Show Notes

Episode Summary:
In this episode, I talk to Christina and Eddie Sledge of Sledge House Media. They not only created a media company from the ground up, but they did it in the middle of a pandemic. Now they are sharing their fiction and non-fiction stories in book form, and one day plan to expand to other forms of media such as feature films.

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About the Interviewees / Spotlight on Melanin:
Married couple, Edward and Christina Sledge wrote and published their memoir, The Story of Christina and I and Our Marriage: An Essay during the COVID-19 pandemic. The high school sweethearts met in Brooklyn, NY to start their predestined love story.  They both became first-generation high school and college graduates. They continued on to both obtain graduate degrees while also raising a family.

Edward and Christina founded their company, Sledge House Media in 2021 to publish their own books and to share the untold stories of the average person. Thus far they have published four books and one short film together with many more on the way.

Website: SledgeHouseMedia.com
Instagram: @SledgeHouseMedia
Facebook: @SledgeHouseMedia

Credits:
Host and Producer: Richard Dodds @Doddsism
Show Music: @IAmTheDjBlue

Episode Transcript

Richard Dodds  0:00  
Coming up later in the episode, 

Christina Sledge  0:01  
and small business, it’s like jumping off of a cliff and building the plane on your way down, jumping right into things and learning as you go. But I can say that the community around us here where we are located locally, and then just overall, the community just for small businesses and businesses of color, there’s so many resources out there right now that are really helping businesses of color get started. And so that’s been just tremendous and helping us.

Richard Dodds  0:33  
This is still talking black, a show ball giving perspective to issues that minorities face every day. I’m your host, Richard dies. Storytelling is one of the oldest and most effective forms of communication. It can be used to entertain, educate, and inform good storytelling can even help people understand complex ideas, and it can also help them see the world from a different perspective that they may not have seen otherwise, storytelling can help people to learn about other cultures, and can also help promote understanding and tolerance. With the advent of technology, our huge world has gotten smaller, we can now share our voices with people all over the world that we may not have had access to otherwise. That’s why it’s more important than ever to have diverse voices in the storytelling arena. It is incredibly important for us as black people to not only share our stories, but to also share stories from our perspectives. There are so many stories about our history and our accomplishments that need to be shared amongst the community. And with the rest of the world. We have to do everything we can to make sure that we don’t lose our history, and that our stories are properly told from the perspective of the people who have lived them. while preserving our history. We can’t forget the impact that fiction stories have on our community is important even in fiction stories that we are represented in a way where we aren’t stereotyped or only portray in a way that reinforces negative perceptions that some members of society may have towards us, we have to make sure that the characters that look like us are portrayed with the complexities that are authentically us. critters, like isa Ray do such a good job of capturing the nuances that make up the many sides of the black community. Those nuances are something that someone outside of the community may have trouble capturing. I find that I always relate better to stories that have characters that look sound act like me. If you close your eyes and listen to a story. Most people imagine that the characters and those stories look like them. One of my favorite forms of storytelling is video games. Video games give you a level of interactivity that other forms of media can’t come close to many of the games that I’ve played over the years contain characters that look nothing like me. But now as technology and inclusion in the industry has progressed, we can create custom characters and many of the most popular games that further emerges into the experience. They don’t always have the hair that looks just like my, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction. In today’s episode, I talked to Christina Edie sledge of sledge House Media, they not only created a media company from the ground up, but did it in the middle of a pandemic. Now they are sharing their fiction and nonfiction stories in book form, and one day plan to expand to other forms of media such as feature films.

Richard Dodds  3:26  
If you like what we’re doing here, I’ll still talk in black. The best way to show your support is by liking rating and sharing our content by a merchant Our store is still talking black.com For slash shop, or donating using the link in the show description. Every little bit helps. Thank you for your continued support.

Christina Sledge  3:45  
My name is Christina sledge, and I’m here with my husband, Edward sledge. And our company is sledge House Media.

Richard Dodds  3:53  
How did you to me?

Christina Sledge  3:55  
That’s a great story. Oh, well, we met in high school. We were freshmen. And the first

Eddie Sledge  4:00  
week and our first freshman year, 14 years old.

Christina Sledge  4:05  
Right. Oh, wow. Yeah, so we we were in the lunchroom in the cafeteria. And actually, Eddie was trying to meet another young lady that was sitting at the table at the time. It was okay though because I was with someone else. And so you know, just kind of noticing him there and turns out the young lady did not like him and so yeah.

Eddie Sledge  4:32  
Told me that so for like the first week of class would you know I’m chasing her but come to find out she never lightened Well, I didn’t know that to the end. You know not and but until Christina told me so me my friend used to call a friend in the girl to the train station every day. So because of Christina and a friend we just extras to the girl was trying to talk to Yeah, and one day she didn’t come to schools. You know me my friend still walked Christina and our friend Tiffany to the train station. From Kim x, we say hey, my friend, Christina want to go out with you? And I asked her, I said, Oh, I’m so Washington come accident herself. As she says he shot. I’m like, she’s like, this ain’t good. So I said, okay, yeah, I’ll go out with her. You know? I’ve been chasing ever since.

Christina Sledge  5:22  
Yeah. So, also, the young lady gave me the okay, because she said, I don’t like him. So it’s fine. You know, if you like him, then go Go for it. You know, so we just had like a little matchmaker. And then yeah, we were together for I want to say a couple years. He knows.

Eddie Sledge  5:42  
When I separate ways, she went to college, and then I went to all DOM. Hmm. Can we come back together later? Yeah.

Richard Dodds  5:50  
Thank you for your service. Thank you. Appreciate it. So how long have you two been married?

Christina Sledge  5:55  
22 years. Next week,

Richard Dodds  5:59  
a happy early anniversary? Two.

Christina Sledge  6:02  
Thank you.

Richard Dodds  6:03  
So what made you to want to start a business?

Christina Sledge  6:06  
Well, it started with our first book, The Story of Christina Nye, which is a memoir about our about our love story, actually. And it’s a pretty unique story. Because we really, when the reader reads the book, they’ll see that we were we had like these connection points early on, even before we met each other, you could see that there were so many times we actually missed opportunities to meet each other. And so as we learn that we like Oh, my goodness, we’re predestined for each other. Even born in the same hospital, you know, four months apart. Wow. His grandmother, my grandmother worked at the hospital. His father worked there as well. We had family members that lived within

Eddie Sledge  6:54  
hundreds of feet of each other. Yeah, no, yeah. Yeah. So after we got married, we talked about it. Yeah.

Christina Sledge  7:00  
Yes. And then I found out his godfather, literally lived across the street from me. For several years, decades,

Eddie Sledge  7:09  
this is a talk to families to talk to him say hold on everything.

Richard Dodds  7:13  
That’s amazing. Like, how many how many intersections you have with a person and not know that? That’s your person?

Christina Sledge  7:20  
Yes, your person, right. And so we just thought it was a great story. And then you also see in the book, there’s a dichotomy between our upbringings, like we, we really had very different upbringings, I come from, like a Caribbean background with, you know, living in a multi multi generational house with, you know, bootstrappers on both sides of my family that no came here as immigrants to the country as immigrants, and then they started businesses and, you know, that sort of thing. So we kind of had that level of community. And whereas Eddie’s family had a little bit more, I guess,

Eddie Sledge  7:59  
there was any St. Paul grow old men and my family, my mother died when I was young, was step mother died when I was 14, is just when everything I thought was just regular for me, when you sit back and write about and talk about it, it really wasn’t. But that’s just the way of life there was. So no different in the projects, being poor, just different from well, family was hard work and stuff like that, too. So we really didn’t put this together too, after we started talking about, well, let’s write this book.

Richard Dodds  8:32  
So it all it all kind of started with the book. And after the book, what kind of made you you to decide that, hey, this should we should make a whole media company.

Christina Sledge  8:43  
So the book prompted us to decide that we definitely wanted to Self Publish. So we started out as a publishing company, and then we realized we had so much more content, that we then wanted to turn it into screenplays, then potentially movies, and also TV shows or series. And so it just made sense to have a full fledged media company where we would be involved with development of producing, as well as publishing and then also have the ability to do other types of projects like digital and audio type projects as well, so that it just made more sense to go that route and create a media company.

Richard Dodds  9:27  
I see I see a lot of parallels between what you are doing and what I am doing on my end. I’m just doing it with podcast, but it’s all media. I think that media is really important, especially for the black community because a lot of times we are underrepresented and sometimes when we are represented, we’re not represented well. So I think it’s important for us to be able to control and tail and retell some of our stories because storytelling is the basis of human society. So being able to tell the story Being able to show people that black people can be more than sports figures or headlines or rappers or, you know, just as limited amount of things, we can pretty much be whatever we put our mind to. And we’ve helped build a whole civilization. And sometimes I think that gets forgotten. And we don’t necessarily talk about it enough. So I’m really happy. Because whenever someone is telling a story, they usually tell a story in a way that it identifies that though. And if you have people who don’t identify to you telling stories in ways they identify to them, then you’re just left out of the story a lot of times,

Christina Sledge  10:38  
absolutely, we 100% agree. And that, that’s one of our you know, our mission is to tell and share the stories of the average person, you know, one a big part of that is really empathy, and having the ability to walk into someone else’s shoes. And so that was another reason why we really wanted to be able to share those types of stories that you don’t always hear about. So

Eddie Sledge  11:01  
even if it’s fiction or nonfiction, we have goals to put you right in person by between right behind his eyes, they eyes, and then you see what we see, as we writing all we tell him telling a story or explaining someone’s story, we’ll get to that point.

Richard Dodds  11:17  
Is there any other reason aside from just the book that made you want to do media? Or is there some other reasoning behind that too?

Christina Sledge  11:24  
Well, we have been avid readers, oh, my goodness, our whole lives pretty much. Well, Edie has a really good story about how he became really a reader. But we also just love movies. You know, we’ve been avid movie goers, to the point where we, you know, we research actors and kind of see what other projects they were in. And that’s and this was before we started a media company, think about it. But we also have backgrounds separately, that kind of led us down this path without us really even planning this out. But it just kind of everything lined up where I’ve always had like this project management, you know, event producer background. So it made sense for me to kind of fall in line or line with producing, publishing. Whereas Edie has always been a storyteller be it from, you know, he has a background in history. He’s a historian. And then at the same time, he also has always wrote about, you know, history and having that, that background to tell a story. So he’s always been a storyteller. And he’s always interested in socio economic issues, as well as what would you say,

Eddie Sledge  12:41  
to talk to me, it’s like, you go get honest. Like, I don’t want to tell you my story or anything like that all. But what they need to know within X. So I’m, I’m a free person that and I hear people’s stories. Like I read biographies, and I get excited, because everyone likes so different. Just when you think you had a good when you got it back, someone else story comes along, you’re like, wow, like, you know, it’s interesting. So I like to hear people’s stories. I like to talk to people. I think everything is interesting. And that’s why in our company, I’m the head writer and, and seiza directors, she will direct and, you know, she runs the show, because that’s our background, IT project management and everything like that. What what really got me into writing when I was in grad school, and before I went to grad school, I was an Army. And before I was getting out, I was doing this, this thing we call staff duty, where you stay on a desk to answer phones and clean up wanting to meet areas for 25 hours. And when I was on there, my mama was always right. You know, it was still a street mentality, even though it was in the military. But you know, I wasn’t focused on school anything like that never was. And one night, and I’m thinking you Phantom.

Richard Dodds  13:59  
If you can’t tell by accident, right.

Eddie Sledge  14:03  
When one night when the Yankees are playing the World Series against the Diamondbacks, I think it was a Derek Jeter game going into that midnight. massager told me Hey, we’re just going to back and take a nap, you know, take a break. And when I was back to watch a TV, but for some reason, I turned from the World Series game for some reason. I’ll just start from right. So turned from it and I kept flipping channels and I stopped that on there. Posey Jam, which was on HBO. And on it was Nikki Giovanni, Dr. Nikki Giovanni. And when she was on stage talking to this day, I cannot tell you exactly what she said. I don’t remember but I just turned like my like my mind to switch came on and I was mesmerized. Hmm. And associate walked off stage. I call my wife I called Chris and I said, Hey, look, I’m going to library tomorrow. It seems like you’re going to library. I want to go read I want to know this history. I want to know, you know African American history. Oh, Were no coaches and everything.

Christina Sledge  15:02  
Well, that’s the reason why that’s important is because he would not read a book. And that shocked me. I would always try to get him to go to the library with me. You know, I’m an avid reader in

Eddie Sledge  15:13  
high school. Yeah, I was never that person. And so when

Christina Sledge  15:15  
he said that, that was just shocking. You want to go to the library.

Eddie Sledge  15:19  
One second, changed my life. So fast forward for 10 years later, I’m in grad school, and Dr. Nice Giovanni comes to my school. Oh, wow. The books on so I go to a stain on Monaco. See, and I’m like, Hey, you don’t know what to change my life. So you know, she gives, you know, it wasn’t like she was mean, but she gave me the okay, young man, I appreciate it. But come on, take the picture. I signed the book. I got a long line. So you know, no problem. So you know, I got around a picture and every autograph book. Fast forward to last year, she comes to Busboys and Poets at where we live at Columbia. In Maryland, she had another book signing, but now we already got a book. Now in our book, I talked about this, this one pacific time where I changed my diet changed my life. Watch all TV. So her name was in the book and everything. So I go up to her and tell her, you know, the book, I showed the book, and I show her names in the book. And you know, the part in the book where I talk about, she was just floored. You know, it’s crazy, because a woman I changed my life. I’m actually switching autographed books with her. Oh, wow. So she gave me a signed book of hers. And we gave us some book hours.

Richard Dodds  16:32  
That’s amazing. So it was like a full circle full circle moment. Yeah, I know that that’s an amazing story. You’re right, that that’s an incredible.

Eddie Sledge  16:41  
She don’t even know what she know now. But at the time, she didn’t know she changed my life. So you know, it’s crazy.

Richard Dodds  16:47  
I think that’s I want to going back to media. That’s one of the most beautiful things about media is that you don’t know who’s going to hear what you have to say you don’t know who’s gonna read what you write. But you could be planting seeds that grow trees, that that bear fruit is amazing. You can touch one, one person’s life, and that person can go on and touch many people’s lives. This is something that that’s an incredible story really is. So how has the pandemic affected? Your Business? I know you guys, you started right in the middle of the pandemic. So how has it affected? Has it been beneficial? Has it been a source of problems, like how has it affected your business?

Christina Sledge  17:28  
Actually, it didn’t affect us too much, because we like he said, we started in the middle of it, the good thing about books is we can, you know, sell books through pretty much you know, anything. And selling those, you know, especially on the internet is, you know, pretty prevalent. Now you don’t have to go to brick and mortar store as much anymore. The only big impact would be for us doing face to face events in person. So that is the only drawback right now, we haven’t had an opportunity to do as many of those as we would have liked so far. But we just kept moving. You know, the really good thing about the pandemic right now at least is the ability for us to reach out to each other, virtually, and still have our connections. I think that was one of the things that we definitely saw as an opportunity to still continue doing things like we have a book club that’s virtual, and we’re still able to connect with readers and to others that are interested in connecting with us. So we definitely have been fortunate that we have the technological abilities to still connect with books.

Richard Dodds  18:41  
Aside from that, like the actual physical barrier, and business, you know, anytime you start any kind of business, it’s always going to be obstacles in your way. What What have been some of the obstacles that you’ve been able to overcome so far?

Christina Sledge  18:57  
Well, I think the biggest one for us has been just a learning curve of, you know, starting a business or the first time just learning everything, you know, it’s kind of like when you start a business, they always say a small business, it’s like jumping off of a cliff and building the plane on your way down. So we can attest to that. It definitely you know, you kind of jumping right into things and learning as you go. But I can say that the community around us here where we are located locally and then just overall the the community just for small businesses and businesses of color. There’s so many resources out there right now that are really helping businesses of color get started. And so that’s been just tremendous and helping us but I think it was definitely the learning curve and especially the marketing. Marketing is a challenge. When you have a book, you know our books, it’s Not so easy as an independent to get get the word out there. So that’s something that we’re still working on, we do have connections with some folks on the Small Business Administration that are helping us with that, as well as we partnered with Trinity University, here in DC, they have entrepreneurship course that actually featured our small business as their case studies. Yeah. And that was to help us with a marketing strategy. So that was really interesting and cool to work with the students on that.

Eddie Sledge  20:39  
So it’s crazy, because you grab this great product, but you have to market it the best way you can. And even before technology, what it is now, you know, it had to be like crazy hard for the person before us. So now as you think it will be easier, but you know, you have so many, not really too many obstacles, but then you also have to ask calls of have someone have the time to read. You know, so many people was so much so busy in life, you know, they don’t have time to sit down and read your book at the time when, you know, you hope to get feedback at the same time. So we’ve been blessed and fortunate that people do read the book, and they come out and give us great feedback. But marketing and getting it out there independent, you know, we’ve got to, you know, it makes me think a Master P I, he did it in so many people before him and after like just keep hustling, keep grinding and keep making hits, and sooner or later is gonna fall in the right hands. And you know, they will say, hey, I want to help you.

Richard Dodds  21:38  
Whenever I hear that it always reminds me of hearing Daymond John talk about when he started FUBU. He’s like, when I started FUBU. He’s like I was out on the corner for you know, like, eight hours, 12 hours selling hats and stuff like that. He’s like, now you can go online and start a store is completely different. And I it’s beautiful that the technology is changed enough for us to be able to reach people without having to have the same kind of obstacles as you did before. And I definitely understand a marketing point, you can make the greatest thing in the world. But if no one hears it, or no reason no one sees it, then it’s just a great thing that only you know about. So it’s definitely tough. I have a marketing background. So I definitely understand how that stuff works. So right now, is it only you to writing and publishing? Or do you have anybody else that you’ve signed to your to your company so far?

Christina Sledge  22:31  
Right now, it’s only us, we are the primary authors for our projects. But eventually, as we grow, we would like to take on more authors and help them with publishing they’re

Eddie Sledge  22:45  
there to make sure we get our feet on the ground to start running, then we can put people in our back and keep

Richard Dodds  22:51  
best, that’s a smart way to do it. So five years from now, where do you see yourself? Oh, direct

Eddie Sledge  22:56  
the movies way before that directing movies? I’m still writing screenplays.

Christina Sledge  23:02  
Yeah, I definitely see us publishing books right now we have, oh my goodness, 19 books in our pipeline over the next four years. So we definitely have the content. That’s not we’re not sure if there we have a short film that we produce that came out this this year in January, it’s about the pandemic actually just really paying homage to those businesses here in Maryland that were impacted. And so that’s really what the short film was about just looking at how when a business closed down, how it impacts the community and the folks that patronize those businesses. And so that’s what that one’s about. And then we have another one coming out later this year as well. So we definitely have more short films to produce as well as hopefully a feature length over the five year period. And we’ll just continue publishing our books and she she’s

Eddie Sledge  24:01  
a student in NYU film. So you know, she she we have to put stuff together and make it happen. So you know, one day you’re gonna look up and see that logo on the screen like oh, man interviewed on slash House Media. Local. We’ll, yeah, there’s no stop on step one. We always say longest me hold together then.

Christina Sledge  24:21  
We don’t do anything. Do anything. Yeah, we started with 50 cents.

Eddie Sledge  24:26  
So we got married, we jumped in my car was like, at over 180,000 miles on it. It was like a 9091 Chrysler, you know, dug in my pockets. We literally had two quarters in our hands. So we have a call my father took one of quarters come off on a payphone pay for Western Union. $50 and we took it from there, but as soon we said I’ll do literally we have 50 cents, two quarters in our pocket. I mean,

Christina Sledge  24:55  
so we figured if we can make it through that then you know we make it through anything. So that is, you know, a testament to the resilience that we’ve learned over the years, especially as a military family as well. So yeah, we’re just ready to tackle anything that comes our way.

Richard Dodds  25:14  
Thinking about how society is, it sounds like from what you said previously, sounds like being black has actually been an advantage because it gave you access to resources that you might not have had access to. So do you feel like there have been any additional obstacles being black? Or do you feel like being black has actually helped you get to where you want to go?

Christina Sledge  25:36  
I think right now, at least everything that we’ve experienced thus far, there’s there’s just been like, you can almost say, like a huge renaissance and, you know, for creatives, which, you know, we’re in that space. And then also the advantages of being a small business woman, partly woman on the virtual and also vendor disabled, which Disabled Veteran Business. So those things have also given us access right now. So I think it’s, it has been advantage. So far, at least, I know, from a publicity standpoint, we worked with one PR firm, and they just didn’t understand us. So I think not having that understanding of what it is or who we are, I don’t think they knew how to represent us. So that was the only, I think challenge from I think, you know, a race perspective that we’ve encountered so far,

Eddie Sledge  26:28  
that you lose money on that, too. So you know, they, they’re one way to show it, we have another way, but you know, you live in you learn, you know, like, you know, we jumped in the air trying to build a plane, okay, so, you know, we’re not gonna crash and burn, but you know, we’re gonna be in the air for a long time. But when you add you live, you learn.

Richard Dodds  26:46  
It’s like an additional course that black entrepreneurs have to learn, especially when it comes to marketing, just because the people that are going to be interested in our media is so different from normal people. So it’s like, you can follow regular influencers, and do your social media this way and do this and this and that, and it’ll get you here. But truth be told, if we’re trying to reach a select audience, our audience is usually not going to be generally for everybody. It’s not I’m not discrediting, like all white people, but a lot of times white people are not gonna want to see some of the stuff that we’re talking about, you know, the podcast, still talking black, most white people are not gonna want to listen to that. I mean, I know there are some allies out there, I like to listen. But, you know, for the most part, y is not the demographic. So you’re kind of limited. And a lot of times that people that the platforms that you can use, it’s not always filled with us. So you’re spending the same amount of money, but reaching a different amount of people just because there’s less of us on those platforms. So

Eddie Sledge  27:48  
that’s the best thing about our books to the books that we have lined up is this not just it’s all race based, but not you know, not racial, so anyone can books coming up, anyone can read it, anyone can understand it, identify, you know, so it’s just not just one, one way that we look at, we go to a whole range of what we want to do. So that definitely helps.

Richard Dodds  28:11  
I know isa Ray and secure her season her her series is wrapped up. And one of the things I appreciated most about her series was that it wasn’t necessarily a black TV show. It was produced and, you know, written by black people, for the majority of it anyway. But it was a TV show. And it was black people. And there’s a difference between having a TV show of black people and a black TV show it show that it’s not a genre, black TV is not a genre, we can do anything that we want and still be black TV. But it doesn’t have to be like over the top doesn’t have to be so plain. It doesn’t have to be sharp, we can do any kind of genre. And that was the most beautiful thing about seeing isa re do what she did over the last what was it five or six years that she did it, it’s just a beautiful thing to watch. And I really appreciate that for the culture. Absolutely.

Eddie Sledge  29:07  
When you yourself, when you yourself, it flows better to you know, you have a great feeling about it.

Christina Sledge  29:14  
And I think that, you know, that that’s part of what we’re doing too, is, you know, showing that there are we’re multifaceted, you know, we’re not just one way and that’s all we can do, you know, we, you know, I’m big on cooking and, you know, entertaining and that sort of thing. So, you know, I have that as a background as well that I bring to the table. So, you know, that’s something that we try to make sure that we’re showing all facets so people have us of our characters, you know that they’re multi layered, and so you get that from her as a reader and I think the biggest readers that have given us the most feedback are non You know, nonblack really we’ve had some folks that really connected with our book or memoria memoria just just from a human, you know, perspective like, wow, I really feel what you went through, you know. And so that was that was interesting because we weren’t expecting that reaction. But it was great to just see, as human beings, we can just connect.

Richard Dodds  30:25  
It’s great to give people that are not black, especially representation that doesn’t look like what they’re used to seeing. Exactly, exactly. So many times, the news represents us a particular way. And it’s many people that are as many as diverse as the places I grew up and been in have been the rest of the United States and the rest of the world. It’s not built the same way. So sometimes, the only experience that some people have with like people who are from television, from from TV shows or from the news media, and I think that is another reason why it’s just so important for us to be able to control that story, and show that we’re not just victims. We’re not we’re not just thugs. We’re not just ballplayers. We are everything under the rainbow and so much more.

Christina Sledge  31:13  
Absolutely. In my in our book, I also talk about just being, you know, honor student and you know, just growing up being that nerd, you know, it’s okay to get A’s in school and, you know, answer the questions all the time and study in amasau

Eddie Sledge  31:29  
Amasa. You see, it wasn’t cool to even portray that she was smart or educated back then. Because, you know, I was in the streets. And you know, you get teased upon for so it’s like, you got to act like you’re not smart. So this book really came about when IATA Maverick was just talking about the differences in our lives. And, you know, we both from Brooklyn, and we both were rough neighborhoods. And she was telling me that you know how she had a playroom. I have two brothers that a playroom, like just for toys. And I’m like, Nah, you can have that, you know, now Brooklyn, and I’m coming from, you know, a family, you know, yeah, we had a lot of time. So so it’s crazy. We live in two rough neighborhoods, but I’m not thinking Deysi lives like that. And the only side I saw looked like that was, you know, the Cosby Show, when you play where they live somewhere, you know, the fame like that, because my father and his friends didn’t embrace that. They always heard that that’s not true. Like, you know, stuff like that doesn’t happen in Brooklyn, with like, families. hos out, you know, at the same time, and seeing that you could do whatever you want it you could be wherever you want to be long, you try hard, my facade wasn’t doing that. They was like, You’re never gonna be president, even though they never said it. But that’s what I understood. So you see in the book, both four eyes at the same time, like wow, you know, one person me thinking that, you know, that life is like, my life is like, and what else life around that time and Brooklyn, especially to black, and her life was much different.

Christina Sledge  32:58  
You know, yeah, I had, you know, I had mentors, I had positive role models, you know, that really gave us that motivation to, you know, go to school do well in school, you know, we had a Caribbean background. So we had, you know, this cotillion, we would go to my family had a property in the Hamptons. So I had a very, we grew up in the same place. Yeah, but we just had exposure, my exposure was different. So to just, that’s why people say, How did you guys even go there? How did this even not baby, but I think it also just shows that those things are there and may be a part of your life, but it doesn’t define who you are, you know, it just helps you kind of have, you know, we had different he had some privileges and that sort of thing, but we still as human beings we still connected on and it’s

Eddie Sledge  33:57  
okay for you to have these privileges or don’t have these privileges. That is okay, you know, it doesn’t make you less of a person and, and, you know, growing up, I saw that a lot, you know, around drugs and stuff like that, and, you know, people like, like, Christina and her family will be shot upon against my family because they didn’t think that was true or real. So, yeah, but it’s okay. You know, it’s okay. It’s okay to have these this this life, you know, it’s fine to in this world, we teach our daughters, you know, we, we don’t want our daughters grew up the way we grew up, especially in these bad neighborhoods, you know, the hood where I grew up. So yeah, we teach them it’s okay to have these things. You know, we’re fortunate,

Christina Sledge  34:35  
but even in the neighborhoods, there are bright spots. Yeah, they are, where we learn about our culture, you know, and then just really embracing the various multicultural environment, you know, that we had with, you know, people of all backgrounds and I think that was definitely a plus living in Brooklyn, just every day you’re exposed to different cultures, different people, just to just learn On an average day, how diverse how diversity can be a positive thing? Yeah.

Richard Dodds  35:06  
So I know you two just recently celebrated one year of having your company. What is the biggest celebration that you’ve had thus far?

Eddie Sledge  35:15  
Oh, man, we have so many bright spots from last year. But I want to

Christina Sledge  35:19  
say we had a bestseller. And Amazon, we wrote a book about marriage, actually an essay. And the first day, it was number one, right? It was number one. So that was huge.

Eddie Sledge  35:32  
We have so many, but having two books at the same time, at a book signing at Barnes and Noble. That was the class there’s so many classes that can keep your body, so many that we have, but it’s crazy. When people hear this, you know, it’s like you put your mind to it, you try your you try your best you can make it happen to you before that we was as we were saying balls and old. And we was like one day I’ll book will be right here. And then a year some change later, a book was right.

Christina Sledge  36:04  
It’s a shared determination. And I know sounds cliche, but hard work, like we just grind. And, you know, we learn, we were learning all the time, all the time, and just learning from other people learning from just reading and educating ourselves on the industry and the processes that we have to go through. So I just I think we’re just proud of just the strides that we’ve made over the year. Yeah, yeah.

Richard Dodds  36:33  
What have the dynamics been of you two are obviously Mary, we’ve covered that already. How has it been been a married couple running a business together?

Eddie Sledge  36:44  
is great. But I’m so my philosophy is marriage is a beautiful headache. It’s always beautiful. But at times, it’s a headache. So we have a great times. And then we have times where you know, SuperSU, in our book, where she goes on, you got to get rid of this part.

Christina Sledge  37:04  
So he writes, he writes, he writes the majority of like our fiction books. And so he’s the head writer. And so after he writes his first draft, you know, I read it until I have to give him feedback. And so when he does that, in the beginning, I wasn’t sensitive to his art.

Eddie Sledge  37:25  
You start the season before that, before I became a writer, I’m just like, well, this is this. There’s nothing but the

Christina Sledge  37:33  
nonfiction was easier, because it was fact, you know, yeah,

Eddie Sledge  37:36  
so you know, we get to the pathway sometime. I agree. Yeah, I don’t need that part. And then sometimes we all go into the death. No, that’s gonna stay in there. And then we she tweaks it. So we agree, you agree, but the best thing about our marriage is that it’s 5149. And she’s 51 or 49. Because if she’s not happy, then I can’t get any sleep. So what shows up your role, and then you embrace your role? It gets easier.

Christina Sledge  38:03  
Yeah, we also had to define our roles in the business, you know, we had to respect each other’s strengths, and understand where we needed help to support each other, we really, we created a Venn diagram, which is, you know, like, the two circles are their connect. And so it was actually Eddie’s idea. And he was like, We need this Venn diagram, we have to create this to see, you know, the things that we’re primarily responsible for on each side, and then where we connect. And so we did that. And that really helped us define each other’s roles, and then where we needed to support each other. So that was, that was very important and helpful. Yeah.

Richard Dodds  38:41  
Yeah. So it sounds like you guys have been navigating, being married and being business partners in the same time. It sounds like it’s just an interesting dynamic, because you know, you can’t like business, like marriage is a business too. Sounds like you two are running to two businesses together. And each of you have different roles and each business. Right? As beautiful. Were you able to find that balance? It doesn’t sound like it’s caused too much strain on your marriage at all?

Christina Sledge  39:11  
No, I think because we learned our strengths. We really,

Eddie Sledge  39:15  
I think we knew that before we even thought about going to business. So even without a business was already comfortable in our own skin. While being married. We knew the do’s and don’ts and stuff that makes us smile together and cry together, stuff like that. So we knew that already. So when we started a business, we just kept it going the same way. So it didn’t interfere with our marriage. It just gave us more togetherness. Yeah. But now it could have been different if we would have started a business thing got married or just got married, like if we would have did this 20 years ago, 20 years ago. So it came at the right place at the right time. It was a time where we like why not us, you know, we got stories to say we, we could do this so on it came at the right time, and it didn’t interfere with our marriage, we still hug, kiss make love, we still do what we have to do. So we have, we’re happy married couple.

Christina Sledge  40:18  
Yeah. And I think I think anything like that he said to kind of produce more together. And we started to really see that we could build upon what we already created. And so this is just another outlet for us to, I think it’s really beautiful, because it helps us tap into this creative side of both of us that we didn’t always we were pretty much all very analytical, and not necessarily on the creative side. And so because I have an IT background, and then I went into event management, so doing more of that producing, so I started tapping into that inside and creative side. And then Edie always had like the historical side and sociology, that sort of thing. But this, having this co creative outlet, I think just gave us a new way of looking at life and just exploring things that we probably wouldn’t know, in the past

Eddie Sledge  41:15  
it plus we always been supportive of each other. So if I have to take the back seat while she drove, let’s go. If she had to do it, let’s go. So we we not eagles, eagles are getting away and we start like, you know, throwing things around each other to my ego goes first and like that. So we was like that before we started this company, it has just continued. Yes. So that was great to know, the values that we had already in play in our marriage just continued, you know, trickled down? Yeah, it’s a long a company.

Richard Dodds  41:48  
So I got three questions for you. I’m gonna give them all to you at the same time. And you can ask them all at once, or you can ask them individually. But what advice would you give other entrepreneurs like entrepreneurs? What advice would you give married couples? And what advice would you give married couples thinking about going into business together?

Eddie Sledge  42:09  
All right, so I want to take two, we take three together. I give you long answers.

Christina Sledge  42:18  
Okay, let’s start with the question Will we give entre new entrepreneurs,

Richard Dodds  42:22  
new entrepreneurs, specifically black entrepreneurs, black entrepreneur, yeah,

Christina Sledge  42:28  
I would definitely say learn your craft, you know, learn whatever it is that you want to be the best at whatever it is that you’re trying to enter whatever industry that is, learn as much as you can about it. You know, immerse yourself in it, so that you can, you know, have that expertise and that foundation to help you in your path into this new arena. That’s so key, I think it really helps with also helping you define your business, so you have a better idea of what it is you’re getting into, right? So you want to make sure you have that solid foundation, I know a few entrepreneurs that they had a great idea, but they didn’t have the opportunity to fully learn everything that they should have. And that’s okay, like I said, you’re learning as you go. So I would say also have that grace with yourself, that you’re not going to know everything, and you don’t know everything. And you don’t know what you don’t know. So that’s always gonna be something that you learn along the way, because we can help strengthen, you know, different parts of managing a business, but then there’s other parts of we need to outsource and we need to get help. And that’s okay, too. And that’s the other thing, try not to do everything yourself, you’re going to need, you know, help legal accounting, you know, all of that those outsource capabilities. I mean, unless you’re good at that, if you’re good at that, then you might need help in other areas. So just being honest with yourself and knowing that you may not know anything, and it’s okay to get help.

Eddie Sledge  44:11  
So the second question was about marriage

Richard Dodds  44:14  
marriage? Um, well, what what would you what advice would you give married couples?

Eddie Sledge  44:18  
So, three things, try to be each other’s best friends. Not say that you got to get rid of your best friends. But like our best friends, but there’s the decision to be anything that your best friend knows that I don’t know. You know, I, I need to know to you know, if it pertains to you, chasing me in our marriage, so try to be each other’s best friends become best friends good that that helped me help keep your business and your household. Sometimes, you know, we seek other people to talk business to and they may have the right intentions that to help you with it, but then some people might run off and It explodes to something else out of proportion and was blown out of proportion is rough. You know, like when people have mommy and daddy or uncles and sisters or in a business, you know, they they may not see, they may see it as, as more difficult than you see it. And that could cause a big rift and problems in your marriage. So, it possible, keep everything out. Now you could tell people what you want them to know. But if you keep it in house, keep it in house. Well, my third one is that, you know, if you love this person, that’s your Whitman, just just embrace them and love them. The best way you can, you know, I love this woman, since 14 years old, I’ve been chasing them, even with us together, I was chasing them. Even when we not together like I’m like Peverley pure Aha, you know, but I embrace the change, embrace me. So I’m just have loving your marriage, try to keep loving your marriage, because once the flames go out, you know, every marriage, every marriage is like a finger. But everyone has a different fingerprint. So what works for your marriage may not work for my marriage, you know, I can’t get people counseling, because you know, I can say something to my wife, that you can’t say to your wife, or vice versa. So don’t take other people problems, and make it your problem in your household. You know, just love and shall have love, you know, you know, enjoy each other?

Christina Sledge  46:21  
And what was the last question?

Richard Dodds  46:22  
The last one was a combination of the two. So what advice would you give a married couple want to start a business together?

Christina Sledge  46:29  
Hmm. Okay, so, definitely what we talked about, which is figure out what your, your roles, what your strengths are each? And then how do you, you know, combine, you have the synergy. So what we did was what we talked about was create that Venn diagram. And really, we we met other couples who are entrepreneurs together as well. And when we told them that they all said, that’s, that’s perfect. We didn’t think about that, you know, and they all said, here, that’s what we need to do. And so we share that with other couples that started business together that we know. And they said, Oh, wow, that’s great. So I would definitely say, you know, just make it simple. Just draw two circles, and where they intersect and see, you know, what are your strengths? What do you do? Well, each, and then where do you intersect where you can work together. And then also, again, think about what we talked about, which is, you know, where you do need help. But also, again, remember why you’re a couple, first and foremost. And then also, it’s good to turn off, work at the end of the day, if you can, so that you can have that bit of separation between work life and married life, so that it doesn’t create challenges when you try to separate them, try to separate them as much as you can. And don’t,

Eddie Sledge  47:55  
don’t turn, do not turn, try not to turn your marriage into a business. Because of your business. You’re going to that time when you separate the two. It may be hard for people but you know, you got to work at it. Yeah, we’re, you know, yeah, for like, like, for us, we know, I’m the one right in the middle of that section, she cleans it up, she knows she has to read every page and make sure that everything’s fine with it. You know, so just because I’m the head writer, I still got to go with her to make sure that we get this product out. And then you know, she’s all it but then you know, when she needs something marketing go, I gotta send out email stuff like that. Do the same thing too. Yeah. Good at that. But I know that simple set so I’m part of that simple set that I have to help out with. So you know, we all have truth or weaknesses. And when you help with that, that’s what you do as a couple anyway. So just do as a business,

Christina Sledge  48:51  
I think yeah, just keeping that in mind that you’re going to need support from each other, you know, business wise, and then also married wise and just keeping that balance. Try to try not to take things personally either. When and that’s hard, it’s really hard but you also have patience with yourselves. Because you’re still learning as you go to

Richard Dodds  49:18  
YouTube I’ve been on a tremendous journey. It started me as a 14 and as continue through 22 years of marriage. You guys have a company together what has been the biggest joy and this journey that you two have taken together?

Eddie Sledge  49:32  
Oh to sit back and see us achieve something man like like saying to ourselves like wow, we did this like you know like wow, like you got to embrace the all victories there’s no little victories there’s no little baby steps. So everybody which you have you got especially independent you got to embrace it. Like, like we actually sit back like wow, like we look at our book covers like, wow, like we did this, and we did this is crazy, you know Guess when you say to yourself wow like a lot of times we go we see stuff that we’ve been through last year and we go Wow, that’s crazy but to sit back and be like wow, we did this like a year before that it was nothing It wasn’t me thinking about it. That’s that’s the that’s the crazy part.

Christina Sledge  50:16  
I think the best part about being an author and you get your book in your hand for the first time that it’s like it’s like birthing a baby you just like oh my goodness this is our baby like

Eddie Sledge  50:32  
some magical autograph and you know well from was like wow like you want more autograph like is crazy. So those those those moments so just it’s just joyful

Christina Sledge  50:44  
we embrace it it’s just it sounds it’s still so surreal at times where people are asking for autographs and again when we just hold the books like each time we you know we get the first draft of the book or the proof we still have that same reaction like oh my goodness this this is our book right here in our hands so

Eddie Sledge  51:05  
so that that’s that’s the joy to sit back and be like wow, this is this is this this is something that we created you know and we could have created before a long time ago who knows? But it wasn’t our time to do it you know we just go along with the ride keep going forward but it’s those wow moments are saying wow, like we actually really think about a year ago now we just like our books and you know people reading it you make a great stories is crazy. Yeah, that’s that’s the biggest joy to be like, wow, like we actually did this

Christina Sledge  51:35  
and that we that people are touched by you know, are they? They actually think that’s like even when Nikki Giovanni read our book that was wow. Wow, like crazy. I love your book. So that was really cool, too.

Richard Dodds  51:55  
That’s amazing. I want to thank you both for coming on. I really appreciate it had a great conversation with you do.

Christina Sledge  52:01  
Thank you.

Richard Dodds  52:03  
That’s all I have for you for this episode. Well before you go, I like to put a little spotlight on melanin spotlight on melanin is the part of the show where I like to spotlight a creator, influencer artists, business owner or activist of color. Today I would like to spotlight slash House Media. Edie and Christina already have three books available on Amazon with many more to come. You can also check out their short film by visiting our website at switch house media.com You can find them on Instagram and Facebook at sledge House Media. If you or someone you know would like the chance to be featured on spotlight on melanin, send us an email at spotlight still talking black calm. Please include links to their social media and why you feel they should be spotlighted. So again, thank you everyone for listening. Still talking black as a crown culture media LLC production is produced by me Richard DODDS. Our theme music was created by the DJ blue. Please make sure to rate and subscribe to the show on your favorite podcasting app. You can follow the show on Instagram I still talk in black and you can follow on my personal account at does an sto DDS is L you can find out more about this show I still talking black.com where you can find previous episodes, Episode transcripts and links to the shop. So again, thanks for listening, and until next time, keep soccer

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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