Category Archives: Business and Branding

Pop Life

Everyone wants to be a celebrity. Unfortunately, many people are willing to do any and everything to get to that goal, except working hard for it. These same people often mistaken being famous for being popular and don’t understand the responsibility that comes with being a household name. They want the flash, bang and pop of celebrity status, but fail to recognize the sacrifices that are required and the expectations that people have. Most of the celebrities that exist, didn’t initially set out to become famous. Hard work and talent mixed with decisions, situations and opportunities resulted in the outcome of celebrity status. Many of them even regret being famous because they have lost their privacy, some relationships and have been under a microscope the entire time.

Being a celebrity was once a result of talent. Now it’s a result of over exposure and nudity, with a dash of who you’re sleeping with. It’s getting to be ridiculous. And it’s happening more and more. With all the reality television shows featuring women with no particular talent at the helm, earning million dollar checks because of the man they are connected to, being a celebrity is no longer what it once was. Being a celebrity has become too easy. Everyone is doing it…or trying to. From minor children posting videos of themselves fighting on YouTube and WorldStarHipHop.com, to adults fighting and bullying each other like children on television – everyone wants face time with lights, cameras and action. But no one wants to raise the bar, be accountable for their behavior and actions, or set a real, positive example for someone else to look up to. 

In entertainment, lately everyone wants to be the most popular kid in school, because it’s easier than being the kid who gets straight As. There are lots of women (in particular) taking their clothes off for money, bent over and spread eagle in an effort to become famous. There are many men who think their good looks don’t require that they have any skills and their goal is to become a 40 year old rapper. What happended to becoming educated, starting a business or becoming an inventor? Remember the most popular kid at your school? Where are they now? Remember the kid who got straight As? Where are they now? I bet if I did a poll of all the popular kids in school compared to all of the hard-working kids in school, the kids who worked hard and got good grades (even if they weren’t straight A students), probably have had the most longevity and success in their lives and careers. I’d bet money that the ratio would be staggering. The same holds true in the world of entertainment. Longevity requires hard work.  

Hard work trumps doing things the easy way any day. Everyone I know in entertainment has paid their dues. They studied under someone more experienced when they began, they practice their craft in between performances, they are constantly seeking to learn new things and about new developments in their field, they have a mentor in the industry, and most importantly, they don’t take any of it for granted. They have longevity, many awards and accolades, but are still humble. They are humble because they know what the fly-by-night-I-wanna-be-famous-because-I-don’t-have-anything-better-to-do-celebrity seekers don’t know.

Hard work pays off and lasts longer than anything else.

Reality television stars come and go. Tabloid talk shows are more about getting ratings for the show to remain on air. Very few people who are on these shows today will be around twenty years from now and still have us talking about them. The most many of them can hope for is to be featured on a “Where Are They Now” or “One Hit Wonder” thirty minute documentary on cable five to ten years from now. The desire to become a celebrity causes many people to resort to doing almost anything because they have stars in their eyes. Often people overlook the business side of the entertainment business. They jump in head first to accept the first offer that comes their way, completely clueless to how things actually work in the entertainment business. They have convinced themselves that how good they look is the deciding factor across the industry so they don’t work  to enhance their talent or skills. This opens up the door for opportunists and predators to walk right in.  

I’m going to use the following true story as an example of an attempt by a predator:

Recently a man, who has apparently been ogling over me online, sent me several messages telling me how beautiful he thinks I am. Each time, I either didn’t reply or I said ‘thank you’ and kept it moving. A compliment is just a compliment to me. A man giving me a compliment will never get more than a ‘thank you’ from me. Hearing “you’re so beautiful“, NEVER leads to an invitation to my bedroom because I hear it all the time. The next time I received a message from this man, he asked me to video chat with him. I told him ‘no‘ [sidenote: I don’t know him from a can of paint and he was begging. Begging is a very unattractive quality in a man to me, and it is a signal that a man is obsessive and even a potential stalker. I’m always leery of men who beg to see me and meet me. It’s creepy]. Then he escalated from asking me to video chat with him to asking me to make pornography with him. I’m so serious right now. Common sense would dictate that if I wouldn’t want to video chat with him, I also wouldn’t want to have sex with him or make pornography with him either. Alas, common sense is not common. 

At this point I know that this is his “line“.  Again, I told him ‘no‘ and went back to what I was doing, thinking he would give up. I was wrong. His next message said “I can make you a star. If you want to be a star I can pay you $10,000 and even get you in Playboy. You have the best body“. I fell out laughing at this point. Obviously, this idiot uses this fuckery yes, I said fuckery – on women regularly. He has no idea who I am, what I do and his only interest is in what I look like for the sake of his personal pleasure. He thinks that because I’m an attractive woman, that I’m desperate for his attention (or anyone’s) and that I need him to make me a star. I told him, “I’m already a star and you can’t do anything for me“. Then I used my blocking software to make sure he couldn’t contact me again.

Now, maybe this man’s “line” works on women without any self-esteem, who believe it necessary to objectify themselves at the request of a man in order to become “stars“, but I don’t allow anyone to pimp me, but ME. Anything using my image will be controlled by me. I don’t care who he claims he is, or what he claims he can do. I don’t care if he was President Obama, Hugh Hefner or Calvin Johnson. Ten thousand dollars is not enough money for me to sell out, lower my standards or objectify myself at the hands of any man. That’s the devil all day. Particularly when I know that my talents will make me a millionaire one day. Plus, let’s be honest, if he had the money or the connection, he would’ve approached me in a more professional and official capacity than sending me a message like that. He was just a creepy pervert looking for a woman to victimize. Unfortunately, the next woman he tries that “line” on, might actually fall for it and put herself in a compromising position to become a “star” because it’s easier than working towards it the right way. How do I know this to be true? I see it everyday. 

That’s why I decided to facilitate the Social Networking Etiquette and Safety Workshop at the I Feel Good: Mind, Body and Soul Women’s Conference on August 18, 2012 at H.Y.P.E. So that I could use some of my own experiences to teach women how to handle and avoid these types of situations. And encourage them to turn towards their talents, versus their physical appearance and who their man is as the only way to succeed in this world. My workshop won’t be just for the 11 to 18 years olds either. A lot of the women falling for the okey doke are grown women also. Being the next stripper turned basketball baby mama should not be a career goal of any woman. Being a forty-year old drug dealer turned rapper should not be a career goal of any man. If that is all a person has to aspire to in life, they need to reassess and refocus their life quickly or they will wake up and have wasted a lot of time and energy desperately seeking fame the easy way with minimal positive results. There’s more to life than being famous. God-given talents should be used productively and everyone has one. How you choose to use yours can make a difference in the quality of your life and those around you.  

Prince wrote “Pop Life” years ago, about the desires and disappointments that people feel when they seek fame and fortune the easy way, and the chorus alone still rings true today. 

Everybody needs a thrill
Pop life
We all got a space 2 fill
Pop life
Everybody can’t be on top
But life it aint real funky
Unless it’s got that pop

~ Becoming instantly famous has become the new hustle for those without talent. Many of whom are hustling backwards.  – Super Woman

 

My Super (Crazy) World

Some days I wake up and wonder what in the world is wrong with me. Why am I so driven and ambitious? Why do I try to make my best day better than the last? Why can’t I sit still and do nothing, even when I’m on vacation? Being super is a blessing and a curse. If you’ve been following the development and evolution of me and Super Woman Productions and Publishing, you probably either think I’m a genius or that I’m bipolar. I heard somewhere that being a genius isn’t far from being crazy. If that is true, I probably qualify.

Everyday presents a new opportunity in my life. Some of those opportunities are also coupled with challenges. And I’m not ashamed to tell you that since I’ve been in business, I have yet to make a profit. The part of me that serves a higher purpose doesn’t care too much. I know that my greatest commodity is my intellectual property and that as time and technology catch up to what I want to do, I’ll be able to do a lot more and make money at it. The part of me that has bills to pay, however, gets frustrated because my business isn’t showing a profit and obtaining financing from banks is impossible because my business is based on the creative process. Banks don’t invest in people, they invest in profit and loss statements. In spite of that, I’m always encouraged by others in entertainment and business who remind me that although I haven’t turned a profit yet, unlike some other businesses that have turned a profit in their first five years, I’m still in existence and I’m still growing. I’m told that because I’m growing slowly and paying my dues, my rewards will be more consistent and long-term than experienced by many other entrepreneurs. It’s also very encouraging when I hear Len Burnett Jr. from Uptown Media Group and Chris Genteel from Google, speak before a group of business professionals and entrepreneurs and list the things I’m already doing as things that entrepreneurs should be doing to market themselves to the public and become successful is this growing digital age.  

I’m also undereducated. Meaning, I don’t have a degree. In anything. But I’ve been to college. In fact, I was a straight A student and on the Dean’s List my last attempt to complete my degree in Business Management. I was also bored. After being employed in various businesses since I was 19 years old, and having been a business owner more than once myself, I knew everything that was being taught in the classes I was taking. On more than one occasion, my instructors would ask me why I was even there. My answer: I was told I had to come to this class to get that piece of paper called a degree. Well, I’m going back to school, again. This time I’m going to obtain my Bachelor degree in Digital Cinematography so that I can produce and direct the film and television projects that I write. I’ll get an honorary Bachelors in Business, one day. And if I don’t get my degree in business, it won’t limit me as much as it would in Corporate America. I’m not saying being educated isn’t important. I’m a huge champion for education and I believe it is a necessity. But not having a degree will not hinder a person as much if they have applicable skills, knowledge and experience in place of that degree.

This last year has already been an amazing experience for me, and it’s only half way in. Sometimes it has been exhausting. Sometimes it feels like it’s moving too fast, and I want more time in a day to do all the things I want and need to do. Sometimes I have wanted to throw the towel in and quit because it seems like it’s not moving fast enough. When I have those days, something usually happens that makes me change my mind. I get a phone call or an email from someone who seems really excited about meeting/talking to Super Woman. Or I’m out publicly and I’m recognized by someone and they refer to me as Super Woman. Or someone tells me how I’ve inspired, motivated or blessed them with my words or deeds. I like those days. Those are days of reassurance.

There are still thousands of people who have no idea that I exist or know what I do. I swear more than half of my Facebook friends only friend me because I’m pretty. If you asked them what I do, they couldn’t tell you if their lives depended on it. But that’s ok. Twenty years ago, everyone didn’t know who Oprah was right away either. Everyone didn’t like Wendy Williams when she started as a radio personality years ago. People thought Tyra Banks was just a pretty model and that she didn’t have the ability or brains to become the media mogul that she is now. We all have our hurdles to jump in order to get you, the public, to acknowledge and embrace us. It’s actually part of the job description when you work in entertainment.

Over the next year, I hope to give you all the opportunity to know more about me as a person and learn more about the Super Woman Brand. I also hope to gain your support in my endeavors and community outreach. I’m accepting many opportunities that are coming my way, which will allow this to occur. Although I fight tooth and nail to avoid being in front of the cameras, I don’t really have a choice. So when I’m in front of the camera, I’m going to make sure that I’m doing a good job. When I’m entertaining you, I want it to also be informative. If you see me when I’m in public, don’t be afraid to talk to me. I’m told I’ve very personable and I’m not as shy and introverted as I once was. I plan to also make you more aware of what I’m doing in different ways. However, it is best to subscribe to my newsletter so that you receive the information quicker than through social media. Please, don’t be afraid to share with other people. Forward my blog posts to your friends and relatives, trackback to them if you have your own website (just don’t plagiarise me because I have people who check for that) and follow me on social networks. I’m everywhere that you can imagine and in some places you haven’t heard of.

Here is a brief list of some of what is currently taking place in my Super (Crazy) World.

  • The Blaqe Rocket Blast Radio ShowEvery Friday 7 – 9 pm EST online at www.blogtalkradio.com/the_blaqe_rocket_blast 
  • Mission Small Business – Vote for Super Woman Productions and Publishing before June 30, 2012 so I can qualify to win the $250,000 Grant at www.missionsmallbusiness.com These funds will be used to fund media projects, hire and train people in media and increase community outreach initiatives like the upcoming I Feel Good: Mind, Body and Soul Women’s Conference.
  • #FabLife Apparel and Accessories – Coming to this website soon. I’m interested in retail partnerships, so if you own a boutique and you’d like to carry my line, please use the Contact Us page to reach out to me to schedule a meeting.
  • Super Video Blogs coming to the OfficialSuperWoman YouTube Channel beginning this week. Because time is becoming limited for me to write blogs, I’m starting quick video blogs that you can watch periodically that update you on my Super World.  
  • The Goodie Bag is almost sold out. There’s only about 15  paperback copies left. It will continue to be available in eBook and for Kindle (in 5 languages). Go to The Brand to buy.
  • Sequins & Suits is being held on Thursday August 16, 2012, 6 pm until midnight, at Crave Lounge in Dearborn, MI and the I Feel Good: Mind, Body & Soul Women’s Conference is being held at H.Y.P.E. Athletic Community on August 18. Tickets will go on sale for both very soon.   
  • I’ve been nominated for Crain’s 40 Under 40 and Who’s Who in Black Detroit – results are still pending. I feel honored to have been nominated for who I am and what I do.

I’m still interested in signing aspiring authors who want to become published. I’m also available to speak at various functions (in and outside of Detroit). If you need a keynote speaker, I’m your girl. Use the Contact Us page to reach me. My media kit will be available at this website soon and will list my rates for different services.

As you see, I’m increasingly busy. Busy is good and I’m not even half way done with everything. There are still many other projects and ventures taking place that I’m keeping under wraps until they are finalized. That way, you have something to look forward to – just like Christmas.

Thank you again for your support of Super Woman Productions and Publishing.

 

Come Back to the Future

I’m astounded by how many people are offended, angry or disapproving of Whole Foods coming to Midtown. I’m willing to bet some of these same people live in the suburbs and shop at the local WalMart (which is known for paying low wages to their employees and for age discrimination). Some of these are the same people who complain about the blight and abandoned buildings in the city, but will protest new construction going up. Many people seem to also believe that all people in Detroit are poor and can’t afford Whole Foods prices. These same people are debating that Whole Foods coming into the Midtown community will put the “mom-and-pop” stores out of business resulting in lost jobs. The existing grocery store in Midtown IS NOT a “mom-and-pop” owned store; it is a Spartan store with extremely high prices and very poor quality food.  Mom-and-pop grocery stores barely exist anymore, particularly in Midtown. And the next nearest grocery store is a Kroger in Grosse Pointe Woods.

People are also complaining about how much Whole Foods will receive in tax incentives.

NEWS FLASH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Nearly every large company operating in Downtown DETROIT receives tax incentives and the only ones not paying back into the community as much as they receive from it are the three existing CASINOS, that gross millions of dollars per day. That seems like it would be something for people to get angry about. Unfortunately, no one has really noticed.

Change is good and positive progress is even better. A suburb is only as strong as the city that it surrounds. If Detroit doesn’t grow and flourish, Metro Detroit suburbs won’t either. It’s time for us to stop living in the 1800’s. The reason we don’t have more economic opportunities in Detroit is because of many of these same narrow-minded complainers who don’t even live in the city limits, don’t want to embrace positive change for what it is, and they work extremely hard to prevent the change from occurring. Instead they prefer to dwell on all of the fictional problems that they expect the change to cause, without even thinking for one second that a company like Whole Foods has already possibly considered those and found solutions for them in advance.

So it’s ok for suburban neighborhoods to have grocery stores and the evil WalMart where everything is made in China, but it’s not okay to have a grocery store in Midtown?

While the complainers are steadily on the backs of Whole Foods, they overlooked additional growth taking place within the city – mostly because they are unable to multi-focus their complaints in more than one direction at the same time. That is actually a very good thing. It’s good because growth is under the radar for these complainers. Detroit is getting a Meijer store and “strip” mall at 8 Mile Road and Woodward opening in 2013.  Twitter (YES, TWITTER) and Chrysler are opening offices in downtown Detroit, not to mention the huge Olga’s Kitchen opening in the CompuWare building. Furthermore, Whole Foods has invested $1 Million to bring a non-traditional banking facility, that operates successfully in New York and California (with an impressively low minimal loan default ratio) to the city of Detroit that will help business owners fund their businesses and projects when the existing traditional banks deny them lines of credit.

Did you catch that?

Whole Foods is already making a positive change to help the city business owners and they just broke ground this month. 

All the nasty, bigoted, elitist comments being made on news posts and blogs are utterly ridiculous and extremely exaggerated. People are constantly saying that people residing in Midtown can only grocery shop with bridge cards and can’t afford Whole Foods. Guess what? Midtown Detroit has more doctors, nurses and professionals residing there than reside in Palmer Park and Boston Edison. The average household income in Midtown is over $100,000 per year. There’s also less crime in that part of the city thanks in large part to Wayne State University Police who patrol the entire area.

I commented on articles written by Detroit Free Press and Huffington Post Detroit because I was so surprised at all the negativity. This just reiterates what I said in my previous blog I Get It…I Really Do, about the negative mindsets of people living in Detroit.

I think that people residing in the suburbs who are against Whole Foods coming to Detroit are narrow minded…and negative. If they believe that Whole Foods is that bad for the City, they should have been more involved in getting a grocery that they find acceptable opened in the area. But it’s likely that they didn’t do so because it doesn’t directly impact them because they live in the suburbs and don’t see a correlation between them and the city. If Whole Foods does well (which I’m more than positive they will) and people become employed long-term as a result, and the neighborhood and residents benefit, those same individuals will probably still have something negative to say about it.
 
I urge Detroiters to back away from dark ages and come back to the future. It’s really nice there; if given the chance to develop. 

I Get It…I Really Do…

I’ve come to realize that Detroiters have a mindset unlike many other urban areas. The mindset that Detroiters have is one that says that Detroit is the only place on Earth where there are difficulties – in the school systems, in the economy and in the workforce.

That mindset is untrue.

However, that mindset permeates throughout the community, regardless of how many times we see other urban school districts show their educational issues or hear about how many absentee fathers there are in other cities, or see other people talking about how difficult it is for them to pay bills and buy groceries. Detroiters still believe they stand out and alone in every area. To a degree, we do. But we don’t. We have the same identical issues that almost every other urban area in the United States has. We really do. The difference is that we don’t use the same mechanisms they use to change our situation here. We think we’re SO different from everyone else that what has been done somewhere else, just won’t work here, without even trying it first. That’s what keeps us separate and unequal.

Detroit doesn’t TRY to make changes using the examples set by leaders in other urban cities to change the way things are in Detroit. Detroiters don’t like change. They like to complain. Detroiters don’t believe in tearing down buildings to rebuild. They just build new buildings next to the old ones. Detroiters don’t like to try anything new. Detroiters just seem to like doing the same things the same way, over and over again.  

Fear of CHANGE holds us hostage in Detroit more than anything else does. And excuse making is holding the gun to our heads.

Although I am the first to admit that we do have issues, including the lack of reliable mass transportation that other urban areas do have, I get tired of people who live in Detroit complaining about what we don’t have instead of using what we do have to make things better. The idea that we don’t have successful people living, working and contributing in Detroit is why magazines like UPTOWN, which prints a monthly Detroit edition, only has about 4 pages in it about Detroit. As a publishing company I’m sure they are thinking ‘Why print it if no one cares?‘  As a businesswoman, I see their point of view. As a writer, I want a freelance job to prove them wrong and showcase my own talents.   

Entrepreneurs often have a difficult time using the ‘if you build it, they will come’ model of business ingenuity when it comes to Detroit.  There are so many people who live here, yet they don’t know what’s going on in the city, who people in the city are or what the city has to offer. However, other people move here from other cities, and countries, open businesses, become successful and talk about the opportunities the city has to offer like this city was built yesterday. 

Why is it that people outside Detroit see the potential in the city, but people who live here don’t?  I think that is a large part of all of the issues. If you live here, but don’t know what good there is here, how can you take advantage of it? That, of course, is rhetorical.

Detroiters complain about the school systems and that children aren’t receiving quality educations. Yet Detroiters don’t use head start programs for their children or build an educational and disciplinary foundation at home so teachers don’t have to be wardens and teachers for eight hours everyday. Teachers in DPS are some of the most underpaid and over qualified teachers in comparison to other school districts and charter and private schools. Detroiters complain about the lack of jobs. But when companies open locations in downtown Detroit and hire, they don’t apply because they don’t want to work downtown. Or people won’t seek and attend job training for jobs that are available because they want to stick to building cars. Detroiters complain that there aren’t any upscale venues to go to dine or be entertained, but when upscale venues open, they don’t support them. Then they complain when the venues close.

Detroiters are so hard to please.

No city is an island or the epitome of all-inclusive. I travel because I like to see what other cities have or don’t. I like the experience of something different from what I’m exposed to in Detroit on a daily basis. As a result, I see the differences and still appreciate what Detroit has to a degree that I don’t think many other people do. But I’m just one person. I vote, I’m involved in the community, I stand up and fight when necessary against the things I see that are wrong on behalf of others regularly. But I’m just one person who is trying to set an example that I hope someone else will continue one day. Yes, I get it…I really do. Detroit has its problems; education, transportation, economic and societal. But Detroit’s biggest problem is the people within the boundaries of it and how we see the city as a separate entity, independent from its citizens,  instead of as a result of what we don’t do to make it better.

Detroit makes you want to quit. In my travels I’ve experienced different types of events, venues, locations, and attractions. I would love to bring the new hotness here for people to enjoy. But just like everything else that is new, it takes Detroiters a long time to embrace it… or even notice it for that matter. By the time Detroit knows about something, it’s already extinct in other cities. Sometimes I feel like we’re the only city in the world moving backwards instead of forwards. I understand why creative people feel the need to leave the city. I get it…I really do. Thanks to the encouragement of my team, who worked so hard, I’m going to try, just a few more times to see if I can bring Detroit forward. I decided to press ahead with Sequins & Suits and coordinate it with the I Feel Good: Mind, Body & Soul Women’s Conference in August of this year. I’m changing venues, and eliminating the bad business relationships and bringing in people who want to partner and produce something positive, new and necessary.

BUT I’m not going to keep giving Detroiters chances to disappointment me over and over. Much like J. Dilla, I can take my talents elsewhere and leave a mark as a legend. I have those options and other cities love creative people with fresh ideas and approaches – particularly ones that can become financially lucrative.  And it doesn’t hurt that I’m pretty. So even if Detroit doesn’t believe in Super Woman, somewhere else definitely will. I’m going to do what I said I would, and hold to my commitments, because that is how I am. But Detroit needs to show up or there won’t be anymore Super Events held here.

♦ Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.  – Proverb 

Fashion…Not Forward

This weekend I attended a fashion show in Detroit. There were many beautiful pieces presented by different designers presented. HOWEVER… sadly, there were also many lessons on what NOT to do when presenting yourself to the public. The first lesson was punctuality. Some of us still haven’t mastered the idea of truly starting on time; particularly when people are paying us. The 8 pm fashion show didn’t start until well after 9 pm.  During this long lag time, they didn’t offer anyone anything for the inconvenience. No free drinks, no backup entertainment to fill the void, except for a DJ who was obviously playing his ‘runway” set, no stand up comedy – nothing. I caught a few people taking a nap right in their VIP seats along the runway. For other businesses, this would be considered poor customer service.

Another lesson that could be learned was putting your models in danger by not making sure they have a safe runway to walk on. The elevated runway was carpeted, with a sheet of shiny gift wrap…or aluminum foil, I’m not sure which… down the center of it, that wasn’t tacked down, so it kept moving out of place. At the front of the runway, from where the models took their first steps, was a weak stepladder for the models to use to step up on the runway. The majority of models were wearing six inches or higher stilettos. Further, as one model walked down the runway, the next model stood at the beginning, and they passed each other on the catwalk. Did I mention that these were plus size models? During the show at least three models lost their balance and several punctured the gift wrap laid before them like a silver brick road. Even the event hostesses Christina Mendez was leery of the runway and she’s a professional model with many accolades. For any other business, this would be considered unsafe working conditions.

The next lesson was on improper fitting clothes. I don’t fault the designers for wanting to sell the garments after the show, therefore they didn’t tailor the clothing to fit each model. HOWEVER…that’s what double-sided tape and safety pins are for. The back of dresses shouldn’t have gaps, whether the model is a size two or a size twenty-two. Then there was the makeup. Every clothing look shouldn’t have the same makeup look. This caused the models to all look like mannequins. Mannequins who didn’t smile because they were fearfully watching every step they took on the runway. The there were the undergarments worn by the models. Why could I see bras on open-backed dresses and panties under swimwear and lingerie? Has anyone heard of thongs and low back/backless bras? For any other business, this would be considered poor marketing.

As pretty as many of the clothes were, all of these before mentioned “lessons” were a distraction for anyone who noticed. Many of these issues could have been corrected had there been a creative director, or even someone more experienced in the production of fashion shows, on staff. If either of these people were behind the scenes… well, I’ll just say this: when you know better, you do better. All of these fashion show lessons made me think about my upcoming photo shoot and what I need to make sure I don’t do. I’ve very particular about the standards that I set for my public and professional image. Even when it comes to writing erotica, how I’m viewed matters to me. So now, I’m double checking how the clothes selected for my photo shoot fit me and I’m making sure that I have the appropriate undergarments for every single outfit.

This fashion show also made me think about how I want the fashion show for the upcoming I Feel Good: Mind, Body & Soul Women’s Conference to be handled. I already have an actual foremost fashion stylist to the stars on deck to make sure things are done correctly,and with style and class. Having a small amount of modeling experience myself, I’m going to make sure that the models feel comfortable on the runway as well. My first goal is to show young women what they can wear for many occasions and outings that won’t embarrass themselves or their parents. My second goal is to show adult women that regardless of their age, size and shape that they can be sexy and attractive, while also being age and shape appropriate. My next goal is to put on a good show without any potential mishaps that would cause people to fall on to the floor or on top of anyone else. My final goal is to assist young women to strive for all of the positive opportunities that living a purpose driven life can provide. So this summer, if all goes well, and I obtain a lot more sponsorships (because money is needed for this to be successful), I hope that we’ll be taking fashion a step forward from what I witnessed this past weekend.

The name of the fashion show and participating designers have been omitted from this blog to protect them from potential embarrassment.

Talent in Detroit

With all of the bad news, crime statistics and potential for receivership under an Emergency Financial Manager (regardless of what Mayor Bing said in his State of the City address a few days ago), we often forget about the talent that is deeply rooted and often overlooked in the City of Detroit. Detroit receives worldwide attention for the North American International Auto Show, the government scandals and the uprise of foreclosures leading to additional blight, but Detroit doesn’t receive the same level of attention for the talent that has grown and exists here. So many people have left the arms of the City of Detroit for the softer, greener pastures of Atlanta, Los Angeles and New York (where the competition is stiffer), in an effort to become break out stars. Many of whom have achieved that goal, while others have been sent running home with their tails tucked.

As I look at all of the talented people in Detroit, I sometimes overhear people stating that they want to step out on faith, leave the city and become successful elsewhere. This makes me wonder ~ If they put the same energy into remaining and working on their craft here, as they put into their plans for exodus, how successful would they become? The same plans a person has to become successful in another city, can be implemented for them to become successful in Detroit. Don’t get me wrong, I clearly understand that Detroit is behind the eight ball in technology, infrastructure, commerce and entertainment compared to larger urban meccas like Atlanta, the bright lights of Hollywood and the always busy streets of the Big Apple. However, that doesn’t mean it can’t improve. Improvement requires people with ideas, just as much as improvements cost money. I sometimes think that we’re getting what we get from our leadership simply because we don’t demand more from them. They have cut the arts from schools, they don’t appropriate Federal funds into the community the way they should and they would rather lay people off from work than have an Emergency Financial Manager uncover their corruption. This results in people losing hope and feeling that the promised land is elsewhere instead of underneath their feet. Those are some of the same issues other large cities have. It’s the national recession. It just hits cities like Detroit harder.

This weekend I had the privilege of attending Fashion in Detroit, an event sponsored and organized by Denise Ilitch (her father is the founder, owner and business mogul behind Little Caesar’s Pizza, the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Tigers), and Joe Faris (Project Runway contestant and Michigan native); two individuals who obviously have business and creativity in their blood. The afternoon was full of beautiful fashions designed mostly by Detroiters. Yes, fashion is present and alive in The D. Have you ever heard of a talented young lady by the name of Tracey Reese? She’s a graduate of Cass Technical High School in DETROIT.  Have you heard of Kevan Hall? He also is a native Detroiter. Shoe designers Shane and Shawn are also Detroiters and graduates of Cass Technical High School. If you didn’t know this, please allow me the privilege of educating you briefly…

Detroit has been fashionable since it was named Motown.  

Then there are the big names in entertainment like Tim Allen, Jerry Bruckheimer, Ellen Burstyn, Francis Ford Coppola, Jeff Daniels, David Alan Grier, Madoon, Eminem, Tom Selleck, Kid Rock, the late Sonny Bono, the late Aaliyah, Blair Underwood, Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, Bill McKinney, Big Sean, J Dilla, Brandon T. Jackson, Anita Baker, Aretha Franklin, The Clark Sisters, The Winans, and many, many others. The list of heavy hitters in entertainer from Detroit is so long that it would take another 500 words for me to name them all. But I think you get the point. Detroit is full of talent. But we have to nurture its growth. Even if success eventually pulls people from the city, we need those people to be proud of where they came from. It doesn’t hurt for them to come back and visit sometimes. I honestly believe that if the most successful people who originated from Detroit, would occasionally show up and embrace this city as their home. and use their influence to improve the city’s image, the leadership here would be compelled to do a better job representing the community. That’s just my opinion and I could be wrong. But will anyone step up and attempt to prove me wrong with action? Worse case scenario: Detroit receives POSITIVE media attention.

I know that the city requires a lot of work to rise from the ashes of the last several years. I believe that it can be done. I”m working to do my part to change its image. But I’m just one person. And I’ve noticed that the Detroit community hasn’t quite embraced The Brand; mostly because it’s not what they are accustomed to. Michigan is a working class state. As a result, creativity is often frowned upon and viewed as mere craziness. This attitude results in talented people feeling the need to flee to other cities where they hope to be more “accepted”. I’m blessed to have the encourage of my supporters to keep me from feeling defeated by the lack of love I receive from my city. The first major publication to interview me was Rollin’ Out Magazine which is published out of Atlanta. The first talk show to contact me to make an appearance was also in Atlanta. There are a lot of opportunities for me in Atlanta, that I will take advantage of very soon. Taking those opportunities may result in me temporarily relocating, which I’ve planned for when the time comes. But my movie writing career is rooted here in Detroit (more on that forthcoming) and my business is headquartered here. These are things that will always spark me to declare that I’m Imported from Detroit. I hope that one day my city re-embraces creatives and supports the local talent more than it has over the last several years. If not, it won’t limit the opportunities for creatives elsewhere, but it will have a detrimental effect on the way the world views what was once called Motown.