Poetry for Incarcerated Youth With Matthew Cuban

This week, I’m joined by Matthew ‘Cuban’ Hernandez, a poet, speaker, and performance coach from Jacksonville, Florida. He has toured as far as Abu Dhabi and nearly every major city in the United States and Europe, performing, teaching and coaching poetry. 

 Matthew is the author of 3032, and is currently fundraising to provide 3,032 copies of his book to incarcerated youth in the Greater Los Angeles area and beyond. A teaching artist for nearly ten years, Matthew has spent the last four years working in youth detention centers across LA County. He believes allowing young people to see themselves reflected in art will empower them with the knowledge that they also have a story to tell. 

 A powerful performer as well, he has opened for artists such as Wu-Tang and has performed for platforms like BuzzFeed and NPR. Matthew is also a three time Southern Fried poetry slam champion and an award-winning poetry coach. Cuban’s favorite activity is making people feel great, including through poetry. 

 On this episode, Matthew shares how he started writing poetry and what inspires his work, as well as what it’s like teaching poetry with young people and campaigning to get their art funded. We talk about the relationship between creativity and vulnerability, how to practice self-love from secondary trauma, and what it’s like to live as an empath. Enjoy our hugging, laughing, and “singing”, in addition to three of Matthew’s incredible poems. 

 You can support Matthews Kickstarter here https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/3032bookgiveaway/matthew-cuban-3032-books-of-poetry-to-incarcerated-youth

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A memoir on my relationship with transportation

This week, I’m joined by Farzana, a friend and colleague of mine who, at the time of the interview, was conducting a research project about driving in Los Angeles. This is a unique episode, because Farzana mainly interviews me about the topic at hand. We talk about liminality (or the in-between places), the stresses of and issues with transportation and infrastructure in L.A., and my own journey from not only Wisconsin to Los Angeles, but from relying on my car to giving it up entirely.

Farzana is a community-based researcher who is interested in social harmony and rupture, reactions to heterogeneity, discourses of mass panic, and conflict resolution. Her most recent project is an ethnography of Los Angeles drivers, and through this she is learning about the quirks that characterize the lives of Los Angeles residents, the ways in which their relationships with driving define how they interact with the world, and their responses to anomalies that they encounter on and off the road.

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Celebrating Failure

On this week’s episode, we explore ways through which we can celebrate failure. When we are taking risks, envisioning, creating change, and putting ourselves out there, creating a healthy relationship with failure is really important. When we try something new or strive to live our best life, we are inevitably setting ourselves up to experience moments where we stumble or fall short, and the mindset we have in those moments will influence how we move forward.

This week’s episode is a workshop that walks us through how we can create a healthy relationship with failure. Together, we break down what we have been taught failure means, and then create our own fresh definition.

Celebrate Failure is Day 5 of a 7-day workshop series that I have created.

If you’d like to participate in workshops like this one and receive the full 7-day series, you can become an Inner-Power Member.  

To learn more, head to tomearl.me/innerpower. 

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Celebrating 3 Years of Expression

Next week marks the 3-year anniversary of the Live and Online: Expression Session. Each month, we have been honored to have internationally recognized poets and spoken word artists join us as features.

To celebrate, this week’s episode is a compilation of poetry shared by some of our pasts features. I really enjoyed putting this episode together for you and reminiscing on the powerful poetry that our past contributors have shared.

If you are looking for your poetry and spoken word fix, this episode is for you.

The Live and Online: Expression Session is a monthly writing workshop that brings together writers, creatives, and poets from around the world. The experience culminates with a performance by a featured artist.

If you’re interested in connecting with a diverse community of writers, creatives, and poets, join us for our next session this Sunday, June 30th. Dates and details can be found at tomearl.com/events.

Want to check out the full episode and interview of the poets from today’s episodes?

Here they are:

Matt Sedillo - tomearl.tom/matt (link to - http://www.tomearl.com/blog/2017/6/16/expression-session-matt)

Shelby Birch - tomearl.com/shelby (link to - http://www.tomearl.com/blog/shelbythepoet)

Dania Alkhouli ‘Lady Narrator’ - tomearl.com/dania (link to - http://www.tomearl.com/blog/dania

Destinny Fletcher - tomearl.com/destinny (link to http://www.tomearl.com/blog/destinny)

Super B - tomearl.com/superb ( http://www.tomearl.com/blog/superb)

Lady K - tomearl.com/ladyk (http://www.tomearl.com/blog/ladyk)

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Lady K will be our feature on this week's edition of the Live and Online: Expression Session.  Register below! 

Name *
Name

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Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride With Ramy El-Etreby

I am so excited to share this week’s episode with you! I had the honor of interviewing my good friend and phenomenal applied theater artist, educator storyteller, and writer, Ramy El-Etreby.

Ramy and I had a deep conversation on creativity, the power of storytelling, and the way narratives shape our perspectives. We also talked about Ramy’s solo play, THE RIDE, which is currently running at the Hollywood Fringe Festival.

THE RIDE, which is written and performed by Ramy, is a tale about struggling to reconcile seemingly conflicting identities: Gay, Arab, and Muslim. After being outed publicly in the LA Times, Ramy’s world is turned upside down. THE RIDE takes Ramy down a dark hole where he loses touch with the most precious parts of himself.

Ramy’s writings have appeared online on PopSugar, Medium, The Huffington Post, Queerty, KCET, Love Inshallah, as well as in print in the anthology Salaam, Love: American Muslim Men on Love, Sex, and Intimacy and the forthcoming journal POC United: Graffiti to be published Fall 2019 by Aunt Lute Books.

To purchase tickets to Ramy’s THE RIDE, please visit https://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/5760

You can learn more about Ramy El-Etreby by visiting his website or his Twitter/Instagram: @dramarams.

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Racism, Whiteness, and Evolving

Today, our guest is Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni, who works in film and entertainment as both a creative and a gamechanger in the world of representational diversity. We talk about whiteness and white supremacy, race and racism, forgiving ourselves and others, call-out culture, and the importance of emotional stamina.

This was a deep and vulnerable conversation where Fanshen and I dialogued and worked through important conversations. I really appreciate where we went with this interview

Fanshen is an award-winning playwright, actor, producer and educator, as well as Head of Strategic Outreach at Pearl Street Films. In this role, she advises Pearl Street’s owners, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, on taking specific steps towards inclusive representation in the entertainment industry. One of her first initiatives on the job was to co-author the Inclusion Rider, and she was recently named one of 12 ‘Hollywood Disruptors’ by The Wrap. She frequently performs her one-woman show, One Drop of Love, across the country.

She served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cape Verde, West Africa, and has designed curricula for and taught English as a Second Language to students from all over the world.

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Politically Divided: Healing for Families, Friends, and Couples

This week, I talk to a guest from past times: writer Mitch del Monico! We talk about communicating, especially with people we disagree with. This is especially important in divisive times, in which disagreements can lead to relationship rupture. Mitch recently wrote a book addressing this phenomenon, called Politically Divided, which we also talk about.

You may recognize Mitch from a previous episode, when I interviewed him and co-creator Shaan Dasani about Agent of Change. He’s a writer who has also worked as a film and music video director and digital media assistant on a ship that sailed the Atlantic Ocean. His feature film, Alto, stars Annabella Sciorra, Natalie Knepp, and Diana DeGarmo.

Mitch has also written for HuffPo and has researched TV shows for the History Channel, Discovery, and the American Heroes Channel, among others, including nearly a hundred episodes of Modern Marvels. Mitch has spoken on panels at Comic-Con, Wonder-Con, the LA Film Festival, and CreatorUp! and has served as a juror for the Don Thompson LGBT Film Festival for the past three years in a row.

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Connecting With Your Intuition And Being Yourself

My guest this week is coach and facilitator Tasneem Noor. We talk about understanding and following your intuition, the difference between faith and religion, and Tasneem’s own experience publishing her book, The Faith Connector.

We also tackle the question of what authenticity actually is, and finally examine how a combination of authenticity and intuition can help you achieve your goals. Warning for earphone users: there’s a lot of laughing in this one.

Tasneem Farah Noor is the founder of Noor Enterprises: SOULful Transformations, which is committed to providing transformational experiences, personal development, and opportunities for meaningful dialogue.

Tasneem’s mission is to establish thriving, peaceful communities where conversations of faith build bridges of compassion and collaboration. Through coaching, trainings, and facilitation she helps people learn how to deepen their faith (and trust) in themselves, authentically express themselves, and take courageous action.

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Social Media for Entrepreneurs, Creatives and Side Hustlers Q and A Replay

This week’s episode is a replay of a ‘Social Media for Entrepreneurs, Side Hustlers and Creatives’ Q&A session that I hosted a while back. It’s a great one for anybody interested in making an impact and income while doing what you love. Especially if you’re looking to use social media to build a brand, business and community.

A lot of awesome questions were asked that I bet you have too. They ranged from how to start a podcast, how to grow your audience on IG, how to run Facebook Ads, what to do if you don’t have a focus or know what you want your business to be, and lots of other awesome ones.

Q&A is my favorite form of content because rather than the given feedback being general advice, it is specific and nuanced according to the asker’s concerns. This session was no exception.

If any questions come up for you be sure to reach out on social media or email me tom@tomearl.com.  

Would you like access to the Social Media Toolkit that I mention in this episode? Head to tomearl.me/toolkit.

For our next Live Q and A session, visit - tomearl.com/events.

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Moving Beyond Fear and Embracing your Experience

This week’s episode, with special guest Nurjahan Boulden, is so important and powerful.  Nurjahan was 21 years old when she was shot with an assault rifle in an attack that killed the man next to her. That one night changed the trajectory of her life. Even as she moved on to become a teacher and mother of three, PTSD and complications from the bullet wound continually threatened her future. 13 years later, she is now recognized as America’s leading coach for survivors of gun violence who are ready to Feel Safe Again.

Nurjahan and I talked about perseverance (especially through fear), facing reality, navigating trauma, and reclaiming your voice. I was moved by Nurjahan’s honesty and openness as she shared her truth in this interview. Plus, we also talked about her love of dancing.

Nurjahan’s story has been featured in a number of publications, including Cosmopolitan and Women’s Health. In addition to paving the way to recovery for survivors around the world, she hosts online support groups and community resilience workshops, and is partnering with mental health professionals to bring gun violence prevention and recovery programs to schools and organizations across America.

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