Ad Age is marking Black History Month 2024 with our fourth-annual Honoring Creative Excellence package. (Read the introduction here.) Today, SoFi Copywriter Kai Fields shares his thoughts on arriving at “a career that I thought was actively evading me.”
I was never supposed to get into advertising, and that’s not by any fault of my own. Twelve years of public school, a semester of college and eight years of hustling between jobs never unveiled to me the viable career path of copywriting that could pay me well above a living wage, make my mother proud and allow me to be as creative as my heart desired.
Left to my own devices, I would have made a career of wandering down the road less traveled, searching for a way to make a buck off of my ideas. Growing up, I had dreams of creating culture, but in the back of my mind, I felt that the roadmap to that future was not something I would be able to easily access, despite my determination and talent.
Over the years, I found the occasional unpaid opportunity. I wrote for random lifestyle blogs and online music newsletters, eventually working my way to an internship at The Source, writing the “Today in Hip Hop History” column. I jumped at any chance to step in the creative professional direction, splitting my time (and my wallet) trying to keep my dream from drowning and get my foot in a door that I had never seen for myself. But I was treading water. And when my head began to barely break the surface for air, I was ready to let my aspiration of being a real-life writer succumb to the waves.
But suddenly, the tides changed.