By Taroue Brooks
What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
Honestly, I didn’t have a choice. I’m from rural Arkansas, and so there was never a path created for me. However, in many ways, that’s been to my advantage. The foundation that I now stand on as a filmmaker was laid by me. I’m standing on solid ground.
When did you realize that your creativity would be the way you earn money?
When I got a check with a few extra zeros! Seriously, there’s a substantial amount of personal capital that has gone into my creative efforts. And I’m not solely talking about money. Creatives, especially in this environment, have to go through considerable lengths to prove we are worthy of getting our projects into the ethos. The sacrifice requires many of us to miss so much: weddings, births, celebrations, and so much more. When I finally started to get paid for my creative excellence, it reinforced that it was all worth it.
How are you processing your success?
Processing my success is an ongoing thing for me. In many ways, I don’t think I’ve adjusted quite frankly enough. I’m beginning to get inundated with requests for help and advice, as well as meetings from industry people I’ve only dreamed of working alongside. It’s surreal, but I remained humbled by it all.
What has been the most challenging thing you had to overcome?
My fear of success. Growing up, I got criticized for being unique and wanting to accomplish things outside of my reach. It forced me to be small, think small, and assimilate as I didn’t want to offend people with my thoughts and goals. Over the past years, I started to see what made me unique made me special. I slowly started to embrace myself, love myself, and trust myself.
That self-love began to grow me as an artist. It allowed me to flourish beyond anything that I could’ve imagined. All of a sudden, I secured a deal with BET and then Issa Rae, and then I’m turning down work from networks. It’s crazy how simply overcoming that fear transformed my world.
Tell us about your series.
Well, I’m currently in between two: ‘Issa Rae Presents King Ester’ and BRIC TV’s ‘Sauce.’ I found out yesterday that ‘Issa Rae Presents King Ester’ has been shortlisted for the Daytime Emmy in the Best Drama Digital Series. It’s surreal. The project has been such a beautiful lesson in trusting my gut. I pray the series get the nomination.