I recently did the Me. Collection campaign for Served Fresh. A dope line that consistently has a message in their apparel. Charlamagne Tha God from The Breakfast Club is a fan of their clothing and even Beyoncé. Check them out on Instagram @ServedFresh if you are late to their greatness and cop you something. The above video is from my snapchat after I finished shooting. Follow me on snapchat: Eb-TV. We have a lot of fun over there.
After being shot by the amazing Andrew Fennell, I was interviewed and for the first time I was asked to define what makes me, ME without it being for a job. My mind smiled because I could really describe myself in a completely transparent way and it reminded me how much I love being me and how much I wouldn't want to be anyone else no matter how many people over the years have tried to convince me that not being me would get me ahead. I'm completely content with not being fake being the reason I'm not where I want to be.
I DEFINE ME.
I won't say what I said there because I don't want to take away from the campaign they are building but it did make me reflect on certain things that have happened in my career that should be shared. Especially now that I'm no longer pissed about them, I can articulate my frustrations in a way that doesn't come off bitter. So I'll start by saying I've been completely blessed when it comes to my career. I've worked for some of the best media companies in the world and next to some of the most amazing people. I've had great mentors along the way and early on I got positions and got promoted because of the person that I am. Hard working, creative and fun. I never took anything too seriously. I was always the person that could turn dirt into a masterpiece and bosses loved me for that. Here's a recommendation I got while at ESPN and Ant just reached out to me yesterday to remind me how awesome I am even all these years later. Felt so good to hear from.
This is the guy that actually gave me the name "Eb the Celeb" so you can blame him for the monster that he created if you don't like it LOL.
Early in my career my personality was not only a big part of myself but my career. So starting out as a radio jock really spoiled me if I was going to be corporate after, but ESPN allowed me to define the perfect balance for me at the tinder age 25. I went above and beyond there and everybody loved me from the interns to the SVPs. I never let anyone intimidate me and even though people I worked with directly loved that about me, at the end of my tenure at ESPN I realized that bothered everyone else around and had people that knew nothing about me, that I never even worked with hating on me. It was crazy! I eventually found out one of the people trying to make my work life miserable had found this blog and was stalking me online. Karma is a bitch though because he was eventually fired for extensive cases of sexual harassment. I guess he was just mad he couldn't sexually harass me LOL. But I left ESPN loving both Eb the Celeb and Corporate Eb and planned on elevating both to new heights and quickly realized that wasn't going to be an easy feat.
Since then I've had 3 more positions where my online persona caused problems in the work place. After the second time it happened where I was fired from a job for the first time in my life I made the conscious decision to separate corporate Eb from Eb the Celeb. I literally had to have two different personas because working in digital I would have to have social media profiles, but what they would see on an Eb the Celeb account definitely wouldn't get me hired. So I created a different twitter account, instagram account and made several friend groups on facebook so corporate friends couldn't see anything on my timeline.
It bothered me so bad that I had to do that because of course with my profession the line is constantly blurred with what I want to display on my personal channels versus my business ones. I'm not an investment banker so I really couldn't comprehend why Eb the Celeb bothered people so much. My résumé has gotten me a lot of great jobs over the years but I never let my corporate life define me and that bothers people. So many people have no idea who they are without being attached to a certain company, and so many people have no life outside of those walls. I've literally had 3 bosses that stalked my personal social media profiles since then and use it as an excuse to make my life hell at work and/or to run my character through the mud after I left on my own merit. It even got so bad that I got a settlement from one company because my boss was literally obsessed to the point I had to make my profiles private.
How are you THAT discontent with the person you are that you become obsessed with the person I am outside of the office? How is your outside of work life THAT lame that instead of actually having fun you'd rather watch everything I'm doing online? The sad part is one of the places was one I always looked up to growing up and it ended up being full of conniving, lying and bitter African American women that instead of embracing all the great work I did, were jealous I did my job better than they ever could and proceeded to run my name through the mud after my contract was up. Its crazy that every time I've worked at black companies I've had this problem. Actually not crazy but a shame. I mean it was to be expected in the other two cases that I would finally after being in this business have to deal with things my peers say they've had to deal with but being ridiculed in places where your creativity should be championed is like a kick in the face. Especially when I know I've done an amazing job and was lied on in order to get rid of because there was no logical reason to.
The really sad part about all of this is that they are probably still online obsessed with me. If you are reading this but have talked bad about me or lied on me or just hate me and have no reason not to, you need help. *waves at you from my happy place and prays you find you one because it ain't here.*
For a while I was depressed and somewhat lost because I couldn't define what I was. Actually more so who I was that other people would accept and what kind of way is that to live?
Eb the Celeb is what makes me happy. Being a talent, being funny, being able to laugh at myself and the craziness that is this world. Corporate Eb is what pays the bills until I can figure out a way for Eb the Celeb to be able to pay them solely. But both are me and I love both parts that are me. Over the past 3 years I've thought about giving up on Eb the Celeb and just being corporate because so many people have tried to make me feel bad for that side of myself. The fact that I am no holds barred, that I will say what's on my mind, that I'm not going to kiss anyone's ass to get ahead, that I'm not going to be disloyal to people I care about. This industry is so corrupt and cowardly. No one stands up to anyone they feel they may need one day no matter how wrong they are. That has never been me and never will be. People will wait in line for someone to shit on them just because they want to be in the in crowd. I've always walked to the beat of my own drum. I don't want to have to blame anyone else but myself for my failures or be indebted to anyone constantly for my successes.
I'm glad I was smart enough not to abandon Eb the Celeb no matter how many places I've worked that have tried to make me feel bad about her, and no matter how many "industry friends" smile in her face and talk shit behind her back. None of that matters. All that matters is that I like all the layers that make me and that I work on being better versions of both Eb the Celeb and Corporate Eb. Zoe Saldana was so on point when she said, "I know who I am. I love who I am. I like what I do, and I like how I do it. I like my mistakes and I like the pace at which I learn from my mistakes. I don't want to be anybody else but me, and by knowing this, I want to continue figuring out who the f*ck I am...that's it!"
For the first time I just presented my portfolio for a job I really want that included both Corporate Eb and Eb the Celeb work and if they don't like it or appreciate it then fuck them because the combination of both parts of me is what is going to enable me to succeed in the position. I'm not going to hide Eb the Celeb from the corporates anymore. I'm finally content that if they don't accept it they aren't the right place for me to be and the next position I move into I want to be happy in because I know they accept all parts of Me. So that is my current quest.
Biggups to all the companies out there that are embracing millennials and allowing them to be themselves in the workplace. There is a place for strictly corporate environments and there are creative places that let corporate idiocracies prevent them from being the great places they can be. Thus the reason a lot of them aren't doing as well as they used to because they refused to embrace that there is new meaning to what defines corporate in the media/entertainment space.
This is also not anything that is exclusive to the corporate world. It's also privy to the social media world and people creating these personas online that are the furthest thing from who they are. Posting solely for likes and RTs. The people that force a punchline in their tweets or even worse the people that tweet something extremely dumb on purpose just for attention. The flashy folks that feel their designer bag define them, the fake philanthropic people that won't even get out of there seat on the subway for an elderly person but online put on like they are all about helping people. I hate all of it. *Inserts meme about how you can't photoshop a personality.* But there are some people like me that are vulnerable, that are real, that are transparent, that are exactly what is it to be them always and don't let what the world might think, like or not like about them dictate how they are going to move online and they should be praised more.
So cheers to the people that don't validate themselves by likes or RTs but really just want to be a better version of themselves for self. Let's embrace this more. Let's champion learning ourselves more because being self aware is more precious than anything else in this world. Being unapologetically yourself without deceiving others, defaming others; and just being genuine when we're constantly surrounded by fake people and users would make this world a much more bearable place. Eventually everything you do in the dark is going to come to light. Eventually someone is going to see you in person and that app you used to cinch in your waist like a pear when you are really shaped like an apple isn't going to make sense to them. So just remember no matter how you choose to present who you are online one thing is for sure, being real will never go out of style. No matter what you do in life you're going to be judged, I judge others too, but none of that will matter if you are genuinely happy with the person you are or at least the person you are becoming.