by Aliyah W.

During the 2017-18 school year, the Memphis Music Initiative team taught us about branding and marketing ourselves. With this in mind I had steps I was able to consciously follow when it was time to take quality photos and videos of my work. I was more willing to create more content to be able to share with potential clients and collaborators. But the Memphis Music Initiative did not stop there! They also implemented a digital portfolio into our summer curriculum. To have everything in one place was the most challenging but rewarding aspect for me. I was able to see my artwork and content come to life all on one page and surprisingly it looked very cohesive and I started to notice my signature style. I was proud of myself and what I was truly able to do.

My communication skills have also improved within this program. I have gained a few new friends this summer and strengthened relationships that I previously had. Being more open minded and listening to each other’s stories has shown me why people believe in the things that I did not understand. MMI taught us to communicate our stories with each other to understand one’s differences and similarities based on upbringing. I have made so many new memories to keep, like when I was able to showcase my talents with others when we took a mini field trip down to Shelby Farms Park. We dressed in our Sunday best that represented our unique sense of style. A fellow Memphis Music Initiative employee, Coby Bennett, took our photos that were used to enhance our digital portfolios. The digital portfolio is an important step to personal branding along with a biography and contact page. Thankfully, we collaborated using our special skills and techniques that resulted in a successful photo shoot with quality photographs.

I also gained the confidence to speak to people about my ideas and implemented them as needed. I was not afraid to say, for once, “My talent is..,” without doubt. For example, I spoke up when my supervisor asked me if I was able to teach a makeup class, something I had never done before. I spoke up when asked if I could learn music to be played live for the showcase at the end of the summer in front of over 1,200 audience members at the Cannon Center! When asked for creative ideas to enhance the shows that the Young Actors Guild performed, I was not afraid to implement my ideas and be part of a conversation that affected an important event. I was not afraid to hear my own voice and use it to my best benefit and represent Memphis Music Initiative abundantly.

Even though I was challenged in an unfamiliar environment around people I had never met and doing tasks I had never even heard of, I still succeeded. I was always congratulated for a job well done so that is always a plus for me. Thank you to the Memphis Music Initiative for allowing me to become in tune with talents I never knew I had. I will keep the lessons I have learned and use them for future opportunities to come.

Aliyah interned with the Young Actors Guild.