(Link to Article on allhiphop.com: http://allhiphop.com/stories/lifestylefilm/archive/2008/04/18/19679971.aspx)
Can we get real for a minute?
It’s a fact that no one ever notices a star (the ones in the sky) until it’s shining above our heads at night. We don’t get to witness the time period where it exists as nothing more than a shapeless cloud of celestial matter, often, for gazillions of years.
We’re never privy to the cataclysmic process of imploding gases and violent collisions that go into making that brilliance that lights up our nights – that grinding struggle that determines whether or not that cloud of gas will eventually glow with the intensity of the star that led some of my ancestors to freedom, or if it will simply fall into the background, flickering with unimpressive dullness to us here on earth.
And the same goes for film and television stars, or really, anyone in the creative arts or entertainment industries. The process of becoming luminous, if you will, is not at all as glamorous as the life the public is exposed to once the hardest struggle is over.
Just like the gases in our atmosphere that get kicked around until they eventually have the breakthrough that jump-starts the process of stardom (their big break), the majority of the big names we see on our screens everyday have been through the gamut of hunger, evictions, homelessness, no transportation, no clothes, mental breakdowns when continual efforts equate to doors being slammed in your face, physical illnesses or injuries without the luxury of health insurance, and the list goes on.
And many times, we starving artists are just not able to, or just don’t feel that we can, ask for the help we need when times get tough for us, because most of our support system of family and friends think were completely nuts anyway for taking the risks and paths we’ve chosen, when in their eyes we could simply just end all the suffering and “get a real job”.
But what many don’t understand is that what most may view as an option for us is really a life-sustaining necessity. If you took our ability to pursue our creative passions away from us, in exchange for a pedestrian desk job until we could retire quietly with a gold watch, then wed literally waste away and die inside – one of those slow and painful mental deaths of coulda, woulda, shouldas, and what-ifs.
I know all of my entrepreneurs and creative people out there feel me on this one.
Like I mentioned before, even after all of the demons we battle to gain recognition and appreciation for whatever it is that we do, some of us still remain in the background of the North Stars, barely visible in the dark skies. In reality, there’s only but so much room for single billing in a film, only one number one at the top of the charts but make no mistake, that doesn’t make their struggle any less relevant or any less noble than those who no longer have to fight that particular fight.
It makes their accomplishments no less grand, which is exactly why I give much respect due to those in the background with the tiny roles, the one-liners, the DJ peddling his mix-tapes (when I’m not broke Ill always buy one from you!), the Hip-Hopper whose performance everyone yaps through as they wait impatiently for the main event, the artist painting on the street corner, the designer asking you to take a look at his t-shirts.
Yes, this article is for you. Keep grinding, keep pushing, keep doing what you do. Many have no idea what it takes to just get to the point of even being able to exist, and create.
Before we even knew who Halle Barry was, she lived in a homeless shelter. Tyler Perry, Charlie Chaplin, Ella Fitzgerald, Kelsey Grammer, singer Jewel, Eartha Kitt, David Letterman, Joan Rivers, Tupac, Colonel Sanders all of them, once homeless.
Imagine if all these folks had given up living in their cars, in bus terminals, and in shelters, and had gone back to civilization with everybody else now imagine the opposite for yourself.