Tarahgee grew up in communities that developed his passion for diversity and inclusion within creativity. Jersey City being predominantly Black and the Poconos being predominantly White, at a young age, Tarahgee understood the meaning of race and why its presence was integral to his identity. Thats why he started CR8V Melanin. It's a platform where he tell stories people don't draw attention to or don't know about. When Tarahgee is not working within his creative endeavors, he is usually found practicing self care activities or spending time with his family.
Stop following the horde and lean into what you want to do. Chances are there are many others who want to do what you want to do but their circle does not find it fun, appealing, or cool.
PM : So how did your creative journey start?
TARAHGEE :I am going to take it way back to 7-year-old Tarahgee. I have always discerned my yearning for the art but never understood it as a passion or journey. It was always an innate feeling I always acted on. When I was 7, I remember crafting the first piece I had made for someone outside of my family. Remember the years of stick figures with crayon noodle hair? Those were the years where I started and never looked back. Over the course of the next 15 years, I obtained an arsenal of fresh skills elevating my craft.
PM : where are you from?
TARAHGEE : I am originally from Jersey City, NJ. I lived there from birth to about age 11. Then, I lived in the Poconos, PA for approximately 9 years.
PM : Favorite type of music you're into? And who are some of your favorite artist? (signed or unsigned)
TARAHGEE : I love lo-fi beats and piano instrumentals. They are honestly genres that level me.
Some of my favorite artists are definitely Tierra Whack, BROCKHAMPTON, and SiR.
PM : If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
TARAHGEE : Broccoli. No question. No debate. Put me on a ship with Broccoli and you would never have to hear from me again. I would also include Nutter Butters but they get stuck in my teeth too often.
PM : I know you were an Art Direction Intern at Ogilvy New York how was that experience? Was it difficult to obtain?
TARAHGEE : If I could sum up my experience at Ogilvy, I would recount it as essential. Working as an intern at Ogilvy taught me to own my craft, speak up for other voices not usually heard in the room, and understand that the world is satiated with color. Don’t allow others to dimmish your color. The people I met at Ogilvy are folks who I hold dearly to me. They are individuals who have taught me the true value of creativity. A true Ogilvy family.
PM : What do you remember most about your first job?
TARAHGEE : My first ever job was cutting lawns in the Poconos. To 13-year-old me, it was work. Nothing laborious or taxing. It was a way for me to make money so I can buy the miniscule items I wanted. Now, as I reflect on that job, I realize how much I was taught. From building a routine, managing my money, understanding how to work with others, and speaking up for myself, cutting lawns gave me invaluable skills.
PM : Is it true that you're a huge Pixar critic? Is this a hobby or a side hustle?
TARAHGEE : I am not an official Pixar critic but that would be dope. I can say that I have watched every single movie Disney Pixar has produced. Animation was always a
way to get messages across to kids that adults usually needed to understand. Pixar has done that pretty well. I may try to see if I could put a review out here and there.
PM : What’s the best career decision you’ve ever made? I know I’ve seen before that you were glad to take a friend's advice on getting into advertising. Can you tell me more about your decision to do so?
TARAHGEE : The best career decision knowing my worth. I know it sounds cliché but there are places, people, and organizations that try to capitalize on someone’s worth by informing you what is best for you. Sometimes, it is okay to take your time and discern what is best for you. It can be a decision that can impact what you accomplish in the long run.
My friend, Kimi Bath, is the number one reason as to why I got into advertising. If it wasn’t for Kimi, I would probably be a mechanical engineer. No shades to the engineers. You are all very important and do very important work. I am thankful every day for Kimi guiding me into a field where my passions genuinely align.
I joined advertising based off the push Kimi gave me but stayed in the field because I knew it could not only benefit me but dozens of others. The field of advertising has a serious equity issue. Diversity, not so much. Inclusivity, yes. Equity is the biggest one. I will not become the sole proprietor of change, but I do feel like myself and many other BIPOC folk now entering the field are going to be catalysts for change.
PM : What's something your family would be surprised to learn about you?
TARAHGEE : My family would be surprised to learn that every day, I am scared. I am scared that I won’t every get a job. I am scared that something tragic can happen to any of them and I won’t be able to do anything about it. am scared that I cannot support myself. I am scared that I cannot hold up to my own standards. I am scared of a myriad of things. Albeit my fears, my hope and drive constantly outweigh my fears, which keeps me going.
PM : What's more important: family or friends?
TARAHGEE : Family. To me, there is nothing more important than family. Friends can become family but those of true blood run thick. Most of what I do is for my family. I always say that my reason for being the person I am and will be is so that my family knows that their struggle, their adversity isn’t all for nothing. My family has supported me in more ways than I can count. I would not be here if it wasn’t for them. PM : You’ve won a couple of scholarships in the past could you give any upcoming creative or athlete any general advice to help them land scholarships?
TARAHGEE : The best advice that was bestowed upon me is not to work harder than everyone in the room. That goal will only get you so far. Work with the people in the room. Everybody in the room. From the professors to the students who are not as vocal. Some of these people are folks who you would never expect for them to be. Do not discount somebody based off of a first impression as well. I won some of my best scholarships from people who others did not see as the cool, trendy, or fun professor. In addition, put yourself out there. Stop following the horde and lean into what you want to do. Chances are there are many others who want to do what you want to do but their circle does not find it fun, appealing, or cool. Surround yourself with likeminded folks. There are some scholarship and opportunities that your friends would slide your way.
PM : Do you have any advice for creatives of color who want to work in media?
TARAHGEE : I have two pieces of advice that I wish someone told me when I started. The first is to lean into what you want to do. I mean that Michael Jackson Smooth Criminal lean. When you lean in, you will know that you don’t need to wait for others to tell you what to do. You will start making pieces that reflect you and your ideas. Those will become some of you best pieces. Don’t wait for others. Give yourself the opportunities you want. Use your resources around you as well.
The second is to keep your eyes in your mouth and your first to the sky. In other words, stay true to yourself. Other people will tell you what to be, what to do, why you should do, and how to adhere to the mold of the status quo. Do you. Be you. No one can ever take that from you. When you stay true to yourself, there is nothing stopping you.
PM: Tell everyone your social media handles where they can find you
TARAHGEE : Instagram: @itstarahgee_