I didn’t think twice about chatting it up with Latiaynna Tabb aka LT and her views on independence and embracing the #IndieSpirit. Honestly, who would think twice about talking with a young woman who over the past five years has done nothing but commit to finding and making her own way in the world and making it her business to do the same for and with others through her company, Tabb Management. Whether she is managing the careers of talented artists, organizing prom dress drives for young women in the community, or researching ways to better support low income girls in urban areas, LT is making it happen. She is making her life happen. Besides, that’s what independents do. Today you get to learn more about how Ms. Tabb, how she embraces her independent spirit as well as her words of wisdom as to how you can embrace yours! xxoo
Me: So let’s start by you telling us how do you define independence?
LT: Great question. Independence is being courageous and bold enough to identify your wants, needs, and desires and then acting upon them. It’s making choices that are best for you and others around you. People confuse independent with individualistic, but you can be independent as well as self-aware and community oriented.
Me: What do you think is a misnomer about having an independent spirit? Being an entrepreneur?
LT: Independence is often confused with extroversion. I like coming home and having quiet solo time. I am on all day. I need to come home and recharge. As for as entrepreneurship, there is a larger and growing school of thought that everyone/anyone can be an entrepreneur. It’s not easy and everyone doesn’t need to be one. It’s okay if you’re not an entrepreneur. During this past year I have been more reflective in the direction of my company and my role in it. As I have reflected I see that I have become grounded in knowing everyone doesn’t do what i do how I do it. I have also been really particular about what I do well and if it is not something I don’t do well, maybe it’s not for me to do. Oh and another misnomer about entrepreneurs is that they are making money. Nope. It doesn’t quite work that way at least not for a while.
Me: As an entrepreneur how does embracing Independence impact your work?
LT: As I have embraced independence it’s impacted my confidence. I am confident about the work I do and what I put out. I never decided to become an entrepreneur. It happened. It’s independence in action. I just kept telling myself that I can figure this out. On my entrepreneurial journey these past five years I have learned to really trust my instincts and that impacts how I do my work, with whom I work, projects I take on or support, etc. I guess that’s a real female way to respond,” trust my intuition,” but it’s true and I am instinctual. I’ll also add, as someone who has an employer, there feels like there is a dichotomy between people with jobs and entrepreneurship. Doesn’t need to be that way. Working for someone or for yourself still demands that you are an independent thinker. I am and independent thinker and I work for someone. I can make my own choices within the organization.
Me: When you think about the people you work with, whether people you hire, manage, or partner with for events, is independence a characteristic you value and if so how have you seen it manifest in others?
LT: I do value independence and I look for it in terms of autonomy and intuitiveness. I value these characteristics and seek them in others. Autonomy and intuitiveness allows me to confidently delegate and trust individuals I have hired. I also strive to work with independent thinkers. I believe there are so many opportunities for creativity that come from people who are willing to think differently or suggest trying something different. Other people’s ability to think independently isn’t a threat to my independence.
Me: When it comes to gender, would you say Independence is admirable across genders or do you perceive a disparity?
LT: I think it depends on who’s looking. I want to say it’s admirable for everyone, but some people don’t think women should be independent. I remember when Destiny’s Child Bills Bills Bills came out and the DJs were going in criticizing the song. Then Independent Women came out and that got flack for that too. Some women think independence in women is cool while others do not. I know some men support it and some don’t. In the Black community, we expect women to be strong which I would say we use as a synonym for independence. This strength is seen as a positive thing. I personally think it is an admirable quality
Me: Can women really be independent or does that make them a bitch? For Black women in particular does that just make them an angry or bitter Black woman?
LT: Independence is state of being and mind, bitch is an attitude. My independence and my choices are not at a cost to someone else. I get a lot of people saying “Your aggressive,” and that pisses me off. Why does me being direct mean I am aggressive (negative connotation). If I was a male or different skin tone I’d probably be considered as someone who knows what they want. Currently I’m researching messages of strength among low income adolescent girls of color in metropolitan areas. Why can’t we just be?
Me: So sticking with independence and gender, how has being an independent spirit impacted dating? friendships, and family relationships?
LT: Sometimes it impacts the male relationships. I appreciate the guys who don’t mind. However some just don’t know what to do with my directness or boldness, so they either shy away or over compensate. But I am not interested in living my life for anyone else. Some men say they want an independent woman, but Then don’t not to really know what to do with one.
Me: What about family dynamics?
LT: They love me and what I do, but they also assume I am busy and I miss out on stuff because they don’t invite me. They figure I’m out doing my thing. So I just remind them from time to time to just send that text or make that call and I might actually be free and up for whatever they wanted to do.
Me: Who in your life do you admire for their independent spirit?
LT: Dr. Norma Gaines Hanks who is a professor of human development and family studies. I was her graduate assistant at University of Delaware. For the past 10 years she has been going to various countries in Africa and Barbados for research. She has enjoyed her work there so much she actually goes to Barbados for vacation and will go on her own. She chose not to have kids and has expressed feeling satisfied with the way she has nurtured and mothered the students she has taught over the years. She is the only woman of color in her department and it hasn’t diminished her Black womanness as a member of a very White campus community. She is a straight shooter and doesn’t water things down. She’s just happy. An indication of her choices, independent choices that make her happy.
Me: What independent brands/business inspire you?
LT: Recently admiring the work of Melissa Alam. She opened up The Hive Philly, an all female coworking space in old city Philadelphia. I admire in her and you. You’re both willing to rebrand and do something different. You two welcome change and that’s so courageous. I am like I need to reflect on keeping the decision I made. I am also inspired by Chill Moody and Jade Alston, two musicians from Philadelphia. Jade Alston initially came out as an R&B artist and made that 90’s feel good music. More recently she has done more folk music. Switching it up like that is ballsy but she did it and it’s still really good music.
Me: What advice would you give someone who is defining what independence is for them?
LT: Be deliberate in learning yourself. Take time to learn what you like, don’t like, want, don’t want, etc. I have a few self help books that I keep handy. One of them shared you have to learn to remove the annoyance in your life to be successful. If you’re wasting time thinking about the things that annoy you then you take time away from things you could do that makes you happy and leads to your success.