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Meet Carlos Wallace | Bestselling author, award-winning filmmaker, motivational speaker, and youth advocate

Today we’re excited to introduce you to Carlos Wallace. Carlos is a bestselling author, award-winning filmmaker, motivational speaker, and youth advocate. and is also a content partner. Content partners help Voyage in so many ways from spreading the word about the work that we do, sponsoring our mission and collaborating with us on content like this. Check out our conversation with Carlos below.

Carlos, it’s been too long since we last connected. Thanks so much for taking the time to share your thoughts with our community again. Some readers might have missed our prior conversations, so maybe you can kick things off for us with a quick intro?
I am an author and a filmmaker. Both challenge my creativity and compel me to think about issues that matter and that will bring about change.

I pursued writing and producing films for several reasons, but mostly because my circumstances demanded I do something to keep me from giving up and becoming complacent. After losing my job for three years and four days (I was eventually reinstated and worked until retirement), I was reminded nothing is promised. You change your way of thinking drastically when you become aware of how fleeting life can be. I wrote my first book because I never wanted my experiences to go to the grave with me. I believed my story could inspire and encourage and motivate. The book was not easy to write, but it is worth it. Life Is Not Complicated is exceeding my greatest expectations and has touched so many lives. The day a young student shared with me that because of my book, they changed their mind about committing suicide, was the moment I finally understood fully why I do what I do. We have a responsibility to leave this world better than we found it. This is my ongoing mission.

Presently, I am extremely excited about my collaborative film, P.E.N.S. (Poetic Energy Needed in Society), which is a documentary of Houston’s spoken word culture. This is an opportunity for Houston and its poets to shine; for the world to discover what I’ve always known-the cultural revolution in our city is well underway and we are winning on all levels!

I have always appreciated what good storytelling can do. For me (a student and big fan of hip-hop), listening to my favorite artists (Jay Z, Eric B. & Rakim, Public Enemy, NWA, Slim Thug, etc.) was a lesson in life. The lyrics and flow were exceptional in that they were thought-provoking and impactful; a call to action that challenged people to have a voice and call out injustice. I credit this genre for fueling a desire to share truth, information, quality entertainment. If you are not producing work (whatever the work may be) to move the needle, change the narrative, speak about social justice and race relations, and bring out the best in people, why bother?

Whatever you do in life, make it matter. Along the way, you will discover that not everyone is on your side. Some may clap, but on the low, they are praying you fail. I learned that the journey to any goal is constant, winding, full of obstacles, costs money, time, energy, and sometimes it can cost you friends and family. If you are not ready and willing to invest in yourself, take on risk, ignore critics, experience some isolation and remain positive and dedicated through ALL that, you will fail.

Ultimately, I am my brand. Everything starts and ends with Carlos Wallace. Businesses, books, films, comedy and poetry shows, my role as father, husband, friend, loved one… are all under one umbrella: my name. As Carlos Wallace evolves, improves, produces and innovates, everything I come in contact will benefit. At least that is always what I pray happens. Life is unpredictable, but you can at least control how you handle the good and the bad.

How did you make the transition from corporate America to entrepreneur?
Well, I am actually pretty proud of my ability to multi-task! I just have so much I want to accomplish, every single day, and my personality is such that there is no room for excuses. If it has to get done, it must get done. I wrote the book “Life Is Not Complicated, You Are” during downtime at work, on my days off, while on vacation, in between meetings. (Laughing). You get the point. You just have to make it work. However, I would be grossly, audaciously remiss if I took all the credit for the shows, the book, my career. I have so many people (from staff to friends and loved ones) who make this all possible. I’m serious. There is no way I could run Sol without help. Even with “Life Is Not Complicated” while I was writing, I had a few people who I trusted reading chapters because I knew they would be honest with me about content. Not one time did any of those people ever tell me to stop sending them chapters or talking about the book. If they were tired of it, I sure never knew! It is that kind of support that drives me. I preach that all the time. No one makes it to the top by themselves. I dedicated an entire chapter in my book to this concept.

What is it like working with your spouse?
Well, what we do goes hand in hand. I can’t say enough about her talent, and her innate ability to transform words into compelling, relevant, human interest stories. Everything she does is heartfelt and meticulously executed. Her company Million Dollar Pen, Ink. has edited, written, and or published seven books, all bestsellers. That includes my two books! And you can include her children’s book series, “You Have a Superpower: Mindi PI Meets” to that collection of bestsellers.

As if that is not enough, Liz is an outstanding stand-up comic that has headlined in Houston and Arlington Improv, New York, Montreal.

As a motivational speaker, she is a powerhouse who is passionate about women’s rights and empowerment, and mentorship. I learn so much from her, each day. She is generous with her time and creativity and always a well of good counsel and inspiration. More importantly, Liz is supportive and one of the best cheerleaders I know. And she does it all, with sincerity, expecting nothing in return.

She is a rare breed indeed.

Are your children following in your footsteps?
My children have all chosen their own separate paths. From finance to educator, to medic, to U.S. Navy, they have taken part of my personality and work ethic and apply those characteristics to their chosen fields accordingly. While none of my children have taken the exact same journey I chose, every one of them has applied the principles and fundamentals of life and business I have imparted. I have a different relationship with every single one of them, but what they all have in common is, I am here when they need me and I support them in everything they do, and I am proud of each of them.

How does the current social justice climate affect your business decisions as a businessman and family man?
What we see today is not new to me. The negativity is amplified, thanks in part to the media and the fact just about everyone has access to a smartphone and “record” button. However, the daily dose of discrimination, hate crimes, inequity, and subjugation that permeates the fabric of our society has been embedded for generations.

The current social justice climate has been my reality since I was old enough to understand people in this world are intolerant of others for reasons they don’t even understand. I had an advantage. My mother and father made sure I was fully aware of the challenges black men face and prepared me by arming me with confidence. With that in mind, I can say without hesitation, this ain’t no new condition for me. I do not wake up each day and say to myself, “The world is screwed up, and I have something to prove, so I have to behave this way, or I have to conduct business that way.” The raging social justice climate does not drive my behavior. My goal every day has been to make sure my behavior, character, the work I do, the way I raise my children, and communicate with my family help drive the kind of change that promotes social justice. That is where a lot of people go wrong, in my opinion. Folks allow circumstances to control their behavior instead of behaving in ways that regulate the conditions they are faced with. I lead by example. I treat people with respect, champion women’s rights, mentor young black men, and serve as a guide to a generation of performers on their artistic and professional journeys. I do my best to be a fair businessman, a good father, husband, and friend. I set the standard of “justice” I hope others follow and share with others. I only hope it creates a ripple effect that will positively impact lives and perhaps change the “current social justice climate” for the better.

What’s your biggest advice for young entrepreneurs. What would have done differently?
Follow your heart. Do not be swayed by the negative opinions of others. Know who you are, what you want, what you need to reach your objectives, and plan accordingly. Everything you do must matter. If your thought process, work ethic, ideals, principles, and judgment do not align with your goals, you are wasting time. You are always going to be your greatest brand ambassador. So be the image you want to convey.

I believe God orders our paths. It is not my place to question the journey. I am where I need to be at this moment in life because everything that has led me here had to happen. So, short answer, I would not change a thing.

What are your thoughts on mass communications. Does it help or hurt?
These days, one can argue it doesn’t take much to get some people riled up. It’s just a sign of the times. People are on edge; they are overwhelmed by the effects of the pandemic, mankind as a whole is wound pretty tight, and the slightest pressure can cause it to snap. That said, there are truths, messages, realities, and historical points-of-view that must be talked about. We need to control our stories, narratives, and truths. Mass communication is unruly, uncontrolled. It’s not about sharing information or reporting the facts as they are. It’s about clicks, views, multi-million dollar contracts for anchors. Newspeople are celebrities these days, which sometimes means the message gets lost behind the decimals on the paychecks. It’s hard to be unbiased and objective when you have to make sure you are getting the ratings. That is why I am adamant about telling our story the right way; I create and produce to ensure the message does not get lost.

Creatives are responsible for using the platforms we are afforded to share something more significant, tangible, impactful. Whether it is about the evolution (and necessity) of the Black Lives Movement or any kind of activism, when you make any kind of movie, produce an event, develop a show, or film a documentary, it must have meaning. There is no value in arbitrary filmmaking. It’s a waste of time, energy, resources, and money. We must respect our process and the people who will take the time to watch the final product.

Of course, there will be those who oppose the content. I can live with that. But, you are not doing something right if EVERYBODY agrees! Thank you so much again for sharing all of this with us. Before we go, can you share with our readers how they can connect with you, learn more or show support?

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