At the end of last year, I spoke about how I was going to commit to the 20 Cs of 2020. It was a list I created of guiding principals for success in this year and those to come.
I also I said that I would write a dedicated blog post about each of the tenets. Two months later and I’m just now getting around to it! Something that helped, I think, was reading that writing should be more informed by habit than by inspiration (Octavia Butler). I think that is true of all creative things. And thus beings the habit of me committing to what I said I was going to do.
I guess somewhere down the line, my generation has rendered the term ‘collaboration’ to mean ‘nobody gets paid’—quite the important distinction in creative work. But technically, it can be argued that everyone is lending their services to everyone else. A photographer is photographing a model who is modeling, and they each depend on each other for their success. So where then, does the burden lie?
At any rate, paid or unpaid (though I hope to err on the side of paid) This year, I’m going to make the effort to collaborate with other artists more frequently. Partially because as a filmmaker, I need to film shit and it’s nice to have shit to film. But also because I actually need to step out of my comfort zone and meet a ton more people if I’m going to make it out here. I can lament all day about the ‘prohibitively expensive' work that I want to do. But in as much as everything I seek to do is expensive, so too is it collaborative.
Last September, I walked my first New York Fashion Week show with Orange Culture. The brand is run by a friend of mine whom I met during my excursion to Lagos in December 2018. This was an important personal moment for me to be able to use my body to represent the Nigerian made androgynous menswear label because fashion and modeling were always very important to me growing up. However, fear and diffidence deferred if not deaded my deliberate pursuit of this variety of expression.
Tho pro bono, the night was both a good way for me to live out this dream, but also to connect with a number of similar minded and similar focused individuals, some of which I’ve worked with on projects since then. Had I been a better me, I’m sure more opportunities could have arisen from consciously connecting with other folks in the room. Still, no experience lack value so long as you learn from it.
Following Orange Culture show (and the whole of 2019 (and a lifetime of compromising my being for the comfort of others)), I came out to my dad via a masterfully worded WhatsApp message. Then I removed the messaging app from my phone and went about my life. In my defense, he lives in Nigeria and regardless, others have informed me that for these hefty proclamations, a text might be the best way to go. The ghosting? That was just my Sagittarian twist.
This feat was the kind of prodigiously delayed but entirely necessary display of reverence for my personal growth that I couldn’t have imagined myself doing even a short time before. Of course, the straw that breaks the camel’s back has the myriad previously placed straws for weakening the bonds but I do feel as though the experience of taking part in that show in particular was integral in my journey mostly because it forced me to question and consider the notion of if I had chosen me earlier. Still and again, no experience lack value so long as you learn from it.
Tomorrow, I am fortunate enough to attend the Orange Culture show for another collaboration but this time as a videographer. Over the past few months I’ve been working on developing a commercial arm of my filmmaking venture so that I can help other entities tell their stories while funding projects of my own (more on that later). I hope to move to working with large, high paying clients soon but I could not pass up this opportunity to, like I said, film some shit, and also to meet folks who can bring me closer to the clients of whom I speak.
While backstage at Orange Culture last September, I paid very close attention to how I might film everything if I was filming everything and I’m extremely excited that now I have the chance to do so! So, here’s to strong bond formed by intentional collaborations that bring each of us closer to the desires we’re destined to achieve.
If you’re interested in collaborating with me on projects, always feel free to reach me via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Hit me up if you’re interested in working together. 🥰 💕