Q & A with Alumni Marketing Group

The Blogger’s Rundown has yet to come to a halt. I had the chance to interview one of Baltimore’s inspiring promoters as an addition about his event promo blog Alumni Marketing Group, which is stated on the AMG Facebook page as “an entertainment marketing guide connecting young professionals and artists globally through Social Media.”  While interviewing founder Cortez of Alumni Marketing Group, I learned he’s someone that has a passion to help those who might not have an opportunity, like many of Baltimore’s “A-list” artist, at exposure to an audience. Alumni Marketing Group is different from previous blogs I’ve featured on Doc’s Castle Media because Cortez provides a service unlike the others. He’s work is more active in event management while his sites showcase what is expected at his events if someone should attend.

As I’ve talked with Cortez, we discussed how Alumni Marketing Group began, what his initial goal for his AMG blogs is, what the two most popular events hosted under Alumni Marketing Group are, and what to look forward to from his company. His company, along with his blogs will amount to change tremendously in the art scene. I can’t wait to see what new things will come out of what he’s doing for this city.


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Doc: Where did the idea to create a blog for the Alumni Marketing Group start?

Cortez: The idea involved just being on social media and being able to utilize social media applications so it could help me put my brand out to an audience that I’m targeting. So essentially, what I did was brand myself using the Alumni Marketing Group’s network, and I was able to use different search engines so I can be able to publish the content that I distribute to my readers and audience.

Doc: Are you the only one involved with the updating of your site?

Cortez: Yes, I’m the sole proprietor of everything.

Doc: Oh, alright. Do you plan on bringing anymore people on?

Cortez: Certainly. That’s what a brand is. It’s Alumni Marketing Network. I’m always looking to bring on new people to the team.

Doc: Okay, so I’m aware that you have two blogs. You have a Blogspot and a Tumblr. Is there a specific reason for why you have two?

Cortez: I’m using two to capture different audiences. Social media is one of the trends now. I think anyone who’s involved in small business should have it.

Doc: Do you get most of you followers from Tumblr because I know a lot of people who use Tumblr? Is that where you post the most?

Cortez: Yeah, I would say I post the most frequently on Tumblr. Blogspot, I usually update sparingly.

Doc: So I guess Tumblr would be your primary?

Cortez: Certainly, that where I do most of the posting.

Doc: What kind of events do you promote on your blog?

Cortez: Right now, my sole service line is individual artist showcases. That involves scouting local talent where I’m able to give them the platform to showcase their music. Addition to doing the showcases, I’m also involved with the visual arts aspects of entertainment. So I work with local film makers, as well, and help them scout talent and promote their casting calls.

Doc: I don’t really know too much about the directors or videographers scene but that’s nice to hear that it’s people out there.

Cortez: Yeah, certainly. Baltimore, I think, is one of the most upcoming… Well, we’re late in terms of where we’re at in the entertainment industry. But I think Baltimore is on the rise in terms of providing these types of things for the urban community.

Doc: So do you promote events outside of the Alumni Marketing Group? I know you do the Monumental Mondays. Do you do anything else other than your Monday showcase?

Cortez: I also do a Saturday event. It’s once a month. I call that the Saturday Spotlight, where artist also have an opportunity to come out to the venue. It’s more so like a happy hour event but if artist would like to showcase, they’re more than welcome to come out. I try to do it at least once a month.

Doc: So Monumental Monday’s is every Monday?

Cortez: Yes, when we originally started it, it was a weekly event. But I was still building the brand and we had some minor setbacks. So I had to cut back from doing it weekly. Monumental Monday’s started in September 2013. So we ran it from September to December weekly; every week. Then we cut back in the beginning of the year because of the turnout. But now, at this point we’re starting to do it weekly again.

Doc: and then the Saturday event is monthly?

Cortez: Yes, Saturday’s event is what I try to do once a month. It’s a daytime event. That’s one of the trends that’s going on around the town now.

Doc: Oh really? Daytime events?

Cortez: Yeah, they call them Day Parties.

Doc: Oh, I’ve never been to any day parties so I probably come to that. Do you have any important events that people should know about in the month of April?

Cortez: Right now, I’m working with a local film maker by the name of Frankie Jones. He’s one of the guys that I’m a subordinate of. I’m helping promote his casting calls for his films. He’s actually trying to do a short film monthly.

Doc: Every month? Really?

Cortez: Yeah, every month. He’s doing short films to help build his brand. So be on the lookout for casting calls on the blog or from our street team. We’ll be putting the word out for talent to come in and cast for these positions.

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Doc: Okay, how do people notify you for permission to perform at your shows?

Cortez: I’m best reached by email. I have a heavy social media presence. If you’re on social media through Twitter, you can find us by the hashtag #MonumentalMondays or you can use the hashtag #MonumentalMusic.

Doc: Can people submit events to you? If they had an event, do you post it on your blog to promote their event, or do you do solely your events?

Cortez:  Well, at this point, I’ve networked with people around the city. But I’m willing to build relationships with other people, like event host and planners. But at this point, I haven’t received submissions for other events because we haven’t built a solid foundation in terms across promoting each other’s events.

Doc: What is your most popular event that you throw?

Cortez: At this point, it’s Monumental Mondays because we’re branding ourselves not just in Baltimore. We’ve reached a market and have had artist perform from as far as California. So I think it’s one of our most notable events at this time. It’s a great opportunity for these artists to showcase their talents to our followers and listeners.

Doc: Thank you for interviewing with me.

Cortez: No problem, thank you.


To see Cortez’s Alumni Marketing Group blog, visit amnep.tumblr.com.

Did you read the last Blogger’s Rundown post with Amirah of AmirahRashidah Blog? Check it out on Doc’s Castle Media.

Q & A with AmirahRashidah

Are you a music lover? I found another music blogger in Baltimore that could possibly address your craving needs for the love of hip-hop and R&B. I interviewed AmirahRashidah Blog’s very own Amirah Muhammad as another addition to my Blogger’s Rundown. It was a fun experience, indeed. I’ve known Amirah personally for quite some time now, and I’m pleased to say she such a wonderful person to talk to. I can always expect a conversation full of laughter when spending it with Amirah.

This interview was not like others as I had a special appearance from Shareese Williams, former beauty blogger of Doc’s Castle Media. She joined in my interview with Amirah to ask a few questions about Amirah’s love for singing. (Special audio is at the end of this post.) Amirah, Shareese, and I spoke of how AmirahRashidah started, Amirah’s plans in the future for her music blog, her participation in Janelle Monae’s Instagram contest, and her passion for the art of music alone. I learn a lot about AmirahRashidah, though I also am a contributing writer for her site, as well. It’s good to be refreshed on someone’s vision. She’ll reach a lot of success in the future. I’m definitely rooting for this one.

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Doc: What’s the story behind AmirahRashidah? Where did it all begin?

Amirah: It all began in 2008. I started another blog, a personal blog, called Amirah the Uncool. Yes, I was into Lupe Fiasco. (Laughs) It became more of a blog where I posted music instead of  for personal. I decided to take Amirah the Uncool to the next level by creating AmirahRashidah. I started that in 2012.

Doc: Awe, okay. What is your motive to keep AmirahRashidah going?

Amirah: So I have a huge passion for music. I sing and actually play two instruments. It’s something I’ve always loved. Eventually in the future once I get my law degree, I want to practice law and protect the rights of musicians and their work. That is what keeps me going. I have a good ole fan base and people to go to and say, “Heyyy, you need representation? I got chu!”

Doc: Right. It gives you more experience, too. So how many contributing bloggers do you have for your site currently?

Amirah: I have, right now, four. But three are active. That includes you.

Doc: (Laughs) Yes.

Amirah: (Laughs)

Doc: Are you looking to have more contributors soon?

Amirah: Yeah, I’m definitely looking to have more contributors.

Doc: Is there a way anybody can contact you about that?

Amirah: Yes, please. Hit me up at amirahrashidahblog@gmail.com.

Doc: In the meantime, do you accept guest bloggers

Amirah: I do. I do. They may contact that same email, as well.

Doc: So what made you decide to use your name as the name of your site?

Amirah: HA! Me and my lack of creativity. (Laughs)

Doc: (Laughs)

Amirah: I had Twitter before I had changed my blog name to AmirahRashidah and I just liked that name. It rang so I ran with it.

Doc: Okay, cool. I mean, I would have done the same thing.

Amirah: (Laughs)

Doc: I like my middle name. I use to use it a lot on stuff. So yeah definitely see what you were doing. (Laughs) Do you accept submissions from local artists?

Amirah: I do. I’ve actually posted a couple of submission for some local artists. I’ve done an interview for a local artist, too. I’m always looking for local artist to submit to the blog.

Doc: They do the same thing; email to amirahrashidahblog@gmail.com?

Amirah: Yup, same thing.

Doc: But with all of those emails coming to you at one time do they must have a specific subject line so that you can organize it differently?

Amirah: Yeah, with any email you send it should be like that. (Laughs)

Doc: (Laughs) I know but some people are oblivious to that. Sometimes they don’t. They just think they can contact you on anything and be like, “Hey! I got that fire!”

Amirah: I got a couple of those and I was just like, “NEXT!” (Laughs)

Doc: See? (Laughs) I like when people are specific so it can be filed somewhere nicely, you know.

Amirah: Yeah, on my website, I have a contact form. But on there I also have if you’re submitting music, make sure you email me at this email. You could use either or.

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Doc: Alright. Umm, I recently saw some promotion on your Instagram about something new coming this summer to AmirahRashidah. Do mind letting us in on the scoop with what’s going on with that?

Amirah: Yeah, I’m so excited! Umm, I decided to do a video platform for AmirahRashidah, which it’s going to be called AmirahRashidah TV. I hope to have interviews mostly with local artists because they’re nearby. I’m not traveling too far. (Laughs) I ain’t getting paid for this yet.

Doc: (Laughs)

Amirah: It’ll be interviews and just random discussions about what’s going on in music. I’ll even have my guest contributors and bloggers do videos, too.

Doc: So you’re blog isn’t just for local artists. It’s for others too?

Amirah: Yeah, it’s for national artist and indie arts.

Doc: That’s good to know because people will be all over it. Do you have a favorite local artist?

Amirah: Ahh, lord! (Laughs) I so want to give the political correct answer.

Doc: (Laughs)

Amirah: My favorite local artist just might be this producer by the name of eu-IV. He does really well at mixing up R&B tracks. It’s this one track where he covered SWV’s Rain. He transformed it and I loved it. He’s one of my favorites. It’s another person. His name is Jonny Graham. He’s a Jazz musician. He plays trumpet and writes his own music. He gets people to sing on his mixtapes and albums. I like him, too.

Doc: Have you written about them on your blog?

Amirah: I’ve written about Johnny. I haven’t written about eu-IV yet. But I’m actually about to do an interview with him. Look out for one in April.

Doc: You should do a video interview of him.

Amirah: I know. If I do it then it’ll be pushed back to the summer to be on AmirahRashidah TV.

Doc: Is AmirahRashidah TV just interviews?

Amirah: It’s interviews. If we can get concert footage, concert footage.

Doc: …if it’s legal. (Laughs)

Amirah: Yes, legal footage. (Laughs) I’m not going to get in trouble for people posting stuff they not supposed to be posting. And…conversations about what’s going on within the music industry. I know you like to rant about certain things. (Laughs)

Doc: Yeah, I like to rant.

Amirah: (Laughs) So it’s a good platform for that, too.

Doc: Okay (Laughs)

Amirah: I can see you doing a video or two. “I just hate how R&B…” (Laughs)

Doc: HA! I like music rants. People listen to me. Hey, sometimes I make a lot of sense. But thank you for doing this interview with me.

Amirah: Thank you!


This is the point where beauty blogger Shareese Williams jumps in. Ha-ha!
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Shareese takes the initiative to ask when Amirah will be dropping an album and doing a collaboration with her. Listen to what she says…

To view some of Shareese’s work, follow her on Instagram at @Uhhh_Shareese.

Did you read my last Blogger’s Rundown Interview? Check out my last interview with Shae of the UncommonRealist.

Q & A with the UncommonRealist

There are quite a bit of bloggers I’ve come across while doing this Blogger’s Rundown. But there are very few who choose to go the commentary route like I. A person who’s writing of how she feels about situations that happen in the media every day, Shae McCoy is definitely one of those bloggers. She’s the founder of the UncommonRealist, where the tagline of her site states she’s “concerned with just the facts; favoring the practicality and literal truth.”

I enjoyed the time catching up with an old friend while interviewing her for this addition to my Rundown. She kept it real with me the entire time of this interview, completely following the brand of her site by being a realist. Shae and I discussed what new things are coming for her blog, her love for her favorite actor Michael B. Jordan, and what keeps her motivated to continue writing for the UncommonRealist. I’m proud to see someone I’ve known for a while doing great things. Shae has the potential to go very far and I know she’ll excel in whatever she puts her mind to.  


Doc: What’s the story behind your blog? How did you get started?

Shae: Well, last year, it was one day I was just sitting in the house. I had like a few days off, probably three days in a row. So I’m like, “What am I going to do with all this time?” I’ve been thinking about starting a blog for a while. I’m thinking what can I write about? How do I start it? Whatever, whatever. Around that time is when Fruitvale Station came out. So that was something I could write about. It was something strong to start with, as well. I wrote that as my first blog and it did well. That’s because it was something I liked and the movie was good on top of that. So it’s what I recommend for people who want to start blogs to do. They should always write something they’re passionate about or they’ll never have anything to write about.

Doc: So how did you come up with your name?

Shae: It just came. (Laughs) That was the first name that I thought of and it stuck. I guess it’s because I am a realist.

Doc: Oh, okay. So my favorite posts on the UncommonRealist are your Questions of the Day.

Shae: Which I need to get back on.

Doc: (Laughs) How do you come up with those questions?

Shae: Sometimes if I’m watching TV or listening to the radio and I hear something, I might take it from them. But most of the time, it’s questions from real situations that I may be going through or someone I know may be going through. Sometimes it’s stuff I know people can relate to.

Doc: Alright. So you specialize in writing movie reviews?

Shae: Umm, I like them. (Laughs) I need to write one of those again, too.

Doc: (Laughs)

Shae: I need to come across a movie that I can write a good thorough review about. Usually when people write reviews, its short and settle. But when I write reviews, I like to, uhh, I don’t know…

Doc: You like your reviews to be well thought out.

Shae: Right! I notice like the first few reviews I wrote, they kind of, I don’t want to say spoiled the movie because it didn’t, but they kind of gave the plot. I learned as I went on with doing it that you can’t give the plot when writing a review. It’s a lot of changes I have to make.

Doc: Well, you’re definitely learning. That’s a good thing.

Shae: (Laughs) Yeah. I see movies like every weekend.

Doc: You go more than me. I think the last time I been was the beginning of last month.

Shae:  Before last year, I would go to the movies once a year. I actually like going to the movies by myself.

Doc: Do you know of any independent films here in Baltimore?

Shae: Uhh (Laughs), the only one, I mean, that I think is an independent film, I know of is The 12 O’clock Boys film.

Doc: Yeah, I think that’s an independent film.

Shae: That’s the only film I knew about, but anything else, not really. I would like to write about more Baltimore things that go on.

Doc: Did you write a review about that movie?

Shae: Nah, I didn’t because I didn’t see it and I heard bad reviews about it. I’m the type of person if I don’t find interest in it; I’m not going to write about it because my writing is not going to be sincere. Things like that, I’m not really interested in.

Doc: So people who have independent films need to make their movies good so you could write about them, basically. (Laughs)

Shae:  Right. It’s like I never hear about them. Then when I do, it’s brief. Like it was a poet I tried to reach out to one time to be featured on my blog and he was like, “I’m not a blog artist.” I’m like, “What are you talking about.” He was acting like I was trying to advertise him. I was trying to get his name out there, help him out. That’s why I write about people who aren’t from here. They come to me. People who come from different states always email me or hit me up on Twitter. It’s either they want me to help them put their music out or write about their business.

Doc: Yeah, I completely understand.

Shae: It’s the consistency, also. Some contact me wanting me to do things for them and then they never come through.

Doc: You need to deal with more persistent people.  (Laughs)

Shae: Right! (Laughs)


Doc: I know you’ve recently entered a contest with The Insider. You want to talk about that?

Shae:  Well, it wasn’t like a “contest” contest. It’s called the Social Sound-Off. Basically, they’ll ask a question and you make a video. If you make the video in time for them to do the show, they put it on there. I always do it.

Doc: So did you get your video on there?

Shae: Yes, twice.

Doc: Wow.

Shae: The first time it was about the Oscars. The other one was about Oprah and her birthday. I like it.

Doc: You’ve been on there more than a lot of people though. You were on it twice. I know you kind of do that on Twitter, too. When you reach out to people, they really answer you a lot more often than other people.

Shae: It’s just about how you go about it. Like the whole Michael B. Jordan thing, people don’t understand that I was once a person who was always saying stuff and being ignored. I was always like, “Oh, hi! Michael B. Jordan, I’m your biggest fan. Blah, blah, blah.” Then I thought to calm down because this is someone I really want to work with or meet. I can’t be coming off all clingy.

Doc: So you became really strategic with how you approached him?

Shae: Right. I wanted to talk to him as if he’s not a celebrity, like he’s a regular person because I’m sure that’s how he would want to be treated. Talking to him, I know he’s kind of shy. Because when I wrote about him, he didn’t really want me to publicize it that much. He wanted me to keep it low-key. I respect his wishes. I posted things on my site but I only shared it like three times. It’s all about how you approach people.

Doc: Then people finally answer you?

Shae: Yeah. No one’s going to answer you if you’re being crazy. People get mad at me when he says stuff to me. They’ll inbox me like, “Oh my gosh, I’m jealous. Why does he keep talking to you?” Then one girl she even said she thinks I have a thing going on with him and he shut her up.

Doc: What? (Laughs)

Shae: I never met this man. How can I have a thing going on? It’s crazy.

Doc: People assume anything.

Shae: Yes.

Doc: So what keeps you motivated to keep writing for the UncommonRealist?

Shae: It’s something that I came up with on my own. It’s not like I’m writing for the Baltimore Sun or under anyone else. I came up with it alone. I see how far I can go with it. It keeps me motivated to have a career rather than working a 9 to 5. Necole Bitchie, she’s one of my favorite bloggers. She’s actually from Maryland. She did pretty well. It kind of set the bar for me. I know blogging is not the only thing I want to do.

Doc: So she’s one of the people who inspires you?

Shae: Yeah, that and I just want more for myself. I just want to get away. It helps me be a better me. Like some of my family knows that I write, but my mom and everyone else, they don’t really care. That kind of stuff keeps me pushing. I’m doing it because it makes me happy.

Doc: Okay, so I recently saw that you started a new blog. So now you actually have two?

Shae: Mhmm! That blog is for the Michael B. Jordan fans. People liked when I wrote about him on my regular blog. I’ve decided to have a blog strictly for stories that I write about him. I did that for them. I have a group of fans on Twitter that often hit me up. I’m pretty sure he probably appreciates it. I’m not the only fan site of his. I’m probably the most publicized, even though I just started. Just from establishing it, I guess it makes it more eager for him to see what I write about him. (Laughs) I hope he looks at it. I hope he saw it because I sent it to him. I plan to keep it running for a really long time. Hopefully, it turns into something else. I got the T-shirt thing going on right now. I probably will send them out to a few of the fans that frequently check on the site and keep up with me.

Doc: Do you plan on expanding the UncommonRealist like adding more contributors?

Shae: That’s an iffy thing because truthfully I don’t want anybody taking my shine. (Laughs)

Doc: (Laughs)

Shae: It’s the trust thing. I’ve had people who’ve offered. But first I have to see what they’re capable of, and then I have to see if I can trust them with staying consistent. For the guy that asked me to write for him, I was consistent. I think I was more consistent than him. I was supposed to write a review for Mandela. I wrote it for my site and his site. I don’t know what was wrong with it or whatever. He didn’t put it up.

Doc: Some people have specific ways they like for others to write for their site sometimes.

Shae: Yeah, he said I needed to be more colorful in how I write. But I don’t think writing a movie review is supposed to be like that. “Oh, this movie was cranked up!” No, it’s not, especially if you have serious people reading your stuff. They don’t take you serious.

Doc: That’s why you’re the UncommonRealist.

Shae: (Laughs) Ain’t anybody going to take me serious if you talking like “This was boom, bang, and pow!” I mean, I’m not a hip-hop blogger. I think that’s what he is. I made the suggestion to do movie reviews but I don’t know how that project is going to go because I only write for him when he asks. Anyway, it’s all about consistency.

Doc: Do you write for any more blogs?

Shae: I would like to write for some serious bloggers, not someone who’s going to contact me on the random. Not for someone who’s going to be like, “Oh, just go look on the page and see what you want to do.” No, I need somebody that has a plan for me.

Doc: You’ll write for someone who has more structure.

Shae: Basically! I’d like to write for some people. I’d actually like to do some combined blogs. I’ve always wanted to do that. We’ll see.


Doc: So is there any big blog you can see yourself writing for?

Shae: Well, I hate Bossip. They’re funny as hell, but I hate them. I would never want to write for them. I would write for Necole Bitchie because her blog is kind of like mine. She writes about different pop culture things that are going on. But at the same time, she’s not too extra.  Bossip is extra. They’re like Media Takeout. I don’t like Media Takeout. Media Takeout isn’t even creditable.

Doc: Is there anything new coming for the UncommonRealist that we should be looking out for?

Shae: I don’t know. I always think of something new and then I’ll try it for a little while and stop. So yeah, Questions of the Day are coming back. I will probably be getting some more movie reviews done because it’s getting warm so I’ll be out going to see movies. Maybe some interviews coming up.

Doc: So what about your other blog? Just look out for the T-Shirts?

Shae: Yeah, T-Shirts coming soon. Basically on there is whatever with Michael B. Jordan. I’ve been talking about his new movie role on the Fantastic Four, which I’m proud of. That’s the most controversial thing going on now because he’s black and playing a white character. A bunch of BS! So on that site, it’s strictly news.

Doc: Okay! Well, thank you for doing this interview. We’re finished all the questions.

Shae: Woohoo!!

Check out Shae McCoy’s blog at www.uncommonrealist.wordpress.com.

To see the last Blogger’s Rundown Interview, read the Q & A with The Industry Blogger.

Q & A with The Industry Blogger

The fourth addition to my Blogger’s Rundown is Malika Muhammad, founder of The Industry Blogger. I had a joyous time meeting this bright young woman. While taking the time to get to know her, I’ve learn how much drive she has to become a well renown journalist in the very near future. At our little meeting, we discussed her interest in writing a print based blog, her goals within the next 5 years, who’s her inspiration, and what local artists she supports in Baltimore. I also learned we share lots of common interest. I can’t tell you how cool it is to meet another person who shares that same passion as me. I get excited about it. Ha-Ha! Both of us are inspired journalist seeking to go far with our blogs. I know that if Malika keeps striving while doing what she does best, she’ll absolutely reach her dreams. I look forward to doing some collaboration with her in the future.


Doc: Tell us the story behind your blog, The Industry Blogger?

Malika: So it all started last year, July of 2013. So I’m really new at this. I looked at the Baltimore scene and was like, “It’s so many talented people out here.” But nobody would know that because we all have this stereotype of Baltimore artists or people in Baltimore, period. I was like, “I’ma be the one who lets everybody know that we’re not just talking about weed or being in the hood.” I want people to know that we can actually play instruments and put together well-formed lyrics, something that’s with a message. I met a whole bunch of bloggers on the way. So I realized I wasn’t alone in this. After that, I was like, “Oh, man!” (Laughs)

Doc: (Laughs)

Malika: But then I thought it was a great thing. I’ll just unite with them and we can bring Baltimore up together. It’s better to do it with a team anyway.

Doc: Alright, that’s cool. So where did you get your name from?

Malika: I did so much brainstorming. I thought of doing something simple because I was thinking about it too much because I had a cupcake business, too. So I was thinking of some names for that, also.

Doc: You still have that?

Malika: Umm, it’s like on the side. (Laughs)

Doc: (laughs)

Malika: If someone wants cupcakes, I’ll say, “I’ll make em for you,” but not really. (Laughs) But for the Industry Blogger, I was listening to Kendrick Lamar. You know the song where he’s like, “I’m effing the industry hard?” (Referring to Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe)

Doc: Yeah, I know what song you talking about.

Malika: I was listening to that. I just love that word. I like the word Industry. It’s powerful to me. Then I chose to name my blog Industry Blogger. When I put it together, I wanted it to happen fast. But I’ve been brainstorming for months before July for my blog. But I just needed a name so I decided the Industry Blogger and I would market myself with it. That’s how it came about.

Doc: Oh, wow. Would you consider your blog kind of like a print journalistic type of blog? Because I know of multiple blogs that have video or just post a song? What would you consider yours to be?

Malika:  I want to say it’s a mixture. But I mainly want it to be print journalism. I don’t want people to say that I’m just a blogger. I think people lose credibility being label as that because they may think they can blog about anything like they gossip. I don’t want to be labeled as a gossiper. I want everything I post to be truthful and honest. So I would say it is more print journalistic.

Doc: I agree with you. That’s how I want people to view my blog. A lot of people do think of bloggers as gossipers. Is there anyone that you draw inspiration from, like a famous reporter?

Malika: Yes, first it was Sherrie Johnson. She was on ABC2 News. She’s been promoted doing other things now. But that’s on a local basis. Karen Civil is another one. She’s like the main person I look up to. I’m always on her page. I just love her. I’m always on her Instagram or her website trying to see her next move. I’m not trying to mimic everything that she’s doing. I’m just really inspired by her because she meditates. She’s spiritual. She’s a woman. That’s why I want to be kind of different from her. I want to angle myself off her but not so much as people saying that’s another Karen Civil.

Doc: Right! She’s like a model to you. You want to do your own twist. Originality! So I read your blog about supporting Baltimore artist and I loved what you said about it. You know as far as people supporting people, and it inspired me to write a blog myself.

Malika: Oh really? Thank you. I’ll have to check that out. (Laughs)

Doc: Yeah. (Laughs) You talked about artist that lacked originality and they’re always copying other people who are already in the Industry. Would you say that there’s at least five artists here you would support?

Malika: Yup. I definitely would say Chris Bivins. He’s from Howard County. I like Jayverse. I put him on my blog. Umm, Solution. He’s with Teamwage. He just went solo. Blizz. I don’t know. I have so many people. (Laughs) I like Gillateen and Lonnie Moore. I should have named him (Lonnie) after Solutions.

Doc: Oh! That’s good that you’ve named five. Are you open to collaborating with other bloggers in the DMV/Baltimore region?

Malika: I am. I didn’t think of that at first. Remember, I thought I was the only one because I didn’t see it at first. But of course, I must didn’t do enough research then. But I do. We can write together or umm…

Doc: Guest blog on each other’s posts.

Malika: Right! I would love to do that. I actually quoted something about that for people to submit articles to my page. If you’re smart, everyone knows that takes more work off of you.

Doc: Exactly! So do you know anybody in particular that you would want to write for? Any local blog sites?

Malika: Umm, the only two blogs that I’ve become really acquainted with is TruDat and Vivid Visions. So we can do something together. That would be cool. But I haven’t research many bloggers. I just had seen Ryan tweet bloggers. So that helped me a lot.

Doc: Yeah, I know! That helped me out, too.

Malika: (Laughs) I was like, “Okay, I’ll look at all of these.” But those two. If I could do all of them, I would. I think that’s the problem. We need to keep supporting each other and stop being against each other.  At the end, we are all competitors. But still.

Doc: But still, it would help each other out.

Malika: We’ll all be getting our name out there.

Doc: Exactly! What would you like for your blog to be remembered as?

Malika: Hmm, that’s a great question. I just want people to see that for me I wanted to start at the base of hip-hop. I want people to know that it’s not just on the surface, where we’re just posting videos or links to music. I want people to get in deeper into it. I want them to experience what hip-hop actually is. I don’t want people to say that I’m just a blogger that blogs about music because I like it. You have to actually be hip-hop. You have to study it.

Doc: Like actually go to the events; support the people who you’re posting about.

Malika: Yeah, I definitely want to be seen as a person who supports local music, someone who’ll tell you the history of it on the spot. I just want to be known as someone who’s really in tuned with the culture all together.

Doc: So where do you see yourself 5 years from now?

Malika: Awe man that question. (Laughs)

Doc: (Laughs)

Malika: Five years from now, I would still want to do this blog. I want it to be bigger than what it is now. I want it to lead to bigger opportunities. So if that means leading to being a personality on TV or radio, and I’ve actually tried radio before…

Doc: Did you like it?

Malika: It was okay. (Laughs)

Doc: (Laughs)

Malika: I would say I like TV better. People think that’s odd. But I like TV better. I would like to do radio, TV, and writing in the future. I want to be a person who’s multifaceted. I want to do a little bit of everything. I want my own business. In five years, I don’t want to be working for anyone but myself. I’m just putting that out there.

Doc: Okay, I get you. So do you take submissions from hip-hop artist?

Malika: Yes, I do. That’s how I get most of my content. I’ll post my email on one of my social media sites or I have them submit on my submissions page on my actual blog. I’ll take anything, mixtapes, songs, if you want a bio written. I do it. Some people even text me because I put my number out there all the time or some will email me. All of that is on my blog.

Doc: But you prefer people to submit on your form on the site?

Malika: Yes, because it’s much easier. It’s better organized.

Doc: So they’ll just go to your website and they’ll submit.

Malika: Yup.

Doc: Okay, that’s it. That was the last question. Thank you for being a part of this.

Malika: Thank you.

To read articles by Malika Muhammad, visit her blog site at theindustryblogger.com.

And the New Member of Vivid Visions is…

Today is a special interview because you heard it first from Doc’s Castle Media. It’s an exclusive interview with Vivid Visions’ newest member Janai! She’s joined in with Vivid Visions as the honorary host for their popular vlog interviews on their blog site. R. Chance will be resigning from the position to focus more on business and web posting asset of the Vivid Visions site. We’ll surely miss him but don’t be too down in the dumps. With Janai’s electrifying attitude, she’ll be sure to spice up the interviews to ensure that viewers enjoy what they’re hearing. I can’t wait.

In our interview, Janai and I discussed her feelings towards being chosen as the host for Vivid Visions, who’s her favorite artist in Baltimore, what school she went to, and who’s her inspiration to do what she loves. I really loved chatting it up with her, and I look forward to talking with her in the future as host of the Vivid Visions. She’s definitely someone to watch.


Doc: I’m hearing that you’re the new host for the Vivid Visions Vlogs. How do you feel about being addressed with that honor?

Janai: …Just as it is. It’s an honor! I mean, it’s an up and coming blog, and we’re trying to put Baltimore on the map. You know how it is music wise. We’re trying to help the artists. Also, it’s dealing with things that I love. It’s definitely an honor. Hopefully, we do it the right way and we do it BIG.

Doc: Yes, we need that, too. So how did it really come about? Did you ask Ryan if you could be the host?

Janai: No, actually. (Laughs) Well, me and Ryan have been friends and known each other for a long time. He asked me before but I was doing other things, like something similar. So at the time, I was just like “nah!” (Laughs)

Doc: (Laughs)

Janai: But it came up again, and I was like “You know what; I think it’s a bit more structured now. I think we can definitely make some stuff happen.”

Doc: Okay! Do you have prior hosting experience?

Janai: In this aspect, a little bit. If anybody knows me, they know that I’m a talker.

Doc: I can see that. (Laughs)

Janai: (Laughs) I guess it’s just in me. So I could be hosting and not be hosting. I hosted certain shows like maybe a poetry slam and poetry night. But as far as blogging, nah! So this is a new thing for me.

Doc: This should be an experience for you then.

Janai: Yeah.

Doc: Have you been interviewed as a feature on another blog or is this your first time being interviewed?

Janai:  Yes, this is my first time being interviewed. I did an interlude for Vivid Visions before, and it was just something random. We were in the store and I was being my goofy self. (Laughs) It just so happened that they posted it that way. As far as being interviewed, no.  Not for another blog.

Doc: Oh cool! Is there anyone in particular that you look forward to interviewing?

Janai: Yeah…but they’ve already been interviewed.

Doc: Who?

Janai: Will!

Doc: Oh yeah!

Janai: Ryan definitely stole that from me. If it was anybody I wanted to interview, it would definitely be Will.

Doc: Later on, when he puts out another mixtape or when he gets really big, you could still interview him. You’ll always have the opportunity.

Janai: You’re right. There’s also this kid. I’m really, really close with him. He’s a young guy by the age of 16. His name is Tres’ McMichael. He does everything. He does art. He does dancing. He’s an actor and a singer. Everything! I really want to get cracking with him.

Doc: Oh yeah, he might want to submit to me or something. (Laughs)

Janai: I’m trying to put him out there. (Laughs)


Doc: So do you have a favorite artist in Baltimore, someone who you really support?

Janai: Oooh. In Baltimore? …Will. Yes, Will and Kaseo because I’ve seen where they’ve come from to where they are now. They’ve definitely grown with their craft.

Doc: And they seem to be real persistent in what they do.

Janai: They really, really are. It’s crazy to look at people who you know and be like, “Since when did you rap?” “When did you do these things?”

Doc: You went to Milford?

Janai: No.

Doc: Oh, you didn’t because you know a lot of people from there? (Laughs) I know Will went to Milford.

Janai: I know basically all of Milford’s class of 2009 and 2010. I went to Old Court Middle School, and then I moved to Pennsylvania right after so that’s how I know everybody. Also, you know how Baltimore be, when you know somebody, you know somebody else. (Laughs)

Doc: Right! (Laughs) So where are you hoping this Vivid Visions opportunity takes you?

Janai:  I’m hoping that it opens doors for a lot of dreams that I have. I’m hoping that it is an outlet to a much bigger success for all of us. This is not just a blog. We’re a family. This is a community that we’re trying to build. So it’s a bigger picture that we’re all holding on to. I know a lot of people who are looking like, “Oh, they’re just featuring a lot of artists.” We’re really trying to tap in, and bring unity and support to a lot of talented people. Baltimore has enough strife and conflict. We just want to put the unity out there; put the love back out there.

Doc: I feel you. That’s what it needs to be in this city. Is there anyone in the industry that inspires you to do what you want to do already, like La-La Anthony? You know she started off just hosting.

Janai: Yeah, she sure did. You know what, that’s a good example. Actually now, Queen Latifah mainly because she started off rapping. Then she went into acting. She’s a wonderful actress. She’s a singer, and now she has her own talk show. She’s very influential. She’s breaking down a lot of barriers. She also worked for Cover Girl. She’s really well-known. She’s very inspirational to a lot of younger women. It’s not about what people see on the outside. But as far as what she is and what she stands for, she’s awesome.

Doc: I agree with you because she’s not doing one thing anymore. I feel like she kind of matured. She started off with rapping and then was like, “You know I’m a bit too old to be doing this. Let me find out what else I can do.”

Janai: Yeah. I see a lot of her in me. A lot of people don’t expect you to be a certain way. A lot of people expect me to be goofy and silly, which I am. (Laughs) But it’s also so many different sides of me that I’m pretty sure people are going to be surprised to see once we get out there and do a lot of things.

Doc: I mean a lot people may already be a little surprised of Vivid Visions already. It’s been a big turnaround.

Janai: It is. It really is, and a lot of people were thinking, “Oh, Vivid Visions, they’re about to do this again.” But it’s much more structured. So a lot of people are tapping in.

Doc: That’s the way it should be.

Janai: Exactly!

Doc: Well, that’s all my questions. Thank you!

Visit Vivid Visions at VisionsVivid.blogspot.com.

Read Doc’s last interview with Briana: Q & A with RebelliousRebel on Doc’s Castle Media.

Q & A with Rebellious Rebel

As an addition to my Blogger’s Rundown spree, I’ve had the opportunity to interview fellow Baltimore Blogger Briana Ragler, founder of RebelliousRebel, this past Friday. It was a wondrous meeting. We discussed what inspires her to write, where she got her edgy blog name, her secret to RebelliousRebel’s success, and other cool questions that gives more insight into her fashion and lifestyle blog. I enjoyed the time spent indulging in getting to know more about her blog, and I’m eager to work with her in the near on a project that’ll change Baltimore city, for sure. Briana is definitely someone who’ll provide an impact for this city with her generous attitude for picking up people’s spirits. It is my pleasure to introduce to all my Doc’s Castle Media readers the Q & A of RebelliousRebel.


Doc: What inspired you to start RebelliousRebel?

Briana: Well, three years ago I had lost my father in my first semester in college. I didn’t take time off to deal with the grief. I just sucked it up and came back to school right afterwards. I spent the year doing a whole bunch of dumb stuff, and just doing everything while seeping deeper into depression. At the end of 2011, I finally got myself together. I decided to start a blog just to share my story and to help other people who were going through what I went through, as far as dealing with depression. It has now gone from talking about my issues to becoming something more like a creative safe haven for other people.

Doc: Aww, that’s cool. I didn’t even know that. Wow! So where did you get your name from? Is that how you came up with it?

Briana: In a way (laughs)…I grew up in the church so everything that I was doing was not considered “holy,” as church folk would say, and I usually Rebel a lot against myself and things that I feel like are trying to keep me trapped. So I looked in the dictionary and saw the word rebellious and said, “Okay, I need something else to go with this.” So I was like, “Okay, RebelliousRebel!” I’m rebellious and I’m a Rebel. When I started it back then, it was about me and how I rebel against certain things. But now, it’s kind of turned into a thing where I’m not conforming to needs that I believe aren’t conducive to my well-being or to other’s well-being.

Doc: Okay, so how long have you been blogging? Like four years?

Briana: I’ve been blogging since 2010. I had another blog. I stopped blogging with that when I went to Hood College. So I’ve been blogging for about four to six years, on and off. I decided to stick with this one.

Doc: Well, it seems like it’s doing good.

Briana: Yes, it’s getting there. It’s not quite where I want it to be. (Laughs)

Doc: (laughs) How do you want RebelliousRebel to be remembered? What do you want people to know you blog as?

Briana: I ask myself that question all the time, even when I feel like getting rid of it. Sometimes I go through stages where I don’t feel like blogging. Someone said to me recently that my blog is a creative safe haven for individuals who create or need to find some type of inspiration. At this particular moment, I don’t know what I want it to be remembered as. There are so many things that go through my head sometimes. But I think when it’s all said and done, like if I decided to end the blog, I want it to be remembered as a place where someone who went through some hard issues decided to create a blog to express herself, and what she went through has, in return, blessed others. I don’t know. I go through this question every day (laughs).

Doc: (laugh)

Briana: Remember it as a creative safe haven for EVERYONE. If they feel like they can’t always put themselves out there, it’s there. I don’t know. We’ll probably come back later, in the future, with another story about this (laughs).

Doc: (laughs) Alright! So you’ve answered my question for what’s your initial motivation to keep blogging then.

Briana: Right now, it’s really about the art. Now, I’m getting to understand the concept of trying to keep my life personal. I try to keep certain things private because you know the Internet. Anyone can read anything. I was going to stop blogging in December. Take a nice long, permanent 6 month break. But what’s keeping me blogging is the people who come to my blog who are interested in the arts. They come to my blog and read it, or a person who has an issue with their body. Like someone said to me yesterday, “Oh my God! You’ve just inspired me to keep loving myself because you post pictures of strong women on your blog.” I’m like, “Okay, let me keep blogging because it’s inspiring people to be better and it’s a place where artist come to get inspiration when they’re not producing anything.” I keep RebelliousRebel up to keep those people inspired.

Doc: OH! Wow! That’s beautiful! So you’re just being an impact for people?

Briana: Yeah, I’m learning to be less selfish. I use to be selfish with my gifts and my talents. I didn’t share because I been through a lot of rejection as a kid. But now that people have blessed me so much, I feel like it’s my purpose and duty to give back in any way I can. It may not be with money. It may not be with donations. But it’s just with my words. If I give out kind words, I will in return be blessed and that person will be blessed. I just want to inspire people to be better because we’re all in this world trying to become better people.

Doc: I feel the same way. I want to be better and set an example for others. That’s why I write. Next question, have you thought about guest blogging for other blogs?

Briana: Hmm, I’ve done a guest blog post for my study abroad program, which is Kappa International. I don’t have a problem with doing it. I like writing for other bloggers because they give topics and that gives me time to research and experience something different from what I write about. I’m always inquisitive. I’m always wondering and wanting to know how come and what for to things. I’ve had people ask me to do a guest blog post. But I don’t want to commit to doing anything because I have too many factors going on right now, like school and trying to prepare for life when I graduate from college. But I’ve thought about it, and I would do it in the near future. I’d even have people guest blog for RebelliousRebel because I run out of ideas (laughs).

Doc: (laughs) That’s why I have them. I run out of ideas, too. But have you thought of any particular blogs that you would guest blog for?

Briana: I would really, really, really love to guest blog post for ProFresh Style and Bleed for Fashion just because I can relate to their blogs more. I mean, there are some other blogs. But I’m talking about blogs that have a greater impact that I would love to guest blog post for. Those are the only two that I manage to continue reading. I’ve read those five years ago. Its years later and I still follow them. I would guest post for them if they’d decided to. Those are the only two I’d blog for because a lot of blogs are mostly about fashion and there aren’t enough life blogs. Profresh Style and Bleed for Fashion are kind of like life and fashion blogs in one. It’s another I follow, Fashion Worked. I’d blog for them too. But yeah, I’m just hoping for a chance (laughs).

Doc: (laughs) So I recently saw a video on RebelliousRebel for your outfit of the day. I wanted to know, do you plan on continuing to bring us funky videos like your last one?

Briana: Uhh…Before that one, the last outfit of the day video was over the summer. When I shot this one, it was with the same videographer. It was just on the whim. It was because I just felt like it that day. I’m going to see. But I don’t want my blog to be solely about fashion.

Doc: What else do you want your blog to be about other than fashion and lifestyle?

Briana: I want it to be whatever. I really blog whatever that comes to my mind. There is no set theme for my blog. One day you could read a post on love. Another day you could read a post on what I think about on issues happening in Russia. It’s a melting pot of everything. Since I have people who follow me on Instagram who ask can I do some fashion post, I try to honor their requests. You probably will see more outfit of the day videos. But because of the funds, you won’t see as many. Secondly, weather is playing a factor in those videos, too. It’s too cold to shoot outside. I’m trying to wait until March. After the 21st of March, you’ll probably see mad (meaning more) videos. So hopefully, but I’m living that broke college student life right now (laughs).

Doc: (laughs) It was real funky. I liked that. Do you mind sharing the secrets to your success?

Briana: Can I be honest?

Doc: Sure.

Briana: I don’t feel like I’m successful yet. I don’t feel like I’ve reached my potential. I was always one of those kids where people asked me, what do you want to do in life? I’d always say I don’t know. It’s kind of still like that because I’m not entirely sure what it is that I really, really want to do. I’m just going with the flow. I guess people look at it like “Oh, she’s successful because she stuck it out through college. She didn’t dropout.” But the key to my success is keeping my connection with God because I trust him with everything in my life. I really don’t know how I got to this point. I don’t always make the best decisions. When it comes to certain things, I don’t always trust my instincts. I trust in God, and he leads me in the right direction. In the field I’m going into, there are a lot of snakes. There are a lot of people who’ll take credit for things that they didn’t do. In ten years, you can interview me again and I’ll probably have a better key. (Laughs)

Doc: I’m pretty sure you’ll still say God.

Briana: I probably will! (Laughs) But I’m a free spirit when it comes to just doing things. With college, I didn’t want to go to college. I wanted to work. But I come from a church family, and they were like no. That’s your ticket out. Even with blogging, I don’t know anything about how to have a successful blog. I just do what I do. I don’t think there are keys to being a success. I think being a success comes in different ways, like finishing college is one and overcoming depression is another. It’s all in what you believe in. If there were keys to success, I’d probably be a lot further than where I am.

Doc: Are you open to collaborations?

Briana: Yes, I’m always open to collabs. I don’t believe in the word team. I don’t believe in groups but I’m open to collaborations. I love sitting down with people and we’re all shooting out ideas. It doesn’t matter who you are.  If you’re welder and want to collaborate, it’s whatever. I’m always down. I just did a collab with For Rent Shoes in Baltimore, the how to style. It was a big deal for me because it was my first real business thing I could put on my resume. Yeah, I’m always down to do it but not with everyone. I don’t want to put my name on everything because everyone is not who they claim to be. But if someone wants to, they can just shoot me an email and we’ll talk.

If you’d like to read more from Briana, check out her blog at rebelliousrebell.blogspot.com.

To read the last Blogger’s Rundown, read Doc’s Q & A with Vivid Visions.