My Latest Collaborative Project: AfriGens @Work DocuSeries

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My Latest Collaborative Project: AfriGens @Work DocuSeries

Growing up in America as a black woman born in Ghana to a Ghanaian mother has been quite an interesting experience for me. An experience that is shared among many other 1st and 2nd generation immigrants in America. We all seem to share a dual consciousness of sorts. Our journey through the education system in America along with our careers are a bit different primarily because of the culture that raised us is not that same culture that we are thriving in. 

I was privileged to work as the Creative Director/Videographer/Photographer on AfriGen @ Worka docuseries created by Janet Asante of Notes from HR and produced by Clarissa Bannor of This Afripolitan Life

 AfriGens @Work documents career stories from next-gen Africans adulting in the West. Why? Because so many of us are affecting change in our everyday lives and doing radical things to push our careers and the cultural envelope our parents so securely wrapped us in. We believe it's important for us to see and share our stories and celebrate our successes.

We invite you to tune in every Sunday, beginning tomorrow November 20th as we release each episode. You can find the episodes on our YouTube Channel. We'd LOVE to hear you feedback! 

Oh, and follow our hashtag #AfrigensatWork

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2016 Has Been a...

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2016 Has Been a...

*forgive my rambling* A faith walk.  2016 has been a faith walk. It's been one hell of a year so far, hasn't it? I mean as soon as the first week of January 2016 came, I was amped, in my groove, optimistic, and so ready to take my career to the next level. I'd been  back in the states for about 6 months by that time so the adjustment period was long gone for me. 

But, then shift started happening.

What seemed like every day, people started dying. People with reallly amazing jobs and talents that I just happened to be inspired by began to leave. People like..

Vanity

David Bowie

Daisy Lewellyn

Phiffe Dawg

Pat Summit

Zaha Hadid

Muhammed Ali

Prince

Prince

Prince.....

An artist that had entered my life when I was 7 years old and had been part of it ever since then. The one and only artist whose talent, skill, and creativity I used as a guide for my own. An artist whose passing I still have not been able to come to grips with...but...

People started dying. 

Bombings and mass shootings continued to happen all over the world, And right here. In America.

In our own neighborhoods. In front of convenience stores. In the clubs we partied at. In the office building we worked in. 

More and more people that I'd either gown up with or knew through mutual friends began passing away. Whether it had to do with health reasons, or because they felt that it  was just their time to to leave this life. 

With all of this happening, I began to feel like a part of me was dying.

The part that usually keeps me amped in my game and optimistic. I found my self in not just a creative drought but an emotional one as well. I was paralyzed by fear, anxiety, and uncertainty. Unable to create the way I knew how to and the way I wanted to.

But as the universe would always have it,  I came across an affirmation written by one of my dearest friends and creative soul sisters, Kaira Akita. This affirmation came at a perfect time and it puts into words everything many people like myself have been experiencing.

Here is an excerpt from her "AFFIRMATION FOR BLACK ARTISTS IN MOURNING"...I hope it helps you like it's been helping me:  

My divine wisdom tells me a shift is happening. I am part of a new tribe of messengers for a new time in the world. I claim my personal territory with my unique gifts, talents, and voice. I am part of the healing. I am a keeper of culture. I am a host of humanity. I am the answer to mourning.
Revival is inevitable. I am inevitable. This is not the end. This is the beginning. And though it feels I am in the middle of an overwhelming storm, I will brave it by staying committed to creating stories, strategies, spaces, and systems that reach the heart, mind, and machine of injustice. -Kaira Akita

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10 Multi-Passionate Creatives Showing Us How to Blend our Creative Passions

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10 Multi-Passionate Creatives Showing Us How to Blend our Creative Passions

If your are a creative person, I am sure you have heard this,

"You've got so many things you want to do, just pick one thing and stick to it.."

or

"Well all those passions and goals sound nice and all, but you don't want to be a jack of all trades and of master of none do you.?."

and one of my "favorites"..

"If you keep pursuing all the different things you enjoy, no one is going to understand your brand, they'll be confused..."

Here's the thing, there was a time when I actually thought all of those remarks were true. Now? Not so much. I believe that you can absolutely pursue your many passions and even bring them all together to create a flourishing creative brand and business. And this is something multi passionate people have been doing for years.

Another name for people *like us* who pursue multiple passions is Multipotentialite which according to Wikipedia is...

   “An educational and psychological term referring to a pattern found among intellectually gifted individuals. Because gifted students generally have diverse interests across numerous domains and may be capable of success in many endeavors or professions, they are confronted with unique decisions as a result of these choices.” 

You CAN integrate your passions, transferring your energy, style, esthetic, expression, skill sets, expand your creative energies and drive to other projects. 

In case you have ever doubted that it was possible, here is a high level list of creative professionals who are pursuing their many passions and interest, while still staying true to their identity and brand. 

And if you need some guidance on HOW to go about blending all of your creative and artistic ideas and executing them, click HERE to learn how we can work together to do just that. 

1.  Erykah Badu- Musician, Actor, DJ, and Doula.. AND she is actually considering opening her own practice, 

"We don’t know where these babies are coming from—their souls, or their spirits of mind, or if they’re born wholly as soon as they get here—but whatever it is, I just want the environment to be one of tranquility for the mom and dad and everyone involved. A home birth is about being able to create exactly what you want, because it’s such a violent moment inside of the body that you want everything else to be as beautiful as it can be. So I started studying to be a doula and got my certification in 2011 and now I’m in training to become a midwife. I’m almost there and before I know it I’ll be able to open my own practice, if that’s what I desire."

2. Lance Gross- Actor, model, and *yup* photographer. In an interview with JET Magazine Gross says, 

“Photography, for me, it’s like my therapy,” Gross explains of his self-taught craft. “It’s something that I do when I’m on hiatus from working and something I feel like I own completely. As an actor, I’m still working for somebody else. It’s not completely mine.” 
 

3. Oprah Winfrey- Talk show host, media mogul, Actor, Philanthropist, and Producer. 

4. Gordon Parks- Photographer, musician, writer, and film director who became prominent in U.S. documentary photojournalism in the 1940s through the 70s. Parks was slow a musician and composer. As a writer, her wrote the book, The Learning Tree and continued to author several books of poetry, which he illustrated with his own photographs. He also wrote three volumes of memoirs. Was a painter AND the co-founder of ESSENCE Magazine. 

5. Jill Scott- Singer, Actor, Writer/Poet. Published in 2005,   Jill Scott's,  In The Moments, the Minutes, the Hours: The Poetry of Jill Scott she shares her personal poetry collection. 

6. Jamie Fox- Actor and Singer. 

7. Terrance Howard- Actor and musician. In summer of 2008, Howard release and album titled Shine Through It which he wrote and produced. 

8. Lenny Kravitz- Not only a singer and multi-instrumental list. But he also rock interior  design and photography as well. Kravitz's design firm; Kravitz Design, provides commercial and residential design services as well as specializing in product development and branding. In Summer of 2015, Kravitz release his book titled "Flash" which features his photography where he captures the essence of what it’s like to be a rock star who’s constantly in the public eye.

9. Jayda Pinkett Smith- Actress, activist, philanthropist,  AND leader of the band Wicked Wisdom

10. Swizz Beatz- Producer, Visual Artist,  and avid art collector. 

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Reminding Yourself Who You Are

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Reminding Yourself Who You Are

When you forget your creative potential, and who you are, and all of the magic that is in each and every layer of you…What do you do?

You start peeling back the layers.

I’m fortunate enough to have in my tribe people who I can have enlightening and meaningful conversations with.  One topic that seems to always come up lately is the idea that sometimes we have to step back and remind ourselves of who we are. And we do, because sometimes we forget. It’s normal.

But we don’t have to stay in that space of doubt long.

As passion driven people it is inevitable that during our journey there will be times when we will have to step into ourselves and remind ourselves- that we are indeed the shit. When these moments seem to hover over you and paralyze you, give yourself a moment.

Take a moment and reflect on all the times you finished a project, the times when you were celebrated by your peers, your family, and yourself. Visualize all your victories and wins, every time you launched something, and all the moments and seasons in your life when you were unstoppable. And marinate on that. And lose yourself in those feelings those moments created. Because, by design, if you have done it once you can certainly do it again. And again.

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What Do Everyday Heroes, Meeting Annie Leibovitz, and My Mom Have in Common ?

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What Do Everyday Heroes, Meeting Annie Leibovitz, and My Mom Have in Common ?

My mother has been been my everyday hero since the day I was born. The thing about her that I am most grateful for? The unselfish sacrifices that she makes day after day, even through my adult years to ensure that I am living my best life ever. She remains a constant reminder to me that the circumstances around someones birth, where they are from, and how much money ones parents make do not have to be the deciding factor in their children lives. From being born in a small village in Ghana, to raising 3 successful children-now adults in Atlanta, Ga, my mother continues to stand in her role as my hero

One of my biggest photography inspirations has always been Annie Leibovitz . If you've followed me for sometime, you'd know that one of my favorite books and sources of visual inspiration is Annie Leibovitz's book, Annie Leibovitz at Work.  I am so thrilled to be able to work in association with Annie Leibovitz. And not only does this opportunity allow me to spotlight my hero- my mom;  and one of my creative inspirations- Leibovitz,  but it also give us the opportunity to possibly meet Annie Leibovitz and learn more about her new exhibit WOMEN: New Portraits.

I invite you to submit entries of your own everyday women heroes by uploading portraits to Instagram and tagging the hashtag #ShareYourHero along with a caption highlighting what makes this person your hero and tag @UBS to be featured on the micro site.

From now until November one winner will be selected (each month) for a trip for two to New York City to visit the exhibition during the Three Day Hospitality program in November 2016. How dope is that? 

UBS is partnering with iconic photographer, Annie Leibovitz, to create WOMEN: New Portraits, a ten-city global exhibition of newly commissioned work. The tour launched in London in January 2016. 

Inspired by Annie Leibovitz’s incredible body of portraits depicting women, their diversity and strength, this digital initiative invites people to contribute their own pictures and descriptions of women that inspire them on a daily basis. 

“There’s a complete human story in every photograph. It’s going to make such a difference. It’s very, very important and it’s important to show human’s whole humanity.”- Gloria Steinem

So here is some more information about  the "WOMEN: NEW PORTRAITS Exhibition.

In 1999, Leibovitz published Women, a book of portraits made in collaboration with Susan Sontag. The popular series of photographs was accompanied by an exhibition that opened to great acclaim at the Corocan Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. 

Launched in London in January 2016, the UBS x Leibovitz collaboration continues to explore the changes in the roles of women today while bringing to life one of the greatest art exhibitions of the 21st century. 

The tour will travel to ten host cities over the course of twelve months. Each venue will be selected based on its unique architectural context within the host city as well as its ability to attract both local and global attention. 

Exhibition cities include the following:
• London
• Tokyo
• San Francisco
• Hong Kong
• Singapore
• Mexico City
• Istanbul
• Frankfurt
• New York
• Zurich

So with all that said, who is you hero? Be sure to share your portrait of of and use the #ShareYourHero hashtag and tag @UBS!

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The Thing About Quitting

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The Thing About Quitting

"It is the dream that sustained me. I've given up. But I don't quit. And as I've said over and over again; the day you quit, it was right around the corner. Giving up is taking a break. Quitting is never coming back. It is impossible for me to quit. Anything. (laughs) Because it is when you are hardest hit, you mustn't quit." 

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7X7 Portraits of a Creative:  Images that Tell Your Story w/ MIKE FLO

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7X7 Portraits of a Creative: Images that Tell Your Story w/ MIKE FLO

I’ve said this before, but I am the most creative after I leave the presence of amazingly creative people. They…we are magnetic. There is a certain flavor, a type of energy that us creatives give off that spark something in other people to “produce” or to create and to put certain things into action. Creative people and powerful thinkers inspire me. And then there is music…it also does the same thing for me.

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She Greeted Me With Flowers

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She Greeted Me With Flowers

Every photo shoot that I have is a blessing. I say this a lot, but I meet some wonderful people through photography. This quote by Annie Leibovitz is one of my favorite photography quotes:

When I say I want to photograph someone, what it really means is that I'd like to know them. Anyone I know I photograph.

Photography..to me..is intimate. It’s as intimate as any other creative outlet that involves a relationship and a sense of trust between two or more people. 

It’s wonderful to do work you love with people who carry and share their light with others, and greet you with flowers. 

We had Ms. Carter's shoot in my garden and luckily the weather held up. We had fun. It was like old girlfriends getting together to hang out but with one behind a camera. Here a few of the photographs from the shoot that I wanted to share with you. Enjoy!


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