This weekend, I had the opportunity to collaborate with LionsHead Media, a black tech company out of Durham, and photograph Issa Rae of HBO’s “Insecure” as she spoke to an auditorium full of students at North Carolina Central University. Kicking it backstage with Issa (like we’re best friends, right?) was nothing short of inspiring. This young lady is doing exactly what I want to do in a lane that’s different from my own, but the same principles are applicable. She has taken a corporate web platform (YouTube), created an unmarketed but very real aspect of black culture in “Awkward Black Girl”, and developed such a cult following that she was able to author a NYT bestseller, pen a deal with HBO, and take everything that she’s learned to an HBCU campus in order to inspire the next generation of young black creative minds.
It was super dope to be able to connect with her backstage chatting with her about her come up, getting an autograph for my wife, and listening to Corey Freeman, Creative Director at LionsHead Media, explain to her the impact that Durham’s Black Wall Street had on the United States. Additionally, I was able to create content off the personal interaction as well as capture some awesome photographs of her that I couldn’t have gotten without having the access I got through LionsHead. But the most powerful things I got from the conversation between NCCU student Christina Boyd-Clark of LionsHead Media and Issa were these five quotes that I was able to jot down in my notebook in between snapping. Take them and allow them to inspire you as you work to further your brand and your community.
“(The stereotypes that the media shows) are valid black experiences but not the only black experiences.”
“In this day and age, there’s no excuse not to create.”
“Where’s your content online?”
“I get a lot of inspiration just by living life.”
“(Success) depends on talent and consistency, but consistency more than anything else.”
All very simple concepts but I chose them as my top quotes because it shows that, in this day and age, the formula for success is not rocket science. It’s just about taking care of the basics and doing so consistently. You have to provide a different angle that isn’t already out there. You have to be putting yourself out there. You have to live life and interact with people in order to create. And you have to go hard regularly. So do it and maybe one day I’ll be photographing your speaking engagement.
Once again, major shoutout to LionsHead Media for the opportunity to meet a young lady who is working to change the conversation around black lifestyle and what is seen as the norm within our culture. We’re not all gangstas, charismatic entertainers, welfare moms, and bad b_____es. Some of us are awkward and insecure and oddly funny folks who don’t like seeing the same person in the hall three times in a work day because how many times can you really say “Hello”?
Make professional development a priority.