Welcome to Black Girls in Media!
Let me introduce myself.
My name is Amber, and I'm a bit of a media artist myself. I have my own blog that was started last year during quarantine, and I've dabbled a bit in social media creativity, whether it involves writing for other blogs, creating content, or even trying to start a few projects of my own (TBA). As the new writer for the BGIM blog, I wanted to tackle a topic that was common for Black women when it comes to putting our media out in the open: self-confidence.
Picture this: you've worked hard for the past few months, whether it be perfecting the creation process for a new art sculpture of yours, making sure that the angles in your photographs are top-notch, or running through the lines of the new series you wrote until the only error is the lack of financial support you have from production teams. The only obstacle you have left is the task of showing others why you believe your work should be noticed. You might have to present a formal pitch, or you might just have to click one button to upload your video to YouTube, but for some reason, the thought of walking in the room or turning on the computer leaves a pit in your stomach. Of course, you're a bit frustrated or confused; you've worked unbelievably hard, possibly even skipping out on some fun or relaxing activities just to put the finishing touches on your craft. You did everything that you could have done at the moment to ensure what you were creating was the best version of what it could be. So what's the missing factor? Why can't you do it yourself?
The missing ingredient, reader, is confidence. This may be a shock for some; there are a lot of confident people in this world, and there's nothing wrong with celebrating your accomplishments or gifts. However, it's completely normal for people to be scared of sharing their creations with the world. These forms of media, however big or small, are vulnerable, intricate parts of ourselves that we're deciding to share with an entire online population. And, let's be honest, digital audiences (or even physical ones) can be cruel sometimes. We're simply afraid of harsh judgment, or even rejection, and that's okay!
But you know what, y'all? There are not enough variants of Black representation out there in the world for us to not show others what we've been working on. Despite the feelings you might be getting from imposter syndrome, you deserve your recognition, and there's no one else who could do what you have done in the exact same way that it was done. So let's go ahead and look up some strategies for being confident during the final step of your media production.
Do Not Keep Naysayers in Your Circle. First thing's first; if you have anyone in your support system who always seems to find something negative about your media or your creation process, then they have to go. It's okay if they're giving pointers, like suggesting a different filter for a picture or a certain emotion during a script reading, but if they're repetitively making remarks like "that's still really ugly, it's not going to work," or "that'll never get popular," then they are no longer someone that you can depend on for support and advice. This is not a call to cut them off (although you're free to do what you wish), but you need to reconsider who you share project updates with. Remember that you're not doing this for their approval because it's your name in the credits or on the webpage. And, although it might hurt to no longer share parts of your creativity with them, it's important to surround yourself with constructive people in order to continue being motivated to do your work.
Discern Constructive Criticism from Negativity. Similar to the last point, it's important to make sure that you understand constructive comments from comments that are meant to put you down. This is especially important when you start receiving actual comments, like under social media posts or videos. While it may feel like you're required to read every single piece of feedback, good or bad, please take into account that there are a lot of people who go online just to make someone's day a bit worse. Don't let the feedback consume you; try to take breaks from reading opinions on your work, and when you do, try to focus on the helpful suggestions or positive reviews. Another important piece of advice for this particular theme would be to understand constructive criticism. While it might be hard to swallow sometimes, people can make valid points that may be hard to swallow. Maybe your favorite scene in your short film is a bit much, or maybe the pictures are a bit too grainy to see the main focus. Just try to view your media from the creator's side and the audience's side.
Take Pride in What You've Done! This is a very important step. Take a break and be proud of what you've done! You worked your behind off trying to edit out any mistakes, paint over blurry details, and recite perfectly. Relax and enjoy your accomplishments! It's important to recognize that the main reason your media was completed was because you wanted to, not because someone made you or you wanted to people-please. You made something authentic and beautiful, a reflection of yourself that you might not always show to others. It's something to be proud of; don't get in your own head by focusing on the few details that you might have left out, or the one mistake you made when reciting your lines. What your audience will admire the most is the authenticity that you put into something that you worked on, not the "perfection" of it.
Learn to Be Okay With Rejection. Sometimes, not all of your ideas are going to be a booming success. Some works of media might only be seen by a couple dozen people, or maybe a few hundred. Although it's very important that you're still proud of your work, try not to let the number of fans distract you from your success. You should still be proud of the work that you did! Whether it was well-recieved or not, remember that not every idea is ready for the public eye yet. Your idea might not have been part of a trend, or it was simply ahead of its time. The project might not have gone well, but that is not a determiner of your skill as a media creator, only your popularity. As long as you and your loved ones are proud of the work that you've done, that's all that matters. Fuel your creativity with your own personal drive and success markers, not the success measurements of others.
After taking a look at a few of these tips, do you feel like you're able to make that final step to release your work to the world? I know I am; I'm about to finish this article! I hope that you've enjoyed the read, and until next time, I hope to see more Black media from women who've done everything they could to see their projects through.
Let's see what you create now!