With "Twerk," Cardi B. and the City Girls Teach us about Seizing the Moment

Earlier this week, Cardi B. and the City Girls released the video for their hit single, “Twerk”. I”ll post the video below if you haven’ t seen it yet, but I will warn you that it is not safe for work:

There is so much to love about this video - from the Black women of many shades to the virtual absence of men, creating a world where women can express themselves sexually simply for their own enjoyment, free from the male gaze. It also symbolizes putting twerking and twerk culture back into the hands of their rightful owner: Black women. For more on this last point, I highly recommend that you read my homegirl and former concert buddy Sesali Bowen’s piece over at Nylon.

One thing that stood out to me— and still does—-is how the conception of this video is a master class on seizing the moment and giving every opportunity all you’ve got.

“On November 9th, the City Girls sent out a challenge to the world. The goal… To find the world’s greatest Twerker.” This is the sentence that opens the video. To re-cap. the City Girls issued a challenge and they said that the top 25 winners of the twerk challenge would be, in their words, “Flewed out” to Miami.

The “Twerk” video is that outcome of that challenge. 25 Black women, the best twerkers in the world, seized this moment as their time to shine. They showed up, showed out, and got “flewed out.” And I think there is a lesson and some inspiration there.

At the beginning of 2018, began working with my now-boss. She asked me to work on a project, and I put my all into it. I took my chance. A year later, I’m working for her full time. That was my “flewed out.” I seized the moment and it served me well. Last year I said “yes” more often than “no,” and all the things I said yes to, I did so enthusiastically. I have no regrets about any of it. It all prepared me for where I am now.

Now that Cardi B. and the City Girls have led by example, I ask you this: what is your personal version of getting flewed out? How will you seize the moment today, this week, this month, and this entire year?

Don’t shy away from opportunity. Go after it fearlessly. Don’t worry about whether you are good enough, smart enough, educated enough. Don’t let impostor syndrome win this time. You have what it takes. Go ahead. Take a cue from the girls at Twerk Island. Apply for that job. Say yes to that speaking opportunity. Ask for that raise.

Let’s all get flewed out in 2019.

Loryn Wilson Carter
Tiffany Haddish and why perfectionism doesn't serve us
Tiffany Haddish.jpg

Actress and comedian Tiffany Haddish is getting roasted on social media after bombing her New Year’s show in Miami. Some folks are defending Haddish, saying that every comedian has a bad night, and others are using it as an opportunity to delight her in failure and use it as proof that she isn’t talented.

I am in that former group. The way sexism and misogynoir are set up, no one said anything with Dave Chappelle bombed in 2011, but because Tiffany Haddish is a Black woman, some take liberties and say “See? Black women aren’t that funny. Look at Tiffany Haddish.”

And that’s really unfair.

Women in general and Black women in particular constantly told that we have to perform excellence every waking moment. We are not given the grace we give to men when we mess up. And if you are a Black woman, messing up publicly can often cause people to claim that it shows that we aren’t good enough. Nicki Minaj said it best in a 2010 documentary:

“You have to be a BEAST. That is the only way they respect you. You have to be super sweet and you have to be dope at what you do, You have to be sexy and you have to this and you have to that and—-it’s like, I can’t be all those things at once. I’m a human being."

There are so many times where I have felt immense pressure to Do Everything Right, Or Else. When I fell short, I’d get scared, anxious, and depressed. I still remember how embarrassed I felt when Iost my job in 2017. I was so scared that everyone would assume it meant I failed. Perfectionism, like anxiety, lies to you. It tells you that you aren’t worthy if you aren’t excellent at all times. And not only that - I still believe that perfectionism is a tool of White supremacy and patiriarchy. That’s why Black women feel it the hardest.

And that’s bullsihit. You are worthy right damn now. And so is Tiffany Haddish.

My goal now is progress, not perfection. I ask myself, “What can I do now to move me, this project, or my community forward?” It gives me a tiny bit of room for error and extends the kind of grace that I wish we could extend to everyone, especially Black women.

That isn’t to say failures and mistakes won’t come, but our imperfections are what help us grow.

I encourage you to focus on progress in 2019,. Let’s divest in perfectionism together.

Loryn Wilson Carter
I accepted a job offer last week. Here's how it happened.

It’s been a long time, but your girl’s got an announcement: next month I will continue my work with Carol McDonald full-time as the Senior Content Strategist at Meridian Solutions!

In order to tell you how we got there, I think I should begin at the beginning.

As you know if you’ve read my blog before, I unexpectedly lost my job at a large educators’ union in May 2017. For the first four months, I consulted for Higher Heights while also contracting full-time for another political action committee that will remain nameless. It was very possible that I would be invited to work for this particular PAC full time after my contract was up, but I kept applying and freelancing on the side just in case.

Then, one evening, my husband handed me Carol’s business card. “Email her,” he said. I did, and we caught up one afternoon. I told her, if she ever needs any help with any projects let me know. And that was that.

A month later, I was told by the PAC I contracted for that they were not going to hire me full-time after all. Frustrated and angry (but maybe a little relieved because frankly, the place simply was not right for me from management on down), I lit a candle one night and wrote out everything I wanted in my next job. (I’ll do another post about what this looked like and what criteria I used in another post in the interest of time.) I remember looking over my list and thinking, “Bitch, this job does NOT exist. Where I’ma find this?” I closed my journal and let the list be for months and months.

After that, more consulting gigs started rolling in - I was still working with Higher Heights PAC, I wrote emails for Maxine Waters, then started freelancing for Demos. Then Carol invited me to work on a few projects with her.

Fast forward to August 2018. I had wrapped up my work with Higher Heights PAC — the work I am most proud of in my career— and had finished a stint as a digital adviser for a local electoral campaign on top of my work with Meridian. We started talking about maybe turning my freelance role into a full-time one. At the time, I was being ghosted by a job that went through the trouble of calling my references (super unprofessional, btw), so I was like, “let’s do this thing.”

So last week, I accepted an offer to work at Meridian. The remarkable thing is that last Sunday, I felt the urge to finally look at the list I made back in 2017. And you know what? Almost everything on that list in a part of new job description in both big and small ways..

By now you are wondering what I will be doing? My role is a mix of content strategy, writing, new business, digital strategy, management, and then a tiny bit of admin. I am excited to continue working with Meridian and to play a role in building the company.

I am nearly 20 months after being pushed out of my last full-time job. I learned a lot of lessons along the way, but one that I keep going back to is this:

When in doubt, write it out. Make plain what you want. The opportunity will soon become clear to you.

In the meantime, Meridian has capacity for new clients at the moment, so reach out if you’d like to learn more!

Always forward. Forward, always.

Loryn Wilson CarterComment