Refined and Fly

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Peace to all! Today's mathematics is wisdom born all being born to knowledge knowledge all being born to wisdom. After a good trip back home to the Bay and waking up this morning, I thought about the importance of committing to what you do/ or what you say you do, and being engaged in the process until it is born or complete. Don't be a quitter or waste time being wishy washy. I know it's hard, but by doing this, you are able to knowledge your knowledge and assess whether your path was the right one, based on the ultimate result of the work you put in. See your challeneges through so you can see what you're made of.

Case in point...several months ago, I had the opportunity to work with the August Wilson Center here in Pittsburgh (for those who don't know, August Wilson was a popular playwright from Pittsburgh)to perform a poem at the Conference for Foundations, that introduced Mae Jemison, the first woman of color to go in space. This sister is in history books! The crowd would be the largest I've ever performed for (approximately 1200 people) and the gold was the most I would recieve for a poetry performance ($500). The catch was, I had a little under a week to write and memorize and perform with conviction, this earth shattering piece.

I accepted the offer and got to work. One thing I find as a writer is that I write my best pieces when I am "inspired." When it just flows. So having to come up with a topical piece about this sister that could not be mediocre in a couple days, was a challenge. I found myself loving and hating the process. Loving it cuz it was a challenge that had a sweet reward and I tend to work pretty well under pressure. Hating it cuz I was unsure if I could pull it off and just wanted to get it over with. I eventually cranked somethin' out that was good but this ambivalence stuck with me until showtime.

Fast forward to the big day and I was nervous as hell cuz I barely had the poem memorized and I did not want to choke in front of 1200 people. I had butterflies in my stomach, teeth chattering, everything. But the moment I got on the stage, I had to commit to the performance and see it through. I couldn't break out and leave people hangin (although I wanted to at times). What was born? I turned in a solid performance that everybody loved and although I did stumble and forget a little, I improvised and nobody even noticed.

This experience showed me that I am capable of writing and performing under pressure, that people actually enjoy my work, and I can and deserve to get paid for it (I've been performing for free for a while so let's not talk about paying dues...I want my talent to pay me for a change!). So that was an experience of growth and expansion. Sometimes, people see things in you that you don't see in yourself so I figure I would not have been asked unless folks thought I was capable. The "I" that makes up you encompasses so many aspects of your life, history, experiences, knowledge, genetic coding and sometimes you can sabatoge yourself if you let fear or something new limit you or keep you from realizing a part of yourself that you may not know you had. After completing that challenge, I can look back at the whole experience and determined that I made the right decision, and that I should open myself up for similar opportunities in the future. This was just an example of potential, or stored energy. You don't know what you can turn that energy into unless you apply it to something tangible and bring that reality into existence.

An example of a person not fully committing to the path they chose is Jay-Z. (Click here for a decent article on by Andreas Hale).I respect Jay-Z as a rapper and like a lot of his music. However, when he made the decision to be a record executive at Def Jam, that is what he should have stuck to. But, like my god says, he is the Michael Jordan of rap. Similar to the title of Too Short's 10th album, he "can't stay away." He had to come back and outshine some of the artists on his label (Method Man, Ghostface, The Roots, even Jeezy) and put out another album right before his other artists. Great marketing and promotion (Budweiser commercials, Monday Night Football spots)for him which provided a nice pay day ($680,000 first week)for the label's 4th quarter sales, B.U.T. it's a bad look for folks whose album is about to drop mid-December. With all the hoopla for Jay-Z, whose gonna rush to get a Method Man album aside from die hard fans? The aforementioned artists have barely gotten promoted, which is why they're salty. Not good on the management gotta keep your employees satisfied or else they'll be tempted to jump ship or turn in mediocre work.

And herein lies my point...either Jay-Z was trying to boost 4th quarter sales by putting his album out, which would be guaranteed platinum at the least (giving him the benefit of the doubt) or Jay-Z was too selfish to sacrifice the spotlight for himself as an artist, to be a great record executive. And I heard the album is getting less than favorable reviews, adding credence to the Michael Jordan comparison (Jordan's mediocre performance on the Wizzards before dippin' out). You don't wanna come back like that, when you could have bowed out gracefully and took being an executive and a power broker in the rap industry to born...put your focus and energy on your artists and find new, creative and innovative ways to promote and sell their album. How are you going to do your artists justice when you're out on tour and you have your own album to sell?

Because he is being non-committal, I don't think he'll ever know how good of an executive he could have been if he had put all of his energy in that lane. He might have been a good exec with 3-5 years of development, but with these crucial management mis-steps, he may not get the chance. Jay, commit to what you are doing so you can do it well! Not to say that a person can't multi-task, but you don't wanna be a jack of all trades and a master at none. Folks can still knowlege your knowledge but you don't want them analyzing your ideas and how you got down as a means of learning what NOT to do.


I Medina Peaceful Earth


  • At 5:02 AM, Blogger amanda said…

    Any chance of you sharing your art. I also am poet and would enjoy reading your art


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