Friday, August 31, 2012

Style Maven: Steve Harvey

If you are anything like me and most other people in the nation during these hard economic times, you have had some days where your money can look a little "funny". Well, just three months ago, I had a quite a financial scare one day. If there is one thing my mother always taught me about a plan, is that they rarely work out the way you first intended, and we did not have a plan B in mind for the unexpected delays we had to endure. Dwight and I could barely sleep that night. So at around 5:30am, to clear our heads, we decided to take a drive—a drive to nowhere. We rode around the city pretending our problems were left back at the house, even though I think we would have the same luck running from our reality as a dog has as it runs in circles attempting to catch it's tail. I was stressed! To relieve our anguish we tried playing our favorite CDs, and turned to our favorite songs. Put off by the fact that no song we played was strong enough to penetrate the wall of sorrow that was encasing our attitudes, we turned the CD player off to listen to the randomness of the radio. Thank God we did. It was an amazing coincidence that we had caught the beginning of the Steve Harvey Morning Show. I don't usually get to catch much of his show in the mornings considering my commute to work is not that long, but this particular morning; Harvey's tone caught my attention for it was more serious than usual, and highly engaged. I could feel that this particular message of which he was delivering to his listeners was one he felt very strongly about. 

The Steve Harvey Morning Show airs 6AM - 10AM on weekdays

His message was about clarity! Some of the best advice I took away from listening to that early morning pep talk was:

  • Seeking clarity by earnestly seeking the Lord's guidance is what kills confusion and helps with doubt.
  • Once you have clarity in your life, you will be most prepared to work towards the goals He has placed in your heart.
  • Aspire to something you are passionate about so much because you simply MUST.
  • If you want to be successful, make an "I Can Do List". Continually build on that list. Writing it down helps to internalize positive thoughts, making you stronger.
  • DON'T DOUBT and let God work WITH you; only he can help you because you won't come up with the answers for your success by yourself.
  • The only way to be UN-successful is to let other people get in your head and instill that doubt.

Dwight and I sat there and listened, and by the time we got home, although the weight of financial burden was still hanging over us like an ACME anvil, we felt mildly elated and enlightened. He at least fueled my drive to carry on with that day in a more positive attitude. Although things get hard in life, when you think you have no chance of getting what you want, you probably won’t get it, but if you believe in yourself, probably sooner or later, you will get it. It was just so coincidental that we came in on the show at that time, and heard what he had to say, for it put me in a state of mind to simply go with the flow of day and not let that single problem count larger against all the good things going on in my life.

Steve Harvey Show daytime talk show
 premiering September 4, 2012 at 4PM
That is why I will be excited to see how his new venture, The Steve Harvey Show, fairs on NBC when it debuts, September 4, 2012 at 4:00pm. Steve Harvey’s straight talk is much respected, especially after the success of his 2009 Neilsen top-selling book, “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man”, with further success as the book turned movie became one of the highest grossing movies of 2012 so far. As he said in an interview in Jet Magazine in September of 2011, “Harvey will be the first to tell you he had no master plan to build an empire; he just made choices that would eventually become the cornerstone of his thriving businesses. Those choices, he insists, were all God-led—the result of prioritizing his life in this order: God, family, education and business. ‘If you have the first three things in order, it allows for your business to flourish.’” With the all of the latter considering, Steve Harvey’s is exactly why I had to feature him as this month’s “Smart is Beautiful” Style Maven.

Steve Harvey started his career in show business as a standup comedian, earning a hosting position on Showtime At the Apollo, working his way on to television first as a father figure on the show, Me and The Boys, which then parlayed into his own self-titled sitcom, The Steve Harvey Show, widely popular in the African-American community, but not so much commercially to the public at large even though it ran from 1996-2002. In between that time, in 1997 he was cemented in black comedy history as one-fourth of The Original Kings of Comedy that was a great success for the quartette's careers, especially Steve Harvey, for after The Steve Harvey Show ceased production he moved on to a short two year TV stint with his series on the WB Network called, Steve Harvey’s Big Time. Following a period of soul-searching after its cancellation, he moved on to host his own nationally syndicated radio show, wrote two widely acclaimed books on relationships, and even garnished the position of host on the classic game show, Family Feud, which has seen its best household ratings in seven years since his tenure, and has helped in his gaining of a strong female following [source]. In his Jet Magazine inteview he said, “Even though I’m in a business that allows me to say touchy things, I started doing it in a way that people could see there’s a nice guy here—a caring guy who’s willing to give more of himself to people than anyone thought he would.” Steve has always been rearing me almost as a surrogate father figure in my life for even though, when I was young, I never paid attention to how much he was influencing me. Being his comedic flare was hard to look past, his actions and ability to stay connected to the hearts of his African-American audience, and his brand, is the personal adoration I have for the comedian. What is a brand according to Steve Harvey? “The things people take away after watching and listening to you that don’t make you money. The moment I understood that, the success came.” 

In my fashion, his definition of brand could stand for the meaning of style on the same token. While we may not care about what people think about us on an emotional level, as I expressed in my post, The Science of Sexy, people are always taking bits of information away from us as we interact with them. Do you know what type of information, about yourself, that people take away from you? Is it mostly positive, or relatively negative energy? Are the opinions of yourself that people take away from you accurate of how you see yourself? These are the type of questions I consider when dressing myself up in the morning. I had figured what suits my personality best as far as what I wanted offer the people that I interact with is fun, intelligence, and professionalism. How can one go wrong with that combo considering the line of work I choose to excel in. Even aside from my appearance at work, these three qualities of me are what motivate me to make the most of my day, every day, professionally and personally. Those three things are what I want to bring to the table whenever I meet someone. If I commit myself to these qualities that I know best represent my personality, then most of the time at the end of the day, I am quite satisfied with my contributions to another person's day: I've done what I could do to bring my personal ray of light to someone's day. In my fashion, this is a great way of thinking so one can gain control of their life so they can get where they want to get to. It takes a lot of faith to believe in yourself, and once you have that clarity to stand strong and proud of the fact that you stand for a certain quality of life, whether it's religious or not, is when, I feel, one can learn to listen to life’s cues about what their next steps should be towards personal success in one’s life.

Remember way back when The Steve Harvey Show was on air and we could look forward to what colorfully coordinated ensemble Steve Harvey had planned for the next episode. His style stood aside from other popular black figures that were heavy into the oversized urban wear trend popular at the time. With his always perfectly manicured high top fade, and clean cut suits, it goes without saying that I bet he would agree with another of my mother’s old adages: Cleanliness is closer to Godliness, and in my fashion cleanliness contributes to that clarity we need to see where we can improve ourselves. The less clutter there is in one's life, the clearer your path will be to realizing how you can "get better". Harvey’s look was, and still is, always polished and presentable. 

His style, outlandish as it was with his clean cut suits, and still is to this day (only with a more polished maturity), just maybe to high on the “Flash Meter” for most others to imitate, but it’s the qualities that make up this pioneering African American that account for his audacious sartorial expressions that I would advice others to emulate, qualities of which that, in my fashion, will make you shine just as bright as one of his Italian made suits from his self-titled clothing line,  regardless of one’s attire. But, in my fashion, I feel the idea of dressing is to be comfy, but the premise is to appear presentable-always. 

In the 1990’s, The Steve Harvey Show was amongst the lineup of popular black sitcoms out at the time including Smart Guy, Moesha, The Jamie Foxx Show, Sister/Sister, and Living Single. Amongst the group of shows, Steve Harvey’s (Steve Hightower on the show) high top fade, and bright suit combos were his stand out qualities, with a smart “no bull****” attitude to match. In my fashion, watching him as a 70’s funk era musician struggling to change himself in a intercity high school teacher/mentor was a good mix to the mix of shows out at the time for it was a funny twist on the conditions, attitudes, and lives of those who actually attended a highly multicultural urban public school [source]. It was funny because regardless of Harvey’s wild funk past, he would not relinquish his style ethics despite the more popular traditional methods of high school educational methods. He was straight-up, compassionate in a tough-love sense, and while he was often impatient and opinionated, he was as much a helping hand as he could be for those around him; in my fashion, a classic example of what black men could look up to considering the generation he exemplified. For me, as an African American male, he represented a strong example of a male who is learning what it means to be critically responsible for the influences he proliferates to young people and how he can balance his personal life, with his teaching career. It shed light on what it means to be a positive black male figure for our younger generation which is an example that the black community needs more of so our black boys can become confident, and capable men. It showed that even though Harvey didn’t have the perfect academic background characteristic of other ideal teacher figures, he was able to use his life experiences as a classroom so that his students, which he cared for as a father figure, would choose a stable future for themselves. Motivation can come from anyone as he was able to show. 

Aside from his TV personality, Steve credits a lot of his success to his current wife Marjorie. After two previous marriages, Marjorie and Steve seem a perfect match considering how much photographers are able to catch them together. According to his Jet magazine interview she is a superwomen in her own right, helping Steve behind the scenes in that pivotal way a women helps a man to be "a man". I come from the belief that finding the right partner is what will make you into the man you need to be. In fact, the reason Steve Harvey wrote his book "Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man" was to explain to modern women of today that if you want a successful relationship with a man, instead of trying to "change" and make a man be a man (because he can only do that for himself), one should work to bring out his best qualities and help him see that he can see the overwhelming advantages of being an honorable male [source]. There is good and bad aspects about each and every one of us. All we can do is a relationship is bring out each others best qualities. Our mate helps to bring extra clarity when it comes to growing into a better person. 

"No matter what, ,just be right."
Steve Harvey gives credit to his own father for my favorite piece of advice offers: "No matter what, ,just be right." This advice served him well at the beginning of 2011 when he was involved in a YouTube scanddle with his ex-wife. "We stayed quiet, but remained right. Then the truth came out and everyone had to back up, get off TV and get quiet." This reminds me of how life is always trying to tell us something, if only we had the clarity to really listen and understand its signs. Reflecting back on O Magazine’s August 2011 feature on Intuition and Instinct, from my READing Your Style post, “Don’t Think. Just ‘Blink.’” a great bit of insight I find to be quite true is that, "one of the worst things in life is indecision and confusion. It plagues everybody. But confusion is sometimes a blessing when it stops you from making a move, because sometimes you're not supposed to make a me, confusion can be a kind of intuition: you're bodies way of saying, don't do anything right now- just go with the flow and the answer will come." [source]. It all ties in together quite well if you ask me. Harvey's spiritual faith and tact, allowed him to realize that the truth will always reign most clear. When I am working on post, it takes me about a week to make sure I like it; not because I am a slow writer or anything like that, but I realized when I write a draft, don't look or think about it for a while, sleep on it, and come back to read it again, I am able to think of better ideas to make the article better than I had wrote in the first place. Patience is a virtue

Clarity comes from when you yourself have taken care of all of your internal battles and have nothing to emote but productive positivity. In my fashion, when you can emote this type of energy, that is when you will seem the most attractive. And every personality is capable of achueveing this. Even Hitler was able to round up enough people to conform to his dasteredly mindset. Which is why I postulate, for everyone to find clarity in your life. It will give you the strength you need to shine your views and live the life you want to stand for. You can't emit 100% of yourself if you are taking 45% of your time dealing with internal struggles. Be fearless, and be strong to face the battles you know you need to tackle, to reduce that clutter in your life to bring positivity to the world, so you, in turn, will receive positivity. And remember: a good way to conquer your battles, is through comdey! Make the goal to make your situations ones which you can look back on and laugh about it later. If you feel you won't like to do that when you think about it later, maybe its not the best route to take so let's reconsider. It makes perfect sense to me, right?  

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