My name is Syreeta Gates. I have a social venture called The SweetLife, swelled SWT, which stands for ‘Service We Trust’. Basically what we do is we create conversations for young people to find out what they’re passionate about and how they can be phenomenal.
I love pulling from popular culture in making the negative positive. I think,specifically around hip-hop, you have the fame, which is cool. Then you have what you can do with the fame. You have a lot of these artists,whether they’re starting nonprofit organizations, creating various ways to give back. You’re successful in my eyes. You’ve been able to leave a legacy that’s going to be here after you’re gone.
My community definitely puts the battery in my back to re–imagine what success is. Last year, 2010, I applied for a job. A few weeks later they called me and they denied me. They were like, “No, you didn’t get the job”. The same day Glamour Magazine called me and told me that I won top 20 under 25. I was like, “We did it baby”. I was like, “Wow. This is what it feels like?”
It was at Carnegie Hall. I was like, “Billie Holiday was there. This is a big deal”. That day I felt a little bit of what I plan to feel like for the rest of mylife. This is, when they speak of success, what they might mean.
I‘m influenced by people that have had the odds against them and they decided to make it happen anyway. Everybody talks about going hard but what does that really look like? Find out what you’re passionate about.That’s extremely important. Create a lane where you could be innovative in whatever that passion is. Don’t stop until you figure out what success isfor you, until you accomplish that. I am Syreeta Gates and success happens.