Mentorship is highly valued when it comes to professional development; tell us about your
Mentoring is one of my absolute favorite things to do. I feel like this world puts out so much garbage that our young women are forced to intake, and we need something to negate and dilute that. This is one of the reasons I love mentoring; because our young women need to see they can aspire to such greater heights than being a reality star, model or housewife. Not that anything is wrong with those “jobs;” but I think it’s so glorified in the media that it’s all our young girls see, and I’m here to shake that up. I started mentoring at Howard University and later at Temple University at
the local neighborhood club houses. I would speak to young kids about the importance of education, eve n when it seems so unimportant. A bunch of those kids ending up enrolling in community photography and creative classes after I spoke to them, so that really made me feel great. After graduation, I went on to participate in speaking arrangements to young media students at Howard University and Temple University. I loved being a literal example of how I was just in their same spot, but with hard work, I’ve become who I am today/
Is there anything you wish you would’ve known about your career prior?
If anything, that the pay doesn’t always match the talent. Before joining Forbes I was interning and doing a bunch of unpaid writing and reporting gigs. I hated it at the time because I knew I had the talent and training to gain a paid position, but you really have to pay your dues in this industry.
To date, what has been your biggest accomplishment and disappointment professionally?
Biggest accomplishment- Having my name published for the first time in a Forbes print edition. I’ve done a bunch of awesome interviews for Forbes but to see my name published in a highly popular worldwide magazine; words can’t explain how that felt.
Biggest disappointment- I would say not getting a huge interview I wanted. I had the opportunity to interview Tyra Banks, who is one of my childhood idols- face to face and it fell through unfortunately, but at least a phone interview was able to get done.
How do you maintain your social consciousness in the work environment and/or how does it shape
your work objectives?
This is something I deal with on a regular basis. I'm extremely socially conscious and have been so since I could understand the politics of this world. I’ve grown to become passionate about it because it was kind of instilled in me, as my grandmother was a civil rights leader and teacher in the 70’s & worked on all of President Obama’s campaigns, and my Uncles were a part of the Black Panther party . When you’re that passionate about the issues in our world, it gets tricky when you have
to conceal them and write/report from an unbiased standpoint. But it’s a skill I learned in my journalism classes in college; to have the ability to write/report unbiased but still fight for what you believe in aside from that.
As you know Jada Pinkett-Smith recently spoke out about the lack of diversity at the Oscars, what is your take on her stance? Do you think boycotting is the solution for a more inclusive award show?
I think Jada is 100% right. We (Forbes) put out an article on that on how the lack of diversity really starts in the script writing stage and how more/different roles need to be developed for African Americans and women. I also agree with that as well. I think that if we interject diversity at the base/source of movies/ TV we will see much more diverse content.
What are the top misconceptions about the media when it comes to the black community?
I would say the top misconceptions about the media coming from the black community is gossip blogs are credited way too often as “news” providers when usually there is a bias/favoritism projected in that blog which people take and run with. As a community, we need to understand and seek out credited news/journalists/reporters to get proper information from so we can put the right things out into the world.
What would be your message to Stacey Dash?
My message to that airhead of a woman would be, don’t EVER forget where you came from. You can abandon your people all you want but BET and African American outlets gave you your start; you’d be no where without it.
Lastly, can you leave us with a mantra or major key?
My mantra would be to work hard, harder than everyone around you; and then reap the benefits. And not in the sense of financial benefits, but knowing that your work added posititively to our society, and that somewhere out there, there is a hesitant young girl watching you who is saying “ I can do that too.”