When I was 15 years old I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal savior at a summer camp for youth. It was a gorgeous afternoon on Lake Okeechobee just around the corner from Orlando, FL. The afternoon was perfectly set up. The youth pastor was calling everyone and anyone who wanted to claim Jesus Christ as the one and only god (aka my personal savior) and this skinny, tall, 15-year-old kid felt the Holy Spirit calling him to raise his hand and take the faithful leap. I did.
Every place I’ve ever lived in, from San Diego to NYC, has had an impact on my life and direction, which is pretty typical. I’ve made lifelong friends and have learned what the new racism looks like, which I find valuable, duh. I invite you to read a brief synopsis of my time in some of these cities; a summary of the memories that are fresh on my mind. I was inspired to write this after last weekend in Atlanta someone asked, “What do I have to do to be an executive like you?” I answered very easily, “Get out and travel.”
Alberto Marzan (CEO/Founder of AfroLife.TV) and Kenneth Nowling (Director of Production, Laugh Out Loud Network, Lionsgate) discuss The Power of Culture in Digital Content. We’ll explore how culture shapes perception and why content creation and distribution play an integral role in changing the narrative.
I was a skinny eighth grader who was new to the game of basketball and new to Chula Vista. I had not played organized anything up until I came to San Diego. My eighth grade basketball team went to a game at the infamous Chula Vista High School. We were playing the Sweetwater Red Devils and the Spartan team was led by Carnell Penn and others who looked like big men to us little eighth graders.
Chula Vista High School, early 90’s, your boy was one of the top 50 football players in the state of California and top 100 basketball players in the country. Yes, the entire country. I was invited to a basketball camp that, back then, was called the Nike Superstars Camp, which was a weeklong intense basketball camp that only the top ballers in the state and country got invited to and your boy was invited. I got the invite in the mail and stuck it in my bag.
Are we so jaded that when someone is showing us who they unapologetically are we immediately judge them? I think so many of us walk that fine line of disconnecting and staying connected at all times that assumptions become reality far too frequently. I know I have.
If you don’t know the name Alberto Marzan, you will in the very near future. A visionary and innovative entrepreneur, Marzan’s latest transformative venture, AfroLife.TV, the only real hope for people of color to see and experience a full streaming service with content curated for them, launches on June 14, 2018.
The perfectly orchestrated ceremony is going off without a flaw, then President Bill Clinton gets up and walks into the back (green room I am sure) to prepare for his keynote. Well done. I somehow get caught the middle of the secret service as they are escorting him from the stage to the side door.
I picked them up at the airport and started on our day full of introductory meetings. It was an interesting sight, me, 6’4 and Bill (with his cane), 6’6 or taller. The others were not as assuming as we were (and Brett had a short man’s complex). We went to Starkey, one of the world's largest hearing aid companies and headquartered in Minnesota, and US Bank before lunch. For lunch we had a closed meeting between the four of us. The bread and water came and the conversation started. Brett leaned over during one of his monologues and said, “You know,
Yes, I am focused on providing entertaining content on AfroLife.TV, but we have been shaken into an awakening that I credit the Donald for. I speak about that during the interview so please watch and share.
Don’t worry, this is not in place of my regularly scheduled post. That is coming shortly.
I had the fortune of meeting with someone last weekend who encouraged me to write about the real challenges of starting a business in the media/entertainment industry. Let me rephrase that, starting a game changing, impactful, and global business that will bridge and connect the African diaspora around content that is relatable. No small feat to say the least. So for this post, I would like to share some of my personal travel stories and real challenges that may shed light on what entrepreneurship is really like.
I was hired by the International Children's Heart Foundation, a global organization focused on operating on children with congenital heart disease around the world, as their President and CEO back in 2009. My immediate assignments were to fix, reorganize, and to build strategic relationships with organizations and governments around the world that would power the organization into the future. Dr. William Novick (one of the three men that I had great respect for, more to come on that in the coming weeks) and the board of directors had hired me.
The incredible importance behind this is that today content or media is an integral part of our world. If we as African Americans, Afro-Europeans, Afro-Caribbeans or Africans see ourselves on a medium that we hold at such high regards, it has tremendous effects on how we look at ourselves in the world, our brain development, and potentially our outcomes.