Ernestine is our awesome intern at ACME who returned to school upstate this week. She was amazing and did an exceptional job. She was also cool as hell and is destined for stardom at whatever she chooses. Right now she is thinking entertainment law. She is off to a great start after having to deal with David and I. Her final assignment was to write a blog post (how appropriate) providing her thoughts on her internship. Check out what she wrote below. She called it:
Dedicated to My First Love: Hip-Hop
“…Told her if she got an image and a gimmick
That she could make money, and she did it …
Now I see her in commercials, she’s universal
She used to only swing it with the inner-city circle
Now she be in the ’burbs lookin’ rock and dressin’ hip
…who I’m talkin bout y’all is hip-hop”
Loving hip hop, in the past, meant following the newest trends, as well as to perform acapella renditions of classic hip hop songs with my friends. It meant observing and sometimes following urban fashion trends. It meant religiously listening to Hot 97 to be up on the newest songs, and avidly watching Free and AJ host BET’s 106th and Park to learn the latest dances. It meant disobeying my mother’s wishes to switch to a musical genre that didn’t frequently use offensive language. I loved hip-hop so much I fantasized of acquiring an internship and eventually landing a job at a major record label such as Def Jam or Atlantic Records. The internship I got instead exceeded any daydream I had, let alone any expectations I had for the internship. So like Common, I took loving hip-hop to the next level the summer of ’08; I committed to her.
My desire to be closer to hip-hop led me to Acme Content Co, a branding company. The opportunity wasn’t necessarily what I had in mind, but I was willing to give it a shot. I was told that corporate giant P&G, was looking to successfully market their body spray, TAG, by differentiating the product from the competing body spray. P&G and its companies observed that there were no body sprays that targeted young, urban males. P&G and Acme agreed that the best way to successfully market to urban, young males was through hip-hop. In order to believably market to this demographic, they decided to team up with the living hip-hop legend, and coincidentally, the president of Island Def Jam, Jermaine Dupri to start a record label from the ground up. These perceptive observations led to TAG Records’ birth, a little before I signed on to work for the internship. I started working just as they were deciding between two acts. They finally agreed on the lyricist Q da Kid. I must admit, I was fairly impressed with the decision to sign Q, because the other act would’ve been a much safer choice because of the whole N.E.R.D./ Lupe Fiasco/Kanye West vibe the group had going for it. But instead Q was chosen, despite his rawness. They saw potential in this dude from Brooklyn, who was also committed to hip-hop and decided to take a chance on him. I respected that. I also respected their decision to give him creative freedom with very reasonable limits. So learning this, I felt pretty confident that I would soon feel comfortable joining the team that would help to make both P&G’s and Q’s dream come true.
I courted hip-hop mainly through TAG’s Myspace page. I communicated with other music lovers, and fans of both TAG and Q. I also helped to build our network through Core Djs’ networking site. I officially became the intern/community manager. Every day I listened to our friends’ music and help to decide which artists would make “Spotlight.” I also made sure I was up to date with the ever-evolving music industry by reading blogs. I also loved the perks, such as free music, attending commercial shoots and other major events as well as meeting hip hop celebrities. Like all relationships, it wasn’t always easy, but if you love what you do, then all the work is worth it.
All in all, the summer internship at Acme was a very unexpected, but thoroughly, enjoyable one. Through the internship, I am still fervently committed to hip-hop and in this relationship for the long haul.
– Ernestine Belgrave, ACME Intern