push the culture forward

“Africa”: Ariel is black, 007 is black, Jesus is…NBA Jam and Agent Orange on his BS.

@UpscaleIG is back! Leave for a quick vacay and NBA Jam comes back. Plus, Ariel, 007 and Jesus are black. trump trippin, ICE trippin, people trippin with cucumbers and R. Kelly trippin trippin!

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“Look At Me Now”: Chris Brown x Indigo, NBA Free Agency, Pride Month and Why Black People Don’t Get The Same Love

@UpscaleIG talked the NBA craziness, from Kevin Durant to the Knicks failure and everything in between. Plus, the evolution of Chris Brown and where his legacy stands amongst the greatest entertainers. Last but certainly not least, a good conversation on Pride Month and why the world will ride for gays and celebrate while avoiding the same energy come February. We also ask @JoyHollings what it’s like being both black and gay and if that slighted feeling is ignorance or valid. Peep the latest and share your thoughts…

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“Hoop Dreams”: NBA Free Agency 2019, NBA Draft 2019 and Death of the Warriors Dynasty?

The @UpscaleIG crew talked solely hoop this week with the NBA Draft having passed and Free Agency right around the corner. Catch thoughts on Zion Williamson and the Pelicans future, what teams are better and worse (ahem…Boston) and some steals and sleepers of the draft. Also, we talk Kevin Durant and how the free agency landscape changed, make some free agency predictions and whether the Golden State Warriors dynasty is dead. With none other than the @Hoopsmack Team, @The_Real_Ryland_Brown and @Gus_London, let’s get ready to rumble! Long live the King, Michael Jackson…

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“The Show About Nothing: The Exonerated 5, Boondocks, DJ Khaled?

@UpscaleIG follows up on When They See Us, reviewing the Oprah special on Netflix. Plus, Boondocks back, DJ Khaled not the best??? and the Uber driver hustle on surge pricing. Plus, #Questions asks are you more interested in sex quantity or sex quality? Hit us up…

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“When They See Us”: In-Depth Discussion on the Series, Criminal Justice System and More. Plus Rihanna, The Obamas and NBA Finals Recap

In the latest episode, the @UpscaleIG team talks through the monumental “When They See Us” and the Criminal Justice as a whole. With its disparaging view toward black and brown boys, fears of raising a child today and the incredible obstacles and trauma people have to overcome, especially the black women out there who have had to close the gap created by an unjust system. A great discussion mixed with an NBA Finals recap, #BlackGirlMagic shining on Forbes and more…

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“The Blueprint”: When They See Us, Jay-Z Sees a Billion and NBA Finals Recap

The @UpscaleIG crew chillin’ with DJ Topspin talking When They See Us, the brilliance of Ava Duvernay and Hov hits a billi! Also, Anthony Joshua gets his ass whooped, NBA Finals in full swing and another mass shooting in the US. Also, the #QuestionsForTheCulture: Would you be ok with your significant other having a side piece for their needs in an agreed arrangement? Get at us…
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“Respect The Game”: NBA Finals Preview, Meek Mill and What to Watch

@UpscaleIG talk the NBA Finals and give their predictions on who takes it all. Is Kawhi the new goat? Is Giannis a failure? Also the new developments in the Meek Mill case and the disgust for Albert Wilson case and the justice system. Add in “What’s Trending” and the latest in music and Netflix and you’ve got another cool convo. Tap in!
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2018-2019 All-NBA Teams

The NBA released it’s 2018-2019 All-NBA teams today, with many potential contract implications riding on it. Some younger, potential 1st time guys had Supermax contract deals riding on their ability to make an All-NBA team, including Damian Lillard, Klay Thompson, Kemba Walker and more. Giannis name we don’t attempt to spell also had major funds riding on the decision, as a second consecutive selection makes him eligible for a 5-Year, $247.3 Million contract, which the Bucks likely wouldn’t hesitate to exercise if the Greek Freak were willing. Walker can now sign a 5-Year, $221 Million deal with the Hornets and Lillard eligible for 4-Years, $191 Million. This puts further pressure on the Blazers and Hornets to determine whether Lillard, who is victim to a playoff sweep two consecutive years, and Walker, who did not make the playoffs, are the future cornerstones of their franchise.

The All-NBA teams are as follows:

1st Team

Guard – Stephen Curry

Guard – James Harden

Forward – Giannis Antetokounmpo

Forward – Paul George

Center – Nikola Jokic

2nd Team

Guard – Damian Lillard

Guard – Kyrie Irving

Forward – Kevin Durant

Forward – Kawhi Leonard

Center – Joel Embiid

3rd Team

Guard – Russell Westbrook

Guard – Kemba Walker

Forward – Lebron James

Forward – Blake Griffin

Center – Rudy Gobert

The Upscale team got together beforehand and determined their teams. A few points of contention from the finals were Jokic vs. Embiid, Bradley Beal/Klay Thompson vs Kemba Walker and Kyrie Irving and Blake Griffin vs Karl Anthony-Towns. Many of the decisions could’ve gone either way, with Blake leading his team to the playoffs but Towns having an outstanding year (especially Post Jimmy Butler). Another razor thin decision was Jokic leading his Nuggets to a better year in a tougher conference (Lebron didn’t make the playoffs) and playing more games, while Embiid being decisively better defensively, scoring and rebounding more but playing fewer games.

Did the writers and coaches get it right?

“Girls, Girls, Girls”: Ayesha Curry, Abortion and NBA Playoffs

@UpscaleIG caught up on the latest craziness of the world including the NBA Playoffs, abortion and the fight for women’s rights, Ayesha Curry looking for her groove (hey baby) and more.

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Upscale Eats: “Salmon Nicoise Salad”

Recently we had the pleasure of trying our first recipe from our resident Salad Chef Extraordinaire, JayeSweets. She prepared a Warm Salmon Niçoise Salad with Dijon Caper Vinaigrette. The recipe, originally sourced from Lauren In Balance, was a light salad, blending flavors not typically found together including fingerling potatoes and green beans with fresh salad greens. Combined with the salmon, the dinner salad was actually right on time as we roll into summer.


In honesty, stepping out of my comfort zone in salad is a recent thing. This was slappin’ though, with the different combination of dinner items and greens giving me a choice of how I wanted to eat. I could go for the more typical dinner items, salmon and potatoes and green beans separate and have some salad as I went, or just be a ‘fatboy’ (*@GreenDiggidy Voice*) and eat it altogether. By the end, I chose the latter as the flavor mix went together well and I had to fight myself to not drink the remainder of dressing left. Want to try for yourself? Peep the recipe below:



Prep Time – 15 mins

Cook time – 15 mins

Total Time – 30 mins


Note: this will make more dressing than you will need for 4 servings of the salad, but can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 – 5 days. Optional: serve atop salad greens for an extra serving of veggies and nutrients.

Author: Lauren in Balance

Serves: 4


For the Dressing:

½ cup olive oil

¼ cup champagne vinegar

1 tbsp dijon mustard

1 tsp mayo (avocado oil-based recommended)

1 tbsp honey

1 tsp finely chopped parsley

2 tbsp capers, roughly chopped

s + p


For the Salad:

12 ounces salmon (wild caught recommended), rinsed and pat dry

2 tsp olive oil, plus more for brushing salmon

1 lb fingerling potatoes, halved

12 ounce bag of fresh green beans, rinsed and ends trimmed

4 hard-boiled eggs, halved or quartered

1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

assorted marinated olives of choice

salad greens, optional

s + p


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Fill a medium-sized pot (about 4 qt.) about ¾ full of water, and bring to a boil on the stove over high heat. Prepare an ice bath in a large mixing bowl; add about 2 cups of ice then fill the bowl about ¾ full with cold water.

While waiting for the oven to pre-heat and water to boil, make the dressing. Whisk all ingredients together, adding s + p to taste. Set aside.

Place potatoes on one half of a large baking sheet, toss with 2 tsp olive oil and a generous pinch of s + p. Arrange the salmon, skin side-down, on the other half of the baking sheet (I recommend putting foil below the salmon for easier clean up), brush lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with s + p. Once water is boiling, place salmon and potatoes in the oven to cook for about 10 – 12 minutes.

While the salmon cooks, cook the green beans. Add the green beans to the boiling water, cooking for just a couple minutes. Remove from boiling water and place in the prepared ice bath to stop the cooking process. This will ensure the beans stay crisp. The beans can be placed on a small baking sheet in the heated oven for a few minutes prior to serving just to warm them back up. If you don’t have hard-boiled eggs already prepared, you can use the same water you used to cook the beans. Add the eggs, then remove the pan from the heat, cover and let cook for about 7 minutes. Remove eggs and place in the ice bath to cool.

Serve while ingredients are still warm. To serve, divide salad ingredients evenly among 4 plates, topping with 2 tbsp dressing.