Monthly Archives: January 2014

GOALdigger Preview Session – Brandon Farmer (Musician)

Born to musician parents, Wilson, NC native Brandon Farmer is no stranger the arts. “I was always into music. My dad is a singer/guitarist, and my mom is a singer [as well]; so I pretty much grew up around music. None of my friends [were really into music early on in my life, so] playing [drums] for my church at the age of four was probably one of the groundbreaking moments that led to me taking music as seriously as I do now.”

By the time Brandon reached age seven, he began learning the piano and knew at that very moment that music was what he was made to do. As he grew older and entered middle school, his band teacher Ryan Robinson helped guide his appreciation for the art to a higher level by stretching his musical ability. He did this by putting young Brandon on the saxophone; despite the fact that his heart was with the drums. “I remember signing up for band [thinking it was going to be] an easy A, but little did I know that my teacher had other plans. [laughs] He said to me (after I felt embarrassed about not knowing how to play the sax well), “I’m willing to work with you as long as you’re willing to learn”. Those words carried me through [up to this very day. Mr.Robinson] instilled a drive in me that made me want more… not only out of music, but [out of] life.”


What was your first serious gig?    My first serious (nonpaying) gig was playing saxophone with a gospel music group RDP (Radial Dynamic Praise).  [The funny thing is] I’m actually in the process of acquiring a paying gig as we speak. [laughs]

After school, you followed your passion for music and found yourself moving to California. What has been the hugest difference between west coast living and the small town life you lived in North Carolina?   The people are the biggest difference. Coming from a small town you’re in a mental box and you don’t [even] know it [most times]. You’re only allowed to think and accept what you’re taught.  People on the West Coast are way more accepting [of new ideas]. On the flip side of all that, people from North Carolina are more disciplined [than those on the West Coast]; but [then again,] people in California have more of a “go getter” drive.  [Since being over here, I’ve found that] California people will help you push for your dreams because possibilities are endless. [Many of the] people back home have never seen anything [out of the ordinary], and will condemn and discourage [what] they don’t understand.

brandon2What are some of the projects you’ve been a part of since moving to California?   Do you have a signature style? [I am part of] the production company Zoe4Life or Z4L. We’ve worked with former freestyle battle rapper turned gospel rapper MC Jin – who is featured on our “Vision” album that’s now on iTunes. We [produced] some music videos for him [as well]. We’ve [also] worked with Latoya London, [who is a] former American Idol contestant. I actually had the opportunity to engineer one of her sessions [which is] much more in the making! As far as my style of producing, I’d say that [my style is] more R&B/Neo Soul; [but to be honest, in] this industry you have to [be able to] do everything from trap to country. So [right now, you can say that] I’m a blend of all that. [laughs] [What I really] look forward to doing is scoring films. I play with a lot of emotion [in my studio sessions] that would really translate well with movies.

Where do you see yourself in the next five years?   By the end of 2014 I plan on being on tour with someone (I don’t know who…but someone. ps. let me know if anyone needs a drummer. haha). My main focus at the moment is [establishing] myself and putting myself around all the right people so I can get set up for my future. [I plan to now work on] making wise business moves, learning [all that I can], and growing spiritually.


If you weren’t pursuing music, what would you be doing?   I would probably be a football player or a boxer. I always wanted to play/do it and I like to run and workout, so if that was my focus, I know I would beast it.

What are two pieces of advice you’d have for a young teens wanting to seriously pursue a life of music?   [I’d have to say three things:] don’t give up, be honest with who you are, and stay true to what you want to become. No one is better than anyone else. Some people [have raw talent] and don’t have to work as hard for [what they have]; [but you have to remember that] talent never outweighs hard work! Work hard to see yourself successful. I love ya’ll.

Interview by: Jocelyn Drawhorn

Photos by: Tyler Thompson (Z4L Photography)


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photo 2After interviewing amazing women in the entertainment and fashion industry last year for WEEN (check my work here ) I was inspired in more ways than I could EVER imagine! While interviewing one young woman in particular, I was introduced to the concept of a “vision board”. She said she made one every year to make her goals physical and visible to reminder to keep grinding and to work hard. Now I’ve done something similar to this, but never really took it to heart. You know, the list that you make in your notebook of “to do” goals. Yeah. Totally didn’t work. haha

So when I started to wrap up last year, I thought, why not see if some of my closest “movers and shakers” – aka friends – would be open to having a Vision Board Party where we could bounce ideas off of each other, celebrate each other, and make Vision Boards to take home and be inspired by.

When I ran this by my good friend Rich, he reacted to it in the very same way that I’d been hoping! He said he heard of vision boards before and always wanted to try his hand in making one, but never got around to it. Within a week, we had a Facebook Invite set up to invite 5 of our closest friends. We originally set it up for December at Rich’s apartment, but due to schedule conflicts we kept pushing it back. Well this past weekend we FINALLY cashed in on things and it was perfect! One of our friends had a death in her family so she wasn’t able to make it, but we made sure to send her something special in the mail to let her know that we were missing 1

During the night, we laughed, vibed to music, discussed important issues dealing with people of color, young entrepreneurs, pop culture, and our future. We snacked and talked for hours — and when we were all done, we each stood up and explained what each thing on our respective vision boards symbolized. BOY OH BOY — do I have some powerhouses in MY circle! I have to honestly say that I am so proud of, excited of, and grateful to have these people close to me. It really makes the difference when you have friends who not only support you, but keep you in check when you start to lose ‘vision’. 

Most people have friends who celebrate them when they do foolish things or partake in sketchy behavior, but not the people I associate with. NO SIR! NO MAAM! We are all Christ led, serious about our futures, and are set up to prosper. We aren’t sleeping around with every Tom and Tracy…we aren’t out here slinging drugs or tail….we aren’t wasting our money, blowing it on drinks and the club every weekend — we save…we invest….we are the leaders on tomorrow…shoot, we are the leaders of NOW!

Well enough chatting…gotta go make some more moves! If you have friends who are close enough and focused enough to have a Vision Board Party I suggest you throw one this year! Your future self will thank you for it!

– Joc


Check out the rest of the photos (mostly by Rashaad)  in my next post at

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Mandisa Skips The Grammys — DESPITE Winning 2 of Them!

(Mandisa’ post via

I love her response, her reasoning, and agree that while other Christians may feel like “ok, I can handle this, no big deal” — others, like Mandisa — know their limitations!

I missed the Grammy Awards…and I won!?!?

January 27, 2014 at 9:41am

“Do not allow this world to mold you in its own image. Instead, be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind.” Romans 12:2a (Voice)

At 4PM yesterday, I was not glammed up in a fancy gown, sitting in my seat at the Grammy Award Pre-Telecast, listening to the man reading the nominee list for Best Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) Performance, Best CCM Song, and Best CCM Album ( I was rockin’ some purple sweats, sitting in front of my computer, watching the live stream online. If you saw the video ( I posted yesterday, you heard my utter shock and immediate flood of tears, not to mention my phone blowing up when Overcomer was read as CCM Song and Album of the Year! I could not believe it!

Since then, many have asked why I was not there to accept the award. Ok. Are you ready for my brutal honesty? I have several reasons:

1. Over the next 100 days, I’ll be home for about 20 of them. I’m taking every chance I get to enjoy my time here…and Rufus (my bed, yeah, I said it!)

2. I can’t tell you how little I enjoy people scrutinizing what I am wearing and how I look. I’ve been on the receiving end of such mean comments coming from the other side of the anonymity the world-wide web provides. I can usually handle it, but recent events have left me feeling insecure about such things these days (if you missed my Facebook post a couple of weeks ago, I explain more about that here: I wish I could tell you it doesn’t hurt my feelings. Honestly, it does. I’m still learning to believe the truth about me, remember? (

3. All of my previous albums (True Beauty –, Freedom –, and What If We Were Real – were nominated for the Grammy Album of the Year award. It really IS an honor just being nominated. And I really WAS honored to be nominated with Israel Houghton (2007 & 2009), and Chris Tomlin (2011), the winners of each of those years. Following that trend, I naturally assumed Chris Tomlin would win this year, too! I figured I would cheer Chris on from the comfort of my home!

Finally, the fourth reason I chose not to attend this year: Yes, both times I have gone to the Grammys I have witnessed performances I wish I could erase from my memory, and yes, I fast forwarded through several performances this year; but my reason is not because ofthem, it’s because of me.  I have been struggling with being in the world, not of it lately. I have fallen prey to the alluring pull of flesh, pride, and selfish desires quite a bit recently.

“Don’t fall in love with this corrupt world or worship the things it can offer. Those who love its corrupt ways don’t have the Father’s love living within them. All the things the world can offer to you—the allure of pleasure, the passion to have things, and the pompous sense of superiority—do not come from the Father…” 1 John 2:15-16a (The Voice)I knew that submerging myself into an environment that celebrates those things was risky for me at this time. I am taking steps to renew my mind to become the Heavenly Father-centered, completely satisfied with Jesus, and Holy Spirit-led woman I felt I was a few months ago, but I’m feeling a bit like an infant learning to walk again on shaky legs. Perhaps being alone with Him as my name was announced was protecting myself from where my flesh would have tried to drag me had I been up on that stage. It gave me time to focus. With what I do for a living, and the doors that have opened for me to sing about Jesus on mainstream platforms, I take the phrase from John 15:19, “be in the world, not of it” seriously. God never taught us to stay in our safe Christian bubbles, completely separating from those who do not share our faith (see 1 Corinthians 5). After all, how else will people come to know Him, if not by His children? We must live, look, and speak differently so that we shine (see Matthew 5, Philippians 2, and 1 Peter 3)! I can’t force my morality on anyone else. What I can do is live my life in such a way that reflects well on my Savior, stand firm in my values, and do all of these things in love.  If God can use this Grammy win to advance His Kingdom, I’m all in!

So yeah, should I ever be nominated again, and I’m feeling up to it, I’ll go. I recognize that I may feel a bit like an alien in a strange land, but Jesus, friend of sinners, felt that way and still managed to shine…by His Holy Spirit, so can I! Plus, I can’t lie…it”d be pretty cool to see Ryan Seacrest on the Red Carpet now!

As for the Grammy Award, I know I keep saying it, but “whose life is this?!?!”  “Overcomer” ( is an album that speaks life, hope, and encouragement to so many, yes, including me. While this affirmation feels unbelievable, I lay this trophy at the feet of my Jesus in humility, honor and gratitude for all He has done in, to, and through me.

“You, dear children,are from God and have overcome them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4 (NIV)

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Lake Street Dive album, “Fun Machine”


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Bow Wow FIRED for Using Company Funds for Child Support **LESSON**

According to ( ), Bow Wow; aka Shad Moss, has been fired from his job as host of BET’s 106 & Park. Why you ask? Because apparently he used a company card (that was supposed to be used for clothes and travel) to pay his $30,000 child support bill to his baby’s mother Joie Chavis.

Although this has been cleared as a rumor,there ares still lessons to be learned.

This isn’t the first time a person of color has gotten into some sticky situations misusing company funds. Last November, new bride La’Reese Darville was accused of using her father’s company credit cards to finance her $50,000 wedding and arrested shortly after her wedding day. I’m not going to get into the discussion of whether Bow Wow or Darville KNEW the wrong in what they were doing, but what I will comment on is the need for young people and people of color to do their research and be smart with their money!

black_blo_caro_page-bg_34059If you are in your 20s, 30s, or are a person of color you must develop some sense of CREDIT CARD MANAGEMENT! Not speaking on Bow and the runaway bride specifically, but you need to be aware of what you are spending and WHAT you’re spending it on. I think people forget that a credit card does not equal free, liquid money….you have to pay that money back! So if you are working for a company and they give you a card to use for a very specific purpose, it is IMPERATIVE that you stick to that. You might be tempted to take some “money out the pot” and put it back it, but if you want to prevent slip ups and stay out of trouble, it’s best to avoid using company funds for uses other than the ones they allow.

Secondly people of color HAVE TO…HAVE TO….HAVE TO be aware of the fact that they ARE a person of color!! Meaning: that because of our country’s history, you will be looked at more closely by EVERYONE. As a person of color you (on the basic level of someone’s mind) will be EXPECTED to cheat, steal, bootleg, and cut corners. I’m not saying that people who are white or European don’t do these things, but unfortunately, as a person of color, there will be someone (whether they are white or black) who will be waiting for you to mess up. SO it’s important to not think you are some big Fat Cat exec who can manipulate the system and get away with it. Just follow the rules and play it cool. It would almost have been better for Bow Wow to BORROW that child support money from someone or just be late and suffer the consequences — hey, at least he’d be trying. He NEEDED this hosting gig…and when I say need, I mean it in THEEEE worst way! Now he’s betrayed the trust of the company who didn’t count him out and he’s left without a job and STILL has to find a way to pay that child support.


The last thing I think would have saved Bow Wow and La’Reese Darville some face is if they would have scaled down their expenses. FACE IT. Because of our social history and culture, people of color often associate extravagant tastes with status.THAT’S HOW YOU GO BROKE!Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses and catch fire later! If Bow Wow was cranking out the hits like he was when he had the ‘Lil’ in front of his name, oh yes, he and his Black Card could probably afford to support a whole slew of children. But now that Bow’s hype has dwindled over these past years, and the demand for his is less than impressive; he should have eaten all of that humble pie life laid out for him and regroup his focus. That’s how Tia and Tamera did it. That’s how Charlie Wilson did it. Fame is not guaranteed so you have to be smart. If you take a pay cut, you need to downsize to accommodate your income. There is nothing wrong with trading in Louis Vuitton for Express. Shoot as long as you have a clean place to lay your head and clean clothes on your body you are good! There is nothing wrong with eating Hibachi Express either! When you get to the place that you can comfortably spend a little extra on splurge items — by all means, do it! Just don’t stretch your pocket to maintain a lifestyle that isn’t NECESSARY to survive.


To sum everything up, Bow should have been wiser with his money. He should have consulted a lawyer, trustworthy friend, or EVEN BET finance officers JUST to make sure he was able to legally do what he did.

Whatever the case…this is a MAJOR lesson learned.

– Joc

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North Carolina: Greatest Insult to Teachers Ever Cooked Up in Backroom

Diane Ravitch's blog

I thought this must be a joke. It is not.

North Carolina legislators are considering a law that would demolish the teaching profession and encourage teacher turnover.

Call it the “here-today-gone-next-year” policy. The goal is to cut costs by increasing class sizes, pushing out senior teachers, and using technology to “flip” classrooms.

According to NC Policy Watch:

“A new plan to raise some teachers’ salaries while significantly reducing education spending is circulating among lawmakers and education professionals.

“The NC 60/30/10 Plan, which “embraces high teacher turnover,” would place teachers on one of three tracks: Apprentice, Master or Career.

“Sixty percent of all North Carolinian teachers would make $32,000/year in the Apprentice category and be allowed to teach for up to twenty years, at which time they must retire or move on to another industry.

“Thirty percent of teachers would be eligible for the Master category if they have been…

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Knowledge Doesn’t Always Equal Power.

You can have all the information in the world.

Every resource at your disposal, but without ACTION it’s

People say knowledge is power. 

…Not quite!

Knowledge does not equate to having power. Having power
equates to taking action with the knowledge one has acquired.

…APPLIED knowledge is POWER!

That’s what separates the winners from the losers.

– BJ Henderson



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