Best of: How can we challenge the stigma of incarceration?
April is Second Chance Month, so for this weeks' best of episode and we revisit a conversation with the incredible Vincent Bragg. After being sentenced to several years in prison, Vincent Bragg quickly learned that some of the most outside-of-the-box thinking happens inside the box. During his incarceration he watched as his fellow convicts were able to make something from nothing—books, music, entire meals—all created between four barren concrete walls. Still inspired by the sheer amount of talent he saw in prison, he founded ConCreates, a creative agency that crowdsources ideas from incarcerated and formerly-incarcerated men and women. Chris and Vincent talk about his mission - to challenge the stigma of how society views people with a criminal history, as well as how people with a criminal history view themselves. An episode not to be missed.
- Hello everyone. I am Chris Hyams CEO, of Indeed. And welcome to the next episode of, "Here to Help." At Indeed, our mission is to help people get jobs. This is what gets us out of bed in the morning and what keeps us going all day and what powers that mission is our people. And most weeks on, "Here to Help," I talk to different Indeed employees exploring how experience, strength, and hope, inspires people to want to help others. But from time to time, I get the opportunity to bring in a guest from the outside to help shed some new light on what it is that makes people tick. And I am very excited to introduce our very special guest for today's episode. After being sentenced to several years in prison. Vincent Bragg quickly learned that some of the most outside of the box thinking happens inside the box. During his incarceration he watched as his fellow convicts were able to make something from nothing: books, music, entire meals, all created between four barren concrete walls. It was here that Vincent realized the cells meant to imprison them for 23 hours a day were actually breeding grounds for creativity. Vincent is the founder and CEO of ConCreates, a creative agency that crowd sources ideas from incarcerated, and formerly incarcerated, men and women. Vincent, thank you so much for joining me today.
- Thank you for having me, Chris.
- So let's start off where we always start these interviews, by just asking how are you doing right now? What's going on?
- I am, I'm doing well. I think when we really think about this journey, the bumps and bruises along the way have led us here and, I couldn't be more excited to be here considering, you know, Indeed's mission as well as ConCreates mission is completely aligned.
- Well, thanks again for being here. Let's start, for the folks that don't know much about ConCreates. You're the co-founder and CEO. Tell us about what ConCreates is all about and what your mission is.
- Definitely. I think the mission obviously is the easiest thing to go with first. And our mission is to change the narrative and the stigma surrounding people with criminal history, as well as to change the narrative and the stigma around how people with criminal history view themselves. So, you know, we are a creative shop. I mean, we are powered by incarcerated and formerly incarcerated men and women across the country. We exist to kind of give these, or radical thinkers, if you will, an opportunity to express that creativity through advertising.
- Great. Well, let's go back and talk about your origin story. What puts you on the road to ConCreates?
- Wow, it's, it's kind of interesting how you pick up things along the way, but, you know, subsequently I was indicted by the United States of America, where I was sentenced to 121 months, which is 10 years, one month in federal prison for conspiracy to possess, with intent to distribute, 15 to 50 kilograms of cocaine. And what kind of led me there was really like this scar on my head, right? I was working at this steel plant and I cut my head on a piece of metal, almost died I lost so much blood. And I tried to sue the company that I worked for. And in the state of Georgia, that Georgia they basically said I would've had to die in order to get paid. And so I vowed to myself, I would never work for anybody again. And, I guess with that, at the tip of my mouth, moved back to California, ran into a couple people I used to know and I kind of used to do music. I was in the music space for a while. I had my own studio. And one thing about studio and creativity, marijuana is kind of an essential, I guess, tool if you will. And so, you know, my goal was to take the little money that I saved up and the income tax money, buy some pounds of weed, and take it back to Georgia. And so I asked my guy, if I could get five. He said he could only get two, but apparently he thought I meant 500 and he gave me 200 pounds of weed and basically told me, there's no refund policy. You have to kind of take it and run with it. And so I did, and really just took off, you know? From that point, I ended up getting arrested. I had a hundred pounds of weed and it was an inadmissible search and seizure. They had no business like going in and finding what they found, but it kind of graduated me if you will, from marijuana to cocaine. And I found cocaine was just, it was easier. It was less bulky. It didn't require the same kind of strategy or measures, you know, to prevent it getting seized. And I just really just took off from there and found myself indicted a few years later, went to federal prison where I was able to really just reeducate myself. I was able to study law, and corporate law, and real estate law, and really just being surrounded by so many kind of like-minded individuals, we were kind of able to reverse engineer, not just our crimes, but the skillsets needed to apply into a legitimate endeavor. And so the story kind of starts with ConCreates where my co-founder, Joe Nixon, happened to be watching Sports Center one day and noticed that this football player, Joseph Randall, of the Dallas Cowboys had been accused of stealing underwear. And he wasn't really just buying into that. He was, he thought it was more to the story, felt like the media had sensationalized something and he was correct. He found that Joseph Randall's son had been going through what they call the terrible two's and really just took his son outside to console him and they accused him of stealing underwear. He'd forgot to purchase the underwear and I believe some cologne. And we happened to be in prison with the founder of an underwear company called MeUndies, where Joe had the idea to pair them up, endorse him, have him give away some underwear at some charity events and it went viral. It became something that we were able to see as a thought in prison, turn and manifest itself into the outside world. And so, thinking maybe that was kind of like a one hit wonder if you will, we also noticed, you know, sports is really big in prison. So we also noticed that Marshawn Lynch, at the time he played for the Seattle Seahawks, kept getting fined by the NFL for grabbing at his crotch every time he scored a touchdown. And so we turned back on the magic. It was let's endorse him. Let's, you know, have MeUndies partner, up with Marshawn Lynch. The thing happened where he just happened to go to the super bowl that year. And when they asked him why he didn't grab at his crotch, he said, "I wear the most comfortable underwear in the world." And you know, those two, two ideas kind of helped MeUndies to sell 10 million pairs of underwear. And the idea came to me that we could do this for other brands. And so everything shifted. We started looking at each other differently. I didn't look at my co-founder as a bank robber. I looked at him as a strategist. I didn't look at myself as a drug dealer. I started to look at myself as a logistics expert, or, you know, operations. And so, you know, tattoo artists became art directors and, poets became copywriters and, you know, got out of prison, joined this prisoner entrepreneurship program called Defy Ventures, where I subsequently learned the, you know, kind of formalities of starting a business. And with that, the birth of ConCreates.
- So I think you sort of got at it, the germs of the ideas that got you started here with those two examples, but what is it about marketing creative work that happens to be a particular fit for the talent that you're tapping into, which is clearly, in this world relatively untapped, but what is it that you saw? Why of all of the different business, there's a lot of logistics businesses you can go into, you could bring those skills, but what is it about marketing creative work that happens to be really an amazing outlet for the talent of formerly incarcerated individuals?
- Sure. And I think, you know, it kind of starts with, maybe I kind of left out a minor detail. My drug empire happened to be worth a little north of 300 million. And when you think about the difference between, say, a legitimate product versus an illegal product, the process to bringing it to the masses is the same. And so when you think about this particular population, creativity is the very spark of criminality, right? And so, you know, usually the problem that you're trying to solve is, how do I get some money, right? My circumstance may not be the best circumstance. And so I'm trying to figure out how to put food on the table or keep a roof over my head. And so that's kind of is the problem. That's almost like the brief, if you will, right? The brief is how do we get some money to pay these bills, keep a roof over our head, and I think you start to see criminality when those opportunities are minimized.
- That's like, I think one half of the equation here. and the other half of the equation, when we met last week to talk, you said something that has stuck with me all weekend, which is that the solution to an old problem is always a new lens. And so you have the one piece, which is that the folks who find themselves in these circumstances are often extremely, you have to be creative and scrappy to be able to survive, both in the outside world and then inside. But then there's this other element which is that why people who have a different set of experiences can actually bring something that's incredibly valuable to the marketing work. Can you talk about when you said that the solution to an old problem is a new lens?
- Sure. I think, you start to find simple solutions to what we would think might be a complicated problem, especially when you think at, think about it from an industry level. And so, you know, you start to think about the, the simplicity of a problem. And sometimes you get so wrapped up in the weeds of everything that sometimes you miss the fact that the problem, that the solution to the problem is staring at you right in your eyes. And so I think when we think about lack of opportunity, a lot of men and women that come from the type of circumstances that we come from, again, like I said, the other part of the equation is the ability to simplify a problem. If you ever ask my co-founder, "Why did you rob banks?" And the answer is always, "That's where the money is." And so he would look at me as a drug dealer as like, that's too many steps. You got to like go and buy drugs, then you got to like, get 'em where you want 'em to be, then you have to sell them. And then, you get the money? That's just too many steps. So why not just go where the money is and just go straight and get the money. So, you know, that's a simple solution to a big problem. And so we kind of value the simplicity in that new lens.
- So let's talk about, you have this idea, you have these early experiences, you then say, "Okay, well there, this is a real opportunity." How do you go about then building an agency and finding and recruiting this talent?
- The hard way. This is something we've never done before, I'm not, I don't come from the agency world. I don't come from the schools that produce, you know, maybe some of the great creatives, or even from the agencies that produce some of the great creatives. But like, I said, I joined this prisoner entrepreneurship program. And in this program, they provided so much mentorship. I believe I had 13 mentors in this program. And one of my mentors, a woman named Katie Dallas, happened to be friends with a guy named Tim Jones over at 72andSunny. And so we ended up meeting and I pitched him this idea of wanting to start this agency and, you know, the pathway that kind of led me there, and immediately he had got it, right? I had been on this journey for probably two years prior, and I heard, "No," every place that I turned, from investors, to potential influencers to help kind of amplify the mission, to accelerators and incubators, like everyone that I talked to about it told me no. And like I said, he worked for 72andSunny, another global agency who they understood the value. They understood the importance of this particular perspective on our industry. And they got behind us. They helped us with our digital identity, helped us to carve out messaging into how we communicated with the world and launched us into the media in 2019, which yielded some interesting opportunities. So for one, we went global, right? It was a global launch where, I mean we've literally had nine governments from all over the world reach out, wanting ConCreates as a reentry program in their prison system, which, in some of those countries, we find it funny because we're not even allowed to go because of our criminal history.
- [Chris] Hmm.
- Canada, Australia, thanks. And so with that launch, you know, brands started to come for us, right? Our first real client, big, well, little small record label called Roc Nation came for us. And we helped launch a artist named Casanova, who put out a album called, "Behind these Scars." And it's just been, the climb from there. It was, you know, everyone from Trojan to Adidas, Roc Nation, the artist formally known as Facebook, Meta, Google, you name it.
- So at the very start, you said that the mission one important aspect of the mission is about changing the, and removing the stigma of incarceration. Can you talk about what kind of progress that you've seen in that and, and how minds and opinions actually you know have been able to change?
- Sure. I think one thing people always used to say to me was, "If you'd never had told me you'd been to prison, I would've never thought that." And so that again, just kind of lends to the idea of there's an image, there is a sound, there is a demeanor, there is, you know, all of these different things that go through someone's mind with just the term incarceration, or prison. And so, you know, every day that that had become something that I heard all the time. And, from a business perspective, I've always heard things like, "I don't believe that that former prisoners or prisoners have the capabilities for marketing. Maybe some design work," 'cause you think of tattoo artists or you think of folks in prison that can draw, but maybe, from a design perspective and that just always fueled us, right? It it's always the thing where I was the type of kid where you couldn't tell me not to do something, 'cause that's the exact thing that I'm going to do. And so, and I see that in my son all the time, it's like, he's the complete, whatever I say don't do. It's like, okay, he's going to do that. So I see that in him and, growing up, you might start to believe that you can't blaze your own trail or you have to do it the way someone said is the way to go about it. And here at ConCreates, it's like, we just, we just believe in shattering that stigma. There is no image. There is no sound, there is no demeanor, that defines a prisoner, or a former convict. It doesn't define me. It hasn't defined me, and it will not. And then one more thing before, before we move on to the next question, we have spent our entire existence from incarceration to now rebranding ourselves just as individuals. Like we we've done everything in our power to change that stigma. And so, collectively, it's, the most fulfilling thing I believe I've ever been a part of.
- So I'd love to just talk a little and just to make this little concrete. And so, you gave a couple examples early on about the inspiration for going into this business, but can you talk about, again, getting back to this idea of, how to solve an old problem with a new lens, some of the work that you all have done and you walked me through an example last week for Trojan, if you can talk about that brief, and where you landed. I think it's just an incredible illustration of the kind of what you refer to as outside of the box thinking that comes from inside the box.
- Sure. I'll start this story off by saying this work never got made. But it's probably some of the most prolific, most radical thing that I think we've done. And so the brief comes, right? The brief is around Black History Month. And Black History Month, what the brief was suggesting is that the Black community is miseducated around sex education. And so we got all of this propaganda from the 50s and 60s where it was just crazy. It had this like Star of David with like a white woman and a Black man. And the copy basically said, "This could be your daughter." And so, we're like, "Okay, wait, what?" Like first off, we never knew that this was stuff that they put out into the schools. So the more we started to dig in and do research, we realized that, 13 states or so, don't even have to give accurate medical information. So we're like, "Okay, cool. Maybe, maybe they're onto something. Maybe the Black community is miseducated." We dig in a little deeper, come to find out the elderly community actually has more STDs than the young community. And so we're like, "Well, maybe this isn't a Black problem? Maybe this is a societal problem?" So now that we're thinking about these kind of societal truths, as we start to go into that territory, we realized that, at some point in the mid 90s, all the way up till now, well let me backtrack before I get to that part. The idea is, Trojan obviously being a condom brand, like how do we play with the word in the messaging? And so we're doing research, we find there's like 147 different ways to use the word. And so this societal truth that I started to kind of lead to, it had become popular in the mid 90s up until now. It's a long time, right. We're talking 95 to, at the time I believe it was 2020? Yeah. So we're talking about 25 years, Society had found it super cool to not give a. They're like, I have zero to give. There's books written about it. The subtle art of not giving a. And so again, more research, more research, we discover that Gen Z, millennial folks, they actually do give a about what a brand stands for. Like they will pay more for a product if there's, some type of social impact behind the messaging or the product, or, if there's a give back sort of thing. And so the idea kind of just became, Trojan gives a. And Trojan gives a was designed to be this philanthropy arm, right? Where in all of these different tent pole moments Trojan could have just showed the world how they gave a about Breast Cancer Awareness Month or, Veterans Day, or, you know, any type of tent pole moment that they wanted to show up for, that was the idea.
- Yeah, no, I mean, that to me was a perfect illustration of the kind of thing that I think you might be less likely to get from another agency. And, so I guess one question that's interesting is that obviously, so you come up with this idea, you have this kind of work to point to, and I guess one of the questions is, when you're trying to get clients and actually build the business, what's the gap sometimes between people liking the idea of what you're talking about and then actually signing on the dotted line or going along with the plan, like how are you actually building the business and how do you, even when people say, "Oh, I like this idea," is there still stigma or hesitance that you have to work through?
- Well, yeah. I think one of the things that's interesting, is when you talk to creative folks, creative folks get it, right. They understand what makes a cool idea, they can see the process, but then when you're not in front of those people, and then they have to go back to stakeholders and, I think the bigger you get, sometimes to be malleable or to be risky or things like that, I think a lot of folks just want to play it safe. And I think that's the reason why MeUndies was so, such a great client, is such a great client because they still have that scrappy startup energy. And so, a few kind of barriers I think are just systemic. I think one of the things that we kind of run into a lot is when you deal with these big companies, they always have this kind of clause in their MSA around background checks. And, we fight that, right? We fight against it because it kind of just doesn't make sense to give us a background check when we're not going to pass it. It is counterproductive, right? It's like you're hiring us because we exist as ConCreator, and there's no, there's no way we're going to pass a background check. The CEO, co-founder, has criminal history, the CCO, the executive creative director, business affairs, everybody has criminal history. And so that's one of the barriers I think that we've been able to kind of overcome. And then the other thing is we're fairly new, right? We've we had some successes. We've done some pretty successful things with like United Airlines who, I really think Indeed should partner with, but that's a whole other conversation, but you know, a lot of folks are, they're still kind of, they're curious, they're interested, and still a little nervous.
- So when, when you talk about the mission clearly, the big idea is to change these broader perceptions and to do great work along the way. I mean, it's really about actually doing, you can't do any of that, unless you're doing great creative work. But clearly you're also, you and your co-founders lives have changed. And the people who are working with you both on the outside and on the inside, can you talk some just about the impact on the people's lives who are part of ConCreates and what you've been able to see happen for you and for them?
- Yeah. And, and so when you look at, and I always like to use my co-founder Joe as the prime example, right. And the reason why I use him as a prime example is this man served 17 and a half years in federal prison. He robbed 27 banks from the age of 16 to 22. So when he went in there, he was a baby. Like, think about where we all were mentally, spiritually, you know, at 22 years old and for someone like him to start receiving briefs while in prison, every day, that's what he woke up to do. He woke up to solve these problems when we were just babies. We were just a young agency trying to, even doing free work. Just to be able to show like what we can do. Right? And so every single day, he's creating, he's creating, he's creating, he's calling my phone, "Hey, what you got? What you got? Hey, I had this idea," and it became annoying, right? It's like, I can't really build a business if I have to stop and entertain basically in every idea that you have 'cause it's so many. So I thought, "You know what? what I'll do is I'll challenge him." I'm like, "Think of like the top 10 brands that you want to do something for. And I want you to create a brief and I want you to solve your own brief." And I'm thinking, this will give me some time, right? Or gimme two weeks or so to continue what I'm doing on the outside. And I would say, no more than 48 hours left, it was done. Right? It was done. And so when I think of the impact, it always comes from a standpoint of finding passion and purpose, right? To be able to show someone that, "Hey, you can create and these things can get made," right? And these things can impact a brand. They can impact the people that that brand may service or serve. It gives you hope, right? When, especially sitting behind those walls, for a sentence of 20 years, 30 years, life, in federal prison means you don't come home from that. There's no parole in federal prison. And the most dangerous thing you can give someone is hope who has nothing. And so to me, the impact has always been hope, right? Like light at the end of the tunnel, there is something to come home to. And that's what I left the men with, is hope; you can come home to something. And that was my promise to my co-founder is that I am going to build a place for your imagination to live and play in. And I kept my word.
- So our mission as a business, obviously, is to help people get jobs. And in particular, we spend a lot of time thinking about barriers to employment. And there are so many of them, but you know, we were talking about this before, a former incarceration is the one barrier where it is completely legal to discriminate. So there's a whole host of areas of discrimination that are illegal but happen anyway. But when it comes to someone who has a criminal record, it is, in the US, a hundred percent legal to deny someone employment because of that. And, and the statistics, I think many people are familiar, but for anyone that isn't, there's 70 million American adults with a criminal record, which is, you know, one in five, which is astounding. And it's, I mean, America is far ahead of the world with that. So when we think about what it means to try to help people who've been incarcerated get jobs, and if we want to give this opportunity for a second chance, what are some of the things that certainly Indeed can and should be doing, but other employers can and should do to maybe try to learn from your experience that, there is a huge amount of talent and creativity out there. And especially in a time when we have record low unemployment and people talk about how hard it is to hire, there's so much talent out there. What can we do?
- So I always use this as a springboard, if you will, for that question. And they taught us how to read in school. They never taught us how to read between the lines. And so when you think about an employer, HR, you know, those sorts of folks, when it comes to folks with criminal history, it's really about reading between the lines, right? And so when you think about some of the transferable skill sets that maybe I mentioned before, it starts to paint a different picture about this individual being more of an asset than a liability to whatever organization that we're thinking of. And if there was an ask, it would be for companies like Indeed and ConCreates to partner up on what that really looks like, what is in between these lines, that maybe you guys are missing or maybe that the employer might be missing. And so, when it comes to our experience, there's again, so many different barriers. It's not just employment, right? There were institutions that wouldn't even take my money. And think about that. What am I supposed to do with my money? Where is it supposed to go? How am I supposed to get my money to work for me? If you won't take it and put it in a CD, or you won't put it into the market. And so there's housing barriers, right? There's all of these sorts of things that we have to think about. What does it look like between the lines? Right? And so that would be what my ask would be. Is let's work together to read between the lines together.
- So your experience and experience of some of the folks that you've been able to work with, where you had access to mentorship and opportunity while you were on the inside, that's clearly not universal.
- Sure, sure.
- And again, the criminal justice system in the US is, in terms of scope and scale, is just bigger than anywhere else that the world has ever seen. What, when we look back from future generations at the criminal justice system and the prison system that we have now, and how we treat prisoners, what do you think the future view of where we are today will look like?
- And I know we talked about this before, but again, my answer may change and evolve. And when you think about just the history of the criminal justice system, it hasn't changed. Like this was the answer to slavery. It's literally the answer to slavery. Okay. We've abolished slavery, but the money's too good. How do we, it is a part of our economic engine, right? Slavery made America a superpower. We could deny that, we can agree, but as a fact, slavery was what made America a superpower in the world. And so you don't just cut that off because some paper says they can't do it anymore. And so when you look at things like the 13th Amendment, you begin to see how the prison industrial complex became the answer to slavery. Like you said, this is the only, only way that you can discriminate, is the only way that you can enslave someone. Our constitution says it, if, it says it. So if we're thinking about future generations looking at it, if we aren't the ones who change from a systemic level, they're going to be saying the same thing that I'm saying, that it hasn't changed. It hasn't changed. And it will not change. It's up to us now.
- Yeah. And for anyone who's listening, my guess is most people who are listening, this is not a new idea. But if this is a new idea for anyone, I've a couple recommendations. If you've got an hour and a half, Ava DuVernay's documentary, "13th," that's the quickest introduction to this. If you've got a little more time, Michelle Alexander's, "The New Jim Crow," is an extraordinary book that just lays out the entire history of how we got here, and the reasons why it's so difficult to deconstruct 'cause there's a financial system that is powered by this. And so clearly-
- One, one more recommendation.
- There's also-
- So clearly-
- There's also a book out there called, "Data Driven Jim Crow." I think you should take a look at, if you're interested in traveling down this rabbit hole.
- I'll add that to my list. So clearly there's a huge amount of work to actually change the systemic issues around that that have led to this and to deconstruct the system itself. Let's talk about the fact that...
- The, the solutions are simple though. There they are simple. I mean, there's 4,800 brands that benefit off of prison labor. And when you think about that, most people getting out of prison can't even work for these corporations that they're working for. And so while they're in prison, that switch, "Hey, you worked for us answering phones while you're in prison, come home and work for us and answer phones," by creating that pathway is a very simple solution to a problem. I mean, it's a step in the right direction. And so, you know, I never wanted to be the person that points out the problem. We all know that this is a problem. So, again, we're talking about reading between the lines, what are the simple solutions to evolve in the system where it's not such a big shift that it becomes scary or radical like some of the ideas that maybe we might present that don't get made.
- Absolutely. Well, so let's talk about the other side, which is that the system itself, but then how do we keep people from entering the system in the first place? So just going back to one of the first things that you said around creativity without opportunity is what leads to criminality. How can we start to create systems where that creativity can get channeled into, I mean, one of the things, when we first met, you said, if I had known that I could make money from my own thinking, I wouldn't have had to go into selling drugs. I would've been doing that. How, what can we do to actually create more opportunity? I mean, this is one of the things that we say at Indeed, that talent's universal, opportunity is not. So how do we create more opportunity to help people from ever having gotten involved in this system?
- Well, I think the generation, the generations before me, right? Like my father, and my grandfather, a potential solution would be trades. There's no real trade anymore. Right? There's no trade school. You can't like in high school, you used to be able to go to like metal shop, and wood shop. And those things don't really exist. And again, I don't know if creativity is valued at the level that it should be because there is no creative in formative years of schooling, right? There's, those are the kind of things that are kind of shied away from. And so, when you start to be able to allow your children to dream, allow them to be creative, like, I pretend with my son all the time, I never want him to lose his imagination and his ability to take a blanket, and in his mind, we're camping. There's monsters outside of the tent. Like I'm in that world with him and I'm helping guide that bit of his imagination. And I think we do it, we do it to a certain extent, but at some point, when we get to our education, it's about just regurgitating information and there is no, the creativity lens kind of gets shut down. And so, I think that's the way to do it. We got to reach the babies, and we have to, create and foster those kind of things that we might find inconvenient. And an example of what I mean by it might be inconvenient is, I get this call from my cousin one time and he's just like, "Yo, I really need you to talk to Gregory. You know, he's, they're calling him a class clown and, he's really disruptive in school. And I can't, I don't know how to reason with him." And I'm like, "What is the problem with being in a class clown? Maybe he's a comedy writer? Maybe we should write some sketch comedy with him? Maybe we should take him to comedy clubs and let's foster that energy," right? That energy might be inconvenient to the person standing in front of the class, the teacher, right? It might be inconvenient for you to have to go to the school or to have to sit on the phone with the teacher and, you know, basically lie to her and say, you're going to have, you're going to fix it. You know, like, no, that's something that's in him, and we need to foster that. And so, when you think about, like there's nothing new under this sun, right? There's, one of the biggest comedians on earth is Kevin Hart. Like, how do you know, like you're not stifling the next him or someone who's going to blaze a bigger path than him?
- Absolutely. Well, we, I could talk to you all day long. We're running low on time at, as we, we always close out with the same question. I'd love to hear your thoughts. With everything that's gone on in the last couple of years, which has been a time of extraordinary suffering and challenge, and difficulty, for so many people, but has also been for many people a time of inspiration, what have you seen, or experienced in the last two and a half years of the pandemic that has left you with some optimism and hope for the future?
- Yeah. People are just more kind. Like that's, yeah. I always say this to people. There's a difference between being nice and being kind, right? Kind is something completely different than nice. Nice is almost fake. Nice is, that was the nice thing to say, even though that might not be the most truthful thing to say, or the thing that that person needed to hear. But kind is what we're starting to see in this world. We're starting to see people just being more empathetic, right? Because we all basically went to jail. Beginning of the pandemic the whole world went to jail, not prison, but definitely jail, in a certain regard. And, and of course, if you don't know the difference between prison or jail, there is a huge difference. And, and that's what happens. So we all have this kind of shared, lived experience that maybe some folks don't know how to articulate, but you start to understand why companies like ConCreates have sprung up and it all comes from that lived experience.
- Well, but before we, before we sign off, for folks who want to learn more about ConCreates, where can they go to get more information?
- ConCreates.com, you know, obviously reach out, I'm super approachable. I'm not too big for anybody's conversation. Yeah. ConCreates.com. You know, there's emails, you can reach out to us on, you can see some of our work up there. Yeah.
- Well, Vincent, this has been amazing. Thank you so much for joining, and sharing your experience with us, but really thank you for everything that you're doing and anything that we can do to help you in this mission, we're on board.
- Well, I appreciate you. And, you know, Indeed, you guys, again, right? There's, there's work for us to be doing together. You know, I'm super excited to be on this mission and partnering with you guys as well.