do the (inner) work.
[April 8, 2014]
There was a period in my life where I walked in circles. I miserably jumped from job to job not really happy but not willing to face the reality that I had failed myself by not pursuing what I really wanted. #blkcreatives has taken on many forms since we first started in 2012 (or 2011, depending on who you ask lol) but our humble beginning lies next to dirty work boots + manual labor. While working my first post-college job in one of the largest distribution centers in the world, I realized I was so far away from my degree in Communications (News-Editorial) that I couldn’t see any way out.
Up until then I had dreamed of working for every big name publication you could think of but the economy in 2009 quickly crushed those dreams and I was forced to take whatever I could find. Looking back on it, what looked like a huge setback turned into an opportunity to create my own space. If you’ve read Malcolm Gladwell’s David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants, then you understand how changing our perspective on what a disadvantage looks like can really be an advantage. One day, in between helping load airplanes (yes, I did that too), I had the idea to highlight young, creative, professional people of color who don’t get to share their stories. #blkcreatives (formally known as My Creative Connection) was born. It had a nice run but got lost in a sea of bad relationships, bad choices, stressful jobs, stressful life situations, and quite frankly, fear. Right before I relocated to Atlanta from Memphis (another story for another time), I made a pact to start it back up and even in my transition, it flourished. Proud to say that we’ve featured amazing women and men such as Demetria Lucas, Mattie James of Mattieologie, LoveBrownSugar’s Christina S. Brown, Jasmine Crowe of Black Celebrity Giving, the impeccable stylist Harrison T. Crite, super producer Angel Elliot, President of SRG Athletics, Brandon Logan, and Roc Nation’s Kirby Lauryen.
The blog has led me to be named one of the “Top 14 Empowering & Inspiring Black Women to Follow Online in 2013” and I’ve been able to land gigs like being the live Social Media Coordinator for events like The Dream Protected Tour hosted by AJ Calloway (incredible experience working with him), featuring Kevin Hart and Soledad O’Brien (yes, I met them both + asked them questions in front of a live audience – crazy right?!) or being the official live tweeter for Shaun King’s amazing 100 Life Goals online event which featured Deepak Chopra, Hill Harper, and curlBOX’s Myleik Teele. We even hosted amazing digital meetups like our webinars with Personal Branding Expert Emmelie De La Cruz + PR Pro Raven Robinson (both are BEASTS) and Twitter chats that honored black fatherhood featuring Lamar Tyler of Black & Married With Kids, and our films with Gabrielle Dennis, Lamman Rucker and Mark Harris (the director) of the movie Black Coffee.
Now that I’ve relocated from Atlanta back to my hometown of Chicago (also another story, for another time), #blkcreatives has taken on new life.Why am I sharing my story now?
Because there’s a ton of amazing, young, creative people of color who are just trying to find their place in this world – me being one of them. And for many of us, we see people flexing on social media and think we’re the only ones lost, the only ones struggling to pay rent, the only ones using toxic situations to cover up our disappointment, the only ones dealing with failures, the only ones trying to break out of the systems that have been put in place to keep us in check. But guess what?
You’re not alone. No matter how many times you think you’ve failed or fallen short, there’s always time to renew yourself + get back to building the life you want to see. Just because we can’t visualize it in the world around us at the moment, doesn’t mean it can’t happen.
#blkcreatives is here to help. Whether it’s sharing the stories of others who have made it out of their personal wilderness, giving you resources and practical advice to become the best version of yourself, or helping to build your network (start online + carry it offline), we’re going to show you that it is very possible to reach and achieve your dreams. Like the great Sakita Holley shared with me during one of the hardest moments (also known as last week) in my life, there’s no blueprint for what we’re trying to do. And that’s fine. Because as long as we’re here to help each other move forward, we’ll be fine. In the words of my favorite rapper, “You ain’t havin’ it? Good me either, let’s get together make this whole world believe us.”
This world will try to build up walls around your spirit. Don’t let it break you.
Peace + Power,
Melissa, Creator + Founder of #blkcreatives
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