Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (Topic: “The realization of getting older”)

Yesterday I came across some guys that I played basketball with growing up. I had not seen them in many years and they looked as though they matured a “great” deal. When I saw them, they informed me that they had just left the funeral of one “other” guy that I played ball with back in the day. Then I remembered that recently (within the past 5 months) 2 MORE basketball buddies of mine had passed away (both from diabetes). One was the same age as me and the other one was even younger. This particular incident helped me to realize that I am actually getting “older.” My buddies who died previously were in “great” basketball shape during our day (just like I was) and it was difficult for me to imagine them no longer being that way. The friends I saw yesterday had a lot of gray in their hair and it made me think that I am actually “getting” old. Life is a cycle we go through, and some have shorter cycles than others. I miss my friends, but I also realize that life has to go on. There is no telling how many more of my basketball buddies will have much longer on this earth. There is no guarantee for me as well. The deep part about all of this is that as I enter this phase I begin to realize the vulnerability of life. No matter how much you take care of yourself, no one escapes the final outcome. Doctors will tell you how to exercise, eat, drink and sleep, but even they cannot live forever. During life we often take things for granted and hardly ever face the fact that one day our bodies will break down. I began to think about all the things I still want to accomplish in life. I am thankful that I woke up this morning, so for me that means I have yet “another chance.” Your quality of life is what you make it, and what you make “of” it. If I want my life to have meaning, then I have to “give it” meaning. God is not finished with me yet, and if you are able to read this, then God is not finished with you either. You can either let the day slip away, or you can live life like there’s “no tomorrow.” Now if you’ll excuse me, I have “work” to do… Have a great day….

 

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Brett Jolly, DJ Patty Jackson, and Norman Connors (“You are my Starship”)

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Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (Topic: “Wishes for the New Year”)

A New Year is on the horizon for most of us, and while many will choose to reflect on the things that already transpired, I am one of those who likes to look forward. On a global scale I would love to see nations that have previously exhibited hatred and animosity towards each other reach out in efforts of unification. Hey, if Iran and the United States can work on mending fences, then maybe it is possible for other nations to do the same. I would like to take a lyric from an old popular Marvin Gaye song when saying, “War is not the answer, for only love can conquer hate.” If all we do is focus on past atrocities then how can we ever possibly see a future of peace? In a world where we all have to depend on each other for survival it is amazing how much hatred we often display towards each other. I pray that leaders of nations will be able to see the real benefits of peace. I hope that the legend of Nelson Mandela will show others that no matter how badly you have been mistreated by others, two wrongs will “NEVER” make a right. I hope that instead of nations spying on each other we can all work together with each other and share in technology that will help make the world safer, and not find newer ways to bring about more destruction. In some cases, it takes more strength to back down from a fight than it does to escalate one. Human beings are supposed to be the most intelligent forms of life, and yet there are times when we can be more barbaric than even the most savage of animals. As for me personally, I hope to continue to grow, and at some point lead “by example.” If I should become a big enough “success story” then maybe someone else will find the resolve to “emulate” my story. The true value of life should not be based on where you came from, but rather where you are headed. Suicide bombers, terrorists, and random shooters are people “with cause” who see no other alternative but to inflict devastation. They are so engrossed in ending life that we rarely even get to hear their story. Why not tell your story as opposed to killing innocent people? Maybe there is someone out there who will sympathize and maybe even offer assistance. There are people out there who need help, and it is up to us to “recognize” it and reach out to them. If we can change the path trajectory of at least “one” individual bent on destruction, then it is “more than worth the effort.” I hope that 2014 can somehow be the “Year of Peace.” It is a long shot, but it “can” happen. Thank you all for your support, and for you I wish the very best that this New Year has to offer.

 

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Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (topic: “Giving back”)

Each Sunday morning I play in church. It is the one part of my music world where most members just know me as a regular church musician. They rarely get to see me do my other gigs that do not involve Gospel music. This past Sunday I was setting up before service when this young teenage boy came up to me. He asked me, “Are you Brett Jolly?” When I told him yes he immediately said that he was “honored” to meet me. At first I didn’t quite understand where he was coming from, but then his mother came over to speak to me. She said that her son had found me “online” and was “immediately impressed” with my accomplishments. She said that he never wanted to come to church, but when she told him that I perform there each Sunday he automatically volunteered to come just so he could meet me. I was sincerely flattered, and to be honest, I have NEVER considered myself to be a celebrity of any kind (and I mean that), but I did thank the boy for the compliment. This young 14 year old boy was an aspiring singer, and he said he would be so happy if I could check out how well he sings. We exchanged numbers and we have a meeting date set up for us to do exactly that. I mentioned this today for a simple reason: I feel it is ALWAYS important for adults to “give back” to those young kids who are trying to follow in the same footsteps. To me, it didn’t matter whether he believed I was famous or not. He reached out to me, and I felt it was  my “responsibility” to help him in whatever way I could. A lot of times grown folks don’t even want to be bothered with kids. Even though my schedule can be extremely busy at times, I knew it was imperative that I make room for this kid. If my involvement helps him become a “seasoned professional” then it would all be worth it for me. On this earth, we are ALL dependent on each other in life. No newborn baby can “fend for itself” and that is how we learn how to interact with others. Involvement in someone’s life doesn’t have to “stop at a certain age.” As long as we live, we all can still learn. If I can be an inspiration to “one” child in my life, then as far as I am concerned that has “meaning” to me. I only hope that others will feel the same way. A child’s ambition is a terrible thing to waste… If you know of a young person who needs direction in his or her life, then by all means I hope you can find a way to provide some. Children need activity in their lives, and often if we can”t provide them with it, then they will go and “create their OWN activity (and that is not always guaranteed to be a positive thing). I would rather my tax dollars go towards supporting them through school as opposed to supporting them through jail. I hope you can feel where I’m coming from on this today. We ALL need someone… Thank you and I hope you have an awesome day.

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Wayne Brady and Brett Jolly in concert

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Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (Topic: Is there a purpose to life?)

Mr. Jolly, I like to read your daily topics and I wanted to offer one of my own to you today. I realize that this might be a little vague, but do you think there is a purpose to life and if so, what is it? We are here on a planet with other life forms and yet no one seems to know why we even exist. Aside from the Biblical context, do you think there actually is a purpose to life?

While there are many different opinions on this matter (including the Biblical ones) I am not sure if there is one “solid concrete” answer to this question. Just about “every life form” needs “something to do” and most times we all figure it out one way or another. For instance, when turtles hatch from their eggs they seem to “instinctively know to navigate towards the water.” When you put a bottle in a baby’s mouth it is instinctive for the infant to properly know how to use it’s mouth to feed itself. Considering the fact that there are a number of elements that can end our lives in an instant I would think that the number one purpose of life would be to “survive.” Of course, this sounds a little vague as well, but you have to admit that we are all stationed on a planet where we not only have to depend on each other but we also have to defend ourselves against each other. We can be our best source for survival (because no baby can fend for itself without the help of another human being) and yet there are those of us who will harm others. No one is born with equal circumstances and we all have to make the most of the life cards that are dealt to us. Since each life circumstance is different, then it is quite possible that each “life purpose” can be different as well. Your topic is truly an interesting one, but I think I may have an answer that just might make some sense. Life is what you make it. You can be satisfied just being in the position you are in, or you can attempt to change your circumstances for the better. If you opt for the latter, then you are “in essence giving your life purpose.” There will always be goals in life that need to be accomplished, and if you are the kind of person who looks to achieve your goals, then your purpose is to “improve.” I say keep on overcoming goals until one day you manage to end “all world hunger.” Thank you for submitting this topic today, and I sincerely hope I was helpful in some way. Have a great one.

 

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Paul Shafer (from the David Letterman show band) and Brett Jolly in concert

 

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Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (Topic: a great cause)

This past weekend I played for an event at an outside concert theater for something called “Recovery Idol.” It was modeled after the popular show “American Idol” but the difference in this show was that the contestants were “former drug addicts.” They sang and performed onstage in a big concert setting while celebrating their “freedom from dependence” on drugs. As part of the band I had to play certain songs for the contestants and also had to play for the major headliner for the event, which was Billy Paul. He is the one who sang one of the biggest hits in history entitled “Me and Mrs. Jones.” The great thing about this is that Billy Paul also recovered from his bout with drugs, so he could easily relate to the crowd. I know that recovering from a drug addiction is “not” an easy thing to do for anyone, so I applaud this idea to help “celebrate” by promoting a concert of this kind. “You never know how long and how hard a man’s journey is until you try to walk it in his shoes.” Today I would like to applaud any and all programs that help those in need, and I only hope that the rest of us can help support this as well. It is not where you come from, but where you are headed that counts. Today is a holiday in the United States. It is Labor Day, Whatever this day brings for you, I sincerely hope it is “filled” with blessings. Have a great day.

Got a topic? Feel free to contact me via email at Brettjolly@aol.com or send me a friend request on Skype at Brettjolly1. Thank you and have a great day.

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Billy Paul, my good friend Doug Lyons, and Brett Jolly

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Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (Topic: A moment with Bill Withers)

Today I would like to spotlight my own personal involvement with a “great” artist whom I had the pleasure of working with. When I was younger I marveled at his songs (and to this date I still consider one of his albums to be one of the best of all time, and that album is the one entitled “Menagerie”). I was imagining in my head what he would look like when I saw him, because the only pictures I could recall of  him were back during his prime, and of course, he would be much older now. As soon as I walked into the room I witnessed a white haired gentleman from the back. I could not see the front of him, but instantaneously, I “knew.” I moved around to the front of him, smiled and said, “You MUST be Bill Withers.” He said it was a pleasure to meet me and reached out his hand to shake. I would have been completely satisfied with that, but then he and I talked more, and that was something I had not anticipated. I asked him what happened, and why did he disappear from the music scene. He said that when the music started to go sour he could no longer take it. When the substance of music started changing for the worse, he said that he could no longer be a part of it. He “retired” a long time ago, and he said that he has no desire to come back. Bill is well into his 70’s now and the zest that he once had for music seems to have evaporated. He said that his label wanted to portray him as a great guitar player, but the truth of the matter is that he didn’t know how to play one. The label decided to bring someone in to teach him a couple of cords to make him at least “look” the part. Well, Bill took the 3 cords he knew and decided to write one of his best tunes and that was a song entitled “Hello like before.” For those of you who are not familiar with Mr. Withers, he had hits like “Ain’t no Sunshine, Grandma’s hands, and Lean on me.” He also had a great collaboration with jazz saxophonist Grover Washington entitled “Just the two of us.” The one thing I admired about my new friend Bill was that he was “no pretense.” He said that if he “can no longer feel it” then that means it’s time to “get out.” For this particular event, we were doing a tribute to him, but Bill didn’t even want to sing any of his own tunes. He had us bring in a new era vocalist by the name of Anthony Hamilton to sing some of the tunes, and then he had his daughter sing some as well. We were not disheartened, though, because even through all that, Bill DID sing, and even at this stage of his career it was an honor to back him up onstage. Periodically I would like to share some of my “music stories” with you, so hopefully today you don’t mind this particular one today. As much as I enjoyed playing for him, I think I enjoyed more just chatting with him. Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought today, and I hope your day is an awesome one.

 

Got a topic? Feel free to reach out to me by email at Brettjolly@aol.com of send me a friend request on Skype at Brettjolly1. Thank you and have a great day.

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Bill Withers (far left), his daughter, Anthony Hamilton and Brett Jolly at PIR studios

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Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (Topic: Miley Cyrus at the VMA)

Mr. Jolly, what is your take on the performance of Miley Cyrus during the VMA’s? People are talking about the stint she pulled with Robin Thicke onstage where she bent over in front of him and simulated a sex act. Many are blasting her over this. What is your take on her performance?

When it comes to the music industry, nothing much really surprises me anymore. This is an industry where “sex” sells and so does “controversy.” Rihanna is hardly “ever” dressed on her CD covers and videos. Lady Gaga is also someone who is willing to strip at a moment’s notice. Britney Spears is also just as shocking. Let’s not forget the men, because some of them promote controversy in other ways. Justin Bieber has had more than his share of crazy news lately. Kanye West is “nothing but” controversy. Chris Brown seems to get “angry” at the drop of a hat. When you compare the performance of Miley Cyrus to these people (and don’t forget Eryka Badu’s naked romp through downtown Dallas and Janet Jackson’s Superbowl performance) what she did seems to “pale in comparison.” A great bass playing friend of mine by the name of Victor Bailey was playing for Maddona, a lady who is “no stranger” to shock events and controversy. I asked him, “Why does Madonna do all these crazy shocking things?” and his answer kind of set the tone. He said that most people don’t realize this but Madonna is one of the smartest people in the music business. She knows that every time she does something controversial it only promotes her name and image more and it means “more money” down the road. When thinking of that, I had to admit that he was right. When she did something shocking everyone talked about her, and in essence that talk amounted to free advertising. Today’s artists are only using that same “business logic” to sell CD’s. Considering the dismal state of the music economy artists have to do something to sell more product. For people like Rihanna, it means she has to go “shirtless” a couple of times. Miley Cyrus may have been clothed for that particular performance, but “barely.” If this stint helps to make her even “more” popular, then don’t be surprised if you see “more and more” up and coming performers following suit. Welcome to the new age of singing.  The days of “just being a great singer” are gone. Let’s hope for our sake they can at least find a way to bring back some “quality music.” Thank you for for submitting this topic.

Got a topic? Please feel free to contact me via email at Brettjolly@aol.com or send me a friend request on Skype at Brettjolly1. Thank you and have a great day.

 

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Janet Jackson and Brett Jolly

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Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (Topic: Stalker mentality)

I just met up with someone and at first everything seemed like a nice fit. However, I keep getting the feeling that I am being stalked by him. I had not told him the address of where I work and yet he was there afterwards to greet me the other day. Recently he has been questioning me about things posted to my Facebook page even though I had not accepted him as a friend yet. Whenever he calls me and cannot reach me he repeatedly calls back within minutes and always wants to know why I couldn’t answer his call the first time. What do you think of this, and how should I handle it? Thank you.

Behavior left “unchecked” is often considered behavior “condoned.” I can’t say for sure that you have a stalker, but you definitely have someone with a “stalker mentality.” His behavior will only get worse unless you “check him at the door.” No one should want to feel like they have to be accountable for “everything” they do and no one should want to feel like constantly being interrogated over “every small thing.” As long as you let him get away with this, it will only get worse and NOT better. This man has a problem with “insecurity” and that can pose problems for your relationship down the road. You NEED to let him know that he is making you uncomfortable  with his actions. It sounds as though he has been through past relationships where the other party cheated on him, and that baggage is now being brought into your new relationship. Sometimes it is difficult for someone to discard the bad things that happened in a prior relationship, and if this man has that problem then he may need to seek help. If your lover cannot trust you, then your relationship will always be “strained.” You need to let him know that his way is not working for this relationship and see how he responds back to you. If he gets even more excited and suspicious of you, then you might want to consider this to be a “serious” red flag. Men who are “insecure” about themselves have been known to be manipulative, controlling and sometimes abusive. Make sure you take heed to the warning signs “now” rather than “later” and be prepared to “stop him before he gets started.” Facebook is one of those media places where people can post anything they want, whether it be right or wrong. If you are going to be continually judged by a “Facebook lover” then you will find yourself to “always be on the defensive.” As long as you have voice mail on your phone then there is “no need” to continually “blow up your phone” if you don’t answer the very first time. Stalking  you at your job is a definite “no-no.” A lover can only get away with what you allow him or her to get away with. Unless you are enjoying his “controlling issues” then you need to take a stand now. Good luck to you and please enjoy this amazing testament from the Phantom Poet:

I started a new relationship and in the beginning it was a source of much enjoyment
That is, until he started stalking me and showing up at my place of employment
I try to ignore his actions and often I don’t want to put a lot of thought in it
But if he can’t reach me the very first time, he calls back a lot within a minute
I may not have a stalker but if I look at this situation in reality
I think I do have someone that has the stalker mentality
He questions me all the time as though he doesn’t believe me to be true
And he behaves just like someone who is considered a stalker would do
And then, he gets furious and really starts to go into a rage
whenever someone posts anything “suspicious” on my Facebook page
This relationship is getting strained and I think we are now at the border
It may be about time for me to think about getting a “restraining order”
His wild accusations are upsetting and I need for his wild behavior to cease
Because right now I find I can’t even go to the ladies room in peace
To him everything I do is suspect and it appears he will always have doubt
So I told him that I went to police, and now he needs to check THIS out
I presented him with this retraining order and told him to read it in its entirety
And make sure to abide by it, and stay at least 500 yards away from me
“Don’t ever approach me and don’t ever try to contact me again
Unless, of course, you don’t mind doing five to ten”
If you feel like violating this order, then know this to the contrary
You will be allowed to check my Facebook page… from the prison “library”

“Rousing applause, please, for the Phantom Poet”

Got a topic? Feel free to contact me via email at Brettjolly@aol.com of send me a friend request on Skype at username Brettjolly1. Thank you and have a great day.

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Rapper Chuck D (from Public Enemy) and Brett Jolly in concert

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Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (Topic: Discrimination of full figured women)

Why is it that big women are always singled out and treated unfairly?, You never hear a group of skinny women coming together because they are skinny. There are some big beautiful women who are well proportion, not sick with the health problems  and full of confidence .  They have all the tools a petite size woman have yet a little more . When it comes to the music industry, they are hand picked then forced to lose weight. These women are queens with most of the talent and are considered rich in other parts of the country but in America why don’t they embrace the full figured women.?

I remember talking to a music promoter from Atlantic City who once told me that he could “fill the seats” in a theater if he promoted a very attractive well built woman singer with a “sub par” voice but he could not sell “any” tickets if the female vocalist was “heavy set and plain” but with an incredible voice.  He said that this was just the way of the music industry (in other words, the industry is extremely “visual”). You might be an awesome vocalist, but if you don’t look “appealing enough” then agents don’t want to take the chance on “booking you.” When I mentioned this to a female friend the other day, she was “totally outraged” by this. She told me that big women are exceptionally attractive and that all the experts who say they can’t promote big women are wrong. She actually got upset with me until I had to let her know that I was only “quoting THEM and NOT myself.” For the record, I agree. There are MANY big and beautiful women out there that carry themselves “VERY” well and in “my eyes” they ARE very attractive. However, if an advertiser or promoter is saying that he can’t sell anything with a plus sized figure, then what can you do about that? I do believe there is an answer. It took an adjustment period for people to accept Stevie Wonder even though he was blind. Teddy Pendergrass was able to change how some think when it came to watching people with disabilities. Right now we ALL are getting more accustomed to seeing more gay people in the spotlight, especially now that legislation is changing in favor of them. There IS some sort of prejudice when it comes to big women, but the best way to combat that is through the proper “promotion.” In the  music industry Aretha Franklin had to lose weight. Vesta Williams was told to lose weight. Jennifer Hudson had to lose weight. Christina Aguilara was told to lose weight. Beyonce has her own personal trainer, but if she gained an enormous amount of weight would the industry still view her the same? Through promotion we can actually put big and beautiful women “in the spotlight” and show the world just how remarkable they are. All it takes is “one” big and beautiful representative to make that difference. Most times if a big woman is being featured, she usually has a tendency to wear outfits that seem to “cover up” certain body areas that most other slimmer women will show. To me, that means that she is “apprehensive” about showing her “own” body, and if she is apprehensive then it only “adds” to the stigma that some people already have about big women. I would like to see a big and beautiful woman not only come out, but be prepared to “showcase” herself JUST like the slimmer models would do. If we are going to promote how sexy big and beautiful woman are, then at least be prepared psychologically to compete on the “same” level. For the record, I am NOT promoting nudity, but if you are going to show sexiness like the smaller girls, then at least “go all out” like they do. How can you expect others to see you as sexy if you cannot see yourself that way? In my area there have been “big and beautiful” pageants where contestants will wear swimwear. If big is beautiful, then just show it and don’t try to hide it. If we can show that there is indeed a demand for more “big and beautiful” women out there then it just might make all the difference. You can change the industry through your monetary support of it. They need money in order to survive, and there is strength in numbers. If we all support a full figured woman then they industry cannot and “will not” ignore that. Thank you for submitting this intriguing topic, and I hope you have a great day.

 

Got a topic? You can contact me via email at Brettjolly@aol.com or send me a friend request on Skype at Brettjolly1. Thank you and have a great day.

 

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Aretha Franklin and Brett Jolly

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Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (Topic: Mike Tyson’s addiction)

I recently read an article about former Heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson. In it he said that he is “afraid of dying” and that he also “wants to be forgiven.” You see, Mr. Tyson suffers from drug and alcohol addiction. Just last summer I was performing in Atlantic City on a program with Mike Tyson on the bill. In fact, I spoke to him and stood right next to the man onstage. However, when he spoke back it just felt like he wasn’t “all there.” At one point he gave a small speech where he seemed to have lost track of his sentence at the midway point of it. There were these two guys who sang for the program and they were absolutely horrible. I have problems controlling my expressions onstage when something funny  happens and I was trying my best to hold back my laughter because these guys sounded “really” awful. Mike was no help at all. I could see him out the corner of my eye pointing me out onstage to his wife and he was just “cracking up” laughing (which only made me laugh even more). He seemed like a little kid who just couldn’t get his thoughts together. If I didn’t know better, I would have sworn that he was “medicated.” Anyway, the issue here is that if he does in fact have a drug and alcohol addiction, then he has every right to be “afraid of dying.” Alcoholism effects MANY people and results in many deaths (either directly or indirectly). My mother suffered from alcoholism and it took a lot to get her back on track (but she did eventually overcome it and made a full recovery). Most people would think that if you made millions of dollars and have great popularity then you shouldn’t have a problem in the world.  Drugs have conquered many famous and successful stars and athletes in the entertainment business. The most important thing to note here is that drug and alcohol addictions are illnesses. People who suffer from them often cannot control their binges. The issue here is that if Mike Tyson needs help with this problem then I am sure he knows where to get it. There are alcoholic and drug prevention groups all over, and they would gladly share their own stories with him and let him know that he is not alone. If you know of someone with an alcohol or drug dependency problem you can try to see if they will seek help but most dependent people never want to “admit” they have a problem. The fact that Mr. Tyson admits it means that he must be suffering from it “pretty bad.” I hope that Mr. Tyson and “many others” can get the help they need to overcome their addictions. No matter how big a star you may be, you are still susceptible to the same “human temptations and weaknesses” as the rest of us. Alcoholism shows no “preference.” Let’s hope that in the years to come, Mr. Tyson can be one of those “success stories” that will inspire others to get better. If not, he will just fall into that same category that claimed Elvis, Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston. Here’s wishing him the very best. If you suffer from drug abuse please don’t try to lie to yourself. Saying “I can quit anytime I want to” is no excuse. If you have friends or family then it is not just “your” life that will be affected. Seek the help you need and don’t be afraid to admit that you need it. The life you save just might be your own… Thank you and have a great day.

 

Got a topic? Please contact me via email at Brettjolly@aol.com or send me a friend request on Skype at Brettjolly1. Thank you and have a great day.

 

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One of the members of Full Force, Eddie Levert (from the O’jays) Atlantic City Mayor Lankford, Brett Jolly and Mike Tyson

 

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