Flavor Flav, 2 Bigg MC, and Me:

Don’t Hide Success From The Hype Man

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Students are at home taking finals virtually, which means campus has been QUIET this week and until January! One thing the pandemic has created is more time to think. I thought I would have more time to write but between closely following virus transmission rates in New Orleans, dodging hurricanes since June, as well as being consumed by the 2020 election, my writing has been down. But hopefully I can do better for the next 2 months.

One of my sophomores sent me a note yesterday about my post on HBCU enrollment and said she likes reading my posts. So thanks for the motivation, Kalaya!

Here is a thought. I am a product of the Golden Era of hip hop, and especially during the 1980s and 1990s a key part of any hip hop performance was the Hype Man.

Flavor Flav of Public Enemy. 2 Bigg MC with MC Hammer. Professor X of X-Clan. Sen Dog of Cypress Hill. In more recent years it has morphed with DJs being the hype men offering the constant crowd exhortations. DJ Khaled. Swizz Beats. Jermaine Dupree. Lil John.


I think one of my most important jobs is to be a Dillard BRAND AMBASSADOR. We’ve done virtual alumni tours the past few weeks and I challenged alums that they should be brand ambassadors as well. What does that mean? I want them to share good news about Dillard using every means possible.

Being a brand ambassador today is a legitimate career, one that has monetary value. So when our alums work as brand ambassadors, there is a value to their service- a tangible way of giving back. This is especially a great way for recent alumni to give back when they are getting settled in their careers, are in graduate or professional school, AND they have to pay back those student loans (but if President Biden hooks you up with forgiveness I hope you’ll share some with us!)

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Karen Civil speaking with my PHI444 class, April 2016

Students should also spend time giving back as brand ambassadors, especially those that receive institutional financial support. By building up the brand it makes it easier for the advancement team to reach new donors, which could mean even more financial aid for students. Plus, I meet students who want to be the next Karen Civil- this is a great way to build a brand ambassador portfolio.

The challenge sometimes is that you don’t hear the good news. I have a Google News alert so that once a day I get an e-mail which let’s me know the news stories and posts where Dillard University is mentioned. I then share the good news via my social media networks, as well as in my bi-monthly campus e-mails that I call Bleu Notes.

But on Twitter this morning I saw an interesting post.

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Adam Grant is an organizational psychologist at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. His comment, “we sometimes hide our successes to protect our friends and colleagues, but it actually hurts our relationships” struck me as odd. He added a screen shot of a journal article simply entitled, “Hiding Success.”

I know y’all won’t read the whole thing (I might not either LOL) so I found a summary article. It is short so I hope you’ll read it.

Here is part of it:

First, when we talk about “hiding success,” what do we mean? The researchers described it as “intentionally withholding positive information about oneself or one’s accomplishments.” Second, this is an incredibly common thing to do; 82 percent of the folks in their research admitted to it. And as the investigators pointed out, a person’s reasons for keeping their accomplishments a secret generally come from a noble place. Specifically, people voiced a desire to steer clear of boasting, and to prevent the person they told from feeling distressed or jealous. Others were concerned about feeling embarrassed in opening up about their good fortune. With reasons like this, it can really make silence seem, objectively, like the right thing to do.

Hmmm. Then the author of this piece says the researchers examined the impact of HIDING success. Part of this describes me perfectly:

… when someone withholds their good fortune, people tend to respond by feeling offended, less connected, and more suspicious. Second, even if a person hides their achievement and people never learn about it from anyone else, they still feel less connected to that person while they’re concealing their good news.

Just yesterday, I saw this post on Twitter:

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I sent her a direct message:

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She did. And I fussed! This was HUGE news. Seventeen Magazine?? Are you kidding me? I told her I was so proud of her. I was really excited for her to have that honor, and as Miss Dillard this is a great platform for her passion. And of course, she is a great example of what we want the Dillard brand to be. As Miss Dillard she is already a Brand Ambassador. I then saw the additional collaterals and got excited all over again.

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So I went into Flavor Flav, 2 Bigg MC mode and hit my social media channels. I made it the breaking news for my Bleu Notes yesterday so the entire campus would know. I also shared it with our alums on the zoom event last night. Here is the interview.

I like being the Hype Man. I’m a Brand Ambassador, its part of the job. But I would argue that for any institution or organization that you are a member of, you should be a brand ambassador too. So to my Dillard folks, don’t hide your success. If you don’t want to tell anyone, tell me, and I’ll tell it.

Being the hype man makes me happy!

The Prez

Written by

7th president of Dillard University

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