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 dsi.sva.edu/apply.

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

Exclusive: From Hennypalooza to Dussepalooza, Co-Founder Kam Talks New Roc Nation D’USSE Partnership

"You ain't having it? Good, me either

Let's get together and make this whole world believe us... " - Jay-Z, "Can’t Knock The Hustle"

photo credit: Raven B.

photo credit: Raven B.

Rocafella.png

We initially took a meeting with D'USSE in, like, February 2016. And we came in very high because that was our first time at that kind of a table. They always tell you shoot for the stars, which we did, and through those first negotiations, we kind of learned exactly what it was we were dealing with. And that we weren’t quite there yet. But, we used that as fuel, because for us it’s like, ok we’ll show you exactly how good we are. It’s very comparable to Jay and those guys, [Kareem “Biggs” Burke and Damon  “Dame” Dash,] back in the day - going to record label after record label trying to get a deal. We’ll do it ourselves to the point where you can’t deny us

Jay. Biggs. Dame. These three names will forever be embedded into our culture. Their  “Dynasty” era, which claimed its territory  in the late 90s and early 2000s, a time when Hip-Hop merged into the world of pop culture,  has manifested into a blueprint for any creative who  desires to live and work by their own rules.

The prototype has been laid nicely, and it’s only right for anyone who wants a top spot in the big leagues to follow suit, while, of course, adjusting the game to fit their vision. Enter the re-branding of culture curators and social innovators, Kameron “Kam” McCullough, Nile “Lowkey” Ivey and Kazeem “Kaz” Famuyide - also known as the crew who brought the adrenaline inducing turn-up series, Hennypalooza. An hour after the public announcement of their new partnership deal with the Roc Nation endorsed D’USSE’ brand, #blkcreatives caught up  with Kam, the co-founder of the boutique festival formerly known as Hennypalooza to talk shop about business elevation, the importance of authentic relationships and when it comes to #DussePalooza, why we should “blame Lenny S. for that.” (*See what we did there?)

Interview by Melissa Kimble, Edited by LaToya Cross, Transcript by Mik

MK: Congrats again on such a phenomenal partnership. It’s something that, definitely from the outside looking in - the synergy seems seamless. But I also know, too, that this is a long process. I saw on Instagram, you shared that you had a meeting one year and made a crucial connection this past year , so all these different things added up over time.Talk to me about, what you had to learn and develop about yourself and about the D’USSÉ brand while you were waiting on the deal to finalize.

Kam: I think it was, you know, for me with these things, this has always been a ‘learn as you go’ kind of process. And the humbling part of that process, is always, you can be supremely confident in who you are, what you are, and whatever it is you bring to the table. But unless that translates to the other side, whoever you’re negotiating with, it’s a little bit of work to be done there. So we thought about what we always knew to be true about ourselves and we had to make other people see that -  and by other people, I mean other brands.

So it took some time. 2016 and 2017 were our biggest years by far. During that ride for us, we got to thinking what would this look like with some real alignment and like a real engine behind the movement? We thought about who we align best with, and clearly it’s not Hennessy. And that’s no disrespect to Hennessy. I don’t want this to be a shaming of them or indictment of them. It’s just, as we all know, the only people who really get us is us. We went back in, had the meetings. Luckily, we [ maintained] great relationships with those guys over there [at D'usse] forever. Then after that, we got back to the drawing board and came with something that we felt worked [for] both sides.

MK: Which is important.

Kam: Yea, it worked for both sides and, now, the two of us being in a different place than we were two years ago. They’re growing, we’re growing. Like, why not do it together?  To be a brand, as you know as well, it’s very hard for a brand to make that connection culturally, right? To make that connection to a consumer. We do it, probably, in a way it’s never been done before. And that’s new to a spirit brand. So after we got into all that stuff and got to the nitty gritty of it, it was something that we felt was time. And now the hard part was coming to a place that both sides were comfortable with.

MK: You mentioned something there that I definitely want to circle back to. The first thing that jumped out immediately: relationships and maintaining those relationships. And of course, that’s been at the foundation of what you’ve built, especially with your team over these past five years. And I mean, I’m sure even before Hennypalooza came into existence. So how do you maintain these business relationships? We have our peer level relationships, of course, and then we have our OGs, right?  How have you been able to maintain those relationships with the OGs, who are really in the place to push what you’re doing to the next level?

Kam: I think it’s kind of two fold. One, it’s always remaining yourself, being true to who you are because that’s why they like you in the first place. But also, even if you’re not working together, it’s always about staying in contact and staying on the radar because these people, for all intents and purposes, are super busy, right? So like, things can be on their plate one day, gone the next. But for me, I think it was always important to just maintain that level of rapport with a Lenny S. You can always go, ‘This is my OG, this is my bro,’ but Lenny S. is one of those few people that always looks out for whoever he can. I’ve always thought that, and I've known Lenny S. for God knows how many years, but it was literally like harping on that really strong relationship that I have and just the business dealings I had with others in the past over there and to just kind of bring it all together. That’s what it was for me.

photo credit: Raven B

photo credit: Raven B

The second, and most important thing was, speaking what I wanted to happen into play, you know? Because with people like that, they hear stuff all the time but you’ve got to make it known that you actually want something. When I re-approached the conversation with Lenny S., I was very clear in my intent and he was like ‘okay so you're serious’ and it’s still a thing so let's get it done. And it didn’t take long at all to get it done, which, as you know with anything like this, it can take half of a year to a year to get something done. But that relationship was key. I would say our relationship with Lenny S. was the real binding factor.

MK: Let’s talk about this gap of having to wait years for something to officially pop off. I think especially in this social and digital media age, we often fall into the trap of instant gratification. ‘Oh I met so-and-so last week, so, next week I'll be featured on whatever.’ We do not like to wait. It's a fine balance, especially for us as creatives, we are so in this space of making things happen but to a certain extent you also have to allow the process to be the process. My friend Sakita says, ‘It takes as long as it takes’.  And, as you know, quality definitely takes time. So over these past five years with what you're doing now, HOW have you and your team been able to maintain the discipline and patience to keep going, even when you weren’t sure how things were going to work out?

Kam: For me, it was very hard because you know you're doing quality work and it's like, at what point will it add up, will it make sense? And for us, my main thing was just sticking true to our process and what we do on our end because what we had already built was self-made and self-sustained. So if we’re able to do that, that was the only thing that really separated us - you can find some synergy and some partnership amazing ‘cause that'll help us go further, right? Because that gives us something that we never had, which is an outside resource. And so for me, I always looked at that, as a ‘when it happens, it happens,’ [moment] but you know it’s human nature to get ahead of yourself. I am one of the most impatient people on the planet. So for me, it was always like, ‘Ok ok, you have to stay patient [but still respectfully persistent] because you're leading a group of individuals into whatever endeavor that is. I kind of  think the responsibility of that kept me patient. As you can see, timing is everything. And I just think that there’s a higher power that knows, that sees thing in place.

When opportunity is there, you have to be ready and that was my thing -- just making sure that we were ready. With us entering that space coming out of a five anniversary, 50 shows, we’re a well oiled machine. So now,  that's why everything is happening in real time, it’s going crazy and that's just all product and timing. Who would have said that we would have did this two years ago? Because we weren't this two years ago. I think it's all trusting yourself and trusting your team obviously. I trust my team with anything and staying true, always having something foundational and really substantial to fall back on which was us and the work we had done.

Photo credit: raven b.

Photo credit: raven b.

MK: I love this thought process of ‘we were a well oiled machine’ so that when it was time to start to pivot, you were already in a position to be at maximum capacity. And sometimes, when we are pursuing things, we're not even ready for what we say we want. So at what point did you learn how important your process was and how it would later impact the bigger picture?

Kam: I think for me, it was kind of like early 2015  because for the first time, I was forced to be patient about things that are out of my control. And when things are out of your control, as people, we always try to force them back into our control. But for me it was more so, what can I have control of? I can control my habits, I can control my attitude. I just looked at it as a time to get that process right. And if I was able to study my approach to all of this, then it would prove to be fruitful and helpful for everybody. I kind of feel like everything you do is connected anyway. Everything you do is connected to all of those things happening simultaneously. For me, those things got me to this point now and being able to just navigate this.

[Tweet "I just looked at it as a time to get that process right. - @koolestkidout #blkcreatives"]

MK: In terms of your following, you have a dedicated national audience. When you think of this partnership, what are you most excited about for your audience?

Kam: I'm excited just because now we’ll be able to do more. We always did everything by ourselves trying to put out the best possible show. Right now, we have a machine behind us that will allow us to do more. We’ve heard people complaining of us running out of liquor too soon, that won't be an issue. As far as getting talent on board, who can’t we get to now? Who don't we have access to? That’s another thing with just being in a partnership with a D’USSÉ, with a Bacardi, and with Roc Nation. Now we have access to anybody and what we have is really cool. Now, it’s not far-fetched to have the who's who up there [on stage]. And by the ‘who’s who’ I think everyone can think of who I'm alluding to...(*laughs*)

I was trying to figure out my tagline, how I was going to push this and , what's the best way to message this and people still get it. It's a change, it is a change for us. For me, I gotta let people know it’s the same thing, it’s still the same party, the same crew but we are playing by new rules.

I feel like, for us, we're playing with house money, we got the backing of the greatest rapper of all time. An up-and-coming brand that’s just been building, like us. Now, I feel like the sky's the limit. We talked about festivals in the past, all of that stuff - things like that become a reality. So this crowd who we've had forever, who is loyal and so dedicated, now they get to grow with us a little more because now they get to see what doing a good job, having integrity, just standing by your own shit, how far it can get you. That's what I love about our consumer - they're so smart, they’re so in tune and they’re so savvy. If we would’ve just went and sold off our rights to whoever, they would have been like ‘oh they got bought out.’

But them hearing the narrative of buying into your own and supporting your own…they hear that and now for us, people who look like them, people who are their age, people who are in their circles…now they see that. I'm just excited for them to grow with us and see what these things can be. It’s surreal to me. I still can't believe it. I am excited to get to work and get it to where it needs to be.

MK: We also live in this investor culture and sometimes that takes away from the power of ownership, especially with the brands built by us - we seem to leave that out of the conversation. I was excited to see that you didn’t just give it away. Why was the partnership route the way to go for you and what’s now, Dussepalooza?

Kam:  I listen to a lot of Jay-Z. It’s easy to get blinded by the lights of certain things, of certain brands and people, but for us, ownership and walking into this as a partnership is equally beneficial for both sides. D'USSÉ is the number two cognac, obviously wanting to be number one. They have a lot of growing to do. Us, as this traveling boutique festival, we have a lot of growing to do but we can do it together and I sense that it's really 50-50. We just do what we do, you do what you do and together we're going to make something incredible. And for me, that was the main thing, keeping what we have and building this thing out.

I see this now. As I would say before, we could do a Hennypalooza for another two years but this…I don't really see an end. It's almost taking on a new life again and who knows where we could go with this now. We can go higher. It's an amazing feeling. It's an amazing time. It's good to finally be in a space with someone else who gets it. That's always been the thing with me, coming from corporate, brands just don't get it. And it's our culture; we should be able to speak for it, but also, we should be able to be at the forefront of the conversation. We should be controlling it and I believe this will give us the ability to do just that.

[Tweet "it's our culture; we should be able to speak for it - @koolestkidout"]

Meet Momo Pixel, The Creator of The 'Hair Nah' Video Game

I wish I would have known that I was going to have this idea so that I could have launched it as an app from bat. It took us almost 10 months to make this and we still didn’t have enough time to do the app. I was able to do this during work. But I still had to work. So I would be on about five other assignments while making the game. I just wish I could have had a solve for that in the beginning because once we really got going, it wasn’t really a possibility...although it is now!

Even among the political pollution that is clouding our Twitter feed, somehow, someway, Black creativity still manages to prevail and rise to the top. And it’s an amazing and brilliant and refreshing and a prevalent reminder that no matter how much we absorb from this crazy world, we can still produce some good. Momo Pixel moved to Portland and got tired of women putting their hands in her hair so she channeled that irritation into creativity and culturally relevant entertainment. Read on to find out her story behind the game, Hair Nah. (Yes, the title speaks for itself.)

Interview by Melissa Kimble

Tell us about your journey. What skills and experiences led you to create Hair Nah!?

I was a weird art nerd growing up and I wanted to find others like me. So I went to art school. I attended to SCAD Savannah College of Art and Design. There, I just bounced from major to major, trying to find my way but I was interested in everything and I still am. I graduated after learning television production, writing, graphics, and fashion but my degree says visual communications. Lmao! After college I got an internship working at Leo Burnett. My first commercial was for Nintendo. I was a copywriter then. But I was pumped! Because clearly I like video games. Then I ended up leaving the company. I went to Atlanta and started my own art show called Momoland. I moved to New York and was chilling there being an artist. Then I got the call from Wieden+Kennedy. They wanted to see if I wanted to try being a creative for the summer. And well, here I am. But the pixel designing and aesthetic is separate. I started doing that while in college, making pixel accessories. Then while at WK I really got into designing digitally. So Hair Nah is like my first big digital pixel project.

While this your creation, I noticed that your game is credited as being supported by On She Goes, a digital travel platform that helps women of color travel more confidently, more adventurously, and more often. Can you explain your partnership/relationship and how you support each other?

Yea! So OSG is another passion project that WK helped launch. They are really into doing diversity initiatives and things that are good. So OSG was one. And when I was working on the game I had a lot of meetings with them and that is how it became a travel game. I was like oh this is a dope spin on it, let’s do it. They also just helped me and supported me when I was designing and working on the game. Plus they have contacts and I had none. So getting the word out, they were dope with that. Although, that tweet seemed to do. (at press time, that tweet has garnered 27K retweets and 51K likes.) That’s still so crazy to me.

Momo-Pixel-Hair-Nah-Game-#blkcreatives-Interview

Momo-Pixel-Hair-Nah-Game-#blkcreatives-Interview

What are some things that you learned about yourself or about your work during this process of creating Hair Nah!?

I’d say I learned that if something is meant to happen for you, it will. I had this idea and I was really excited about it and my job helped me put it out. Which is crazy. So that was a lesson I learned because this game is now out in the world, and ya know it could not have been. Also I AM DOPE ASF lol. I mean I knew that but sometimes we are really hard on ourselves. Often times I feel like I’m not doing enough. I haven’t created enough. I’m lazy. But working on this game, I was like Momo, you got the work ethic of a starving lion, I’m with it. (LOL) So I really learned that I am good and very determined when it comes to my work. I am adamant about colors and aesthetic and that will never go away. Plus I learned how to be quicker with designing. That’s always good.

hair-nah-game-#blkcreatives-interview

hair-nah-game-#blkcreatives-interview

You cite your move to Portland as being inspiration behind creating this game. Where did you move from and how did you handle this transition?

I moved to Portland from New York. So when I say it was a culture shock - it was a CULTURE SHOCK! I went from loud laughs, arguments, and clothes. To quiet. Nothing. Absence of it all. I think when you first move it's all new and I like newness. So I was like, let’s see. But then that wore off and I missed seeing a diverse group of people. I missed being able to stand on the street and talk however with a friend. I missed the noise and art. I missed the food. I missed everything but the stress and brokenness. Cause New York, will have you stressed and broke and those two things are enough for me to chill in Portland…at least for a few years.

I’m listening to “I Was More” as I work on this interview. Can you tell us about the story behind the music on your Soundcloud page?

Momo Pixel #blkcreatives Hair Nah Creator

Momo Pixel #blkcreatives Hair Nah Creator

Oh yea! I love music and love to make it. I grew up on Sting, Stevie Wonder, Sade, Anita Baker. It’s just been a part of my life. And I was a child singer growing up. Performing in shows and all that. So yea, I make music. Sometimes I produce too when I can’t find the sound I’m looking for. I’d say my style is: if Jill Scott made electronic chill music. Currently I’m working on a music video for “Push” that shall drop in the near future. But thank you so much for listening!

How can our community support you in your next steps? Give us, at least, two practical things to do, one being a way in which we can monetarily support you.

Haha, well follow me! That way you will know when Hair Nah becomes an app and you’ll know about my other endeavors. I am always creating. So follow me! But of course money always helps. I started a Patreon recently, I’m still trying to figure it out. Momo Pixel on everything.

Play the Hair Nah game for yourself here and follow Momo on Twitter!

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

Everybody-Eats-Podcast-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: http://bit.ly/rondraper
A Word To Remember
[Tweet ""It’s our job to keep cooking so there's still opps around for everybody." - @InDRAPERweTrust"]

 

Chassidy Jade on The Mane Event, Surprises In The Industry and What Working Since 15 Has Taught Her

I was a rough kid who had been through a lot so could never express myself. This saved me, for real. I'm exposed to many different things; good, crazy and beautiful. It's definitely made me more cultured and forced me to meet people, see places, and experience things I could never imagine. I don't come from a rich family so I'm truly blessed!

Chassidy-Jade-The-Mane-Event

Chassidy-Jade-The-Mane-Event

On 10.17, BET’s The Mane Event took over the Internet. While it’s easy to become captivated with the fan fare around the union of Radric and Keyshia Ka'oir Davis, this story is a reminder that productions are team efforts with individuals who are committed to telling our stories. Enter Chassidy Jade, a professional who’s been working since the age of 15. The Palm Beach, FL, Memphis raised, editor, writer, and creative director is on a mission to produce high quality and diverse independent projects.

Chassidy’s career runs the gamut of high profile media companies such as HBO, BET, We TV, Apple Music, NBC, Warner Brothers, and more. Born a military brat, she was exposed to diverse ways of life, sparking her creative plug. While finding many creative outlets with an elder sister who studied ballet, the two were criticized for not fitting the “black stereotype” by their peers and denied opportunities for being African-­‐American in predominantly white environments. This is something that stuck with Jade and influenced her rebellious spirit and feminist attitude

“We’re taught to relate, not to think for ourselves so that it’s easy to find comfort in boxes that fit a specific character. Once you step outside that character, you become human.”

Serving as the TV special’s Segment Editor/Producer, Chassidy shares her journey in television production within the entertainment industry, how she lands her jobs and what surprised her the most while working on The Mane Event.

Chassidy-Jade-The-Mane-Event-2

Chassidy-Jade-The-Mane-Event-2

Have you always wanted to work in TV production? Tell us about your journey and what led you to work on this special.

Well I've been working in production professionally (as in getting a real check from real companies lol) for about 7 years now but I started when I was 15. I've always been a creative and interested in entertainment, I was just never sure what role I would play. When fully indulge into production in high school, I was sold with living behind the scenes -- where the magic really happens.

I've worked on many productions so this job came like any other: a referral & a good demo reel. I've worked with BET for a few projects. I guess this project stood out because it's something my generation is genuinely interested in. Gucci Mane is one of the biggest soundtracks of our adolescence. It's not often I get projects that hit home.

What lessons did you learn - personally or professionally - from working on this project? Was there anything that surprised you?

I was surprised at how friendly the crew was. On Big productions like these egos & politics can turn these into a competition game but everyone was super supportive of one another and all about getting the job done. Definitely my top 3 crews to work with!

Chassidy-Jade-The-Mane-Event-3

Chassidy-Jade-The-Mane-Event-3

Working in the entertainment industry, even with all of its highs, is a tough process. How have you learned to embrace the challenges?

This industry is very tough and behind the camera is even harder. The biggest challenges I face are respect and security. I'm always the youngest, the only female, and black who's actually in the field. They're not a lot diversity with editors, camera operators, lighting techs, etc. I always get this surprise look when I walk in the room. I constantly have to prove myself to Senior Editors who've been doing this for 20+ years but it's life. I've learned to not internalize that and just do great work so that nothing else about me matters.

As far as security, I'm a full-time freelancer so they are no guaranteed check every two weeks. I've been blessed to have consistent contracts but it gets tough. A lot people think "oh she's work on big shows so she's balling"....it's NOT that simple shawty lol. I do what I have to do to get by - even if that means taking work outside the industry.

For those who want to do similar work, what's one step they can take today to kick off their journey?

I've been hustling for a longgggg time, this did not happen overnight. My thing is this: if you don't do what you're striving for every single day, you don't want it. It's like if you want to lose weight you need to exercise & eat right everyday. I edit everyday, I write everyday, I watch lame tutorials and round tables everyday. You have to fully indulge yourself into your craft and do whatever it takes to get out there. Research local production companies and show up, LITERALLY, if that's what it takes! No excuses.

[Tweet ""You have to indulge yourself into your craft and do whatever it takes to get out there." - @CrownMeRoyalXO"]

Chassidy-Jade-The-Mane-Event-4

Chassidy-Jade-The-Mane-Event-4

What's next for you? What can our community do to support you in your next big step or milestone?

While I'm working on building my own company Crown Me Royal Labs. I would love to start producing my own original content, branding visuals for creatives/small business, and live shows. Be sure to checkout my website at crownmeroyallabs.com to see a few things we've done so far and follow me at @crownmeroyalxo & @crownmeroyallabs!

Brandon Caldwell On The Value Of A Team During Tragedy + A Hurricane Harvey Relief Show To Support

One of the things that we love about the cult classic of Martin, is that underneath all of the comedy, Martin was about the community. Throughout the show's run, Martin always found a way to give back and whether it was with Outkast to save a local theater or participating in career day, he always enlisted the help of his friends. Here at #blkcreatives, that spirit is something we strive to embody on a daily basis - serving our communities.

A few weeks ago, a few of our friends in Houston launched #HoustonCreativesCare in response to the tragedy and have put together the 'We Are Houston Harvey' a relief show brought to you by music and culture site, Day & A Dream. Ahead of the show this Saturday, we spoke with Brandon Caldwell, the Founder & Editor-In-Chief of Day & A Dream about working under pressure and in the wake of tragedy, empathy, and why working as a team isn't just necessary, it's vital to our existence.

Interview by Melissa Kimble

 

houstoncreativescare-we-are-houston-flyer

 

"We had to watch the national media try to portray this storm as something that it wasn’t. People asked 'Well, why didn’t they evacuate?' and it made my blood boil because I don’t think people understand the logicistal layout of Houston and I don’t think they truly get that you can’t ask 6 1/2 million people to hop on three freeways to get away from a massive storm. Secondly, this wasn’t your normal wind driven storm. This was a storm that pulled up - I’m gonna use a lot of Houston vernacular here - on 4s, on candy paint and decided to swang, left and right at two miles per hour until everybody felt it. This is a storm that caused once-in-800-years type flooding. It’s one of those things you can’t necessarily prepare yourself for even if you say you’re prepared for everything. With that tragedy, you want to deny that it happened but you also want to pull yourself up to that point where you’re like you know what ‘I gotta do something'. Tragedy galvanizes us in a way that  I wish we felt on a daily basis. But I feel like we only do that work when it affects us directly. The strangest part is that people get so wired to what they feel, to the point where their empathy levels are low, like they can’t see the pain and suffering in another man because they can’t walk in their shoes. But a storm like this, you understand everybody."

MK: In a matter of days, you and your team put together a relief show with over twenty plus artists. How did you do it?

BC: During the midst of the storm, I was in contact with one of the fine people over at Warehouse Live, one of the preeminent venues in the city in regards to concerts and events. We were both displaced due to the storm - she was in Los Angeles, I was in Atlanta. I always had the idea that if I were to ever put on a concert or a do a show with Day & A Dream, that it would be for charity, it would be giving back. Everybody puts on shows but to be honest, Day & A Dream has always been a brand of service. Because our tagline is 'music, reviews, and culture'. The culture aspect has been so big for us in these last eight years of operation that even as the idea of a blog goes by the wayside, there are still people who faithfully read, share and believe.

The woman that works for Warehouse is one of those people who faithfully believes and that’s how the ball got rolling. I pitched the idea that had been in our group chat that we established #HoustonCreativesCares, to start picking out donation locations for families and helpout. Once that idea kicked off, we started asking musicians we knew in the city. Doing this for so long, you build up those relationships. We’ve built up these relationships to where people immediately responded back. Once it was all said and done, we had about 20-22 names. It then became [working on] the logistical part of talking to Warehouse, and the general manager and making sure everyone was okay with the venue space. Due to the storms and relief efforts led by the Hive Society, one of the best nonprofits we have in the city, it turned into a staging center for relief efforts. Warehouse Live has helped so many people in this city and in this way, due to the charity efforts, they’ve helped these charities affected by this storm - it’s a beautiful thing to take in.

It feels like something that’s been siting there for a minute but the seeds have always been there. I’d be remised if I didn’t thank these people. I’ve been friends with a lot of these people from #HoustinCreativesCares. I couldn’t have done anything without them. I’m quite thankful for them.

MK: Why do you think it was important for you all to do this as a team? Everyone involved has their own thing, it cold have been easy for one person to takeover. 

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BC: We were all affected by this storm. I had a friend of mine, Cecilia who’s set to get married next month and there were fears that her wedding would be impacted by storm. I have a friend, Monica Jones, who’s a bonafide superwoman in the flesh, and she’s done so much and her Born Identity Project has helped foster so much growth. And Kelsey McDaniel, I’ve watched her just grow into this very opinionated, very sharp and talented being and she branched out earlier this year. The fact that I’ve had a strong relationship with these women and their entities, it’s basically like family. If you’re not gonna work well with family, you’re not gonna work well with anyone. That’s why I think it was important to keep this all in the family and we used the resources we had and developed to put this together.

[Tweet "If you’re not gonna work well w/ family, you’re not gonna work well w/ anyone. - @_brandoc #blkcreatives"]

MK: You mentioned that this is something that you’ve been wanting to do for a minute. It made me think about how tragedy pushes us into taking action. Why do you think that is?

BC: Tragedy pushes us in ways that we don’t know. Tragedy is the bottom. You’re allowed to wallow in your sadness, wallow in your pain but no one is going to let you sit there. And the thing about this tragedy, it’s a color-less tragedy. There’s a phrase being tossed around in sports media in regards to athletes using their voice for social issues. But when you have a natural disaster a moment where everyone perspective is staying, there’s no longer they endured that, You’re affected by it in some way. You may not feel it immediately, but you feel it.

MK: For those who want to help Houston in the coming months, what’s the best way to offer the city constant support?

BC: The best way to do that is monetary. Not to the Red Cross, you don’t know where your money is going with the Red Cross. To be honest, the Red Cross is like giving to a bill collector. Over time, people are going to have the little things that they need in terms of clothes and toiletries and things like that but it’s not gonna keep people’s lights on. We’re gonna have to put these people back to work. We’re gonna have to show out to on all angles. I know there are a lot of people on the ground here are making their donations loud and clear, they’re making donations to help people get back on their feet. They’re making sure that for the people who’ve lost everything. If you give people the means and resources to build their lives back up, they’ll do it. In terms of awareness, you just need to realize that these storms happen. Hurricane season is hurricane season. You can’t lose sight of the fact that What happened in Houston can’t happen here - no, Miami could also endure a massive hurricane with Irma. There’s a storm right now ravaging the Caribbean.

I want people to be empathic towards the common man. Imagine being in a city where you’re homeless and you have to deal with this storm. Where do you go? You can’t run to a house or a shelter - there’s privilege even there. I just want people to be open about what they’re going through because being closed during a time like this, is not gonna help anybody.

Get your tickets to the We Are Houston Relief Show HERE and if you can't attend, show your support by sharing the tweet below!

[Tweet "#WeAreHouston, powered by #HoustonCreativesCare. All $$ will be donated to those affected by Harvey."]

 

Up Close & Personal with Tank and the Bangas

Their magic illuminates on stage.

Explosively alluring with seemingly off-the-cuff riffs and impromptu interactions, Tank and the Bangas exude a kinetic energy that is big, vibrant and full of story.

It's eclectic and soulful.  Funky and jazzy. R&B influenced by a flirtatious rendezvous with Hip-hop. It's the essence of #Bangaville and leaves you with no choice but to free yourself and vibe out.

Tarriona "Tank"  Ball delivers poetry over experiential instrumentation that explores human excursions of self-love, adventure, acceptance and roller coaster relationships. The second line big band nature of their performance invites you to get comfortable in their NOLA stomping grounds through sound. Their bodies feel the rhythm and react accordingly. It’s in the way Tank and Angelika “Jelly” Joseph  steal quick glances at one another to make a deeper connection while boasting their vocal talents and dance grooves. It’s those rock-n-roll moments sparked by Albert, who struts expertise on the flute and saxophone,  that bring the crew together in the middle of the stage and further shows the authenticity in their gifts.

They are family. Vulnerability allowed. Spontaneity is a treasured treat.

Behind the music lies the journey. Since their NPR Tiny Desk Concert appearance, life has been a whirlwind of back-to-back tour dates and mounds of love all over the world. Now, we invite you into SPACE, where the band hit the stage in front of a sold out crowd and welcomed us to capture “the light between their wings”  for a day.

In this mini-doc created exclusively by Two Dope Productions for #blkcreatives, watch Tank and the Bangas float to the rhythm of life.  - LaToya Cross

Production Notes:

Shot by:  Chan C. Smith (@blkfilmsmith), Jovan Landry (@jlesliemonique)

Edited by: Chan C. Smith

Produced + Interviewed by: LaToya Cross (@ToizStory)

Follow Tank and the Bangas - IG: @tankandthebangas | Twitter: @TankandDaBangas

Joi-Marie Mckenzie On Fortitude, Expectations, and Keeping Priorities In Check

Unfortunately there's no one size fits all answer. Still, the relationships, romantic or otherwise, that give you peace and not chaos; that fill you up and not drain you;  that fortify and don't undermine -- those are the relationships that we should pursue.

As the author of The Engagement Game, we believe that the accomplished media maven Joi-Marie McKenzie is just getting started. She was a guest for our June #blkcreatives Twitter chat on ‘Love, Lust & Creativity’, read on to find out why.

For many Creatives, it’s a struggle to balance their love life with work. What are some key things we should keep in mind when allocating our time?


If you want a fulfilling love life, you have to pursue it with the same optimism, passion and vigor as you do with your creative work in order for them to succeed. A lot of people get frustrated with their dating life but they're the same ones complaining they're no good men or women out there. Change your expectations, and it'll change your return.

Summertime is prime time for distractions in love. Is it possible to stay focused? If so, how?


Summer can be a prime time for distractions, or it can be a prime time for opportunities! Allow yourself the time to explore those so-called "distractions."
There's tons of strategies to prioritize your social life and your work life. I use my calendar -- synced to every device -- religiously. Not only blocking off times to write since I'm an author, but also blocking out times for dates along with activities with friends and family.
And the most important thing is that I treat both -- work and play -- as sacred. Neither is more special than the other; they're both priorities.


Let me give you an example: I had just finished interviewing Ava Duvernay about the latest season of "Queen Sugar." As I'm walking out, she invites me to this private dinner being held afterward for select press.
With a tilt of her head and slight disappointment in her voice she asked, "So you're not coming to the dinner?"


Seriously, who would say no to that?!?! It's Ava Duvernay!!!!


But I knew I had a date with my boyfriend. And although he wouldn't care if I bailed -- because hello! It's Ava Duvernay -- I treated our time together as important.
So I told Ava, "I'm sorry but I have a dinner with my boyfriend planned."
She looked at me and said, "Oh yeah, girl. You have to go to that."
Because as creatives we all understand the importance of working hard, but playing just as hard.

Top Tweets Of The Night

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Bonus Reads + Listens (Keep The Conversation Using the hashtag #blkcreatives)

Kiran David On Managing Distractions, Priorities and Questions That Need Answers

The best way to stay focused is to remain clear on what you want and how you'll obtain it. Whether through effective planning, relentless effort, strategic networking or even a combination of them all. You can remind yourself daily of your goals, dreams and ideas. By setting daily reminders or reflecting you can keep yourself focused and motivated from the slew of distractions life has to offer. Remember, as a creative the biggest thing holding you back is you!


As a critically acclaimed writer and relationship counselor featured on BET, Fusion, Bossip, Baller Allert and more, Kiran David has already made an impact at just 21-years-old in the areas of love and relationships. He was a guest for our June #blkcreatives Twitter chat on 'Love, Lust & Creativity', read on to find out why.
Whether we know it or not, relationships have an impact on how we work. How do we make sure we’re pursuing the ones that push us forward?


By implementing regular self awareness checks we can drastically improve the quality of relationships we enter, entertain and maintain. Asking questions like; is this person giving or taking from me? Is this person conducive to my growth as a person? Do you trust this person? Can I learn from this person?
What is the energy like around this person?
For many Creatives, it’s a struggle to balance their love life with work. What are some key things we should keep in mind when allocating our time?


The best way to allocate time is to create a list of priorities. By understanding and effectively communicating to a significant other or interest where your priorities are then you can save a lot of confusion as well as keep yourself clear on what is important to you. Without a clear understanding of your own priorities, emotions and inconsistency will make allocating time effectively much more difficult.

Top Tweets Of The Night (hold down the pic to copy and share, using the hashtag #blkcreatives)

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BONUS Reads + Listens (Share how you’re keeping the conversation going, using the hashtag #blkcreatives)

Meet the young pastor who stunned Twitter with the wisest dating advice you will ever read via Fusion by clicking the pic!

Kevin Carr On Intentionality, Misconceptions and Reciprocity In Relationships,

I think we have to be intentional in pursuing relationships. We do that by first being self aware and by being able to identify what are core values are. Once we do this we're better equipped to pursue the type of relationships that fit us. I also think in terms of work and for creatives it's important that we don't fall into space of pursuing relationships selfishly as in only looking to see what we can gain. The best relationships are full of reciprocity.
Kevin Carr is an accomplished Author, Speaker and TV Host/Personality. With over a decade of experience, his perspective on dating offers a practical road-map to help navigate being single while learning to create the relationship you desire. Of course he was a no brainer for our 'Love, Lust & Creativity' Twitter chat. Read on to find out why.


For many Creatives, it’s a struggle to balance their love life with work. What are some key things we should keep in mind when allocating our time?
The biggest misconception many in our generation face is that it can't be done. I firmly believe that you can excel at both love and work. In fact it's proven that the right relationship can push you forward.
It's about being organized and staying in the moment and when it's time to work really working. Being able to block out social media, cell phones, internet surfing to ensure that we complete the tasks we need to complete on a daily basis. It's eye opening how much time we actually have for other things when we eliminate unnecessary distractions.
Summertime is prime time for distractions in love. Is it possible to stay focused? If so, how?
It's definitely possible to stay focused. I found that by doing a few things you can stay on track:
+ Keep the big picture in mind. ( what do you ultimately wish to produce?)
+ Enjoy the moment but don't live for the moment ( Summer comes every year and it only last 3 months.)
+ Focus on genuine connections rather than fleeting interactions.

Top Tweets Of The Night (hold down the pic to copy and share, using the hashtag #blkcreatives)

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BONUS Reads + Listens (Share how you’re keeping the conversation going, using the hashtag #blkcreatives)

Watch Kevin's TedTalk on 'Dating Is Dead'

Valerie Robinson of Unapologetically Us On Discernment, Energy and Your Idea Of Balance

Time is precious and very limited; be selfish with it. We tend to allocate the most time according to where our priorities lie. Remember that "no" is a complete sentence. Also, look into where time is being wasted throughout the day and plug in those areas with productivity, which can include making time for loved ones. Balance may seem mythical, but everyone's idea of it looks different. As a creative, it is important to know that you are deserving of love and life outside of work. You truly can have it all - if it's what you truly want.

As the Creator of Unapologetically Us, Valerie Robinson has created a haven that celebrates the fullness of Black women. Valerie doesn't just write about relationships, she believes in them. Her involvement in the ‘Love, Lust and Creativity’ #blkcreatives Twitter chat was a no-brainer. Read on to find out why.

Whether we know it or not, relationships have an impact on how we work. How do we make sure we’re pursuing the ones that push us forward?

Relationships absolutely have an effect on how we function on a personal level and in business. As a married woman, although my husband's support means so much, it was not going to stop me from moving forward. He has not always understood the process, but it came gradually with time as the vision gained more clarity. The key to pursuing the ones that push us forward is in our discernment. Look at where we are drawing our energy from, and who is draining and holding you back. Surround yourselves with dreamers, doers and go-getters! That will instantly motivate and catapult you to the next level of your course. Those who want you to win will not sit back and watch you slack off and fail.

Summertime is prime time for distractions in love. Is it possible to stay focused? If so, how? 

Absolutely. Focus takes discipline, but at the same time, be careful not to deprive yourself of self-care, quality time with loved ones, and "showing up" in every aspect of your life. If there is a thing that you truly want bad enough, you will put in the work - no matter the season. Take control and manage your time and set boundaries, even with loved ones. Don't let anyone talk you out of your mission.


Top Tweets Of The Night (hold down the pic to copy and share, using the hashtag #blkcreatives)

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BONUS Reads + Listens (Share how you’re keeping the conversation going, using the hashtag #blkcreatives)

Times Where Entrepreneurship Made Me Cry because, real.

 

[Unapologetic Podcast] Episode 22: Brittney Oliver Discusses The #HealingOurBlackMothersAndDaughters Movement

Everything You Need For Monday Night On Twitter

June 26, 2017 at 8pm EST is the date for our next #blkcreatives chat. Here’s everything you need to know.

TOPIC: Love, Lust and Creativity

Hashtag: #blkcreatives

Here at #blkcreatives, we’re all about the telling the truth. If we're being honest (which we always are), our personal and romantic lives can have an incredible impact on our bottom line. Knowing that, how can we find a balance now that summer is here? This chat will dig into this topic to provide insight that many of us need.

WHAT & WHO: #blkcreatives is an agency that empowers Creatives to connect the dots in every aspect of their business and be seen by those who matter the most.

Born in April 2015, our monthly Twitter chat discussions revolve around a specific topic that relates to our personal development and growth as people and professionals.

Here are our four guests for this chat:

Joi-Marie McKenzie

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Joi-Marie McKenzie is an entertainment and lifestyle writer for ABC News.

She is also the author of the critically-acclaimed period memoir, The Engagement Game, out now. McKenzie scored her book deal by happenstance — after sending 20 pages of her memoir to an editor for feedback that editor turned around and offered her a deal.

McKenzie is also the creator of The Fab Empire, an award-winning website that covers society, celebrities and local events in various cities around the U.S. Previously, she has freelanced for publications including her family’s The Afro American Newspaper, the longest running African American family-owned newspaper in the country, Clutch Magazine, NBC New York and NBC Washington.

McKenzie is an in-demand panelist and workshop facilitator. She has spoken about entrepreneurship, blogging, growing an audience online, and social media topics at Columbia University, University of Maryland College Park, Howard University, LIM College, Blogger Week, and Blogalicious. She’s also spoken at the prestigious 92Y: Cultural Institution and Community Center in New York City.

McKenzie attained a Master of Science in Digital Media from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Maryland, College Park.

[Tweet "Can't wait to join the #blkcreatives chat on Love, Lust and Creativity, sponsored by @iltopia!"]

Learn about her mission here. Follow her on Twitter at @dcfab

Kiran David

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Kiran David. 21 years old from London, England. Raised in Seattle, WA and Boston, MA. Attended Oakwood University. International speaker. Author of the book "Love is a Decision." Critically acclaimed writer and relationship counselor featured on BET, Fusion, Bossip, Baller Allert and more. Executive producer of the TV show Being Millennial; a talk show for Millennials, by Millennials. Poet and musician. Young, charismatic, and relatable, Kiran David is definitely one to watch.

Learn more about his mission here. Follow him on Twitter @KiranADavid.

Kevin Carr

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Kevin Carr is an accomplished Author, Speaker and TV Host/Personality.  With over a decade of experience, his perspective on dating offers a practical road-map to help navigate being single while learning to create the relationship you desire. Whether addressing millennials, college students or a group of professionals seeking a meaningful relationship amidst their busy careers, Kevin delivers a message that provides direction and promotes honest dialogue. His unique perspective and engaging delivery have made him a sought after speaker across the country including appearances on Tedx, ABC, BET, CBS, and FOX.  As a contributor, his work has also been featured in Essence, Black Enterprise, and The Huffington Post.

Learn more about him here. Follow him on Twitter @Kev_Carr.

Valerie Robinson

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Valerie Robinson is the Founder and CEO of Unapologetically Us - a lifestyle brand and online community designed for black women. Seeing the need to provide a relatable safe haven that celebrates the core contributions and true essence of being a black woman, Unapologetically Us was launched in 2014. It is a platform that speaks candidly about our truths and provides its audience with thoughtful dialogue that is authentic and informative. This digital space also features a podcast hosted by Valerie, The Unapologetic Podcast, where she discusses lifestyle, wellness and culture, in addition to having entertaining and compelling interviews featuring special guests as they discuss real topics related to being both a woman and black.

Learn more about her mission here. Follow Val on Twitter @unapologetic_us .


Meet Our Twitter Chat Sponsor: Iltopia

Steven Christian makes cartoons and comics to pay for Medical School. The creative by-product is the Eyeland of Iltopia. Shop the store here and say follow Iltopia on Twitter!

[Tweet "Can't wait to join the #blkcreatives chat on Love, Lust & Creativity, sponsored by @iltopia!"]


If this is your first Twitter chat or you’re joining us for the first time, click here to see how you can make these Twitter chats work for you. See you Monday night!

[Guest Post] The Untapped Potential of Marlon Wayans

It doesn't matter how long you've been in your respective industry, there's always room to evolve. OPUS Mag writer Myke Davis takes a look at what's in store for one of the Wayans' brightest stars.

As we all know, the Wayans took spoof movies to another level at one point, from I'm Gonna Get You Sucka, Don't Be a Menace to Scary Movie 1 & 2, and Keenan Ivory Wayans was the mastermind of it all and he's a certified legend for that. However, let's talk about one in particular by the name of Marlon.

We first saw Marlon introduced to us in Mo Money alongside his brother Damon Wayans, and the more I go back and watch Mo Money, for his first starring role Marlon held his own, he was funny and serious. After appearing on various episodes of the classic variety/sketch comedy TV series In Living Color, Marlon was a co-star in Above The Rim, he was running with a basketball street crew with legends like 2pac and Wood Harris while being friends with Duane Martin. Above The Rim is classic and one of the best sports movies ever made, I would put it in the top 5 basketball films, Marlon's role was just about the same as it was in Mo Money except he was a little bit more on the comedic side til shit got serious and he got fed up with 2pac's shit at the end then shot and killed him in his own club.

After Above The Rim, Marlon and his brother Shawn created and starred in The Wayans Bros tv show, I dont care man, I liked the Wayans Bros, they had some funny episodes and for them to stay on with 5 seasons for 4 years was good for them but season 5 needed a better finale episode; it just ended with a episode with Roy Jones Jr in it. When the tv show ends, another classic by the name of Don't Be A Menace happens, that movie is still wild soon as you turn it on, The 6th Man and Senseless also adds to Marlon's filmography, The 6th Man was underrated to me, this showed Marlon at a series tone when his brother (played by Kadeem Hardison) dies on the basketball court of a heart attack. 6th Man rarely comes on tv anymore and if it does it'll be airing on Showtime. Requiem For a Dream was Marlon's most darkest role to date, the films depicts on 4 different type of drug addictions from the characters, if you haven't seen this movie, please do watch it, it's unreal.

This is what makes Marlon have some sort of range in Hollywood and the potential he could live up to, we know about the classics Scary Movie 1 & 2, Dungeons and Dragons, and the Ladykillers which was a different role and I kind of liked the movie, we know about the rest of the spoof films Marlon has did throughout the years like A Haunted House and 50 Shades Of Black. As the 2nd most talented in the Wayans he should definitely take on some serious roles in the future, for example, picture Marlon in an Quentin Tarantino film, Tarantino sometimes goes "outside the box" with his casting, remember Chris Tucker in Jackie Brown? He was only in the film for 5 minutes but he was one of the highlights, and that was Tucker in serious mode other than what we seen from him in Friday and Money Talks at that time. There's no question Marlon can pull something like that off. There's video footage on YouTube of him auditioning for the Richard Pryor biopic, he can do action as we seen him in G.I. Joe and drama like The 6th Man, his tv show titled Marlon airing real soon on NBC is going to be interesting to watch. It looks like My Wife and Kids but I'm going to check it out.

Marlon has plenty of time left to expand his range in Hollywood, why not? He clearly has the talent to write, produce and direct any film he gets the chance to. Also, there's nothing wrong with the comedic route; you see Damon Wayans is progressing very well with the Lethal Weapon show, but it's time for Marlon to get more exposure and creative on the big screen. Marlon knows it and us film fans know it too, we'll see what he has in store next.


Vanessa R. Williams On Getting Out Of Your Own Way As A Creative

Vanessa R. Williams is a Copywriter & Content Strategist that helps brands create incredibly useful content that their audiences crave. For the last seven years, she's created content for the Department of Defense, The Huffington Post, The Muse, Éccolo, top lifestyle brands and influencers, and more. This guest post is from her weekly newsletter.


I once talked about optimistic passion vs. realistic passion.

Someone with optimistic passion believes that their idea is enough. They talk, plan, and think about their passion all day, every day... hoping that one day, they'll get the perfect opportunity to pursue their passion.

They spend a lot of time daydreaming and worrying about things that haven't happened yet... what if my idea blows up? What if I can't afford a team?

These thoughts are what keep this type of person passionate about their idea—even though they never really execute. What this person doesn't realize is that planning perfect scenarios can be just as exhausting as executing except, in the end, you have nothing to show for it.

Then there’s the person who has realistic passion. They’re obsessed about their ideas and goals, and they do whatever it takes to accomplish them.

 Last week, I had a conversation with someone about the business venture they've been putting off for a couple years. Needless to say, this person definitely has optimistic passion.

During the conversation, I realized one major thing...

A lot of people are guilty of getting in their own way.

I can't speak for you, but I know that I tend to unnecessarily internalize the thoughts and feelings of other people. I also associate my flaws and mistakes with my worth... which eventually makes me feel like I'm not enough.

Time and time again, I'm reminded that I am my number one obstacle.

Yesterday I had an interview that, for the most part, went well.

But guess what I decided to do? Constantly think about the moments that I could've provided better answers... answers that were "perfect."

And guess what happened a couple hours later?

I was offered the job.

Your abundance has nothing to do with perfection, but it has everything to do with preparation. And being prepared doesn't mean that everything you do has to be flawless or that you must have all the answers all the time.

[Tweet "Your abundance has nothing to do with perfection, it has to do with preparation. - @NessaRWilliams"]

It simply means that you put forth your best effort (whatever that is at the time) and you adapt to the good and not-so-good situations that come your way.

You might feel like you have certain traits that keep you from living the life that you want, but we're still worthy of love, happiness, and abundance. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

One thing I know for sure is that life will always throw you curveballs—there's no escaping it. But there's nothing a little awareness and adjustment can't fix.

Gentle reminder: Own who you are. Eliminate the people and things that don't serve you. And relentlessly pursue and protect the things that make you feel alive.


This post originally appeared as one of Vanessa's amazing newsletters, which includes some wisdom, reads to help you push your creativity forward AND a copywriting tip for your business or brand.

Subscribe toVanessa's GEMS HERE.

Anthony Copeman on Income Diversity, New Realities and Going High When Funds Go Low

"When money is low, your creativity should be on an all-time high. Complaining when money is low will not yield any fruit. You should monetize those gifts and talents that people compliment you on every day and those that got you hired."

As the Founder of Financial Lituation, Anthony Copeman is helping millennials reinvent their finances + reimagine their freedom. His involvement in the ‘Real Life Money Management Strategies for #blkcreatives' Twitter chat was a no-brainer. Read on to find out why.

Why do you think money management is important for #blkcreatives?

Money management is important for #blkcreatives because it offers us the opportunity to live on our own terms. When we manage our money effectively, we can provide a new reality for ourselves. The new reality focuses on what we want to create and build, and not circled around the bills we have created.

Money is one of the most important relationships that we have. How did you develop a positive and proactive relationship?

Growing up, I was fascinated with entrepreneurship and living on my own terms. I had to shift my mindset from simply being a consumer to being an owner as it related to my finances, but more importantly, my freedom.

How can someone stay financially healthy even when money is low?

A great way to reinvent your finances is to strive for income diversity. You don't want to be dependent on simply one income stream, but rather have multiple income streams that will help you reach your goals.

Top Tweets Of The Night (hold down the pic to copy and share, using the hashtag #blkcreatives)

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Anthony-Copeman-#blkcreatives-chat

Anthony-Copeman-#blkcreatives-chat

BONUS Reads + Listens (Share how you’re keeping the conversation going, using the hashtag #blkcreatives)

It is easy to come up with excuses for days as to why things are not working out in your favor, especially as it relates to making more money. Click the pic to let Anthony help you work through those excuses.

#blkcreatives virtual conference

#blkcreatives virtual conference

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Want more on Financial Management? Pre-Order tickets for a Virtual Masterclass on Finance For #blkcreatives: blkcreativesvirtualevent.eventbrite.com

Carl Joseph-Black on Measurements Of Faith, The True Cost of Time, and Your Future Self

"Money is a measurement of faith & communication. The way you manage your money shows others how responsible, and effective you can be. PS: 'Others' includes our future selves."

As the founder of RaisingBenjamin.com, Carl Joseph-Black shares insights on Capital Markets and Wealth Management that are as easy to learn as a Drake verse. (How's a little literal money talk for that IG caption?) His involvement in the ‘Real Life Money Management Strategies for #blkcreatives' Twitter chat was a no-brainer. Read on to find out why.

Money is one of the most important relationships that we have. How did you develop a positive and proactive relationship?

My father and I would read the Wall Street Journal together as a child. We would use different companies as examples of how to run a business. I fell in love with investing and at 14 he allowed me to pick stocks and build my own portfolio. I've been hooked ever since.
How can someone stay financially healthy even when money is low?
Time management & low livable overhead. The more you look at your time as an investment that will yield returns in the future, the more effective you will be in using that time. Keep all of your costs low and stay flexible, every opportunity (paid or not) is a way for you to get closer to your creative & financial goals.

Top Tweets Of The Night (hold down the pic to copy and share, using the hashtag #blkcreatives)

Carl Joseph-Black-#blkcreatives chat Raising Benjamin

Carl Joseph-Black-#blkcreatives chat Raising Benjamin

Carl Joseph-Black-#blkcreatives chat Raising Benjamin


BONUS Reads + Listens (Share how you’re keeping the conversation going, using the hashtag #blkcreatives)

If you've ever had issues with overdraft fees (which, who hasn't) Carl's personal strategies for avoiding the attack of the overdraft are GOLD. Click the pic to read them!

#blkcreatives virtual conference

Want more 🔑🔑🔑on Financial Management? Pre-Order tickets for a Virtual Masterclass on Finance For #blkcreatives: blkcreativesvirtualevent.eventbrite.com

Dominique Broadway On Using Money As A Tool, Money Dates and Defining Yourself

"It will never matter how much money you actually make if you do not manage it well. This is why it is beyond vital for #blkcreatives to put effort into learning how to effectively manage their money so they are not always living paycheck to paycheck or gig to gig, and instead can create a lifestyle where money is the tool to help you live your ideal life instead of being your biggest stressor."

Money is one of the most important relationships that we have. How did you develop a positive and proactive relationship?
Believe it or not, your relationship with money starts to develop when you are child. Those very first interactions that you see your parents have with money (negative or positive) will impact the relationship that you have with money. To improve this relationship, you first want to determine what your first experience with money was and how its affecting you now. Then take steps to change the mindset, this can be something as simple as scheduling "money dates" with your self, so you can be more aware of your finances and what you need to do to change them, or hiring a financial coach or planner to help you take the first steps to change your money mindset and start reaching your financial goals.
 
How can someone stay financially healthy even when money is low?

When your money is low, it can have a huge impact on your confidence and self-esteem. However, if your money is low, you have to remember that you are not defined by your financial situation. You can also begin to look for a part-time job or other sources to increase the money you have coming in.


Top Tweets Of The Night (hold down the pic to copy and share, using the hashtag #blkcreatives)

Dominique-Broadway-#blkcreatives-chat

Dominique-Broadway-#blkcreatives-chat

Dominique-Broadway-#blkcreatives-chat

 


BONUS Reads + Listens (Share how you’re keeping the conversation going, using the hashtag #blkcreatives)

 So what does it really mean to be financially healthy? Click the pic to find out Dominique's insightful response to this question.

#blkcreatives virtual conference

Want more 🔑🔑🔑on Financial Management? Pre-Order tickets for a Virtual Masterclass on Finance For #blkcreatives: blkcreativesvirtualevent.eventbrite.com

Tonya Rapley On Using Your Creativity To Win, Solutions and The Energy Of Money

"Focus on solutions. Focus on gratitude and everything that you have working in your advantage. Understand that as a creative you are not limited to artistic expressions of creativity. Get creative with ways to generate more money. You can wallow in sorrow or get to creating solutions, both take energy and it's up to you to decide which one you want to put your energy into."

As a millennial money expert and founder of My Fab Finance, Tonya Rapley doesn’t just talk about being an advocate for our financial well being as creatives. She lives it. Having completely transformed her life through a positive mindset, hard work, and applying what she teaches to her own life, her involvement in the ‘Real Life Money Strategies for #blkcreatives' Twitter chat was a no-brainer. Read on to find out why.

You've spoken before about 'The Energy of Money' - can you explain what that means? 
We often like to place money in a different category in our lives, but the way you do life is the way you do money. If you have a negative outlook on life, it's likely your money will reflect that negative state of mind. If you're stingy with money or your time, it's likely your bank account will reflect that too. Positive vibes create positive experiences, account balances included.
Money is one of the most important relationships that we have. How did you develop a positive and proactive relationship? 
My relationship with money changed when I changed my energy. When I moved from being a victim to a conquerer. I stopped looking at how everything was being "done" to me and took my responsibility for the situation I was in, particularly financially. Once I came clean about where I was messing up and that my financial situation was a result of all of those bad decisions, it enabled me to become solution oriented and make better decisions for myself and with my money.

Top Tweets Of The Night (hold down the pic to copy and share, using the hashtag #blkcreatives)

Tonya-Rapley-#blkcreatives-chat-My-Fab-Finance

Tonya-Rapley-#blkcreatives-chat-My-Fab-Finance

Tonya-Rapley-#blkcreatives-chat-My-Fab-Finance

 

 


BONUS Reads + Listens (Share how you’re keeping the conversation going, using the hashtag #blkcreatives)

Tonya visited The Combat Jack Show as a special guest and it's easily one of her favorite episode. The show stars Marc Lamont Hill with Tonya's interview starting at the 1:19 mark. Click the pic to listen!

Tonya has an amazing list of resources and options to get you on the right track. Click the pic to check out her freebies!

Hennypalooza Founders On Breaking Stereotypes, Bread (With Friends) And Creating Outside Of The System

NOTE: This Saturday, October 7th Hennypalooza is headed back to Chicago at Portage Theater! Click here to buy your tickets or visit: http://www.hennypalooza.com/tickets

As a culture, the idea of throwing parties together, is nothing new. Getting together, having fun, dancing, and playing the perfect combination of songs is in our DNA. What has evolved however, is the ability to turn that skill into a strategic force - simultaneously having fun while cultivating a sustainable business. We've met with the founders of Trap Karaoke and Chicago's Party Noire, now we had the opportunity to meet with the creators of the insanely popular Hennypalooza.

During their Chicago stop, Kameron McCullough, Nile "Lowkey" Ivey and Kazeem Famuyide, chopped it up with us backstage, to talk turning friendship into funds, playing the endgame and why their party is bigger than just Hennessy.

Intro + Interview by Melissa Kimble

Edited by Toya Cross

Hennypalooza Chicago

"We pride ourselves on friendships, we pride ourselves on relationships between everybody. And everybody has a different relationship within the group to where it's solid across the board. Even if it's not Hennypalooza Day, or week or whatever, we're still talking, we're still building, we're still figuring out life as it happens and we have our group chats, we have our group texts in the morning. It's just a natural friendship." - Lowkey

HennyPalooza Chicago #blkcreatives

MK: There's a lot of different traveling parties. What do you feel  makes Hennypalooza stand out and how do you ensure that level of quality as you travel from city to city?

Kam: I think what separates Hennypalooza from most events is the team of people. I feel like - I'm bias because they're my friends - but we have the cream of the crop [when it comes to]talent from Lowkey as a host to Christylezz, another host; Austin Millz and Meka as DJs;  Ravie B as our photographer; Peeje on our visuals; we have Karl who does our video, and these people are all just really good at what they do. And I think the camaraderie of the Hennypalooza team is what makes this thing so special and allows us to go to 20 different places in a year and not kill each other.

Kaz: "Sometimes..."

Kam: There has been times lol but honestly it's the team, it's been built so organically. There are a lot of other touring events which are brand sponsored and things of that nature which, no knock to them, but I think as a consumer, and as creatives, people can see the authenticity of what Hennypalooza is, it's really no frills.

I think that's what really separates us.

Kaz: My guy Rory, who's here, says all the time, that if Hennypalooza were to end tomorrow we'd still all be best friends, we'll all be homies and shit. And I think that people see that. That's why we can go to a Chicago - a city we've never done before - and sell it out before we even get here because they see the videos, they see the recaps, they click on the hashtag and see how people feel about the event and see that it's just good vibes all the time. It's never any negative things that's happened there. There's never been any fights. From Joe Schmoe to the biggest celebrities have come to this party and have had a good time, have had great things to say about it. I think that all of this stems from us as  a crew, it really exudes friendship and that good energy and that positive energy every time we come out to another city.

Low: Because we're such a tight knit group, any bad things that may have happened or if we're off our game in one city or if we're not in communication, it comes from us. We'll say it to each other before outsiders can say it to us and I think because of that our game is sharpened. We've learned a lot from each other and being on the road. We've learned a lot from different cities. We're just constantly learning and evolving.

Hennypalooza-Chicago-#blkcreatives

MK: I think it's interesting, that there's so many people out there now e trying to make parties or situations happen and it just doesn't work. You would definitely say that the energy that you all have internally reflects and it attracts more of that energy.

Low: We're just adding a spoke to the wheel. We're not re-inventing anything. We're not trying to kill anybody's spirit. This is fun and we love doing it. We learn as we grow.

MK: At what  point did you decide to turn this into a business?

Kam: The light kinda went off for me in 2013. Two years in, but we're still doing it, making a little bit of change. That's when I started to realized the force that this thing was and  I always say, "Who better to do business with than the people you break bread with regularly." Which has made it easier, especially for the tough times, it makes it a lot easier to get through, for me, just kind of seeing what we were doing at that scale in New York City. And it's like, if we can really hone in on this in New York and make it this big thing, we can do it anywhere. Why not build out this structure?

And now people have jobs and roles and things they can own - which again, I feel like it happened organically as well, so when business started flowing into 2014- 2016 and into now, I think that it's proof that you can not only do business with your friends but [you can do]  incredible business with your friends. You can make a shit ton of money together.  It also spun us off into different opportunities. So for me, the light went off when we were doing Tammany Hall, and from there we did the Wick N Well in Brooklyn and we brought in like 1800 kids. We jumped from 600 (in attendance) to 1800 and I was like, "okay we got something." I think that's always been the story of Hennypalooza - we kind of look at each other in these moments and go "Did this really happen? Did we really do this?" And that feeling never gets old.

Kaz: We definitely have one of those moments every show, where we just look at each other and we're like "How long are we gonna keep doing this shit?" My own pessimistic nature, I'm always like "We're gonna plateau at some point" and then something always happens that takes it to another level. I just think, to speak on your point about people who've tried to, for a lack of better term, "copy" what we do, the reason why they're probably not as successful as we are, is because it started organically. A lot of people don't like doing the groundwork. A lot of people want to get to the NBA without playing high school or college hoop first. We took the small steps to get where we are - this didn't happen overnight. On top of that, we didn't just meet each other overnight. Between all of us, there's probably a combined, 10 to 15 years worth of friendship here. There's a lot of things that probably wouldn't fly if you were just doing business with somebody instead of that's your friend.  There's a different level of care that you take when you're not just doing business, these are your homies, this is family. It's cool to see that you've influenced a lot of what people do, in terms of business and the way people party or whatever, but at the same time, there's only one Hennypalooza.

[Tweet "People want to get to the NBA w/o playing high school or college hoop first." - @RealLifeKaz"]

Hennypalooza-Chicago-Chance-The-Rapper-#blkcreatives

MK: I keep going back to this concept of you all being friends first and then it morphing into more, especially with Black people -- a lot of us come from backgrounds or environments where it's like 'crabs in a barrel'. You're definitely dispelling a lot of myths in terms of Black people, Black men, Black Creatives (#blkcreatives) working together.

Kam: I think to your point, to dispelling the myth, I've always been a believer in team. I always feel like we can do more together than we can a part. As Black people, we're conditioned to believe the opposite, that we have to compete - that if you're doing something eerily similar to what I'm doing, than I gotta get you out the way. But it's like no, maybe you're doing something eerily similar but maybe you're doing it better or maybe there's something I can add to it and we can go get more and I feel like this has proven that theory to me over and over.

[Tweet "I always feel like we can do more together than we can a part. - @KoolestKidOut for #blkcreatives"]

As we continue to grow, you'll continue to see more of that because as a community, we need more of that. We need more collaboration, we need partnership, we need mentors. We need all of that stuff because we don't have it. I always say, Black people are the strongest people but we have the weakest community. I think with us, being friends, it just makes it so much better.

MK: Do you think you're building a community with Hennypalooza?

Kam: Absolutely 100%. Obviously it's more than a party at this point, if it was just a party we would have fizzled out years ago. I feel like it's this community of folks who are about something, we're not all in publishing, we're not all into sports or entertainment but we are about something - and that's progression. So you create a community in the sense of' ‘I'm not jealous of your success - your success inspires me to do more' and that's like healthy competition. That's the community that we have and it's spreading - not just with Blacks, but Latinos, Whites as well, because for a Hennessy Driven party, we have a pretty diverse crowd. (Editor's Note: We all agreed that Hennessy brings people together, click to tweet the quote below if you agree.)

We do have a community of folks because it's the new generation of, you can be your your own boss within another structure - you can create your life, basically and you can create your own story. And that's what I feel like the Hennypalooza community is about.

MK: What do you all hope that people take away from Hennypalooza, outside of the Hennessy?

Kaz: It's weird, earlier this year, I remember when we went to Miami, [we realized] this is the first Hennypalooza that we would have without a Black president. And, it was weird, because when we started it, it was like, we didn't think anything of it. But once we went to Miami, you could feel like, it's really weird out here right now and we still have to be an outlet for people to come and have positive times especially when it's like a Black owned business with the exception of Ben and Rory. When people are on the outside looking in at Hennypalooza, they see a group of positive, young Black faces. I think it's super important for us to continue that. We know that you're gonna come have a good time, we know that you're gonna get drunk, you're gonna party but on top of that what I want people to take out of Hennypalooza personally, is that, you can still see positive Black influencers that can create something enjoyable for people that's not negative. There's so many stereotypes with Black men doing business, we've been breaking that a lot. We want to continue that. That's at the top of our list. And you get your money's worth - we're doing good business with you.

Low: I want people to take away that you can create with your peers and not always be in competition with your peers. We work in a very competitive industry, all of us, and it's built off of competition, it's built off of numbers and stats and I don’t want people to come to this party and look at their peer and feel like "I gotta do better than them", no you can do better with them. It's just that much of a good time. And you can create on your own, you don't have to go into the system and follow the system - you can break the mold. He quit his job (points to Kam), I quit my job, he has his job (points to Kaz) but we still do this because not only is it a lot of fun, it also makes us a shit ton of money. So one day, hopefully, we can pass it along to our peers or to our children, or whatever the case may be. We're just looking for legacy.

[Tweet "You can create w/ your peers + not always be in competition w/ your peers. - @LowKeyUHTN"]

Hennypalooza-Chicago-#blkcreatives

Kam: I think that it just shows what's possible and how powerful Black people really are. Too often, we try to truncate and not really use our power and I feel like in this case, we're using it for good. Back to the community point, it's showing people that it's possible and it's tangible for us - you can see that. We need to see that. It's not on the level on seeing a Barack in office but it's like, yo, if I put my mind to it, I can do it. We need that constantly in our communities. And I feel like we've been fortunate enough to do it together - this is a longevity game. This is a business that we want to pass to our children. It's humbling to me to get here and sit with my two friends, who are also my business partners - that's powerful. With us, we're just constantly aspiring to be that next generation of people who change culture - the next Steve Stoute, the next Puffy, the next Jay times 10 - that's what we're in it for. Legacy. History. That's the thing we want to do and if we keep doing it this way, the level is only going to increase.

Follow Hennypalooza to find out when the squad is coming to YOUR City: Website - Twitter - Instagram

Follow #blkcreatives to discover more Creatives moving the culture from the inside out: Twitter - Instagram - Facebook