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Melody Thomas

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Luvvie’s Side-Eye Got a Seat at the Table With Shonda Rhimes

Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the roomLuvvie Ajayi

This is a quote from one of my favorite people to follow online. Luvvie is the voice of Awesomely Luvvie, a humor and pop culture blog. She’s also an activist, author and branding expert. She’s built her business from the ground up for the last 9 years and has a huge social media following that boasts over 250,000 Facebook fans — all built organically.

I found out about Luvvie from one of her Scandal recaps. I googled “scandal + recap + funny” and she was the first person that popped up in the search results. That was in late 2012 and I’ve been HOOKED to following her ever since!

She’s gotten shout outs from Shonda Rhimes (hell, even Shonda wrote a blurb for her book) to taking selfies with lead actress on the show, Kerry Washington, Luvvie has built a community through her work. And when things get serious in the world, like the tragic events that took place in Charleston, South Carolina (my home state) two summers ago, or political opinions and her absolutely despise for President Trump, she’s able to share her thoughts in a way that’s tactful and truthful.

She’s managed to create an experience like no other.

You want your personal brand to be thought of the same way.

When I think of Luvvie, I think of someone that’s funny as hell and serious about their work. She’s created a fine line that’s very hard for a lot of humor bloggers to do. When I’m having a bad day and I need to cheer myself up, I visit AwesomelyLuvvie.com and read a few of her blogs to pick up my energy. Her brand makes me feel happy.

Now take what I just said and let’s create a lesson here: What kind of experience do you want to create for your audience? How do you want people to feel when they connect with you, whether through your blog, social media, or email?

Luvvie’s ability to master this has made her a New York Times bestseller within ONE WEEK!

And to make the deal even sweeter, less than six months later it was announced on Tuesday that Mother of Thursday night television, Shonda Rhimes, will turn I’m Judging You into a comedy show on ABC!

I’m so excited for Luvvie as I feel like I know her personally. She’s a Black woman that’s standing in her power and speaking her truth. Her authenticity has landed her a seat at the table with media Greats like Oprah Winfrey, who recognized her last year.

She’s my cousin in my head along with Beyoncé. Judge me. 😛

Beyoncé Having Twins is the Good News We All Need

*Whew!*

That’s me coming up for air after a rough 12-days of nonstop Trumpnanigans. Since dude was sworn in, we’ve witnessed executive action in domino effect.

From ignoring climate change to the Muslim ban last Friday, my head has been spinning in disbelief that THISISREALLYHAPPENING. Hashtag OMG.

And then, Beyoncé showed up and dropped the good news that we all need.

My girl Bey is having twins, y’all! Congratulations!

What Beyoncé Taught Me About Sacrifice

To say that I love Beyoncé is an understatement. Hell, I’m practically obsessed with her. I was a huge fan during her days as a lead singer for Destiny’s Child before she became the world-wide phenomenon she is today. Whether you’re a proud member of the BeyHive (AND I HOLD THE PLATINUM MEMBERSHIP!) or only notice her when she falls into your radar, you have to admit she’s a badass business woman.

She’s my cousin in my head. Judge me.

I’ve had the opportunity to see her in concert three times and each one was a great experience!

Except for that second time, the Mrs. Carter World Tour. My mom and I had nosebleed seats. I redeemed myself by getting floor seats for the Formation World tour…

…Aaaand it’s fair to mention there would’ve been a fourth time, but my God daughter was born the day of her On The Run tour stop in Atlanta… I chose to be by my best friend’s side instead…

Any. Way.

During her stop in Raleigh, NC for the Formation tour, it started to rain. Rain doesn’t stop a Beyonce show, but a thunderstorm does. Right after she performed Partition, there was a stadium announcement requiring everyone – all 40,000+ of us – to exit the stadium and seek cover.

There was a loud gasp of concertgoers wondering if the show was over.

No way in hell did I pay over $300 to get a one-hour show! This isn’t Lauryn Hill. #Shade.

Then the announcer said that, ‘she’s not leaving. The show is not over.’ Everyone cheered and began exiting the stadium.

We waited for 1.5 hour for the thunderstorm to pass.

Then the announcer came back and said the show will start over in 10 minutes… and I kid you not, within those 10 measly minutes, the stadium was PACKED – again!

Only Beyonce can fill a stadium on a stormy night twice.

The concert was scheduled to end at 11 PM, but since Mother Nature didn’t want to play well that night, Beyonce’s concert was over at 12 AM. She was determined to finish the show. Based on several reports, I found out she dished out a $60,000 fine for every minute ($1,000 x’s 60 minutes) she was ‘late’ finishing her show.

That made me fall in love with her even more. 🙂

Granted, $60K to Beyonce is what $6 is to me; it’s nothing that’ll make her flip the script or think twice about it. It is indeed a small sacrifice on her part in giving her fans what they paid for.

So I have to ask you, what are you willing to sacrifice to make your business work for you?

It’s Cool to Be the Black Girl Nerd

I was never one of the popular girls in school. I had a crooked smile, unruly hair, and thick glasses. I grew up in a small rural town in the backwoods part of South Carolina where opportunities were limited.

It wasn’t until my aunt and parents pitched in and bought my first computer as a Christmas gift when I was 12 years old. That was the year 1999. Right before Y2K. Destiny’s Child was in their prime and Beyoncé was widely unknown. AOL Internet flooded folk’s mailboxes with CD-ROMs and Facebook was nonexistent.

My passion for technology quickly became a “thing” and I was excited about receiving emails from strangers than letters in the mail (now it’s the total opposite). My Barbie dolls and other miscellaneous toys were abandoned for browsing online. Not long after, I was teaching myself how to code HTML and CSS at just 12 years old and built my first website – completely from scratch – by the age 13.

While I was in school telling my peers, most of them didn’t have a computer in their homes, about this awesome website I’d built the night before, you can imagine the major SIDE-EYE I got from them. And pretty soon, I became the butt of computer love jokes.

It was discouraging.

But I knew I was different.

I didn’t take pride in being different until I entered the workforce after college. My “computer love” landed me a job in my field as a web designer less than six months after graduation and I’ve worked in my field ever since. My passion has yielded opportunities to work in industries such as higher education, healthcare, nonprofit, tech start-ups and corporate businesses. And my “difference” has started a digital strategy business where I work with amazing business leaders from all over the world.

As I reflect on President Obama’s last full day in office, I can’t help but to think back on the last eight years of progress he’s made to encourage STEM (Science, Technology, Engineer, and Mathematics) education, especially for minorities. There are dozens of organizations, such as #YesWeCode and Black Girls Code that are encouraging young, African-Americans to ignite an early interest (aka passion) in STEM related fields. While I’d love to have been in a company of other kids who looked like me and were different like me during my teenage years, I am happy those organizations exist today.

Thanks Obama for letting the world know that it’s cool to be a Black girl nerd.

The Obama Generation

About three weeks before the election, I was watching the Presidential debate coverage with my six year-old cousin and his mom. TJ, my baby cuz as I call him, is wise beyond his years and I take a small part in raising him. I still have the video that I recorded almost four years ago when he proudly told me the names of the President and First Lady.

4 Ways Black Business Women Can Stand Out Online

I get it. You’re super dope and overly successful in your career. You have degrees on top of degrees, several certifications, and you kick ass everyday on the job. In a recent study, Black women are more likely to strive than their white counterparts. In other words, the words “settle in your career” is out of your vocabulary. You’re ambitious. Bold. Brave. And do it with swag.

Yet, you’re struggling constantly in your business. Your first thought was, “This should be EASY! I have 3 master degrees. Surely, it CAN’T be this hard.”

Diversity Sells. Or Does It?

As most of us know, Viola Davis made history as being the first black actress to receive an Emmy Award for outstanding lead actress in a drama series at the 67th Emmy Awards. To be specific, her role as Annalise Keating on How to Get Away With Murder earned her the win, and she accepted it with an emotional and powerful speech, stating that “The only thing that separates women of color from everyone else is opportunity. You can’t win Emmy’s for roles that aren’t there.”