Power Of Lasting Images: 5 Reasons For Rethinking #ForTheD Challenge

Lori Shepherd
Written by Lori Shepherd

After recently viewing the rapper GameOva Reedy’s #ForTheD challenge, I’m just like… wow, really?

Oh, how I wish this rapper hadn’t embarked on this particular challenge. In a short time, it has spawned numerous response videos from an array of people and entertainers who are ostensibly suggesting this is great fun.

The challenge came from New Orleans rapper GameOva’s freestyle song, “For That D.” Now people — especially celebrities — are rapping about what they would do for a little action.

But looking at it strictly from a public relations perspective, and knowing the power of lasting images, I believe this challenge couldn’t be more damaging.

For those of us in the midst of building business success, particularly for young black men and women just starting their careers, recent graduates embarking on successful careers, we know that real challenges exist.

Regardless of background, emerging tech startup founders find it excruciatingly difficult to raise capital and seed funding. Getting your tech platforms, apps and other solutions recognized is daunting, even for the most innovative ideas you’ve poured your life’s work into.

Now multiply this difficulty with the realities of being an earnest young black tech startup founder, business owner, or even a seasoned black business owner of a brick-and-mortar establishment mindful of meeting monthly goals.

Too often it can feel, and actually be, as if getting one’s foot in the door for a dream job, or into the offices of a venture capitalist, is simply impossible. Which takes me back to the idiocy of the #ForTheD challenge becoming one of the most viral social media efforts juxtaposed against your efforts to build strong brand awareness for your tech and business contributions.

The last thing you need is a potential investor clouded with images of you “challenging” during your presentation.

OK, so you say that business is business and entertainment and rap videos are two diametrically opposed endeavors.

You’re right. But too often others view us solely through a prism of popular media images that scream foolishness, negligence, and failure.

Unfortunately, rapper GameOva didn’t give this much thought, nor the numerous entertainers who are joining this movement.

Can you imagine if GameOva had released a Wealth and Business Challenge instead of a phallic body suit? Perhaps there’d be a young man clad in a suit rapping about business ownership and success. Whether you agree or not, isn’t the point. Here’s what you MUST remember:

Rethinking #ForTheD Challenge

1. Representation is king

As black men and women, we have the media’s framework of how we should look and act, regardless of whether it meets our personal standards. Most of the time the media won’t portray us in the best spotlight such as a studious college student, a startup founder, or the smartest person in the room. While of course, black people like these exist in abundance, you wouldn’t know it from the relentless images reflected in popular culture, on the internet, in social media, and TV and movies. Therefore it’s up to you to represent right. And, if you think about it, how you represent is crucial not only to your colleagues, clients, and employers but also, and more importantly, to your younger sisters and brothers coming up just behind you.

2.Forever, and ever, and ever

We’ve all heard it before. Everything on the internet lasts forever. However, the issue is that everyone is not taking it seriously. Your social media presence matters to future/current employees, coworkers, professors, future business partners and clients, and other professionals in your life who will stumble upon your social media accounts, causing them to judge what they see which would then cause them to prematurely judge you, and your character.

Remember, just because you delete your tweet or make your account private does not erase what was said. Next to caches, there are crowds of blood-hungry social medialites waiting to screenshot any hint of controversy.

Remember Cam Newton? Think about this debacle and the reporter who was widely considered a victim of sexism, only to be found to have tweeted racist tweets a few years ago.

Companies have ways of excavating embarrassing images and statements, even if you have forgotten them and have since matured. Think smart about what you post. A great rule of thumb is to think how your grandparents might perceive your tweet. If you know they would be embarrassed or horrified, then it’s a probably a safe bet not to post it.

rethinking #ForTheD Challenge

3. It could be dangerous

Social media gives us the chance to put our information out to the public in a convenient manner, but convenience can lead to carelessness and even danger. We all know that there are individuals who are unable to separate fact from fiction, especially within a social media environment. Therefore, brazenly stating what you would do, and describing the countless ways in which you would do it, could be reasoned to be your real intention by someone who means to do you great harm.

4. It makes you seem incompetent

Potential clients and employers want to hire people who are competent and talented. I’m not saying that posting the challenge means that you are not intelligent, but it can certainly taint your ability to be taken seriously.

5. It’s not a positive challenge

Sorry GameOva, but I say there are so many other great and inspiring challenges out there. Tutoring, starting a business, supporting an HBCU, learning a trade, volunteering within our community… take your pick.

People are participating in the #ForTheD challenge not knowing the origin, the meaning, or the purpose. And quite frankly, I’d love to hear the justification for creating the #ForTheD in the first place.

Whenever you choose to put yourself in the spotlight, it should be for a reason — and hopefully a positive one.

Remember your followers, who may be unaware of the challenge when they stumble upon your post. What will they think of you? Probably not particularly positively.

So, before you embark on your social media rise to fame, please think about what you’re posting and how it will be received. As business professionals, no matter how fun something appears, you must keep your business first and protect your image. The goal is to portray yourself in the highest light at all times. Remember, if Grandma or Uncle wouldn’t approve, leave it to Cardi B to post.

 

 

 

 

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About Lori Shepherd
Lori Shepherd, founder of 25SecondsPR, has worked for 15-plus years as a public relations/communications strategist in the Silicon Valley area. She’ll be sharing on Moguldom.com her perspective on inclusion in the tech sphere, her insights about emerging tech innovators making a difference, and veteran innovators who already have. Why 25 Seconds? “25 seconds tops is the time a public relations professional has to pique an influencer’s attention with a compelling pitch,” Lori says. Email Lori at lori@25secondspr.com.

View Comments
  • Deitra Brunner

    I loved the article but that video at the top does not go with this article.