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Waka Flocka to Students: “You Are Your Brand”

HBCU students had a chance to learn from Waka Flocka Flame at the Invesco QQQ Legacy Classic in a Q&A moderated by student, actor, and TikTok starDasan Onyx Frazier.

NEWARK, N.J. — Waka Flocka Flame probably had no idea that it was a major TikTok influencer and rising acting star introducing him Friday at a conference designed to give advice and career opportunities to students from historically Black colleges and universities.

The student who was acting as the moderator of the Q&A was Dasan Onyx Frazier, a Morehouse College senior with a major in business marketing and a minor in theater, whose TikTok account, @D.Onyx, has more than 537,000 followers. Frazier also has an upcoming role in the television program “Black Card” on BET.

Still, Frazier is a college student who has not yet entered the full-time job market. He made strides this weekend by interviewing with Bleacher Report, Amazon and others during the HBCU Heroes event that drew students from all around the country, as well as celebrities who offered advice virtually and in-person.

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Waka Flocka Flame had some sage advice, like that anyone with an inkling of interest in cryptocurrencies should buy up every .eth domain name possible because “that is the new dot.com.”

“Create a company and start accepting capital immediately,” Waka Flocka, also known as Juaquin James Malphurs, told them. “You are your brand. Start your company immediately. It is never too early. Start as many LLCs are you possibly can.”

In other words, doing something is better than doing nothing, especially with the economy hurting because of the pandemic, which is still wreaking havoc on sports nearly two years in. But that was nothing new to Frazier, a cornerback on the Morehouse football team who started messing with TikTok when his school’s games were canceled because of the pandemic during his junior year.

“You either gained something from quarantine, or you stayed the same,” said Frazier, who made his first video with his younger sister and continued making more, drawing the attention of DoorDash, Spotify and IMDBTV when a couple of his videos went viral.

Frazier looked like he had emceed plenty of times before as he introduced Waka Flocka to the crowd and moderated the questions and answers. The students got an earful from the musician about how much he had learned from his mother, who raised five sons solo, and how he has learned from his own mistakes.

Waka Flocka also was upfront about the trappings of success, explaining that now that he has more money than he knows what to do with, he finds ways to spend and enjoy it without wasting it. He said his mother’s best advice was “God put you here to maximize, not to minimize.” He’s heeded that advice in every way to continue building his brand and to positively influence youngsters half his age.

“I trust myself enough to trust everybody, and you need to trust yourself,” he said. “This could be the most depressing time of your life, or you could be out there making all the money in the world. The most important thing is to love yourself.”

For Frazier, that advice manifested itself through a productive interview session with Amazon that led to an invitation to sit in the Amazon suite (actor Michael B. Jordan was one suite over) for an HBCU doubleheader at the Prudential Center on Saturday night, the Invesco QQQ Legacy Classic featuring Delaware State vs. North Carolina Central and Howard University vs. North Carolina A&T.

“I would say I made a lot of progress in making some terrific connections, not only with the Amazon people but with others as well,” said Frazier, who was just offstage when Philadelphia 76ers general manager Elton Brand was speaking to the assembled students.

Elton Brand of the Philadelphia 76ers was one of the speakers at an HBCU career development conference in Newark, N.J. on Dec. 17, 2021

“All I can do at this event is be as genuine as I can,” said Frazier, who also met incoming USA Basketball director Grant Hill and was invited to attend an Atlanta Hawks game with him after flying back to school in Atlanta on Sunday. “I’m looking to get a full-time position, and I must say I was humbled to introduce Flocka, and he did nothing but drop gems.”

Those gems would not have been released if not for the efforts of former NBA forward George Lynch and HBCU Heroes co-founder Tracey Pennywell, who have been doing HBCU Heroes conferences in different cities around the country and decided to make their latest trip to the Northeast.

As COVID-19 cases rise across the country, students also had the option of joining the conference remotely. So what could have been a weekend of sitting in dorm rooms and playing with their phones instead became an opportunity to learn the skills that will help them become difference makers … if those lessons are applied.

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