What does it mean to be a Black Creative?
In my opinion, a Black Creative is a person whose mind has expanded to extraordinary lengths to express a higher level of artistic and creative expression. Whether it’s in the form of word, music or art, this Creative ultimately speaks their truth in their work. And they just so happen to be a Black American. A Creative doesn’t follow the rules, because it impairs and disturbs the artist or the child within. A misfit, a rebel of society, is someone who despises conformity in oppose to oblige in it. A Black Creative vibes and attracts other like-minded Black Creatives. This is an exclusive and profitable tribe and when we watch those like Issa Rae (Insecure) Or Donald Glover (Atlanta) create these bomb ass shows, that is the greatest example of Black Creatives creating magic.
Black People, my Brothers and Sisters, lend me your ears. We are the epitome of creativity. The epitome of creativity. We sit on twitter (or Black Twitter, preferably) and make topics trend. We have numerous shops, selling various things on Etsy.com, Black Creatives writing and sharing some of the most beautiful spoken words.We create EPs and hand-drawn artwork and share it online.We braid and cut hair, we create T-shirts and Custom hats with unique designs. We are Trend-setters, we have gold running through our veins and our innovative ideas are worth millions. You know, I think about how we share our ideas so freely online, ideas that we don’t even know can be capitalized. From Instagram video edits to internet memes, we put out these funny and original contents and don’t get a dime for it. What are we doing wrong? Most of us don’t know the first thing about Marketing strategies or copyrights. We don’t know anything about trademarks or patent rights. We just post these things online and someone who is a lot more knowledgeable of these laws snatches them up from underneath us and make serious BREAD off of them. The prime example of this that I like to use is the travesty that happened to Rapper Young M.A. Now people have heard her groundbreaking single,”ooouuu”, and in the song Young M.A. drops a line that instantly went viral on social media.
Every time I’m out, why she stressing me? You call her Stephanie? I call her Headphanie.
I don’t think anyone thought that they particular line would blow up the way that it did, but it did. And almost instantaneous, a group of boys from Lilac Company x Hennessey took the word “headphanie” and made liquor from it. Young M.A. saw no profits from it, because she didn’t own that word. She didn’t know trademark it. However, the way Karma is set up, the makers of the Headphanie Hennessey suspended all production indefinitely with claims of wanting to “do the right thing.” But that wasn’t entirely true. See, the real Hennessey company released a statement pretty much calling the Lilac company a bunch of scammers and stated that they have not or ever will give them authorization for the usage of their name or likeness. Young M.A. may not have known her rights as a business person, but Hennessey did and they got those boys up and out of here.But it wasn’t her fault for not knowing the laws, because we aren’t given the resources on how to make our ideas into money. We aren’t taught these things, we aren’t educated with this knowledge. But if there is ONE thing to remember from her story is this, “IF YOU GO VIRAL, TRADEMARK IT.” If you don’t, someone else will.
We have the power to be curators, move makers, visionaries, a movement. Black Creatives is a movement. And If you look up the definition of what a movement is, it says, “A group of people working together to advance their shared politicial, social or artistic ideas.“Now when I think of a movement, I think of Donda, the creative communications company of Kanye West and I will tell you why. A couple of years ago, Kanye was on twitter and he was speaking very freely about his plans for his company, named after his beloved mother Dr. Donda West. I sat there intensely reading tweet for tweet his ideas for this company. He spoke about designing his sneakers ‘Yeezy’ with Nike (at the time). Kanye also spoke about dipping his toe into high fashion. “I did the first fashion show out of my own pocket and used the money I made touring to follow my passion.” He talked about moving to Japan for a month and designing out there, he interned at Fendi and was offered a position at Versace, in which he had to turn down. After all of that was said and done, he posted an email address and asked for anyone who wanted to help build this dream into reality, join him. Never did hear back from them. Lol As much as people talk badly of him that man, Mr. Kanye West is a movement. As weird, strange, or eccentric his ideas may be, he knows to always protect those ideas because someone else will come and steal them away. Being a movement is not a one man show. Kanye has a team of people who not only believe in his dream and want to see it in front of them, but they also believe in themselves and their own ideas. Collaboration between two or more people with innovative ideas is such a powerful tool. Bouncing ideas and concepts between each other is what makes being a creative such a beautiful thing. Diddy once said, “Team up with the influential needle movers who help define culture and curate what’s cool.” Aspire to be an influencer and to collaborate with other influencers. This is not the time to compete with other like minded individuals, because at the end of the day, the culture vultures don’t look like me or you.
I hope this post helps a little with your ideas or plans as an entrepreneur for 2017. I was inspired to write this article after really watching and studying other Black Creatives on various social media sites, especially Twitter. I watch a lot of Ted Talks about collaborations and creativity thinking and the problem is not that this information isn’t available to us, it’s the fact that we dont know the first thing about finding this information. Life is a hustle, every skill that you have whether it’s braiding hair, cooking lit ass food or even coding is a hustle. You can make money off of almost anything that you are good at, legally speaking. It’s time to make our money and keep it within our culture, we share so much with almost nothing to show for it. It’s time to take back what belongs to us.