As 2017 came to an open, I couldn’t help but notice the overwhelming sense of relief across social media as friends, family, and associates began to recall in great detail on just how unsatisfying last year was for various reasons. Reasons ranging from stunted professional growth and disappointments in their personal lives just as I thought about boarding the bandwagon to join the petty party I remembered the famous uncited quote, “progress is a slow process”.
In the pursuit of long-term goals, it is easy to become overwhelmed by expectations, so much so that you forget to appreciate the minor steps forward you’ve taken. With that in mind, I took the time to sit down to reflect on my minor successes of last year that will aid in my personal and professional pursuits this year. Below I list 6 things I was grateful for in 2016 which helped me to reinforce that I am on indeed on the right track heading into 2017.
I am grateful for Newark Symphony Hall‘s executive director Leon B. Denmark for granting me the opportunity to the producer of the venue’s 6th annual When Praises Go Up Gospel Showcase on Sunday, December 11th.
The annual event is a platform for ministers looking to take the next step in their professional careers. Although the Showcase is held in December, the planning begins in late Spring/early Summer. Beginning in the Fall, ministries audition for a panel of esteemed judges then the selected ministries move forward to extreme training with both the musical director and co-musical director.
I am proud to have been an active part of the production each step of the way; learning more about ministry, bonding with the ministries and mentoring the youth ministries. As the youngest producer of the venue’s When Praises Go Up Gospel Showcase, it truly warmed my heart to assist these ministries in performing inside of the national landmark.
I am grateful for M Josephine “MJ” Sansait founder of the Inspired Artist Movement for inviting me to be the guest moderator for the IAM Impact panel at the 2nd annual Inspired Artist Movement Conference on Saturday, October 22th.
Entering its third year in 2017, the Inspired Artist Movement conference serves as a platform for arts education, professional networking, community engagement as well as a community forum for creatives throughout the State.
After being mentored by MJ, I was invited to join the production and planning committee and in proving myself to be dedicated to the conference’s mission I was given the opportunity to moderate the featured panel, IAM Impact panel with the evening’s honoree Grammy award winning recording artist Maya Azucena and Hip-Hop legend Rah Digga of Flipmode Squad.
The panel intended to motivate the budding musicians in attendees didn’t just touch those on the opposite of the stage but mostly the individuals on the stage, more noticeably myself. The Inspired Artists Movement conference allowed me to advocate for the often times overlooked and forgotten while stressing the importance of arts education programming.
I am grateful for John Freddy Hurtado founder of the Hurt John collective for inviting me to be a guest panelist at their Straight Face, No Profile exhibition on Tuesday, October 25th.
John Freddy Hurtado is one of the most influential figures in the Tri-state area’s arts community. For many years, I’ve admired the work he and his organization, the Hurt John collective has done for not just visual artists but performing arts and arts organization alike.
In all transparency, when initially presented with the idea of opening up so much of myself to which I’ve purposely withheld from the public I was afraid. Afraid of the response my life’s story would receive not just from attendees but from my peers; fellow journalists, curators, artists & more.
Serving as a panelist forced me to speak on issues I would only discuss in private. Closed mouths don’t heal nations and closed minds don’t create art worth enjoying.
I am grateful for all of the recording artists that supported my platform Envert Entertainment by way of event, music or videos submissions and opening up their world to the readers with exclusive interviews.
Envert Entertainment has been a project long in the making. With roots planting at my alma mater, Rutgers University – New Brunswick’s WRSU 88.7 FM, EE is where my true passion lays. Envert Entertainment is a safe place for courageous creatives that in the face of overwhelming difficult challenges will pursue their dreams because of the unconditional love they have for their discipline.
Singers that go without paying bills to book studio time, producers that sleep in the studio because nowhere else feels quite like home and others like them. Despite only being the beginning stages, some of the biggest names in the “underground” music scene entrusted the platform with telling their story, one article at a time.
I am grateful for Newark Symphony Hall’s event manager Marie Thompson, for allowing my platform Envert Entertainment to produce our first event, the Some Odd World album release concert as part of the venue’s Arts on Stage series on Friday, November 11th.
The ‘Arts on Stage’ series are monthly events held inside the venue’s second floor Black Box theater made possible by a grant by Newark Celebration 350 developed for local performing arts organizations that have demonstrated their dedication to the surrounding communities. The grant allows the organizations to utilize the faculty at no fee for original programming.
Rising unsigned rap star Samad Savage agreed to partner with Envert Entertainment to present his official album release concert for Some Odd World. The event showed that rap music has recently been misrepresented by others, can have a positive message and positive affect on the fans of rap music. All proceeds from the event were given to the artists apart of the show.
I am grateful for all the silent and promoted partnerships I’ve made on behalf of my platform Envert Entertainment throughout the year which resulted in many amazing opportunities that will manifest in 2017.
True growth is measurable by steady progress. No one person can accomplish their goals by themselves. Partnerships and progress go hand and hand.
The partnerships I’ve made in 2016 will certainly assist in my many short-term and long-term goals not only for EE but personal goals as well.
I did not compile this list to brag in any way, shape or form about the successes my platform or myself has had throughout 2016 but as a healing exercise. Often times, we (yes, you and I) become extremely hard on ourselves regarding the pursuit of our dreams or goals so much so that we forget to count the little things we’ve been blessed with. When I find myself in these moments, I like to go back and read the following quote.
“I am learning every day to allow the space between where I am and where I want to be inspire me and not terrify me.”
– Tracee Ellis Ross, award winning actress
This is my challenge to you, the next time you are feeling down about your progress write a list of all of the steps forward you have taken and soon you will realize that the finish line is not that far way.