Category Archives: Business and Branding

Detroit Sparkles

It’s not everyday that I can say that I’m extremely proud of Detroiters. However, I am able to say it more often lately. I attended the Sparkle Red Carpet Premiere Party at Emagine Theaters in Royal Oak on August 16, 2012. Thanks to Detroit’s own Bill H. McKinney and Kern Brantley, their Sparkle Team and many enthusiastic supporters, the event turned out fabulously. I enjoyed the live performances by the band from the movie, the Whitney Houston tribute and the opportunity to be in a room full of diverse and talented individuals. Elijah Connor sang [and I do mean SANG] and I was blessed to have a few moments of his time for an interview.

The energy in the room was all positive. People truly enjoyed themselves. As I sang along to Whitney Houston’s hits and songs from the movie, Sparkle as sung by the Sparkle-ettes, I was truly proud of us. I was proud of Bill McKinney, Kern Brantley, and Paula Clark for a phenomenal premiere event, worthy of my Mark England dress.

I also met the founding members of POI Entertainment (Power of Integrity) at the Dipson West River Theatre  for their Sparkle event, where I had the opportunity to interview them live on The Blaqe Rocket Blast Radio Show and find out more about their amazing business enterprise. Power of Integrity is truly a trailblazer and I commend them for their think outside the box, do something different mindset when it comes to business.

Sparkle is a fabulous film, full of good music (courtesy of R. Kelly), well choreographed stage performances (courtesy of Fatima Robinson) with powerhouses in writing, directing and producing behind it including Mara Brock Akil (“Girlfriends“, “The Game“, “Single Ladies“) her husband and partner, Salim Akil, Debra Martin Chase, T.D. Jakes and Whitney Houston, who made her last, and very grand, appearance on the big screen. There were small variations from the original film, but that’s due to creative liberties and those changes didn’t alter the overall film in a negative way. I won’t write a spoiler, so I encourage you to see the film for yourself. And no, Sparkle is not a chick flick. It’s a good movie that happens to have a female lead character, which the movie is titled after. It’s a movie that everyone can relate to or knows someone who can. Plus if you’re from Detroit, you should go see it simply because it gives us the positive light that we deserve. The film was well cast from the stars, to the Frank Lloyd Wright house, and the old school Cadillacs. Even the costume styling was something to be proud of.

We looked good.

Detroit looked good.

This past few days proves one thing if nothing else. We can do better. We can revive our city.

Detroit sparkles, if we give it the positive energy to do so.

View my videos for both events here: Official Super Woman YouTube Channel

A (Motion) Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Why Do Men Cheat? That’s not a rhetorical question nor is it one being posed to start a debate, so please don’t email me all of your answers or opinions♥. Why Do Men Cheat?  is a movie. Yes, I said a movie. The movie is written, directed by, produced by and starring Detroiters and guests stars Alex Thomas, Sandy “Pepa” Denton, Cherie Johnson, Bobo Lamb, and Damon Williams. The writers of the movie are Ken Baker, Jr., Tamekia Dobbs, Lauren Johnson and the movie is based upon some of the life experiences of the Executive Producer, Delano Glass. I attended the movie premiere and I was very impressed. I’m not easily impressed.

Before you call the movie man-bashing, don’t judge a movie by its title. The movie delves not only into the excuses men give for cheating, it shows the enabling behaviors of the women, the consequences of their actions and even shows what positive outcomes are available for men who decide not to cheat to remedy their relationship issues. The movie is funny when it needs to be, heartfelt when it needs to be, and relatable no matter what side of the debate you sit on. It’s a story that you may say you’ve already heard, or think you know, but maybe you really don’t. Maybe you’re too biased, depending on your opinion to look at a different viewpoint. After all, every man who cheats has an excuse that he thinks validates his actions, and every woman who knows her man is cheating has an excuse for enabling him. But I digress.

The film stars the very talented and very handsome Wynn SardenWhy Do Men Cheat? is Wynn’s first starring role in a feature-length film [I’m going on record by saying that Wynn Sarden may very well follow the path of his favorite actor (and mine), Mr. Denzel Washington, if he continues to study his craft and take advantage of the blessings and opportunities coming in his direction. Wynn also has a role in Sparkle being released on August 17, 2012]. The first time I saw Wynn was on an in store poster for my stylist Mark England. I didn’t know he was an actor until recently and I didn’t know he was good at it until I saw Why Do Men Cheat? Again, I’m not easily impressed, and I was impressed. Without giving away the movie, Wynn stars as a professional athlete who is faced with the outcomes of his behaviors and the decisions he makes with regard to his relationships with women [a brief interview I conducted with Wynn follows this review]. There are two additional stories included in the movie and you need to pay atttention or you’ll miss something very clever.

Whether you are a man or a woman, single or married, there is something in this movie that might hit home for you. It may not cause all the cheaters of the world to have a come to Jesus moment… but then again, anything is possible. Before you assume that the movie premiere took place in a theater full of angry women with pitchforks and torches, let me dispel that thought. The theater was full… of women and men… a lot of men. Therefore, if you were a single woman, this would have been a good place to go. A single woman in the audience could pay attention to the reactions of the single men during the movie, therefore assessing those who are guilty of similar behaviors, those who have gotten all of the fuckery out of their systems and learned to do better, or those who don’t cheat because they just know it’s not worth it to do so. The only men who could be angry about this movie are those same men who are mad at Steve Harvey for Think Like A Man; the men who don’t want women to know what they do because they have something to hide. If you’re not the cheating type, you won’t be offended by the film. Also, how can you be offended by something you haven’t even seen yet?

There were also some come to Jesus moments for women in the film. Why Do Men Cheat? depicted some of the behaviors that women are guilty of that contribute to men cheating as well; the groupie behavior, the starved for attention behavior, the I want him for myself behavior and other destructive acts that women commit. After all, the men who cheat, need a woman to cheat with. So for every guilty man, there is a woman who was wrong too. More often than not, she knows it or finds out later, but goes along for the ride anyway. Regardless of the excuses that men use, and whether you agree with them or not, Why Do Men Cheat? was an excellent film and I’m looking forward to seeing Why Do Women Cheat?

 

View the video of my interview with

the movie’s star, Wynn Sarden by clicking here  

 

 

Teachable Moments Woven Into Fashion – Part 2

Lights…camera…fashionand teachable moments. Rip The Runway Detroit Style took place last Thursday at The Fillmore Theater in Detroit, Michigan. It was modeled off of the hit fashion show that airs yearly on BET, also called Rip The Runway. The organizer spent two years putting together the event, and she made a commendable effort.  However, she missed some small, yet very key elements to keep her event from being viewed as unprofessional by many of the veterans  in fashion who attended with expectations of something grand. The will call list vanished. This is never good. People who pay money may not want the hassle of keeping up with their tickets and prefer will call because they expect to be able to enter the event without issues. This was not the case. Many seats in front of the stage were empty, yet the back of the theater was full. Whenever you have empty chairs towards the front, it’s customary to invite people sitting towards the back to fill those empty seats. This is particularly important for televised or video recorded events because it gives the illusion of a full house, even if there isn’t one. The NBA does this all the time for basketball games that don’t sell out but are being televised. It’s a free upgrade that is mutually benefiting to the organizer and the patron.

There were too many lags between designers being presented. The Rip The Runway fashion show that is held by BET is edited after the live event to accommodate for commercials. However, the live event is a steady and consistent stream of performers and models. In between, the hosts should fill the time until they are prompted for the next segment to begin. Although veteran DJ Gary Chandler played music during the lag times, it was annoying to people who came to see a fashion show, not a DJ. There were times when you had no idea who the designers or performers were because the monitors weren’t displaying the information and they weren’t properly introduced. This created a lot of “who IS that?” conversation among the audience. Comedian Coolaide and Horace H.B. Sanders hosted the event and were pretty funny, which kept people entertained, however was still annoying to those who came to see a fashion show, not a comedy show.

I heard a lot of complaints about the design of the set. The set was a huge brick wall that resembled a rooftop, with graffiti that wasn’t very artistically done, and two doors for the entertainers to walk out of. There were trash cans on the set, with simulated “garbage” on the floors, which were marked to resemble streets, and street signs posted on poles on both sides of the stage. The street signs didn’t seem to be an issue with anyone because they had the names of the designers and stores on them (clever). However, the trash cans, brick wall and simulated “garbage” came across as offensive because it saidSo, this is what you think Detroit looks like?”  It was one of those concepts that required more due diligence prior to execution. Much like the owners of Biggby Coffee calling themselves Beaners when they first opened, or the JS Roundhouse Mids from Adidas that had chains around the ankles. Everything that we think is new hotness at the time, could be offensive to others if we’re not careful. I also heard a lot of quips about the clothes themselves. The complaint was that most of the clothes were too plain and were clothes that people either already own and were wearing. Sound familiar? People attending the show were more fashionably dressed than the models were. When you produce a fashion show, it’s not always about what you like; you have to consider your audience and what they may like as well.  

Some of the rappers who performed passed out their cds to the crowd before or after their performances. Instead, it would’ve been a better idea to have the performers provide their cds to the event organizer by a specified date so they could be included in the VIP gift bags, since the gifts bags were empty. Yes, I said empty. Large, gold, sparkly gift bags with two fliers inside were passed out to VIP attendees. VIP attendees were also given beverages in fast food cups with lids and straws. Yet, if you bought a drink from the bar, you received a more tasteful cup to drink it from. What’s the point in being a VIP if you have to drink from a fast food cup?

One of the better performances of the night took place by John Brown. Having been blessed to have heard John Brown sing a capella, I can attest to his vocal talent. John seemed in his element on the stage, without over shadowing what was taking place around him. John put on a show. It would’ve been nice if some of the other performers had put on a show during their time on stage as well. It’s what we’ve grown to expect from Rip The Runway.  

This may seem to some as me being critical. Those of you who know me, know that I don’t get paid for my opinion therefore I’m not obligated to lie. This review includes actual feedback that I received from veterans in the fashion industry that were in the room, not just my opinion. It is constructive criticism which is necessary, and should be welcomed, when you are attaching your name to something that is synonymous with style. Although a good attempt was made, it could’ve been better. This wasn’t the worst fashion show I’ve seen. There were two others that come to mind that were worse than Rip The Runway Detroit Style. I will also commend this event for taking place at an indoor theater, with air conditioning, that had kind, professional and considerate staff. The Fillmore is a very nice facility and their staff should be commended for the work they did to assist with the event overall.

Again, you are welcome to formulate your own opinions when it comes to fashion shows in Detroit. I truly believe that in all of our business ventures and creative productions, we need to raise our standards and our personal expectations, and stop being afraid of doing something different. New is not a bad word. We also have to know our strengths and develop our teams based on who possesses the qualities and abilities that we may lack.  Just because you have been a model, it doesn’t mean you can produce a fashion show or design the clothes. Sometimes we have to stop being too proud and ask people who have more experience with the production aspect to become involved. There are a lot of people in the fashion industry in Detroit, who are subject matter experts. They have made or witnessed mistakes so that you don’t have to. Hire them. Ask them to consult on your event. If you’re putting on any kind of show, hold a dress rehearsal and video record it so that you can watch and see what people attending will also see. This will give you the opportunity to make adjustments and improvements to protect your brand. In the end you’re likely to have a better production that you will be proud to have viewed by the entire world.

~ When you know better, you do better.

Click here to watch a clip of John Brown’s performance and the Rip The Runway Detroit Style Show

Protect The Brand

Protect the Brand. This is one of my business mottos. Recently, I heard Amy DuBois Barnett, Editor-in-Chief of Ebony Magazine and Steve Harvey say the same thing. I’ve gotten accustomed to many people not having any idea of what I was talking about when I say it, so it was truly refreshing to hear other people with the same perspective. So many people call themselves entrepreneurs, but they don’t understand branding and why it’s essential to do so in business. With the exception of myself, I don’t know anyone else doing exactly what I’m doing, the way I’m doing it. Some people are doing a few of the things I do, or do one or two things I do, but no one does everything I’m doing. Therefore, my competition is almost non-existent. However, that’s not the case with other business models. Particularly businesses that are considered traditional. Almost every business has a competitor and a lot of them have learned the same basic techniques for operating their businesses. Although everything you need to open, operate and expand a business isn’t in a book, a lot of the steps and instructions are. I’m sure that we can agree that anyone can follow steps and instructions written in a book. But if that’s all that was required, a lot more people would be successful at it. Statistically businesses still fail in the first five years.

As a result of the availability of basic business operation techniques and information, many people can start a business. Because all the books reiterate and all business students are taught that the most important thing in business is to make money, this further establishes an atmosphere of competition. Everyone wants to make money. Not everyone wants to make a difference. Not everyone wants to become a brand.  But I’ve learned that doing the latter will help improve your chances of the former. If you own a restaurant, your competition could set up shop across the street from you. If you’re a caterer, your competition can be a larger restaurant that decides to expand its business and begin offering catering to its existing customers. And let’s just say for argument’s sake, that their food isn’t even as delicious as yours and their prices are higher. In spite of that, next thing you know, your profits are dwindling. The next thing that comes to your mind is “What are they doing, that I’m not?” Well, if that competing restaurant is Red Lobster and you own a Shrimp Shack, what do you think it is?

It’s the branding.

When you operate a business that is traditional you have to establish yourself as a brand, not just a business, in order to set yourself above others. Businesses eventually go out of business; brands become icons. Becoming a brand takes time and is often more work than just starting a business. For me starting my business was a sign from God, combined with talents I possess and knowledge of how to complete the appropriate paperwork from previous experiences I had in business. It has taken me four years to get where I am so far with The Super Woman Brand. I expect it to take me another four years to get where I want to go, although I’m told that I won’t need that much time, because with every decision I make, I’m branding myself and my business. If something doesn’t enhance what I want to do now or what I want to do in the near future, it can’t be included in The Super Woman Brand.  If an idea or business relationship doesn’t allow me to establish myself or further myself in an area that I want to operate in, it can’t be included in The Super Woman Brand. When you brand yourself, you’re developing business practices and standards, not just appealing to what everyone else wants you to do. It’s requires that you are bold.

Set yourself apart with your brand

I must be doing a pretty good job at branding because there are other people attempting to use The Super Woman Brand by calling themselves Super Woman or Superwoman Productions. I don’t consider them competition, because I’ve already had a head start in developing The Super Woman Brand and they don’t do the same things that I do. I’ve accomplished a few things and they are all positive. I’ve been in a national publication, I’ve been interviewed several times locally on radio and in print, I have credits to my name and a good reputation. So, whether they are a stripper or claim to be a playwright, they aren’t hindering The Super Woman Brand. In fact, if someone attempts to find them, they find ME instead because I am EVERYWHERE on the internet and that is expanding into other areas of media, including television and moviesGoogle me and see firsthand what I mean. Someone told me these other women are only attempting to use The Super Woman Brand because they want to be ME. Imitation is the best form of flattery. I must be doing something right. 

Discover and establish your brand

What do you do that sets you apart from your competition? Find that element and brand it. Use it to market yourself, your business, and catapult your dream. Don’t strive to just become a business person and make money. That’s mediocre. Mediocre doesn’t grow. Strive to become an icon. Strive for growth in your industry and not just for the money. The flower doesn’t dream of the bee; the flower blooms and the bee comes.  It’s more rewarding longterm. It becomes your legacy. It leaves something for others to aspire to. It’s a blueprint for others to follow. It’s part of that dash between the day you were born and the day you die.  Just keep in mind that becoming a brand is a lot more than filling out the appropriate paperwork and putting up a website. It takes time, effort, resilience and creativity. One day other people will want to be YOU and do what you do also

Become a motivating factor to those who come after you.   

PROTECT THE BRAND

 

Teachable Moments Woven Into Fashion

Walk 5 Fashion Show was this past Saturday at the beautiful Detroit Opera House. The best description I could come up with to describe the show in one word is ratchet. People I spoke to said they got dressed up and paid $50 to stand in line for over an hour waiting to gain entry. The security staff at the Opera House was rude to models in the show and at one point refused to let them enter the building to dress for the show. I was granted press credentials but never received a press pass. I had to figure out where to sit on my own and was also treated rudely by security after being given incorrect instructions as to where I was to enter the show. The staff working for Jelly’s World and Iced Crystals were running around like chickens with their heads cut off; clueless and unable to locate each other.  This is a classic example of the right hand not knowing what the left was doing. Now, they may have been confused as to what capacity I was serving in when I arrived, because I was looking fabulous of course, but that’s why you should provide your press with press passes. That way you will know who is who, where they should sit, etc.

Did I mention the show took place outside? Thank God it didn’t rain and the temperature dropped from scorching hot to hot enough. Otherwise it would’ve been a sweating, hot mess.

The show was supposed to start at 8:30 pm, but in true CPT fashion, it didn’t start until 8:45 pm when the Walk Dancers appeared and performed a loosely choreographed routine featuring Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj songs to open the show. The stage featured a projector that was projecting upside down for the first few minutes of the show until the engineer who had installed it came back with a ladder to correct his snafu. After a very quick welcome by Dominique Reighard (America’s Next Top Model), who did less work than the DJ did, but likely got paid more money, the show finally started with Brickhouse Designs. Walk 5 staff didn’t pass out programs to the audience until 10:30pm so you had to pay very close attention to the projection on the screen against the back of the runway to know who was up next. I may be wrong, but I do believe that programs should have been passed out either upon entry, check in or to people while they were waiting in line.  

There was a performance after the intermission by TraVon, whose mic didn’t get turned on until the song was about 20 seconds in and his voice was barely heard over his pre-recorded track. There were many other sound issues during his performance, but he kept it moving, just like a professional. It was pretty obvious that TraVon is in need of vocal coaching because he couldn’t keep his tone consistent during a live, outdoor performance. It’s also obvious that they failed to do a sound check with him before the show.  

Gwenation saved our eardrums with her performance before the second part of the show began. But due to limited time and the fact that she was supposed to perform a lot earlier, she only sang one song. Manner later took the stage before the final part of the show. He reminds me of a cross between Musiq (when his hair was long), a black version of Justin Bieber and a male version of Nicki Minaj. He was somewhat talented. He was also smart enough to bring two handfuls of his own fans and family to the show (which he referred to as Mannequins) to cheer for him and sing his songs off-key, like it was his own personal concert. This was good because no one else in the audience seemed to know who he was. Nor did them seem to be heavily into his performance.  

One of the models lost her pantyliner on the runway at the beginning of the show, where it remained for at least two more collections. I’m serious. I have it on video. It just slipped right out of her panties and landed on the runway. There were more than enough visible tags, butt cracks, nipples, areolas, bras & panties throughout the show and of course no spanx for those who needed them. Mostly, I saw similar clothes that I’ve had in my closet for the last 5 years versus any new hotness. I was hoping for more haute couture. Instead I was greeted by a lot of been there before. Fashion shows are supposed to introduce you to things upcoming in fashions and trends; not show you clothes you already own. I saw a lot of women in the audience wearing the same clothes that were on the runway. Very little of what was featured during the first 3 rounds was actually “designed“, with the exception of the exquisite bow ties from the Alexander Collection. Mostly the first 3 rounds of so-called designers were actually boutique owners who had clothes that were all sewn and manufactured by someone else, that were sold in their boutiques. Clothes that are DESIGNED don’t have tags and they typically fit the models a lot better. The audience was more excited by seeing the child models strut their cuteness, than they were about any of the clothes.

One of the best designers was Diane Berry. Although she couldn’t save the show from its ratchetness. She’s a talented designer, but she isn’t Jesus. The fourth round of the fashion show should’ve been the first round. By the time real designers took the stage the audience had started to disperse, so a lot of people missed the best part. Beulah Cooley closed the show with her fabulous take on evening wear and I was actually on the road to impressed. But not as much because I had to wait too long to get there.

As hard as I tried not to be critical of the show as a reviewer, they made it too easy for me not to. Jelly’s World and Iced Crystals could have gone to many schools in Metro Detroit to offer an opportunity to up and coming fashion DESIGNERS, who actually draw designs, select fabrics and sew them into clothes that don’t have tags in them and fit the models appropriately. There are so many up and coming fashion designers in Detroit that would’ve loved to showcase real haute couture and show new trends in fashion. Unfortunately, they were somehow passed over for the chance during Walk 5. 

Walk 5 was better than the worst fashion show I’ve seen, which I blogged about in Fashion… Not Forward. However, Walk 5 was nothing compared to the many excellent fashion shows I’ve seen, including Fashion In Detroit. The stage and runway were very nice. Overall I give the whole event a 4 1/2 out of 10. At the end of the show, I couldn’t help but think that I had missed out on home cooked buffalo wings, (Cass Tech Alum) Big Sean and the MJ tribute at Bleu for this fuckery. The most exciting part of the night was when the fireworks went off at Comerica park and lit up the night sky.

This critique is all about the teachable moments in the show. It’s not meant to make anyone look bad, but instead point out areas of improvement to make the Walk Fashion Show better than it was and has been since its inception. It’s also a teachable moment for anyone aspiring to have a fashion show in the near future. We’re so easily pacified by mediocrity in Detroit that it really saddens me. If we keep supporting the mediocre, that’s all anyone will ever give us. And those of us that work hard to step up the game, never get recognized for it, because everyone wants the same thing they had before. To truly be successful, we have to be willing to get ahead of the curve instead of behind the eight ball. The way we do that is by being more creative and forward thinking, not by imitating what’s already been done. Walk 6 is scheduled for December 2012. Hopefully it will be indoors (huge bugs, the size of birds, swooped down at the audience at one point) and showcase something other than a lot of clothes people are already wearing.

~ When you know better you do better.

*The views of this blog are strictly those of Super Woman and not anyone else’s. You’re entitled to attend whichever events you’d like and formulate your own opinion about them. It is your money. However, at Super Woman Productions and Publishing, one of our goals is to provide higher quality events for those who prefer them. A model search is forthcoming for Sequins and Suits, on August 16, at Crave Lounge. The designer is Mark England* 

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