Jan 21, 2015
Nobody is perfect. I learned that a long time ago. I used to sit back and observe from a distance. My life was a closed book. Once I decided what I wanted to be when I grew up (still somewhat uncertain-which is fine), I began to realize that I wasn't as effective with a closed mouth and a glass house. I took up writing as a way to express myself, in addition to be improving my writing skills. Eventually I got better at communicating what I wanted to say. Now, writing is becoming a tool for me to learn. By connecting with others on social media sites, especially those geared at civil action, people are able to share opinions, strategies, stories, and testimonials, thus producing a conducive learning community. Well, here is a quick testimony that just a few weeks ago I would not have posted on the internet for the world to see.
As most anyone knows, the entertainment industry can be one of the most challenging environments in which to work. Not because of the people, but because of the impact that messages in the mediums convey. Plenty of the things I learned in life, I learned from the role models and images portrayed by the ones I admired as public figures, in addition to my familial influences. The truth is that acceptance of misogyny and degradation of the human being is also transmitted through music and film. Today, I made a conscious decision to pull an artist from a bill who would have been performing with a VERY popular recording artist. The issue is that I believe this popular recording artist to be sexist, and contradicts what we as a company represent. The artist with whom I work has come a long way from where he was when first discovered. He is going through his own experience at his own pace and I feel that pairing him with such a figure goes against my and the company's position. One of the reasons I got involved with the artist we pulled from the show is because he is from my home town. He is becoming one of the most influential public figures amongst youth and adults to come from our home state. Every small child, teenager, and their parents are singing his song and doing the dance which accompanies the song.
I see this popularity as an opportunity for this artist to serve as a spokesperson against violence and gender bias. He has already committed to refrain from wearing gold and precious metals due to the issues in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as refrained from calling women female dogs. He had no clue that children were used as slave laborers and over 5 million people have lost their lives so that we could enjoy electronics and adornments that serve as a false sense of success. This young man has over 30,000 fans in his market. That's lots of influence. As a professional, it is not my methodology to "shape" an artist. I believe the best way to lead is by example. Conversely, I believe that if we meet people where they are, then positive energy will resonate, thus creating change. Therefore my intention is to be patient with my team in hopes that as we are exposed to broader personal experiences, so will our minds expand. He doesn't know the reason why he will not be performing with this other artist, but if he asks, I will tell him the truth. The opportunity for us to talk might open the door to a teachable moment. The next step is to incorporate stories from cultures where people are committed to hope into company in-services.
Since interacting on World Pulse, I have realized that I pay more attention to the subtle messages in the lyrics of the artists with whom I work. I will take more time to scrutinize the songs that I decide to produce and promote. I am making a commitment as creative director to ensure that the characters and personas of the artists who will influence the attitudes and lifestyles of youth, women, and men are scrutinized to the extent that our creations have a positive message-not just make you dance. My job has not been about the money, and now it will be even more about the impact we have on the world. More people in entertainment need to realize the tools we use are powerful, and the imprint the messages we send impact humanity forever and in permanent ways. We can use the tools we have for good or not-so-good. We choose good. I discerned last night and this morning, even contemplated if it was appropriate for me to post "my business" on the internet. After conversing with my wife this morning, she encouraged me to share, and reminded me that the impact my example could have on others is worth sharing. For these reasons, I decided to stop observing from the sidelines by occasionally reading the stories in the Pulse Wire, and get in where it counts-in the field.
Now I feel that my willingness to share with others is mutually benefiting to myself and to making the world a better place. The power of writing is enormous, but the power of learning and the results of action, make the open book have more of an impact on its readers.