Introducing Creatives Converge: A Special Podcast Series with Creative Genius Law



Creative Genius Law is a full service law firm for creative industries and we're addicted to their mission as shared in this Rolling Out interview with its principal attorney and founder, Patrice Perkins:

"I think that independent arts professionals work incredibly hard on their craft, but there’s a knowledge gap that could impact the value and reach of their art, long term. That gap is knowledge of intellectual property laws as it applies to their business and that’s where we step in. I want to see artists thrive not just today but really position themselves to sustain long-term doing work they love. If they are multi-disciplinary, I want it to be by choice and not because it’s what’s needed to make ends meet."

[Tweet ""I want to see artists position themselves to sustain long-term." - @creative_esq"]

Creatives Converge, a special podcast series, is our digital collab with CGL (Creative Genius Law), hosted by Patrice. Patrice chats with four creatives who have been on the move in 2018. Listen up as they discuss building their businesses, legal tidbits + a take a look at pop culture through a legal lens. Click on the pic below (or CLICK HERE) to listen to the first episode and stay tuned for more episodes to come.

Tiffany Dufu On Overcoming Challenges In The Publishing Industry

Sponsored by Tiffany Dufu, Creative Assets designed by Kareracter Creative Studio exclusively for #blkcreatives It doesn't matter what level you're at in your career, new experiences and opportunities will always clear the way for growth. Tiffany Dufua catalyst-at-large in the world of women’s leadership, doesn't shy away from that process. As a new author (of Drop the Ball, a memoir and manifesto that shows women how to cultivate the single skill they really need in order to thrive), Tiffany is celebrating her book anniversary by sharing the challenges she's faced in the publishing industry and how embracing herself and her community, helped her overcome them.

Happy Anniversary to you, as Drop The Ball will be celebrating its first birthday (on Feb 14th). You've built an incredible career around advancing the lives of women and girls. Why was it important for you to bring this particular story to life?

Tiffany: Women's leadership is incredibly important to me. The biggest reason why we struggle with innovating solutions to some of our toughest problems, things like disparities in access to education and healthcare, global warming, or a criminal justice system that isn't just, is because we don't have diverse people sitting around the most powerful decision making tables. I've been trying to inspire and equip women to pursue their ambition. But women kept telling me that one of the reasons they couldn't be the CEO at work was because they were already the CEO at home. It was just too much. They also kept asking me how I was personally managing it all. I felt I owed them an answer and that it was my responsibility to support them in creating lives they were passionate about.

One box that the publishing industry seems to put Black creatives in, is that we all have to create from a space that's just about race and identity but we have SO much more to share. How did you push back against this narrative and how would you advise others to do the same?

Tiffany: I pushed back by recognizing this racist narrative is profitable and proving to the industry that there's an alternative narrative that can also make money. It's good business for publishers to market black authors to black women because college educated black women read more books in any format than any other demographic. We have a lot of book buying power. But I didn't want to be put in a box. I felt that Drop the Ball had a message that would appeal to all women. So I was explicit about positioning the book in the broadest way possible so that it would appeal to more consumers.

Tiffany Dufu #blkcreatives Drop The Ball

Tiffany Dufu #blkcreatives Drop The Ball

For example, I ensured the BISAC codes reflected how I wanted Drop the Ball to be categorized. They included Business & Economics, Women, Autobiography, Social Science, and Marriage & Family. As an avid book buyer, I was sensitive to the fact that regardless of the subject, books by black authors are too often relegated to the African American section. I personally love this section, but the average white woman isn't walking into Barnes & Noble and heading there. So we assigned BISAC codes that guaranteed Drop the Ball would be placed in the business section alongside titles like Lean In. I've loved all of Ava Duvernay's films, but I'm most excited about A Wrinkle In Time because its success will be the biggest push back to the narrative that black people can't tell stories that aren't just about being black. And the most convincing evidence will be the dollar signs at the box office.

Was there anything that surprised you throughout this process? Is there anything you would have done differently?

Tiffany: Because I was so hell bent on ensuring Drop the Ball appealed broadly, I refused to appear on the cover. But once the book was released, it became clear that sales were closely correlated with my public appearances and interviews. The cover wasn't selling the book. I was. We often spend a lot of time trying to find the best marketing tools and strategies, but what I learned was that I am my own best marketing tool for my creative work. My editor had to sit me down to explain that I really needed to appear on the paperback. A new jacket was designed that will be released soon.

Tiffany Dufu #blkcreatives Drop The Ball

Tiffany Dufu #blkcreatives Drop The Ball

In your book, you share how you've relied on your community and network of support to adjust. How did your community show up for you throughout the publishing process?

Tiffany: I'm just the cumulative investment of other people. I could tell you a million ways my village showed up, but I have to give a special shout out to the black women came through in a big way. They talked me off ledges during the writing process when I doubted myself and got scared I wouldn't be able to deliver a manuscript to my editor worthy of the advance. They hosted book events for me in major cities, they hired me to speak at their companies and purchased multiple copies of Drop the Ball for their audiences. One of my friends, Keli Goff, wrote a fierce review of Drop the Ball on the day it was released. It went viral and made my book fly. Then there were my Delta Sorors that showed up at every public event just to tell me they had bought multiple copies and to give me a hug.

Every time I think about all of the love I received I want to cry all over again. Drop the Ball was a bestseller because of some serious #BlackGirlMagic.

We all know that publishing a book is no easy undertaking. What would you recommend as the first practical step that someone should take when looking to publish their book?

Tiffany: Write every day. Find an agent that will fight for you. Interview authors. Know that your voice is important and your words are needed to help change the world.

Tiffany Dufu Drop The Ball

Tiffany Dufu Drop The Ball

If you haven't already, grab your copy of Drop The Ball here.

Behind The Scenes | An Interview with Myleik Teele on Creating the #MTYRetreat

"The number of women selected for this event was based on what we could realistically handle.  Keep in mind, I also have a cap on the number of subscriptions we have at curlBOXfor this very reason. I’m clear on the “quality cap” when it comes to the things that I produce. I know that if I try to accommodate too many, I compromise the quality of what I’m doing.  Many disagree with this approach to business because it leaves money on the table but that’s not what I’m about."

Our friend Tracy Gonce deemed Myleik Teele, the "queen of flipping women from blah to boss" and we couldn't agree more. We've been following Myleik's career journey since she was a publicist and she doesn't just practice what she preaches, she LIVES it, online and in real life. As the Founder & Chief Experience Officer of curlBOX, Myleik has disrupted the beauty industry in a way that allows women of color to consistently come first. Most recently, Myleik and her team wrapped up her first #MTYRetreat, a curated experience for women to explore the possibilities that comes with "Limitless Living". Here, the entrepreneur (and one of our fave podcast hosts), talks how the retreat came together, her commitment to excellence and growth, and what we can learn about the power of standards from the retreat's application process.

Interview by Melissa Kimble.



MK: From the very beginning of curlBOX, you've been intentional about creating experiences for Black women and the retreat was no different. It was a flawless, well executed event. What were your guiding principles during the creation of this experience?

Myleik: My guiding principles during the creation of this experience were:

Commitment of Excellence: I strive to be a living example of doing all things in excellence.  Excellence is an attitude and I believe in leading by example. I wanted retreat goers to see me at my best in hopes that they’d be inspired to do the same.

[Tweet ""I strive to be a living example of doing all things in excellence." - @myleik via #blkcreatives"]

You Deserve More: Many of us won’t even look at 5-star hotels because we’ve trained ourselves that they aren’t for us. The theme for the RETREAT was “Limitless Living” and by inviting them to a 5-star, 4-diamond resort, it was proof that we belong everywhere.

Let’s Have Fun: Many of us spend our days working twice as hard as everyone else and taking care of everyone else to the point that we forget to have true unadulterated FUN. I wanted to craft experiences that made you laugh until your sides burned and dance until your feet hurt. Based on what I saw, mission accomplished.

MK: For your retreat, you enlisted the help of other industry leaders like Karleen Roy and Kahlana Barfield Brown. Why was it important for you to take a team driven approach to execute this experience?

Karleen Roy #MTYRetreat

Karleen Roy #MTYRetreat

(Note from Myleik): "I think the question is less about a “team-driven” approach and perhaps why it was important for me to “collaborate” with my peers for this. I have never worked without a team."

Myleik: To be fair, this event came to fruition with the help of a small agency and my in-house team for over a year. While these six people may not be visible, they are very definitely heavy-hitters in their own right. The public gets to see the glitz and glamour of it all but there were over a thousand payments that had to be processed, nearly 100 flight transfers, questionnaires to be sent, websites to be built, tons of graphic design and hundreds of hours of communication. The people out front tend to get the credit, but none of this could have happened without them.  

When it came time to set the actual tone of the event, I flew Karleen out to the host resort in Mexico for a weekend stay so that she’d be able to fully understand what I wanted THE RETREAT attendees to feel.  After that, we began brainstorming on a schedule of breathtaking events.  I hiredKarleen’s “Vanity Group”for this because I don’t believe that anyone could have visually articulated my dreams better than her. We spent countless hours on the phone, trading texts and emails and every detail came out better than I could have imagined.  I don’t plan events for a living, so I hired someone with the actual skills and resources to get it done.

As for the speakers, I have personal relationships with everyone that spoke over the weekend.  Everyone that spoke atTHE RETREATunderstood my vision and knew what I was trying to accomplish.  They were all more than willing to jump on board to help me see this thing through. When they need me to do something, they know I’ll be right there.



MK: While it would be impossible to accommodate 1,500 women when there were only a select number of spots available, there are some on social media who've appeared to take the application process/rejection personally. Some have even reviewed their rejections from a lens of "I'm not good enough" or "something must be wrong with me". How would you challenge that perspective and how can we break the mentality that equates rejection/failure with unworthiness?

Myleik: I think what may have been a huge mistake for some during the application process in 2016 was moving too fast and not spending enough time with the questions.  Believe it or not, the majority of applications I received said things like “I want to go because I need a vacation.” While I totally understand that, you don’t really need me if a vacation is all you need.  I was looking for people that were able to articulate their ability to exchange – people that hoped to learn something but also had something to offer THE RETREAT.  I knew that the event wouldn’t have the same impact if everyone had to rely solely on me to provide insights for the weekend.  I wanted a completely immersive experience in which people could chat with someone on the ride over to the resort and learn something or solve a problem they’d been having by the pool.  Based on the feedback I’ve gotten, that goal was accomplished.  

There seems to be a misconception that the group consisted of mostly bloggers and influencers and I think that likely came from the fact that I announced this RETREAT on Instagramwhere many bloggers and influencers reside.  There were various career levels from entry to expert.  The group was diverse and made up of pharmacists, doctors, photographers, financial analysts, data analysts, journalists, ministers and more!

MK: It's been beautiful to watch so many women come together to genuinely connect and grow. Did you learn anything new about yourself or your business? What are you most proud of when you think about #MTYRetreat?

Myleik: In working on this RETREAT I learned that I am capable of more than I thought I was.  This was a HUGE undertaking and I managed to get it all done while holding down two companies (with a baby on the way)!

I’m most proud of the fact that I had the means to personally finance this.  I’ve always wanted to do something like this and every time it came to a point where the budget would stretch, I was able to say “let’s keep going.”  Sometimes it just takes someone treating us really well to remind us that we should be the first to spoil ourselves. There are no words to measure the amount of love I felt over the weekend and these ladies were worth every single penny spent.  I’d do it again in a heartbeat!

[Tweet ""Sometimes it just takes someone treating us really well to remind us that we should be the first to spoil ourselves." - @myleik for #blkcreatives"]

Want info on next year’s #MTYRetreat? Sign up for alerts on the websiteand follow the hashtag on Twitter for even more gems.

Jade Broomfield, ’17, has Two Jobs. She Likes it That Way.

Sponsored by MFA Design for Social Innovation Designers create transformational work for clients every day: contributing to their growth, strengthening relationships with their audiences, raising their visibility.

An MFA in Social Design allows graduates to take their skills to the next level, using them to make the world more just and equitable. That’s certainly the case for recent DSI graduate Jade Broomfield.

MFA Design for Social Innovation

MFA Design for Social Innovation

Jade cares deeply about social justice, and has made it the center of her career. She is a public access design fellow at the Center of Urban Pedagogy, a nonprofit organization that uses the power of design and art to increase meaningful civic engagement in New York City. But she’s also a graphic designer at Uncommon Goods, a B Corporation that offers handmade goods with a focus on positively impacting people and the planet.

Jade said DSI pushes students through an intense idea-generation process that includes iteration, reframing and analysis. “You might start somewhere and end up in a completely different place,” she explained.

That was definitely true for Jade’s thesis project, Time In, a superhero-themed yoga program for black male elementary students who have been suspended and show signs of repeated problematic behavior that make it likely the’ll be suspended again.

MFA Design for Social Innovation

MFA Design for Social Innovation

To counteract this problem, Jade created a classroom program that allows boys to see themselves as superheroes through a set of yoga poses. Yoga strengthens the boys’ bodies and minds, she said, and helps with relaxation and self-confidence.

Now, she’s focused on a project with the Justice Coalition of New York through her work with the Center of Urban Pedagogy.

“I’m excited that it’s working with underrepresented communities and minority communities, and their relationship with the police, which is obviously a huge, high-profile problem right now,” Jade said.

For those applying to DSI, she recommends candidates be open to working on teams and learning from their cohort.

“I came to DSI like a lone wolf,” she said. “I was comfortable with working with other people, but felt more efficient when I was working by myself. That’s the great thing about social design: You need other people to collaborate.”

To learn more about DSI and apply to earn your MFA in Social Design, visit

[Tweet "Considering a MFA in Social Design? This story may help. #blkcreatives"]

Artist Ronald Draper On The #EverybodyEatsPodcast

Everybody Eats Podcast

"Everybody eats B" is one of the most quotable movie lines in Black culture. It's a declaration, an affirmation, a statement of purpose that we take to heart. It's also what draws us to the Everybody Eats Podcast.
#EverybodyEatsPodcast powered by STAY HUNGRY (@YoStayHungry) is a conversation with people shaking things up in the world. Join the team as they talk food, the hustle and everything in between. They're out here reminding folks that there is room for everybody at the table. #YoStayHungry
Each week will be sharing an episode of the podcast for you to dig into. Subscribe and listen to their podcast on iTunes or take a listen on Soundcloud!

Episode 1: Harlem's Own Ronald Draper


Ronald Draper (@ronalddraper_art) lovingly known by #EverybodyEatsPodcast as Harlem's New Renaissance man sat down with the team to discuss how heartache and a natural disaster birthed Draper artwork. He discusses NYC hustlers, providing opportunity, leaving legacies, and following your passion. Listen to the full episode here:
A Word To Remember
[Tweet ""It’s our job to keep cooking so there's still opps around for everybody." - @InDRAPERweTrust"]