We talk about “Black Excellence” and regard it as this beautiful, indomitable force in people of African descent. But what if it were a product? What would its ad campaign look like?
Those questions inspired this week’s video.
I won’t share much about my creative process. Instead I’ll point out something very important: I didn’t shoot any of the images. They’re all from Unsplash, and I’ve credited the photographers at the end of this post.
Interestingly enough, this project reinforced a few things.
1. I can create decent content. Huzzah! (That’s the first time I’ve used that word, and it may be the last.) In the past I’ve dabbled a bit in video, and I podcasted off and on a while ago. I miss those days.
2. It’s important to get in the arena. If you think of yourself as a creative, you can’t afford to keep your gifts to yourself. Kudos to Brené Brown for quoting Theodore Roosevelt, who said
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause;who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”
I once said ages ago that mistakes make magic. You can’t create large, great things without making smaller projects first and risking failure. To some my video may look simple, but I’m pretty damn proud of myself for putting it out there.
3. “Do what you can with what you have” isn’t an empty phrase. Most of the work for this project was done my phone. Can you imagine what’ll happen once I have a whole suite of tools?
4. Representation will always matter. A lot of folks have experienced this, including me: Every now and then a white person will ask why a particular type of media has a label that references my ethnicity. (I remember some on social media flipped out when blackish was first broadcast.) Meanwhile in other avenues images of white people are considered the default. People of colour don’t see ourselves in the media as often as they (we) should.
The photos I used spoke to me in one way or another. Ultimately, their message was powerful.
“I am here, living this life, taking up this space.”
Words to live by.
BLACK EXCELLENCE – THE PHOTOGRAPHERS
- Hannah Grace
- Enoch Appiah Jr.
- Tanja Heffner
- Quinten de Graaf
- Tom Cochereau
- Jascha Huisman
- Atikh Bana
- Jean Gerber
- Annie Spratt
- LinkedIn Sales Navigator
- Kim Carpenter
- Seth Doyle
- Rochelle Nicole
- Nichola Fiorvanti
- Anna Louise
- Brooke Cagle
- William Recinos
- Nathaniel Tetteh
- Samantha Sophia
- Austin Neill
- Clarke Sanders
- The Creative Exchange
- Steven Van
- Eye for Ebony