We had the good fortune of connecting with Diane Wesh and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Diane, how do you think about risk?
To many, I’ve often stated: ‘I live my life like the Apostle Paul, on the edge, in total dependence on God.’ When I think about the term “risk” I associate it with relinquishing control (in the physical sense) and going with the flow of the Universe, allowing the spirit, the heart to guide me. Many have perceived my endeavors as foolish, as child’s play, as “wasting my time.” But over the past four years of my life I did what many are too afraid to do: I followed my heart. I refrained from remaining close to safe harbors and instead set sail into the great unknown. In doing so, I have been blessed to have spent the past four years of my life traveling the world solo–from backpacking through Europe, to breaking bread with the muslim community in the Middle East, to living amongst the Black Hmong tribe deep in the villages of Northern Vietnam, to cultivating community amongst the Black diaspora in New Zealand amongst other extraordinary experiences. My God, I have lived because I took risks.

Taking risks has opened me up to different ways of living, of being, of seeing. By immersing myself in foreign lands, I learned from everyone. Living in wild Alaska, taught me how to appreciate my surroundings and share my favorite spots with first-time visitors through Airbnb experiences. The Muslim community taught me how to open my heart and to love deeply and generously despite oppression. In New Zealand, I learned how to harness all my creative talents and use them to inspire and empower.

The past four years of my life have been riddled with risk taking which has allowed me to figure myself out. I learned what I like and what I don’t like and that risk-taking attitude is what molded made me into the woman that I am today and the career that I have. I own my own business and my ideas and my visions are so massive because I take risks. Instead of being afraid of failure, I aim to fail faster because all of it is a learning experience.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m a multidisciplinary artist: creative director, marketer, writer, community builder, event curator and more. I’m proud that I didn’t allow the illusion of the “American dream” to confine me to dreaming small. I got to where I am today because I took risks, because I bet on myself. I truly believed there was more to life than working a 9-5. It’s always difficult to go against the norm especially when so many of us are conditioned to believe that there is only one way to live: school, work, marriage, kids, retirement. I overcame the challenges by following my hear and thrusting myself into the world. Traveling solo molded me into the artist that I am today because I allowed the world to be my teacher.

My brand, Got Blacklisted is my life story. I was tired of experiencing racial harassment in the workplace, tokenism and exploitation, so I set out to create my own. Now, I can enjoy doing what fulfills as I continue to provide resources, cultivate communities and create alternative avenues of revenue for Black artists & entrepreneurs.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Breakfast: Cltre. Vgn Jnt (Virginia Beach)

Afternoon fun: Gallery Ukwensi ( Norfolk)

Night Out: Tsunami Studio (Norfolk, VA)

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Luvenia Hankins founder of Cltre. Vgn Jnt, she has supported and guided me for years and her business continues to be an incubator where dreams are realized.

Website: www.gotblacklisted.com

Instagram: @gotblacklisted

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/diane-wesh-8762b8198/

Image Credits
Corey Daniels

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