I remember when I got the WhatsApp massage from Gugu asking if I would be available to speak in New York in June 2017. I said “yes”… this is June 2016 when I got the call so I am thinking I have an entire year to prepare. I tell my business partner at the time about the good news and he asks why I am not excited – if you know me you know that I don’t get easily excited and most of the time when I get great news I have a delayed reaction. The excitement always hits me on a random day when I’m just doing my own things and it hits that I am speaking in New York! I. Am. Speaking. In. New. York.
You can prepare all you want for something new but it can never come close to the day it happens, how it unfolds, how it happens, how people react to you. 2016 was a great year, a lot got done for Marvin and the brand is growing, more and more people want to do business with us. I am ready for 2017, I have big plans for 2017 they are even on the board at the office and they are broken to what needs to be done month to month. My business partner at the time decided to exit the business, I was devastated, Marvin is my brain child, but I always envisioned the victory lap with him by my side. This is a break up and its real, I have to start again, have to trust myself more than I did before, because I don’t have a sound board anymore and just like that all the plans I had at the beginning of the year went out of the window, they simply weren’t feasible anymore. I remember when I left the office for the last time, I didn’t take anything, and I left everything there including the sign outside. I was hurt, I was tested, I felt like a fool, betrayed as well – but this is business so I needed to adult if I didn’t want this business to sink. I have lost a lot of things in the past and you never get used to the feeling of losing people/relationships and I don’t have it in me to start another Marvin, this is it, this has to work.
I have been in conversation with Vaseline since October 2016 and they just got a new brand manager as we are about sign the contract. I am thinking to myself i don’t need this right now, I need the Vaseline relationship to work out because I have been working on it for the longest time – because I believe in the partnership. A lot goes into putting all the articles and shoots we put up on Marvin but because you believe and you are prepared for this journey, you show up. We are shooting Ricky Rick on the cover and this cover has to be hot and better than anything we have done before, I need to prove to myself that I can do this alone and that I am as great in this art directing thing as I believe I am. I am inspired by Mohau Modisakeng and his work is out of this world, it reminds me of David LaChapelle who is my all-time favourite artisit. The shoot goes well, obviously with some stress and Marvin’s Room is the best one yet. I am happy and tired at the same time.
Now the next stop is New York, personally I don’t think I can pull this on my own, I call my brothers at Kena Media and they sort me out and help me prepare for this trip to New York. I get meetings lined up that side that would make this trip more valuable and to have more meaningful conversations. I am forever grateful to the brothers around me and their willingness to help a business such as Marvin. Everything was sorted out at the 11th hour, literally three days before departure, from Visa, air tickets and accommodation . I remember thinking to myself why am I doing even this, I could just stay home and carry on with my life but what I didn’t realize is how this trip has changed the way I see the world. It’s not my first intentional trip but it’s my first to the United States of America. While I am in the plane, I think back to my people specially my mother, she used to pray every time I went overseas because she just wanted her son to be safe.
I am more confident now because of all the unfortunate things that happened in the last couple of years, they have forced me to learn how to ask for help, to trust God more, to treat other people with respect and be more thoughtful. It has taught me patience and that your life can change for the better in one day, but while you wait for that day you need to show up. Show up even when you don’t feel like it, just being present is all the day requires from you.
As I land I get this sense of pride, I am where I need to be and the world is calling my name. There is something that I will find here in New York, I don’t yet know what it is but we are here nonetheless. Now I need to find where upper Harlem is because that’s where I am going.
To Be Continued