You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Murphy Institute’ tag.

In an age when people are into social media, distractions can become the norm. It is even difficult for me to get something done when I am on social media. Time management is crucial as a way to balance demands and entertainment.

In terms of getting things done I set aside a certain amount of time to accomplish a task or goal. If have a paper for class to get done I make sure not to get distracted and spend time working on getting the paper completed.

Some ways to have good time management is to make a plan and try to stick to it. Proper organization is key, such as having a calendar to write events and due dates for class down in. The day before an event or work, I like to have everything ready to go the night before. The reason is due to not rushing in the morning looking for documents or anything required for an event.

In a time where distractions are more frequent, it is very important to try to minimize distraction and have proper time management. I try to limit how much time I spend on social media by going outside for a run or to play Ultimate Frisbee. I also like to spend time hanging out at the park. There are many techniques people can implement to have time management and to balance all of their responsibilities. Some people have different plans for time management. I always try to find time to socialize with others or watch a movie. In an age of social media time management is critical skill to have and continue to develop.

Ed Maher is a person who loves learning. Ed is a student at CUNY SPS in the Public Administration and Public Policy advanced certificate program. He is an avid lifelong reader, and has interests in movies, pop culture, and comedy.

This post was written by Maria Lewis, a recipient of the CUNY School of Professional Studies ACE Scholarship.

I applied for numerous scholarships throughout my life only to come away empty handed each and every time. When I got the email informing me that I had been selected for an ACE Scholarship it felt surreal; all I could do was stare at my computer screen and read it over and over again. They say good things come to those who are willing to wait and the Lord knew that I had waited. I received my ACE Scholarship at a time in my life when it was needed the most. It was a godsend to me financially; my father went home to be with the Lord two weeks into the spring semester. My world came to a grinding halt and my financial situation changed overnight. The ACE Scholarship allowed me to finish school and complete my Bachelor’s Degree, something that I had been trying to accomplish for twenty years.

What made the scholarship extra special was the meaning and significance behind it. I was being recognized for my academic accomplishment and I was also going to have the opportunity to be a positive influence in someone else’s life. I have always aspired to be the best at whatever I attempt and to have it recognized was so heartwarming. I worked hard and there were a lot of times that I really felt like giving up but I’m so glad that I didn’t.

The scholarship came with the requirement that I mentor another student returning to school, just as I had done. I met a beautiful young woman who identified with me on many levels which got our relationship off to a wonderful start. Even though this was my last semester we are still in touch with one another, my scholarship came with a new found friend that I will cherish forever. I am ever so grateful to the benefactors who make the ACE Scholarship possible. I plan to attend graduate school in the fall; the sky really is the limit.

Maria Lewis is a recipient of the CUNY SPS ACE Scholarship, a scholarship program designed to support high-achieving undergraduate students Achieve College Education (ACE). She will graduate from the Urban and Community Studies degree program in June 2016.

Sitting Down


Cyrille Aimee

Cyrille Aimee

As a musician, every now and then I run into a person that inspires me by his or her approach to what they do. I met Cyrille Aimee on the subway one Saturday night while hanging out with my high school b-ball teammate, Steve. She was very friendly and we talked about music and life. She said modestly, “We will be playing a Birdland next week; you should come check out the show.” Although I didn’t make that show, I did get a chance to check the show out about a year later. Cyrille turned out be one of the most authentic musicians I have met in my life. Her personality is as genuine on stage as it is off stage. So when I got the opportunity to interview Ms. Aimee for my blog, I naturally kicked it with her like an old friend, a new ally, and a fellow musician. Check out what Cyrille had to say about her music, and how she approaches this stage of her career.

Jeffrey C. Suttles: When did you start singing?

Cyrille Aimee: Hmmm, I started when I was around 13 or 14 years old.

Jeff: Did your parents inspire you to sing?

Cyrille: Well my parents always loved music and musicians. My mother is from the Dominican Republic, so she loves to dance. I actually started singing when I met these gypsies.

Jeff: What school did you attend?

Cyrille: I came here to study at Suny Purchase College in Westchester, New York. I loved going to school in that area of New York, they have a great music program.

Jeff: Your new project, Let’s Get Lost, did you do the writing and production or did you collaborate with other musicians?

Cyrille: A little bit of both, some of the songs I wrote by myself. Some of the songs I collaborated with the guitar player in the band. There are some songs I did in French and I also did some covers. It’s a mix!

Jeff: How much are you touring these days?

Cyrille: I just got back from France two days ago, and I’m headed to Japan next week. So I’m pretty busy.

Jeff: How often do you get back to France, to visit your family?

Cyrille: Well I was there last week, and I’m going back in June. I try to get back as much as I can, I usually go when I have a concert. I try to stay a little longer to spend time with my family and friends.

Jeff: How does your family feel about you success? Are they happy for you?

Cyrille: Yeah, of course they are.

Jeff: Who would you say influenced you the most, as a musician or an artist? Who inspired you to do what you do?

Cyrille: Hmmm, many artists have inspired me. Ella Scott Fitzgerald heavily influenced me when I begin my career. But I’m also crazy about Michael Jackson. It’s so many artists that influence me. The list is very long!

Jeff: How about Sade, some of you vocal work reminds me of Sade.

Cyrille: Yeah, I love Sade.

Jeff: What do you feeling is missing right now in jazz culture?

Cyrille: I would like to see jazz become available to wider audiences. Jazz has an old connotation to it, and it’s not that at all. Jazz is a very evolving music and the only thing is people don’t know they like it because they are not exposed to it. If they were exposed to it more, they would discover more about it. I would like to see more jazz on TV and on the radio.

Jeff: Yeah, it would be nice to see commercial radio and TV embrace the jazz culture. Okay last question, what words of wisdom or suggestions do you have for young artist aspiring to do what you do?

Cyrille: Hmmm, do be afraid to get back on the horse when you fall off. You are going fall many times, and basically the job of an artist is to use the times that you fall as constructive criticism and learn from it.

Jeff: Hmmm-great advice Cyrille, every young artist should apply that concept. It’s always a pleasure to kick it with you. Have a safe trip to Japan; we’ll talk when you get back. Peace.

Click to follow Jeff on Twitter

Jeffrey C. Suttles is a Master of Arts candidate in Urban Studies at the Murphy Institute. He is an independent songwriter/musician who completed his undergraduate studies at The City College of New York. He is currently a CUNY CAP student who continues to pursue career opportunities in publishing, communications, and the arts.




With Dick Gregory


Easter Day

Dick Gregory

On March 27, 2016, I was blessed with the opportunity to witness a veteran, who has made his mark in activism as well as comedy, do his thing! Mr. Richard Claxton, known to the world as Dick Gregory, gave the audience at Caroline’s, in New York’s Times Square, the treat of a lifetime. As a long time supporter of the messages that Brother Gregory endorses, I felt honored to spend 2016 Easter Day with the man who has literally lived through it all.

As Mr. Gregory hit the stage in his pink hat and long white beard it was obvious to the audience that he was ready to work. Gregory, full of jokes and observations, blended serious content with the state of mankind. He gave the audience several examples of how human nature continues to be our greatest obstacle as we labor to obtain true liberation. Gregory called his oldest daughter on stage, as he shared stories about his wife, Michael Jackson, and O.J. Simpson. Brother Gregory, no stranger to “keeping it real,” let the audience know that it’s okay to laugh, but life is a serious game. His message to the people was simple to pay attention and train your mind to think for itself. At times he used unorthodox techniques to get his point across, but it is safe to say all who attended will remember what this veteran shared with us, as we celebrated resurrection day together.

I really recommend that if you are allotted the opportunity to check out this 83-year-old man go to work, you do so. He remains sharp, compassionate, and in tune with the people. His ability to speak from a wide range of topics gives him insight that only a grandfather may possess. I truly enjoyed Mr. Dick Gregory, his life is an example, of what we as black men should aspire to do. Love your family, stand up for what is right, and give unconditionally. Ultimately, I hope he goes on to do his thing forever; this brother exemplifies the term SHINING STAR!

Click to follow Jeff on Twitter

Jeffrey C. Suttles is a Master of Arts candidate in Urban Studies at the Murphy Institute. He is an independent songwriter/musician who completed his undergraduate studies at The City College of New York. He is currently a CUNY CAP student who continues to pursue career opportunities in publishing, communications, and the arts.

Shinobi Ninja Rocks Hood

Kookin Sol

When you talk about funk, rock, and hip-hop, laced in the form of indie fire, one group comes to mind. Yes, Shinobi Ninja continues to pave the way for a new musical revolution.  In a world were genre defines your audience and how much success you should expect, Shinobi Ninja quickly reminds us that it’s never about that crap.  Duke Sims (D.A.), Baby G, Maniac Mike, Alien Lex, Dj Axis Powers, and Terminator Dave continue to create without boundaries, refusing to be marginalized by the constraints imposed by the music industry.  Fresh off performances at SXSW, these guys continue to mesmerize crowds through out the world.

The party mix below of Shinobi Ninja’s classic anthem, “Rock Hood,” is a blend of beats by Jeff and flows from the ninjas.  We sat down in the studio with Shinobi Ninja’s bass man Alien Lex and laid down these tracks last summer, ironically this was one of the last sessions we would collab on in  Shinobi headquarters located on 23rd St., in the heart of The Flatiron District.  The studio is no longer on 23rd, but the music we created continues to generate a buzz. This version is available for Deejay’s looking to add ‘Rock Hood’ (Party Mix) to their collection.  Please send your request for an mp3 to

The future looks bright for Shinobi Ninja, for more dates on upcoming performances check out the website at  Also, I have a beat tape that will be available this summer called, ‘Beet Juice,’ be sure to check it out as well.  Always remember that true music is from the heart, it can’t be defined by words because it’s marinated in authentic feelings and energy.  With that being said, it’s important to support groups like Shinobi Ninja because the work that they are putting in will eventually define new standards in the recording industry.



Jeffrey C. Suttles is a Master of Arts candidate in Urban Studies at the Murphy Institute. He is an independent songwriter/musician who completed his undergraduate studies at The City College of New York. He is currently a CUNY CAP student who continues to pursue career opportunities in publishing, communications, and the arts.

 Artist Spotlight with Skematics

This semester we added a different element to ‘Kookin Sol,’ if you were tuned in last semester, we dealt with true music and great production. We also dealt with social justice and the power of our voices in the community. Although these issues still plague our inner cities, we decided to embrace some of the creative voices that are coming together to form a new music community. As a music maker, I see the undeniable dedication that these artists display on a daily basis; therefore we hope to present new music from new artists as we continue to work for equality and justice for all. I sincerely hope that you don’t sleep on this artist series; these artists are the voices of the future.

Our first artist hails from Washington Heights, NYC. He entered the game a few years ago with the single, “Hit Them Hard,” which was ironically produced by yours truly. Skematics went on to write music with industry notables like R.I.P. Sean Price and Saigon. He continues to shine as an underground artist that made the decision to represent good lyrics and quality music. Skematics recently completed his new EP titled, “Somewhere In The Gray” scheduled to be released early this spring. This project is sure to define Skematics voice and should solidify his ability to produce records in a climate where true music is fading quickly. Be sure to support this new project from my guy, the Dominican Dynamite, Skematics, he is no stranger to the kitchen, and is ready to serve the world that recipe he has just created through music.

Featured below is his new song titled, “Feels So Right.” Skematics takes us down a narrative path of a man who wants what he is not supposed to have. With a smooth hook featuring his home girl CrestaStarr, this track displays his maturity as an MC. Self produced; Skematics takes us on a journey reminiscent of the soul classics we grew up on! Also be sure to check out his first single featuring Saigon entitled, “4 Elements,” produced by PF Cuttin. This track lets us know that true hip-hop is still alive!  As a musician, I have witnessed the evolution of Skematics, on this project we got a chance to work together again on a track called “Understand Me.” Of course the creative process was exceptional, but more importantly we both continue to represent music, life, and equality. Do yourself a favor, download this guys new project, “Somewhere In The Gray,” be apart of history in the making. Peace.

click to follow Jeff on Twitter

Jeffrey C. Suttles is a Master of Arts candidate in Urban Studies at the Murphy Institute. He is an independent songwriter/musician who completed his undergraduate studies at The City College of New York. He is currently a CUNY CAP student who continues to pursue career opportunities in publishing, communications, and the arts.

Million Man Movement

Million Man March, October 2015

On October 10, 2015 the people spoke to the injustice that we have been forced to endure. Millions of us came together to awaken the feeling for solidarity among our clergymen, organizers, and the everyday working class people. We stood together to represent the fact that, “enough is enough.” As the buses entered Washington D.C., we were blessed with exceptional weather, and although the Nation of Islam served as a most gracious host, we all felt at home, as we refreshed our spirits and minds.

I was blessed to attend the march with The Universal Zulu Nation. We rode into the nations capital to reinforce the desire for peace in our New York communities. Afrika Bambaataa, a true legend of hip hop, explained, “it’s about taking ourselves home, doing the knowledge, waking up our communities, to get up and do something for ourselves.” The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan delivered the message in a monumental way, and we all returned home enriched in substance through love.

View the full message here.

Be sure to checkout the 42nd Universal Zula Nation Anniversary, November 12-15.

Click to follow Jeff on Twitter

Jeffrey C. Suttles is a Master of Arts candidate in Urban Studies at the Murphy Institute. He is an independent songwriter/musician who completed his undergraduate studies at The City College of New York. He is currently a CUNY CAP student who continues to pursue career opportunities in publishing, communications, and the arts.

Last week, I got to go see Clive Owen make his Broadway debut in Roundabout Theatre Company’s Old Times.  I also had a little too much wine beforehand.  As such, the following is not a review.

Old Times is by Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter and is a so-called “memory play”… this is theater-speak for difficult to follow.  

Old Times was also an unusually brief theater experience, a mere 67 minutes.  In the short time I was seated in the American Airlines Theater a lot of urgent questions came up for me…not all these questions were related to Pinter’s abstract script.  See below:

How much are tickets to Old Times on Broadway…per minute?

By my calculations, anywhere from $1.25 – $5 or more per minute if you buy directly from the box office.  I couldn’t help but wonder if 
maybe they should have inserted some more of Pinter’s famous pauses (google: “Pinter pause”) to add value for the audience.

How much does the show cost the The Roundabout Theatre Company…per minute?

A silly question, maybe, considering all the preliminary work that goes into a large-scale production like Old Times.  But interesting because Roundabout is the nation’s largest 501c3 not-for-profit theater company.   

Apparently, they also have to publish a public financial report which would answer the question of how much the production costs.  This report will come out next year so stay tuned  (Roundabout is likely back in the black thanks to a network of donors and subscribers after a recession that hit the arts hard).  But the financial report will not explicitly answer the next question…

How much does Clive Owen make…per minute?

An internet search for “Clive Owen salary” reveals that Clive Owen may be one of the highest paid actors in the world…but there is little to be found regarding compensation for his theater work.  

Clive Owens, if I had to take a not-very-educated guess, is making less than the $150,000 per week Julia Roberts reportedly made for her star-turn in Three Days of Rain.  Let’s say he makes the same $40,000 Patti Lupone allegedly pulled in for the last Broadway revival of Gypsy.

 It is not-for-profit after all, it’s a meaty role that Clive expressed great interest in and it is not like he needs the money.

So let’s say $40,000.  He performs for a total of 536 enigmatic, sexually-charged minutes per week.  That is a total of 74.63 unconfirmed US Dollars per minute of stage time.  It’s not Hollywood money but it’ll pay the bills.

I won’t touch the issue of wage inequality based on gender…and the question of how much Clive’s Tony-nominated female co-star Eve Best might be making.  But I’m all over the implications for income inequality…

How about the other workers on the show: what do they make?

A living wage.

The New York theater industry is heavily unionized.  FOX News aired an interview a few years back with Broadway producer Barry Habib of Rock of Ages, in which he knocked the influence of organized labor.  In fact, as many as 17 unions represent workers and artists in some Broadway productions, many under the umbrella of IATSE (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees).  This ensures that, in an industry that is VERY fickle and precarious, all workers involved are paid a living wage as long as the show is running and enjoy benefits such as health insurance long after it closes.   

By the way, producers have been known to complain about the high cost of the acting talent as a percentage of their total costs when negotiating with the actor’s union, Actor’s Equity Association (AEA).  But Equity does not negotiate star salaries; they simply negotiate minimums.  So a union can not be blamed for the star salaries here as much as the star’s agents and the stars themselves…and maybe a little bit the audience that flocks to see such stars.

What does Old Times have to teach us? 

There has been a lot of buzz recently on the “Hollywood” business model: a short-term, project-based model of employment.  In a world of work increasingly precarious, movies create a ton of good quality, high-paying jobs…so much so, that cities throughout the US now offer tax credits to lure production.  In large part, this is due to the unions that represent many of the workers.  But it was Broadway that wrote the book on equitable pay for skilled temporary workers.

If producers bemoan the cost of doing business on Broadway as compared to, say, London, it is because everyone gets paid more over here.  Broadway theater professionals can, unlike their counterparts in London, afford to live within the city limits.  That includes dressers and stage technicians as well as stars like Clive Owen living the proverbial American Dream.  No wonder our stages and films are filled with Brits.  

Roundabout reports that 70% of its “salaries and benefits” costs are paid under collective bargaining agreements, that is to say, negotiates by unions.  In my mind, that is all the more reason to subscribe.  

The revenue from your ticket to Old Times goes to support a not-for-profit institution that manages to pay equitable salaries for hundreds of Americans.  Pat yourself on the back.  You can feel good about supporting the theater.

Oh ya: Old Times is also an important British play from an important British playwright with a big-name British movie star…and you’ll be out by 9:30.

Professional actor turned hotel concierge, Dana Steer arrived in New York to pursue a career on the musical stage in 2000.  Work as an actor came and went—and Dana found opportunity to explore many other professions and interests.  He eventually settled into a job in New York’s robust hotel industry.  His professional life in the arts and the hotel industry has been shaped by unions: Actor’s Equity, SAG/AFTRA and more recently the New York Hotel Trades Council, the union of hotel workers.  An interest in the world of work and social justice in the workplace brought Dana to the renowned Murphy Institute at CUNY SPS, where he is pursuing a Masters degree in Labor Studies.  Dana is active in his union and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music from Carnegie Mellon University.

Jeff’s Top 5

Crafting music for artists has changed tremendously within the last 40 years. From the days of Gamble and Huff laying down rhythms and melodies for the Ojay’s, to generating new music for the Black Eye Peas, technology has taken on a whole new meaning as we continue to create music. Nowadays one man has the ability to lay down numerous tracks, without an engineer, or additional musicians through music programs like Pro Tools and Reason.

As a musician, I decided to name the top five beat makers that influenced me to continue to make music. As technology continues to be a driving force in the creation of music, these guys have found a way to stay innovative. Also featured are a great list of honorable mentions, I feel that they are equally gifted and remain rooted in the art of creating music. In hindsight I left out Pete Rock, The Neptunes, Da Beatminerz, and D.I.T.C who also were very influential in the music industry and set a high standard when it came to making beats. Check out the video and let me know what you think, these are obviously my opinions and solely mint to inspire and encourage the next generation of music makers.

Jeff’s Top 5 Beat Makers:

  1. Dr. Dre
  2. DJ Premier
  3. Timbaland
  4. Erick Sermon
  5. RZA

***** This Blog is dedicated to the families and friends that lost a loved one on October 1, 2015 at Umpqua Community College.

Jeffrey C. Suttles is a Master of Arts candidate in Urban Studies at the Murphy Institute. He is an independent songwriter/musician who completed his undergraduate studies at The City College of New York.  He is currently a CUNY CAP student who continues to pursue career opportunities in publishing, communications, and the arts.