Updated: Dec 21, 2022
1. Describe Generation Hu$tle. Where did the idea come from?
Generation Hu$tle is a community platform focused on uplifting and amplifying the voices of young creatives worldwide. Our goal is to create a global community that possesses the ability to interact with each other more seamlessly. We focus on bringing employment, mentorship, and funding to creatives of all artistic backgrounds that need it most. The concept came from my admiration for the hustle of the creatives I encounter daily. As a photographer, I was already documenting the lives of these people, so the project naturally grew to what it is now. As the interest grew, I expanded the project and welcomed Eric Oliver Jr., Devynn Visionary, Michelladonna, and Paisho to the core team. The first season of the podcast launched November 2022; Season 1, is currently available on all streaming platforms.
2. What are some advantages to the show being based out of New York?
We love New York, and our vision is very New York-specific. We wanted to center the rollout of GEN H$TLE around New York City-based creatives, as we already had a community of peers we wanted to highlight and follow their creative processes. So as on that wave, a lot of the advantages stem from having an endless supply of creatives who want to collaborate and more importantly just create art.
3. The four of you came to New York to essentially live out your dreams from places all over the U.S. How has that experience influenced you creatively?
We have a diverse array of backgrounds represented within our group. Both Michelledonna and Paisho are New York City natives from Queens so they gain their creative influence directly from the "hub" of creative efforts. You'll notice quite a bit of New York in their work. For Paisho, his love for the city and the people that truly live here is evident in his jewelry design and his desire to play music for the people. Michelladonna has an effortless way of weaving New York-specific experiences into her comedic & podcast work that resonates with her audiences, while also curating a space and resources for those within the community that needs it most.
Eric Oliver Jr. comes to New York from the wild west of Dallas, Texas. While there is evidence of the grandiose charm of Dallas style, Eric draws a lot of his inspiration from people, and their spirit. In that way, New York has provided a diverse wellspring of inspiration that was not quite as readily available in Texas. Perhaps it is that southern hospitality, but he really works to ensure that everything is curated to a level that ensures inclusivity and wonderment.
Devynn Visionary is from Florida, and they bring that easygoing approach to the group that is often needed to balance the seriousness of our work at times. Influenced by the endless possibilities available in New York, Devynn finds varied ways to engage with the community and activate others to do so as well.
I'm (Jay Charlii) from all over. This has lent itself to my ability to quickly navigate an array of social situations and interactions, which has ultimately inspired the beginning of this project (along with several others). Additionally, the move to New York has shown me that the possibilities for what one can accomplish here are truly endless and the energy is infectious. My friends will all tell you, I'm always on the go and always inspired to create. It doesn't always work out, but when it does, it's magic!
Our diverse background has aided us in being able to create a platform for diverse and well-rounded conversation. Creatively, we are all influenced by our peers and our experiences, and collectively that provides an incubator of sorts for truly mindful content that speaks directly to our audiences in a way that facilitates connectivity, and inspiration to ...create.
4. Describe what hustling means to you.
To us, "hustling" is defined in a comprehensive yet simple way; pursuing one's ultimate dreams no matter the circumstance. Hustling doesn't necessarily mean that you're out every hour of every day doing something with the hopes of a decent ROI, but it can definitely look like that. Sometimes hustling is nothing more than working towards something of importance to you. Looking ahead, our plan is to reframe how creatives think about the Hustle and provide ways to work smarter, not harder. As a community, we aim to showcase this through the work that those around us are doing and how they are hustling.
5. In the age of social media, what do you think has been the biggest tool for building your network?
Ultimately, our biggest tool is the PEOPLE. We definitely use social media as a tool to work towards our larger vision. There's been global connectivity provided that we would not imagine at any other time. However, we are actively working towards building something that does not rely on the parameters of social media to disseminate our messaging and provide access to resources. This is even a theme that you'll notice trough out the first season of our podcast.
While grateful for the connectivity provided by social media, there is tremendous harm that it's done for the creative industry, and that is some of what we are trying to change. In a world where we only see the best parts and triumphs of others, it can set an unrealistic expectation of accomplishment, essentially killing the creative spirit. We've all fallen prey to it at some point or another. This is where the importance of real people comes into play. We need a strong group of collaborators around to build off of each other and maintain the positive, creative energy and take this wellspring of content that social media has provided and make it our own.
6. How important is it for creatives to have a platform?
In some ways, this could be the most important thing for a creative to have. Even more than the talent itself. A platform is the greatest deviance between a supremely talented yet undiscovered creative, and a mediocre yet high-profile creative. As we move to become a platform ourselves, this is our direct response to providing that platform for a broader range of creatives that have struggled to gain access to the appropriate spaces to support their artistry.
7. What is the best advice you would give to anyone trying to make it in a creative industry in NY?
Build a community around you that supports you, uplifts you, and wants to see you win. As one of our season 1 podcast guests Kevin Michael said "your network is your net worth." Don't be afraid of growing and expanding your network as you grow and expand as a creative.
8. What’s next? Talk about plans for season 2. Can we expect a visual aspect of the podcast to come soon?
We actually will be dropping Part 2 of Season 1 in the next few weeks. As for Season 2, we are currently reworking our concept to be in a "mini-season" format where we have small capsules of episodes that are directly targeted at a specific sector of the industry, or that are all about an organization or partner that showcases what they do and how they do it. We are super excited to showcase this. In the new year, we are also launching an internship program. Our podcast interns will have the chance to learn how to create a podcast, from start to finish. This includes developing a mini-season, researching guests to bring on, and overall producing the season.
As for the overall platform GENERATION HU$TLE and our future plans, we are kicking off the year with 6 $100 grants brought to the community by our Young Hu$tlers Fund. Additionally, launching a mentorship program, panel discussions, community-centered events, live studio sessions, and more. Our goal is to provide creatives around the world with ways to connect in both real life and online. We are eternally grateful to have sponsorships and community partners who are helping make this all possible.