If I’m honest, lately I’ve very much fallen into a brattish mentality of feeling like I deserve certain things within my career I don’t have. I have realised my ego has been telling me I deserve certain things rather than achieving them through my actions.
In a previous blog post, I spoke about my experience working at a design agency, and how I was bitter about the whole experience. I kept placing blame on my peers and external circumstances that were out of my control. I wouldn’t take on the responsibility of admitting the weakness in my failures. Back then and still to this day I very much had this mindset of always working and honing on my craft. These efforts made me feel like I was entitled to a certain amount of credibility, respect and success in the industry. When I experienced forks in the road, I would very immaturely lash out and blame all of these factors that were out of my control. From watching a Kevin Hart interview on the Breakfast Club, I realised I haven't been taking responsibility for my own mistakes.
In this interview, Kevin Hart talks about people attacking him and his co-star Tiffany Haddish in his new film Night School. A lot of people have been speaking out saying that the success of these two people isn't deserved. That they’ve cheated their way to the “top” and didn’t earn the level of fame, they’re both currently experiencing.
Kevin Hart spoke vocally bout two important comedians who were speaking out on his success and talking down to him (Mike Epps & Kat Williams). Now I won’t go too deep into the beef as that what this blog isn’t about. But what Kevin Hart says about taking responsibility for your actions is refreshing. The following is a summarised statement of what he said in the interview. Attached is a link to the full interview for those who want to dive deeper in
“When I preach about the “crabs in the barrel mentality” you don’t realise that we have to take responsibility for our actions. I’m trying to create opportunities for others. Rather than complaining about things, I’m fixing it. I also take full responsibility for any and everything I’ve ever done, good or bad.
My frustration with Kat comes from; you keep pointing at “Hollywood this, the white man that”. When do you take responsibility for your actions? You had a shot; you were the “guy”, you were set up to be the star. You didn’t show up to work. You fucked up promo shoots, and you fucked off trips they had set up for you. You became a risk to the studios which is why the studios stopped fucking with you. He chose drugs. Take responsibility for what you decided to do.
Kat Williams, have you ever used your platform, to bring the people underneath you up? You haven’t. So because you haven’t, don’t shit on those that are now doing that. I’ve used my platform, and I’ve brought my guys and girls up. The brand of Kevin Hart is a brand that’s expanded, whether you like me or not.
So take responsibility for what you did, you fucked you. Nobody else did. Chris Rock, Dave Chapelle, Seinfeld, George Lopez, Eddie Griffin; you don’t hear the guys that got on top and then made it by doing what they love, complain about the people that are coming under them. The reason is they’re happy with themselves. Don’t blame everybody for your shit.
Don’t shit on my sister, because you’re not happy with your shit. This shit is earned, it’s not given. I don’t give a fuck if you’re a Tiffany Haddish fan or not. This shit is earned. Tiffany Haddish has years in the game. It's not an accident that Tiffany Haddish had an opportunity to star in a movie. It’s not an accident that her character popped in the film. Written or not a character has to pop. Kat Williams is an amazing and talented comedian, which is why I’m so frustrated. I admire the man's talent, and I don’t like that you said anything negative about a woman of colour that’s getting her shot.
I’m saying negativity, shit talking, the constant downing of people that are sitting in the position of success, that have worked hard for it; comes from people who are yet to realise their fuck ups. Stop pointing at other people for your fuck ups. Take responsibility for your fuck ups. I’m upset because I know this girls story. She was homeless. I’m talking about a real grind. No bed, washing your ass in bathroom sinks. Now you’re getting millions in a movie, and you want to say “you ain’t this, and you ain’t that?” You should applaud her first!"
Now Kevin is speaking quite vocally and direct about a situation that ’s close to his heart in one of his idols attacking his peers. So live on a radio station he does get quite aggressive and doesn’t compose himself to have much of a filter. But he does have a point despite how direct and aggressive his use of language is.
From watching this interview, it forced me to take a look at myself and my actions in a different way. If I’m honest, I was feeling victimised that my three years in a junior role didn’t work out an agency. Two years into pursuing illustration I’ve been feeling bitter about all the extra hours I’ve been putting in. I’ve been embarrassed about creating pieces that aren’t up to par. Ashamed of not always being at the top of my game. Embarrassed about not being able to strike gold every time I create a piece. Ashamed of giving up an agency job thinking I was going to “take off in illustration” when it wasn’t even the thing I had the most experience in. Embarrassed by my endeavour not working out as I had planned. Embarrassed about being at only 494 followers on Instagram. Embarrassed about how after two years I haven’t achieved anything I had expected and wanted to accomplish.
Sometimes these are the only things I focus on, and it leads to a lot of shame, and I feel like giving up. When I look at my work I can see the improvement, and I can see my work building, I can see it building to the point that I’ve always wanted it to be at.
I think about my journey, and I can see the chaos in it, the disappointments and the setbacks and how I’m not in the place that I want to be in. Then I think to myself “what other way is there to build a career in illustration”. There isn’t a set job that’s going to pay for all your bills while you build up demand, public awareness about you and what you have to offer as an artist.
Sure those opportunities will come, but you don’t have a say in when and at what point you deserve them, the public decides. As tiresome and uncertain as the social media game can be; that’s the only way you can build an independent career in doing something creative that's one hundred percent authentically you. No one's going to pay you for the freedom to be you, and no one's going to pay you for you to share your voice; they’re going to pay you when what you do will benefit them.
In writing this, I need to realise that when I’m good enough for these opportunities I want, they will come to me. Humbly I need to accept that I’m not good enough to get to that point yet. As much as I feel I’ve spent a long time in the “creative world” realistically I’ve only been actively pursuing the direction I’ve genuinely wanted for myself over the past eight months. I’ve done a lot of meandering, experimentation and dabbling with a lot of different things under the creative umbrella. It sounds like I’ve wasted my time when I say that it’s taken me six years to find my niche under a broad spectrum. But that’s my ego talking. I need to remind myself that i've finally found what I want to do. I need to continue paying my dues and earn the success and opportunities that I want for myself.
I hope this inspires people to look at themselves, and be it in an uncomfortable manner. At times we do need a harsh wake-up call to help us for a better future, rather than repeating the same patterns that hinder us from where we want to go.