b&b123 #DeadDayJobArmy TastyKeish on being a 1st Gen immigrant and creative entrepreneur
This is it, y’all.
Welcome to the Dead Day Job Army, a monthly Brunch & Budget series where entrepreneurs and freelancers of Color share their stories and talk about the real. We ask folks to leave their shiny pictures and instagram highlights at the door and tell us what it’s really like to do the work, put in the time, and devote your life to your work.
It’s not easy to start your own business and it’s even harder when it feels like you have to explain to your family what you do every time you see them, when you walk into an event and can count on one hand the PoC in the room, when you try to ask for what you’re worth, but don’t want to get passed over for the next person.
TastyKeish, founder of Bondfire Radio, morning show host of TK in the AM, speaker, host, MC, all around renaissance woman, joins us for the very first show of the series, which we recorded live at the 3rd annual Bondfire Radio audio festival.
We talk about how the very lonely road of being a 1st generation immigrant child with zero generational wealth doing work that no one “gets.” TK holds nothing back in this interview.
TK: There’s positives: I got to grow this station with the money from my day job. The negatives is that I’m still in my day job. I haven’t cut the parachute because I’m so used to having a parachute. And that’s the thing I think our families don’t know how to instill in us: when to cut the parachute. So I still have it. Fifteen years; nursing. Parachute.
TK: My friend…we went to college together and she was part of this show WBAI, which is one of New York’s independent–people powered radio stations…so we were on that. She was on it first, and she let me know that there was an open call for hosts, and they would constantly rotate hosts. So I went and I became a host, and literally I will be super honest here, I learned more there in the real world of it than regular college getting my degree.
TK: I do radio for me, first…because this is the thing I’ve diagnosed myself with. I wake up in my morning and this is the medicine I give myself, doing this. And I need that, because especially when you’re living in both worlds you kind of second guess yourself, so you’re at work and you’re dying. You’re dying inside. It’s a psychological slow death. I’m being super real. So you need to create this world, this is what the radio is for me, I’ve created this world …so first I do it for me, but outside of me I do it for people who are tired of hearing the same old mainstream. I love mainstream radio because that’s what got me into this, but I don’t love hearing the same old playlist every fifteen minutes.
TK: Public speaking is what got me going, so once I realized “Oh, wait, if that person has a microphone, that’s a job.” So I looked for everything that could be a job, and I just did it.
TK: You were talking about the [dread]locks, and Euro-centricness is the benchmark for professionalism.
TK: There’s a sadness in knowing there’s nowhere to go. There’s a profound fear and sadness that I have had over and over, knowing that I have people that love me that I can’t go to.
TK: On the super real-real-real: I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a position that I’ve applied for, and I’m a highly skilled individual. So instead I’ve just made every position that you’ve seen me have. I’ve just made it.
TK: See a therapist…you can buy groceries for your kids and see a therapist.