Making the most of being a minority

So let me preface this by saying I hate the term minority and everything that comes along with it. It sets up this idea that I (being black and being a woman) am deficient and "other." I'm not having it. I used that term only for the sake of a clever headline but will from here on out and forever in my life use "multicultural" or "people of diverse background."

Because either way, the truth is that the make up of America is changing and the "minority" will soon be the "majority" and ad agencies need to change, too.

My post with the video Pursuit of Passion touched a bit on the lack of information available to multicultural people about the advertising industry.

It's just not in our first list of careers. You'd sooner think of being a basketball player than you would an art director. I know in my family, people think I'm in marketing and have little to no understanding of what I do on a daily basis.

I remember one day when I was in portfolio school and my sister came home from work to me sitting at the kitchen counter with my open notebook, staring off at the ceiling. She asked what I was doing, I said school work. She went upstairs and came back and hour later and I was still sitting there, pencil between my index and thumb, looking up. She gave me that "Really?" look and I tried to explain to her that I was doing something very important. I was coming up with headlines. For Carmex lip balm. I had 22. I needed 50. I was stuck on balm. The word "balm" was the problem. Balm is for Vicks. It sounded too medical. Carmex is more like lip gloss. Only, men don't wear lip gloss. But if we called it something else, they would. So what should we call it? And it couldn't be anything that would alienate women. Unless we ran it in a men's magazine. Then that'd be okay. But really, men don't want glossy lips. Just smooth lips. But how can you say that in one ten-word sentence... She walked away before I could finish.

Your family may not get what you do. Or why you do it. But if you're serious about it, use as many resources as you can to get them on your side, because we need you.

The days of Mad Men are over. In theory. Not necessarily in practice.

Creative departments need more diversity. People who've lived differently, learned differently and think differently. People with colourful accents and stories. Interesting backgrounds and mixed up references. Multicultural, multicoloured, multilayered, multifaceted people.

Agencies want you. Clients want you. (No one wants a repeat of the Nivea beard situation or the Duncan Hines blackfaced cupcakes.

But you can't just get a job because you're not white. You will get a job because you're great. And because you bring a new perspective. But first you have to be great.

So get yourself together.

Apply for some scholarships 

Go to portfolio school *(optional)

Work on your portfolio 

Make some connections 

Get some interviews 

And come make some amazing ads.