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Entertainment FLY Interviews

Fly Interviews: Get Familiar With YouTuber Alonzo Lerone, Mastermind Behind ‘Dumbest Fails’

YouTube is a platform where millions of people go to express themselves, connect with others, and build communities. Alonzo Lerone began his YouTube channel almost a decade ago as a way to make friends, after spending the majority of his life constantly moving due to his father’s career in the military. This of course made it difficult for Lerone to establish relationships with his peers and eventually led him to YouTube where proximity doesn’t matter.

Over the years, Lerone built his audience organically by offering commentary on the best, funniest, strangest, and most failworthy posts on the Internet. After splitting his time between a day job and making videos, him getting the axe was the push he needed to dedicate himself to YouTube full-time.

SFPL’s own Arlene Danna spoke with Alonzo about his success, his first video on YouTube, where he finds content, hitting a million subscribers, being chosen to attend YouTube’s Creator Summit 2017, and much more.

For those who may not be familiar with you, can you tell us who is Alonzo Lerone?

“Just a normal guy from a little town, I’m in North Carolina. I’m a military brat. I’m basically a YouTuber right now. I’ve been doing it for eight years where I make videos about social media fails, grammar mistakes, and that’s about it.”

Is this something you saw yourself turning into a career when you first started? 

“Definitely not because I had a 9-5 actually a 9-9 job. I did YouTube on the side. It was an outlet for me. Coming from different schools growing up being a military brat. I was born in Germany, was in the Philippines for a little bit then California. I made new friends but I didn’t have that sense of belonging. When I came to North Carolina everyone was so different. This is where my father retired. Every time I asked my Mom if this was the last place she’d say yes but then two places later we’re moving. I was in that situation where I didn’t know if I should make friends right now because every time I’d get attached we’d move. So in that situation I just basically had YouTube. After I graduated from high school I decided to make a YouTube video ranting about my life because a friend of mine cancelled on me at the last-minute when we had plans. We had made plans for months and months. So that’s what I did and I started connecting with people overseas, in the same state, and on the west coast. I was terminated in around 2010 or 2011 and I decided to make it my full-time job and six years after that I’m still here doing it.”

Wow, awesome! So it wasn’t until you were let go from your job that you saw turning your videos into something more? 

“Well yes. I was already hooked on YouTube. I started making friends, I travelled to the UK to meet them in person after talking for so long online. So I was kind of on thin ice because I made YouTube my priority during my job and my stint at the bakery. I would actually go on break just to upload and check comments. So that was easy for me so I kind of knew I was on thin ice. So when they actually gave me the hammer I just said well everything happens for a reason. It gave me more time to concentrate on what I loved.”

It’s funny how life works out that way. You’ve reached a million subscribers on your channel. How was it reaching such a milestone? 

“Yes! Well, I don’t concentrate on numbers. I don’t want to misguided or distracted from what I came here to do. Which is make friends. I don’t want to get lost in the sauce of numbers, but someone tweeted me about hitting a million subscribers. I actually hit it on Thanksgiving Day last year while I was with my family. So that was amazing because I started YouTube with my family at zero subscribers and I ended up with a million subscribers on Thanksgiving Day so that was a great feeling.”

That’s really dope, on Thanksgiving of all days. 

“It’s crazy how things work out like that.”

How do you find content for your videos?

“Well my subscribers, the audience, my viewers send them to me. Which is crazy because the first few years I would do it myself. I’m on the Internet anyway so I’d do it myself. When the series Dumbest Fails started getting traction and getting picked up by different things people would email me, or tweet me, or Facebook me, or inbox me things. I decided to react to that and it made my career so much easier and that’s why I cater to them.”

Talk about harnessing the power of the Internet. Tell us what are you currently working on? 

“Well I’m going to a YouTube summit in New York in May. I’m getting prepared for that. This is will be my first time at the event so I’m getting ready for that but in the meantime I’m still making videos. I’m actually editing a video right now that I’d like to get up by tomorrow. Editing is the hardest process but I’m in the zone when I’m editing so I’m alright with that.”

Was editing something you were familiar when you started with your videos or is it something you’ve sort of learned to master over time? 

“I’ve perfected it along the way most definitely. Every time I’m editing I’m always in the zone. I can’t hear my phone, I can hear the TV but it sounds like a bee because I’m in the zone.”

Tell us about the summit.

“It’s a YouTube summit. It’s a bunch of elite YouTubers getting together, connecting with each other, learning more about YouTube, how to grow, and connect with brands.”

Awesome, that’s really dope. You guys have like your own little community and it’s kind of like expanding from the people who watch your videos and getting to meet other people just like you who are creating. 

“Exactly. It’s a wonderful feeling that doing what I love can make me and have me living comfortably and smart too because you’ve got to save. The money just comes while I’m doing what I do so it’s just a flawless connection right there.”

Besides your videos and the summit do you have anything else in the works?

“Right now I’m just taking it a day at a time. I just got my house and I paid off my school loans after graduating. So I’m just trying to be at ease, not too much stress. I’m just trying to take it each day at a time. I don’t expect anything but I’m just living for each day right now.”

That’s great. What advice would you give to someone interested in starting their own YouTube channel and creating a platform?

“Don’t get discouraged by focusing on the numbers. Back to what I was saying about numbers because there was that one time I did and that was my fault but I learned from my mistakes. It could have been so much worst if I concentrated on other people versus me. Do not get discouraged off views. Keep it going, keep it consistent, connect with your audience and go from there. The blessings will come to you when you least expect it just keep on doing what you love.”

Last question just for fun. What does fly mean to you?

“Handling your own, taking charge with no regrets and learning from your mistakes. That’s what fly means to me.”

Great answer! 

Follow Alonzo

Twitter + Instagram: @AlonzoLerone

YouTube.com/Alonzo

 

 

 

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FLY NEWS

Fly News: Howard University Opens Campus at Google

This week has been solidified as one of the best weeks ever! As if Google hasn’t been making monumental moves this year thus far with more focus on diversity, the famed company marks yet another accomplishment in their milestone.

Today, it has been officially announced that Howard University has now opened a campus at the Googleplex in Mountainview, California. Yes, you’ve read that correctly!

Bonita Stewart with Dr. Wayne Frederick at Googleplex in Mountain View, CA (credit: Google)

Bonita Stewart, VP of Global Partnerships spoke on the new partnership in a brief statement provided exclusively to SFPL:

When I joined Google a decade ago, there was hardly any discussion of diversity in tech. This was long before we published our diversity numbers or understood how important it was for our workforce to reflect the diversity of our users. This was also long before we started formally recruiting from Howard University, a historically Black institution.

Howard happens to be my alma mater, so I am especially proud to share that our formal recruiting from the university has evolved into a residency for Black CS majors right here at the Googleplex. “Howard West” is now the centerpiece of Google’s effort to recruit more Black software engineers from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)-and to make them feel right at home here in Mountain View.

One of my all-time favorite quotes comes from acclaimed management consultant Peter Drucker: “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” This is exactly the thinking behind Howard West, as the program is a way to manifest a future that reflects the values of diversity and inclusion Google has held since day one. With a physical space on campus where Howard students and Googlers can grow together, I can only imagine what incredible innovation and creativity will come to light.

Rising juniors and seniors in Howard’s computer science program can attend Howard West, a dedicated space at Google, for three months at a time. Senior Google engineers and Howard faculty will serve as instructors. The program kicks off this summer and we plan to scale it to accommodate students from other HBCUs in the near future.

HBCUs are a pillar in the computer science (CS) education community, producing more than a third of all Black CS graduates in the U.S. Google already has a strong partnership with Howard through Google in Residence (GIR), a program that embeds Google engineers as faculty at Howard and other HBCUs.

Through GIR we’ve learned a lot about the hurdles Black students face in acquiring full-time work in the tech industry. The lack of exposure, access to mentors and role models are critical gaps that Howard West will solve. We’ve also heard that many CS students struggle to find the time to practice coding while juggling a full course load and part-time jobs. Left unchecked, systematic barriers lead to low engagement and enrollment in CS, low retention in CS programs and a lack of proximity and strong relationships between the Silicon Valley, HBCUs and the larger African American Community.

“Howard West will produce hundreds of industry-ready Black computer science graduates, future leaders with the power to transform the global technology space into a stronger, more accurate reflection of the world around us. We envisioned this program with bold outcomes in mind – to advance a strategy that leverages Howard’s high quality faculty and Google’s expertise, while also rallying the tech industry and other thought leaders around the importance of diversity in business and the communities they serve.”
– Dr. Wayne Frederick, President of Howard University

During my time at Howard, I worked side-by-side with future lawyers, doctors, writers, entertainers, architects and business leaders. The spirit of total possibility put me on my path to Harvard Business School and ultimately Google. Howard West will continue Howard’s tradition of providing unprecedented access to opportunity, only now with a presence in the heart of Silicon Valley.

This is amazing and it’s only just beginning!

Congrats to HU and Google!

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FLY NEWS

Fly News: Google.org To Provide $11.5 Million in Financial Support To 10 Racial Justice Organizations

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Since 2015, Google.org has committed more than $5 million to nonprofits advancing racial justice, and have aimed to get proximate and better understand how racial bias can lead to exclusion from opportunity.

In May and June of 2016, they supported the #LoveLetters campaign that helped shine a light on the human cost of mass incarceration of families across the country.

Today, they’re doubling the commitment to include $11.5 million in new grants to racial justice innovators across the country working to reform our criminal justice system.

The company believes that better data can be can be part of the solution, which is why they are investing in organizations using data and evidence to reduce racial disparities in the criminal justice system.

Quote from Center for Policing Equity: 
 

“Google’s deep investment will help us think bigger and bolder as to how to make policing more democratic and more American. It’s nothing short of a financial miracle in terms of what it allows us to do.” Dr. Phillip Goff, President, Center for Policing Equity

Check out the blog post on “Doing more for racial justice” HERE.

Kudos to Google for such great work!

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Caption: Google.org’s community screening of the documentary 13th at Google’s Mountain View HQ

Also, check out the clip of Bryan Stevenson of Equal Justice Initiative speaking at Google:

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FLY NEWS

Black History Month: Google Doodler, Sophie Diao Salutes Edmonia Lewis

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On Wednesday, February 1st [Today] at 12:01 am ET, in honor of Black History Month, a Doodle on the Google.com homepage was placed celebrating Edmonia Lewis, the first woman of African-American and Native American heritage to achieve global recognition as a sculptor.

The Doodle depicts Lewis sculpting one of her most famous works, The Death of Cleopatra, which is on display at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. The sculpture was first revealed at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876. Lewis’s realistic portrayal of Cleopatra’s death shocked viewers and received acclaim from critics, who called it “the most remarkable piece of sculpture in the American section” of the show.

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The artist behind today’s doodle is Sophie Diao. Sophie has been designing Google Doodles for the past three and a half years. She is a 2013 graduate of the California Institute of the Arts where she majored in Character Animation. As she has always been inspired by both journalism and American History, she combines both interests to create.

“I started by researching Edmonia Lewis’ life story – how she got interested in sculpting and what her legacy was,” says Diao. “The fact that she intentionally chose to sculpt powerful female figures was exciting to me. I really wanted to show her in the process of sculpting, emphasizing her small stature (she was only four feet tall!) and one of her most famous pieces, ‘The Death of Cleopatra.’ I chose this piece to highlight in particular not only because it’s such a striking sculpture, but it depicts a female commander & Egyptian queen. I found her choice of subject matter extremely powerful. Her Native American name was “Wildfire,” which I tried to incorporate by making the Google letters especially fiery.”

Thanks to Google and Sophie for uplifting the culture!

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FLY NEWS

We Like: Kids Read #LoveLetters to Incarcerated Dads

“Love Letters” is a national campaign, supported by Google, to uplift the voices of young people who have an incarcerated parent. On Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, we are asking many of the 2.7 million children in the United States who have at least one parent incarcerated to share letters they have written to their mother and father. During this time, let’s remember our parents behind bars and the devastating human cost of mass incarceration. Please join us in supporting organizations that keep parents connected to their children.”

This past Mother’s Day, we shared #LoveLetters, a partnership among nonprofits to give the children of incarcerated parents a chance to have their voices heard. Today, in celebration of Father’s Day, you can watch Love Letters for incarcerated fathers. This work is part our continued commitment to raising awareness about racial justice, and to bearing witness to the human costs of mass incarceration.

The costs of mass incarceration have disproportionately affected the lives of Black men. From 1980 to 2007, about one in three of the 25.4 million adults arrested for drugs was African-American. And if that current trend continues, one in three Black boys born today can expect to spend time in prison during his lifetime. All in all, we’re now at a point where there are more African-American men incarcerated in the U.S. than the total prison populations of India, Argentina, Canada, Lebanon, Germany, Finland, Israel and England combined.

Many of these men are also fathers—and their children have suffered greatly. The loss of a father to incarceration adversely affects children’s educational, social and emotional well-being, even decades later. Children with an incarcerated parent are three times more likely to have behavioral problems or depression, and at least twice as likely to suffer from learning disabilities, ADD/ADHD, and anxiety.

This is what Love Letters conveys: the hurt of the children left behind—and the need for a child to connect with their parent on the other side of the prison walls. So for Father’s Day, we worked with the NGOs Pops the Club and Place4Grace to encourage children and youth in California to share their love letters to their fathers behind bars. We’re also working with the California Department of Corrections to share the video with fathers behind bars throughout the state.

I hope that you’ll watch the video and see firsthand the impact of mass incarceration on children and families. As David Drummond, our Vice President of Corporate Development, Alphabet, powerfully remarked during a criminal justice forum we held at Google New York this week, “At Google, we like disruption and if there is a system worth disrupting, it’s the criminal justice system.”

If you want to learn about criminal justice reform legislation that is now going through Congress, visit sentencingproject.org, vera.org, or brennancenter.org. And join the conversation with #LoveLetters on social media.

Posted by Malika Saada Saar, Public Policy and Government Relations Senior Counsel – Civil and Human Rights.

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SFPL & GIANT’s 2013 Holiday Gift Guide: Top 5 Tablets

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Tablet usage has grown substantially over the past years and Apple’s dominance is no longer a rubber stamp with devices from Microsoft, Samsung and others challenging for market share. Here are some of our choices to pick up.

 

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iPad Air – $499

Still one of the sexiest on the market and now weighing a mere pound, the Apple guys have packed a lot into the iPad Air. Two antennas for better Wi-Fi, thinner frame, a faster 64-bit processor, a battery that will let you work for 10 hours easily and a few other tune-ups make it a worthy successor to the previous iPads.

Stand Mode Yoga Tablet

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 – $289

The first thing you notice about Lenovo’s Yoga Tablet is the new design that resembles a rolled up magazine. This little addition gives it a natural and familiar grip for easy handling. It houses the new battery that lasts about 12 hours. It also serves as the linchpin for the 3 modes of the Yoga (handheld, standing and the new typing mode). And in the $300 range, it’s a good choice for tablet seekers on a budget.

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Microsoft Surface Pro 2 – $899

As more units running Windows 8 roll off the assembly line, the Microsoft Hybrid Surface Pro 2 (big brother to the RT) is the one to get. The new version touts a new jazzed up processor, a 2 stage kickstand giving a user more flexibility, crisper display, better keyboard response and 75 percent more battery life. It’s still a bit large and heavy to be a true tablet, but in versatility, and getting work done, no one does it better.

 

 

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Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 Edition) – $550

Samsung’s predecessor to its first Note tablet has added some bells and whistles that make it a real head turner and feel more like the high-end device it is. The new Galaxy Note 10.1 integrates many of the Galaxy 4s updates and better S-Pen optimization with the new Air Command interface. Add to it a 10.1 display wrapped in a faux leather rear casing that gives it that luxurious feel that was missing from the predecessor.

 

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Google Nexus 7 – $230

For the price and size, it’s hard to find a better option that the Nexus 7. Lighting quick processor speed that has apps and webpages opening virtually instantaneously, a display that rivals larger, high-end tablets and options like restricted profiles and wireless charging are just a few of the things that makes the Nexus 7 one of the best bargains on the Android system.

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FLY TECHNOLOGY

FLY Technology: Vine finally makes the climb to Android.

With Android being the number 1 operating system, it was only a matter of time til Vine made it onto their system and today it has happened. Finally, twitter has announced that their highly successful video looping app Vine will be made available to Android Users.

If you have been hiding under a rock, Vine gives users the ability to create 6-second video clips and share them with the world. The app has amassed an impressive 13 million users on iOS since its launch a few months ago and looks to add to that with the jump to Android. Word is that it will have many of the same features that made it so popular with Apple users including: easy video creation and playback, ability to find popular posts and friends, and ability to post to Twitter. For the wait, developers threw Android users a perk giving them the ability to zoom, which is unique to the Android system (for now). According to the company, other features are in development including front-facing camera, search, mentions, hashtags, and the ability to share to Facebook.

 

The Vine App is now available on Google Play

Stay Fly!

Written by: Ian Freeman

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Google Picks Fight With Spotify and Pandora, Launches Music Streaming Service

At their I/O conference in San Francisco today, Google announced their fashionably late entrance into the on demand music subscription service market with the launch of “Google Play Music All Access”. Starting today, users can sign up for 7.99/month until June 30th and afterwards for $9.99/month with a 30 day free trial. Targeting Direct competitors Spotify and Pandora, Google Play All Access will be available for web and mobile devices, giving users access to millions of songs, and the flexibility to create stations easily, switch songs, curate playlists, and organize their libraries with ease. It will also feature recommended music based on your library as well as Google Editors. With a streaming service being an obvious hole in Android’s portfolio and Spotify currently dominating the landscape, Google’s entry was necessary in the highly competitive phone market. We are curious as to what they will suggest for our workout mix.

– Stay Fly!

Written by: Ian Freeman

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FLY ITEM FLY NEWS FLY TECHNOLOGY

Fly Technology: BlackBerry PlayBook Strong, Well-Priced?

Blackberry decided not to link up with Android and created their own platform for the Blackberry Playbook.