I recommitted my time to helping young girls, and I’m so glad I did. In the past, I’ve guided young women and girls in my family. But I felt like the universe was giving me signs and telling me to add more mentoring to my plate.
There was the day two suburban mothers engaged me at length on an Amtrak train. They asked for my views and tips on connecting with teen girls without judging or alienating them. “You really should be a mentor,” one said emphatically at the conclusion of our conversation. “I wish you lived near me and my daughter,” the other said laughing. There was the day I was on the phone with a friend, who said any girl–including his own daughter–would be lucky to have me as a confidant. I even received an out of the blue text from a friend who looked at my IG and felt compelled to tell me that she thinks I’d make a great mentor. The universe kept showing me signs, then sent me an opportunity to volunteer at Career Day events in both Westchester and Brownsville. I was invited by my friend’s Sam and Richardine.
After participating in Career Days, I knew I wanted to do some more mentoring. So I applied with an organization. Now, I’m pleased to share that I have been quietly mentoring for the past six months via an organization that pairs us with immigrant and first generation girls. The goal is to help them navigate the challenges of life in the U.S. – and the added challenges of their home country’s culture (which can sometimes include out-of-date family mindsets about what girls can achieve). The experience has been fulfilling.
Recently during an online session, I realized my mentee was struggling to understand the suite of Google software. I suggested she ask her parent for permission to have me stop by on the weekend to train her.
“I don’t have a computer at home,” she said. “And the computers in the lab here at school aren’t great, and are almost always occupied.”
I was silent for a moment. I’d naively assumed she’d have regular computer access in school for a screenshare. My mind raced like those calculating memes, trying to think of what to do next.
I thought back to the time I was collecting supplies for a college-bound girl and how Dutchie Flair, Allison Veronica and others encouraged me to start a gofundme for her. I was able to collect donations, supplies—one of my followers donated a Mac laptop. I refocused, remembering she was waiting on me to respond. This girl, fresh from Guyana, living in New York, without proper access to a computer in 2018. “Ok. We’ll figure something out,” I said hurriedly. In the end, my mentee and I met up in Brooklyn. Using local business WiFi and my computer, I taught her how to use multiple Google tools. Her eyes lit up with each new discovery. By the end of the afternoon, she was able to explain the value of everything she’d learned that day. I was happy we made the special session work. The most surprising thing I learned this particular day was how much my mentee likes green smoothies—which she’d never tasted before—as well as how excited she was to know that the businesses we’d visited (and borrowed WIFi from) were African American or West Indian owned. So thank you Juices 4 Life, Jordan heads and everyone else who runs storefront, community-minded business like these. You constantly inspire me, and you’re helping me inspire young people.
Mentoring takes dedication. Sometimes I can’t step out because I have to prepare for a session. Sometimes I have to move meetings and personal appointments around. But I know it is all worth it. Because without the various people who took (and still take) time to provide a kind ear and guidance, I myself don’t know where I’d be. What a blessing to be able to give back.
Are you interested in learning about opportunities to mentor young people? Hit me up via my contact page and let’s see if I can help connect you to an opportunity to get started. Mentoring orgs always need people like you.
My freelance communications work for the filmmaker Victorious de Costa involved bringing attention to the the Indiegogo fundraising campaign he launched for his film ‘Digging For Weldon Irvine‘. I booked him on interviews and today I’m sharing a bit about my favorite interview, which was on The Laura Coates Show.
‘Digging for Weldon Irvine’ is a feature length documentary, currently in production, about the life and influence of the enigmatic, highly sampled American composer, Weldon Irvine.
A Hampton alum, Weldon Irvine wrote the lyrics to ‘Young, Gifted and Black’, and was the bandleader for jazz singer Nina Simone. He was also a mentor to many hip-hop artists, including Q-Tip and Mos Def and Talib Kweli. Bars about Weldon can be heard in What’s Beef, if you listen.
A reminder of how little some things have changed, Weldon’s last major project before his passing was ‘The Price of Freedom’, a compilation featuring hip-hop, jazz, and R&B artists in response to the police shooting of Amadou Diallo.
Weldon’s own brilliant life ended abruptly when he shot himself in front of Nassau Coliseum in New York on April 9, 2002.
Director Victorious de Costa was in the midst of fundraising to finish off the balance of the film when he hired me to boost visibility of the campaign. One of the interviews I booked him for was in Washington, DC, on The Laura Coates show. Laura is a big Jazz fan who was eager to hear more about ‘Digging for Weldon Irvine.’
Listeners learned about the film that day, had an opportunity to donate, and speak with the director. Some callers even reached out behind the scenes with personal stories of their relationship to the composer, some of which may be included in the final cut.The fundraising video for the film features interview clips with Weldon’s family, DJ Spinna, and more. Victorious, an award-winning filmmaker and Sundance Institute member, has funded much of the film out of pocket. Still want to donate? Have questions about the film? Contact the director here. Have a great day and contact me if you want to discuss your need for communications consulting.
Victorious De Costa on the Laura Coates Show (Sirius XM) Digging for Weldon Irvine Interview from Victorious De Costa on Vimeo.
I recorded a voiceover for a Race Forward project this week. I always enjoy doing voiceovers! Need my voice for a commercial, intro or other audio production? Visit the contact page on my website. #chevonmedia
I spoke to a group of filmmakers about the importance of social media and digital communications!
I had a blast watching people’s eyes light up when I answered questions about how customized communications strategies can help them. I felt honored to be invited to speak.
Need a consultation ?
Reach out to me at chevonmedia.com/contact !
In the Spring of 2013, I produced an art event featuring paintings by TTK, Sam Woolley and Klashwon. The opening began with conversations about the paintings and turned into a musical celebration of the artists and their work. Watch the video below to find out more!
White Rabbit, hosted the closing reception of our 1Plus1Plus1 art show in the summer of 2013. The exhibit featured works by artists TTK, Klashwon, and Sam Woolley. A good amount of the artwork was hip hop themed or had references to the 80′s. DJs Large Professor, Nina Azucar and Mirandom killed it on the turntables while people danced, purchased art and merchandise. Be sure to watch the video I commissioned at our closing party.
See you at the next event!
Being born on New Year’s Day usually means that people are sleeping off the festivities from New Year’s Eve. January first doesn’t lend itself to typical birthday celebrations. I was fully prepared to mark my birthday with a cupcake and a few friends at brunch, but an article in The New York Times changed my mind. The article, a story about teen mothers, touched me for two reasons: I used to work at the NYTimes and I live in Brooklyn. I had no idea that young mothers in the area faced such high levels of discrimination, frustration and alienation. Was there something I could do to help? It turned out there was.
Being a supporter of the most positive elements of Hip-Hop culture afford me a special relationship with notable Brooklyn DJs and producers, one of whom was adamant that I celebrate my birthday in a bigger way than just a lonely cupcake. I had declined the offer but, upon digesting the article, called up the deejays. “Would you still be open to throwing me that birthday party?” I asked. I explained my concerns regarding young mothers in Brooklyn and asked if I could turn my birthday into a fundraiser. DJ Akalepse, DJ Evil Dee, Lord Finesse and Rich Medina gave me free reign. I was responsible for the conception, publicity and production of an event to benefit The Brooklyn Young Mothers Collective and I am pleased to say we raised funds and awareness of the struggle that young mother’s in Brooklyn face. It was one of the most fulfilling events I’ve put together so far.
Click here to view the event photos»