I am an 80s baby—1984 to be exact. So that means that I grew up on Saved by the Bell, Martin, and BET’s Comic View. Back in the day, female comedians were all the rage! Already too mentally grown for my age, I was introduced to some bad sisters with attitude every time I watched Comic View. Comedians like Chocolate, Hope Flood, Dominique, Small Fry, Phyllis Yvonne Stickney, and Sheryl Underwood will forever be embedded in my mind. However, the boldest of the bold and the most unapologetically candid will always be Leslie Jones.
Let me tell you something. When Leslie performed, she went through the motions! She literally “fought the air” to emphasize her tragic dates with cheap a–men, she spun around like tornados, kicking, and making disgusted faces while tossing her freshly wrapped hair like Beyoncé’. In short—Les went IN!
So when I got wind of her come up with a Netflix special, Saturday Night Live, and Ghostbusters, I was really happy for her. She had been on her grind for a minute and it was great to see her talent recognized on a larger scale. However, the Twitter trolls had to make themselves relevant for 15 minutes by making racist comments about her.
Now we all know success rarely comes without a pack of critics, usually those who don’t know jack about the subject in which they have such disdain for. At the end of the day, critics help you determine who your peeps are and who they are NOT. That way you’re not spinning your wheels to entertain, inform, or persuade people who don’t want to experience your awesomeness.
In my opinion, Leslie’s journey to “making it” is very similar to someone who starts a business and works her butt off to make it a prominent player in commerce. Here are a few reminders inspired by Ms. Jones to help you push forward with your dreams as an entrepreneur.
1. No matter how brilliant you are, not everyone will desire to work with you. Ms. Jones is talented beyond measure, but unfortunately some fashion designers did not see the magical opportunity in dressing her for the red carpet. Does that mean she’s not as lit and we thought she was? Of course not. Brilliance doesn’t vanish because some people don’t understand it.
2. The people you are meant to serve will support you. When Leslie got vocal about her needs for a designer gown via Twitter, Christian Siriano stepped up to the plate. Moreover, Black people used social media to share how much they loved and respected her, encouraging her to stand firm in what her beauty represents. Stop worrying about who’s not sitting in your chair to get her natural pressed. People patronize who they want for various reasons, no matter how shallow the reasons may be. And that’s perfectly fine. Keep slaying those razor cuts until then.
3. Don’t rebrand or restructure your business based on what the competition is doing. Have you scrolled on Instagram and noticed the inconsistency in some people’s personal branding? Every week their tagline changes, they’re offering services that don’t cater to their industry… it’s just a disaster! Usually, this is because they’re too busy imitating a formula that has been successful for someone else and in their mind this formula is one-size-fits-all. Leslie could have easily gotten a weave down her back and made a visit to Kim Kardashian’s plastic surgeon, but she didn’t. What Hollywood sees as beauty did not move her to change her appearance. And if at some point she does decide to go for a new look I’m sure it will be on her own terms, not out of desperation to blossom her brand.
4. Success won’t happen overnight. It may be a long time coming, but eventually change is gonna come. And when I say change, I mean coins! Like I said, Comic View introduced me to Leslie Jones. I was about nine years old at the time, so you do the math. Everything happens in due time (which reminds me of the OutKast song and is one of my many anthems). If you haven’t mastered your craft, why would you be chosen to speak at huge conferences? Plant your seed, give it time to grow, and reap your harvest. No matter what these online business coaches tell you, the process NEVER changes!
What golden nuggets do you think boss ladies can learn from @Lesdoggg?