We had the good fortune of connecting with Ian L. Haddock and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ian L., what do you want people to remember about you?
The desire to intentionally create a legacy is one of the most important things one can do in this world. It is reminiscent of one of my favorite quotes from Maya Angelou, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” In this, I could go on several tangents of what I plan to do and the trajectory of success I aspire to accomplish, but it is what I will do to change the feelings of people that will be the most important gift or curse when I am no longer here. Much of success is about what we create for people, much of accomplishments are about what we do for people, but a legacy is about what we do for ourselves; it is this self-work that exposes our truest, transparent and innermost brand. The legacy I want to leave behind is one who walked the talk, one who did the self-work that constantly improved relationships holistically. For it is in being a better friend, the better partner, better family, the better person that you become the best business person, the niche finding entrepreneur, and the innovative instrument of change. When people think about me, I want them to know that I strived to be successful through relationship building which increased my net worth. I want them to know I did this for us: the marginalized, oppressed, generationally cursed, overlooked, stigmatized, blemished, and broken. And that, at the end of the day, I helped people to overcome their thoughts of being the underdog to become the person that knows their victory, intrinsic ability, and insurmountable power.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
It took me a long time to consider myself an artist/ creative. Though I loved dancing, theatre, and singing when I was young, after more than a decade of not doing either of those, I felt I had lost any promise of being a creative. It wasn’t until I began to blog from the personal space of not feeling like my voice was heard did I begin to become who I think I was always supposed to be. Blogging gave me the ability to tell the untold stories of people at the margins. After over a million visits to my site, I then realized the wave and movement of content creators moving to video and audio production. At that point, my focus became digital storytelling through a lens of social and racial justice. It is an art that encompasses my gift of vision with my passion for equality. I have cultivated it into the ability to encapsulate the viewer into the world of people that need their understanding with the idea that we are more of our likenesses than our differences; this perspective helps others to see themselves in each one of our pieces of art. Moving to digital storytelling was a huge challenge; I didn’t get my first camera until two years ago– at the age of 30– and have, since then, been building my abilities to one day create a mainstream award-winning series full of representation of marginalized communities. I can remember not understanding how to edit my first project to garner the desired message, having the inability to find grant money or other capital to produce these projects, and not having any type of proper studio space being almost a complete deterrent from moving forward with our organization. Still, we celebrate where we are today; with two titles streaming on Prime Video, multiple film festivals, and several projects and contracts, we are well on our way. And that is the lesson: you can be trained to become anything, but passion speeds up the process. Whether you are passionate about building cars and computers or building healthier communities or creating art and media, your passion will create the mechanism that puts you right at purpose. This intersection is the breeding ground for prosperity, abundance, and legacy.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
After this quarantine is over– whenever that may be or the new normal happens first, there is a multiplicity of places that I would suggest one would visit while in Houston. To begin with, Hamburger Mary’s has become a staple not only for queer-identified people but also anyone who wants to have an entertaining dining experience, With drag queens that do shows weekly covering everything ranging from Broadway musicals, comedy and the best of female impersonation plus some great food and amazing drinks, every day is a good day to go to Hamburger Mary’s. Around the corner from Hamburger Mary’s, there is a place called Postino’s Wine Cafe. They have multiple locations around the city, but my visit to the one in Montrose made me happy to see some of the history from the bar that was there before them when I originally came to Montrose: Mining Company; this was a cultured experience drinking from an amazing wine collection while being able to learn some of the history of Montrose. For some good food late at night or early morning, I would have to visit a Houston staple, The Breakfast Klub. From wings and waffles to pork chops and eggs, every morsel is full of Southern flavor. Another favorite place of mine to take folx is Mikki’s Cafe; there you’ll find real soul food that makes Houston’s name great amongst everyone who touches down. To burn some of the calories off of the good food and drinks, I would rent a bicycle from Hermann Park or Buffalo Bayou and go see all of the beautiful scenery in Houston that is captivating from the sight of the cyclist. If riding during the sunset at Buffalo Bayou, the Waugh Street Bat Colony is a good place to stop off and take a break while thousands of bats leave the colony at night. I would then go to the graffiti area of downtown to see some of the art that Houston showcases. Finally, I would suggest winding down at the Water Wall near the Galleria. This space is a place of serenity amidst a bustling crowd of professionals, shoppers, and food.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are many people who deserve a shoutout in my story. On this road, there have been so many that tithed into my life to get me to this place today. Countless mentors, mentees, friends, family, loved ones, and others have given me many stretching encounters that pushed me further than I thought I could go. Still, there is one person I rarely give light to. He was the first indication that I could be whomever I chose. His name is Harrison Guy. I knew and still call him Harry. We are from the same hometown and I followed in his footsteps quite a bit. His family raised me and he was the first successful person I knew that I identified as both gay and black like me. Before I graduated high school, he was forging a path of power and prominence in Houston both professionally and creatively. Since then, he has created his own award-winning dance company, Urban Souls Dance Company, served as the Chair of the Mayor’s LGBT Advisory Board here in Houston, TX, and was the first black, gay male winner of Pride Houston Grand Marshal. I look to him as I continue my journey of finding myself, re-creating, and cultivating myself while building a brand of power, sustainability, and longevity.
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