Living in L.A. can be tough, this is one of the mecca’s of the adage “f*ck you, pay me!” Generally speaking, money and fame motivate many in the city of angels; therefore the treachery, trickery and opportunistic behavior can run rampant. If you’re not getting money, making “big moves” or closely affiliated with those who are, some may deem you irrelevant. Los Angeles is a city of high risk/high reward where over time the good and the great are easily separated. With so much competition within the entertainment industry, the general consensus is that many of the people here are pretentious, shallow, or "Hollywood”. Although there is some truth to that line of thinking, L.A., the 'City of Angels’, simply brings out the best or worst in people.
Allow me to elaborate; when you start getting money and your name starts ringing in the streets, whether good or bad, your true character starts to shine brighter than ever. Someone who is a sh*tty person did not become that way because of new found money, fame or notoriety. Quite frankly, they were always that way, they now have a higher profile and leverage to showcase who they really are and no longer have to withhold their true identity and/or agenda. The same is true for a kind and considerate person, they tend to become even more generous and nice to others because that’s who they really were before they got on.
As of a few days ago I celebrated my three year anniversary of living in L.A. It’s a major accomplishment that must be acknowledged, especially given how I arrived. I came out here in a mental and spiritual state of confusion with literally a few hundred dollars and two bags. Although arriving with a "dollar and a dream", Los Angeles was and still is the city where I'm supposed be. I am forever grateful for the people that helped me when I first touched down. From my aunt Blue, cousin Diva, and my boys Kenyon and Charlie - they all provided me with food and shelter. When you’re at one of your lowest points in life, the bare necessities are all that really matter.
Moving out here with close to nothing was a scary, humbling and transformative experience. After relocating from Philly, I always had Atlanta or Los Angeles on my radar, but I couldn’t have foreseen coming to the west coast under the circumstances in which I did. I moved out here with a broken heart, about $250 and two bags. Because of my circumstances, my close family and friends really held me down. I was able to get my car shipped out and crash my aunt’s place. Once I had my car I tried to schedule as many meetings as I could. By the grace of God I was able to land my first job as an Associate Producer on a docu-series, mind you I had no prior producer or TV experience. Through a great referral, some due diligence and impressing the show-runner, I was offered the job within the first ten minutes of the interview. Considering I was only in the city for two months, things really started to shift in my favor. It was all a part of His plan, not mine. As my mother always tells me, “You want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans”.
My three years out here haven’t been sweet the entire time, but they’ve for sure been exciting and extremely memorable. There have been peaks and valleys; wins and lessons, all the ups and downs have been experiences to help continuously shape who I'm destined to be. With all that being said, here are three of the biggest lessons I’ve learned while living in LA LA Land.
1. Everyone is not your friend – “I hope your opportunity survives your opportunists.” - Nipsey Hussle
When you’re in a position of influence there will be many opportunistic individuals that will surface. All of a sudden folks will become your bro, your homey, your guy, etc. But if and when that situation changes, a large majority of those people will vanish. This comes with the territory though and it’s just how the game goes. Rule of thumb: Keep your circle small and keep the family close.
2. Adversity reveals character – “I learned working with the negatives could make for better pictures.” - Drake
In my few years here there have been many highs and lows, but I’m thankful and humbled by the lows because they’ve shown me what I’m really made of and it’s also forced me to depend on God even more than ever before. It’s always best to be humble during the good times and remaining faithful during the bad times. Rule of thumb: There’s always a test in your testimony.
3. Trust the process – “Anybody ever had an era when things could've been better, feeling like you was on a stretcher, and all you remember was the hecklers, but the universe lifts that weight, then you shine like a new feather, blessings on blessings, et cetera, feeling like the best year ever.” – Pharell Williams
Moving to a new city can be a daunting task. Whether personally or professionally, it takes time to get acclimated and adjusted to your new surroundings. You have to trust your process and have faith that everything is working out for the greater good. Don’t let anyone get you out of character nor out of your lane. Rule of thumb: It’s always darkest before dawn, greatness is on the horizon.