I’ve been having writer’s block. Maybe it was writing 250 pages into my first book and losing my computer last August. Maybe it is because I love doing television and radio more than writing. But then again, I love writing. Maybe it is the fast pace of news and I would rather just talk about it on Twitter as my thoughts run as opposed to sitting down, typing, fact checking, hyperlinking, or whatever else I am supposed to do to make my writing sound professional. I don’t know. Either way, I have not sat down to really write something substantive for a LONG time.
I launched exavierpope.com as a source for my appearances, news, analysis, and me to share my thoughts. I also had to look more legitimate as a brand. I also started it as a testing ground for posting new content. I didn’t think I would launch the site in January (or was it February, March?) and take this long to actually write something describing the purpose for the site.
When I write, it’s beautiful. It is an extension of me. And when I feel the faucet ready to flow, I flow like a freestyle rhymer in a zone as free association thoughts of grandeur, society, and life flood the inner recesses of the mind to explode into the ether.
I have also wondered what to write about. Yes, I am the sports legal analyst guy, so of course I can write that stuff. That being said, I am not feeling just writing blank analysis you might find anywhere. It has to have some teeth.
I also can talk about the business of entertainment, technology, politics, business, or social issues, areas I am pretty interested in and talk plenty about. I have thought about the weight of my words to the public and what they mean, so bite is required there as well.
And what about inspiration? That’s what I am on Earth for. Like Oprah Winfrey says, “this I know for sure.” Maybe I’ll talk public interest stories involving sports.
Actually, I am going to talk about ALL of those things. I am going to record videos from my laptop or phone and post them pontificating on various things. I’m going to figure out things along the way.
I have a confession to make. I started doing media in 2011. My first interview was actually in 2009 over the legality of stealing jokes for a community newspaper. Since then I’ve been all over media. I got hooked. I LOVED it. I wanted it as my career.
So as I worked my law firm, I started having a crazy schedule of getting up at 3 o’clock in the morning, doing morning television shows until 9am, doing my law thing, doing radio in the afternoon, doing my radio show in the evening, and then doing international television late at night. It was a whirlwind, but I loved it. As a result I wound up getting a media agent out of it, and a top one at that.
I came to slowly realize I was feeling used. Some weeks I would be on television 20 times in one week and not be paid one red cent. I would be exhausted. My agent could not figure out why on Earth I would accept going on television and radio repeatedly and work it like a full time job and be paid like a volunteer. For 3 1/2 years it was all about exposure and building the Exavier Pope brand. At the end of 2014, I decided enough was enough.
It was scary, but I called or emailed every producer or station that booked me and said we were moving to a paid model. No more freebies. No more calling me for a live feed sometimes 30 seconds before going live in the middle of the night for a network halfway across the world. No more feeling cheap after leaving the station.
I had to release the fear of being rejected for asking to be paid, and handsomely so at that.
At least I had something I could look back to and have confidence. From 2010-12, I would do public speaking for 100% free. After criss crossing across town to be this place and that, I began to feel drained. One day, I was asked to speak for an entertainment related event at the House of Blues in Chicago. Immediately after the request was made for the first event I was contacted to speak for another event for business owners belonging to a prominent business organization in one of Chicago’s most affluent suburbs. Funny now, but I asked for $300 to speak at both. The response was “we have not made a budget for a speaker.”
In both conversations the response was like having acid poured into my stomach. So, you put this event together, charge people an arm and a leg to come, pay a venue a hefty fee, and the speaker is the person you don’t pay? The lightbulb went on. I am being used! I refused to speak anywhere for free ever again. I turned down several other opportunities before just a month later I booked a speaking gig for $3,000 for 2 hours of my time for one of the top 5 largest Fortune 500 Companies at a 5 start hotel on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. I performed wonderfully.
I would have never been paid had I not put my foot down 3 years ago. It was rough to pass up “exposure” or “opportunities” but to this day I do not remember any of those places I turned down.
Fast forward to start of 2015. So many hot stories hit the headlines at the beginning of the year. Practically every major cable news network offered me opportunities to appear on air, as well as broadcast news in primetime. I cannot even count the times I had to say “thanks, but no thank you.”
Some producers were offended. Some told me I should fire my media agent. On network producer said they would never do business with me ever again and said I had no class. Another said she could find 200 other lawyers off the street to do for free (and do a far worse job than me she added) what I was demanding top dollar for. The phones went silent. I felt like a fool, constantly second guessing myself.
I knew ahead of time what I would be facing because I had been there before. I spent the 2 weeks around the New Year meditating and reading books on surrender and embracing the journey of life. Those books and audios helped me to stay focused. I was this close to accepting a free gig during primetime cable news because it was huge story bound to get me tons of eyeballs, but I just couldn’t do it. That acid hit my belly again. I refused.
I am certain an anchor I knew at the network hooked it up too. Oh well, I had to stick to my guns. I prayed about it, asking for clarification I was doing the right thing and not just being stubborn (I am quite stubborn). Immediately after getting off my knees the phone rang for me to do a paid interview. I did not even have to ask. I was too busy to take it, but I was ready to make it happen if I could. Eventually they cancelled the spot because the news was not as hot anymore, but I had my confirmation. A couple of days later they booked me for a paid spot anyway.
I was in Atlanta when I got the assignment. God had confirmed my prayers. I had to do something BIG to let God know I was serious about where he was taking me. I also had prior experience for my next move.
In 2007 I had come back to Chicago from Los Angeles to take the Illinois Bar Exam, mostly because I took the California exam 3 times and struck out each time. Life also was kicking my butt. I was broke. I needed a job. Overqualified and underqualified at once, I took a job working in the high end men’s clothing section of Macy’s department store on State Street in Chicago. It was humbling to come back to a city I left to pursue my dreams only to come back home, penniless, jobless, and needing to work whatever job to eat and feed my family.
I needed some big faith shoes for that walk.
The Holy Bible says in Malachi 3:10
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”
I decided take the “Test Me In This” Challenge with God and tithed 3 times the gross amount I was paid to the church I had begun attending at the time. Prior to then I had not really tithed before. I just was not as learned on the Christian concept of tithing or the universal law of giving and receiving.
At that time I was making $8/hr plus commissions. A $300 check for me meant I was taking out $90 on top of the taxes being taken out. Most of my time at Macy’s I was lucky to see half of any check I earned. However, money stretched in a way it never did before in my life at that point. I also learned to save at that job.
After one shot at the Bar exam in Illinois I passed. 6 months after I wound getting paid 10 times what I got paid at Macy’s in my first after Bar law job. That job I went back to a formula I stuck to for a time paying 10% in tithes, 5% in offerings, and 2.5% in a love gift for my pastor.
In 2010 I had a confirming moment in church. I was caught up in praise and worship and out of nowhere I heard Malachi 3:10 in my head, but specifically the pour me out a blessing part. It was specifically directed toward me. Instantly I cried uncontrollably in joy. I fell on my knees unable to stand. It was a prophetic moment.
Two years later I attended Bishop TD Jakes’ Manpower men’s conference at The Potter’s House megachurch in Dallas, Texas. Even before I went I knew something powerful would happen. I stayed after the conference to attend regular Sunday service. At the end of servic, Bishop Jakes walked over to me and said he had to lay hands on me (start at 1:00:05 for context, and watch 1:04:25 for specific moment) stating what I was about to do was going to be beyond anything I had ever seen before. He touched me, I dropped to my knees. Another prophetic moment.
A month later on September 19, 2012 I began fasting from 6am-6pm every day to align myself with BIG things I asked of God in my family, finances, and my career. I have been on the same fasting schedule ever since. This September 19th will make 3 consecutive years fasting.
Fast forward to being in Atlanta getting my first paid media gig. I attended Oasis Family Life Church just outside of the city for service and the pastor Anthony Murray preached a powerful message about moving to the next level in life. He described being passing up or being turned down for opportunities and having greater opportunities later present themselves.
All I could think about was my role in media. Right then I thought about working at Macy’s. A spark in me said I needed to tithe BIG again to show I was serious about what I sought from God. Not just 3 times my tithe. What about 10 times? Oh, I thought, that would be the whole amount!
When I worked at Macy’s there was a guy who showed up only to browse. He said he tithed every dime of what he earned and he was well provided for. I thought it was ridiculous at the time. Sitting in the sanctuary of Oasis, it finally made since.
Instead of waiting for my check, I promptly tithed my whole amount I was due to be paid before I ever received it.
I’m a man who lives on faith, and I expect God to do BIG things in my life and career. I am just wired that way.
Another confession: I have been in discussions for 2 years to sign a long term contract with a network. Instead of waiting for this all to play out, I am just going to deliver the content and stop waiting on my promotion. I will do it myself empowered by my faith in God.
My writer’s block and frustration with the length of time to sign a long term deal contributed to not knowing what to talk about it in this space. I know this now. I have released it. I will talk about it all.
Yes, I will talk about the juicy stuff, but in a way that’s tasteful. I will use real sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup.
Yes, I will talk inspiration, but in a way that meets people where they live in practical terms.
Yes I will dive into areas of politics, social issues, business, and technology, but maybe I will not. It will depend on how I feel. If I want to write it, I will. If I am not feeling it, I won’t.
Yes, I will post random videos of me talking various things. I won’t hesitate to express how I feel.
I will post quick takes and long form stories I decide to investigate, because I like that kind of stuff.
I will even discover how to put a podcast on here one of these days.
Meanwhile, I ask you to support me.
Share the content I tee up.
I will even create cool events and invite you to come. Please show up and use the social media campaigns I create while you are there.
I am free. I have walked in the next dimension. I ask you to meet me there.
I LOVE YOU!
Exavier B. Pope I, Esq. is an award winning attorney, on air legal analyst, media personality, and Fortune 500 speaker. Mr. Pope has over 200+ appearances on air, including: international television on BBC and Al Jazeera English; national television on Fox News Channel, HLN, NBC Nightly News, Al Jazeera America, WGN Morning News, Fox Business Channel, and Huff Post Live; Top 3 Local Media Markets on Fox, CBS, and NBC; international radio on BBC Radio; national radio on ESPN Radio, Clear Channel Radio, NBC Sports Radio; contributed digitally to CNBC, Huffington Post, Jet, and Black Enterprise; and has appeared in other media outlets nationally and internationally. Mr. Pope is represented by top media and literary agency RLR Associates.
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