In honor of Women’s History Month in March I want to take this time to highlight women in media who are breaking barriers. Being a black woman in the media is hard because just like in any career, you have to be the best and look good while doing it all. This is for all the young ladies making their dreams come true and recognition that they deserve.
Social Media: @moclassified
Career: Creative Contributor for The Source Magazine based in Dallas, TX & Los Angeles, CA
Quote you live by: [If failure wasn’t an option what would you do? If you could not
be judged what would you do? If you had no fear, what would you do?] — Fear is
not real. So take on the world and BE FEARLESS in doing so. -Moriah Marie
How did you find your passion and when did you know that this is what you wanted to do?
I’ve always been a big “question asker” — so much so that my mom would get frustrated with me as a kid for asking so many questions. She always tells me your favorite word was “why?” and then after I give you an explanation here comes, “But why…?” I could never get enough explanation. Fast forward, I was in college and I realized how many talented people I knew. I just thought there has to be someway I can utilize these relationships and
connections and showcase them to the world. The world needs to know these people like I know them because I know how fascinated they would be if they knew their story and their different walks of life and why they pursue the particular crafts they pursue. Fast forward one more time — there are so many artists that I have fallen in love with through there interviews. I’ve never heard a lick of their music but I hear this very intriguing back story in an interview, or I pay attention to their way of thinking and why they think the way they think, I hear about their upbringing and somehow we relate or I’m impressed, and it just peels back another layer of this artist that the music didn’t reveal — which makes me want to go back and listen to the music now. Now I’m intrigued. Now my ears are open. Now I know why you make music like this or why you express yourself like this or why your story was told like this. Put all that together and that’s how I found my passion. I figured out I want to be the person who introduces you to new talent that deserves to be seen and heard. I want to be the person who is influencing the inspiration you receive from these artists. I want to be the platform that allows these artists to be as transparent as they feel they can be because transparency breeds motivation and inspiration. I
want to be the influence that moved you to listen to an artist’s music and become a fan. I want to make sure our stories are being told the right way.
What do you feel was the most helpful thing that jumpstarted your career?
How I got my break into the entertainment industry and the most helpful thing that jumpstarted my career are one in the same. I started off doing local interviews with artists from my hometown. I always knew there would come a time for me to elevate. Then, I figured out Kevin Gates would be at the SXSW Festival at the same time I would be there. I’m a major Kevin Gates fan, and if you love Kevin Gates you probably love his wife, Dreka, too.
So I decided I wanted to interview Dreka not Kevin. I reached out to management and they accepted my request. Fast forward, she didn’t make it to SXSW but they asked if I wanted to do a phone interview. I originally declined because my
brand was all about visual sit-down interviews at the time. A few days later they reached out to me again. I accepted this time because I already knew there wouldn’t be too many times an A- or B- list artist was going to be trying to track me down for an interview and not the other way around. We did the interview and I sat on it for a couple weeks trying to figure out what I should do with it. I eventually transcribed it and pitched it to as many magazine emails I could find. I eventually found the email to my editor for The Source and she put me through an impromptu interview process through email. Honestly, I just wanted my Dreka article published because I knew no one had ever heard
from Dreka as her own entity outside of Kevin. Low and behold, God and my editor had other plans. My editor eventually asked me if I wanted to contribute full time with The Source. Of course, I accepted. To make a long story short, I’m forever grateful for Dreka accepting my request for the interview and I credit her, as well as my determination to make something happen to the jumpstart of my career.
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What does it mean to be a black woman in media to you?
There aren’t a lot of good representations of black people period in the media, male or female. So first, being a black women in the media means being the platform that allows for my people to tell their story their way. The media tends to fabricate or pick and choose how they want to tell black stories and how they want us to be portrayed in the limelight. I want to ensure the stories are told
factual and in a positive light. Secondly, being a black woman in the media means setting a standard for the black girls that will come after me. But in all actuality, the standard I’m trying to set is to let them know there is no standard. There is no right or wrong way to be or do anything as long as you have class, integrity, and work ethic. You want pink hair, rock it! You think you can achieve your goals without college, go for it! They put so many restraints on us as black people that we feel we can only succeed if we do it their way. I’m doing it my way so I can show other black boys and girls
they can do it their way too, and watch your success story still manifest. If you want it bad enough, you’ll kick the door in. That’s what I’m trying to do — kick the door in and leave it open for everybody behind me.
What advice would you give someone trying to find their own lane?
When trying to find your own lane I would think about a few things that you absolutely love and a few things that you know you have extensive knowledge in. Of the things you listed you can find “your lane” amongst one of those choices.
My lane is hip hop. I absolutely love hip hop culture from the music, to the fashion, to how and why it originated and what it currently means to the world now. I can never get tired of discovering, discussing, reading or researching about hip hop. In that same regard, not only do I love hip hop but I also have extensive knowledge about hip hop. Some people have to remain on the surface
when engaging in conversation about hip hop. Not me. We can take it wherever you want to take it. You want to start in the Bronx where it originated? Let’s go! You want to talk about the elements that make up hip hop? We can do that too. You want to discuss the legendary moments or specific shifts in the culture? We can do all that and I’m not backing down from the conversation at any point. So hip hop is my lane because I love it, I know it, and I make it my responsibility to remain informed on hip hop culture in all it’s aspects. It’s not forced for me. It’s second nature. It’s apart of me. Ask anybody, it’s literally who I am. So your lane might be fashion, or the next person’s lane might be sports, or somebody’s lane might be movies. But one thing I’ve learned is that once you find your lane you stay in it, and the more specific you get with “your lane” the more fine tuned your focus will become which entail produces better results. So
many people want to be so many things these days and that’s great. But you need to master one lane before trying to explore too many at once. When I
figured that out, I start seeing the biggest return on my energy because my focus wasn’t spread out amongst too many pursuits.
What inspires you to keep going in this industry?
To be honest, giving up just isn’t an option for me. I know what I’m capable of and I see the people who are already where I aspire to be and there’s no doubt in my mind that my skills and talent and work ethic won’t get me there too. What God
has already done for me and showed me thus far kind of ensures me that he definitely has bigger and better waiting for me if I continue to do my part.
Share something about your position/or the industry that you wish you would’ve
known before going into it.
I wish I would’ve known that college doesn’t guarantee you a job. I’m glad I went to college and wouldn’t trade the experience for anything in the world. If I had to do it all over again I would actually still go to college. But, the music and
entertainment industry is more about groundwork experience than it is about education. If I would’ve known that I would’ve started my brand at the same time that I started college. By the time that I graduated college I would have had four years worth of an actual reel, evidence of my skills, and more trial and error with my brand. Nothing beats actual experience. But experience and education
together is even better.
Who are some women you look up to in the industry?
Of course, Oprah! She came from nothing to having her own TV show to then her own TV network, that’s super goals for me. I love Cari Champion, she’s a force to be reckoned with in a male dominated industry. She kicked the door in like I mentioned earlier and I love that about her especially because I used to play sports. Also, I love Karen Civil and Angie Martinez. I would say Hip Hop is a male dominated industry so they both have paved the way for women like me to show up and show out and actually be heard and respected in this industry. They’re both women that put their head down and worked hard and just let the work speak for them. I admire that. I’m not a show boat type of person. I’m an “actions speak louder than words” type of person, and that’s exactly what they’ve done.
What has been the most difficult situation you’ve had in your career or with
starting your career?
The most difficult situation I had in regards to my career was deciding to move back to Dallas from Los Angeles. As far as opportunity, Los Angeles was amazing for me! So many of my career milestones happened there. So why move if things were going great for your career, right? Because Los Angeles is such an expensive city that I almost couldn’t even afford to actually pursue my dream let alone live it. I read an article today that said you have to make $109,000 to afford a 2-bedroom apartment in Los Angeles. Like what?! So do I stay in Los Angeles and struggle until I finally get my big break or do I go back home, save more, readjust, and then come back? I decided on the later. That was a tough decision that I feel like a lot of people would’ve been stubborn and chose their pride over their intuition. Instead, I trusted God enough to know that this may not seem ideal right now but in the long term it’ll be all for the better good — and so far since I’ve been back in Texas so many blessings have come my way. That’s how I know I made the right decision. It’s been blessing after blessing ever since. I would’ve thought being in Texas made me too far out of the loop to
actually be as successful as I want to be in this industry but it’s actually been the total opposite. I’ve received more opportunities in these past few months than I have ever received throughout my career. What’s for you is for you and what’s best
for you doesn’t always seem like it on the surface.
What would you say is the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far?
The biggest lesson I’ve learned so far is that there’s absolutely nothing you cannot do but you have to do what you can with what you have until you have more. We’re always waiting for a perfect time or for more money or for better resources when in reality, you’ll never actually be ready. Just do it anyway — to the best of your ability with what you have in this moment. In my mind, I believe
God wants you to show him what you can do with little before he gives you more.
What’s a piece of advice you would give a girl who wants to do what you do?
Focus on you and what makes you different. There will be a lot of people who do what you do but when you focus on what’s on your plate it becomes plentiful — and just be in competition with yourself. Be better than your last project or
assignment. Be better than your last interview. Be better than you were yesterday, period. Hold yourself accountable and know what it takes to be better. Study longer. Study harder. Wake up earlier. Practice more. And just know that
hard work beats talent every single time.