The one thing that strikes me, knowing the little I do about video production, is that Nas must have an awful lot of free time. Each of those videos required not only the time shooting, and arranging that time with whoever else would appear in it, but editing time as well. To do that EVERY SINGLE DAY means there is no way he had a full-time job. Which tells me he had some other way to pay the bills while he was spending all his time making videos.

I don’t point this out to belittle Nas, or your advice, in any way. But it does seem to be part of a pattern that I see a lot lately — of creatives giving advice along the lines of “here’s how you can make money using your art!” Which is, of course, what all creatives not living off a trust fund or rich spouse want. But these creators have a HUGE blind spot: their privilege not to have to work full time. It’s rare indeed to find the successful creator who rose from the working class (or lower) featured in these kinds of articles. Maybe it’s because they are veritable unicorns: study after study shows that the vast majority of commercially successful artists and writers come from the upper middle class or higher (and, in America, tend to live in the coastal “power centers” — two factors that are joined at the hip). There’s a reason for that.

Look, I’m not trying to say your advice is necessarily wrong; in this economic system, about the only way we can expect to earn any money at our craft is to produce copious amounts of “content.” Then spend lots of time promoting said content. That is absolutely the truth. What I’m saying is we need to critically look at how this effectively shuts out poor and working-class creatives, because it expects a lot of artistic output for literally NO compensation. No other worker is expected to perform labor for free in the expectation of eventually earning some unknown amount of money. I’m not saying I have the answer to this. I’m just saying that this is not a sustainable or equitable system, and maybe, as creatives, we could start *creating* a better one.

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