Today, a CEO asked me if @saintheron was my alma mater. I had just left a meeting where I continued to learn about the ad industry from people who live and breathe ads and content. (I actually got to use my voice as well, which is something I am practicing in my workspace.) It was an informative and overall great meeting for our business. I didn’t think it was a stupid question, I just laughed in my head. My clothing once again has sparked me to write.
Saint Heron is pretty niche, but the last thing I would think anyone would think it is, is a college or university. For the first time in a while (lol), I proudly announced—”my alma mater is the University at Buffalo.”
I began to think about how Black people are forced to be well rounded, speak multiple LANGUAGES, how we bring dope strategy and creativity. We are so complex and the pulse of work environments. I was the only woman under 25 in the room, the only Black woman and I was probably the only woman who attended a public university.
In 2008, economist Marc Bendick Jr. discovered only 5.8% of African Americans made up the ad industry. In 2017, we only made up 7%. In nine years diversity in terms of Black people have only increased by 1.2%.
Also, note that the ad industry isn’t just comprised of ad junkies—it is a complex network of content professionals, ad operators, copywriters, journalists, the whole nine.
It’s also important to know that African Americans spending is at $1.2 trillion annually.
When we take our dollars out of brands we are causing a DRAMATIC shift within a companies revenue. (Read this!!) The ads that are flashed in front of us ALL the time are largely influenced by US, the culture.
BACK TO MY STORY…
The encounter which to some may seem small, proved to me why it is important to have a seat at the table. You can bring someone into your world by simply letting them know a fact. You can teach someone you’ve never met before, something new.
@saintheron “was a collaborative complication album featuring 11 independent artist telling their unique stories.” @saintrecords was designed to give new artists a space to create their music the way they want. (SCREAMING YASS to Queen Solo). My shirt is not only is part of my wardrobe, it tells so many stories. It is a functioning part of Black culture. Our merchandise, our voice, our creativity, our bomb style, everything that we touch really is FIRE and just think to someone else, it is just a plain blue shirt. I have the luxury of wearing casual clothing to work, so why not exercise my Blackness by putting people on to Black creatives in a space where they aren’t exposed to it. Wear clothing by Black people and big them up!
I strongly stress and encourage people to be conscious of their buying power. This shirt was one of my first Black owned pieces of clothing and I seriously cherish it. Other dope brands that I love to rock are Joe Fresh Goods, Hey Tranae jewelry, Bey and Jay lol. Pieces I’ve been eyeing are from Tier NYC and Green Box Shop.
This encounter reassured me that my participation to push diversity and inclusion at work, my push for it outside of my 9-5 and screaming my love for my people is so important.
Make sure you dedicate the rest of 2019 to a goal. I’m working on claiming my seat, making my voice heard and feeling useful in spaces where I’m not the majority. Know that your voice is valuable and you have dope shit to say. You too can teach someone something. Now go play some #ASEATATTHETABLE.