Exec: “I’m sorry, you’re just not….hmm…URBAN enough.”
Me: “You mean, I’m not enough BLACK enough?”
Exec: “You know what I’m trying to say.”
What made this statement absolutely incredible is that it came from a media company executive just 4-weeks after this exchange with another media exec. (from a different company):
Exec: “Paul, we can’t use you because you speak to a different audience from our core.”
Me: “You’re saying I’m too BLACK for your audience?”
Exec: “Something like that.”
But actually, not so crazy for me. I’ve spent my entire life in what feels like black/not black enough ping-pong.
You sound white.
You dress black.
You eat white people food.
You listen to black music.
Hearing these things used to hurt. Especially when it came to “not black enough” accusations. Not being identified as something I so clearly am felt unsettling.
But, enough of this ratchetness.
God made me individually, specifically, distinctly, and uniquely incredible!!! If that means I don’t easily fit in a box, well that’s a badge of honor not a mark of shame.
Lesson: It doesn’t matter how many people don’t get it, what matters is how many people do.
(For the record, I wrote this sipping a soy milk spice latte from Starbucks while listening to Juicy J’s “Show Out”).