Live to Lead Review

A leader is not one who only inspires by words. They act on their beliefs and encourage their followers to do the same.

The new six-part Netflix documentary, Live to Lead, tells the story of six extraordinary individuals whose actions helped to create a better world. Produced by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, it was inspired by the late Nelson Mandela.

Among those profiled are Greta Thunberg, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Siya Kolisi.

I enjoyed the series. It is a reminder that the impossible is possible. It is just a matter of courage, having a spine, and the knowledge that this chosen path will be full of pitfalls and brick walls.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Live to Lead is available for streaming on Netflix.

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Harry & Meghan Documentary Review

A logical mind would say that we ought to believe that everything that we read in the press is true. We can hope that the journalists have done their homework before putting (digital) pen to paper. But a realistic mind says otherwise. There are some publications that are more than happy to fudge the facts in order to increase sales.

The new six-part Netflix documentary, Harry & Meghan was released this weekend. In this docuseries, Harry and Meghan sit in front of their camera and tell the story. From their early years to their eventual courtship, marriage, and becoming parents, nothing is off-limits. Backing up the couple are family, friends, and a handful of respected experts who add additional details to the narrative.

I found their honesty to be refreshing and real. Harry talks about the mental health challenges he experienced after the death of his late mother, Princess Diana. For her part, Meghan describes the racism she experienced as a biracial woman. The villain in this piece is the media, charged with spreading lies and half-truths in order to get eyeballs on screen and hands on newspapers.

Though some say that the facts have been smudged, I think the message is clear. The purpose of the program is to hear their story in their own words, which I think is quite refreshing. It is also telling (in my mind, at least), there are crickets coming from the palace. Instead of responding to the criticism, the silence speaks volumes.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

The first three episodes of Harry & Meghan are available for viewing on Netflix. The next (and final) three episodes drop on the 15th.

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Diana, William, and Harry: The Heartbreaking Story of a Princess and Mother Book Review

There is no bond as important as a mother with her children.

When the late Princess Diana was killed in a car crash in 1997, she left behind two young men who were forever changed. The new biography, Diana, William, and Harry: The Heartbreaking Story of a Princess and Mother, by James Patterson, was published last month. It tells the story of Diana and her sons as human beings, not just celebrities or royals who live in a gilded cage.

While ensuring that both of her boys know what their responsibilities and futures will be like, she also gave them the opportunity to be ordinary kids. After her untimely passing, they grow up (with the usual and unusual hurdles due to the family they were born into) into responsible men, husbands, and fathers who continue Diana’s legacy.

What struck me was that Diana learned how to work within the system while rebelling against a way of life that may seem archaic to some. Her love for her sons, specifically when her marriage to Prince Charles (now King Charles III) was falling apart, was evident from the word go. Even when her own mental health issues weighed heavily on her, her boys still came first.

Choosing to live and parent as she did, she set up William and Harry to become empathetic and understanding of the idea that not everyone lives like they do. In doing so, she set the English monarchy on a path that allows tradition and modernity to exist concurrently.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Diana, William, and Harry: The Heartbreaking Story of a Princess and Mother is available wherever books are sold.

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I Stand With Naomi Osaka

Mental health is not a joke. Millions around the world suffer and live with it every day. The problem is that it does not get the same respect or treatment that physical health does.

In recent sports news, tennis player Naomi Osaka had to bow out of the French Open due to ongoing mental health issues. Instead of receiving the peace and the privacy that she needs to face her demons, she was attacked in the press and fined by the French Tennis Federation for not doing the expected interviews with the media. Among those who felt that they had the right to put their .2 in is Piers Morgan.

Does anyone notice that his response to Osaka’s decision was similar to the way he reacted to the interview with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry a few months ago? I think it says something about this man that he feels that he can publicly and verbally attack two women of color without getting any blowback.

I am grateful to those who have stood up for Osaka. If she has twisted her ankle and was laid up on the couch for a week, there would be crickets. But because she has chosen to step back and deal with her mental illness, everyone has an opinion. I have spoken frequently of my own mental health battles over the years on this blog. From my perspective, she made the right decision. As important as work is, we cannot function if we are unable to deal with what is holding us back.

I applaud her for being honest with herself and acknowledging the need for self care. My hope is that she will inspire others in a similar situation to do the same.

Piers Morgan Can Dish it, But He Can’t Take it

Criticism is relative. Depending on whose mouth it comes from and the tone of what is being said, it can either be helpful or hurtful.

As an example, good criticism (otherwise known as constructive criticism) can help us grow. I’ve been a member of a writing group since 2015. The purpose of attendance is not be cruel, but to improve our writing skills. An example of bad criticism is the shit that television personality Piers Morgan has heaped on Megan Markle. After the interview with Markle and Prince Harry aired on Sunday, Morgan continued to dump on her. When he was called out for his comments on air, he took an adult temper tantrum, stormed off stage, and promptly quit his job.

When asked about Morgan, fellow British TV personality Sharon Osbourne said the following:

 “I think people forget, he’s in a position because they pay him for his opinion. He’s a royalist, and there’s nothing wrong with that. The generation he was born into, we were all taught to be royalists. We were all taught at school…You fight for your Queen and your country.”

Loyalty to one’s home country is one thing. However, when someone like Morgan ( i.e. a while male in a position of power) uses his platform to openly and constantly denounce a woman (especially a woman of color), that is a bridge too far.

I’m going to end this post with a tweet from Bette Midler, but she is awesome.

Thoughts On the Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Interview

The fairy tale books we are read to when we are young present images of royal perfection. Though the characters exist within this world have problems, those issues are resolved by the time the story ends. But that is fiction. But, as we all now, real life is not as simple.

Last night, the interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle aired on CBS. Sitting down with Oprah Winfrey, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex explored issues relating to their marriage, mental health, the overwhelmingly negative and racist press coverage, and the decision to step back from the Queen’s inner circle.

The overwhelming message I got is that the family, known as “the firm” is an institution that is more concerned with the external image than the well-being of individual members. The treatment of Harry’s mother, the late Princess Diana, contains more than enough evidence of that fact. The thing about intuitions is that while tradition is all well and good, one must roll with the times. Just because something was rolled under the rug two or three generations ago does not mean that rolling it under the rug now is going to make it any easier to deal with.

I appreciated both Meghan and Harry’s honesty. It must have been cathartic to get all of that off of their chest, especially in front of an international audience. I also appreciate that instead of being a tabloid-ish tell-all, there were some boundaries. Harry could have easily revealed who made the awful comment about his son’s potential complexion. Instead, he chose to keep that information private.

I have nothing but admiration for the both of them. The problem with a toxic environment is that it is often too familiar. It takes a lot of courage to step into the unknown and even more courage to emotionally move on from what is keeping us from living a full and happy life.

Can Meghan and Harry Truly Go Their Own Way?

One of the truths of life and love is that who one falls in love with is unpredictable.

When Meghan Markle and Prince Harry married in the spring of 2018, it seemed like a modern fairy tale. The marriage of a biracial, previously divorced American actress and a high ranking member of the British royal family was every storybook romance brought to real life.

Nearly two years later, Meghan and Harry’s decision to step down from their royal duties seems to have shaken the royal family to its core.

To be fair, Harry will never realistically be King. Which frees him and Meghan to create a life of their own choosing (well, as much as they can).

Some have pointed to the overt racism that Meghan received from the British tabloids and the lingering trauma of Princess Diana’s death that guided the couple to make their decision. If those are their reasons (in addition to giving their son as normal a childhood as possible), then I can respect that.

The reality is that they will be never be completely divorced from the British royal family. Harry is and always will be a member of the House of Windsor. I’m sure that this decision was not made out of spite, but because Harry and Meghan felt that it was right for them.

The other reality is that the lifestyle they are used to is not exactly poor. They will also need to hire security, but the question is, who will be funding their new life? I’m not a British or Canadian taxpayer, but given their soon to be new life, I would not be happy if my tax dollars were given to fund their lifestyle.

Only time will tell if Harry and Meghan will be able to go their own way. Whatever happens, I wish them well in their new life and for many years to come.

Harry and Meghan: Privacy or No Privacy, That is The Question

When one is a part of a royal family, one’s life is not your own. You have responsibilities to the people whom you rule. A private life is a concept that is nearly foriegn to you.

When Prince Harry married American actress Meghan Markle last year, it seemed like a fairy tale. That fairy tale was completed two months ago with the birth of their son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor. Last week, the baby was christened in a private ceremony in front of family and friends.

Unlike his cousins, Archie was not presented to the press and royal fans after the christening. Many in Britain are not happy, claiming that because their tax dollars fund the royal family, they are entitled to some access.

I am honestly torn on this topic. As a taxpayer, I understand the average Briton’s frustration about not being able to see the fruits of their hard earned tax dollars. However, I also understand that Harry and Meghan are looking to protect their son, like any good parent.

Harry grew up in the spotlight, I am sure that he understands it’s pitfalls. In her former line of work as a performer, Meghan was in the spotlight because it was part of her job. Archie, like his father, did not ask to be born into the British royal family. He did not ask to be world famous the moment he entered this world. He did not ask for the spotlight. But it is on him and it is up to his parents to make sure that their son grows up healthy and happy.

Thoughts On The Memories Of Princess Diana

20 years ago today, Princess Diana was killed in a car crash. She was 36.

When she married Prince Charles in 1981 at the young age of 19, she looked every inch of the fairy tale princess who had found her prince.

But life, as we know it to be, is not a fairy tale. It is complicated, it contains unforeseen twists and turns and can be heartbreaking.

The thing that I see in the memories of her is a pliable, caring, innocent young woman, who persevered through the sh*t that was thrown at her and learned to not only stand on her own two feet, but also make a life of her own choosing.

In finding her backbone and learning to stand on her own two feet, Princess Diana not only increased her icon status, but also became a heroine to those who find themselves fighting to develop their own backbone.

As many other have said before, if we remember her for nothing else, we remember that she was amazing mother. Her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry have grown into men that I am sure their mother would be nothing but glowing about. As a mother-in-law to Catherine and a grandmother to George and Charlotte, she would have been a light of modernity and love in the darkness of blind tradition.

RIP Princess Diana. Your legacy of love, strength, compassion, and humanity will last forever.

Charles III Review

Fairy tales often have what if quality to them.

The play, King Charles III, adds to the what if quality of the fairy tale. It is set in an alternative world where Queen Elizabeth II has died and Prince Charles has ascended to the throne. But his time as King is shaky and those closest to him begin to question if Charles can wear the crown.

Last night, PBS aired a television adaptation of the play. Several actors from the play returning to their stage roles; the late Tim Pigott-Smith (Charles), Margot Leicester (Camilla), Oliver Chris (William) and Richard Goulding (Harry). Stepping the roles for the first time were Charlotte Riley (Kate) and Jess (Tamara Lawrance).

While I did not see the play I found the television adaptation interesting. It was interesting because what’s behind closed doors is often more fascinating than the face that we put out for the world to see. Bringing the audience into a world that few of us will ever see added to the heightened drama and the suspense of what questioning if Charles could be successful as King Of England was the hook I needed.

I recommend it.

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