Founder/CEO

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Brand Ambassadors
In Search of Coretta Scott
Towards the end of the Summer I was having a very in depth conversation with a close female friend of mine. After explaining to her some of the things I deal with as a public figure, and the considerations/challenges that come along with finding a mate, she said something to me that was both hilarious and insightful in terms of compatibility. She said, "Dang, you sound like you're looking for Coretta Scott King."

Her statement made me reflect upon my past relationships in comparison to where I'm at today. In my teenage years the major qualities I looked for in a girl were how attractive, nice and smart she was. Of course this was before I had my first sexual encounters, and when I did.., this also became important to me. Two decades later, I never thought I'd be considering other qualities that are important to me when it comes to compatibility. Qualities that some of my contemporaries often don't understand because there are things I deal with that others don't have to consider. For example, this niche website now receives over 120,000 visitors a month. Although some of these visitors purchase my books/music via the links I provide, this traffic is primarily for the purpose of reading my articles. This translates into emails, messages and inboxes I receive every day from people throughout the world for various reasons; which means a certain portion of my day, every day, is dedicated to following up with people who are reaching out to me. Mind you, this has nothing to do with correspondences I receive in the postage mail or my other social networks Youtube, Twitter, Facebook and even LinkedIn. Add the various initiatives/events I organize or participate in, my STYA youth program I facilitate in my local community, other projects I work on as a creative artist/book publisher and it gives you a partial glimpse of what my world entails. It's a lot, and sometimes feels overwhelming, yet I love what I do! 

All of this got me to thinking about how my perspective of relationships has evolved to the point of seeing each other as Brand Ambassadors; someone who is capable of effectively representing your relationship [the brand] at home and abroad [nationally and internationally], in person or via their social media networks. Your brand is your mark, label, identity and what you represent. Therefore, when we're considering potential mates, dating/courting is really a rebranding process and how we're living is a graphic representation of that brand. Fresh off of the campaign trail running for public office in my City, I came upon an online discussion where women were talking about attire to wear at formal events. Some of them, although sweet, were totally inexperienced and didn't understand that flats/sandals or other accessories were inappropriate for such a venue; especially when your companion is the guest of honor where you may be called upon to say a few words. Although this may appear to some as a small thing, in terms of cultural competence, etiquette, social graces and the level of sophistication required to recognize certain social cues and navigate various environments, a woman like this would not be readily compatible for me, brand-wise. Consider if President Barack Obama had Joseline Hernandez (from Love and Hip Hop Atlanta) as his first lady instead of Michelle Obama as his Brand Ambassador... Sure she may be perfectly compatible with someone else, yet she is not presently compatible with The President of the United States [POTUS] for various reasons. Can she become compatible? Possibly, in time. Yet a POTUS doesn't have time, they have at least four years and that's a lot of public image/relations work and public scrutiny to deal with while striving to fulfill the duties of that Office.


Ironically, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. chose a woman, who by her own account, was incompatible with him at the time of their marriage. As a young Coretta Scott, she aspired to be in the music industry and had no real interest in MLK or his future as a Minister when they met in College. Coretta wasn't smitten, she looked at Martin as short, literally, and in time he grew on her. Even months before their wedding day Coretta was still uncommitted to marrying him and confided these reservations in a letter to her elder sister Edythe. This wasn't a case of cold feet, she understandably didn't want to give up her promising career and become a Preacher's wife. So on their June 18th, 1953 wedding day, in which she had the vow "obey your husband" removed from the ceremony and retained her name "Scott", Coretta Scott-King reluctantly sacrificed her dream of becoming a classical singer and became MLK's Brand Ambassador. It was actually in the years following the death of her husband that she was brought to the forefront and became the face, political impetus and momentum to carry on the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement. She wasn't down from day one, she learned to love Martin and his mission. I mention this to illustrate that even Coretta Scott King, as notable and world renown as she is, was unresolved about her commitment to the brand. Today, with the proliferation of professional women asserting their autonomy and pursuing their careers, men are more likely to find women who will face this same dilemma when it comes to compatibility. And many of these women are remaining career women because they're not enountering men with an actual mission.


Keep in mind that everything I'm saying goes both ways! A woman should also consider if a man is capable of representing their brand at home and abroad [nationally and internationally], in person or via their social media networks. Sometimes I see brother's women leisurely post statuses/comments via social media that a woman by my side would get publicly burned at the stake for, but I have to remember, "That's their brand." Some people exist in a world where they only need to consider how their words/actions affect their family members, friends or co-workers because that's the extent of who they deal with and their sphere of influence. In my world I may get an email from France or South Africa about something I say/do or meet some random person who recognizes me in a different State/City who'll ask me about it. Its happened and happens so I have to consider differently what I say and do. I also have to consider differently how I respond to what people say and do against or in alliance with what I do. 


You know, I've been intimate with women over the years, more often than I'd like to admit, yet as I've grown in my purpose I understand the level of responsibility, accountability and scrutiny that has come along with being a public figure. Even if we aren't, I think being responsible and accountable is important. I also understand that the women by my side will immediately inherit that responsibility, accountability, scrutiny and probably more so because 1.) How society defines females and 2.) The lens females assess each other through. It's a lot to deal with and in some cases I've only shared a part of my world with women in order to not burden them with everything I do. The more I shared, the more they learned they would have to share me with the world, and would ultimately be expected to speak for me in my temporary [schedule conflict/sickness] or definite [death] absence. Some women are simply not prepared to be an active part of a legacy and I've learned to accept that, sometimes reluctantly. The opposite is also true; Some men are simply not prepared to be an active part of a legacy and women must learn to accept that. So No, respectfully, I am not looking for a Coretta Scott King. Although she grew to embrace his mission, Coretta was a career woman who wasn't looking for MLK and didn't recognize him, or his purpose, when she saw him. I am looking for someone different.

Peace,
Saladin
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