Confession of a Part-time Dream Chaser: A JMBLYA 2018 Recap

Lesson: Wear many hats if necessary. Know why you wear those hats though. Learn from wearing the hats you must wear. Wear the hats with purpose and pride.


Acts:

  • Jack Harlow
  • Cozz
  • Ski Mask the Slump God
  • Trippie Redd
  • Playboi Carti
  • Mr Rogers/Bun B/Trae tha Truth
  • T.I.
  • Young Thug
  • Migos
  • J Cole

Special Guests: ESG and Tobe Nwigwe


 

I don’t plan on making a habit of using words as my chosen communication medium. But this is a milestone for me, my first truly credentialed festival. So I hope my short story serves as inspiration/caution.

Photography is the first thing in my life that I have chosen. And if my first wedding photographer choice wouldn’t have canceled on me, it probably would not have happened. Everything professionally and entrepreneurially that I have done leading up until now has been in service of someone else. 

Going to college was at the service of my parents, which I eventually squandered in the summer of my third year at UH. Trying to get to school I racked up A LOT of traffic tickets which eventually lead to warrants(no job). I then was at the service of the County of Harris and surrounding municipalities… eh hmm. Queue overnight stays at the county jail for driving on a suspended license, namely and a more memorable stay on Thanksgiving Eve. I’ve sold used cars. I worked at GameStop. I’ve been a scooter shop GM. I was once a banker. I am now 34 and a banking professional with a major firm, a father, a husband, a tax payer(booo). Professionally all my choices have been out of necessity. 

Entrepreneurially, the one constant since childhood has been my love of music(RIP Prince). From a tender young age of dreaming about how I would be on some big stage singing for thousands like at a JMBLYA. While attending college I quickly realized my skin wasn’t thick enough for that kind of judgement. I have been a music showcase runner(OneMic Houston), promoter, manager, flunky, door man, stage manager and for the longest I was a self-taught videographer/editor. Almost 10 years. I have been fortunate to meet some awesome friends along this road. My closest friends actually are music artists – who I have supported throughout those 10 years. Hence the several aforementioned entrepreneurial hats I provided. 

Fast forward to now, a year in a half ago I was tasked with one job in my wedding planning. Pick a photographer. Dun dun dun… they canceled a month before(still the homie though). I quickly found another photographer and they were awesome. But my process of selecting was very hmmm… lets just say rigorous. Doing video for years, I know what I like, and I wanted my forever photos to look a certain way. My now wife kept sending me recommendations and I kept blocking like Hakeem in “94” – call me a hater. I decided then instead living in envy or admiration of others abilities I would do it myself. 

So here I  am, a part-time dream chaser shooting my first festival. Looking through a sea of faces as they are lost in the moment – not worried about anything else but that moment. I’m also witnessing major artists deliver sets full of passion and conviction. Act after act blazes the stage leaving their audience grasping for more. Every heighten moment starts with 3 count. And on 3 energies sync and this mass of people move in unison to their unified moment. This experience of witness behind the lens, for me, is unlike anything I have ever felt. It feels purposeful and meaningful, it feels like it’s mine. Not in service to anyone else, but meant for me.

From just after 1pm to 10pm JMBLYA delivered. I worked one hell of festival. Which in truth I actually once aspired to own a music festival at one point(hats man). Last night, I finished editing at 3 AM. I woke up at 7:30 AM for my full-time corporate life. I write these words from my desk. I’ll be the first to say I took the long road to this point. But in truth I’d do it all over again the same way. Hell, even my high school “The Might Jack Yates High” had a photography curriculum and I chose media tech. UH has a great communications school and I chose marketing as a major. All of the best parts of my life happened because of this sometimes self-inflicted weathered and troubled road. The next phase in the journey, full-time dream chaser. It feels closer than ever.

Slide Show Time – Take look at the collection I curated from my time at the festival below. If you were there, relive it one more time. If you weren’t able to make it, experience it start to finish by order of appearance. Thank you to JMBLYA and Scoremore Shows for their very warm hospitality. Until next year.

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