Hustling My Way Up
Last night was the first class meeting of my last year of graduate school. As some of my readers know, I am currently pursuing a Master of Arts degree in Music Industry Administration offered by the Department of Music in CSUN’s Mike Curb College of Arts, Media and Communication in collaboration with the university’s David Nazarian College of Business and Economics and the Tseng College. The class, marketing management, is taught by award-winning marketing educator, author, and marketing professional; Dr. Kristen Walker. For our first assignment, we were asked to prepare a two minute presentation addressing what song or score best describes us, personally and professionally.
In deciding what song best represents me, I took to social media to crowdsource recommendations. Many of my social media connections are friends and colleagues who know me personally, associates I’ve met within the entertainment industry, or people who follow my posts and updates about the industry and my work. My interactions and communications with these individuals collectively reflect who I am and what I’ve been through. So, when asked, “What song do you think describes me,” what happened next was quite interesting. All of my family members—mostly my aunts and mom—selected inspirational and gospel songs; songs that reflected inward that would inspire someone with hope. But my colleagues and associates recommended songs about reflected outward; songs about empowerment and perseverance. The song that was recommended the most was “Hustlin’” by rapper Rick Ross.
“Hustlin’” is not a song that I would have selected for myself due to the explicit nature of the song. However, after listening to it and thinking about it, I realized that the chorus certainly spoke to my personality when it comes to my personal pursuits and professional endeavors. The chorus is simply, “everyday I’m hustlin,” which is repeated numerous times throughout the song. The rest of the song is pretty trashy. Although the song contains a lot of inappropriate lyrics, the overall theme is an aggressive pursuit of personal achievement and success. That, I can relate to.
Over the last 10 years or so, I have been aggressively pursuing a career within the entertainment industry. When I was a kid, I dreamt of moving to Los Angeles to become an actor and singer. After graduating high school, at 18-years-old, I set out on a journey to pursue that dream. I moved to Los Angeles with around $500, some clothes, a computer, and most importantly, a goal—to make it in the entertainment industry. Despite the fact that I was technically homeless, near broke, and had no real network in Los Angeles, I couldn’t have been more excited and determined!
The next 10 years saw many ups and downs, setbacks and leaps forward. All of my accomplishments, failures, and challenges have made me who I am today and have laid the foundation for continued growth. Every experience has altered me a bit, some more than others. I’ve hustled everyday to achieve my goals both personally and academically. And although at times I’ve been taken off course, by my own doing or an uncontrollable disruption, the accumulative effect of my experiences has been moving closer to my ever-evolving goals.
Today, I am an entrepreneur, an industry professional, a college educator, a speaker, and a motivator. And every day I am still hustling.