The series of declaration [above]...started with the 12th-which triggered memories of the years I have dealt with "my own [black & brown] people", in the fashion industry and why so many of them choose/chose to over look me (and my talent) at every opportunity-when they could have assist instead diss.… a brother. Even with all of my many accomplishment (and years making in roads into the white fashion world), I could not figure out why-MY brothers and sisters choose not to help or recognize.
What happened? ...in the late 70's I went up to Essence w/my portfolio in hand...I showed my portfolio and they showed me the door...and not so politely either. I remembered it like "come back when you're on 7th avenue". My thinking was you are a black magazine, surely you are using black designers...HA! (little did I know-not really).
I wasn't crushed tho...my thought was I can show you better than I can tell you...you'll see.
Once I worked w/a stylist for years-lending here clothing for free or whatever her small budget could provide-I gave her more than what her clothing rental could provide. I was "a sure thing", her words not mine (but mine also) and she knew she could always count on me. She would chill at my crib...eat my food...drink my wine....smoke my w.....etc.
One day she snags a big R&B singers tour and instead of renting a bunch garments from me, she ask me to make a bunch of clothing...for free....because it was so & so's tour and it would be good press...BUT wait for it-she had a budget FOR the wardrobe! As time passed her rep grew and grew...she's mega now and has been for years and not one time-has she put me on......BUT the white upscale labels get all her love and her budgets.
There were the meetings w/black owners-about injecting newness into their urban brands/companies. Each time...they wanted ownership of my "brand name" (the name I worked hard at perfecting) or they wanted the lion share of the profits...or BOTH.
There were the trips to participated in a black fashion event or show where they want me to pay my own airfare and they would comp the room-for like night (come in do the show-say overnight-leave out the next day by Noon or 1p). If I needed an assistant-they couldn't accommodate "such and outlandish request" from me...only for me to find out-they were just selective in which designers that offered pay ALL of their expenses...Not to mention they were profiting from ticket sales and using my brand name-to secure patrons, other talent, sponsors etc...
There were opportunities from black investors, who wanted everything...while offering up pennies...expecting me & my talent, along with my brand name-to do ALL THE HEAVY lifting!
Once I had my work featured in an online magazine. I worked w/a talented photographer & model and we created an exciting editorial-which the magazine published. About 2 or 3 years later, I create more editorial magic...reached out to said magazine and was politely told, by they editor (with a little stank on it) they DON'T publish a SINGLE designer in a fashion editorial. I wasn't defeated...but a couple of days later I thought about the previous time they published me-then realized he blow me off and THAT was a straight up LIE.
I have always finding myself SMMH wondering...Why we as a people can't do better?!?
Then I start creating-while mapping out my next money move because "I am still standing and making coin."