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  • Writer's pictureH.D. Campbell

St. Louis: More Than Just A "Best Kept Secret"

Saint Louis, Missouri is home to a lot of talent whether they're known or not but unless we get past all the negativity of the city, we will continue being the cliche of "best kept secret".

Nationally, everyone knows a famous Saint Louisan whether you know they're from St. Louis or not. St. Louis have three categories. We have those of the past that have passed on like Redd Foxx, T.S. Elliot, Professional Wrestler Bob Orton, Maya Angelou, Actor Vincent Price and many others. Then you have those you know now like Nelly, Cedric The Entertainer, Screenwriter/Director James Gunn, Author Laurell K. Hamilton, as well as again many others. Finally, you have those you don't know outside of St. Louis because of forces both in and out of St. Louis that prevents us from being pushed.

I personally know a lot of talent that deserves to go big in all areas. Artists like Tek-Thug, Young K, Luh Shonda and others from Sho Me Records founded by Jayb Johnson and Ernest "BOSS" Bell, the company has put out talent that deserves to be pushed simply because the music is so diverse alone. Robert RobBoo Ford does a lot for the music scene as well. The founder of S.L.U.M. (St. Louis Underground Music), Rob puts on events for musical talent in all genres (Hip Hop, R & B, Spoken Word, & More). He not only puts on shows throughout the year including the SLUMFest Music Awards, he also works to showcase new talent with his Freshmen Class. Musically, St. Louis is about to bust.

As an author, I too see equal talent like Teresa Seals (Taylor) with the Red Bud Avenue Series. Then, we have Suspense Author Sherrod Tunstall. Marianne Meeder is one whom I just recently interviewed for the Author's Corner is another amazing talent who writes beyond the Self-Help genre. She gives you a lot of life lessons in all you do with her books. We are best selling authors in smaller markets but nationally our stories can reach so much more. LaShaunda Hoffman assist authors with her Digital Magazine Sormag. She works hard to profile authors and pushes them towards exposure.

There is no shortage in business talent in St. Louis as well. We already have known businesses like Maull's Barbecue, 7Up, London & Sons Chicken, and others. How many of you have eaten at Roper's Ribs? How many of you know Deletra Hudson, a financial coach out there to assist us in financial wellness? How many of us know there's a vegan cafe selling baked goods and meals named SweetArt Cafe? There is so much diversity here, why aren't we being pushed nationally?

There are two defined reasons both within St. Louis and outside St. Louis. Outside St. Louis, all people are hearing about is the murder rate. Yes, the murder rate is high. Yes, the police need to do more in addition to city government. However, the murder rate isn't the only negative thing about St. Louis (which I won't get into to further the smear campaigns). There are a lot of good things about St. Louis. It's a great place to start a business, there is talent trapped here not to mention our sports loyalty is awesome. Between the Cardinals and the Blues there is a lot of love here.

Next, the media only puts out what it want to put out about St. Louis. Any one thing that comes out of St. Louis whether it be positive or negative, it gets so blown out of proportion. I've just started a new show where I will be interviewing people from St. Louis where we will talk about various problems, solutions, good points, and low points of St. Louis to the point where we need to stay in the conversation nationally.

From within, there's a crab in a barrel mentality, especially in the music scene. However it spills into the other categories as well. Using the music for example, many of us have an issue to where if we've never heard of someone, then you must not be talented. We don't take the time out to learn about the other talent beyond the few we know. People like Jayb Johnson and Rob Ford put out talent all the time. There are many others like YC-Bey and Bates who put out hits all the time but when I talk to many about the artists I know (and a small few are ignorant) will tell you they aren't talented enough if they've never heard of them. I personally have to show the skeptics YouTube videos of the talent they're dismissing in action.

Finally, we're so busy trying outdo each other, we're not working on what it takes to elevate to the next level. I've been telling my fellow writers and authors for years that there's enough room on the best seller list for everyone. That's the same thing with the local music scene. There's enough room on the charts for everyone.

We have to do better here in St. Louis with our talent. There's too much talent for us to be a "best kept secret". I don't even like that term. I challenge all of you this decade to use all of your efforts to push yourself beyond the Arch without selling your soul (which is another article entirely). We should be able to push our talent without selling ourselves out.

The SLUMFest Hip Hop Awards will take place at The Bootleg, 4140 Manchester Avenue Saturday February 1st at 8 p.m.

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