If you consider yourself a creative, like you, I am repeatedly asked the same question by family, friends, and randoms alike who either do not understand or do not approve of my lifestyle. They often frame their curiosity in vague familiarity, starting with, “So, I know you do the music thing…” or “I saw that you’re modeling on Instagram but…” If they wear masks of politeness their voices trail off with a dash of hesitation. If they are ruled by insecurity, it holds the command of being challenged to a duel. All the same, their expectations beg for clarity in passing on the train and fill the awkward silences of holiday visits with prodding tests of self-awareness that I’m not sure they, themselves possess. “What do you do?”
An inner voice more aligned with the great Dwayne Carter (professionally known as Lil Wayne) responds indignantly, “Bitch, I’m me!” But my sensibilities prevail, pointlessly seeking to be understood and confirmed. Most don’t bother with context so, my answers usually reflected my latest obsession and intentionally did not disappoint the asker in their perception of my flightiness. But on the path past 25 and towards 30, my repeated annoyance began an ascent to a debilitating cliff of anxiety that threatened my creative energies from time to time. Why?
Art and education have been the only two constants in my life since my first premature breath on the seventh day of June that I proudly share with the late great Prince. My first birth certificate will attest to the fact that I am indeed the artist formerly known as Princess (name later changed to Tiffany). That was a joke. I dove head first into runway modeling at 17, naively courting bullshit offers, elbowing my way into major shows, and remaining resilient when faced with the upset of fruitless auditions. Also, considered a career student of communication and business, I have been actively enrolled in academic institutions every year since 1996 to present, with a hiatus only during a short-lived career in exotic entertainment from 2009 to 2011 (You had to be there!). I started to examine why my commitment to my craft was not translating. How had years of chasing the same dreams not surmounted to actualization?
I found my answers in a quiet examination of that chase. Which resources had I wasted in pursuit of permission to do what I was already doing? In search of confirmation from agencies, labels, managers and industry insiders I was distracted from being in an effort to prove that I was doing. Like so many other artists, I not only create but manage my creative processes and am 100% responsible for those outcomes. While many consider creative ability and business acumen to be at odds, I do not conform to that discriminatory misconception. I believe artists of all types can competently lead and manage their own projects and sustain their own operations without sacrifice of independence and necessitating no one's permission. My purpose is to be both an example and an advocate of such artistic self-reliance. My mission is to develop the business intelligence of the creative community, the business community-at-large, and evntually the world. That has been my path to self-sufficiency here in New York City, the most expensive city in America, from a working poor family in DC. This is how I realized it as much about who I am as what I do.
I'll leave you all with the opinion of entertainment, marketing, and advertisement industry mogul Steve Stoute. What do you think of his discounting of artist competency?