Hey davis Im a comic creator trying to break into the industry was hoping you could help a brotha out with that my big fan of your work and bring back THE CRUSH!
I am one hundred percent sure the writer wrote and sent this email with positive intentions and respect. But as they say, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.
This certainly did.
Here’s a hard and cold fact: many young African Americans are under the impression that being black gives them a pass on professionalism. The case can be made that my less-than-professional attitude in my public persona gave this young man leave to address me in such a way.
My public persona is my real life persona. In real life I have a certain swagger and attitude that I portray to the world. That’s just who I am. In anyone’s life there is a time and a place for everything, but in my professional dealings, there is never, and I repeat, never a time NOT to be professional.
There is no other way to say this: anyone who thinks they “know” you because you project a certain image to the world is most likely in for a rude awakening. Even worse — they may never get that rude awakening because emails and any other inquiries will simply be ignored.
I don’t do that.
Any chance I get to enlighten someone as to the error of their ways, I do so, but up to a point. I’m not wasting any time on someone I give advice to when they keep defending that ghetto bullshit way of thinking.
The following is my reply to the young man. As of yet, I’ve heard nothing back from him in the two week since I’ve sent this:
I say this with love my brother, “Hey davis” is not a level I operate on. That is not just unprofessional, it’s disrespectful. The rest of your email was poorly worded as well.
Now considering you sent this to a LinkedIn account, a professional networking site, you are very lucky my executive assistant didn’t see this first. If he had, your access to me through this site or anywhere else would have been terminated.
That said — I sense your enthusiasm, and as such I’m going to give you a pass.
If you would like to send me another email which states clearly what it is you do (artist, writer) what it is you would like to talk to me about (portfolio, writing samples) and what sort of advice you are seeking (craft critique, career opportunities) I will see whether or not I can help you in any way — IF you have the talent and motivation that warrants my help. If your work is presented in the same manner as your email, then we have nothing to talk about.
I hope this response is received by you as what it is: a reality check. This is in no way a put down.
“Who wrote this letter? Stevie Wonder?” That’s a put down.
I took time out of my day to write this. This is not a form letter; this is me writing to you with respect for your enthusiasm and a desire to see you succeed. If you think that’s something anyone in a position to help you will do, then you have a seriously unrealistic view of the entertainment industry, and you are not ready for a professional career within it.
Calling me “davis” is just ghetto. If you were my boy and we were back in my hood South Jamaica or Rockaway Queens, you could call me “davis” all day long. You’re not my boy, I don’t know you…yet.
You know what they call me when I walk into a meeting? Michael, Mr. Davis or Dr. Davis, depending on whom I’m meeting and why I’m meeting with them.
“davis?” Come on man!
There’s a saying — “You get one chance to make a first impression.” Well, I just gave you another. What you do with it is up to you, my friend.
Again, I say this with love.
I hope I hear back from the young man, and I hope, if I can, to help him. That’s my plan, but it’s up to him, and like I said earlier, the best laid plans…