Every artist dreams of days of fame, success, money, major city tours, world wide fans, groupies- the list goes on. But very few are willing to educate themselves on the various aspects of the music business to make those dreams a reality. Today as I was leaving the radio station, I was on the elevator with two local rappers who came to the station to drop off their cd for their latest single. A conversation began, & they offered me $100 to simply give their cd to Greg Street- a well know radio personality & DJ known for breaking records for some of the biggest artists in the industry. The offer was very tempting considering it wasn’t necessarily payola, & the fact that I am a college graduate with student loans & a list of bills to pay. But instead I turned down their offer & suggested that the artists learn more about the business & put the funds that was offered to me to better use.
Many people have heard the horror stories of recording artists who signed shady deals & made hit records, but ended up broke while their record company reaped the benefits of their artistry. Unfortunately for them, there weren’t many resources available which could inform them about the business of the music industry. Today, you have the internet & books, yet many aspiring artists REFUSE to educate themselves. Most would rather settle for a quick check, & short term fame. One would think that being aware of the victims of the complex industry, they would want to learn more about the business to avoid becoming another statistic.
Instead of paying to get your record played, try to find another way to spread your music. One key to success in any industry is to bring something new to the table. Be creative and innovative. If an artist can sell drugs in the impoverished community, without being arrested, robbed or killed, then certainly finding a way to attract people to their music would be much easier.
The pay for play game, doesn’t yield long lasting results. You must realize that the music industry is a BUSINESS, and the artists are the commodities. Be a valuable commodity by educating yourself. Conducting yourself as a legitimate & profitable businessperson.
The road to success is just that. A LONG ass road filled with speed bumps, potholes, detours and a whole bunch of other shit. It’s a journey-a lonely journey. Of course GOD is walking with me every step of the way, and he allows me to go through everything that I need to go through to mold me into the person he needs me to be when I reach the pinnacle of my journey. And I have some guardian angels watching over me as well, whom save me when need it the most. But it’s hard- REALLY HARD. One reason being no one understands what you’re going through, which adds to that feeling of loneliness. And so many people change along the way that as time passes by there are less and less people with you. Eventually you feel like a slave to your ambition, one reason being is because you sometimes feel like that’s all you have. You want nothing more than to accomplish the goals you have set for yourself and attain success. But what comes with it is another story. That can sometimes break you. And believe me I’ve seen many people fall by the wayside because of it. You have to be the fittest of the fittest to complete this journey.
I understand why many people in this industry suffer from addiction, whether it be drugs, alcohol, or sex. You notice, see, feel, hear and visualize things that most people could not fathom even if they were high on acid. It’s enough to drive one insane. Then you work so hard to attain a certain accomplishment or status, & when you get there you realize that it’s not what you thought it would be, & again you feel stuck. So you look to other things to fill the void. I smoke weed every day, & it takes the edge off for the most part, but it doesn’t make things easier. This is a long, painful journey. And to quote the late James Gandolfini “Frankly it’s too much to deal with, and in the end you’re all alone.” And that’s the truth. But the good books “GOD will not leave nor forsake you.” Remember the man upstairs is always watching and he won’t put too much on you, yes it gets hard but he didn’t put me on this journey to leave me hanging. I see glimpses of the light at the end of the tunnel.
The Media’s Portrayal of the African-American
The media is assigned with the responsibility to correctly report the intricate details, of any event, in efforts to inform those whom are interested in that particular story or event. Unfortunately many members of the media skew certain aspects of the story, to evoke a certain reaction, or to create an outlook for certain groups.
One victim of such acts is African-Americans. In the case of Trayvon Martin, and the new case of Michael Brown, an 18 year old unarmed male whom was gunned down by a white police man, numerous media outlets used negative pictures of the young men, in efforts to convey a negative outlook on the two. When their respective cases broke, negative images of the two were quickly released, only to be followed by images that paint them in a positive light, such as graduation and family pictures- of which were released in efforts to show that the media outlet is aware of the positive aspects of each victim. An act which would occur too little to late.
As an African-American male, I am all to familiar with how we are portrayed in the media. There is always more focus on those who engage in illegal activities, have children with multiple women, and whom neglect their responsibilities as men. During my time working in this industry I have seen how easily our words and actions can be negatively skewed, to cast a dark shadow over us as a community. In acknowledging this I feel that while I am tasked to create and provide people with quality, creativity, current, and factual material which trumps all competition, I also feel that its my responsibility to be the first to show our people for whom we really are, and to call out my colleagues who continue the unjust act of creating false images of African-Americans.
When a white male shoots and kills a black man, the black man is quickly portrayed as being guilty of some criminal act and has a history of negative acts. When a white male commits a mass shooting, he is depicted as intelligent, and introverted whom was bullied or has mental issues, which allows him to get a pass.
If I and others like me fail to take the stand to expose such injustices African-American’s will continue to post pictures with the hashtag #IfTheyGunnedMeDown. Asking such questions should not be a reality for anyone. Although this change will not take effect overnight, we must understand that we all play a role in our portrayal and members of the media such as myself must do what is necessary to prevent such atrocities from occurring.