Kevin Ross The Podcast

If it’s meant to be, it’s up to me!

Episode 15

If we get out of our own way, life will propel us forward. Sometimes under less than ideal circumstances, but the results are usually what we wanted all along. In this episode, Kevin “Boss” Ross reveals how showing up to a Hollywood event he wanted to pull a no-show on was just what he needed to recharge his creative battery.


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Hi, I’m Kevin Ross. And this is The Podcast. If It’s Meant to be, It’s Up to Me.

I didn’t want to go. Why? Just a little preoccupied with some life challenges, but I couldn’t shake this feeling of obligation.

So, begrudgingly, I agreed to attend the 14th annual LA Web Fest Awards. Of course, the day rolls around and I’m juggling a few tasks. Next thing I know I’ve missed the red carpet and making the cocktail reception before showtime at seven o’clock is also looking increasingly doubtful.

I really should have said no, like I did last year, but I kept thinking about a man named Michael Ajakwe Junior. You see in 2018 at the age of 52 this unstoppable television, theatrical and film writer, producer lost his battle with cancer. His legacy? Being the creator of the first known web series festival and the founder of the LA Web Fest Awards.

Michael Ajakwe was my friend, passionate about telling stories. The Emmy Award winning scribe, truly lived his purpose of helping others achieve their Hollywood happily ever after. That’s actually how his web fest came into existence.

Showcasing over 1500 shows from 43 different states and 39 different countries. Ajakwe personally viewed over 20,000 web series. He later assisted in launching international web fests in Europe, Asia, Australia and South America.

For the one held in Los Angeles. Uh yours truly served as the master of ceremonies for several years and I gotta tell you it was always a pain in the ass to do. Sure, Michael was a creative visionary, in the organization department? He fell woefully short.

You know, the awards presentations would never start on time. There were way too many categories which made for way too many winners, which meant the show would run literally to infinity and beyond and yet the joy the appreciation participants shared at each gathering was nothing short of infectious.

Anyway, I finally arrive at this year’s venue. One of the first people I see is Tammy Ajakwe, Michael’s widow. Within minutes. The show starts pretty much on time, immediately I’m like, OK. All right. This is impressive. We’re off to, you know, the right footing here.

Just after the welcome and introduction. The first award given is the Michael Ajakwe Achievement Award and the winner was “Getting Down”. A series without a huge budget or thousands of views. It’s about these guys living their best life with Down Syndrome. I tell you

when they took the stage and talked about how much this honor meant to them. My heart was beyond full. And the evening just got better as these web and podcast shows I had never heard of were selected for best pilot and editing, music, acting categories. It was fantastic.

The titles of these nominated series. Oh, man, they were something else. Uh “Combat Nuns, all or nothing”. “The Tall Bike joust”, “Dating Over 60 post COVID”, “Spies never retire”. And, and then my personal favorite “Interracial Couples in Cheerios Ads”. I loved it.

When the winners walked or sometimes ran up to the front. They represented not just the US, but places including Korea and Brazil. They were black, white, Latino, Asian. Their ages varied along with their sexual orientation.

In fact, many from the LGBTQ+ community repeated and often heard call to action due to a feeling of being under attack by those pursuing an American quote, unquote anti woke political agenda at their community’s expense.

Which dovetailed into all the inspirational motivational quotes that would inevitably find their way into the acceptance speeches, you know, slogans like, “don’t wait, create”, “keep fighting, keep believing”, “don’t dream it be it”, “Keep going”, “never quit.” That, that last one came from a writer on the hit show “BMF”, Black Mafia Family, who shared that it actually took him 18 years before finally landing a gig.

“BMF” would go on to win for best long form series creator, director, writer. Now the word “writer” was actually misspelled on the screen which is a big pet peeve of mine. But OK, OK, we won’t go down that rabbit hole.

Executive producer Randy Huggins, HBCU Grad, ran the state. Give it up the love there. He conveyed through his reps who were present these four rules. He abides by One – make shit real, his words not mine.

Two – have fun. Three – mentor someone, and four – never give up on your dreams. LA Web Fest started as a dream despite no longer physically being with us, Michael Ajakwe’s spirit continues to live.

If it’s meant to be, it’s up to me. He was always quick to say. You know, Michael leaned into the notion that people live to have their work acknowledged, especially when they’re toiling away with no sense of whether their contribution even matters.

Art exists, however, it’s created to matter, be seen, be heard, analyzed, debated and validated. It’s, it’s how we connect, it’s how we relate to one another. So I’m here to remind, not just you but me as well.

That be it a poem, painting or performance, a song or screenplay, a book or broadcast. The world is absolutely waiting to experience your artistry. That’s real talk. Stop procrastinating and keeping us all in suspense.

Get to work, get her done and who knows? Maybe you showing up and showing out is exactly what you were created to do. We’ll see you at award season. Now let’s go.

I’m Kevin Ross and this is The Podcast powered by TheGrio. Follow me @IamBossRoss on Instagram and Twitter. Thanks for listening. See you next time.