I decided to take the Dinner with Jay-Z instead of the 500k by Relentless Aaron
Here's the conversation:
Me: Jay, it's an honor to meet you in person finally. But I also wanted to thank you for investing in me and my book writing career, even tho it was indirect, through Emory. I learned about you from Emory; while we were locked up, he explained about the clothing and music... he'd brag a little about you and show me photos from your early days... and I got all this intel when we were locked up together and those days meant a lot to me.
Jay-Z: Likewise. Emory always spoke fondly of you. He was amazed by your writing talent and would go on about the novels you were working on. You're a real manifesto.
Me: That's real of him to say. Having Emory's encouragement and support back then changed my life. When you're in prison, it's easy to give up hope. But Emory inspired me to keep pursuing my passion for writing. Knowing he believed in me gave me a sense of freedom I hadn't felt in years.
Jay-Z: That's Emory for you. He's a humble soul and sees the potential in people, even in the bleakest circumstances. I owe so much to him myself. He's been by my side through all the ups and downs for decades. Our loyalty to each other comes first, no matter what.
Me: It's inspirational to see you maintain such a strong bond over so many years. They are especially coming up in the rap game, where loyalty is only sometimes common. You and Emory set an example of genuine friendship.
Jay-Z: No doubt. We've had to look out for each other to make it this far. I want to see Emory win as much as he wants me to succeed. His success is my success. That's how it should be.
Me: It's incredible to see you empowering him now with Rock Nation, Puma, and all the film work. The work you guys are doing to uplift black culture is inspiring. You know I got movies written, bruh. We need to get to some real boardrooms talk and see what we can make happen.
Jay-Z: I'd appreciate that. Let's see if we can make that happen. We've come a long way together, but we're just starting. The vision is so much bigger than just music, fashion, and film. We want to open doors for the next generation.
Me: If anyone can pull it off, it's you and Emory. By the way, if you ever decide to start a book publishing arm at Rock Nation, keep me in mind! Emory set me up so I could share some of my work with you back in the day. I'm sure you don't remember, but he told me to bring a few of my books by the NY office. I did, but I have yet to hear back. But look at us now, talking business over dinner.
Jay-Z: I'll call you up if we move into publishing! Emory did put me some of your writing. You've got natural talent, I hear. I'm a busy dude and probably needed you to explain your vision at the time. But we are good now. I'm glad you chose the dinner over the $500k. Let's toast tonight to your success as an author and your future as a filmmaker.
Me: Indeed. Thank you, Jay. You know Emory called me when you were getting into your first book publishing project. I am trying to understand why the communication fell apart. It was probably something on my end... maybe it was geographic... because I was in Atlanta at the time, plus my tech game was janky... so to hear that possibility means so much coming from you. So, if you don't mind, I'd like to get to this food and, well, let's just toast, man! To new beginnings and the power of relationships!
Jay: Yes, and here's to Emory Jones.
Me: I second that!