From Music Video Director to Brllnt Partner
How childhood games shaped my approach to future careers.
As a child, whenever someone would ask “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I would immediately say a backup dancer for Janet Jackson. She was a strong, powerful woman who exuded passion and control. Her videos were filled with sparks, animation, and color. I just knew I was going to be a dancer one day.
I was an MTV kid, watching music videos ad nauseam, imitating Ms. Jackson’s technical dance routines, and creating my own. Often, I would gather my sister and cousin to create our own elaborate yet low budget video using my dad’s VHS camcorder, tripod, and a few props. We shared roles, not only serving as a choreographer, throwing in a few roger rabbits and running mans, but we also took turns being the camera person, setting up the tripod and adjusting the focus, or the director, managing one another including our baby brother, the designated DJ.
I didn’t realize it at that moment, but those amateur music video productions directed my path in how I would operate in my career. I learned how to manage stress, personalities, and an occasional, “No!” I was introduced to multitasking while wearing multiple hats. But more importantly, I learned how to collaborate, listen to others, and ensure that I was being heard.
Throughout my career, I’ve been able to work and lead a few amazing projects, travel the country and parts of the world, and connect with fascinating people that I can now call mentors. But the consistent lesson that has been weaved throughout my lifespan is to ensure that my voice is always heard and to encourage others to find their voice. As a Black woman, who appears to be 10 years younger than her actual age, I have found myself digging through the noise and doubt of others whether it’s because of double standards, unconscious biases or micro-aggressions. I knew that I needed to keep pushing, ask the hard questions and initiate the courageous conversations. And although I’ve experienced aspects of being silenced in the workplace, I have been fortunate enough to work with amazing leaders and mentors that have encouraged me to push forward, served as sounding boards, and taught me how to own my voice.
As a partner at Brllnt, I encourage open, respectful dialogue among our team members from expressing a desire to work on a specific project, forming company culture to something as small as identifying office snacks. Respecting the voice of each Brllnt team member is a top priority. We’re able to uncover hidden talents, honor diverse perspectives, and acknowledge the humanness in every moment.
Just like my elaborate yet budget-conscious basement music videos, everyone plays a role and everyone’s voice matters. I was great at directing and creating a few fly dance moves, but where I fell short, my sister and cousin picked up.