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Amanda Seales Says You Need To Know Your Market Value

Celebrity News

Amanda Seales made her viral debut on the internet scene last year when she got Caitlyn Jenner all the way together during a roundtable discussion that had us all clapping and saying, "Thank you, Amanda." While many of us know her from her role as Tiffany on Insecure, Seales has in fact been in the game for over two decades. As a former member of Floetry, Seales has since transitioned into a full-time comedic career and is currently on tour with her stand up comedy experience, Smart, Funny & Black.


If you follow her on social media, you know that she has no issue speaking from the experience of a black woman in the entertainment industry. While some may perceive her delivery as upfront and even "crass" at times, Seales makes no apologies for the belief she has in herself and the values on which she stands. Amanda is an example of unapologetic blackness that we all should embrace and learn from at the same time.

She recently sat down with Forbes to talk about her development throughout her comedic career, and got real about what it's like to be a black women in that space. She shared why it's so important to go into all situations knowing your market value.

The way this economy is set up, a lot of us are reduced—or empowered, depending on your take—to having multiple hustles in order to thrive. While it's been said that the average millionaire has up to seven streams of income, finding balance while pursuing your vision is certainly a juggling act. Seales offered advice on how developing your business intuition can help you avoid advice from those who don't truly understand your vision. She says:

"If you're not good at juggling, then you're not juggling. I always tell people that. If you're dropping a lot of balls then maybe you shouldn't juggle. And that's fine...there's different ways of working. For the earlier portion of my career, it was 'I'm being led in this direction....oh let's try this out.' It wasn't until I turned 30 and got clearer on what I felt I needed to do to find my purpose—which was comedy. At this point, it's not that it's strategic but my intuition with business has become sturdy and solid and I really do trust it. I have people around me that also trust it. I think for a long time I didn't have people who understood where I was coming from. They were giving me advice on what would be good for them."

When you know yourself and are comfortable in your own skin, you can discover your unique market value. According to the actress, there is a real difference between knowing your worth and knowing your market value.

"The more that I learned about myself and what I bring to the table, it made it clearer for me to chart what courses I should be going. I talk a lot about your worth versus your market value and that dichotomy is so important for a lot of us coming up in business because it saves you a lot of stress. For a long time, I didn't have a balance in terms of my worth and my market value; I was just a very talented person who hadn't done any work that truly demonstrated my talent."

Your worth and market value can exist separately, but in combination, will enable you to surpass even your highest expectations, Amanda Seales is proof. Being a black woman in a male-dominated space requires a certain amount of confidence. It's essential that acknowledge of your value, even when other people choose not to. The comic says that she won't be boxed-in by prior representation of what black comics can offer.

"With the concept of standup, black women for so long were sequestered into this space of only talking about 'black women thangs' which consisted of our genitals and our man. I have way more to offer than my vagina and a brother."

She's known for breaking these boundaries in her stand up routines, as well as on her weekly podcast Small Doses. Her social media engagement proves that women can be black AF, and still be interested in things like Star Wars, football, and Lord of the Rings.

"I had to make a conscious decision to change the type of work that I'm doing...I needed to change the type of spaces that I'm speaking in. It's not as much about strategy than if something feels right. I'm also very fortunate to have a very vocal social media audience that is truly tapped into what I'm about and say exactly what they want."

The 37-year-old actress told Forbes that getting in the door of the entertainment industry isn't much different than getting in the door of any industry. Talent and hardwork may get you in the room, but genuine confidence in your abilities will earn you a seat at the table. For Seales, this confidence came from self-discovery.

"People always ask me how I'm so confident—it's because I know myself. Confidence comes from knowledge and information about something. As a performer, the more you know about you the more tools you're able to play with when it comes to portraying characters and discussing different topics...Once you learn more about you, you then have the formula to express why you should be in certain roles. We tend to spend too much time trying to figure everyone else out. Just figure you out and you'll be in the door."

As Seales continues to build her platform, she is aware of the inherent responsibility to provide both entertainment AND facts. Fortunately, as U.S. citizens, we are endowed with freedom of speech, but that freedom doesn't exist without consequence. This is especially true when this speech is inherently misinformation. When asked about a certain artist's (Kanye West) recent use of "free thinking", she had this to say:

"Freedom of speech is rooted in choosing how you speak. We are conflating the issue when we say he has his right to an opinion. No one is questioning that. The question is: why is that your opinion? And also, when you have a large platform why are you being so reckless with your misinformation? We don't have the luxury of that. Even though some good things are still happening, we are in a very, very bad time."

Amanda's growth and lack of inhibition is inspiring to watch. She will forever be my "friend in my head", and I'll be here rooting her on. Read more of her words of wisdom from her interview with Forbes here.

Featured image by Giphy

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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Featured image by Shutterstock

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