With great power comes great responsibility
- Uncle Ben
In my first year of law school, IL, as those in the know might call it, I transformed. Unfortunately, I did not develop ‘spidey-sense,’ I couldn’t scale walls, fly, or shoot laser beams out of my eyes. That would have been cool. We, lawyers, are many things, but I don’t know if we are cool…yet.
No, my transformation involved a host of other things. For starters, I spent hours reading hundreds of pages in Contracts, Torts, Civil Procedure, Property, and Constitutional Law textbooks. My brain was turned inside out thanks to the Socratic method. I routinely doubted my intellect, my value, my abilities. In fact, at one point, I almost dropped out. But somehow, I managed to claw my way through that first grueling year and emerged with a whole new outlook on the world around me.
It wasn’t quite The Hero’s Journey, but at the end of it all, I did become the kind of person who could see The Matrix. With my new sight, I realized that there were many things I had taken for granted, that I never knew were by design. I truly understood what an institutional challenge versus an individual one looked like. I could sympathize with people who felt gaslighted by the systems around them. Knowing that the world worked differently for you because of who you are, your last name or the unpredictable nature of biology is a difficult way to live.
Legal frameworks may intend to be neutral but they are not. Although legislation is not written to be biased, we know all too well that is not the case. The invisible hand that acts upon us as citizens has the incredible power to shape the world in a multitude of ways. I started to understand how important it was to pay attention to lawmaking at the local, state, and federal levels. It was now obvious why policies, both domestic and international, would go on to impact our world after we were long forgotten.
In 3 years, law school gave me the power to pull the veil back on legal Wizards as they pulled various strings throughout the world. Once I was out, I had to ask myself a critical question: How could I get other people to see the same thing? For members of the Black, Latinx, Womxn, API, Indigenous, LGBTQIA communities, how can they unlock the matrix for themselves? What would it take for underestimated creatives and business owners, individuals who had been locked out of the system, to begin their own transformation?
Protect Black Voices, like The Content Biz, is all about reframing the discussion around the legal frameworks that dictate creation, distribution, and ownership. It is my hope that by providing the information and making it accessible, we will all be able to see the Matrix. To the Black creative community that has continually contributed to global culture, I hope that you feel honored, seen, and heard.
See you there!