any upcoming projects and/or events you would like to mention?

I am DJ’ing a Cultural Day Party on May 6th 2017 @ Greene St Nightclub.  Outside of that I have a few private events this summer that I am excited about!

12. What are the top 3 things you have accomplished as a DJ that you are proud of?

1) DJ’ing in another country

2) DJ’ing a gym jam at NCAT that was packed with 1200+ people

3) Having one of my mix challenges go viral. My Love Come Down challenge on   soundcloud currently has 29,000 views and rising!

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13. Where can people go to learn more about you and your more of your music?

My website is http://www.theedjkdot.com. On my website I update my most recent soundcloud mixes and events. All of my social media handles are @XOXODJKDOT

If you want to book me, please email me at management@theedjkdot.com

 

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Motivate Me Mondays: Women in technology

“Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important.” – Bill Gates

Technology is steadily growing everyday! New discoveries are being made and old ways are being redefined and improved using technology. Often times the younger generation may not always have a first hand experience at being able to learn all that technology has to offer outside of what is being taught in school. We are also still dealing with the world of technology being a male dominated field and although it is getting better we still have a long way to go. The importance of teaching technology to these young girls is important because it can make them not only very knowledgable but very well rounded as well. Technology is the gateway to so many other things such as science, healthcare, fashion, etc and having people find ways to teach younger people about technology by giving them a chance to learn, develop, and grow in the world of technology is something I am always happy to see. I truly love to see my fellow technology lovers, especially women, doing things to give back and help others and Khalia Braswell is one of them. Todays motivational story is about who she is and what she is doing to help young girls, especially girls of color thrive and grow in the technology world, here is her story:

 

 

1. Who is Khalia? Tell me about yourself 

Khalia M. Braswell, 26, UX/UI Designer & Non-profit Founder
I was born in Rocky Mount, NC and grew up in Charlotte, NC. Outside of my love for technology, I also share a love for reading and music. I was a DJ while in undergrad, both on WKNC 88.1 as the host of Soulful Renaissance, and at events around campus. I love reading fiction books the most; however, you can’t go wrong with a non-fiction book if it will enrich your life. I also really enjoy traveling and learning about new cultures.

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2. What is INTech ?
INTech is a 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to inform and inspire girls to innovate in the technology industry.

 

3. What is the driving force behind starting INTech? What did you plan to achieve when starting INTech?
INTech was started out of a lack of programs in Charlotte, NC that reached Black and Latino girls to expose them to technology. When I started INTech, I just wanted more girls who looked like me to learn that technology could be a career for them and to show them other Black/Latina women in the field.

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4. How important is the presence of women in the world of technology?
It is very important that women are present in the world of technology because our voices impact the direction of products being put into market. Women bring a unique perspective to the creativity process and impacts the bottom line.

 

5. What keeps you motivated ?
The fact that I have so many people depending on me and looking up to me is what keeps me motivated. I think about quitting multiple times a day; however, I think about my brothers and sister, my cousins, my family, my extended family, and I realize that quitting is not an option.

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6. Who inspires you?
Young hustlers inspire me the most. Those who are challenging the status quo and living out there dreams inspire me to continue doing the same.

 

7. What advice do you have for someone who would like to start a non profit?
My advice would be to test out a prototype for their idea, just as they would anything else, and see what kind of feedback they get before going through the grunt work of officially establishing their org as a non-profit with their state. When they are ready to make it official, I wrote an article about the steps that they need to take to get the 501(c)(3) exemption status. http://intech.camp/501c3EZ

 

8. What obstacles, if any, have you faced?
I’ve faced plenty of obstacles. I think the biggest one right now is being so far away from where the core INTech activities are taking place. Luckily, my Board of Directors agreed to implement committees to help get work done so that we are not bottlenecked by the distance.

 
9. How would you define success ?
I would define success by the number of things we say we are going to do compared to the number of things we actually do. If you actually go out and put action behind your goals, you are successful.

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10. Where do you see INTech in the next 2 to 3 years?
I see INTech expanded to different cities and states in the US, exposing even more girls to technology. I see INTech providing hands on training for girls in middle and high school who want to learn about User Experience Design, as well as, how to build websites and mobile applications.

 

11. Are there any up coming projects and/or events you would like to mention?
We have 2 summer camps planned for 2017. Our first will take place in Raleigh, NC at NC State from June 12 – 16. Our second summer camp will take place in Charlotte, NC at Johnson C. Smith University from July 24 – 28.

 

12. Where can people go if they would like to help/get involved with and learn more about INTech?
Our website is the best place to go: http://intechcamp.co

 

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Motivate Me Monday: Keeping it REAL

Angela Rye was born on October 26, 1979 in Seattle, Washington to Andrea Rye and Eddie Rye Jr and she is also a graduate of the University of Washington and Seattle University School of law. She is a CNN Political Commentator, an NPR Political Analyst, and the Principal and CEO of IMPACT Strategies. Angela has been featured is several publications from Ebony to the Washington Post. Angela has a long list of amazing accomplishments from NAACP Power 40 to Fortunes 40 under 40 Women to watch to DC’s most influential people.

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Angela Rye is the perfect example of keeping it real and she does it with such force and power; she does not hold back nor does she sugar coat anything. We live in a world where we are hit back to back with things that affect us more then we may realize yet people in power try to downplay it in hopes of people forgetting just how bad it is. I have not seen Angela try to downplay nor sugar coat anything and I respect her for that! She brings honesty with a heavy dose of realness to our TV screens because she is not afraid of being ignored or overlooked by other people. She proves time and time again that nothing anyone says nor does will stop her from being as real and as authentic as she can be.

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Often times in life we let what others do to us make us feel powerless and we let the words and actions of people chase us away from being our real, authentic self. Everyone in this world will not like you and they will not agree with you but that should never stop you from standing firm in what you know and believe. Let Angela Rye be the example you need to stand strong no matter what and to remain motivated when trying to achieve what you know you are meant to do in this world.

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Motivate Me Mondays: Achieving the unexpected

Jordan Peele, an American actor, comedian, screenwriter, and film director, was born February 21, 1979 in New York City, New York. Jordan went to middle school at Computer School in I.S. 44, high school at The Calhoun School where he graduated in 1997, and became a 2001 graduate of Sarah Lawrence College. Years later, in 2013, he met Chelsea Peretti who later became his fiancé in November of 2015 and his wife in April of 2016. Jordan and Chelsea recently announced in February of this year that they are expecting their first child.

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Photo Credit: People.com

Jordan Peele is known for his celebrity impersonations, his music video parody for his song “Sad Fifty Cent”, and his appearance in the viral video “Hilary vs. Obama”. Peele has been nominated for and awarded a few awards for his acting and writing skills. Peele has acted in many different TV shows and movies some of which he also wrote, produced, and directed. A few of the films and movies Peele is known for is:

Key and Peele

The Mindy Project

Modern Family

MADtv

Little Fockers

Wanderlust 

Get Out

While Jordan Peeles accomplishments cannot go unnoticed, his 2017 horror/comedy film Get Out, which he wrote, directed, and produced has earned him one of his best accomplishments to date; the FIRST African American Writer-Director with a $100 Million Movie Debut. The film also received 100 percent positive reviews from Rotten Tomatoes and Peele achieved all of this in only 16 days from the movies release date with a $4 million dollar budget and a cast containing quite a few unknown actors. This movie is nothing like your normal horror/comedy movies because the horror it portrays is the real and honest terror that a black men feels living in America. Get Out is the type of movie that requires your full attention or else you will miss the hidden messages and even some of the obvious ones that this film displays. If you have already seen the movie I would encourage you to also read this amazing post written by Jessica Wilkins entitled 15 Easter Eggs from “Get Out”; it will leave you speechless.

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Photo Credit: http://www.getoutfilm.com

Jordan Peele’s accomplishments from the movie Get Out is an example of achieving something completely unexpected; something being better then you ever imagined it would be. Peele was aware that this movie may bring about a lot of negative criticism but that did not stop him nor did it hold him back, which is more then enough proof that you should never second guess yourself when it comes to doing what you believe in. Peele had faith in the success of this movie and he was not afraid to bring awareness to things that are overlooked in todays society, while also adding a nice touch of comedy to the mix; which in my opinion helped balance out the level of intensity the movie has. Let this be a motivation to you to never be afraid to do what is right while still remaining true to yourself.

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Motivate Me Mondays: Breaking Barriers

Katherine Johnson, whose incredible contributions to the space program were displayed in the film Hidden Figures, born August 26, 1918 in White Sulphur Springs, WV, to Joshua and Joylette Coleman and she was the youngest of 4 children. At the young age of 13 Katherine was attending the high school on West Virginia State College campus and graduated at the age of 14.  Years later at the age of 18 she enrolled as a student at West Virginia State College, a historically black college. Katherine, who took every math class the college had to offer, had quite a few teachers taking her under their wing including professor W. W. Schieffelin Clayton, who is the third African American to earn a PhD in Mathematics.

Katherine Johnson graduated summa cum laude with a degree in mathematics and french and then took a teaching job at a black public high school. In 1939 she became one of three African Americans and the only female selected to integrate graduate the program at West Virginia University. She made a decision to leave her teaching job and enroll in the graduate program at the University. Katherine decided to take a career path in mathematics as a research mathematician which was not easy for many African American women to enter. In 1953 Katherine accepted a job offer from National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), which later changed its name to NASA, at the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory in Hampton, VA.

Katherine Johnson made a lot of things possible for women in mathematics! She broke barriers and took risks and no matter what road blocks she hit along the way she never let it get in here way.

To read more about this amazing women and the rest of her contributions: https://www.nasa.gov/content/katherine-johnson-biography

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Photo Credit: NASA

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Photo Credit: https://www.becauseofthemwecan.com/blogs/stories/pioneering-nasa-mathematician-katherine-johnson-hidden-figures-movie-poster-everything

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