Looking Back on an Amazing Year!
Hey folks. Just finished writing an End Of Year Report for Soul Sanctuary, my nonprofit org. Which means it is also time for me to take a moment and reflect on all of the profound changes and growth I’ve experienced in 2018 as well.
QUITTING THE GIG
Of course, there is nothing more significant that happened this year than my decision to quit my job at WURD. Some of my faithful listeners felt it coming. They started asking me in confidence about whether I was leaving as early as the spring, but I managed to hold on (for reasons I still don’t understand) until my birthday in October. You can go back to a few earlier posts in this blog section to read about the buildup and the transition, but other than some cash flow issues, I am very happy. Ending any feeling of being a hamster running endlessly on a wheel going nowhere is such a relief. Now I am freed up to exercise my creativity and use my time in far more fulfilling ways, all praise to The Creator.
I BE WRITIN’
One of the first things that felt good and made great sense was for me to get back to writing regularly, for profit and for pleasure. I started a member account at Medium.com, where I have been consistently exploring topics in genealogy and family, in preparation to put together my magnum opus on my bloodlines. Some major discoveries, including verifying my mother’s birth mother and a previously-unknown uncle, have been highlights of this exploration this year. Interestingly, a piece I penned about my feelings after viewing the Rachel Dolezal documentary has been my most successful piece on their site to date. I am far from Medium’s upper echelon income-earners, but appreciate my access to their writer community and the encouragement they offer for me to hone my craft.
I penned two blog posts this year for WXPN’s Gospel Roots of Rock & Soul project for the Pew Center of Arts & Humanities: one about my very conservative UMC childhood church and its disdain for gospel music, and one about the evangelistic roots of Snoop Dogg. Had a blast considering those two topics and further honing my memoir writing style. Hoping to have even more opportunities to contribute to publications and websites in the near future.
Because I have had more practice at message development, I am now a contributing freelancer to AARP. Though I am not yet old enough to join their org, I am inching there quickly and have been pitching stories about professional evolution, health care and caregiving. Will be sure to share links as soon as they publish any of my approved material, which should be very soon.
BACK IN THE BOOTH
Checked another goal off of my Vision List this year with the release of my collaboration with house music gawd Kenny Bobien, “Music Makes Me High",” as a part of the new Steal Vybe album GENERATIONS. Also got a good buzz going with a rework of the single “Strong,” with lead vocals from Chris Dockins. I’ve had a few other bangers in the can for a minute, so there is a list of tracks that I want to tweak a bit that should be on tap for release in the New Year. Still haven’t worked out resuming my live band sets just yet, but…keep your eyes open for more news on that.
A CONSULTANT’S LIFE FOR ME, TWEE DIDDLY DEE
As I shared in a previous blog, I quit my last official corporate job in Dec 1998. For 13 years after that, I was a hired gun in all manner of marketing, artist management, teaching artist, performer, diversity/inclusion training and curriculum development capacities until I took a part-time gig at Mural Arts Philadelphia, then transitioned to the radio station. After saying my farewells at WURD, I knew that rebuilding my consultant work was going to be a top priority.
I had the distinct honor and privilege of working with the Royal Society of the Arts on their 2018 Benjamin Franklin Medal presentation to maestro Herbie Hancock here in Philadelphia, the first time they have ever awarded the honor to a musician. I was the official Talent Wrangler, assuring that Penn Jazz and the Tribute Band, led by Christian McBride, were well-accommodated and had room to soar on their instruments. The evening was a celebrated success, and has hopefully opened the doors for the UK-based organization to make Philadelphia a more frequent stop for their US-focused activities.
In 2019, I will have a robust working relationship with the African American Museum in Philadelphia, both as hired talent and in areas of marketing and audience development. In January, a smaller version of my first official visual arts curatorial project PHOTOGRAPHIC MEMORY will be on display in their auditorium through the end of March. I will be Lead Interviewer for their Keynote Q&A as a feature of AAMP’s MLK Day Celebration, in conversation with my good buddy Ali Danois, sports historian and Editor-In-Chief at The Shadow League. And I will be working with them on the 2019 PhilAesthetic Festival. That’s just for starters.
There are more projects that I wish I could formally announce right now, but full details are still being inked on contracts. Suffice it to say that my commitment to preserving the legacy of our cultural s/heroes and providing dignified, beautiful images of people of color is something that I will reinforce vigorously in my consultant work.
I am so very grateful to be aware of my gifts and talents and to now have the freedom to explore them in earnest, and to be properly compensated for using them. If you too are suffering from Hamster-on-the-Wheel syndrome, I will be the first one cheering you on to your What Next. To your MORE. To your greatest success yet to come. You deserve to make your dreams come true, Fam. Let’s make it so.