All posts by Vincent

We have Lost our Message (Inspired by Huffington Post Article, “Bono wants Christian Music to get more Honest”)
So I’m on the road to meet my girlfriend for a date in the infamous Atlanta traffic with nothing but time to burn. I remembered that my mentor tagged me in an article someone posted on Facebook captioned, “Bono wants Christian music to get more honest”, it was the same article that an industry friend inboxed to me earlier that day. I figured what better time than now to read the article while I was in traffic (I know I know, I’m not suppose to be reading in traffic. I have three words to reply to you for your swift judgement – MIND. YOUR. BUSINESS.) Ok – so now that we got that out of the way, I was pleasantly surprised that there was a video attached to the article. So with my phone connected to the speakers in the car, I pressed play. Well let me say, I got way more than I bargained for. I was thrown into deep thought that almost ruined my date night. Once I arrived at the restaurant, I was tempted to sit in the parking lot and jot down some notes from my thoughts that would turn into a blog, but I didn’t want to trouble my relationship. Now that I’ve setup the story properly, let’s get this started.

Bono (lead singer of mega group U2) and Eugene Peterson (the creator of The Message Bible) had a very candid conversation concerning the book of Psalms and the authenticity of the message. Interesting enough, the fact that a rock star and a bible translator would be sitting at the same table discussing the world and her culture through the lens of the book of Psalms is amazing. The question is how did they meet? Bono a lover of the Psalms, happened across Eugene Peterson’s Message Bible translation and fell in love with it and sought Peterson out.  The Message Bible was a breath of fresh air when the 1st edition was released in 1993 – It was real and raw, it was connected, it was organic. In the course of the discussion, Bono begins to say how David was honest, not perfect, but honest, he goes on to say how he wishes Christian music was as honest as it was in the book of Psalms. When I heard him say that, I could have screamed. I have been saying this for many months now that the issue with the Christian Music (The Gospel and CCM Format) industry is we have become fake. Our songs don’t tell the real story anymore, our artist are not required to be real. We only won’t them to be what our fantasy has created, anything other than that and they are deemed unacceptable. This has created at best a faux message that can only stay within the perimeters of fantasy, but never meet you in the dead heat of your reality.

As I said before, this threw me into deep thought about honesty. I begin to examine myself – wondering was I living an honest life? Was I creating from my honest place as an entrepreneur or was I status quo in my production. I thought about the kickback of being honest, having to show your vulnerability, having to expose yourself and your weakness to the world. In the stop and go of traffic, 5 minutes seemed like 30 minutes as I was lost in thought, I wondered if the music we have out right now would sound different if creatives would flow from their honest place. Would the lyrics be Happy – Happy –  Joy – Joy or would it be Happy – Happy – Lost my Joy. As I sit here and write while simultaneously thinking I’m wondering why is it that no one wrote a song about Eric Garner, Tamir Rice from the Christian Genre – why is it that Beyonce beat the Christian Genre and producing a very HAWT record called “Formation” that spoke to the injustices in our community? How did we miss the opportunity to raise awareness? How are we comfortable watching someone else do what we are suppose to be doing?? I think we are too busy trying to create a “sound”, trying so hard to be right and have the proverbial “oil” that we forgot to include the message. Everybody wants to be “church anointed” no one wants to be relevant.

I remember just a couple of months ago as I was in the thick of an emotional battle. I was determined to not use porn, food, anger, or any other distractor to ease my pain. I was going to just deal with it head on. I would search for songs from our top Gospel artist that would speak to me where I was at. I knew eventually I was going to come out of this emotional battle on top, but I knew if that was to happen I would have to spend sometime in it. (That is a another blog for another day folks!) I couldn’t find any music from the Christian creatives of the genre that spoke of what you do when you’re in it. So I had to look outside the genre, because K. Michele knew exactly what I was going through when she released a song called, “God I Git It”. Let me introduce you to some of the lyrics so you can see for yourself.

Always loving what don’t love me
Put my trust in things I don’t need
My poor heart should be mad at me
I just leave my wounds to bleed
Haven’t I learned anything
You showed me signs to help me see
But I love so blindly
I’m taking full responsibility
God I get it
I’m a mess & I admit it… whoa
I keep learning the same lessons
While I’m missing out on blessings
God I get it… whoa whoa

That song had to be one of the most played songs in my playlist. Why? Because the lyrics spoke DIRECTLY to me. I wasn’t given some pseudo spirituality that I can’t do nothing with in the middle of the night when my mind is racing and my failure list is increasingly taken over my consciousness. I just wanted to hear real. That is what drew Bono to Eugene Peterson, his translations made the scripture real. Interesting enough he called it, “The Message Bible”.

I have one more thing to say and I’ll conclude. Often times when I’m in a consultation with a burgeoning entrepreneur that is Christian, I have to stop them in the middle of the consult and request, “Do No Mention Jesus”. Ok, so I know you are like huh??? (I wrote a very long paragraph – that I have decided to edit out of this blog. Not sure if everyone is ready just yet. Just use your imagination on why I tell my clients to leave Jesus out of it LOL)

Christian Creatives, we have to change the appetite of the masses. We’ve done so well watering down message that it’s what is preferred now. I hear someone saying, well all music is watered down now. I have to say that is true – generally speaking, but if there is any genre that is suppose to bring real, authentic message to the world, it’s suppose to be the genre of the Christian creative. I’m not talking about the message of Jesus Christ, we’ve brought that and apparently it’s only working for us. The world at large isn’t interested. How about you bring YOUR message to them? Let us behind the front doors of your proverbial home and see the darkness you fight – give us lyrics that talk to us about the pain of the abortion, the drudgery of mental illness, the intoxication of sexual misconduct. Give us lyrics that tell how you were being raped for years, and you were too afraid to tell. Tell us how you felt the first time you were physically abused by your mother and the last time she hit you before you ran away because you couldn’t take it anymore – and tell us the story without mentioning Jesus. Tell us through song, what you said to yourself, not what the preacher said. Empower us to take a stand against social injustices. Sing to the young black men that want to do right but are fighting against a broken system. If you have an album and you haven’t specifically, purposely and DIRECTLY addressed any of the above I have one question for you – WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU DOING?

The End.


Freestyle Blogging: Life’s Contrast

Well I’m trying something I’ve never done before which is freestyle blogging. Think of it– I have lines vs. bars!! Ok I know for some of you that was the corniest joke ever, but I’m hoping there are some of you out there like me who got GREAT pleasure out of that joke.

It is amazing how life can be good and bad at the same time? It’s like the universe knows how to keep everything properly balanced for your good. Picture it — you are about to embark on the biggest journey of your life, but at the same time you are scared to death. Will that fear stop you? HECK NO! Is that fear causing you great anguish? Heck Yes! The most interesting thing about it is, working through that fear, facing it while simultaneously moving forward is what brings the best out of you. It’s really a lesson I had to learn the hard way….

Work through it vs. letting it work you

I remember when I really understood the above section divide statement. I was laying on the floor in my room trying to figure out how I could get out of this mess of a state I was in. It was like I couldn’t get myself together. I remember thinking, I’m letting life, clients, and money pass me by. I said to myself, I can just throw all my problems to the back burner and act like they don’t exist or I can just accept the fact that this is what I have to deal with and learn how to manage life with major issues. I decided the latter option was best. Now for some of you, you might think this is common sense, but for me (at the time) when life would get challenging I would loose focus fall into this deep dark depressing abyss. When I learned that I could live life, grow my business, be normal while simultaneously managing dark issues — that is when I found my true freedom. I didn’t have to choose between evolving internally and evolving externally. I focused on inward evolution and it led to external evolution. In essence I learned how to work through my issues vs letting the issues work me. You have to realize you are as powerful as you realize you are. Self-actualization is key to winning in life. Knowing your strengths, weaknesses, failures and victories is like the melting pot that creates success.

Life with Imperfections is Perfect Living

Yes you read that right! Ok so I promise this will be my last paragraph, I’m on the roll now. Since I’ve spent the last two paragraphs really focusing on life’s contrast let me finish it with one more. The only way to really understand perfection is to be intimately involved with imperfection. It’s only when you acknowledge imperfection that you can then change it. See that’s the beauty of life, you see something wrong and you attempt to alter or fix it. This experience of seeing imperfection and addressing it also can serve as a great mirror to self. You realize things about yourself that maybe you didn’t know, for example, though that particular thing is imperfect you prefer to leave it as such vs. going through the inconvenience of change. Going through the consistent cycle of seeing, acknowledging, and addressing imperfection, and learning about yourself yields a wisdom on life that can’t be purchased in a book. In essence it yields perfect living.

Ok so I won’t guarantee that I’ll do this freestyle blogging again, but I must admit it was fun just to shoot off the top of my head. Thanks for reading and be sure to connect with me on my Facebook page by Clicking Here.


The Journey

5727425824_c4b568a4d3_oHave you defined your endpoint? What is the endpoint? It’s the end, or the conclusion of a series of events. Have you ever gone on a trip without being fully aware of the destination? Before you take one step towards the destination typically you have planned what time you are leaving, how long it will take to get there, and how much money will it take. While you are traveling, you only choose the gas stations, restaurants, and hotels that will keep you on the prescribed path to your destination. See, Knowing where you are going, dictates the entire journey. #vinnyism Truthfully, to have a successful journey you really only need to know two things: 1. What is your starting point 2. What is your endpoint.

Your starting point is extremely important because this is how you map out the best direction to get to the endpoint. If you don’t know where you are, then you will never find where you are trying to go. A lot of times, because of the pain of our past, which in essence is the pain of our now (#vinnyisms THE PAINS OF OUR PAST ARE THE PAINS OF OUR NOW IF THEY ARE UN-DEALT WITH) we hurriedly try to remove from our now, without facing it, without being intimate with it. You have to know your pain, you have to know your struggle, you have to become one with your misery. The taking on of the sludge of your now, puts you in a proper assessment of your location. If you don’t face your own sludge, you’ll fool yourself into thinking you’re something that you are really not. So when you go to map out your life journey, you’ll mark a false starting point, and ALWAYS get lost while trying to get to the destination. If you are reading this blog, hear me and hear me clear KNOW THYSELF. This will give you the proper scope to get to the desired destination. You’ll learn the wisdom needed to fleet your present condition.

Now that you have clearly defined where you are, it’s time to focus on your destination. Once you are clear, and very clear of your present state, there is no need to stay there – move forward as fast as possible. Mark your destination, and plan accordingly – I do need to add a slight caveat, which is, all the planning in the world will not stop life from happening. Traffic jams, accidents, breakdowns are sometimes inevitable, BUT none of those misfortunes ever change the destination. It only affects when you will get there, not where you are going. While on the journey to your endpoint, there are disciplines and parameters that must be followed. Going to fast or to slow will put yourself and others in danger. So there will be signs along the way to keep you on track, as long as you follow the signs you’ll never be stopped or hindered. ONLY when you ignore the signs, you’re halted in the journey. You’re questioned and reprimanded, and sometimes penalized.

If you are reading this, chances are you are a visionary, perhaps even a weary visionary. No matter if you are at the start, in the middle of the journey, or near the end, be encouraged. You will get to the destination, and when you get there, you’ll be right on time. If you are just starting out, embrace your present. If you are in the journey, don’t ignore the signs and pace yourself. If you are at the end destination, rest up, you’ll be on another journey before you know it!!





The Observation

Figuratively speaking a door is a mean of approach or access. It’s symbolic of a place of success or achievement, and gaining access through “that door” means you have made it! At that point, seemingly, your unique gifts are acknowledged and you are finally validated for all of your hard work and success.  I’ve observed many people loose themselves trying to gain access through these proverbial doors. Without thought, they pattern themselves after the man before them who seemingly “made it”. I’ve observed men block access from others- attacking anybody that attempted to get through without their seal of approval like a vulture zeroed in on a dead animal. I’ve observed men walk away from these doors depressed, suicidal, broken – having spent every ounce of their energy banging and banging and banging for access only to be denied.

The Enlightenment 

How the heck does one gain access through this proverbial door! I studied, observed, spied, took notes, and even was bold enough to walk up and knock a couple of times only to be rejected. Then it hit me…maybe it was never meant for me to go through these doors. As I pondered on the thought that maybe traditional doors weren’t for me, I realized that all of the men that have made a real, tangible, measurable mark in the landscape of our society gave up on the traditional doors and simply created their own.

The Reality

Here’s the truth of it all – The rejection from access was just what I needed. See denying a true trailblazer access is the best thing you could ever do for them. They’ll retreat and regroup – retreating and regrouping is imperative because true leaders have experienced loads of rejection from their peers and contemporaries due to their innate ability to go against the prick – they never fit in and often had to struggle with the temptation of lowering themselves to a lesser standard just to feel apart of, so accustomed to rejection, they have become masters at using it to their advantage. As well, true leaders are experts in talking to themselves, they are self-motivators and if you give a true leader just a moment to get to their quiet place, they WILL regroup, and comeback with new strategy.

The Conclusion 

I saw myself getting jaded with fooling around false yielding doors, seeing people parade around them as if the yield from them were real. So here’s what I decided to do –  find another way.  I’ll create a door unique to me, that yields the success that only my hands can yield. I’m aware that it will be tedious, I’ll make a lot of mistakes, but handled right mistakes covert properly into lessons learned. I’m shifting my focus from the fickleness of the masses, by looking inward- searching for the blueprints to build my own door.