The look on Amber’s face when I told her I decided I was “just going to do a blog” - the visible disappointment and disbelief made me cringe and laugh at the same time. Don’t get either of us wrong - there’s nothing wrong with blogging, and it’s something I've wanted to do for a while. But her reaction made perfect sense in context.
Amber (seen on the right of this wedding photo, serving as my Maid of Honor) is my ride-or-die. A1 since Day 1. Months before the birthday brunch where I made the blogging revelation, I shared with her my ideas for a business that included speaking engagements, podcasting, workshops, freelance writing, and editing - what some might refer to as "doing too much" and a vision that certainly was not a standalone blog. I was excited because I’d never seen myself as a creative person and would often say I wished I had a skill or talent like others in my circle; something I could leverage for income if needed or simply do because I enjoy it, am good at it, and can earn some coins “at the same d***n time!”
Thank goodness for therapy, growth, and self-discovery. Staying in my lane. Avoiding inequitable life comparisons...
especially those based on carefully constructed presentations of self on curated social media. I’ve come to recognize and manifest creativity in ways that are unique to me. Thoughts, revelations, purpose, and intentions all my own. From that, The Millennial Black Professor™️ (The MBP) was born.
I was waiting for everything to be perfect before "going live." The website, social media pages, multiple blog posts, and podcast episodes had to be "perfect." Then, I saw a video of KevOnStage discussing a time when he was "planning himself out of starting" - a message I’d heard before, but for some reason, it was A WORD this time. Fast forward, and I’m leaps and bounds from where I was.
The MBP was founded December 27, 2020. Within two days, only about six months after moving in, and 1/4 of the way into a 2-year contract, I was unexpectedly packing, moving my entire life into storage, and finding a new place to call home (a story for another day). The devil stays busy in these streets. That situation, plus procrastination fed by self-doubt, had me telling my high school bestie that a blog would have to do.
I didn’t know it then, but for my birthday, Amber was gifting me funds to put toward the endeavors I'd shared with her. No wonder she wasn't having it when I said a blog was enough. I continued to drag my feet for a while, afraid to get started. When I did try and encountered obstacles along the way, I was discouraged. But, as busy as he is, the devil’s a liar and my God is not. Although progress toward legitimizing and becoming operational was delayed, including times I stood in my own way - The MBP is here and ain't. goin'. nowhere [Diddy voice].
The MBP was founded for the Culture (R.I.P. Takeoff).
A place where academia meets Black society. Where we exist in peak authenticity, are pro-therapy, and seek mental health and wellness strategies conducive to the longevity of ourselves and our people. And where we "root for everybody Black."
The MBP is still all the above and the much-needed writing and editing plug for busy students, business owners, academics, and other professionals. By providing these services to individuals and organizations with a creative vision, innovative strategies, unique proposals, and other projects in need of development, communication, and clearly outlined implementation strategies - The MBP is making a significant and positive impact on the local and greater community.
One aspect of this is the My Life, UN•dissertated blog. If you've been following my journey, you know the name of my podcast was Life UN•dissertated. It was intended to be a space where I could present with an academic lens, but in a relatable and accessible way, a wide array of topics relevant and significant to Black culture: to demonstrate that we are not a monolith and that our voices and issues matter.
Because, within a system of higher education that is often referred to as "The Ivory Tower," - as is typical in a hegemonic, patriarchal, overwhelmingly racist society - there are roadblocks for people of color to achieve what are considered markers of success, such as publication in academic journals (Rallison, 2015). In an article on challenges faced by women faculty of color, Tree and Vaid (2022) noted:
Bias in the publication process may also arise if journal editors or reviewers make
judgments about the fit (or lack of fit) of the submitted work with the journal’s
intended scope or audience. Work that addresses groups that are not White or that
is produced in a country that is less represented in academic literature may be
considered not to be mainstream research and not suitable for mainstream outlets
which typically have greater visibility than specialized outlets. As the primary metric
of productivity and research prominence, the importance of publications cannot be
overstated (p. 3).
When lesser-known scholars of color submit articles that apply frameworks such as intersectionality, theories including womanism, and methodologies grounded in Black feminist thought, the peer review isn't always giving what it needs to give.
Even accounting for blind reviews, when considered by individuals who may be subject matter experts in the same field but are not demographic peers, bias - both implicit and explicit - becomes a factor (Armstrong, 1982; Carroll, 2018). So, I said, "bump that" and chose to protect my peace by finding other avenues for sharing my research - through a podcast, blog, freelance writing, and speaking engagements. It can be exhausting, though - mentally, physically, and emotionally - consistently writing and speaking on our continued fight to exist in peace. Earlier this year, I dropped the first five Life UN•dissertated episodes during Black History Month. My intent at the time was to release bi-weekly episodes, but I quickly realized that wasn't working for me, and I trusted my intuition.
Podcasts can be formatted in various ways, including conversations, interviews, storytelling, or reporting. Podcast format, topic, intended audience, host, and purpose contribute to whether research (and how extensive it is) is needed prior to recording. The Life UN•dissertated episodes presented content on the Black experience, aiming to dispel notions of a monolithic existence that is invalid, unimportant, and ineligible for critical, academic consideration - inquiry that potentially yields new theory and practice conducive to the betterment of the Black community. To do this the "right" way - in a manner that honors our ancestors, our plight and fight, challenges and successes, setbacks and come-ups, and the richness of our culture - I needed time and energy I didn't have.
But, the issues are ever-present, and I still enjoy talking (and writing); so, what to do? Earlier this year, I attended a training where one of the presenters emphasized "P2P: Prepare to Pivot" as a success strategy. While she was applying this to the subject matter at hand, it can be the approach to any aspect of our lives. For me, the pivot manifested as taking time to regroup and reassess what I want my business to be and offer. It was putting myself out there to apply for the Create Campaign, Inc. Fall 2022 Cohort of Spark Community Business Academy, through which I gained clarity on what my business is and isn't.
Here it is: The Millennial Black Professor provides writing and editing services to organizations, busy professionals, academics, and business owners who have a creative vision, innovative strategies, unique proposals, and other projects in need of development but who lack time to do the work themselves. In addition, this blog will serve as a personal creative outlet and an opportunity for readers and potential clients to get a sense of my writing style. The podcast will mirror the blog and may be better suited for individuals who are auditory learners, prefer to listen rather than read, or don't have time to read but can listen while completing other tasks.
Both blog and podcast are now titled My Life, UN•dissertated. My Life because the focus will be my unique experiences with connections made to Black life and culture and the incorporation of an academic lens (when I feel like it). UN•dissertated because, although I'm longwinded like a dissertation (as you can tell by this post), I'll aim to provide meaningful content in an accessible way and in less than 203 pages.
A final note: a person with whom I shared an early draft of the podcast episodes asked if I was worried about alienating certain groups or potential clients, both with my business name and content. I've learned that everything ain't for everybody and that I must stop allowing unfounded insecurities lead me to letting my left hand know what my right hand is doing in the name of seeking validation. Also:
To those who have been with me, thanks for staying. To those who are just joining, welcome and hope you enjoy. To those who feel compelled to leave, thank you for your time.
The Real MBP.