“Brooklyn’s a mythological place, where great artists, great people, have come from and always can represent.”
The year is 2012 and I’m faced with one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. I’d just given my resignation to my job. I was prepping my mind (and my pockets) to pack up 2 suitcases and move to New York. But then life happened in a major way. My mom got really sick. Months had passed and she still wasn’t eating. We immediately knew something was wrong. After lots of visits to the hospital, a bunch of tests, and long tearful nights, my mother was diagnosed with stage 4 lymphoma.
I was devastated. But there was no way I could leave now. My dreams would have to wait. I just kept thinking I have to stay and help take care of her. But my mom urged, “Go chase your dreams, do it for me!”
So I did what most considered to be unthinkable.
My emotions were everywhere. My mother’s condition was getting worst and I was constantly being hit by the depression train. But instead of settling in that emo state I let the excitement of New York fuel me.
When I first moved to New York I landed in Harlem. All my friends raved about “upper Manhattan”. And I did what most transplants in New York do — I couch-hopped. While Harlem has been dubbed as the Black Mecca and it’s wildly rich with culture and history it just didn’t feel like home for me. And I desperately needed to feel like I was home. So I headed to another couch in Brooklyn.
Brooklyn made my heart sing. I fell completely in love with the borough.
I planted my feet firmly in Flatbush and made Brooklyn my home. When I think back to my early days it was the hustle of the city that kept me sane while I was grieving. I’ve never worked or played so hard. But that’s the Brooklyn way, son.
I swindled my way into a style and beauty editor career at Hello Beautiful and things began to take off. I say swindle because I had NO experience in writing or editing. All I had was this little blog. I texted my good girlfriend Danielle Young, who was a writer at Hello Beautiful. I asked her if they were hiring. And they were. But for a low-level crappy assistant job. It was work there for pennies or at Bloomingdales attacking people with stinky perfume as tried to zoom past. Also for pennies. I picked Hello Beautiful.
I worked all and day. Attended every event I could. Most were events our editor in chief didn’t want to be bothered with. But I knew if I hustled hard (like a Brooklynite) I could move my way up. I knew that if I networked my butt off other opportunities would present themselves. And they did. Being in Brooklyn helped me channel my inner hustler though. It was just the type of energy I needed during my time of grief.
This is why Spike Lee’s latest short film is so important. Uber Presents: Da Republic of Brooklyn follows the journey of five drivers as they chase down their dreams in New York’s biggest borough. It’s a project where I see myself. I did so much reflection as I watched the series. I remember living in Brooklyn and taking Uber home with my friends after events. Sharing not just the Uber bill but the experience and the hustle of the evening. I remember sharing an Uber with an HBO executive. I kept my cool for the sake of my hustle but on the inside, I was freaking out.
If you’re like me and you’re constantly looking for inspiration to keep your needle moving I urge you to check out Uber Presents: Da Republic of Brooklyn.
Disclosure: While this post is sponsored by Uber, you beauties know that all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that make my blog possible!