1. Be excited to be in the room
Sometimes just being there is enough. There will be moments where you want to define what your credit looks likes. It is important to always ask for what you feel your skill sets deserve. It is as equally essential to sometimes be hyped to be a part of the room. Some rooms are better than others or add more value to development. Louisiana Bounce music legend, Big Freedia needed to give permission for her voice to be used and she surely received credit and likely compensation. This quote as reported by Fader said it all. “They sent the track for me to approve, it and I was like, “Shit, I don’t care what I say on it long as I’m on it.” Make sure you get yours but remember, some opportunities will yield bigger results than the immediate offer or request. Recognize the value of your talent as well as the potential importance of the space you’re being as to be a part of. See the long term picture. Big Freedia’s voice on the record may have introduced her to new listeners and potentially new fans. As a leader, expanding your reach and finding new audiences only allows you to level up.
2. Lyric: “Song for y’all to cut up to”
Student leaders are asked to be on the job 24/7 because everyone is always watching. This a key component to development but don’t forget to have some fun too. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the job we forget to cut up a bit. Whether it be a game night or a cool dance party, it is totally feasible to be responsible and let loose from time to time. It makes you a more relatable leader if your team sees you as more than a constant robotic disciplinarian. Find the perfect balance which will allow you to be a well-rounded leader who recognizes the versatility of the community.
3. Don’t appropriate reach out for help to be authentic
One of my favorite parts of this record was Drake’s use of New Orleans’ artists. Having Big Freedia as part of the intro makes it known that Drake’s team recognizes her significance to the culture. Additionally, the song was partially produced by NO producer BlaqNmilD. He added a bounce flavor to the song. Lastly, Drake reportedly worked with another bounce veteran, in rapper Webbie. According to Rap Genius, Webbie says Drake, “did his homework on Bounce music.”
When programming or leading events in cultural areas you aren’t familiar with or a part of, be sure to do your homework. Find people who are from or ingrained in the specific cultural background. They provide an authenticity that is often outside of your expertise. Don’t make the mistake of being potentially offensive or ignorant because you didn’t do your homework. Everyone is an educator.
4. Lyric: Snapping like you’re Fabo and you showin off, but it’s alright
We often teach about the importance of humility and will never stop doing so. With that said, sometimes you do poppin things. Without crossing into the arrogant world of ego-driven mentalities, rep your excellence. Some good ol timely boosts in self-esteem never hurt anyone. Capture those moments of enjoyment and swag and share them with your friends! Whether it be a successful program, you won an election or was recently hired to be an RA show off that positivity.
5. Lyric: That’s a real one in your reflection. Without a follow. Without a mention.
It’s really easy to get caught up in the alternate world known as social media. Many of my students along with colleagues and friends have had their days ruined by lack of responses to post or likes on a photo. As Drake mentions, you’re a real one no matter what social media says. These platforms aren’t the make or break to your success. Develop likes, friendships, and positive relationships in person on a day to day basis. You’ll realize a great conversation beats a double-clicked liked photo almost every single time. Your beauty isn’t defined by filters and your brilliance isn’t altered if nobody comments on your excellent post. Something that’s helped me, is to calculate how many hours during the week you spend on social media. After you find that number, take one hour from social media and repurpose it to a physical activity. Start with just robbing an hour a week from Instagram and give it the gym or dinner with a friend.
MrJeffDess is the Co Founder of Trill or Not Trill. He’s also a writer, professor, public speaker and emcee of Haitian descent. He is an author of 5 books of poetry, including his latest, Trill Motivation With over ten years of performing and student affairs experience under his belt MrJeffDess continues to strive towards helping students reach their highest potential. For booking information, contact MrJeffDess at TrillorNotTrill@gmail.com or www.mrjeffdessworks.com