~TRUE STORY~

THE ROAD TO HELL IS PAVED WITH GOOD INTENTIONS

Saturday, November 4th, 2017

Have you ever been in a situation where you thought you had everything you ever wanted, but you weren’t happy? Have you ever created something from nothing into a successful brand and then had to let it go? Have you ever been all the way to the top only to crash all the way back down? Well, I have.

Sometimes when I think about how my life used to be, it seems like it never happened. I look in the mirror and see myself but then it doesn’t really feel like me.

It’s been almost 4 years since I would consider myself a professional blogger. That title in my rolodex retired when I closed down Concrete Loop. But as they say, “once a blogger, always a blogger.” I always seem to come back to this in some way.

Writing is therapeutic to me and I still see it as an outlet. I have matured because I don’t need all the co-signs anymore and don’t need all the fake love. I just want to be someone who can look in the mirror and appreciate the reflection that stares back.

“It was all a dream..” – The Notorious B.I.G.

It was the Summer of 2010 when I was plotting my takeover of the black blogging world. At that time I had already been blogging professionally for well over 5 years and I was close to realizing my dream of being a media powerhouse.

I had recently moved to NYC from a small town in North Carolina and from the outside looking in, I had it all. An office on 5th Ave a couple blocks from the Empire State Building. An apartment in Manhattan that was just a hop skip and jump away from there. Celebrity “friends” on speed dial to get exclusive content. Free trips to cover swanky events and keynote at important seminars. Even a best-selling book that inspired many of the blogs you may read today…. But we always romanticize things when we look back, don’t we?

It was now 2014 and I had built my brand for almost 9 years. Throughout that time, I learned that to get to a certain level in the entertainment realm, you have to either give up a piece of yourself or create a whole new person. So I started to wear a mask when I left my apartment to attend events but that mask was slowly starting to crack. In fact, I’ve always been a homebody and never really liked crowds and there I was making a living out of being in one.

One of my staff members (who was rather new to the industry), would always get so excited about meeting a celebrity at a gig she covered. I secretly would think, “If she knew how they really were in person she wouldn’t be that excited.” That made me feel bad because I was once that person who was elated that Kanye West called me or Beyonce invited me to her listening party. But when you realize that it’s all a game, that shine fades away.

No one knew it but during those last years of running Concrete Loop, I was very depressed. I was even contemplating suicide. In a sense, I had become paranoid and trusted no one. I even started to pull away from the business that I had grown from nothing.

If you were a reader during this time, you probably noticed I would go on hiatus randomly or stop updating the site for days on end. My staff would have to pick up the slack. I was clearly walking around with functional depression and hiding my true thoughts through this new mask I created. It was clear that I’d become burned out.

By this time, the glossiness of this new thing called blogging had faded and the business side started to become stressful. I put my all into that business because it was all I had. I sacrificed a lot during those years because I was after the bigger picture. When I went to the office, I worked. When I went home, I worked. It never stopped.

Additionally, I never took a real vacation because every time I traveled it was work related. I never took myself too seriously because it all started as a hobby. I never even finished college because I dropped out thinking I was set for life. As a result, I created what some may call a monster and it was literally killing me.

Sign on the dotted line… you’ll be fine.

I remember right before it all came to an end, I was renegotiating my contract with Spin Media. They were in crisis mode because of bad investments and anyone who had the unfortunate pleasure of doing business with them were literally struggling to stay afloat.

During those last months they owed me thousands of dollars in advertising revenue and I was paying my staff out of my pocket. A few months before that I had already planned on possibly selling the site, but my perfect exit strategy changed when those same negotiations broke down. They held my content hostage because it was hosted on their servers. I had most of the backups but by the time the damage was already done.

I remember my lawyer telling me right before I signed the first deal with them, that any partnership in business is like a marriage and let me tell you the divorce was far from pleasant.

They kept sending different people to have me sign altered agreements for less money and when I wouldn’t listen to the white executives they sent – they started to send black executives. I entertained the negotiations because I wanted the brand to continue but one night before I was to sign a new agreement for the site – I realized that what I had prayed for was right in front of my face. Freedom. 

Months before that I had prayed to God to put me on the right path he had for my life. I felt I had detoured to this fantasy island of fake love and accolades. I was becoming a shell of myself just to continue to make money and to be honest I didn’t have anything to fall back on.

God definitely answers your prayers but not in the way you would expect.

So I came to the difficult decision to close down the blog and walk away from a guaranteed check. When I broke the news to my staff, many of them cried but everyone understood. I just didn’t have the heart to do it anymore.

Not going to lie, it was very painful the day I announced CL was closing. I even cried myself to sleep. I had become attached to the community I had built and it felt like I lost my child just shy of its 9th birthday.

After the news broke, I started to receive emails from multiple people who wanted to buy the company or who were fishing for information. But for some reason I didn’t have the heart to sell it. I didn’t want something I created with my blood, sweat and tears to get into the hands of the wrong person. I also didn’t want Concrete Loop to turn into a washed up version of itself. We had accomplished a lot with that site, so ending it was an emotional move definitely not a business one.

As you all know, you’re not supposed to have emotions when it comes to business related matters. I guess you can say that’s another reason I wasn’t cut out for that world.

Some people will never understand why I never sold the site or why I decided to place it on indefinite hiatus. But that’s not my place to make them. I accomplished many of the dreams I had for Concrete Loop and the ones I didn’t reach, I at least blazed a trail for someone else to get there.

“..To whom much is given, much is required.” Luke 12:48

After the closing, the rest of those months were really a blur. I packed up that same office on 5th Ave and rented a U-Haul to take everything to my oversized and overpriced apartment. My lease would be up in a few months and then my decision of staying in NYC or moving back down south was on the table. My savings were dwindling fast because of all the personal and business expenses I had.

When you are used to making a lot of money and then that stops, it starts to get real. I was so out of touch from reality that I didn’t realize how bad it really was. To be honest, I barely remember much of 2014 and 2015.

I was so depressed that I slept all day and all night. I would pop Advil PM’s just to continue to sleep. One week I remember just eating a piece of bread for nourishment. I couldn’t even take care of my dog, he was staying with my parents.

I was embarrassed that I had gone so far only to feel like a disappointment to my family. I also felt like I let down all the people who had looked up to me. In my mind, I failed at life. I even thought that maybe I should have sold my soul because then at least I would have money in the bank..

Friends who I thought were my friends disappeared. All those free trips were now gone. Those same celebrities on speed dial never answered anymore. The partnerships I garnered after almost a decade turned sour. The rest of the money I saved was quickly spent for lawyers to tie up loose ends. Those were very dark times.

At just 29 years old, I actually felt like my life was over. I thought I had served my purpose, so what was the point? I looked at a full container of pills and contemplated taking them all and just going to sleep. No one would miss me because no one cared about me without Concrete Loop or so I thought.

“And what do you benefit if you gain the world but lose your own soul?” – Mark 8:36

Even with the depression, I realized that I made this choice and it was the right one. God never said it would be easy moving on and he definitely never said everything would fall into place like I wanted it to. I also realized that I can always make more money but all I have is one soul.

Now on my 33rd birthday, I can mentally say that I’m in a better place. I don’t make as much money as I used to but I do have a job. By the grace of God, I was able to keep my house and close down my business without having any debt left. I’m even thinking about going back to finish college next year.

Even now when I think about all I have done it feels like another lifetime ago. I am blessed to have my family and real friends in my life that helped me get through this difficult transition. I am now living at a slower pace and learning to appreciate what I do have.

God wanted me to share my story because someone out there needed to hear it and know that all that glitters is not gold. And that life doesn’t end when you fail… it actually begins.

A close friend of mine told me that courage is the only thing you should have in life because with courage you can do anything.” It took a lot of courage to walk down my new path but I always believe that everything happens as it should.

Concrete Loop will always be apart of my story but it was just a stepping stone to the true life that God has planned for me. 

Now on to more writing because I feel like I have been quiet for too long.

 

27 Comments

  • Reply Cera November 4, 2017 at 3:33 am

    I’ve been a fan of yours for awhile now and I’m so happy you are back blogging. This post is book worthy I didn’t want it to stop. You have a testimony that many need to hear. Welcome back!!

  • Reply Ulises November 4, 2017 at 4:30 am

    Welcome back!!! First and foremost, I commend you for your strength and for having the courage to share your story. Very powerful!!! Glad you’re ok!! 🙂 Now, let the writing commence!!! <3

  • Reply GAELLE PRUDENCIO November 4, 2017 at 5:40 am

    Dear Angel, welcome and thank you for sharing your storie.
    I have been following you for a long time and it’s such a honor to read these words. Merci beaucoup.

  • Reply Jo November 4, 2017 at 6:54 am

    Wowwww! You are amazing! I’m so happy you’re still here with us. I’ve never read any of your material but I’ll definitely peak in to check out your material. In a world of glitter it’s easy to feel like you’re not doing enough and become consumed. I recently started blogging and launched my new blog on my 28th birthday. I have hopes of it growing a large following and brand, but you sharing your story helps more with the navigation process. Self-care is so important and I do my best to find it. I found myself in a very similar state in my first counselor job and had to walk away from it for my peace of mind. A peace of mind is priceless.

  • Reply Marie Denee November 4, 2017 at 8:51 am

    Thank you so much for your story. I have always looked up to you and have admired you. Thank you for sharing and I cannot wait to see what comes next for you! I am rooting for you!

  • Reply DurtyMo November 4, 2017 at 8:59 am

    Oh my goodness!!! I’m soooo proud of you! I definitely understand your testimony and I know how difficult it must have been for you to walk away from Concrete Loop. I created YouKnowYouDeadAzzWrong in 2008 and closed it down this past summer. Creating something from nothing feels like having a baby and when it’s time to let it go, it can feel like a death. I’m so glad you’re in a better space now. I pray God continues to give you the strength to live your most authentic self. Like the previous commenter said, this is BOOK WORTHY!!! I can’t wait to read more!! You’re my sister in
    my head and I wish nothing but the best for you!!!! 💕💕💕💕

  • Reply Victoria November 4, 2017 at 9:27 am

    First, let me say that I am SO happy that you are still here, because you have a lot of people who would miss you, myself included.

    When you shut down CL, I never really thought much about it, but I’m of the nothing is forever mindset. And when something no longer is your passion or fun anymore, you let it go. A lot of people ask me why I didn’t pursue cosmetology or doing nails full time, and its because once it became work and people started demanding my time, it stopped being fun. And I kind of assumed that was the same case for you. I was actually happy for you, if that even makes any sense. It’s not easy to let a relationship (career included) go, so when someone has the courage to, I can only commend them. Not everyone has that strength in them.

    You truly are someone I admire. Even more so now after reading this. And I am thankful that aside from our internet friendship we actually had the chance to meet. You are someone I will continue to root for, always. And I don’t just root for anybody 😉

    PS. Give Pepper a big hug for me!

  • Reply Mikelah November 4, 2017 at 9:55 am

    Thank you for sharing. It truly take courage and I completely understand where you’re coming from. We often put too much pressure on ourselves. I just want to thank you for creating CL (I still have your book) it’s definitely a cornerstone in the entertainment blogging world and one can take that away. whatever your future holds, keep your vision and health first! Much love!

  • Reply Kiera November 4, 2017 at 9:59 am

    This was so inspiring on so many levels. I had no idea you went through this but I am glad to see you are better now. God is great! I have always admired you <3 Stay blessed! I can't wait to read your blogs and watch you continue to grow and flourish on your journey in life <3

  • Reply Ty November 4, 2017 at 12:46 pm

    So glad you decided to come back🤗

  • Reply Bionca November 4, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    You were a big inspiration for me back in the day. Thank you for sharing your journey. I’m glad to hear that you’re in a good place now. God makes no mistakes! Happy Birthday, Angel!

  • Reply Aminah November 4, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    “And that life doesn’t end when you fail… it actually begins.” Thank you. ✌🏿❤️

  • Reply Vera Loo November 4, 2017 at 5:05 pm

    Look at this ! The Love, Scorpio we are masters of transformation and rebirth. To others and even ourselves, it seems we die/fail; but it NEVER ends there. We come out blazing or simmering, whatever serves the purpose of the hour. We missed you and we love you. Welcome BACK and take your time, as you can see, you’ve built a solid following and they will remain as sure as you are true to you and serve them truth.
    Best,
    Vera Loo.

  • Reply Yolo Spinks November 4, 2017 at 6:25 pm

    Yasssssssssss! Love your transparency and can’t wait to see what God has for you. Jeremiah 29:11 😘

  • Reply Niqi J November 4, 2017 at 7:14 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Reply m&m2diva November 4, 2017 at 9:34 pm

    Awww I really want to cry!! This was so amazing friend thanks for sharing your story!! Your so amazing, so inspirational and I love u!! God placed you back on this path for a reason even when I feel bad about my own life you always seem to uplift me and encourage me!!

  • Reply Gwen November 4, 2017 at 9:57 pm

    You never know what a person is going through. Love you Angel, shine bright like the diamond you are.

  • Reply TiKA November 4, 2017 at 11:09 pm

    Thank you ever so much for sharing. On the eve of my 33rd birthday, I am ever so grateful for you writing this. I identify with you and had the opportunity to meet you years ago at the Janelle Monae concert in NYC. You were kind, gracious and beautiful. I have always followed your journey because I think with or without Concrete Loop, I don’t think that you realize who you’ve inspired by simply being YOU. You are truly a magnetic and important force. I’m excited and elated for your next steps and the next evolution of your journey. I am so happy to have seen this and I’m grateful that you choose you. Thank you for being an inspiration. Even if you weren’t ever trying to be. Love + Light.

  • Reply Brian November 6, 2017 at 2:26 pm

    Angel, I’m so glad to get the opportunity read about what happened. I had no idea that you went through so much! I remember those glory years of black blogging and CL, Crunk & Disorderly & YB&F, thinking that you guys were going to rule the world. And you know what? Y’all actually did do just that! Although I was a generation older, I looked up to and learned from you and the others. Coming full circle and getting your full story is once again teaching me a few things about a few things. That’s what writing is all about, and I’m so glad that you’re getting back into the swing, but ON YOUR TERMS. Keep trailblazing, stay blessed, and know that there are some people out here who truly “got you”!

  • Reply Stix November 6, 2017 at 5:23 pm

    Angel!! I’m so glad you’re writing again!! Concrete Loop was my FAVORITE blog. No lie!! I still credit your site for the dopest Barack Obama shirt that I ever owned. Lol Though life has changed, your writing style is still real and inspiring. Thanks for bringing us into your world. I’m looking forward to reading more! Happy belated birthday and blessings on the ventures to come!

  • Reply ADot November 6, 2017 at 11:09 pm

    Welcome back! Confession: I still check ConcreteLoop every few months to see if it’s magically back. You inspired me to create my own business and I wish you many blessing on your journey.

  • Reply Bukola Are November 8, 2017 at 3:26 pm

    Welcome back Angel. Thank you so much for sharing your truth with us .Today, like yesterday you have inspired me.I will never forget the kind gesture you showed to me and my brand years ago.Wishing you all you wish yourself and so much more.

  • Reply angelonfire November 8, 2017 at 10:06 pm

    Thank you everyone for all the love you have shown. I appreciate every one of you. Happy to be blogging again.

  • Reply LC November 9, 2017 at 7:24 pm

    That was really touching, Concreteloopnwas my first blog that I️ actually read and trusted. Being a senior in HS 09 I️ learned quick that mediatakeout was BS media, and when I️ began following you, I️ was able to stay connected to the industry and be connected through substance and not just trash. I️ always wondered what was going on, at one point you all were upgrading doing facelifts and next thing you know like you stated above the post got slower, not as frequent updates, I’m like why am I️ on Necole Bitchie all the time I️ didn’t even notice until slowest but surely I️ got that update that you ended. Thanks for sharing that story as we continued to grow we are going to share many success stories in our lifetime, concreteloop is just one of yours, I️ can’t wait to see what your next will be. Love

  • Reply Beenietv November 17, 2017 at 1:08 am

    ConcreteLoop was my daily shit in college 2008-2011 you seriously were apart of the lower frequency years of my life. But this high frequency, feel good, educating, uplifting posts are so necessary right now.

  • Reply Teyah Scales November 17, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    CL was one of the first blogs that truly had integrity. Posts were authentic and thought provoking. So when CL shut down I was devastated because I knew there would never be another blog like it. But I vowed to continue to follow AngelonFire whenever she may pop up because I knew you’d be back in some form! I’m so happy that you shared your story and I can’t wait to see what’s in store next for you!

  • Reply Don Green December 1, 2017 at 1:41 am

    I remember sitting at my desk at Apple Inc, visiting CL for my daily dose of news, as you can see I still have the site bookmarked.I have been waiting for the day that it returns. all these years most folks have been settling for mediatakeout. CL was so much better. PLEASE COME BACK — Don

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