Jelly Roll’s career is a life lesson for us all

The Thanksgiving holiday is a good time to not only express gratitude, but also to reflect on inspiration.

It tracks because the end of the year is when we tend to look back, while also looking ahead to the new year. In 2023 there’s no need to look far to feel inspired.

Let’s discuss.

Something to sip on…

Jelly Roll in September. - Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Jelly Roll in September. - Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Country music artist Jelly Roll is having a hell of a year.

He’s become a darling of awards season by winning big at the inaugural People’s Choice Country Awards in September and being nominated for a best new artist Grammy, but it was his stirring acceptance speech after winning the new artist of the year award at the 2023 CMA Awards last week that won over the hearts of many.

As he pointed out in his remarks, “there’s something poetic about a 39-year-old man winning new artist of the year.”

“I don’t know where you’re at in your life or what you’re going through, but I want to tell you to keep going, baby. I want to tell you, success is on the other side,” he said as the live audience at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville cheered him on. “I want to tell you, it’s going to be okay! I want to tell you that the windshield is bigger than the rearview mirror for a reason, because what’s in front of you is so much more important than what’s behind you!”

The internet was quick to grab hold of it, putting gospel music to the clip to make it even more inspirational.

That felt somewhat apropos given that Jelly Roll got his start in the rap game before becoming a country rocker (watch his doc “Jelly Roll: Save Me” on Hulu if you want to learn more). His later in life success and genre jump are proof positive that everyone’s road to success looks different.

Even his accidently dropping and shattering his CMA Award offers a life lesson.

“I was so excited. I was swinging around to let somebody hold it. I’d been passing it around like a bag of popcorn,” he told “Entertainment Tonight.” “I’ve been just letting everybody … like a bag of potatoes, like we were just all sharing or something. I feel bad. Oh God.”

The lesson is to slow your roll (see what I did there?) and know that things can be replaced, whereas memories last forever. Here’s to Jelly Roll smashing records in the future – and not awards.

One thing to talk about…

SAG-AFTRA members and supporters on Nov. 8. - Mario Tama/Getty Images
SAG-AFTRA members and supporters on Nov. 8. - Mario Tama/Getty Images

Let’s not only celebrate the fact that the SAG-AFTRA strike is over, but also a new change that is major for actors of color.

For years, Black actors have complained of racist hair and makeup policies on set that didn’t account for hair texture or diverse skin tones.

The new actors union contract addresses that with “new terms to ensure that sets have proper hair and makeup for all performers, including those who have diverse and textured hair and complexions” according to chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland as reported by The Guardian.

It’s been a long time coming and yet another step forward in Hollywood for diversity.

You should listen to…

Dolly Parton performing in May. - Mario Anzuoni/Reuters
Dolly Parton performing in May. - Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

A few months ago, I talked to Dolly Parton about her book about fashion and her style legacy, “Behind the Seams: My Life in Rhinestones.”

I also talked to her about her new album, but don’t ask me to repeat what she said because I was too busy having an out of body experience given that I was talking to… Dolly Parton.

You don’t need me to tell you that “Rockstar” is an exemplary project. She has teamed up with a plethora of other artists, including Sting, Miley Cyrus, Steve Perry and Lizzo, for covers of both contemporary and classic hits. She even does a cover of Prince’s “Purple Rain.”

The only thing that would have made that more perfect would have been if Prince was still here to perform it with her. “Rockstar” debuted Friday.

Can’t wait to watch…

A scene with Al Capone in "How to Become a Mob Boss." - Netflix
A scene with Al Capone in "How to Become a Mob Boss." - Netflix

Please know that if there is mafia-related content, I want to watch it.

Which is why I was all over “How to Become a Mob Boss” on Netflix.

“Narrator Peter Dinklage guides you through this darkly satirical how-to guide that explores the rise and fall of history’s most notorious mob bosses – from Al Capone to Pablo Escobar – and their tactics for success,” reads Netflix’s description of the docuseries.

It’s a job people have literally killed for, and putting it in the context of climbing the corporate ladder is a fresh and clever idea.

It’s streaming now on Netflix.

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