As a platform, we aim to focus on current news that is inspiring and motivating. For this, we typically stay away from celebrity death topics. But Nipsey Hussle was more than a celebrity and his passing is something we need to highlight. He embodied our goal of creating mindsets where people of color can thrive.
The Grammy-nominated artist created a journey that others from similar backgrounds could use to build a new cycle of wealth. His upbringing mirrored many people who never made it out of poverty, yet he found a way to prosper.
Hussle invested with purpose and didn’t make meaningless partnerships. He stressed the importance of accumulating continuous wealth through ownership instead of endorsements.
He advanced his community in many ways, for instance he created a co-working space and business incubator for inner-city entrepreneurs in the Crenshaw district of Los Angeles. His vision was to bring representation to the science, technology and mathematics industries by creating a pipeline between his neighborhood and Silicon Valley. He hired felons who couldn’t get work, invested in influential local businesses that were declining and worked toward ending gang violence.
He approached his community’s issues as if he was a parent working to break generational curses. He built infrastructure that his community could inherit and benefit from. He provided resources to catalyze growth.
He was not only working to change dreamers into doers, but aimed to build dreamers.
This type of loss can leave us angry and hopeless for change. We’ve been robbed at a time when we need every single one of our resources. He wasn’t just a beacon of hope. He was a caretaker for the disenfranchised, putting people in places to thrive and building places for people to thrive.
So for those of you who are understandably feeling sad and lost, bring his vision to life. Invest in his businesses. Build your own businesses. Be rebellious against a system that wasn’t made for us and pursue your dream. Accumulate lasting wealth to build cycles and make strategic investments. Support reverse gentrification and support businesses of color. Give back to your community and help those who need it.
Nipsey Hussle was a loved father, husband, friend, idol and more. But importantly, he was a teacher.
Water the seed he planted by moving in his vision and adding to his momentum.
10 Things I Learned From My 2019 SXSW Experience
Every year, Austin, Texas initiates spring with its diverse 10-day festival, SXSW. Thousands of people gather in the state’s capital to enjoy the experiential marketing, assorted music acts and interactive sessions that take over the city. Though I spent February planning and organizing my SXSW trip and had seen previous coverage of the event, I didn’t know exactly what to expect. My experience exceeded my expectations and equipped me with valuable knowledge and life-long memories.
Here are my main takeaways from the festival:
1. A change in routine can benefit your mental health.
Get out of your routine and do something that gets you excited about life. As someone who works remotely, I can get into the same pattern, often working from my desk-bed (various bar stools surrounding my bed topped with tea and sticky notes) and straying away from side projects or bigger goals. Having ambitious dreams can be overwhelming at times and can seem far from achievable when your routine keeps you in one place.
SXSW was quite the opposite of a routine. My mid-SXSW self laughed at my pre-SXSW self’s plan to stick to a schedule. I spent more than a week stopping by theatrical activations, going to random interactive talks and wandering into exciting music events. Though there were certain events I planned out, every day had a new dynamic and was far from repetitive. Yes, there are people who need routine to be content. But there are also people like myself who need constant inspiration and movement in order to feel centered. SXSW reminded me that letting loose and going with the flow can provide a much needed mental cleanse.
2. Networking needs a new name.
Maybe tribe building or just… like… having a conversation.
When you think of traditional networking, there can be so much pressure to say the right thing or come off qualified and polished. SXSW affirmed the fact that you don’t have to be in business casual attire at a glitzy event in order to network. You can have conversations at anytime that lead to a business connection. During SXSW, I met CEO’s who were wearing T-shirts and shorts at concerts. Most of the connections I made started with a conversation with someone I didn’t even know I needed to talk to. Queue the next thing learned…
3. There’s power in having one conversation.
The excitement of the festival fueled me to talk to every single person that I came across. Whether it was with someone I was standing next to at a concert or someone who asked a great question during a panel, I was ready to start a conversation. This came in handy during my first night of the festival when I was attending a launch party at Latitude 30, SXSW’s British Music Embassy.
I walked into the event after the first band had already begun playing. I asked two guys in front of me if they knew the band’s name and they said they didn’t know them too well but that they were about to go on next. I then asked them what type of music they play and where they were from. They then told me they were one of the artists on the label of the launch party we were at. This led to a great conversation where they eventually introduced me to various team members of the label including the CEO and founders. All of this came about simply because I started one conversation.
4. Shoot your shot.
One of SXSW’s goals is to foster networking by connecting you with industry leaders through events like meet ups, mentor sessions and round table talks. Even if you don’t attend one of these events, most of your idols are hanging around after a talk or in the crowd at a venue. From celebrities to trailblazers, you’ll most likely come across someone you’ve always dreamt of chatting with. I am here to tell you to shoot your shot. Don’t be discouraged by fame or status. The worst that can happen is your conversation gets cut short. This is a small risk when there’s the possibility of having a meaningful conversation and exchanging contact information with someone you admire.
I saw one of my favorite bands, Big Joanie, at Cheer Up Charlie’s during SXSW. After their set, I noticed them off to the side of the crowd watching the next acts. I was hesitant at first but decided to introduce myself. I told them how inspiring they were and that I wish I had their music for my younger self. We had such a great conversation and they ended up giving me their contact information and told me to reach out if I ever needed anything. I was in shock after but I was so thankful that I took that leap to approach them.
5. Successful people are legit just people.
SXSW was a week of listening to people tell their stories and share their trials and tribulations. Arlan Hamilton, founder and CEO of Backstage Capital, spoke about starting her company from her car while she was homeless. Lance Bass talked about having imposter syndrome during his NSYNC days. These talks helped me remember that my idols were once in the beginning stages of their careers too. Constantly hearing success journeys will make you realize that you are in the middle of yours.
6. A good tribe can keep you motivated.
I met people during my first day of roaming around SXSW and we instantly connected and bonded. Though we were all in different fields, we had similar views, ambitions and energies. We were interested in the same talks, liked the same music and hyped each other up when each of us had something work related to do. This experienced reminded me of the power of connecting with ambitious peers who are working toward amazing things. It’s important to be around people who have inspiring paths, support your work and motivate you to keep achieving greatness.
7. It’s important to get involved with things outside your field.
SXSW is a playground of experiences with something new to offer almost every hour. There were events that taught me about important issues, compelling topics or refreshed my interest in old subjects. It’s the perfect place to dabble in something that you wouldn’t normally incorporate into your daily life.
I met someone who informed me on the serious issue of food waste. She shared jarring statistics with me that motivated me to attend a panel on the subject. This is how you stay informed, connected and inspired. Throughout my SXSW experience, I was introduced to new issues, organizations, and businesses that I hadn’t known about.
8. Comfort isn’t everything.
I can be a perfectionist and I often need things to be organized and comfortable in order to have a good time. SXSW helped me stray away from this notion. Once you dance at concert with a tripod in your hand or attend an event alone that’s outside your field, you tend to lose the need for comfort. I had to adapt to certain situations by embracing the uncomfortable and focusing on the positives. Things don’t have to be perfect and comfortable in order to be successful.
9. Your Uber can double as a travel guide.
I had conversations with 90% of my Uber and Lyft drivers and they all gave me the local tea: where to eat, what places to avoid at certain times, nicknames for parts of the city, local issues. Rideshare drivers really know what’s up and can help you in more ways than one when navigating a new city.
10. You can actually do whatever you want.
Your dreams are attainable as long as you keep an open and determined mindset. Imposter syndrome can often creep in and convince you that you don’t have enough qualifications to make progress toward your goals. SXSW was a reminder that there are many diverse methods and outlets that people use to achieve what they want. Spending 10 days experiencing creative ideas and messages motivated me and revived my own dreams.
It is also refreshing to know that SXSW can be used as an outlet to aid your aspirations. Whether you’re going there to meet like-minded people, organize a talk or set up an activation, the festival has various opportunities for you to share your message and execute your goals. SXSW is definitely a tool that needs to be added to everyone’s professional bucket list.
HerStory: Ambitious & Fierce Celebrates Women of Color Dominating in Their Fields
We teamed up with powerful women behind AB Media Group, WeWork, Bumble Bizz, & Forbes the Culture to bring together some of Philly’s fiercest powerhouses. The event kicked off with a panel consisting of Krystle Rich (NBC Sports), Heather Qadar (La Colombe), Holta Tegu (People for People) & Yashira Rivera (WURD Radio) moderated by Ayana Iman (Authentic Convos) who spoke about breaking barriers in the workspace while being your authentic self.
Gems were dropped and our attendees were given the confidence they needed to dominate every single room they walk into. After the panel discussion was done, it was time to let the hair down and mingle with one another during our happy hour social sponsored by @hennessyus. This social was specifically created to celebrate the accomplishments of all of our fellow powerhouses during this Women’s History Month.
Check out our event recap video here:
Self-Love Practice Tips From 12 of My Favorite People on Instagram
We’re now about to wrap up the first month of 2019. How are those Self-Love resolutions you had set for yourself going so far? I hope you’re still feeling the same excitement you felt right before the ball dropped at midnight on January 1st.
I’m not going to lie, I’ve recently hit kind of a weird place in my life where there were so many opportunities being thrown my way but nothing was confirmed. I felt stuck, not sure what my next move would be and because of this I could literally feel my mental demons beginning to attack me. I’ve learned that when you’re in a place of uncertainty, that’s when the feelings of self-doubt and negativity will begin to consume your thoughts at an all time high. With that being said, I knew that now more than ever I had to really practice different forms of self-love, because ya know AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR NEGATIVITY. You feel me?
I hit up a couple of my close girls that are either IRL friends or some that I just stalk on a consistent basis (they’re my besties in my head haha) because I love their content and asked each of them to share their #1 self love practice tip.
Even though I’m writing this for you, know that I high key needed this article for me too. I loved putting this together, I hope you all enjoy.
My phone is in a constant state of Do Not Disturb, and I never – NEVER answer emails from my phone. In fact, I have push notifications for my email turned off. There is no fire too big that it can’t wait for me to pull out my laptop and write out a strategic, intentional response. People in media: Let’s stop working in an unhealthy gaslit state, please.
All this to say, I am hyper aware of the energy I intake (through foods, movement, social settings, push notifications) and the energy I exhibit *because* of what I choose to intake; this is why I create strict boundaries. Me, my ideas, my productivity (a company’s source of revenue) is a result of everything I choose to let in to my orbit.
Millennials don’t need more unlimited PTO or fancy office snacks, we just need to be in workspaces that allow us to feel enabled to actually clock out. To sleep, to be encouraged to have a life outside of work. Eat a real meal.
A lot of my philosophy around work was fueled by the tech scene in Austin, which admittedly can be too relaxed, but there’s an underlying understanding that Rome can’t be built *well* in a day. I’ve never seen happier employees, or had more present managers. Whereas when I made the transition to the New York tech scene, the underlying understanding was: Rome can be built in a day, but we’re going to beat that time and build it in 15 hours, k thanks. And thus, I’ve never seen more unhappy, dysfunctional teams than my time in the NYC tech scene.
So: Take a breath. Figure out what makes you feel good. Prioritize that above all else, and I promise everything will follow suit.
My favorite way to practice self care is to honor my energy in all that I do. By stopping to ask myself how my spirit feels about a situation or person. I give myself the opportunity to make sure that I am in alignment, enabling me to tap into the best version of myself. With this being said, self care does come in may different ways. Maybe you just want to take a day off work to relax. You may even look into the idea of something like pamper packages melbourne (if you live in and around this area of Australia) to treat yourself to a relaxing spa day or even take time to step up your skincare game. Regardless of what you choose to do, as long as you are taking time to look after yourself, that’s all that should matter.
My favorite way to practice self-love is by reminding myself of what I have achieved so far. Be it that week, that day or in the last 5 years. This reminds me that the past me probably wouldn’t have even dreamed of where I am now – and future me is looking back smiling, having had achieved so much more.
This is what keeps me going on the days I want to give up and hide into a hole.
My self love ritual / tip is to show up FULLY and UNAPOLOGETICALLY as you are.
I’ve been told I’m too passionate – this set me back from pursing my dreams, fearful people wouldn’t accept how I show up. I felt my light dim, thoughts of “not enough” sink in and the apologies endlessly pouring out. I held onto that shit so long that it manifested into an emergency stomach surgery.
It took a lot of self love, patience and mindful disconnection to recover and accept myself and my worth in it’s entirety. It wasn’t until I came across a quote from one of my favorite authors:
“You will always be too much of something for someone: too big, too loud, too soft, too edgy. If you round out your edges, you lose your edge. Apologize for mistakes. Apologize for unintentionally hurting someone profusely. But don’t apologize for being who you are.”– Danielle Laporte
Since then I’ve grown to appreciate that I’m not for everyone. This new mindset connected me to the most aspirational, outspoken individuals who encourage me to use my voice as often as possible even if I’m scared.
Love yourself. You are enough. Show up FULLY and UNAPOLOGETICALLY as you are & SHINE.
My favorite way to practice self-love is by no longer committing to people or things that will alter my personal happiness. I found myself in very dark places due to overexerting my energy to people who didn’t deserve or reciprocate it, or trying to fit in at a corporation whose mission didn’t align with my personality or interests. I am allowing myself to be open to a universe that is filled with abundance. Knowing that every opportunity or person isn’t for me, I can confidently decline, allowing space for something or someone greater to come and ultimately protecting my inner happiness and peace.
The biggest self-love tip I can give to anybody is to learn to say NO. To have the courage to say NO to anything that does not elevates you mentally, spiritually, emotionally or puts money in your bank! So many times we are guilt-tripped to saying yes to things that we don’t want to say yes to, and we end up being on the short end of the stick. Knowing your worth is super empowering —NO is a complete sentence— and I hope more of us love ourselves enough to say NO more often this year!
My favorite way to practice self-love is to challenge myself by stepping outside of my comfort zone. The self confidence I find when doing so is indescribable. I just know it’s a great feeling of accomplishment knowing that I am capable of doing whatever I put my mind to, always. I also practice self love by reflecting daily and acknowledging my accomplishments throughout the entire year.
@ismilesometimesss – Holta Tegu, Educator + Dance Fitness Instructor
My favorite way to practice self-care is by choosing to live intentionally. Two things have helped me in this never-ending journey:
- Clearly establishing and defining for myself my living intentions
- Mindfully planning to actualize those same intentions
When you’re passionate about the work you do and the people you serve, it can become a 24-7 job, which can in turn make it easy to forget yourself and your own well-being. Balance between work and rest is always something I struggled with. It wasn’t until the last two years that I realized I can’t be my best self for my students and the community I serve, if I’m not taking care of my well-being simultaneously. I knew that in the same way I planned for work, I had to start planning for me.
“Write it down, and stick to the script, Holta!”
Before I did anything else, I first had to intentionally identify what my living intentions were for myself (these have changed and I’m sure they’ll continue to change over time) – i.e. What did I regularly need to do to help me take better care of my basic needs? What would re-energize and help center me? What boundaries did I need to set?
I then planned to actualize those intentions. In the same way I plan for work-related tasks and events, I now also plan for myself (daily, weekly and monthly). Do I always stick to the plan? Absolutely not, and that’s where forgiving myself comes in. I now more than even understand that I’m human before I’m anything else – this too is an important aspect of “self-care”.
My favorite way to practice self-love these days is putting RIGHT NOW first. Operating on satisfaction is the easiest way to consistently be happy, healthy, and vibrating high. I tend to ask myself a lot:
“How do I feel about this?”
Committing to a workout gives my day a productive start. Turning off my notifications makes me feel in control of my time & interactions. Giving up meat has kept me light on my feet. I’m not the best at meditation but when I really need to feel good I shower with the lights off, incense or candle on, and R&B music up. Works every time. But all of these things amount to being present and living life one great moment at a time! I move on inspiration and anytime something goes left, I repeat to myself: EVERYTHING IS HAPPENING FOR ME NOT TO ME.
My favorite way to practice self love daily is positive self talk . I believe you should be a cheer squad of one and speak nice to yourself . I haven’t always practiced positive self talk but I can truly see the shift. In the words of Biggie
“I went from negative to positive and it’s all good.”The Notorious B.I.G.
Genuinely support yourself and see how the world you view even begins to shift!
I am also a huge Oprah Supersoul Sunday fan. I suggest this as a good start to self evaluation for someone on the go.
My favorite way to practice self love is following my passion. In order for us to really follow our passion we have to first believe in ourselves. People may doubt you, not encourage you, or tell you no, but as long as you keep believing in yourself, you will be able to make your passion into a profitable life. When we follow our passion, it brings us happiness and it solidifies our purpose in this world.
For me, self-love is synonymous with self-awareness. It is an everlasting experience to evaluate and act on all the nooks and crannies of my entire being. And, through trial and error, self-love has taught me the significance of structure. To rid the anxiety of “who am I?”, “do I love myself?”, or “am I worth anything?”, I express self-love using a three-themed structure.
Mind – Acquiring and retaining knowledge is very important to me. I make it a priority to read at least two long-form articles a day, one each way on the train during my commute. The articles can be from any topic as long as I am learning something new and, as a bonus, I like to reexplain the stories with someone else.
Body – I would love to say I go to the gym everyday but that is not the reality. Instead, my face goes to the gym (hear me out). I embrace self-love by staring at myself in the mirror. I remain present as I wash my face in the morning and evening, instead of just going through the motion. I spend at least five minutes pressing my fingers in circular motions to massage my face with a moisturizer or mask to circulate the blood, to the point where my face turns a little red. Massaging the face is a dual benefit because it helps de-puff my face in the mornings. I typically speak aloud positive affirmations beginning with the phrase “I love…”
Soul – Specifically at night while in bed, my mind wanders to the negative “what if” or “why don’t I have” universe. This is where I’ve learned to flip my perspective and speak aloud about things I am grateful for. If I’m stuck, I always say to myself “could things be worse?” and although in the moment the answer feels like a “yes” it is always “no”. In the moments when I have low lows I acknowledge it. This is where I’ve groomed my self awareness. I am very familiar with the low moments and allow the negative energy to release. I get all the ugly out and immediately flip the perspective on how I can leverage the low into high, or even a medium. In that uncomfortable process, the beauty of self-love conquers.
Editor Note: Some answers have been edited and/or shortened.
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