One of my all-time favourite scenes in any movie is the ‘final battle’ between B. Rabbit and Papa Doc in the popular hip-hop drama, 8 Mile.
(psst…a rap battle is a type of rapping where two opposing sides brag, insult or ‘dis’ the other and the crowd decides who wins)
Ok, if you have’t seen that scene, Google it (just mind the 400 f-bombs).
And if you don’t know the backstory to the movie, it follows a script similar to the real life events of the rapper Eminem.
‘B. Rabbit’, an asipring underground Caucasian rapper, has a tough and poor upbringing filled with a lot of violence, substance abuse and adversity. He works hard to help provide for his little sister and his alcoholic mom and in his time away from his job, he competes in underground rap battles in hopes of one day making it big.
In the mentioned famous final scene B. Rabbit faces ‘Papa Doc’, the antagonist who has made Rabbit’s life miserable and whose crew has recently jumped him, in a high-profile underground battle…for all the [street cred] marbles.
The freestyle assault ends up being one-sided from B. Rabbit because after all the hardship he has endured, he finally has had enough of trying to be perfect in his lyrical argument and he let it all go on the stage.
Rabbit declares in an opening line, “I know everything he’s got to say against me- I am white, I am a &#$*ing bum, I do live in a trailer with my mom…” and other truths about his life. He then goes on to taunt Papa Doc, “But I know something about you… you went to Cranbrook, that’s a private school.” As the crowd cheers and boos, Rabbit continues the beating with, “This guys a gangster, his real name is Clarence.” and so on.
“…I say it proudly…tell these people something they don’t know about me”, Rabbit finishes his minute and a half onslaught by brazenly owning his position, his circumstance and his attributes.
And that leads me to my point.
While it’s agreeable to proclaim the phrase, ‘Be authentic!’ in our marketing strategies, I feel it may be more effective to consider embracing more of a B. Rabbit-type disposition when relating to prospects and clients.
Perhaps without the choice vernacular and with a tad more empathy and kindness, embracing those unfortunate life circumstances you have faced, acknowledging them, nurturing them and using them toward your ability to influence and offer value, will no doubt produce beautiful, successful and flourishing business and personal relationships.
The people you are selling to want and need to relate to someone preferably on a simliar journey as them. The abililty to effectively and appropriately communicate transparency, vulnerability and integrity is what separates those who have long-term success and those who are only around a little while.
You may have a pretty website, look the part, say the ‘right’ things or even have a big following but don’t underestimate the power of the rough draft, the ‘naturally imperfect’ and the looked-over.
When it comes down to it, people buy ‘people’ not products.
They want trustworthy relationships with business owners and leaders that own their shortcomings, are willing to talk about the hard parts, who stand up for what is right and who have confidence in their convictions even if they are the only ones.
So, who are you going to be- a B.Rabbit or a Papa Doc?