***UPDATE June 17th**** WE WON BEST WEB SERIES!!!!
Hey #ShiningStarrs I am reporting to you from sunny Miami! So excited to be here at the American Black Film Festival yet again. It has been YEARS and honestly, that is what today's story is about. I haven't posted a blog in a while, so I figured I'd share.
My journey has NOT been an easy one. But it has also been less treacherous than that of some of my peers, so this is by no means a sad story. However, with many of us suffering from the ugly feelings we can get from other's social feeds, curated smoke and mirrors and the like, I think sharing the way we get to those fly posts sometimes, is a reminder to us all (myself included) that we don't know that person's story, just what we see today.
In 2008 I was asked to cover the event as they made their first attempt to have it in LA. Understand I was not making much money at that time and I could NOT afford this event. So the head of another media outlet said he would reimburse my flight and rent me a car if I took care of my lodging and flew out to cover it. I'd been doing events for him in NYC and it was my chance to really do it big, so I thought. Plus I had an LA boo! I was seeing the "manny" (male nanny) of a very rich and famous celeb and he offered for me to stay at his place for the duration. So in my head I was about to be POPPIN. Maybe I would even get to hang with him and his boss!
Chile!!!! Nope! I got out to LA, no car reservation, no money really, aside from the few coins I had managed to scrape together to fly out and put in my pocket. I get there and I am calling said media person and he is like I'm working on the car, call you back. I'm like ok, at least let me go get my passes. Welp, get there I have NO CREDENTIALS! So no wheels, no passes and I know NO ONE. Media guy is now just not answering my calls or texts and I'm stranded. I was too embarrassed to call and tell anyone. So, I cry...hard. I feel so dumb!!!!
Add to this that my fake boyfriend wound up largely embellishing his status and his "place" was a remodeled garage! And by remodeled I mean it was painted and had furniture but was still a functioning GARAGE!!!! This is where this man expected me to sleep. But with no money for a hotel I had to. It was chilly at night and one evening while in his bed that faced the garage door...it actually opened!!! I was like Lord why?!!!!
However, they say God takes care of fools and babies. The next day as I'm leaving the registration table in tears, these black girls walk by. One of them is now a super successful and amazing producer/director (Hey Angela!!!!) and she was the first to ask me if I was ok. I told them my story and they immediately adopted me. These girls got me passes, fed me, let me ride around with them and everything. Largely due to them and the few contacts I had, the trip was not a total bust and I wound up with stories to write and today, a story to tell.
I of course disengaged with the media guy who left me stranded and never gave me a dime. Although, I eventually forgave him because we were both in over our heads at the time and I should have known better. Not to mention I went on after that, to co-own my own media outlet that did very well and gave true opportunities to many others for almost three years. And actually my company was how I finessed my next ABFF in 2010. I did all the red carpets and had some amazing interviews out there. I met so many awesome stars and many of them are so accomplished now, when back then it was their starting point. I even watched some friends get their first national stage to shine, and now they are on mainstream television and growing into household names. It was magical and while it was better than before, I could only dream to be in something at the festival.
But #ShiningStarrs I realize this year that God has continued to restore all the things that I felt had been taken from me, lost or out of reach. So I am at ABFF this year as a producer for the dope series, Little Apple, that I am so very proud of and that I bust my tail on. I have an all access pass, a nice hotel, spending money, contacts, connects and things to speak about that I have done and am doing. All of this is on the heels of premiering at Tribeca, screening with Jack Daniel's at the Schomburg, finishing a new film that has only this week gotten its first festival acceptance and working as the producer of several network shows.
My lows may have been embarrassingly low, but God has absolutely shown me that I have no clue of the highs waiting for me. After all of the madness I have endured and put myself through, I never quit. I never let the bad times and low points take me out of the game.
I urge you guys to continue through the lows and also to celebrate and take in the highs. The universe and whatever creator you serve has so much waiting for you. You will have janky experiences, be led astray by folks, be entangled in foolishness and do some dumb and/or ugly things yourself, but it is all redeemable.
Tell me some of your stories! What craziness have you seen, been through or done that you look back on and can only face palm yourself and ask WTF? And where are you now, in comparison?
I celebrate your testimonies and thank you for celebrating mine with me too. Let's keep climbing, lifting and pushing. There is so much more in store.
Yours in celebration and self love from sunny Miami,