The above quote is one that has grown over the course of my career journey since my graduation from Clark Atlanta University in 2010. Deciding to move away from California and attend college was my first leap of faith, but I knew that I wanted to go to an HBCU (Historically Black College & University) after hearing my sister’s experience at Xavier, an HBCU in New Orleans. The experience of being in Atlanta and attending CAU was impeccable. I will admit at first, like many other peers, I was ready to transfer from Clark after the first semester and accept my admittance into Georgia State University. But then I started to see the potential in being at CAU and realized my overall purpose, plus I would keep the fact in mind that my main reason of going to a school out of state was to attend an HBCU.
Overall, I can honestly say that being a Panther (mascot of CAU) evolved and molded me into who I am today. If I would’ve stayed in California and went to a Cal State or UC, I know for a fact that I would not have grown and would have still been clueless to what my purpose was. I never would have been able to accomplish all that I have because of being stuck in a “California State of Mind”, not that it’s a bad thing. Some people just have to move away from their “comfort zone” to get into their own zone and realize their true purpose and calling. And make new friends along the way. Going away, I have formed some of the best and long-lasting friendships with people who now stay in States all across the World. I also have more business connections through out the World, which takes me to my next point.
After graduation I moved back to Cali, and I wasn’t all too thrilled about it. Mainly because I didn’t want to leave my close knit of friends that I made while at Clark and in the “A”, and everything in Atlanta was easy access, especially when it came to doing film projects, a new passion and hobby that I picked up after being at Clark. The smallness of the city made things easy and the hustle of people of color out there was phenomenal. Up until February 2014, I had not seen nor experienced the career hustle of successful Black professionals in California, but then again I wasn’t looking at that until I made the move back to California with a fresh new mindset.
That mindset later helped me realize what my purpose truly was. After a few months of boring and meaningless sales jobs upon moving back I finally dipped back into my chosen career profession of Journalism and public relations. A few years later in the Summer of 2014, after writing for Examiner.com for two years the surprise and miraculous blessing came to the surface. And it seemed surreal until I had entered into the room and was face to face with someone that I had watched on stage and in countless music videos since the beginning of her Destiny Child days. Yes, the big blessing that was unwrapped was an exclusive and private interview with Kelly Rowland. The interview was out of the blue and as I reading the email from the PR firm that invited me to come out and interview Ms.Rowland on behalf of their Caress campaign during the VMA awards, I still couldn’t believe it. They found my article that I did on the Branding Iron, a country western club located in San Bernardino, on Examiner.com, and they loved it.
Before this I didn’t really take Examiner.com that serious, nearly not as serious as my professional, well paying reporter jobs. I would literally just post up an article just to remain active on Examiner and keep my status with them. So now back to the interview. After accepting the interview request, why would I deny something like that, I expected to the interview to be a regular press conference where Kelly is sitting in the front roped off with several reporters asking questions with no personal contact with the star. However, it was far from that and much better.
I was one out seven young ladies picked out to interview her. We arrived at a hotel outside of Beverly Hills where we were to meet Kelly. At this point the surealness came back. I still wasn’t sure if I was really about to interview Kelly Rowland. They split us up to interview her in two groups. The first group of 4 went in, and about 15 minutes later they came out, then my group of 3 went in. As I walked into the hotel suite, I now realized it was for real once I seen Kelly sitting on the coach as we all walked in to talk to her. The interview didn’t feel like your normal one, it felt like more of a sleep over with your closet girlfriends, where your just chatting about everything from fashion, beauty, and just catching up.
After the interview, we all took individual photos with Kelly. When it was my turn to take my picture with her, I noticed how sweet and down to earth she was. I had on a certain caramel scent that Rowland noticed and liked, so after the out photo she picked out her favorite Caress body wash that had a similar scent to what I had on. That made by day, especially since she didn’t do that for the other two girls. Just being in the same room with Kelly felt natural. I wasn’t nervous nor star struck. This is when I started to realize that this was God’s way of telling me that it was time.
It was time and I was ready for my career in media to really start taking off. After 8 years of being in Journalism and covering events and topics of every genre, except politics, I HATE politics, I realized that my true niche and calling was in entertainment. Now fast forward to February 15, 2015, the closing night of the Pan African Film Festival and premiere of the movie Man in 3B by Carl Weber. I attended this event for the first time in 2014, but this year was different and more enjoyable in many ways. First I have to give a GIANT thanks to the PR queen of the event Michelle Huff Elliot, for not only credentialing me for the event, but for the Man in 3B tickets and After Party tickets.
The ways in which this year’s PAFF was monumental for me was that my passion and purpose were aligned and confirmed once again. First it was confirmed through media not it was confirmed through film.
I had took a break from directing and producing film a couple years ago after being fed up with people who were still trying to make their marks in Hollywood as actors. but didn’t have a reel or track record of what they worked on but wanted to be treated high and mighty because they knew certain people in the industry, such as Jamie Foxx and Akon (rolls eyes). Anyways, being at this year’s PAFF and being at the after party with some of favorite Black actresses and actors in Hollywood was priceless. From Brely Evans, to Lamman Rucker to Hill Harper and several others, I once again was comfortable and in a surreal moment for a few seconds at first. But my purpose was confirmed after hearing the Q&A’s during the movie screening that my destined career field is to make an impact and living from continuing to assist Blacks in Hollywood and entertainment succeed. Also, it was also a confirmation that I can build a solid a team with other successful, down to earth people in color in Los Angeles.
My advice to others is to keep striving. So far I have already started scratching several things off of my 2015 vision list/board that have been accomplished. If you want to be in the media or entertainment industry, go for it. When people try to tell you that it’s hard, it really isn’t. They just say that because they gave up and couldn’t do it. They were lazy and failed to apply themselves. God will not grant you something if you are not working towards it and do not have a passion for it. If you have that passion and that drive you will work hard at it. Just because you see others that may have less experience than you make it before you, doesn’t mean that your time is up. People have different journeys and are ready for that journey at different times in their lives. You may have had kids on the way but don’t let that be a reason to stop pursuing your dreams. Several people in the industry had kids young, but still kept working. They just learned to balance life with their work life. But when it’s your passion, work doesn’t feel like work.
So whether you’re 18, 25, or 45, if when God gives you that sign that it’s time, you just have to go for it and watch your dreams unfold.