Jameel Spencer

Fashion and brand innovator Jameel Spencer calls for change, addresses systemic racial injustice, takes us inside the world of working with icons, and shares how coaching unleashes potential.
Jeff Hunter:
Hi and welcome. I'm Jeff Hunter, and you are listening to coaching in the clear, the podcast committed to help you learn about coaching. We're going to help you better understand the value and the application of coaching by having in depth conversations with the people who use coaches to unleash their potential; the founders, leaders and managers who are shaping our world. Coaching is more popular than ever and we believe that sharing in depth, personal conversations about coaching experiences is the best way for you to learn whether coaching is for you and how you can get the most out of your coaching practice. We are especially interested in how people use coaching to unleash their potential while creating market leading big change businesses. Coaching in the clear is a production of Talentism, a business dedicated to helping the world's most ambitious leaders achieve their ultimate goals by systematically turning confusion into clarity.

We send out a weekly newsletter called the Sensemaker, where we offer our latest thinking about issues affecting big change companies and their leaders, as well as provide other helpful content, and enable you to unleash your potential. Learn more and sign up@talentism.com. We are launching coaching in the clear with Jameel Spencer. Jameel has been a force in the world of fashion and brand management for over 20 years. He has worked with some of the biggest icons in pop and hip hop culture, helping them build successful businesses before co-founding his current venture, Rightful Place. Rightful Place scripts narratives for brands and personalities so that they can achieve their full potential. We have a very powerful episode ahead, where we will talk about his introduction to coaching the lessons learned from some of his favorite peers and role models. We will then turn to our current climate of racial inequality and the ways we can keep intention at the forefront of our business practices and daily lives.

Jameel, thank you so much for being with me today on coaching in the clear, I really appreciate your time. I know you're incredibly busy and I very much appreciate you making the time to speak with me.

Jameel Spencer:
Nope, no worries. I appreciate the opportunity. I always love to speak to you.

Jeff Hunter:
Thank you, sir. All right, so let's just start at the beginning. How did you decide to start working with a coach? Just take me in the audience up to that point.

Jameel Spencer:

So the reality is that I didn't decide, it was actually something that was decided for me and interestingly enough, like most things in life, had I been given the choice I probably would have chose not to, because I'm probably more about what I didn't know and what I thought that coaching meant. But what I experienced was amazing.

Jameel Spencer: So at the time I was, running the fashion division at an IP holding company and we were going through some changes in terms of, you know, growing from a really small company to a much bigger company. And what it took from a culture standpoint to effectively run a larger organization was significantly different than what our experiences had been. And so our chairman had the idea to go out and seek coaching and because I was part of the management team I, you know, was a part of that. And so, it wasn't something that I chose to do.

I will say that once I did it, I really embraced it and found that it was really an extension of how, you know, we continue to get better in life. And so, you know, I'm an athlete. I was an athlete in college. I continued to work out every day to work on my body, you know, I try to work on my spirituality and so why wouldn't you work out your career and your ability as both a manager and an employee or an entrepreneur or whatever it is. And so what I experienced was something that I did not expect quite honestly.

Jeff Hunter:
So I've been talking to a bunch of different people and one of the things I talk about is I say, in order for somebody to be great in the coaching experience, they probably need two attributes. At least this has been my experience to date, which is that they need to be hungry and they need to be humble that they want, they are curious and they want to learn about themselves and they want to learn about the world. And they also show up with a bit of humility about it. They understand, they don't know everything, they understand they're missing things, and they use the coach effectively to help them get to clarity. And I have to say, of all the people I've worked with, you demonstrated both of those characteristics as much as anybody I've ever worked with. What is it you think, that makes a person have those attributes; want to be hungry to get better, hungry to improve, but also have a level of humility about themselves and what they do and don't know, and an openness, therefore, to want to get better and improve.

Jameel Spencer:
Ah man, I would say it's just living life. I think the more you experience, I think, you know, when you're younger your focus is on maybe going out and you know, accumulating things and, you know, it was all about you and making your mark in the world. I think that as you get older and you've had more experiences and you, you realize that, as much as you think you know, you don't really know anything at all. And that, you know, being open-minded is probably the most valuable trait that you can have if you're trying to be successful in life. So I think that, you know, humility and hunger come with experience. And so you know, I think that when, like I said we tend to be really full of ourselves when we're younger.

You know, if you can see that right now in the COVID area, that era that we're living in, you know, young folks are out at the beach and they feel like they're invincible. You know when they have someone in their family, they get sick, then they become open to the fact that, hey this thing is serious. And I think that's like everything else in life. So I think that it's more about just experiencing things, you know, seeing what doesn't work and realizing that you never have all the answers even when you think you do.
Jeff Hunter: Yeah. So I know a big part of your identity, a big part of the way you think about things is you're a father and you're very proud of being a father. And I know that your children are very active in sports themselves, very accomplished. How do you coach them? And I'm sort of fascinated about how parents coach their children in the midst of so much change and so much confusion. How do you coach your kids?

Jameel Spencer:
So, the irony of how I coach my kids is that it has nothing to do with, or maybe it's more of a reaction to how I was raised. And so I was raised, my mom was, you know, 18 years old and the freshmen in college when she had me and so I grew up without a dad in my household until I got older. When she got remarried, I had a stepfather who actually really, really showed up for me. And I don't think I even really appreciated it as much until I got older and had my own kids. But the reality is that the way I show up and coach my kids is more of a reaction of what I didn't have growing up. And the good news, and this is one of the things that actually was an unlock from the work that I did with Talentism, quite honestly, is that I do it unapologetically because I realized that, it's not about them liking me, right?

It's about me helping them become the best versions of themselves and whatever it takes to do that, I'm willing to do it with no remorse. Like I don't feel a kind of way telling them things. And I wasn't really applying that to my life as an executive. I was, you know, I was still trying to spare people's feelings, or I was concerned about people liking me, and realized that I should take the same approach that I was taking with my children, with people who worked with me, because if I really cared about them then you know, I would give them the unadulterated version of the truth. And so you know, that's kinda how I approach it. It was really just more like, whatever it takes for them to be the best versions of themselves. Being really honest about the fact that they're all different, and being okay with giving them, you know, things that are different.

One of the things that you know culturally, with people, have been consuming during this pandemic is a lot of people watch the ESPN, I think it was a seven or 10 part thing, the last dance on the bulls. And one thing that was really interesting to me was that Phil Jackson decided to let Dennis Rodman go to Vegas for like four days right before the playoffs, so maybe during the playoffs. And that to me was like, wow. That's crazy. But the reality is that you know, what it took for Dennis Rodman to be the best version of himself was significantly different than what it took for Michael Jordan, and was significantly different than what it took for Scotty Pippin. And you know, I look at my kids like that as a team and having a real sense of what it will take for them to reach the best versions of themselves and being unapologetic about giving it to them, whether they like it or not.

And so that has been you know, that's one of the things that I actually uncovered during the coaching was that you know, I really needed to look at the people around me the same way and be open minded and really be unapologetic. And that's not an easy thing. I mean, if you think about, you know, the crossing guard when you were in high school, right, like the kid or the hall monitor, right. Like, you know, most kids in high school want to be liked. So it takes a real personality for someone to really make everyone follow the rules. Right? You have to be unapologetic. You have to be okay with people and maybe not liking you. I admire that even in conflict or moments where I don't agree with folks that I work with. I admire the fact that they have the guts to stand up for their position, which makes me open minded and gives me the opportunity to maybe see it from their vantage point. I think that's something, you know, that has been really, really valuable for me in all aspects of my life quite honestly.

Jeff Hunter:
I think you're describing something I want to talk a little bit about, because I thought you were again, unusually good at this.

So, I think you're starting with self-awareness right? You have to know who you are to accept who you are. And a lot of people just don't know who they are, because they're so anxious to please others, or because they're afraid they're going to lose something or whatever it is. And so they're really caught up in that fear or that anxiety, as opposed to just being okay with themselves. Then as you start to get okay with yourself and you’re starting to get to know yourself, then you have to watch out that your mind's tricking you because you can get arrogant. You can start to think, wow, I've really got it going on. I really know the answers, where frankly if you care about getting better, you’ve got to learn all the time, which means you’ve got to have some self skepticism, some humility, and then ultimately the way people really up their game is self acceptance.

And I talk to people about this all the time, and it's incredibly difficult for them to see that self acceptance is not the same as arrogance. It's not letting yourself off the hook. It's understanding we're all human. We all have problems. We all have weaknesses and strengths. And if you say, I accept I have some weaknesses, it actually opens you up to go after those things and improve. If you fight against that, if you deny that you've got problems and your weaknesses, your mind sets up a block to it. And you just can't get to it because in your mind it’s just so unpleasurable and painful for your mind to even consider it. And the thing I experienced in our coaching was how, again, just how hungry you were to get to know yourself better, to engage in that sort of humility, and then to get to that point of acceptance.

And I remember during our coaching where we'd talk about, if you really care about somebody you're going to do what's best for them, and often what's best for them isn't what they're going to like. And you’ve still got to tell them the truth and you’ve still gotta be there and sort of hang out with them while they're upset at you, because you told them the truth. And I just, I really saw you do that extremely well. So I wanna know, I want to segue onto that, where I know that you've had some extraordinary mentors and coaches in your life. You've had people who made huge differences in addition to your mom and your stepfather and others. And I was wondering if you could share a little bit about, cause I feel so lucky that we have so many of these stories, if you could share a little bit with the audience, like, what was the experience of working for some of the earliest people you worked with and what did they teach you?

Jameel Spencer:
Oh man. Yeah. I've been super duper blessed, and it's funny because it's not until these moments where you're talking about it out loud, do you even give yourself credit or take you know, the time to be thankful for the experiences that I've had. So, you know, I moved to New York in the early 1990s. You know, did a bunch of things and worked for a bunch of really, I mean, I've worked for some of the most amazing personalities. So I worked with Shaquille O’neal, I ran a clothing company called Twism and when he first came to the Lakers, which was awesome, I spent a lot of time in LA with Shaq. And then I was able to have some really amazing experiences, as I sort of progressed in my career, you know, I worked for Sean Puffy Combs and that was really interesting because of the way I got there, right?

Because at the time I was really, really comfortable in the job that I was in. I actually had just left Vibe magazine with Keith Clinkscales and Lynn Burnett, who were the CEO of publishers at Vibe. And we left, we walked out in a very public exit and went out and got funding and started a company called Vanguard media. This is right around the time that the .com thing, the first .com bubble where people, you know, spent and lost a lot of money. And so at the time I was really very comfortable in that job. Had no real intentions on moving. But, you know, Puff saw something in me from afar that he felt was necessary. And he started soliciting me, and I'm talking about calling me four or five times a day to the extent that, you know, I actually accepted the job after he had announced to everyone that I had accepted the job when I hadn't accepted the job.

And what I learned from him was really like, anything is possible and don't take no for an answer. And I remember, and I probably told you this story before, you know, one of the real aha moments around, you know, who he is and how he got to where he is today. Because I think if you look at him from the outside looking in, you would think that he was extremely arrogant and had this, you know, this notion of knowing everything. And I think that ultimately you know, he's nothing like that. Right? So there was a moment where he had asked me to reach out to someone and I was like, okay, no problem. And I saw him later on, that evening in the studio, because he would always see was, you know, famous for asking you to come meet him in the studio at some crazy hour.

Like yeah, meet me at 11:30 in the studio. And I'm like, Oh, that's horrible, but, okay, great. And I get there and he's like, so did you speak to him? And I was like, no, I sent him an email. He hasn't hit me back yet. And he said, you sent him an email? You sent him an email? Let me tell you something, man. If I send somebody an email and they don't get back to me in the first 30 minutes, I'm showing up at their door. He said, and the difference between my house and your house is that you send emails, I show up at people's doors. And that was really like, because the reality is that the reason why he and I were even having that conversation was because he would see me at a party and call me at three o'clock in the morning and be like, is a deal done yet?

When we working together? Come on, man. We going to make history together. And he still calls me to this day, that same way. He actually was celebrated at Howard university. They gave him an honorary doctorate. And he had been calling me to come cause he wanted everybody that he loved to come and be a part of this celebration. But I was, you know, I had just started a new job. I didn't really have time. So I was like literally ghosting him. I was like not taking his phone calls. And one day I'm in a meeting in my office and my son, my oldest son, his name comes up on my phone. So I answered the phone. I'm like, Hey, Jamani, what's going on. He goes, hey dad, I got uncle puff for you. And puff ends up on the phone with me.

And all he said to me was, don't come to my funeral, come to this, don't worry about my funeral. You could miss my funeral. I need you to celebrate me while I'm alive. And it's that attention to detail. And that ability to just be relentless is why he will always be successful. He will always be relevant. He will always do things where, you know, he may not have anything going on. So he'll run a marathon, right. And you'll have Diddy runs the city. He might not have anything going on so he'll do a voter registration thing called vote or die, right? Or he'll have nothing going on. So we'll go on Broadway and do a Broadway play. So you know, this guy has remained relevant for 15, 20, 30 years, right? Because he is relentless and he has his finger on the pulse of pop culture in a way that you combine that relentlessness and that connectivity to culture.

And then you become the guy that's driving culture. So, you know, that was an amazing experience. And then I was able to go from working for him to ultimately work with JayZ. And there was a brief stop there with Damon Dash, but ultimately working with Jay, his personality is the exact opposite of Puffs. While Puff is relentless, you know, Jay is laid back, right? But he has a code and he only does things that fit within that code. And so, you know, he says no, way more than he says yes, but when he says yes, it's going to be culture changing. It's going to be life changing. It's going to be something that the entire world sees. And it's funny, cause I watch him now and he still moves exactly the same way. So whether it be the fact that he took out full page ads and all the local newspapers to promote all the black owned businesses there are in East people city, right? Because now he's about empowering his own culture. You know, he just does things that are different than most folks. And so you know, having these amazing opportunities and the good news about those relationships, where I really felt confident that I was giving as much as I was getting and that’s why those relationships are still strong to this day, because I think that there's an appreciation for each other.

You know, I believe that God put me in those, in those guys' lives for me to get and for me to give, and I'm extremely appreciative cause I know that, I'm a much better, I'm not even just a better executive, I'm a better person for those relationships.

Jeff Hunter:
It was such a wonderful part of our coaching experience when you would tell me these things, because one of the things, one of the things I've learned over time is just how much, I don't know. Over time I realized just how blind I am to so many things and how many things I'm missing. And I learn so much from the people I have the honor of working with. And just as a side note, I was able at one point to talk to Paul, I believe you had introduced me to him and I walked away from that conversation completely blown away, it wasn't at all what I expected. Which of course is where you should be aware, self aware of your expectations and your blind spots. Because it was an extraordinary conversation with a person who was filled with curiosity and conviction and real humility I thought, which surprised me.

So thank you for making that connection and thank you for telling me about that. So now, let's move into that whole thing I was just talking about, which is blindness and talking about how to help each other. So one of the things I've been talking to my clients on and my friends on this podcast, is to ask them about my own privilege and the blindness that privilege causes and how that may prevent me from being the best possible coach and the most help I can be to other people and asking a very simple question, but I think a really important and frankly uncomfortable one, which is as a straight white guy, can I be a good coach for an African American? Can I be a good coach for a transgender person, for a woman? Can I be a good coach for people who aren't like me? And I'd love your perspective and opinion on that?

Jameel Spencer:
Yeah, this is a great one quite honestly, because, you know, I recently produced a black men summit on the essence streaming platform. And one of the things we talked about was mental health and how you seek people to help you work on your mental health. And someone said at one point he was like, you know, it was really important to be intentional around finding someone who was of color because, you know, they needed to understand the things that he was going through. And so for you to ask me that question now, which is really interesting because of the fact that like, quite honestly, the coaching that I did with you was super special to me. Right? And it was super impactful. And the reality is that it was kind of colorless, which is kind of like bullshit if we're being honest right? Because like nothing should be colorless, right?

Like I am proud of the fact that I'm a black man, so I would never say when you see me, don't see color. I would never say that I want you to see a beautiful, proud black man, a beautiful, proud black father, husband, interex. But I think when it comes to, you know, coaching some of these things are evergreen quite honestly. And I love the fact that I, cause I felt like when we were doing our coaching, you know, there was a lot of, you know, sharing of information. And so I felt like, you know, you were learning a lot of stuff about the world that I came from, that you didn't know previously. And I think that goes back to your first question, right?

Where you say that, you know, how can you stay humble and hungry at the same time? I think there's gotta be the openness, the vulnerability that says when it comes to some of this stuff, I can't speak intelligently about that. Right? Like you don't know. I remember you, myself and my best friend, Emmett had an amazing call right after all this stuff happened with George Floyd. And I remember like seeing the look on your face and you were so emotionally, you’re full of emotion, right? And that warmed my heart because I knew that you cared, you cared as much about what you didn't know and what you couldn't understand. But I think that was also a moment where like, and I think the reason why we're seeing the reaction, the way we're seeing the reaction, when we, you know, who thought, who would ever thought that there would be these black lives matter rallies all around the world and probably more young white people there than young black people, like who would have ever thought that, and that's what the world needs.

So somewhere along the line, especially as it pertains to, you know, culture coaching for executives, the reality is that white folks have been on the top of that triangle forever, right? And it's been by design. And so there's things that are necessary in terms of understanding how to traverse through that world that you may be uniquely positioned to help me sort through. But I do think that, you know, had you asked me this question, had you and I never gone through the experience that we went through and what happened in the world had just happened. I probably would have a different answer. Quite honestly. I probably would think that no. And it's funny because I've actually suggested you for some companies that I work with today that are, you know, that are black companies that work in the black and their work, you know, with the black community and, you know, I've heard, well, you know, we can't have a white guy come and do that.

And my response is sometimes it ain't about black or white. It's really just the best, right? And sometimes we should just want the best. And I know I don't have a load of other experiences to compare it to and contrast it from, but I know that, you know, what we did together and what we continue to do in terms of, you know, talking, helping, caring for each other, you know, that's real. And that has nothing to do with, and by the way, it might have, it probably has everything to do with the fact that you're a straight white man. And then I'm a straight black man, right? It has everything to do with that because just as much about what makes us different, I think makes us appreciate one another too. And so like I said, if you'd have asked me the question today and you and I had never had the experience that we had, I probably would say no, I need a black man to do that for me but having gone through the experience I would choose you all day.

Jeff Hunter:
Thank you. I'm pretty... thank you. Okay. So let me compose myself after that answer. Thank you very much. But you want to continue along that vein a bit. So you said something very interesting. I think it's really important to understand something I see every day when I'm working with white male executives is that they don't necessarily understand that they're privileged because every day they're working through stuff, they feel terrible about their performance. They're just human beings. And so they're feeling terrible about who they are or whatever's going on and the last thing that's striking them is they're doing anything that's creating systematic racism. That's the last thing that's occurring to them. They all believe themselves to be good people they're trying their best and sometimes know the best thing to do and sometimes don't, but definitely would not consider themselves to be part of a system that actually creates a systemic level of disadvantage and fundamental injustice.

And yet my experience is in thousands of different little ways, anybody who has privilege or power does that, right? They want to keep what they’ve got. We all do. We all want to, when we feel like we've earned something, whether we in fact have earned it or not, we want to hold onto that, it becomes part of our identity. And then our mind is tricky and it does lots of little things every day to help us stay in that position. So for somebody like me and many others who are really very deeply and fundamentally concerned about that systemic injustice and about the systemic racism, sexism, and homophobia that exists inside the current structure and system of our, you know, of the workplace, what are the things that a guy like me can do to deliver to people who haven't had the same luck that I've had the same privilege I was born into and did nothing to earn? What can we do to start, to cure some of that and start to fix some of that. And I'm not talking about the big gestures, I'm talking about every day, the thing we can work on to actually break the system.

Jameel Spencer: Yeah. So what you're, what you're alluding to is, right? It's like we are all a byproduct of the most incredible marketing plan of all time, right? And it's like, it's insane, I guess, because like, you know, and marketing is really powerful. Like, you know, somewhere along the line, there were people who made eggs and bacon that they convinced everyone that breakfast was the most important meal of the day, right? And people walked around forever believing that. And I bet you, if you did a survey today, you know, you'd get in, you know, in the high 80% of people that still believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, because that's what they told us. And so all those things you're alluding to is part of, you know, like one of the, probably the biggest crimes of all time, right.

And this country has now been built on a foundation of something that is not sustainable. And the reality is that it was already in the process of changing in and of itself, because one thing that you can't market is love, and there is an innate appreciation for black culture that is undeniable. And so if you go, especially when you get outside of the United States, like every time I've been in London, I've never seen a black man with a black woman. I've always seen the black man with a white woman, a black woman with a Chinese guy, like whatever it is and so they literally, the complexion of the world is changing. And, you know, and I forgot the number, but they say sometime within the next 10 years, right? There'll be more mixed race people than white folks.

And so, you know, this change was coming. And what you're seeing now is the reaction to people actually coming to terms with their privilege, they’re like, wow, I never knew, which is kind of insane, right? I never knew that black people were being treated this way. And so I think in terms of, you know, what can we do? I think there needs to be, I think we need to be intentional around creating opportunities and being diverse and showing it's funny because it's like you say these things. So like I'm working on something as we speak. And in the work, you know, there's a different look and feel to some of the creative that we have and people are again, people are so knee jerk reaction to what they're used to, that you hear things that are really just cold for racism that, you know, that the model she doesn't have on makeup and her hair looks crazy.

No, but our hair is natural and her skin looks natural because she's a black woman, right? And so it's not something that you can force feed the people. Because it's so much that went into creating the dynamic that unraveling it's going to take time and patience, but more importantly intention. And so like to the extent that, you know, people who probably couldn't afford this type of coaching could get this type of coaching. I mean, so now we're talking specifically about what you and what you do. I think that maybe if there was an opportunity for you to, you know, to provide this type of coaching to young people of color, you know, maybe even while they're in college. Because, you know, I literally got out of college and had no clue what I wanted to do.

This career kind of found me quite honestly. So, you know, I would say like providing coaching, I think that you have an amazing network, you know, you were working with a C suite level individuals and, I know you and I've seen the growth of your company over the years and it's, you know, it's powerful. So, you know, to the extent that you could continue to be a beacon of light around, you know, connecting folks like that. And people just feeling like a responsibility, right? You know, but it's hard for people to feel a responsibility when they don't even realize, they don't even recognize the privilege. And then even when you say it to them, they're like, Oh, okay, but you know, that's not me, right?

And they don't realize that, you know, it's so deeply entrenched into our culture that it’s not noticeable, but what you don't realize is as black folks, we always knew we had to be way better to get the same. We have to be better. And so now you have a whole generation of folks who, you know, so my parents, when I was growing up, they wanted me to be a doctor or lawyer or an accountant. I actually took accounting when I was a freshman in college, it was like the worst class. I was like, I would never do this for a living. Because in my mind that was one of the three things I could do to be successful. Then I got out of school and I saw young black folks that look like me talk like me, dress like me, achieving success on their own terms.

And now what you have is a generation of folks who grew up in that dynamic, who are now having children who, what they're capable of is totally different. It's so much more than what we're capable of. Now, the problem is understanding that your kids are different. Going back to the Dennis Rodman, you know, example, so what you'll hear, and I think this is not a black or white thing. I think you just hear this about, you know, this generational, you know, you hear these kids. Well, these kids and as probably, and it's definitely more so for black folks, right? These kids didn't grow up. Like we grew up, they don't have the toughness, they don't have the figure it out, right? Because all of their interactions are curated, you know, their play dates and all of these things, these kids, they don't go outside.

They don't do okay. We could talk forever about what they don't do, but what do they have? They have access and they have information and they have an ecosystem. And now they're starting to know each other at a younger age. And what they're capable of is, is anything quite honestly. And so I'm excited about the future because when I look at my children and their friends and my friends, my friends, children, I'm excited because without even knowing it right, they have now a really, really connected to a culture like them. They have these beautiful children with these hair and all this stuff going on. It's very rich, very Afrocentric, you know, our ability to connect ourselves to the continent of Africa is important because quite honestly, we are a Regal people, right? We come from Kings and Queens, but you don't learn that in school, at public school, in Norwood, New Jersey, you don't learn about that because they want to tell you about, you know, the pilgrims and Christopher Columbus and all of this crazy stuff like this.

I mean, there's still perpetuating these myths within our school systems. And so in terms of, you know, a guy like you, I think that first of all, I will never, I will always say it over and over again. I am completely touched and appreciative of your empathy. And the fact that, you know, you are diligent in trying to figure out, you know, how do you do your part? And so I think that, I would focus on the children. I would focus on the young folks because if you think about it, if you look about even this revolution or what's going on, right? These peaceful protests, whatever it is, it's all being led by young people, right? I mean, I'm comfortably in the backseat of the car while they're driving. But I'm excited about what they're capable of because, they have the access to the information, right? Speaker 2 (38:36):

And they also have their grandparents who maybe grew up during a time where it was way worse than it is today even. So they have the value of those stories. But, you know, when I grew up as a kid, all of my friends that I went to high school with, nobody had their father in the household, nobody. Now the people will tell you is, 70% of how black households are led by women. Okay. But, you know, I think that for the households that do have the men in the house, you know, we're building something positive and then I always would bet on black women anyway, cause I was, you know, I was raised by a single mom and really by my grandparents, my grandmother's. And my grandmothers were really the ones who turned me into who I am today.

And so, but I would say I would focus on the children. And then, you know, utilized your entire ecosystem to add value and give them opportunities and be super intentional around it because that's the only way we'll get there because everyone will tell you every reason why not to, you know, that doesn't make sense. It doesn't make money, it doesn't make them, but then, you know, well, how do you want to live your life? I think that when you get older it's about, you know, like I said, when you were younger, you want to make your mark. When you're older, you want to leave your legacy, right? You want to leave the world a better place than it was when you got there. And you gotta be okay with maybe, you know, investing in some things that you might not see come to fruition, that may happen, you know, in your children's lifetime or your children's children's lifetime, and that's gotta be okay. And that work needs to start and be consistent.

Jeff Hunter:
Well my friend, you have my word of honor that I'm going to do that. And I'm putting that out in the public sphere and I will come back to you and how I'm going to implement that, but you've inspired me to action. And so thank you, thank you very much for sharing that. And it resonates deeply and it makes a lot of sense. So thank you. So one more question. We just don't have enough time to get into all the fascinating things I'd love to talk about, but in addition to everything we've talked about, you are a world class marketing mind and you've been at the front edge of, and the leading edge of changes in fashion and a number of different areas and seeing firsthand how the changes in the way consumers think about purpose in mission in spending their dollars more than just on a product, but an experience and a company that represents their values. You've been at the leading edge of that for a long time. What do you think if you're a white guy listening to this podcast and you're a CEO and you're sort of surprised by the, you know, by the changes that are happening around you, what do you think they need to know about how this is all gonna affect their business?

Jameel Spencer:
Well, I mean, I think the reality is, I think they just need to be more honest, quite honestly, because this dish has, this is not a new thing. Like, I mean, black folks have been the driving force of pop culture from the beginning. So back when, you know, I mean, first of all, I mean, you can really attribute, you know, American music to slave music, right? If you think about, you know, in the fifties, when white folks were listening to rock and roll and all of a sudden soul music became a big deal, but they put white faces on the album cover. And so this is not a new thing.

I think the reality is that like, it's time for us to get the credit for it. And the credit needs to be in the form of equity. But the reality is that we're living in a time right now where I feel like it's a right sizing. I think that the laws of physics says that, you know, for every action, there's a reaction. And so the action of slavery and oppression and all of that has happened. And now we're in the beginning of the reaction and there needs to be an appreciation but more importantly, an investment because, you know, we've been giving away our impact forever, right? So way more white folks make money off of black music, black films, like how crazy is it that Kim Kardashian has gone to a doctor and gave herself all the black attributes she could.

And now she's, you know, one of the most famous women in the world, right? And that dynamic is something that has gone on forever and so now I think it's time for people to give back. I think it's time, you know, I think people were going to hold people accountable. Like, you know, brands like Nike, right? People that have Nike's coming out saying all the right things, but people are like no, no, no, no, Nike, you don't have any senior leadership of color in that organization, which is absurd. You can't tell me, because first of all the talent is black, right? Tiger woods, LeBron James, Serena Williams. I mean, by the way, these people have buildings on the campus, right? And you're telling me that the majority of folks, I mean, think about even like the NFL or NBA, like how, how the hell is there no black ownerships in those leagues when you, when I'm telling you right now, especially if you see what's going on with the NBA right now, if LeBron James decided to go and take over wherever they are in the bubble right now and do that tournament himself, I think it's more successful, right?

But meanwhile, we're still here trying to get a piece of that pie. So I think that it's funny because it doesn't happen easily. It doesn't happen naturally, right? Because like if you go too far in the other direction, it doesn't feel genuine. But the reality is that there needs to be an honest appreciation for this culture that has been the driving force for pop culture for as long as anyone can remember. And then there needs to be an equitable share of ownership of these things because it's just not right. It's just not right that, you know, these white billionaires that run the NFL are making all this money and people will tell you, Oh, well, these guys are millionaires. Okay. But we know millionaires, you could be broke. Billionaires and you probably good forever, right?

It's generational wealth. And those are the titles. We need to own our own culture. And to the extent that you're selling something to, or as a result of black culture, then you need to be really mindful of how we get a stake in that, because I'm telling you right now, the tide is changing. And right now, if you're not going to be on the right side of the culture, you may be out of business. And no one would have ever thought that some of these brands would be in trouble, but we've seen bigger things go away over time for way less. And so I think that the time that we're living in people need to be honest about it and really, really figure out what side of culture you want to be on. And by the way, by not doing anything, you're making a choice there too, right?

Business as usual doesn't work. If you think about even people's timeline and social media, I think that people were very, you know, out in front of this and talking about it all the time. But the person that just goes on talking about regular things, again, like we're looking at you, like there's literally a cultural police that are out there right now that could literally make you go away. And so people should move understanding that.

Jeff Hunter:
Well, I'm going to end on that powerful note. I love that. Thank you very much, Jameel. I am so incredibly grateful for you, spending the time with me and always been grateful for the opportunity to play a role in your life and for you to teach me everything you've taught me. So thank you so much. I just can't tell you how much I appreciate it.

Jameel Spencer:
Nah, listen, I appreciate you, man. You asked me, I'm showing up all day.

Jeff Hunter:
Thank you, sir. All right, well that, and we're going to sign off.

Jameel Spencer:
All right, brother.

Jeff Hunter:
Coaching in the Clear has been a production of Talentism, it was recorded mixed and edited by 46 ad studios, original music by John Hunter. If you found this podcast valuable, please share on social media and make sure to leave a review. To support this podcast please sign up at Talentism.com. There you will find important content and up to date insights about how to unleash your potential. Thank you so much for listening.

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