The Vision

One of my mentors once told me my greatest strength is my ability to see the vision. I didn’t know what he meant by that at the time but as I watch my life unfold in the way I see it in my mind’s eye, I’m clear.

I never once regretted my decision to quit my very cushy job as a producer for CBS to follow the paper-thin slice of a vision that was embedded deep within me. People called me crazy, dumb, whimsical and naive. I had opposition from family members and friends but I pressed forward believing that I knew I was being forced in a direction beyond logic. I had to follow my instincts at all cost.

Today, all of my sacrifices became worth it when I saw my work on the cover of VIBE magazine. Sure I’ve done TV shows and worked with some big names but there is NOTHING like being in print. Much like when I was a journalist I felt that same rush of adrenaline when I saw what I created. I cried immediately and I don’t cry. I was overwhelmed for more reasons that I can attempt to explain. I can only liken it to what it must be like to hear your song on the radio for the first time. I’m AMPED!

It’s 1:47 AM the eve before another shoot but I can’t sleep. I had to write to immortalize this feeling. I need proof that I felt like this. On the days that are not as sweet I will be able to remind myself to wait…on it.  I haven’t “made it” but I’m well on my way. When Beyonce calls then I will have ARRIVED lol. I can quit after that j/k.

This blog is my diary. I do it when I feel like it and talk about whatever, however I want. Thanks for being a part of my sporadic purging.

Dream-chasers have a special place in my heart because I am you. Start catching dreams not just chasing. I got mine in a headlock!

Be a Visionary.

Mikki Bey is a Los Angeles-based makeup artist who believes in the power of the universe to bring her all the desires of her heart. Fearless, determined and capable – she’s a bad mamajama! She can be reached at


Job Search 101: A Game Plan for Workplace Success

When my mom first taught me the game I was still in high school. I got a C in Biology and she wasn’t having it. “You just gotta kiss his butt,” she said, as we left my first parent conference ever. I didn’t like the teacher and didn’t like the class, and mom was telling me I had to kiss his ass. Wtf?

As an adult, I get it. Mom was teaching my to play the game. In life you have to do what you have to do, so you can do what you want to do. If I wanted an A in that class, in addition to developing my talents and abilities, I had to make the teacher believe I was passionate about the course and wanted to do better. True or not.

I’ve carried this lesson with me and the rules apply to many aspects of life other than school. They also translate to workplace success. Consider these tips for playing the game to win in the workplace:

1. Learn the Game

In order to market yourself, you have to learn your natural talents and abilities and how they will translate to the workplace. There are career, interest, personality and learning surveys online free of cost. The qualifications listed for a position usually exceed the actual skills or training you need to do the job, but keep in mind the job market is competitive. You can take a refresher course in reading, writing or math at an adult school or a community college to refine your basic skills. You also need critical thinking skills to find and keep a job. An employer will expect you to generate new ideas, set and achieve goals, and organize and process information. At the foundation of workplace skills lie your personal qualities. Employers seek responsible, confident and sociable self-starters with integrity and honesty. Your job is to create a game plan that will showcase how your talents and abilities translate to workplace success.

2. Make a Game Plan

How we spend our time is largely a matter of habit. During childhood, we develop patterns of dealing with time that are likely to carry over into adulthood. The kid who never arrived to school on time becomes the adult who is late for appointments. The good news is that with time, we set new priorities in our lives. If you want a new job, don’t wait for it to happen, make it happen. Set a goal and manage time spent achieving it. If you spend months online looking for job and you haven’t gotten any interviews, you may consider networking strategies instead.

3. Get in the Game

Searching for a job can be frustrating, especially in today’s economy. You are not alone. Even the most well-educated and experienced applicants feel despair when they don’t get any leads. Rather than letting the work search control you, control your work search. Plan it out. Networking is rated the #1 strategy for seeking employment. Employers may be experts at whatever they do for a living, but that doesn’t mean they are experts in hiring. Employers like to hire people they know, so seek creative ways to meet people who are in the position to hire. You have to market yourself and convince an employer you are the right person for the job.

4. Step Your Game Up

Whether you desire better relationships, more money, improved health or a deeper understanding of your own natural talent, you can have it by changing the way you think. Saying statements about what you want as if you already have it increases the likelihood you will actually get it. Think about the lifestyle you want and affirm what your future will become. If you are truly honest with yourself, you will find that your behavior and attitude make a big difference as to whether or not you get what you want. How you respond to an event or situation is what determines the outcome.

5. Play By the Rules

Far too many workplace errors are cause by ineffective listening and speaking. Good communication comes from paying attention to actual words, how the words are spoken (tone, rate and volume) and non-verbal gestures (facial and body movement). Keep this in mind when you interact with a potential employer. Don’t talk too much, or interrupt the talker. Show you were listening by asking questions to make sure you understand what was said. Be sure to use forms of English that are appropriate in the given situation. Using slang or jargon may not be a good idea. Keep in mind your body language also communicates how attentively you listen. Poor posture or fidgeting may make the employer feel as if you are easily distracted or disinterested.

6. Cover All Bases

Finding a company who is looking for someone with your talents and abilities can be hard work. You have to be as organized and proceed as though you are selling a product – and the product is you. Gather as much information as you can about the companies you want to work for through networking, online publications, magazines and newspapers. Investigate to see if you know anyone who works there. Call the company to find out about their current openings, hiring procedures and contact information of the person who does the hiring. Once you make contact with a potential employer, be considerate of their time. Listen attentively, speak precisely and question for clarity. Focus on selling YOU!

Good luck!

Black Is… Me

I recently finished college and I’m told this is where my life begins. I have the world at my fingertips and can do whatever I put my mind to… I agree with this cliché statement to a degree but as a young Black woman in America, I know better. My “life” began a long time ago– I would say at the age of three. I became a big sister and my mother became a single parent. I had to grow up very quickly. My younger brother became my responsibility when our mom wasn’t at home. I didn’t complain. I understood my new role, and took it on proudly. My story is typical of many African Americans who grew up in single parent homes. I didn’t have time to dream big because I had to act quickly. When our mother was not home, I had to make parental decisions for my brother and I. I wouldn’t put that type of responsibility on any child but I can say that I am a better person for my experiences. Things never came easy for us but our mother never let us see her worry. To say that my life begins now is to throw away all the valuable life lessons of my childhood  and adolescence. These lessons got me where I am today so I refuse to do that. These experiences have helped me to deal with very difficult situations easily. I’ve learned how to “turn those lemons into lemonade” as the popular saying goes. As a people, we have been doing this since we involuntarily set foot on this land.

My story is one of many that make up the Black experience. Each of us handles what life deals us differently. What binds us is our history and culture. Our history is often sugarcoated and hidden. Our culture is often duplicated and seldom acknowledged. We continue to challenge stereotypes and even fall victim to them—but I digress. Black Is, the magazine, is a celebration of our experiences. It is a representation of the complexities that make up our daily lives. My hope is to bring the good, the bad and the ugly while posing questions to make you think and offering correctives to encourage action. What it means to be Black in America pertains to the individual. Black Is overcoming adversity and doubt in the face of struggle. Black Is determination and pride. Black Is beautiful. Black Is me.

Do I Have to Go to College to Be Successful?

It’s a proven fact that a person with a college degree will earn a million dollars more than a person who has a high school diploma over a lifetime.  The higher a degree you have, statistically, the more you will earn.  But, does more money equate success?  What does success mean?  The official definition of success is “the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors”.  A secondary definition states that success is “the attainment of wealth, position, honors, or the like” (

So it seems that depending on what success means to you, determines how you measure your success.  So if you can be prosperous or attain wealth without going to college, then the answer to my question is No!  Can college help you to be successful, yes, but it is not the only way to be successful.  Take a look at these famous people who did not earn college degrees (please note that I am NOT promoting dropping out of high school):

Tom Anderson, co-founder of MySpace. A high school dropout.

Mary Kay Ash attended college but dropped out after she got married. She started Mary Kay Cosmetics after being passed over for a promotion that was given to a man who she’d trained. The company started as a book Mary Kay intended to help women and turned into a business plan. With the help of her son and $5,000, Mary Kay Cosmetics was created. Mary Kay Inc. was named one of Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work for in America and one of the 10 best companies for women.

Halle Berry is an Oscar-winning actress who never went to college. Instead, she moved to Chicago immediately after high school to become a model and actress. She ranked #66 on Forbes’ Celebrity 100 in 2006 and reportedly made $16 million that year. Berry is also a spokeswoman for Revlon cosmetics and was able to command a higher advertising fee after winning an Academy Award.

Michael Dell, the founder and CEO of Dell, Inc., dropped out of college at 19. He first started his computer company in his college dorm room, later using company’s earnings and family loans to expand. In 2008, Forbes ranked Michael Dell #11 in its 400 Richest Americans. As of 2009, he has an estimated net worth of $12.3 billion.

Henry Ford never graduated high school, but went on to start one of the largest automobile manufacturing companies in the world, Ford Motor Company. He’s also credited as being the first auto manufacturer to use an assembly line, completely revolutionizing the way cars were produced. The assembly line allowed Ford sell cars at a lower price but the company kept making higher profit because sales volumes continually increased. Time called Ford one of the most influential people of the 20th century.

Bill Gates, a college dropout, has been named the richest person in the world by Forbes magazine 27 times. Bill Gates, who was 10 points away from a perfect score on the SAT, enrolled at Harvard College in 1973 only to take a leave of absence two years later to form a partnership with classmate Paul Allen. The partnership became known as Microsoft. In 2007, Bill Gates received an honorary doctorate degree from Harvard University. In 2009, Forbes reports Gates’ net worth at $40 billion.

Rachel Ray hasn’t had any formal culinary training, including college, but has several cooking shows on the Food Network, a talk show on NBC, several New York Times bestselling cookbooks, and her own magazine. She got her start teaching cooking classes to customers at Cowan & Lobel, a gourmet market in Albany, New York. The classes showed customers how to cook meals in 30 minutes or less. In 2008, ranked Rachel Ray #76 in Celebrity 100, reporting her earnings at $18 million a year.

Steven Spielberg, is a movie director and producer. Spielberg was denied acceptance to film school and dropped out of California State University in Long Beach. He co-founded DreamWorks, a major film studio that’s produced several of the highest grossing movie hits and Academy award winning films. Spielberg ranked #205 on Forbes 2009 list of world billionaires with a net worth of $3 billion. He was later granted an honorary degree by USC in 1994.

Mark Zuckerberg, founder of the social networking site Facebook #785 in the World’s Billionaires ranks #321 on Forbes’ list of 400 richest Americans. Born in 1984, Mark had an estimated net worth of $1.5 billion in 2008 and is the youngest person ever to appear on one of Forbes’ billionaire lists. He developed Facebook one year on summer vacation after borrowing money from Paypal’s co-founder Peter Theil. In 2008, Microsoft paid $240 million for 1.6% share of Facebook, leading us to believe the site is worth $15 billion.

Warren Buffett actually never planned to go to college; out of high school, he was already earning a solid salary delivering newspapers. However, Buffett’s father pressed the issue and convinced Buffett to attend Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania. Buffett was not satisifed with the quality of education at Wharton and transferred to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln he graduated in only three years, despite working full time.

And finally, the only famous black male who I could find that didn’t earn a degree, but is very “successful”…Sean Combs attended Howard University in Washington, DC where he majored in business. While at Howard, he became an intern at Uptown Records and eventually dropped out of Howard University in favor of a full time high-level position with the record label. Combs did not complete his education and still has not received his degree.

One common thread with these people is their drive and determination to make their dreams come true.  In addition to their drive and determination, they also had a plan.  They didn’t get to where they are today by sitting on the couch and playing video games, or sitting at home waiting for someone to call them to say, “You’ve won a million dollars!” They got out there, hustled, and did their thing to get to where they wanted to be in their industry.

Going to college definitely will open up doors for you, and it can make things easier, but it is not the only way to be successful.  You can even talk to recent college graduates who get their shiny degree, but end up working in an entry level job; probably doing tasks that they could have done right out of high school.  So the grad probably starts thinking, “Why did I go to college?”  Well, that basic entry-level job probably required a college degree!  And, if you’re smart, you take an entry-level job in the industry that you want to be in, so that you have opportunity to build your resume, do a little volunteer work on the side, and maybe after 18 months you start applying for other jobs in that company.  Your dream job/career is not going to be handed to you, unless you inherit it from your daddy; but really how likely is that to happen?  You gotta go out there and get it!  I believe the real truth behind success is self-confidence and belief in yourself that you can take over the world.

Be prosperous!