Not too long ago I wrote a piece on the joys and successes of being a #multiyphenate. And I still totally sit in and stand by that. However, I also know that when people see things in you specifically, it's important to hear that. I believe that being a successful multi-hyphenate comes with strategy and knowing when to pick a thing up, put a thing down, or phase a thing out altogether.
I have always said that I was a producer. I have been freelance producing, I took the time to learn about the various producers out there (there's a blog for that too...lol). I went out and completed my certificate in Producing, etc. But I have always said I'm a Producer and MOORE (see what I did there?). So being overlooked for acting roles, hosting jobs and so forth, just to produce felt like a cheat. UNTIL I realized that I am a producer. So if I don't book the acting gig, or the singing job or the hosting position, why not embrace the producer part? And over the last week alone, I've had at least three people tell me that despite my feelings of disenchantment with the business, and especially the "NY Black Indie" space, I still am a Producer. I still have the goods to bring great content to life and to light and to help connect dots and find homes (paid homes) for the work being tirelessly created out there.
I have not made it a secret that lately I've been tired, down, in the dark emotionally and just overall feeling beat up by this business and trying to crack the nut that will get me to produce for a living. That break that will allow me to pay my mortgage and still not have to dine on the fair fare of cereal and tuna. However, in the absence of said big break, this injection of belief in my ability to produce and bring content to the masses that fills holes in the urban media market has been energizing. The fact that my passion and knowledge shines through to those that I respect and that they can see and understand my ability to create and/or curate work that can show people of color as who they are; not in pockets or stereotypes, but in states of just being their ever-evolving and varied selves, without apology and without showing us as a made up and assumed caricature. It's like the slave narrative debate. I am not upset at the ever-increasing interest in and green-light given to the slave narrative. I am more upset that so many complain, but are not creating content beyond it. We should be able to do everything from slave stories to rom-coms. But if all we seem to put out, support, or make popular are slave stories (by praising or debasing them, mind you), then that's all we will have in the main stream. As a producer, I want to bring big, bold and awesome stories to market! Stories that insight dialogue in both our community and those communities outside of ours that may not either know or understand our specific struggles and lives. THAT to me is what it's about!
So in this instance, I am going to say when someone qualified tells you who you are, believe them. It's not okay in many instances, but it's relevant and absolute if it's in the scope of what you strive to be and goes against your own feelings of inadequacy and insecurity. So yes, I am an actor and singer and writer and even at times a director...but I truly am A PRODUCER. That's the goal I am seeking to achieve today, tomorrow and a million tomorrows from now.
I know that achieving your goals is not an easy thing and though it may seem that for some it's been a sprint, it's not. It truly is a marathon. And just like runners can tell you, the 26 miles are hard as hell, but it's the last 0.2 miles that kill you. In life when you feel the absolute worst and are ready to pack it in, you are in the 0.2 of your marathon and your 26 miles were not for nought, but you've passed them and that 0.2 is what separates you from your dreams. I'm in my last mile...not really at the point two just yet, but I feel the cramps and the shin splints and the swelling and discomfort and pain happening. So my point two is close. And it's going to be hell, I already know. But the finish line with my dream is on the other side. And even when I get there, there will be a new race to run. However, in the words of one of my favorite Smokie Norful gospel songs, "I'll run til I finish!"
Will you run til you finish, my Shining Starrs? Will you beat the odds and be amongst the elite group of folks that didn't give up and made it? Have you not given up and made it? Or did you walk away and now feel like you want to go back and pick up where you left off to get where you are supposed to be going? Tell your tales loves. Let Miss O and my readers know the deal. You never know who you can inspire!
With love, hope and a slight limp from this marathon...