I’ll be honest, when I first saw #YearofKanye tagged on Instagram, I didn’t quite get it.
My friends and I loved Kanye West all through college, and Through the Wire was straight up POETRY to me. I respected Kanye’s hustle through his struggle early on, but as time passed I became turned off by his seemingly enormous ego. He’s no longer what comes to mind when I consider a role model — so I couldn’t fathom why anybody would want to be like Kanye!
Clearly searching for answers, I decided to dig deeper, and I found something ever so surprising.
#YearofKanye isn’t just some hashtag the cool kids are using; it’s actually a beautiful and personal mission created by my friend Alisa, who describes it like this//
What does #YearofKanye mean? It means being your best. Be the *fucking* shit. Be unapologetically bold and awesome and genuine and kind and smart and take on the world. Each of us are the only one of us on the entire planet – in the entire universe! – and that means we write our own stories and create our own unique lives. What’s your story say? That’s the #YearofKanye.
Kanye does whatever Kanye wants. He works hard and gets what he wants- sometimes his endeavors work out, sometimes they fail miserably, but as Alisa says, The goal IS the journey. You do things, not just because of what may or may not come from it, but because you enjoy doing them.
I can relate to that. In everything I’m doing as an entrepreneur, the reward isn’t arriving but the process of getting there. Always moving, never there yet, not giving up.
Then it clicked. #YearofKanye the idea that you can do anything you set your mind to, that whatever you’re dreaming of IS possible if you work hard for it, and you should unapologetically chase your dreams…like Kanye!
I wanted to implement that attitude into my work, to shoot more of what I LOVE – what my heart is drawn to, what I feel inspired by – even if it’s not what other people like. So what’s stopping me? Is it fear?
Am I using the excuses of life and of being busy and FEAR to further delay the art I was put on earth to make?
What am I so afraid of?
I think we all hide behind our insecurities to a degree, safely situating ourselves far from the action so we don’t have to take heat at the center of it. That means we don’t have any skin in the game and we won’t get hurt. #YearofKanye says no more to that way of thinking, that fear has no place at the table. If you have an idea and want to see it come to life, then the only thing stopping you, is YOU.
In that way, #YearofKanye’s got less to do with Mr. West, and more to do with being YOUR best.
So maybe, just a little bit, I wanted to be like Kanye?
I don’t know many people like Alisa. She’s a hard worker, determined and ambitious, inspiring. The kind of person who makes you want to try harder and be better, because she believes you can be. We met via GirlCreative and it wasn’t long before I had daydreams of shoots we could do together. I knew we HAD to do a larger-than-life photo shoot around her #YearofKanye idea, and that I wanted to pull in help from our mutual friend Anne because we love her heart and her mission behind Hardt Jewelry. We wanted to make art, and create magic.
Being a full time entrepreneur has taught me SO many things, some days my head feels like it can’t take any more information! But I’m aware that in these 3 years I’ve learned what many will spend their lives trying to figure out; that hard work pays off, so the only real way to succeed is to put in the long hours — like, longer than you can imagine. I’ve learned it’s important to know and remember who you are before the world slaps a bunch of labels on you, and that you can always redefine yourself if you lose your way.
And I’m beginning to understand that you can’t be afraid to shine, because all the light inside of you is unique only to YOU — and that light is what makes you different than everyone else.
Truly embodying all of these things is my goal during this, my very first, #YearofKanye.
PUT IN WORK
Too many people are fixated on the stories of overnight success and fame and strokes of luck but guess what? That’s not reality. Put in the work, the long hours spent staring at a screen or working with your hands or beating pavement, and it’ll start to pay off.
REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE
Who were you before the girl you became, before the world got to you?
She wanted to do things — everything — and to be surrounded by other people doing things, too.
Don’t let people or your circumstances define you. You were really something before you were anything, and success comes in staying true to that person you were from the start.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO SHINE
Knowing your power is what creates humility.
Not knowing your power is what creates insecurity.
Don’t shy away from your power. Know your worth and use that knowledge to bring out the value in others. Shine on, be your best self — and encourage others to do the same.
I want to infuse my art – the stuff that beats inside my heart – into every one of my shoots, no matter the client! Do you have a concept that keeps you daydreaming at your desk? An idea that has you up at night scheming? Let’s make it a reality and shoot together! I would love to help you execute your creative vision through the visuals, or brainstorm with you to decide on a direction if you’re unsure where to begin. Together we can do anything.
To the #YearofKanye and always, magic.
HUGE THANKS to Anne for the jewels and location, and to Irv for the hot car.