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The Coca-Cola “If Not For My Girls” series is all about celebrating the powerful role sisterhood plays in our lives as we grow personally and professionally as Black women who support, uplift and cheer each other on through it all.

For more of everything you missed during the 2021 ESSENCE Festival of Culture Wealth & Power experience, click HERE.

During the Sisters In Music conversation which was presented by Coca-Cola on the Wealth & Power experience at the 2021 ESSENCE Festival of Culture, four successful, talented and respected Black women who are flourishing in leadership roles in the music industry joined us to talk about how their sisterhood has helped to keep them pushing. While opening up about their experiences and how they’re reaching back to provide opportunities for other women, The Ayars Agency Founder & CMO Ashaunna K. Ayars, MVD Inc & Creative Agency Co-Founder & CEO Massah David, Silence The Shame Founder Shanti Das, and MVD Inc & Creative Agency Co-Founder Miatta David-Johnson were also each asked to share piece of advice they were glad they ignored when first starting out, as well as one they were glad they followed. Check out their responses below.

Advice She’s Glad She Took: Your Reputation Will Proceed You
“Be mindful of how you interact with people and make sure you leave behind a legacy you can be proud of.”
Advice She’s Glad She Ignored: Don’t Pursue Your Dream
“I’m glad I ignored that and ignored [people who told me] that it just wasn’t gonna happen.”

Advice She’s Glad She Took: Sometimes You Have To Go To Grow
“It’s really easy to get comfortable in a certain place. Comfortable with a title, comfortable with a paycheck. But, sometimes in order to get to the next level in your career, you have to get uncomfortable. So, there’s been many times when I’ve been uncomfortable because I had my eyes on a bigger prize.”
Advice She’s Glad She Ignored: Get A “Real” Job
“I started my journey when I was a senior in high school and, it wasn’t really a career that family believed in. They wanted me to get a pension and have some level of security. The idea of working for free in hopes of getting a job later just did not make sense to them but, I’m incredibly glad I didn’t listen to them.”

Advice She’s Glad She Took: Use Your Gut
“Your gut is your guiding light, it’s your intuition and it’s not going to steer you wrong. I’ve used that for my entire career.”
Advice She’s Glad She Ignored: You Have To Change To Be In This Industry
“I was told I had to harden-up or act a certain way [to be successful in this industry]. But, when you’re unique to your journey, it transcends. You’re bringing something special to the industry so, don’t allow the industry to change you, you change the industry.”

Advice She’s Glad She Took: Your Word Is Your Bond
“[Your word] is what establishes and creates the relationships and allows you to get the job opportunities. And so, I always wanted to be a woman of my word. So, I challenge all of the women that are listening: make sure you do what you say you’re gonna do!”
Advice She’s Glad She Ignored: Be Comfortable Where You Are
“I ended up having to fight several times against my male counterparts to really get the pay that I deserved…and ended up having to get an attorney and fight for myself. So, you have to make sure that you are present and advocating for yourself.”

To hear this amazing conversation in full, check out the video above.


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