What Pepsi and Shea Moisture's Flops Can Teach Creators About the King Kong Effect and Selling Out

What Pepsi and Shea Moisture's Flops Can Teach Creators About the King Kong Effect and Selling Out

There’s an iconic scene in The Nutty Professor where the main character, Sherman (a.k.a Eddie Murphy) falls asleep on his couch into a nightmare about his ballooning weight. The dream opens with Sherman on an operating table, a staff of medics looking down and judging his condition. His body begins to swell, first breaking the emergency table. His belly then proceeds to expand, bursting the glass windows in his hospital room and swallowing up a medical assistant in the process. His growth is rapid, with the next scene showing Sherman stomping through his hometown as a Godzilla sized beast, while terrified onlookers dart away in horror. A young Dave Chappelle, playing a comic in the film, screams up from the terrified crowd, “Damn, everyone run for the hills!!...He looks like King Kong with titties!”

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3 Lessons from Kendrick Lamar's "Humble" about comparing yourself to others

3 Lessons from Kendrick Lamar's "Humble" about comparing yourself to others

Youtube is a procrastinator's dream. Every video click educates the platform to serve up more content to feed the insatiable consumption need, and when I saw Kendrick Lamar's music video titled "Humble" float across my screen a few days ago, I went down the music video vortex faster than Trump's approval ratings.

The video opens with Kendrick standing in a cathedral in pope-like attire, a single beam of light casting dust filled rays across his shoulders. It's an immediately recognizable symbolism -- whatever he's about to spit are words of personal worship.

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Stop Asking For Permission

Stop Asking For Permission

I love a few things: Providing motivation and insight to others. Elevating overlooked perspectives. Twerking in unexpected places, like the frozen food aisle of my local grocery store. Soul music. Shea butter. But I love nothing more than good, quenching, one-on-one conversation -- the kind that warmly cuts through the small talk into the deeper inner layers, with limited distractions.

Recently my one-on-one conversations have taken life with other women. Women who are creators, writers, entrepreneurs, and founders. Each conversation was a small window into their businesses and passions, with the hopes that I could provide strategies for how they can better position or promote themselves and their work to the world.

As each conversation unfolded, a pattern emerged...

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A Conversation on Hard Won Confidence and Gut Wrenching Vulnerability

A Conversation on Hard Won Confidence and Gut Wrenching Vulnerability

Whenever I hear a new song with an addictive beat, I immediately imagine myself on a spin bike, with a tiny neon crop top on, yelling at the exercise class to move to the rhythm, “Come on ya’ll pick up the pace! Let’s get it! 1, 2, 1, 2.” It’s a fantasy that plays out in my head because if a song moves me and inspires focus, maybe I can aspire to move others with it?

That fitness confidence plays out in my head and hasn’t fully translated to real life (I can get it poppin in the front row of a spin class, but definitely not instructor level yet), but one thing I’ve discovered about confidence is it’s ironic relationship to vulnerability...

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What Do You Do When You've Out Grown Your Religious Upbringing?

What Do You Do When You've Out Grown Your Religious Upbringing?

With every growth spurt I’ve gone through, both vertically and horizontally (sigh), there’s been a physical mark left it its wake. Marble brown lines lace across my hips as a permanent sign of the changes.

What marks are left behind when that outgrowing is intangible? When we cast off rituals or social expectations that don’t feel good, or match who we’ve become, while rejiggering the pieces that do?

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Crack rocks and santa claus: a conversation on the fallacy of stereotypes and the importance of jury duty

Crack rocks and santa claus: a conversation on the fallacy of stereotypes and the importance of jury duty

Life seems simpler with stereotypes. With a barrage of information flooding our minds, email inboxes, and timelines, the tendency of our brains to make snap decisions and create simple sound bites off of limited information has become even more present, and at times extremely dangerous. This ‘blink of an eye’ thinking becomes really steep when it enters our criminal justice system, a fact I had the honor of discussing with Will Snowden, founder The Juror Project, an organization that’s working to combat this type of thinking with a simple conversation. We discussed his past and ultimately if the justice system can be real, as justice for many marginalized lives in this country has seemed as real as Santa Claus is alive...

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Lessons on Turning 29: Dealing with inevitable changes, setting my hair on fire, and living like a naked lobster

Lessons on Turning 29: Dealing with inevitable changes, setting my hair on fire, and living like a naked lobster

Before the dawn of poo-pourri, there’s been many clever ways to cover the smells of a freshly used bathroom. My coverup of choice in the past has been candles, because I felt like they killed two birds with one stone: keeping a dim, spa-like environment to help my adjustment to waking up well before I’d like, while also covering up the odors of last night’s take out.

Two years ago, while brushing my teeth, I lit a candle near the bathroom sink in my studio apartment, to set the mood and kill the funk. I bent down into the sink as I ceremoniously do, to rinse my mouth and gulp up some fresh NYC water from the tap (our water is actually mad good). Ironically, I thought to myself, “Let me be careful with this big hair of mine. Wouldn’t it be funny if I set it on fire?”

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Thanksgiving Legends: The importance of passing on stories in our families, even when we don’t see eye to eye

Thanksgiving Legends: The importance of passing on stories in our families, even when we don’t see eye to eye

The slow acid churn in the back of your throat, signaling your stomach hiccuping in protest to the fatty (delicious) food you just ate, is the banner of aging. Heartburn is the white flag your body throws, screaming, “Retreat! Retreat!” with each indulgent meal it now struggles to process, especially during the Thanksgiving Holiday.

My relationship to gorging myself on our southern inspired greens, beans, potatoes, tomatoes, ham, and mac and cheese, which typically graces the table during the holiday season, has slowed down (just a bit), but my passion for being fed another intangible and overlooked part of Thanksgiving has only grown: my fervor for family stories.

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On Loving Yourself Through Waves of Hatred

On Loving Yourself Through Waves of Hatred

“I can’t play with you.”

I quickly glanced up from the lopsided sand castle I had meticulously dedicated my recess time to building, solo. I didn’t mind playing by myself. I was new to Lincoln Elementary school, a returned transplant to where I was born in Utah, fresh from a short stint on the East Coast.

I hadn’t asked this small, brown haired, doe-eye child if she wanted to spend time with me during recess, which was a place of sanctuary for children to unleash pent up, squirmy energy and try their hand at making friends for the first time. I had opted to do my own thing and bask in the massive jungle gym and sand box the school offered. I was baffled as to why she felt the need to come over to me and let me know that I was considered a threat to her...

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The Windy, twisted, yellow brick road of self discovery and personal style

The Windy, twisted, yellow brick road of self discovery and personal style

“What’s up with your pants? They look funny.”

The class bully had picked up quickly on my bold new style move. I was in the 4th grade, and that morning had decided to slip on the pair of royal blue stretch jeans that puckered into a bell shape at the bottom that I had picked up from the mall that weekend. Bell Bottoms, the uniform of the late 1960s-70s, had made a shy debut back on the clothing scene as “Flare Pants” and it was a risk to wear them.

I retorted back, “They’re flares. Watch you wear them in a few weeks when you catch on.” Being one of few black girls, and really children of color, in my very white elementary school had emboldened me with a “fuck it” attitude. Since I would stick out regardless of what I did, I felt no loss in embracing standing out even more by wearing the things I wanted to wear...

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Paying it Forward: The power of mentorship when you have no one to turn to

Paying it Forward: The power of mentorship when you have no one to turn to

Children mimic their surroundings in their quest for answers on the journey of discovering the world and themselves. The reflection of love our caretakers provide becomes a mirror for our own self-worth and self concept, for better or for worse.

I chatted with Misti Cain, founder of Whyzze, about the inspiration behind her company, and how the of love from caretakers, particularly the legacy of fatherhood and mentorship, can have an impact on the trajectory of one’s life...

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Don't Forget Your Magic

Don't Forget Your Magic

Do not forget your magic, even if society wants you to believe you are less than.

Africa is the birthplace of the human species - a land that has been home to some of the greatest civilizations known to man (and we're not just talking Egypt - even if other great civilizations aren't commonly taught, they did exist). We have far more in common as humans than people can begin to fathom...

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How Three Acts of Violence Fueled a Career - Meet Petra, the Ghostwriter

How Three Acts of Violence Fueled a Career - Meet Petra, the Ghostwriter

The “what to do in life” conversation usually starts at the rambunctious age of 7, when first graders scribble on career assignments that they’re going to be a “fiyah fiter” or “noorse” when they come of age. Mix those vague career dreams with parent’s best intentions, and you get a cocktail of murky water in your cup of life. I had the good fortune of a mother whose career advice was, “as long as you’re happy and paying your bills, I don’t care where you work! In fact, if you wanted to pick berries and make jam in South Carolina, that’s your prerogative”

I don’t like jam but if I did, that’s great fucking advice...

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The creative grit of single parenthood: a convo with my mom

The creative grit of single parenthood: a convo with my mom

I've experienced the love and devotion of a single mother, and have witnessed the creative grit they must possess to help their families survive. 

I can credit my sense of doing the impossible from my mom, a woman who's faced her fair amount of adversity and succeeded in raising three young, intelligent, quirky, and hilarious black women in Utah on her own...

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The Beauty of Betrayal: Making 'Lemonade' out of Lemons

The Beauty of Betrayal: Making 'Lemonade' out of Lemons

I knew something was wrong when her name would flash across his phone screen more frequently than before. She was a co-worker and his friend, who I had spent a few unmemorable dinners and outings with. She had a presence that blended into the white walls and people around her -- non-threatening and forgettable. As the days passed, the text message buzz and her name became more frequent and pressing, an incessant reminder of the betrayal that was playing out in front of my eyes...

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Finding Purpose Comes From a Surprising, Non-Traditional Place

Finding Purpose Comes From a Surprising, Non-Traditional Place

The Gospel of Doubt, a powerful TED talk by Casey Gerald, makes the case that we are all seeking something to believe in to guide our chaotic lives.

Every time Casey found a new dogma or group of thought to give his mental all to, it would flake out like one of those dudes on the Maury show who would stumble backstage after hearing the host shout “you ARE the father!”

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'Let your haters be your motivators' is an underrated statement

'Let your haters be your motivators' is an underrated statement

“Yeah, sure there’s an explosion of entrepreneurship happening for people of color, but they aren’t creating the next Facebook -- they’re starting nail salons and hair shops.”

I glared at this woman I used to work with over the small coffee table we shared at our brief and uncomfortable catch up meeting. I was hoping to find some sign of an undiagnosed disease that makes you lose the functions of the brain that filter your words with common sense. Or maybe she spent that past Saturday polling every entrepreneur of color she knew (which I would guess is two and a half people) and 99% said they are hitting the nail business hard and if that doesn’t pan out, hair salon is a go...

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The Creative manifesto for the overstretched, uninspired worker

The Creative manifesto for the overstretched, uninspired worker

When did creativity become an elusive and privileged activity, instead of a human right?

Arts programs in schools are consistently underfunded. Entrepreneurship is viewed as a pursuit for people who are special snowflakes with “small personal loans of one million dollars” from parents to get started...

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I asked 15 friends who inspires them, and learned something about power in the process

I asked 15 friends who inspires them, and learned something about power in the process

Ivy Park, Beyonce’s new clothing line, dropped on an average day of the week with over average results. She’s like a black ninja, creeping silently onto our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds to scissor kick us in the face with whatever project she’s been diligently building between keeping her body 365 days summer ready with 10 mile runs on the beach...

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The four funnier, happier ways to find a new job

The four funnier, happier ways to find a new job

If there are two unquestionable truths about me it’s 1) I have so much hair now because my body is overcompensating for being so bald as a baby that my mom had to glue my hair bows to my head and 2) I am a beast when it comes to finding and securing a job...

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