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Back to Work

After taking a week break, I’m back with more about my ongoing projects!

As I previously mentioned, I’ve spent week or so working on interior designs for Brothas. Working on my main characters’ safe haven has led to some interesting work. I’ve made the space personal by using inspiration from childhood items to flesh my characters’ world. Along with childhood items, I incorporated some childhood hobbies and activities such as astronomy and racing to add more personality into space. Basing the series in contemporary times has allowed me to include modern technology like video consoles and tablets into the space. Just like Losing Valarie, I tapped into their “Blackness” by having items here and there as cultural signals.

The next step is developing more interior and exterior designs for the series before the end of the year. I hope to creating more character designs for the series by next year. In the near future, I’ll start posting my progress on this site and Patreon in the coming months.

Soon, I’ll switch my focus from Brothas to Losing Valarie in the next week or so. I hope to venture more into exteriors for the series soon. By the end of their year, I want to get back into my character designs.

Once I’ve done enough work on my current work, I hope to begin cracking my still-untitled action-adventure project. I’ll start with the character designs before attempting background designs. I hope to start around later this year or early next year.

Social media presence is finally attracting some potential clients. Despite the effects of COVID-19 on the economy, freelance work is starting to pick back up with some potential prospects.

Just remember all the hard work will pay off in the end.

Keep your eyes peeled on my Instagram! Until next time, be your best creative self!

Consuming the Culture Part Deux

In the U.S., August has been designated as National Black Business Month. 2020 has been a mixed year for many small businesses as it began with an increase in new business before social unrest and COVID-19 set in.

Many businesses in the U.S. have had to shift their models, or even worse, shutter their doors. This revelation is even worse for Black-owned establishments and businesses as they are twice as likely to close permanently compared to their White counterparts.

So to offset the imbalance, I decided to highlight some well-known and up-and-coming Black-owned businesses.

Beauty and Fashion

The Folklore – shopthefolklore.com

A sustainable New York-based online store and showroom catering to the African diaspora specializing in clothing, accessories and housewares. The store allows consumers to support well-known and up-and-coming Black brands from across the world.

UjuuMedia – www.ujuumedia.com

The fashion brand functions as part blog- part online marketplace for emerging Black designers. The brand uses its influence not only to market and highlight designers across the African diaspora but the overall culture.

Safashe – www.instagram.com/safashe

A Virginia-based independent fashion brand specializing in high-fashion and dress design for a variety of clients. Its founder Sasha Williams is notable amongst the fashion world for creating Richmond Runway, which highlights up-and-coming Black designers.

Honey Pot – thehoneypot.co

An Atlanta-based health and wellness brand catering towards the African diaspora and feminine hygiene care. Creator and founder Bea Dixon created the company to help other Black women naturally deal with feminine issues.

Juvia’s Place – www.juviasplace.com

A Los Angeles-based beauty and makeup company catering to women of different shades and tones. The brand has built its recognition for drawing upon the colors and formulas influenced by African culture.

Scotch Porter – https://www.scotchporter.com/

A men’s skincare brand catering to men of all ethnicities with all-natural skincare and grooming products. The emerging brand has become a go-to grooming brand for Black men.

Finances

One United Bank – www.oneunited.com

This Boston-based financial institution is one of the few Black-owned banks still operating in the United States. The bank has advocated for financial literacy amongst the African-American community.

Industrial Bank – www.industrial-bank.com

As one of the oldest banks in the United States, the Washington, D.C.-based financial institution caters to the African American community – banking and lending. The Congressional Black Caucus has backed the bank when it comes to promoting ethical lending practices to Blacks.

Awoye Capital – www.awoyecapital.com

This New York-based financial advising firm urging financial investment in the Black community. The firm has built its reputation for creating financial plans tailored to each client.

Food

Michele Food Inc. – michelefoods.com

An Illinois-based food company specializing in gourmet syrups. The product started as a family recipe passed down through founder Michele Hoskin’s family from her great-great-great-grandmother.

Slutty Vegan – sluttyveganatl.com

An Atlanta-based restaurant chain and food truck specializing in vegan fast-casual. The vegan food chain is best known for its take on the famous Impossible Burger.

This is It BBQ and Seafood – thisisitbbq.com

An Atlanta-based all-you-can-eat restaurant chain specializing in barbeque and seafood. Along with barbeque and seafood, it offers veggie options for practicing vegans.

CamiCakes – www.camicakes.com

An Atlanta-based franchised bakery chain offering a variety of confectionary treats. The bakery is best known for its specialty-flavored gourmet cupcakes.

Atlanta Breakfast Club – atlantabreakfastclub.com

This Atlanta staple serves up brunch at a reasonable price. Besides the traditional breakfast offerings, it offers breakfast and lunch alternatives with a Southern twist.

Media

Blavity – blavityinc.com

A multimedia online company caters to showing and acknowledging Black Millennials. The company has its hands in everything from news media to tech to travel with an appeal to the African diaspora.

Atlanta Blackstar – atlantablackstar.com

This Atlanta-based media company focuses on narrative aimed at Black America. Within the last year, the publication set its sights on entering the video sector.

UrbanOne – urban1.com

Founded in 1979 as Radio One, the multimedia conglomerate has been the premier outlet for Black media in the U.S. The media giant has expanded into television, advertising, and the digital space within the last decade.

kweliTV – www.kweli.tv

A streaming platform dedicated to highlighting and uplifting content created by those of the African diaspora worldwide. The streamer is currently available through Amazon Fire, AppleTV, Chromecast, and many more.

D’Art Shtajio – dartshtajio.com

Founded in 2016 by brothers Arthell and Darnell Isom, the Tokyo-based animation studio focuses on bringing much-needed diversity into anime. The studio has been on fire lately due to its collaborations with music artists Sturgill Simpson and The Weeknd.

Books

Eso Won Books – www.esowonbookstore.com

Based in Los Angeles, this Black-owned bookstore deals with a book selection specializing in African American history. The store spotlights both independent and well-known Black authors.

For Keeps Books – www.forkeepsbooks.com

The online bookstore offers classic and rare Black literature for bibliophiles. The online store showcases work from Alice Walker, Margaret Mead, Toni Morrison and many more Black writing luminaries.

Tech

Shine – join.shinetext.com

Created by Marah Lidey and Naomi Hirabayashi, the tech app specializes in aiding BIPOC with dealing with anxiety and stress to connect with mental health experts. The app taps into the underserved and marginalized members of society.

Dollaride – www.dollaride.com

Created by Sulaiman “Su” Sanni, the mobile app aides underserved communities in finding affordable rides in the New York area. The app helps users to get around the city with their Dollar vans.

Hopefully, these examples of Black excellence show what the African diaspora can achieve when left it our own devices.

Watch this space as I return to document my writing journey.

The World According to Design

My approach to designing for Brothas has become more about having my characters’ world reflect them in every way.

I’ve spent the past week concentrating fleshing out my main characters’ bedroom as my first interior for the series. It is still taking shape as I play off the boys’ color palettes while introducing new colors. Being two young Black boys, I’ve decided to draw some inspiration from my childhood with particular themes and concepts. I plan on placing more personal items into the room to accompany the twin beds. I even plan on drawing from some childhood hobbies and activities to bring more personality into space. As Gen Zer’s, modern amenities will be incorporated into the room. In creating the room, I wanted to tell as much of a story as the character does. Like Losing Valarie, I’m tapping more into their “Blackness” as I explore more of their story.

The next step is to develop designs for some more interior and exteriors for the series before the end of the year. By next year, I plan to do some more character designs for the series. Hopefully, as the year progresses, I’ll be able to show more on this site or on my Patreon.

As I focus on the world of Brothas, I put Losing Valarie on the back burner for a bit. I still have more details to work on when it comes to the main protagonist’s bedroom. I hope to venture more into the exterior soon.

As I’ve stated before, I have yet to begin cracking my still-untitled action-adventure project. I’ll start with the character designs before attempting background designs. I hope to start around later this year or early next year.

Social media presence is finally attracting some potential clients. The well of freelance work is still a little dry, but I am definitely put into the work to expand my income.

Just remember all the hard work will pay off in the end.

Keep your eyes peeled on my Instagram! Until next time, be your best creative self!

Growing and Moving

As an artist, the act of art is all about shifting and growing as one continues to evolve. This year has proven to me that growth and change are necessary when it comes to purpose and dedication.

As a writer, I’ve noticed more and more that my writing needs a purposeful end goal. As evident by some of my recent posts, something has awakened in me when it comes to raising awareness. I feel my job as an artist is to spotlight both the good and bad of the world through storytelling. Writing those pieces on microaggression fulfilled me in a way that I only feel when writing my screenplays. I have to admit only a few news pieces have made me feel that way in recent months. This realization has created somewhat of a crossroads for me.

I highlighted in a past post about the current situation I’m dealing with a current contract job. That job has tested me not only as a writer but as a loyal employee. I took a break to reassess some things, but I feel I may be coming to the end of the road for me. But I’ll reveal my decision at a later date.

I know as an artist my evolution is an ongoing process that will never end. I once heard at a conference that creatives face a career shift every ten years. I’m actually in the midst of mine right now.

Photo by James Wheeler on Pexels.com

In regards to purpose, I’ve taken a mini-break from my screenwriting as I contemplate the direction of going forward with some of my work. Writing Losing Valarie has been a roller coaster as I constantly go back and forth about the direction of the story. Lately, I’ve been mulling over some ways to make it more current and update given its target audience. With technology playing a big role in the plot, I’ve tossed around some ideas about my teenage characters and its usage.

The hangup for my other series Brothas has been incorporating the parents more into the story while drawing from my real life. As my parents (more specifically my mother) were an integral part of my childhood, I feel incorporating a good moral base and relatable stories are essential.

As I continue to rewrite and restructure both shows, I’m still reaching out for more feedback on my scripts.

Soon, I’ll be hopping back into my unknown pilot. I want to do one or two more pass-throughs before I feel it is ready for feedback. With that said, it really is all about grinding it out to I get it right.

Photo by Oladimeji Ajegbile on Pexels.com

I’m still working on getting more freelance work as some of my clients begin to get back on their feet.

The final countdown to the start of school has begun. The set-up for my Fall courses is pretty much set as next Monday inches closer and closer. Despite looking forward to teaching on campus, I’m preparing to teach my students online. From my perspective, I feel the school year will be vastly different from last year. COVID-19 has thrown the educational system for a loop just like every other industry.

Watch this space for more on my writing journey.

Giving Your World Personality

My approach to designing for Losing Valarie has become more about displaying my main protagonist’s personality within the world I’ve created for her.

I’ve spent the past week or so concentrating fleshing out my main protagonist’s bedroom. Besides a distinct color palette and black accents, I’ve tapped into her personality more by adding more personal touches. As an aspiring writer and blerd, I chose to fill her room with posters of Black female writers along with a bookcase filled with books. I showcased more by placing items related to anime and music. As a Millennial (or Gen Zer), modern amenities are very much seen throughout the room. In creating the room, it wanted to tell as much of a story as the character does. Tapping into her “Blackness” is something I plan to explore more of – from the designs to stories.

The next step is to develop designs for the series’ exteriors along with some more interior shots. Within the next month or so, I plan to do some more character designs for the series. Hopefully, as the year progresses, I’ll be able to show more on this site or on my Patreon.

Within the next week, I plan to start the interiors for the family home in my children’s series Brothas. If things go according to plan, I hope to venture into more exterior settings. Developing more character designs may come up in the future as I plan to expand into supporting characters.

As I’ve stated before, I have yet to begin cracking my still-untitled action-adventure project. I’ll start with the character designs before attempting background designs. I hope to start around later this year or early next year.

Social media presence is finally attracting some potential clients. My freelance work is still a bit slow, but I am definitely put into the work to expand my income.

Just remember all the hard work will pay off in the end.

Keep your eyes peeled on my Instagram! Until next time, be your best creative self!

Focusing and Refocusing

Rewriting brings about something many writers never speak on – focusing or re-focusing your work to deal with issues from the writing process.

Getting a clear focus is something I’ve been contemplating. For Losing Valarie, the revising and editing process has brought forth issues dealing with the continuity and a defined plot. The plot has always been secondary to my characters, but now, I see the two go hand-in-hand to make for the best story. Continuity has become another issue for me as I try to keep my story from verging from its original course. The latest revision requires me to fine-tune some key elements while adding some more contemporary elements for my teenage characters. This comes after getting some much-needed feedback. I’m still seeking more outside advice to make things better.

crop artist with new sketchpad in park
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

Along with Losing Valarie, I received some much-needed feedback on Brothas from a fellow writer. It was nice to hear from a mother’s perspective as the show deals with two little boys. My script revisions deal with addressing some areas of continuity and plot. At the core of the series, I deal with a loving family. Making the parents a bigger part of the story is something I’m working on. Again like Losing Valarie, I’m still seeking feedback on the story.

I’m still in the process of working on my unknown pilot. I want to do one or two more pass-throughs before I feel it is ready for feedback. With that said, it really is all about grinding it out to I get it right.

busy young african american man with dreadlocks working on laptop in street cafe
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

I’m still working on getting more freelance work as some of my clients begin to get back on their feet.

With the start of school days away, I’m in the deal of setting up for the Fall semester as plans continue to evolve and change during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Despite looking forward to teaching on campus, I’m preparing to teach my students online. From my perspective, I feel the school year will be vastly different from last year. I can feel the landscape shifting on so many levels.

Watch this space for more on my writing journey.

Seeing the Full Picture

As progress in my work, the backgrounds are starting to take shape as I build my animated worlds.

Fro the past week or so, I’ve been shaping the world for the teenagers of Losing Valarie. The high school setting is your typical high school atmosphere with a modern look to better reflect the advancement in design and technology. Like I mentioned before, I wanted a color palette filled with pastels and dark colors to reflect the light yet dramatic tone of the series. I kept the high school palette limited to blues and whites with pops of color here and there. As the idea has progressed over the years, my approach to design has evolved as I became more comfortable with digital art.

Along with creating the high school setting, I have concentrated my efforts on improving my main protagonist’s refuge – her bedroom. Much like the previous background, I limited the color palette to her favorite color – pale pink (or rose gold). Everything from her bedding to the walls is covered in it. But the break up the monochromatic, I decided to use black to again fit the series’ tone along with more vibrant colors for visual appeal. I’ve steadily built up the room to illustrate more of her personality as an aspiring writer and bleed. Along with personality, I wanted to highlight my protagonist’s “Blackness” through her choice of artwork and posters.

Hopefully, soon, I will illustrate the actual exteriors of these places to give a better look and understanding of this world. I know to see what the characters’ world looks like will create a connection with potential viewers.

Within the next week, I plan to focus more on my children’s series Brothas by concentrating on the interior of the family home. I might even deal with some more exterior settings in the main characters’ world. Much of the look and feel will still retain the child-like look of the series.

Focusing on the two previous projects, I have yet to begin cracking my still-untitled action-adventure project. The series draws shows such as the original Teen Titans, Justice League, and Batman the Animated Series so my palette will be using more subdued colors and neutral tones – browns, beiges, whites, grays, and black. I’ll start with the character designs and work my way from there.

While background design will be my focus, for the time being, I will eventually turn my attention to character design for my next set of characters. As I start building up more work, I put some of it on my website (be on the lookout!) while others might be Patreon exclusives.

 

Social media presence has continued to play a role in attracting clients. My freelance work is still a bit slow, but I am definitely put into the work to expand my income.

Just remember all the hard work will pay off in the end.

 

Keep your eyes peeled on my Instagram! Until next time, be your best creative self!

Working Through Microaggressions Part 2

Working a regular nine-to-five has shown me what in-your-face microaggression looks like, but remote work comes with its own set of tense moments and heated words.

Although I have only been freelancing professionally for a year or so, I’ve been working on my own since 2011. Like my situation at the paint store, I’ve experienced a form of aggression (and to some extent grooming) from one of my first freelance jobs. I came upon this animation job through my alma mater’s job board. Looking back now I should have been a little wary of the situation given the job board’s track record. I remember talking to the company’s founder and going over the project. Having been burned once before, I went into the situation expecting an ordinary freelance job. I spent a few months working on this industrial video with satisfactory results. The job took a turn when I was offered a full-time position. At first, I enjoyed the prospect, but things soon soured as the founder wanted me to do things outside my skillset. My biggest warning sign came when a young lady interning for the company suddenly quit. She emailed me afterward with some frightening accounts of her time there. But by this point, I saw the writing on the wall. He started to overreach when it came to not only my work life but my personal life as well. To make things once, I had dragged my brother into the situation (something I still feel bad about till this day).  Looking back now, I could see the grooming that was taking place. Isolation was definitely the next step in his plan. After some time, we got out of that situation, which was a blessing given the company closed down a year later.

man working using a laptop

Photo by Oladimeji Ajegbile on Pexels.com

But before that experience, I dealt with a fellow Black creative who took advantage of my naivety as a recent graduate. This position came days before my undergrad graduation. I was super excited about getting my name in the credits of an animated production. Like my previous account, I found this on my alma mater’s job board (see the pattern). Quickly, my dream job became a nightmare as I spent months going back and forth with this client over the direction and aesthetic of the project. One of my pet peeves as a freelancer are clients who give me “creative freedom” with stipulations developing in the process. The whole back-and-forth led to an email filled with anger, gaslighting, and condescension. It led to self-doubt and anger about my animation skills to bubble to the surface. My anger turned to motivation as I finished the project with simple animation and went on my way (with only half of the funds promised). The saddest part for me was that I never quite recovered from that experience.

Fast forward to 2018 where I interned for a well-known pop culture magazine. Like many internships, the experience had its ups and downs. I happened to be the only Black person and one of two BIPOC in the entire office. But one moment stood out to me and shown how even “allies” can show glimmers on unexpected aggression. To put everything in focus, I did overstep my bounds as an intern in promising a feature without checking with the publication. But the next thing that happened wasn’t warranted and was more of a power move than a teachable moment. I told my supervising editor about my talk with the PR for an unknown band. This led to a back-and-forth in a Slack chat where I admitted to my fault. I thought it was resolved as the band got the feature, but it wasn’t. Later on, I received an email meant as both a dressing-down and a vent session. I remembered reading the email and getting agitated and annoyed at the same. I mean if you’re going to come at somebody make sure your grammar and spelling are on point. In true Aquarius fashion, I dismissed it as another angry “White privilege” moment and went on about my day.

 

In summer 2019, I accepted a contract position with a well-known web publication. I admit to accepting the position more out of desperation for a job rather than journalistic integrity and money. That being said I enjoyed my time there for the most part. During my time there, I experienced various degrees of microaggression and gaslighting. During my tenure, I was one of a few BIPOC writers creating content for them with only one BIPOC editor. Having a carousel of editors with different approaches to writing led to some moments of doubt and questions about my skills as a writer. On more than one occasion, I have had side conversations that verged on condescending and demeaning towards my efforts to improve. What made the situation worse is that it was always the same three editors – two White and one BIPOC – always seemed to have a problem with me and my writing. Most of it dealt with insignificant components I was barely getting paid for. The White female editor has always been a little nasty towards me for some reason. But the later conversations were filled with everything from condescending “bro” talk about my writing to accusations of plagiarism. The amount of time and effort I put in my work didn’t yield significant returns for me. On top of the fact, that in an act of “performative activism” the lead editors tried to incentivize writers to help find BIPOC writers AFTER the Black Lives Matter movement began gaining momentum. At the moment, I’m at a crossroads when it comes to that position. 

These experiences taught me what to do and not do when comes to treating your employees more like flesh-and-blood humans rather than bricks in the wall. I still have not let others’ negativity taint my perspective about being a freelancer.

Next week is back to business as usual as I return tracking my writing journey.

 

 

Working on the Back – The Re-do

So last week turned out to be more writing-focused than anything so here is a repost of last week’s blog. I’m still working and striving to create the environment for my characters.

While I’ve been focusing on my character design work, I decided to concentrate on developing my background designs. I want to develop more of my look and aesthetics for many of my projects. For Losing Valarie, I wanted a simple color palette of pastels and dark colors to reflect the nature and subject matter of the series. I decided to keep my backgrounds limited and monochromatic to fit the characters and style. But ever since I’ve been working on this project, I wanted my characters and world to complement each other in the grand scheme.

My other project Brothas is the opposite of Losing Valarie with a bright color palette centered around primary colors. As seen in my character designs, I wanted the backgrounds to match more with my characters to reflect the style of the series. Whereas Losing Valarie is heavier in tone, I want the children’s series to be brighter and happier for families.

My still-untitled project leans more towards a teenage audience in the same vein of the original Teen Titans and Justice League. I eventually want the color palette to reflect the darker nature of the action-adventure series. I haven’t designed anything yet, but I already know what it may look like. 

While background design will be my focus, for the time being, I will eventually turn my attention to character design for my next set of characters. As I start building up more work, I put some of it on my website (be on the lookout!) while others might be Patreon exclusives.

Working on these projects allows me to tap into my creativity while creating something tangible when I get ready to present my ideas. While I prepare to get these shows off the ground, I’m still a few contests here and there as a way of getting my work seen.

With so much going on in the world, my social media presence has increased its importance in my work as I try recruiting more clients. My freelance work is coming slowly but surely, but I am definitely put in the work to expand my income.

Just remember creativity can lead to a lasting legacy.

Keep your eyes peeled on my Instagram! Until next time, be your best creative self!

Working Through Microaggressions Part 1

Having worked since I was age 16, I have dealt with my fair share of passive-aggressive and not-so-passive-aggressive actions and words towards me when it comes to being a Black male in predominately White spaces.

In my first job as a Summer worker for a local government organization, I experienced my first microaggression. At the time, the word wasn’t commonplace, and I didn’t realize what was happening. I had worked for the organization for two Summers at this point and had gained a great rapport with the staff (or so I thought). I remember the day the aggression attacked. It was a slow day at the office. I had been placed in charge of helping to create this coloring book for the organization since my artistic skills were known. I was doing some research for the book and ended up taking a typical internet spiral. Unfortunately, at that moment, one of my superiors (who happened to be White) caught me in the midst of it. Instead of just calling me out and admonishing for my actions, she decided to unleash her inner “Karen” on me fueled as hurtful words came flooding from her mouth. She then grabbed me from my chair and drug me to my supervisor. Then, she proceeded to tell him what happened and said to “do something with him [me].” My supervisor (also Black) talked to me and put me on a few menial tasks. Every time I think about that moment, I still think about that scared 17-year-old afraid for his future and his standing as “one of the good ones.”

man working using a laptop

Photo by Oladimeji Ajegbile on Pexels.com

Fast forward to a 21-year-old college dropout wandering aimlessly trying to find himself. After battling through a year-long bout with depression, I finally found my footing as an adult by getting my first “real” job at my local hospital. To say that job shaped both good and bad work habits would be an understatement. Doing the same mundane tasks on a daily basis can wear on your soul. But the one thing I never really experience in plain sight was the harsh words and aggressive actions of my White co-workers and department heads. That was until one fateful day when our computer system decided to go down, and my department was forced to do everything manually. At this point, the new delivery system had only been in place for two or three months. So being the type-A personality I am, I took over and started handing out orders to our assembly line. In the midst of this, I still had my usual paper load to do before the night over. But we maintained a pace like a relay team at the state-wide track meet as I handed out orders while my co-workers went back and forth.

At one point, one of my superiors came in to see how things were going. We continued our conversation while I continued doing my work. I thought I was mastering the art of multi-tasking but apparently not. After having a day off, I came to work the next day and was informed of an unannounced meeting. Unbeknownst to me, I was in huge trouble for just doing my job while Black. Thank god for one of my co-workers having a conscience and telling me what the meeting was really about. Apparently, my superior decided to have a “Karen” moment and tell my area manager that I ignored her while trying to keep my department from going into further chaos. I went through all the emotions – confusion, anxiousness, shock, and anger – as I received this news. I was so blindsided as my supervisor (who happened to Black) seemed worried more about his job rather than protecting his employees. Eventually, the meeting was canceled due to management realizing it was silly and unnecessary. That day changed my perspective on my job as my hatred towards the place intensified. My relationship with my supervisor and department manager was never the same again.

toxic

The next “Karen” encounter occurred while working at an eatery known for its “clean eating.” Now for months, I had tolerated the broken promises and the toxic ghetto-soap-opera-of-the-week atmosphere without complaint. The entire time I worked there my school schedule was a problem. I tolerated it because I needed a stable part-time job while working towards my Master’s. The one thing that always bothered was my subpar inappropriate manager with a nasty disposition. On more than one occasion, she pulled me to the side and told me things no manager should ever tell an employee. But the final straw for me came on one of my class days. I had my schedule planned out where it finally didn’t interfere with my work. On this particular day, I had agreed to take a co-worker home, which was no problem since she lived across the street. As time inched closer and closer to my class starting, I decided to take some initiative by walking over to my manager so I could close my register and be on my way. Upon seeing me in her vision, she shoed me away as if I was one of her children. To top it off, she had a grimace on her face while sipping on the place’s diabetes-inducing lemonade. Like the previous episode, a flood of emotions washed over me as I walked away. I was flabbergasted, uneasy, and astonished by this woman’s callous behavior. As a result, a few weeks later, I announced I found another job. I had tolerated that place for long enough. 

As a Black man, you would think that your own wouldn’t go against you, but sometimes, the worst microaggressions come from your skin folk and other minorities. I worked for a major paint retailer for years, becoming the subject of many microaggressions and outbursts from those with privilege and many without. But a key moment changed not only my outlook on the workplace but how power dynamics can corrupt the powerless. At my final location as a humble employee, my entire time there was filled with unspoken tension and jealousy as the older Black assistant and the Latino manager seemed thrown off by my ambition and drive for things outside of the job. After one too many times of nonchalant, gaslighting behavior, I came into work one day in a bad mood. I decided to not speak to either one of them out of fear I would explode on the spot. Apparently, my disposition didn’t sit well with my manager. Instead of confronting me like an adult, he decided to recruit my assistant manager into some intimidation tact meant to shake me. I took every ounce of my being to not go off on both of them. I knew at that moment I had to make a change in my life. Within the next month, I got my position as a part-time professor, and haven’t looked back since.

All these episodes taught me how to guard my spirit and energy against those focused on with ill-intentions. Despite my standoffishness, I still have not let others’ prejudices taint me from seeing the light in most humans.

Tune in next week for more on my microaggression experiences as a freelancer, and continue to watch this space for more on my writing journey.

 

 

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