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The Rise of Eve: Stop Violence Against Women Worldwide

Use the #RiseofEve hashtag on social media to show your support!

L.Burner is the CEO/Founder of The Mind Ur Business Music Conference, the first industry level music conference in the state of Delaware. Geared toward urban music, it premiered on July 23rd 2011 to an enthusiastic response from the community and attendance and sponsorship from major players such as Universal Records, Capitol, Records, Interscope, 101.7 Kissfm and Allhiphop.com where she is currently a journalist.

L. Burner is also a filmmaker and her current project, Rise of Eve, a documentary that hopes to raise awareness of the many forms of sexism, violence and gender-based mistreatment of women across the boundaries of age, time and culture.

 

What do you hope is the outcome of the Rise of Eve documentary?

I would like to open up dialogue to ultimately create a paradigm shift in how people view the treatment of women in their respective cultures and throughout the world.

I would like to see a male-dominated society recognize that they do not have ownership of a woman’s gender roles or sexual behaviors or the right to persecute and discipline her accordingly such as with beatings, catcalling, name calling and honor killings.

My secondary goal is that this film will play a huge role in making it commonplace for women to discuss their discomfort during sexual intimacy instead of acting as subservient martyrs willing to suffer through pain and degradation to appease the man.

My hope is that men will become more empathetic to our plight and join us in the fight for human rights for all.

What are the realities of being a woman in the music business?

The upside is there are people who are “extra” impressed because I am woman and have been so prolific. Some people feel a sense of nurturing and trust in my demeanor like a mother or big sister and hire me because of this.

Others, I feel, have crushes and think it would be a “cute” experience to work with me. I just don’t let on that I know. I’m not concerned because my work will speak for itself. As far as sexism, I have learned to navigate through it for the most part.

I have been in the industry my entire adult life and there is a vast difference now, not because the climate has changed but because I have. The misogyny is much worse now but I’m not the target I was when I was 20.

I have had guys actually feel me up in the studio…. more than once…once even on the same day! Now they won’t be that blatant because I have established more respect both in the industry and just a woman with more sophistication and the ability to effectively assert myself, protect myself and command respect when I enter the room.

I have also noticed that a certain sector of people find all of that intimidating coming from a woman. That would be the type I referred to earlier that will try and block my movement, only they do it in a covert, passive/aggressive manner because they feel they are not formidable opponents.

It’s silly to me because they are non-factors to me nor am I a threat to them. If anything we can build together. I don’t run from proficient and successful people. I run toward them!

salt n pepa

L. Burner with Salt n Pepa

Then there are a handful of male counterparts who are outwardly aggressive. I have been approached by confrontational followers, harassed, threatened and stalked and have filed police reports twice!

That kind of reaction has come from men feeling rejected personally, professionally or both until it festers then they try and discredit and attack me. There was also a disturbing, isolated incident; My Allhiphop.com column had a big prison following and one ex-convict was released and got my contact information and texted a picture pointing a gun!

Can you imagine my horror when I opened that text? The follow up message was one of “ride or die” support for me so it was an homage in his mind. I used my human services background to make him understand the gravity of his actions and never had another issue with him, fortunately.

Yet, I have had artists and people in more prominent positions be malicious and dogmatic toward me. I have been knocked around as the only woman in the press pit. But I definitely feel when guys are aggressive toward me for whatever reason they are capitalizing on my vulnerability as a female.

you-mean-a-woman-can-open-it

They approach my male counterparts with respect and caution under the same circumstances. I just try and use precaution in general. I de-escalate when confronted. I work mainly online or by phone, whenever possible, instead of meeting in person. If I do have to meet, I do it in a well lit public place.

But I do strongly believe that every aggressive or passive/aggressive incident I have ever had have all been rooted in misogyny, conscious or subconscious.

How have you been able to find steady freelance work that pays well?

Who says I have? :) It’s always a hustle! I try and create multiple streams of income. I manage one artist. I am a consultant for hire. I provide professional writing services, promotion, radio airplay etc.

While admittedly, I won’t disclose anything I would consider a trade secret for my company, I can say in general that it has a lot to do with building relationships, doing favors and barters and building credibility. I can’t even quantify the amount of free work I did to build my brand before I was able to profit from my skills set.

You have to research, follow your instincts and be creative and consistent. I can recall many people who provided similar services 5 years ago when I started. Some were decent but most were cocky, crooked, some even tried to negatively impact my business.

I just paced myself and let karma do its thing. Many of them are long gone from lack of consistency or bad business practices. I have been blessed. I never fed into the negativity and I try not to burn bridges.

miguel

L. Burner and Miguel

I have a background and training in human services so I apply those tactics such as coping skills, de-escalation and universal precaution and good old-fashioned patience. My clients automatically get a “therapist” as well.

I honestly think that type of relating and integrity goes a long way and works wonders for word-of-mouth and repeat clientele.

Is there a downside of constantly talking or writing about your projects for promotion and marketing purposes?

There is really no downside. I appreciate the opportunity to share my passion and my experiences. It does get redundant (on your own project) when you feel you have nailed the synopsis or mission statement but have to keep finding a fresh take on it.

People may not know you often have to modify your cover letters or synopsis for one project emphasizing different points according to your objectives for that prospect.

I have written at least a dozen synopses for The Rise of Eve and the same is true for my previous documentary, “What’s Really Hood?” That can be very tedious, redundant and painstaking. But I try and focus on the blessing and the opportunity.

This may come as a surprise but I truly enjoy reading my redundancies. I can actually read several back to back for sheer enjoyment but again I don’t enjoy the repetition when I have to write and rehash them.

Does that sound weird or narcissistic? :)

How will the $10,000 that needs to be raised to fund the Rise of Eve documentary benefit the cause?

At this stage, it goes to the post-production costs of completing the film, promotion and travel.

Everything has been out of pocket so far and if we are going to bring this film and issue to critical mass then we have to rise to the level of the film industry and be able to compete at film festivals with a high quality product, afford the costs of festival entries and travel.

If we are successful with that objective, we gain an opportunity for major distribution. If we are not selected for any film festivals we will need the money left over after production to pay for a major publicist to help us keep the film alive.

 

Help fund the Rise of Eve documentary!

 

Leigh Langston is the Entertainment Editor for Ms. Nix and the artist behind The #FeedArt Network (DangerousLee.biz) where she specializes in social media marketing for indie artists and creative entrepreneurs. She is also the author of the safe sex erotica anthology, Keep Your Panties Up and Your Skirt Down and an eBook on colorism, The Half Series: When Black People Look White.
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