Reclaiming the African American Narrative with Faith McKinney

faith mckinney on brand

“As African Americans, we’ve given up our narrative. It takes away our humanity. We have human stories just like everyone else—it’s just that our brand isn’t being written by us.” Faith McKinney is an author, media strategist, and longtime listener of the On Brand podcast. This week she joined me as a guest for a discussion on building your personal brand, taking control of the African American narrative, and the need for authenticity. Enjoy!

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About Faith McKinney

Faith McKinney is the author of Schmingling-The Art of Being Well-Connected Through Blatant Self-Promotion. She has been mentioned in The Wall Street Journal, Ebony, The Washington Post, and many other publications. Please contact her at or [email protected].

Episode Highlights

Schmoozing + Mingling = Schmingling! I had to start my interview by asking Faith what her book Schmingling was all about. When she explained this mashup it makes a ton of sense. “You have to move out of your comfort zone” if you want to be seen, as Faith says.

The African American narrative and brand. “As African Americans, we’ve given up our narrative. When we don’t have our own stories and our own narrative, it takes away our humanity. And we’re all lumped together in media stories and we’re only seeing negativity. We have human stories just like everyone else—it’s just that our brand isn’t being written by us.”

Taking control of the brand narrative. “Historically, not being assertive with your brand, as far as African Americans go, I believe is a survival technique in itself.” Faith talked about why people need to be as big and blatant as they can in building their personal brand.

What should you do in the next five minutes? As Tom Peters says, excellence is the best short-term strategy. I asked Faith what you should do in the five minutes after this show: “Reflect on how you want to be treated and how you treat others.”

What brand has made Faith smile recently? “Well, it just happened today,” Faith laughed, noting, “Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben were laid to rest!” We discussed why this move was both huge and needed. “We’ve been asking for that for years.”

To learn more, go to her website, and check out her book Schmingling on Amazon.

As We Wrap …

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Until next week, I’ll see you on the Internet!