We found ourselves in the creative room, listening to lyrics and verses and songs by renowned and struggling artists.
We sat side by side on a cheap pleather couch, literally the antithesis of each other in every way.
Junebug hails from Compton, from the Easy E days of pop locking and hip hop, deeply confident, secure on the streets and in the boardroom.
Hailing from Westport, Connecticut, outside of all of my degrees and business experience, my greatest skill was pretending to be a woman who knew herself completely.
The truth of the matter is that I was there trying to find myself.
Still, no dummy, I know the ways of business from the books and from the heart.
Like Junebug, I’m a creative. We were born that way.
The heart is where Junebug and I aligned.
We sat there together, with opinions that bound us, listening for sounds that touched us, that let us know what we heard was a flop or a hit.
Always in alignment, what we had in common was our willingness to tell the truth and stick to our opinion or feeling no matter whose music we heard or whose opinion we differed with.
Without dropping names, we differed with the platinum record holders of the world, the giants, and we were right every time.
We agree on some foundational concepts in business that are valuable in any industry, and particularly in entertainment, the wildest west of all vocations.
Junebug and I believe that virtue matters.
It’s important to assess who you are, who you are working with, and what you are attempting to achieve in this short life.
From a brother and sister from kinda similar mothers, from Westport, CT to Compton, California, here are four pieces of sage advice, from Junebug and I (or is it me, darned grammar), trigger warnings to look out for, that work for artists, financiers, and more.
This is the advice that will keep you on track, on point and alive (it gets that deep) when negotiating or establishing business or creative relationships.
If the people you are negotiating or working with try to constantly meet with you without your team, they are up to something. It’s not a coincidence. It’s a plan to divide and conquer. Take heed.
If they try to send business correspondence directly to you without including your team, it’s dirty business. Most likely they are playing to your ego, trying to woo you into making decisions that are the worst for your best interest. Don’t let it happen.
If you have already made that mistake and are alone, no doubt they will ask what you are looking for with regard to a deal. Simply say, “A business partner who can expand upon what me and my team have already built." Leave it right there without further detail. Let them suffer. It won’t be what they want to hear, but now you are no dummy and they know it. Having a rock-solid team keeps you safe.
Finally, never go into detail about your plan, your marketing strategy or what you have coming up next. Turn the tables and find out what they have to offer you. The singular focus is what they can do for you. You are the prize. Never lose sight of that.
What Junebug and I have in common is a passion for righteousness, for doing the right thing and demanding that we receive the same.
The synergy that we felt on that cheap couch is the manna of our friendship supported by honesty and fearlessness.