Black like me, diversity

Black Excellence

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

  1. Hannah Grace 
  2. Enoch Appiah Jr.
  3. Tanja Heffner
  4. Quinten de Graaf
  5. Tom Cochereau
  6. Jascha Huisman
  7. Atikh Bana
  8. Jean Gerber
  9. Annie Spratt
  10. LinkedIn Sales Navigator
  11. Kim Carpenter
  12. Seth Doyle
  13. Rochelle Nicole
  14. Nichola Fiorvanti
  15. Anna Louise
  16. Brooke Cagle
  17. William Recinos
  18. Nathaniel Tetteh
  19.  Samantha Sophia
  20. Austin Neill
  21. Clarke Sanders
  22. The Creative Exchange
  23. Steven Van
  24. Eye for Ebony
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Black like me, diversity, I'm just sayin'.

On “Black Friends”

Demetria just about covered it.

I read a bunch of comments about Adele on Grammy night that were ridiculous. I swear. My eyes rolled so hard, it’s a wonder they didn’t fall out of my head.

Then, I got introspective.

What do you hear when someone uses the words “Black friends”?

We live in an era where people are boldly, unapologetically racist. And I get it. The words “Black friends” have been used again and again (and AGAIN) by bigots when they’re straining to be polite. “No, Jay’s Blackness doesn’t bother me. I have PLENTY of Black friends…”

But this isn’t that.

Like it or not, the fact remains that folks have friends who are Black. People need to learn the difference between “Black friends” as condescending tokenism and its use as an accurate descriptor.

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