Richard Williams, better known by his stage name Prince Ea, is an American spoken word artist, poet, and filmmaker. He considers himself to be in the influencer arena too.
After graduating from the University of Missouri with a degree in anthropology, he initially pursued a career as a hip hop artist.
I hadn’t heard of him a week ago.
So thank you Wikipedia for the cut-and-paste.
I’ve discussed influencers with businesses and individuals quite a bit over the last few years. As you can imagine. It’s because I founded Always Wear Red.
I’ve always had a treble-barrelled question in my head for influencers. It’s:
Who are you influencing, what are you influencing them to do and how do you know you’re having an effect?
The most popular verbal response to this question is:
I think that’s how you spell it.
It’s the noise that stupid people sometimes make.
Head slightly tilted one way or the other.
These open-mouthed gazes that I so often get when I ask this question don’t upset me.
They annoy me.
Because these people take money off other people and almost all of them don’t know who they are talking to, have no idea of the possible change they are trying to make and never bother to track it anyway.
I understand Brand Association. One brand buddying or aligning with another business brand or personal brand with similar values. So that markets and audiences can appreciate a sensible alliance that may magnify important issues and thinking.
But this self-important and vacuous rubbish is just awful.
Anyhow, Prince Ea.
I don’t know much about him. But I did see a recent acceptance speech he made for an award. And I liked what he said.
I don’t know if he was being sincere. But I do know he wasn’t being spontaneous. I have seen a pre-recorded version of what he said.
However, all of that considered, I still liked what he said enough in the 60 second video to transcribe it. I wanted to internalise it.
Here’s what he said:
That word ‘influencer’ is interesting to me.
Because it’s like, we’re influencing people to do what?
A lot of people call themselves Social Media Influencers but you’re influencing people to do what?
Is it to reach a level of beauty that is not attainable naturally?
Is it to have people lust after cars or material objects that will never bring somebody true happiness?
Is this what it means to be an influencer?
You know when you get pulled over. You’re drunk. They say you’re under the influence.
A lot of people are intoxicated by what these influencers put out there.
When you get sick what do they say? They say you’ve come down with influenza.
A lot of people are ill because of what these influencers put out there so I have just one question for every influencer because we are all influencers. And that question is:
When people come to your page do they walk away better or worse?
Thank you guys.