At the 2016 MTV Music Video Awards, Teyana Taylor proved to the whole entire world that she = goals (and it is for an entirely different reason than you think).
The participants of the 2016 MTV VMAS gave new life to what seemed to be a dying event. Honestly, I only tuned in to see Ri Ri and Bey bless the stage. The night was jam-packed with stellar performances. Rihanna and Beyoncé owned the stage and slew us all with their #BlackGirlMagic. One of the most unexpected moments of the night was when Kanye West’s latest “Life of Pablo” video Release, “Fade” premiered. The surprise had nothing to do with Yeezy’s erratic antics. Surprise, the video featured the multi-talented Teyana Taylor. She was dancing like “no one was watching” while simultaneously slaying the award show viewership into captivation. Taylor and her perfectly fit bawwwwdy were lauded with much veneration and praise. So much so that many people dubbed the video premiere as her “breakout” performance.
Those of us who love Hip Hop and Black Popular music in general know that Teyana Taylor has been on. Teyana is the Black music industry’s “baby” sister and she has been on the scene for over seven years. We also know that the Harlem native has always had a bawwwwdy with a fierce fashion sense to match. Teyana’s "introduction" to the pop culture mainstream was not the beginning of her career. The R and B Crooner’s shining moment is actually quite inspiring. She has had a career filled with peaks and valleys. Yet, she refuses to give up.
Here are the 5 self-development concepts that I learned from her “breakout” VMA performance that have nothing to do with her bawwwwdy.
Sometimes you have to experiment to find your “True North.”
Teyana first stepped on to our MTV screens, 9 years ago, via an episode of sweet 16. She was determined to have a “Skateboard Sweet 16.” Prior to her MTV debut, Teyana was signed to Pharrell’s Star Trak records. She was supposed to be a rapper, but decided to flex her singing chops with her first single “Google Me.” After ending her relationship with Star Trak she went on to be a rapper, choreographer, dancer, video girl, model, actress, host, and designer (all before the age of 25). She drew a massive following online but never had a mainstream crossover deserving of her work ethic and presence. 2014 marked the release of her classic album VII. From that point on it was evident that Teyana was more than just a young, beautiful, and internet famous socialite. Taylor has stated that it took her some time to find her sound and what she has found is classic. Experimentation with different fields and different creative camps helped her to evolve into a lane and style that is truly her own. It’s kind of hard to pick a lane when you have so many talents. Through trial and error, Teyana confirmed her passions by being unconventional and uncompromising.
Know Who You Are and Stay True to That
Creative freedom often gets compromised in the pursuit of fame and fortune. Teyana was not willing to allow her creative visions to be bargained for a shot at the mainstream. Taylor asked to be released from Star Trak records. She cited creative differences for the end of her business relationship w/ Pharrell Williams’ record label. Most teenagers would have let their desires to be famous supersede their artistic integrity. Not Teyana, she stated that she left the label to have the creative freedom to make decisions about what she wanted for her image, music, and career. Teyana didn’t compromise her sound and vision for a quick come up. She has always repped the 90’s and Harlem and no chance at fame would ever compromise that. Choosing to be released showed Teyana’s had faith that the day would come that she would be a household name and she was willing to wait for the right time and path (no matter how long it took).
Ignore Nay Sayers
A lot of critics always asked “What does she do?” We live in a time where people are becoming famous for who they know and not what they do. Many of Teyana’s critics have tried to place her in the ranks of the pretty, untalented, and insta-famous. Her simple response was to ignore the negative and keep grinding. Hard work, great connections, and a commitment to creativity helped her surpass everything from harsh critiques, twitter beefs, leaked nudes, heartbreak, betrayal and more. Whenever faced with those condescending questions about her occupation she navigated the media in a real way and brought forth new acting roles, dope content, and even more dope music.
Your Network is your Net Worth
Teyana Taylor is proof that the age-old adage is more than true. Taylor is more than just talented, she is a networking queen. Teyana’s relationship with Star Trak records helped her get the attention of MTV. Teyana’s fashion centered friendship with Kanye led to her to getting signed to West’s GOOD Music label. Taylor is well connected and has been called little sister from the likes of “Charlamagne the God,” LaLa Anthony, Kelly Rowland, Beyonce, and more. Having the “it” factor kept her in the blogs. Genuine and continuous relationships with industry movers and shakers kept Teyana’s career afloat; even when she was not releasing music. Hearing Teyana describe how Kanye discovered she could sing at a Balmain viewing or even how Kanye decided to feature her in “Fade” is proof that your network is equally as important as your abilities.
Timing is Everything
Left the show in tears... Had a lil heart to heart wit The Queen Bey after her show. She told me how proud of me she was, & she knew i would be a star since the first time I taught her my Harlem moves lol i told her im not impressed with me YET but my season is coming soon she checked me and said "ya season is NOW & When u stop worrying about what haters got to say, you'll start to notice that the RITE people are rooting for you. I am, I see you. I'm here for you whenever u need an ear"- Beyonce ❤❤ I love you Bey thanks for all of ur kinds words. 😘😘
Teyana has been grinding for over 9 years. I am sure there are times where she doubted herself. Showing up at the right time and the right place has proven to be a winning method for her. The music was not being released but she kept creating opportunities and content. Kicking, screaming and, complaining gets you nowhere. Working hard, being consistent, and playing your position will always pave the way for your dreams-- when the timing is right. Have faith... Be patient... Keep shining... Create!
Ms. Teyana has always had a bawwwwdy. The media and loads of new followers are obsessed with her physique and how they can get on her level. Taylor Stans already know that Teyana notoriously states that she never "works out" and she does not eat vegetables. Many of us mere mortals may not ever get our bodies to bang in a similar way, but we can look to her as a source of inspiration and a lesson in how holding steadfast to your dreams will eventually reap astronomical rewards.
PS… If you have never listened to “VII” You don’t love your Mother and you ain’t Living right…