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Simmons’ cookbook for a stress-free life

simmons 600Russell Simmons is best known as the flamboyant playboy who co-founded Def Jam Records back in the Eighties. But the matured hip-hop mogul would like you to know that his satisfaction in life now comes less through the sort of shallow materialistic trappings celebrated in the average rap music video than through the peace of mind, body and spirit offered by the relatively-modest practice of meditation.

As he puts it, "I had to do a lot of damage before I finally accepted that I liked early-morning meditation better than late-night drinking." And all it takes him is 20 minutes twice a day to find that state of bliss.

The good news is that you can achieve it, too, provided you're willing to carve out a little quiet space from your hectic schedule to sit in a chair with your eyes closed. Yes, it's as simple as that, according to Russ, although getting novices to try meditation isn't as easy as one might think.

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If Ebony Wilkerson has a mental illness, it’s a wake-up call for all African Americans

mental 600Ebony Wilkerson is sitting inside a Florida jail cell, but should she be viewed as a cold-blooded criminal or a mentally-ill person in need of long-term mental health care?

Wilkerson, 32, has been charged with three counts of attempted murder and is being held on $1.2 million bail after she drove herself and her three children (two girls and a boy, ages 3, 9 and 10) into the Atlantic Ocean in Daytona Beach last week.

While it has not been confirmed, reports suggest that Wilkerson may have been suffering from a mental disorder, thus renewing public conversations on how the mentally ill should be treated by the legal system and society in general.

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Memphis rankings!

memphisranking 600On what the Greater Memphis Chamber clearly viewed as good news day, Forbes ranked Memphis as the 2nd most affordable city in the U.S. and WalletHub ranked Memphis as the 5th best city to start a business.

Chamber officials are spreading the word about the rankings, which both were announced on Tuesday.

2nd most affordable city

Forbes recognized Memphis as America's second most affordable city when surveying the 100 largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas in the country.

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Is it hip-hop homophobia over French nails and skirts?

frenchnails 600Apparently, veteran gangster rapper Snoop Dogg still enjoys defying all the rules of so-called authentic black masculinity found in mainstream hip-hop culture. After reinventing himself as a devoted father and Snoop Lion – the reggae-infused advocate of black consciousness and universal love – he is now using Instagram to promote his fierce, duo-chrome French manicure, complete with marijuana leaf and dollar sign.

Do real Gs get manis?

The news has left hip-hop fans debating whether Snoop is "gay" or mind-controlled by the "Illuminati," while rapper 50 Cent has questioned Snoop's sexuality. In response to 50 and the haters, Snoop replied that he is still a gangster: "Real playas keep they nails fly fresh n dipped at the tip." A few days later, 50 Cent posted photos suggesting that P. Diddy, Steve Stoute and Rick Ross are in a gay love triangle. In the mind of a hip-hop homophobe, "something ain't right (#smsaudio)" when black men get their nails done, wear pink and/or hug each other.

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J.J. Hairston & Youthful Praise help a retired sheriff’s deputy shine on ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’

choir 600Retired sheriff's deputy Ezra Harris of Chattanooga, Tenn. gained national headlines after a YouTube video of his mangled rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" at a memorial service went viral and gained over 1.3 million views as "worst rendition of the national anthem ever."

Recently, Harris got a second chance of sorts and some backup. The vocal support came from the Stellar Award nominated urban inspirational music ensemble J.J. Hairston & Youthful Praise. The group stopped by the New York studios of ABC's "Good Morning America" for a special makeover week music segment.

Producers of the No. 1 rated morning show decided to give Harris a chance to redo the anthem during its "do over" week makeovers this past week. Staffers called in J.J. Hairston and country music star Dierks Bentley to individually coach Harris on how to sing the song and to memorize the lyrics.

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