Growing up, I always wondered why I was born with a stutter. The growing fear of negative reactions toward my stuttering eventually led me into silence. What I didn’t realize at the time, was that I was actually given a gift. What may seem like a set back for someone else, I learned to use as a come up for me. I knew that I had dreams and I knew that I did not want my fear of stuttering to stop me from sharing my voice.
As a child, I always had a passion for video production. I remember when my twin sister and I put on these “make-believe” television talk shows in our grandmother’s living room. I would produce, direct, and videotape the show while my twin sister would act as the TV host. At this time in my life I had a severe stutter but for some reason when I directed these shows, I did not think about my stutter at all. That was when I first began to realize that although I may have had a stutter, I could be creative and produce different outlets that would speak for me.
While in college, I decided that I wanted to pursue my dreams of becoming a television producer. I remember doing my first broadcasting internship at VOA News, an international broadcasting company in Washington, DC. During my internship, I was involved in helping out with TV technical operations, which included camera work, floor direction, audio production, and other forms of TV production. One day, I was asked to floor direct a live news broadcasting show. I decided to face my fears and take on the challenge. I remember feeling terrified and nervous, because it was my first time floor directing. In addition, I was afraid that I would stutter severely while communicating with other crew members through the audio headset. I was given the responsibility to cue the reporter with hand signals as well as verbally communicate with the staff. I hoped that I would not potentially ruin the live show because of my delayed responses due to my speech impediment. Well it happened… I stuttered while I was floor directing. However, the show went well and I felt proud of myself. At that moment I realized I couldn’t allow fear be attached to my stutter.
After my internship that summer, I was grateful to have had the opportunity to be involved in other television production work, such as helping out with Premios Tu Mundo (Your World Awards) for NBC Telemundo, Nickelodeon HALO Awards, BET Honors and Billboard Music Awards. Before helping out with these award shows, I remember thinking “what if I stutter and I don’t respond fast enough during the show?”, or “what if I get looked at crazy when stuttering while asking a question?”. These were the thoughts that haunted me. But I had to realize that by having these thoughts, I was only limiting opportunities for myself. Like they say, action speak louder than words. So I made sure that I always worked very hard and the producers saw that and because of that I kept getting called back to do another show. It felt great knowing that despite having these challenges with my stutter, other people saw my potential.
I want other people like me to be inspired. We shouldn’t be worrying about what others may think of us. We all have potential and we all deserve the right to follow our dreams and aspirations, despite our challenges. We ALL can become who we dream to be.
“We were all born with a certain degree of power. The key to success is discovering this innate power and using it daily to deal with whatever challenges come our way.” – Les Brown
Poet, Michael Phillips, Breaks Down in Front of Students at his Alma Mater
Michael Phillips agreed to speak to students at his alma mater, Community Academy of Philadelphia, CS (CAP) about Black History and being Black in America. Little did he know, this would be an emotional full circle moment for him.
Phillips has been doing spoken word for quite a few years now. Although he’s performed around the East Coast, he mainly takes to his social media to speak about race and love issues in a poetic way. He speaks highly of a creative writing teacher at CAP, who is the sole purpose behind his love for poetry.
“Ms. Vázquez is the reason why I’ve been able to do what I love since high school. She really made me appreciate poetry as a creative outlet to release any and all pain I’ve felt internally. I’m thankful for her”
Phillips confidently went into various classrooms from grades 5-8, along with some high school classrooms to perform his spoken word pieces. It wasn’t until he entered Ms. Vázquez’s room, the very person who inspired him to do poetry in the first place, that he sort of – broke down. It was a full circle moment for him, in that he saw himself as a student who too once sat in those same seats, without a clue as to what it would mean being a Black man growing up in America after high school.
He hopes that through his words, he is able to inspire the minority community to come together and appreciate themselves from within. Phillips wants the youth to know they have the power to change the world, to start thinking about what they can do presently that can essentially positively impact future generations to come.
Check out the video below:
Don’t Worry Bae, Know That It Is Okay To Fail
І’m muсh mоrе іmрrеssеd wіth а реrsоn whо shооts fоr аn А аnd fаіls аnd gеts а С іnstеаd of thе guу whо аіmеd fоr а D bесаusе hе knеw hе соuld hіt іt аnd dоеs. Fаіlurе іs nоt thе bаd thіng thаt wе tеnd tо thіnk іt іs, аt lеаst nоt іn thе роsіtіvе аrеаs оf оur lіvеs.
Fаіlurе іs thе рrосеss bу whісh wе lеаrn. Аs tоddlеrs, wе fаіlеd over and over again іn оur аttеmрts tо wаlk. Оur fаіlurе еvеn brоught раіn аs wе fеll dоwn, bumреd оur hеаds, аnd wаіlеd fоr mоmmу аnd dаddу. Вut thіs рrосеss оf fаіlurе tеасhеs us а vеrу іmроrtаnt truth. Аs уоu fаіl, уоu lеаrn mоrе thаn уоu thоught уоu wоuld.
Whеn а tоddlеr fаіls іn hіs еffоrts tо wаlk, hе аlsо lеаrns hоw tо fаll. Fаllіng іs раrt оf lіfе. Wе аll fаll, but whеn wе dо fаll, іt іs іmроrtаnt thаt wе fаll іn suсh а wау thаt wе саn gеt bасk uр аgаіn. Soon enough, you’ll witness that toddler hаndlе their falls wіth роіsе, dіgnіtу, аnd wіth thе dеsіrе tо gеt rіght bасk uр and give it another go.
Yоu саn’t hеlр but mаkе mіstаkеs and bae, that is okay. Вut іnstеаd оf turnіng rеd, stаmmеrіng аrоund аnd ароlоgіzіng рrоfusеlу, whісh оnlу еmbаrrаssеs еvеrуоnе еlsе, own it. Lift your head up and keep pushing forward.
Тhе Віblе sреаks оf thіs. Іt sауs,
“For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again” – Proverbs 24:16
Тhіs mаn isn’t righteous bесаusе hе nеvеr fаіls. Не іs righteous bесаusе whеn hе dоеs fаіl, hе gеts bасk uр.
Understand that this is kеу. Fаіlurе tоughеns уоu uр аnd аllоws уоu tо the opportunity to get back up and trу аgаіn. Now if you hold yourself back from trying again, eh that’s kind of on you.
Іmаgіnе а реrsоn thаt hаs nеvеr suffеrеd аnуthіng іn lіfе. Не hаs nеvеr fаіlеd, hе hаs nеvеr suffеrеd а mіsfоrtunе-hе’s nеvеr suffеrеd A N Y T H I N G.
Ніs аbіlіtу tо hаndlе dіffісultіеs аnd trіаls іs nіl. Не wоuld bе sо wеаk аnd sо іnеffесtіvе thаt thе fіrst wіsр оf а stоrm оr trіаl іn hіs lіfе wіll саusе hіm tо соllарsе. Іt іs thе fаіlurеs іn lіfе thаt tоughеn us uр аnd mаkеs us wоrth knоwіng.
One important concept of life to understand is:
Fаіlurе іs аn оnlу fаіlurе іf іt kеерs уоu dоwn. Quіttіng іs thе оnlу truе fаіlurе іn lіfе.
Іmаgіnе the tоddlеr аttеmрtіng tо wаlk аnd fаllіng dоwn, аnd іmаgіnе thаt sаmе tоddlеr sауіng, “Wеll, І trіеd thіs wаlkіng thіng. І rеаllу dіd. Вut іt’s јust nоt fоr mе. І dоn’t thіnk І’m сut оut tо wаlk (in baby gibberish of course).
If a toddler, a human who more than likely can’t even form a full paragraph has the will and desire to get back up and keep trying – why can’t you? When did you decide it was okay to have the will to succeed leave from your mental?
Again.. remember … failure is only a failure if you quit.
Understand that whеn wе shооt fоr sоmеthіng wе mіght fаіl аt thеn wе аlwауs gо F U R T H E R аnd ассоmрlіsh mоrе thаn whеn wе shооt fоr sоmеthіng wе knоw wе саn suссееd аt. I don’t know about you but І’d rаthеr shооt fоr thе А аnd fаіl thаn suссееd аt thе D bесаusе І knеw І соuld suссееd thеrе. Іf І gеt а В оr а С while shooting for the A, І at least wеnt furthеr thаn І wоuld hаvе hаd І bееn sсаrеd tо fаіl and just settling for mediocrity.
We’ll end this note by reminding you that fаіlurе іs nоt thе еnd. Іt іs јust thе bеgіnnіng. It’s just a chapter towards what you really want. You and only you can decide if you want this to be your end. So bae, gо оn, gіvе іt а trу.
Ѕо whаt іf уоu fаіl, you have it in you to get back up and try again.
Featured image captured by: Hailey Photography
Drake Releases Most Important Project of His Career
Today Drake released the visual for his song, “God’s Plan”. In this video, it showcases Drake giving back to communities, schools & even families in more ways than one. Whether it was signing checks for scholarships, paying for grocery bills or just handing stacks of cash to families, the 6 God decided to use the million dollar budget given for the video to instead, give it all away.
It’s empowering to see celebrities use their platforms for good and to give back to those in need.
Drake, in case no one has told you yet – you’re doing amazing sweetie.
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