Undo EVERYTHING IN MY MIND THAT LEADS ME TO ACT OUT OF FEAR

Oftentimes I think of public figures in the entertainment industry like the Wizard in the film The Wizard of OZ. For the sake of building brand power, a bigger than life persona is projected to the world by many of the public figures we’ve grown to love and admire.

As a young person and artist, I learned the importance of being a brand in this world. I learned that branding is the difference between singing on a platform underground where the trains pass by and people standby, they hear your song only because their train was taking too long, versus the superstar that sings on platforms raised high above the masses. People flock to them and pay weeks’ worth of hard-earned wages just to experience their talent in person. The difference between the two of these scenarios, in many cases, is branding.

Jay-Z signed me in 2016, after 10 years of singing with my family in unconventional settings around New York City. We sang everywhere… Above ground, underground, inside of venues, outside of venues. During these 10 years, I thought of myself kind of like a boxer that trains in the gym and knows his greatness but has yet to be put in the ring with the “greats”. Jay validated my work, according to the standards of this world, when he signed me and my family. I will never forget the feeling I had, thinking “finally, I’m in the ring with the heavyweights… no more singing on platforms underground.”

I transitioned into working on my album like my life depended on it. Every lyric, color, texture, and sonic frequency was intentionally and meticulously placed. I knew how to work hard. What I didn’t know is that hard work meant nothing in this industry if it’s not accompanied with the outer appearance of glitz, glamour, and larger than life images of projected power. It wasn’t enough to just be powerful. I learned that it’s all a game of who can portray power the loudest.

I found that my hard work got swallowed up and barely noticed in an industry where I’m standing next to shiny powerful brands. I’m in the ring but I’m fighting with the wrong strategy. Spending months to learn an instrument or how to use ProTools recording software was great but perhaps that investment of time would go further if I spent it learning how to do my makeup at a professional level so that every time I walked out of the house I looked like a superstar. I probably should’ve bought the latest iPhone with a better camera for selfies instead of buying new expensive virtual instruments to make my songs sound fuller. The appearance of power paid more than actually doing the work to become powerful inside. I developed a fear of working with utmost excellence and not being given the respect that my work deserves. And so I figured I had to be both. Powerful AND with the appearance of being powerful.

The problem here is that I developed habits of over-analyzing every aspect of how I portray myself to the world. In other words, I built a bad case of self-consciousness which I believe is the biggest threat to freedom. I think a lot of artists in the industry struggle at times with this same thing. It’s the idea that if people see us for who we really are, then they’ll see that we are just like them and no longer find us worthy of being treated with the respect of Kings and Queens. Some of the most Iconic artists today still feel the threat of becoming a starving artist, and that threat starts to become a reality when your brand loses its power.

COVID-19 led me to rethink this whole equation. I want to undo everything in my mind that leads me to act out of fear and not faith. Life is too short to be lived in bondage when freedom is within reach and needs only to be grasped. I spend my days in my studio which ironically is called The Secret Place. I work hard but I’m learning to work from a place of having nothing to prove and already being fully accepted by The Most High. (Read Psalm 91 for this reference)

This blog is a big step for me because I will try my best to not share a lopsided version of Victory. You can’t have Victory without a fight and sometimes the fight is unattractive. I’m not afraid of people catching a glimpse behind the curtain of my brand… Perhaps in seeing that I am just like you, you will be inspired on your journey too.

Love,

Victory

P.S… Don’t get me wrong… I enjoy fashion and makeup, and having photoshoots especially with my sisters where we flex like models. The difference is, I feel no pressure to only portray this one dimension of me.

22 Comments
  • MrsHyatt
    Posted at 18:12h, 11 August Reply

    Beautifully stated! I so appreciate your perspective and your desire to live fearlessly in the truth of who you are! Keep on pressing forward as God guides you into the path that holds the desires of your heart!! Blessings✨

  • Julissa Leilani
    Posted at 18:17h, 11 August Reply

    This inspired me more than you know, thank you for your vulnerability Victory. This is needed! and Psalm 91 has been read multiple times during this time, so good!

  • Christopher L Dawkins
    Posted at 19:07h, 11 August Reply

    Dudeeeee, this is beautiful and hit me right in the gut. Thanks for being honest, vulnerable, and not afraid to unbox the systems that people who aren’t in the industry don’t see. This demystification will help people to look at themselves and grow in healthy ways 🙂

  • DaMonique
    Posted at 19:55h, 11 August Reply

    Hi Victory, i saw you perform at BGR and Black Girls Lead. Your presence, song, and faith in Jesus has been so encouraging to witness. Thank you for letting your light shine, for saying no to worldly standards and being who you were made to be.

  • Kristin Lescalleet
    Posted at 20:06h, 11 August Reply

    There are so many important lessons in what you wrote. My eldest son is graduating from the University of North Texas with a degree in cello performance. He works SO hard on his craft. It can be discouraging when a culture is drawn more to image than substance. Your songs display real substance and beauty and talent and skill. I guess branding is a necessary thing these days and maybe always has been to some degree. But I’m glad that behind your brand is a real artist.

    • Martti C Peeples
      Posted at 14:46h, 12 August Reply

      So on point, it’s the race we run daily, we mustn’t lose sight of the race.

      We must also run it with humbleness and Grace staying true to thyself. How can you sing aloud, if you’ve given up your internal gift in expectance of external validation.

      Continue to create the words God has laid on your heart, with the melody HE has placed in your fingers. This is your race and gifts HE has given to you and only you. Allow HIM to continue to increase you and not the superficial things which eventually goes away. Allow the love to grow within you cause without this attribute there is no Victory.

      Sing on Sing on my Sistah

  • Monica Barret
    Posted at 22:56h, 11 August Reply

    This made me cry. So well written and so helpful to keep things in perspective in such a muddy world.. The LORD had me look up scripture today on “fully” and then I found Victory was already there! Proud of you and thanks for inspiring me!

  • Kathryn Moore
    Posted at 04:31h, 12 August Reply

    Beautifully said!

  • Mary Davis
    Posted at 06:40h, 12 August Reply

    What a refreshing breeze of inspiration you are in this difficult and dark time! Thank you for sharing yourself through both the written word and song. God bless and keep you, Victory.

  • Maggie Kirkham
    Posted at 07:02h, 12 August Reply

    Just keep being you. Although at times it doesn’t seem like enough, BELIEVE that it is.

  • Glow
    Posted at 12:22h, 12 August Reply

    Great message for all sorts of creatives on here.. Thank you, Victory! 🌿

  • Tomiko
    Posted at 13:05h, 12 August Reply

    🌟🌟🌟🌟💛💛💛💛💛🌟🌟🌟🌟

  • Diane Scott
    Posted at 16:19h, 12 August Reply

    I’m so very glad I found you! I’m an old southern white woman striving to learn and grow. You are beautiful!

  • Linda Swanson
    Posted at 16:58h, 12 August Reply

    I love your work, I greatly appreciate your faith, and pray you are never tempted to forget who you really are- child of the Most High who loves and cherishes you and takes great delight in how you use the gifting He gave you. You have encouraged me so many times and I thank God for you.

  • Bridgette Johnson
    Posted at 21:02h, 12 August Reply

    I am in awe my favorite scripture Psalm 91, Bridgette Johnson

  • Barbara Fisher
    Posted at 23:03h, 12 August Reply

    Wow, that was really revealing. When you really recognize whose you are, you find that while you have to perfect your craft/gift, you are trusting God for the outcome.

    One of my favorite scriptures that keeps me grounded is Proverbs 21:1.

    The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, like the rivers of water, he turneth it whithersoever he will.

    This speaks to who is really in control. It is God, and he is sovereign over all things, every thing, every decision, every decision-maker. So trust him fully. Do not compromise to get where you want to go, trust God, fully. Fully.

  • James Dallas Bolden Jr.
    Posted at 02:18h, 13 August Reply

    I totally get the fear factor that we create in our soul (Mind) NOW. However I did also learn what to do about it. I gleaned peering into your transparency ; Trust Love,,, Be Humble ,and be Whom Love Created. Do so Shamelessly even when fear attempts to shame you. CREATE, LOVE , and LIVE.

    ,

  • Dwayne Rodgers
    Posted at 03:04h, 13 August Reply

    Victory first I want to say thank you for your transparency and for being an inspiration in my artistic journey. It is the balancing act of staying comfortable in our own skin as we prepare, evolve and grow into God’s intention for our lives, and not losing sight of our uniqueness which comes directly from all of our personal life experiences that produces the originality of what we offer to the world that only we can give!

    Freedom is Intentional!!

  • Donald F. Guest
    Posted at 09:40h, 13 August Reply

    The title of your piece got my attention right away. A few years ago I was a Tracy Chapman fan and she just kind of left the scene. When I heard you on fb a couple of years ago, I was immediately drawn to the clean simple-yet profound, albeit obvious professional quality of your artistry.. But back to the point (forgive me I’ll be 72 in January), when I was 18 years old I accepted God’s call to ministry while listening to the late Reverend Clay Evans of Fellowship Baptist Church of Chicago. He had a 30 minute Bible study every Thursday evening on WVON AM, a popular “soul” radio station in the Chicago area. When he gave the invitation, “Young peoples, put yo hand on the radio and tell God you will give yourself and not look back,” I added to this prayer–

    “God, please take away everything in me that is not of you, every religious idea, every preconceived notion.”.

    After 48 years of seeing God’s hand from time-to-time and not getting sidetracked too many times, temporarily but not permanently, in semi-retirement and I can say that God answered and continues to answer that prayer–and will for you as well. Prayers are offered for the success of your career and a balance between the important dual disciplines of branding and artistry.

  • Jasmine
    Posted at 02:57h, 14 August Reply

    Authenticity is the best brand you could ever have..your doing just that right here! So good! This is awesome and very relatable! “Don’t run from fear…Run toward Love”

  • Deb Spera
    Posted at 22:11h, 24 September Reply

    Thank you for speaking your truth. It resonates so strongly with me.

  • Louise Molton
    Posted at 03:25h, 28 October Reply

    You are really shining Victory- your music to psalms is amazing and spirit filled. Stay strong and follow your heart – there are amazing things ahead for you

Post A Comment