The Art Of Anticipation: On "Blonde" + Black Business / by Aquillia Mikel

Most of you don't know who Christopher Lonny Breaux is. And that's fine- I'm sure when he started to make music, he wasn't concerned with fame. But for those of us who do know him, we were in awe of the collection of almost 65 songs from a young Lonny during the height of the Datpiff days. I know I had never heard anything like it. 65 songs- all fire but all very different in their delivery. How someone mass creates this amount of songs for one mixtape is beyond me. Either he was writing through an influx of emotions one day and threw them together on one tape or he had been waiting years to release his thoughts in this one moment and he thought that was all he could get.


Y'all probably don't know Christopher - but if you're reading this- you know Frank Ocean well. If you're lucky, you caught his waves on Nostalgia, Ultra when he was making love underneath the cherry leaves and asking how his nature felt. But, even if you didn't catch it then- everyone felt the heart-rendering magnitude that was Channel Orange. The stories that he wove together, the storytellers that he brought in to sing with him, the lyrics, the vibes were totally unmatched. And then- he disappeared.


And we waited.

And he said he was coming back soon.

And we waited.

He hit us with the name of the album.

And we waited.

He had a whole listening party and didn't invite me. :)

And we waited.

And waited.

AND. Waited.


Some of us wrote desperate tweets to bring him back to our world. Some of us wrote angry tweets because....misery loves company. Some of us swore Frank Ocean off forever. Some of us promised to do whatever it took to get some of his music back into our lives. So, after a spell, he gave us Endless. Then- one early Saturday evening- Blonde arrived.


And everything you thought you were doing that day was canceled.


How does a successful Black owned business cultivate the art of anticipation? Whether it be for a service or a product, if you're going to survive as a Black business owner- you need to create something that everyone has already been waiting for. You need to fulfill a need. How many times have you heard someone say that they desired (x) in their neighborhood or city and knew that you were the one to bring it to fruition? Be the business or individual that people are waiting for. "Blonde" is a fulfillment of a need to feel like we once felt when Channel Orange arrived. For me- that feeling was completion. Understanding. Love. And acceptance. If I could feel that again with Blonde- then Frank Ocean absolutely had me. Which I did- so he won.


Let's backtrack a little though. Before you can fulfill a need, you should have already proven that you're the one that people can trust to fill this need. Channel Orange solidified our love for Frank- what will solidify your brand loyalty with your customers or your community? You need to be great first so that anticipation can build around your next creation that will be fulfilling that need. If it's not awesome the first time- no one cares. NO ONE. CARES.


Also- don't try and give people what they didn't ask for just because you think it's a good idea. I'm sure someone thought "Endless" was dope- but I didn't ask Frank to build me a set of stairs while singing Isley covers. I WANTED THE ALBUM and everyone else did, too. And when it came a few days later, he had finally fulfilled the need of the people who support him and love his music.


So, cliffnotes for success:


1) build anticipation throughly initial excellence

2) fulfill a need- be the one we've been waiting for

3) give the people what they ask for


Until we talk next....

Rain. Glitter. Black Magic.