In any industry, the field of sales is always competitive, so much more for women. Even in modern times, it can’t be denied that what women experience in a workplace is different from men. The Founder of the National Association of Women Sales Professionals, Cynthia Barnes, joins this episode to share her knowledge and insights about the women in sales as a sales influencer herself. She talks about the experiences women go through and why the system should be fixed to be appealing for both men and women alike. She also touches on the natural strengths of women when it comes to sales and why being authentic to yourself should be your number one goal when presenting yourself to your buyers. Learn the reasons why you need to challenge the status quo and change the face of sales in order to move forward as an industry.
Music has been around as long as man and can be considered a foundation of humanity. Like all things, the ones to carry on music to the next era and continue its evolution are the youth of today. Orlando Herrera, Jr. aka Sal Negro, the Founder and CEO of Ayize Songaa Recordings, joins this episode to share his story as a DJ that withstood the trials of time. He talks about his mission to help and teach the youth of today, not only about being music artists, but also the music business as a whole. Sal also goes into the changes that DJs has gone through along with the technological advancements to make things easier and lessen the barrier of entry. Learn about the women that pioneered the civil rights movement besides Rosa Parks as he talks about his book, research, and the history he discovered.
I’m glad you joined us because we have Cynthia Barnes and Orlando Herrera, also known as, Sal Negro here. Cynthia is a woman and sales influencer, the Founder and CEO of the National Association of Women Sales Professionals. Orlando is a celebrated DJ and author. We’re going to talk to both of them about what they’re working on.
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Women Influencing the World of Sales with Cynthia Barnes
I am here with Cynthia Barnes who’s a woman and sales influencer, Founder and CEO of the National Association of Women Sales Professionals, NAWSP. She lives by the motto that, “I’m in it to win it.” I love that having come from a sales background. Nice to have you here, Cynthia.
Thank you for having me. I’ve been looking forward to this.
I’m interested in what you do. I was looking at some of the stuff you wrote and you said you want to challenge the status quo, which is everything that I do with curiosity research is trying to get people out of the status quo. I’m curious to talk to you about that, but before we do, I would like to get a little background on you to find out how you became a sales influencer.
I have been selling since girl scout cookies were $1.50 a box. In 2016, I began to wonder what my next role would be. I was on Facebook, the ultimate philosopher with their means and one said, “The true test of whether or not you are a success in life is not based upon how well you do. It’s based upon how many others you help do well.” I said with my years of experience and leadership, “What can I do to make a lasting impact for my legacy and for generations to come?” I came up with a hypothesis and I said, “I know how to sell.” Knowing that I wanted to help others sell, I said in a world where traditional sales approaches were created by men for men at a time when men made up the entire salesforce and don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with traditional sales approaches.
Many of my colleagues, female and male got to the top 1% using those sales approaches. I wondered how much faster women could reach the top 1% if we had sales approaches that addressed the unique challenges that we face as women in sales while amplifying the innate strengths that we have. There’s nothing wrong with traditional sales approaches. I was curious to find out how much faster we could reach the top 1%. I created some sales training created by women for women and started to test it, got proof of concept and now here we are many years later with 15,000 members who are laser-focused on reaching the top 1%.
You mentioned unique challenges and strengths that women have in sales. I’m curious if you want to touch on some of those because I’m trying to think what I think they are. I’d love to hear what you came up with.
Some of the unique challenges that we face are walking into a conference and I’ve heard stories of women that attend conferences and still in 2020 and 2019, getting accosted by men. When these women say, “I have a problem with a prospect, a buyer or a customer,” acting inappropriately, that is something that men usually don’t have to deal with. What we find is we did a study in 2019 with the Wall Street Journal. We’ve pulled our then 12,000 members and 57% of them had been harassed at the hands of a customer or a prospect.
Astounding as that is, only 25% of them reported it citing things like, “My boss didn’t know what to do. My boss asked me, ‘What do you want me to do?’ My male boss would say I’m not equipped to handle this and got swept under the rug.” Other women said things like, “I knew what I was taking on when I accepted the role. I don’t want my boss to take this account away from me because I have a mortgage to pay.” I got to thinking about of all the challenges that we face in sales, trying to meet quota, trying be everything to everybody being wives, mothers, sisters, nieces and nephews and all that good stuff. Why do we have to deal with this in 2019 or 2020? Our training addresses some of those unique challenges.
I was thinking of a company I worked for in 1980 where it was an agricultural chemical sales group. They were all men and I was the only woman that was in this group and it went to Christmas party. I remember they rented a vehicle like a bus and the Christmas party consisted of going to strip joints. That was what they did. It was Mad Men days and I was young that I didn’t know that’s not how it is in the business world. When you talk about accosted, define what you mean.
Manhandled, touched inappropriately, bullied, offered a quid pro quo, the gamut. Sometimes it’s even sexual abuse. It’s awful.
I’ve been in sales for a long time ever since that time and I’ve been in different areas from ag chem to pharmaceuticals to banking to real estate. I’ve been fortunate. I’ve had people flirt, I’ve had different things, but even I didn’t do much time in real estate. It wasn’t my favorite thing to do, but you do have to worry about safety and different things. Men don’t have the same worries. Is it something that you’re dealing with as well?
It is. We are teaching women how to show up as their best selves in crucial moments, whatever that looks like. It could be safety or being assertive versus being passive aggressive, passive, or aggressive. We’re also teaching the male leaders how to manage their female staff.
I’m always surprised because I teach so much HR-related courses by how much harassment still continues, how much some of this stuff continues in it, not just in sales, but in general because we’ve heard much about this. You’re talking about some of these challenges that women have, but you also mentioned strengths. I’m curious what you found are women’s strengths when it comes to sales?
The biggest one is that we are natural relationship builders. In traditional sales approaches, they have a whole day devoted to a relationship building. That is a waste of time for the majority of women in sales because we do that naturally. We have empathy, we have compassion. To waste time, teaching us how to sell and how to build relationships, it’s not the best use of our time. I’d rather spend time on how to show up in situations assertively versus aggressively because a lot of women will say, “I don’t want to be labeled the B word. I’m not going to stand up for myself. I’m going to take these things.” What I’m encouraging them to do is say, “There is a way and we will give you the script to say what you need to say so that you are coming across assertively, confidently and as a natural influencer.”
As you’re talking about this, I had gone out to dinner with Roya Mahboob. She’s Time Magazine’s Person of the Year many years back for her work she did in Afghanistan with teaching young women to become trained on the internet so that they could work globally from home to learn those skills. It was what I was thinking about when I was writing my book on perception. You mentioned empathy. A lot of the things that come into perception in that situation was women didn’t do that. They didn’t have those businesses in Afghanistan at that time. She had to have her brothers be the front of the business because they wouldn’t take it seriously through her. The perception of women in different areas is unique. As I was looking at perception, it’s a combination to me of IQ and EQ, emotional quotient, in having that empathy and understanding and your curiosity, getting out of status quo and cultural quotient. Do you deal with global sales with these women? Are you talking more US sales? What are you helping them achieve if in a global way to understand the perceptions throughout the world?
We are talking globally. What applies to a woman and the challenges that a woman faces in the United States are totally different than what a woman faces in the Middle East. We would be remiss if we did not look at that as an opportunity to not just help women in the United States, but around the world. It’s multifaceted. It’s not a one size fits all type of thing.
Different types of sales are different. You had worked for Mary Kay and some other types of sales. It’s interesting how you have to adjust based on what you’re selling, where you’re selling and what industry, and it can be all men, that was one industry. When I was in pharmaceutical sales, what it was interesting to me was when I got into the training class, it was eight women and one guy. I don’t know if that was intentional to get to the doctor, they wanted to put a woman in front of him or what. A lot of times, I was on team where it was another man and the men utilized your gender in a way. The men would get through to the women in the front, I’d get back and I’d be the one talking to the doctor who was more likely being a man and then the receptionist be more a female. Is this something that continues that you utilize that appeal of talking to the other sex? Is that a good thing? I want to see your opinion on that.
When I was in pharmaceutical sales, I was put into a territory that had only been held by women. When I walked into one doctor’s office, he said, “You’re even prettier than the last one. From your company I keep getting pretty ones and I’m astounded at how pretty they are.” After a couple of visits, he got enough courage to say to me, “What are you going to do to get me to write your drug?” I was new to pharmaceuticals and I had no idea what he was talking about. I said, “What do you mean?” He said, “Your previous rep was willing to do whatever it took. I want to know what lengths you’ll go to as well.” I took that back to my team and I said, “What exactly does he mean?” They said, “We’re not going to tell you what to do. Do what is comfortable with you.” The cycle was perpetuated. It was encouraged as long as you did what you were supposed to do to get the script and it was incredible.
I was in pharmaceutical sales for 15 years. I’d never had a doctor do anything even remotely like that. I had to do a lot of crazy stuff, but not that. I don’t want to blame women for what men do, but is there something that we are coming across in a certain way that they could misinterpret? It’s hard to even ask that question without making it sound like it’s the woman’s fault, which I don’t think it is. Is there anything that we can do that makes them realize, “Don’t even bark up that tree, buddy.”
Absolutely not. It is easy to say, “Women should behave like this. They should wear this. They shouldn’t do this.” I’ve heard countless times that people want to blame women because it’s easy. Women aren’t broken. The system is broken. When I hear stories about women don’t apply for jobs at the same rate men do, my first thought is, “You’re blaming the woman for not having the confidence to apply for that job. How about we rewrite the job description so that it’s more welcoming for women to apply?”
Women will not apply for things if they don’t think they meet most of the requirements and that they can do it all. Where men will go, “I can do it,” even though if they don’t think they can or don’t know yet. Is that a weakness on the part of women or is it a strength?
Let’s look at the cause, look at the job description. Who was it written by? Who was it written for? Traditional sales approaches are created by men for men at a time when men made up the entire salesforce. You’re looking at job descriptions that are most likely for sales written with their ideal candidate in mind, which is that man, because most of those job descriptions are for men. For example, we worked with a tire manufacturer and they said one of their requirements was that you had to lift 40 pounds on a daily basis regularly. We investigated and we talked with the reps that were in that role. We said, “How often do you have to lift a 40-pound tire in your job?” They said, “You don’t lift a 40-pound tire. You set it on its end and you roll it.” The job description saying that you have to lift 40 pounds regularly. I don’t know of any women who are willing to lift a tire all the time. Why even put that in the job description? It’s exclusionary tone and exclusionary verbiage. It’s not the fault of the women. It’s the way the job description is written.
I’ve had a lot of women on my show who I’ve asked a lot of these kinds of questions and this show isn’t just one-sided for women, for men and we talk about a lot of issues. What I think is interesting is the discussion of if women hold women back. Do you get into that at all when you’re talking to your groups? There are such few positions available, they don’t let women, there’s not all these opportunities that sometimes it gets more competitive with women than it does with men. What do you think about that discussion?
In traditional sales environments, there is a feeling of competition because sales is competitive. Sometimes that spills over too much into leadership opportunities. Sales leaders are traditionally men to the tune of 89%. Only 11% of sales leaders are women, that tells me as a sales manager or a sales individual contributor, there are limited spots available. If there’s one person, one woman in sales leadership at my company, and there’s a culture of, “We’ve got our token woman in that position.” That lends to a competitive type of landscape where that woman is going to hold on to her position because there’s only one available and she is less likely, unfortunately, to have others or help others get to that position because there’s only one available and she wants to hold onto it.
We see a lot of that. I didn’t realize the numbers were quite that high for sales leaders. One of my favorite leaders I had was a woman sales leader. I remember coming out of pharmaceutical sales going into lending and I loved being in this banking industry. The first meeting we had, I got out of there thinking, “I learned something in this meeting.” It wasn’t a death by PowerPoint as I used to because I can’t tell you how many meetings I’ve gone to in the last many years before that where I didn’t learn a single thing in any meeting I’d ever gone. This woman, she was like, “This is what you need.” It was pragmatic and it could have been unique to her. I’m not saying all women sales leaders are great. She was wonderful. It’s interesting to go from one industry to the next to see how sales is done in different ways. Every industry is getting a challenge because of COVID. Are you dealing with the virtual sales situation with your training? Where does that stand?
We are. All of our training used to be in person and we are now offering virtual training. That being said, we also have to educate our members on how to sell virtually whether it’s presence on a Zoom call, how to frame, how you look. We had one heated conversation around, “Do you show up casually in a company sweatshirt on a Zoom call when you’re talking with a prospect?” because it’s cool and it’s allowed. Do you show up at least from the waist up like you are going in for business? We address a lot of different things.
I’d like to know what you guys came up with on that one because I have my opinion. For me, I’d still have to be waist up. What was the final decision on that?
When in doubt always dress a level above.
Is there a difference in generations on there?
I would think Y and Z would tend to go a little less, more the Lululemon route. Is that what you’re saying?
We refer to them as the yoga pants generation. They’re comfortable and their environment, their culture of their company is relaxed. We also have to remind them that not everybody that you prospect, all of your ideal buyers are not going to be of that same mindset. You are trying to influence decision-makers to say, “That starts from the moment you make contact. How do you show up?” NAWSP is all about teaching women how to show up in crucial moments where appearance, where influence, where decisions matter most. We address all of that.
A lot of your relationships change as you get to know people. In pharmaceutical sales, everything was always formal. We always were super dressed. There was no question of how high you kept the bar for that. When you’re dealing virtually, sometimes you might grow these relationships where people know each other, and you’re talking a Z to a Z. They may get less formal as it goes along. How women dress in general has come up quite a bit on this show because I get a lot of Hall of Fame speakers where we talk about this. When you’re giving a talk or a presentation in front of a group, how women’s clothing is scrutinized much more than men, no one cares what a guy wears. You’re looking at how much above your knee or not to your knee or what your earrings are, the dangly or not dangly. Is your hair too big? Is it too bright? Why do we criticize women’s look so much?
Look at who’s criticizing and ask them why. Normally, it’s perpetuated by a bro culture. It trickles down to women who worked in a bro culture who are perpetuating that bro culture.
I do find a lot of women do criticize other women in that respect and it is interesting of you’re saying that that’s where it comes from. How do we change that? It’s challenging. I spoke at SHRM for 1,700 people in a room. I picked the plainest Navy dress that hit right at my knee as I could possibly think. I’ve had people on my show like Mikki Williams and Dr. Gilda Carle. They go the flamboyant direction because that’s their brand. In sales, do you have a brand? Is it okay to say, “This book doesn’t apply to me because this is my brand?”
Being authentic is the number one goal. You have to be authentic to yourself while you are making sure that you are dressing and appearing how your buyer wants to see you. For example, if I’m prospecting lawyers, I’m not going to show up in a polo and big hoop earrings because that’s not the culture of the legal profession. I also want to make sure that I dress according to my style within reason. It’s a delicate balance, but there’s a lot that has to be said about branding yourself as well as making sure that you are well received. Sales is influencing decision-makers to say yes, that’s all it is. From your speech to your dress, be authentic but assimilate and that’s a hard thing.The true test of whether or not you are a success in life is not based upon how well you do. It's based upon how many others you help do well. Click To Tweet
It is a challenging thing. It’s interesting because all my siblings and I have gone into sales, we’ve all went all the president circles and all of the awards of whatever. We were great at that job because we were raised in a super competitive atmosphere where everything was, “I’m in it to win it. Second doesn’t count,” is how we were raised. It’s natural that we went into sales. Is sales any less competitive? Is it more relationship building now than in the past? How has it changed?
It’s competitive. I don’t know of any of top performing sales culture that’s not competitive. My last corporate job, we were all in a boiler room, we all had our desks and twice a day from 12:00 and 5:00, they would send out a companywide email that said, “Here’s where you rank on phone time, revenue compared to your peers.”
In banking when you got a deal, they would play your song every time. Everybody knew if you got a sale. It was competitive. I know my daughter’s company has a bell, everybody rings the bell when they get it. There isn’t a detention to, “You need to do that.” It’s going to be interesting to see how that attention is changed in a virtual setting because you can’t ring the bell or play the song if you’re working at home. In pharmaceutical sales, I was used to working out of my home and we didn’t do that. We had the president circles and the other ways of recognizing people. It’s a challenging time and I know a lot of people are going to be interested in the National Association of Women Sales Professionals. NAWSP.org is you’re the Founder of. Is there any other site or information and social media or anything you’d like to share before we go?
We are on LinkedIn. Look for NAWSP or National Association of Women Sales Professionals. Follow me on LinkedIn. My name is Cynthia Barnes. Engage with me. Let’s challenge the status quo and change the face of sales because sales is not one gender. It’s not one race. When we have diverse sales teams, they on average generate 15% more revenue. There is a solid case for diversity and not just diversity of how people look, but diversity of thought. It is critical.
I hope everybody takes the time to check out your company. Thank you for being on the show. This was fun.
Paving the Future of the Youth with Music with Sal Negro
I am here with Sal Negro, who is one of the most celebrated, fun, loving, and joyous DJs of his time, born as Orlando Herrera Jr. In Santa Clara, Cuba. He was raised in the Bronx and introduced to music by Cuban born Juan Gonzalez. He first entered his career as a musician at the ripe old age of eight years old and as a DJ at age 15. He has been a musician and DJ for years and joined American Veterans. I’m excited to have you on the show. Welcome, Sal.
I’m glad to be on your show.
I am excited because I know our good friend Marti introduced us. I know that a lot of what you do ties in to some of the veterans’ affairs and stuff associated with the Presidential Culinary Museum that he runs. I’m curious how you two met and a little background on you would be helpful.
You started off at the beginning with my music career. I joined right after high school. I went to the High School of Art and Design in New York City and studied advertising and photography. After graduating from high school, I went into the military, I went into the Marine Corps and had the opportunity to go ahead and travel around the world, learning different cultures, things of that nature and listen to different sounds. Every time I came back home, there was a skating rink that was not too far away from the base. I would go ahead and DJ there on the weekends if I didn’t get to go home and provide music for those that were skating. I was constantly into my music, not as much as I would have liked to because the military at that time in the ‘80s didn’t provide that, but it was still great.Always show up early, never on time, because if you're on time you're late. Click To Tweet
Once I got out of the military, I had to decide, because by the time I left, I had a child a year prior to leaving. I left in 1985. My child, my eldest child and daughter was born in 1984. I had to decide what I’m going to do? Was I going to go to continue music or what? I decided to hold onto music because that was difficult to go ahead and leave. I got into counseling because I’m good at it. You have to be a trusting person, you have to be a good listener and you have to present yourself well with people. That worked out well for me. I did that primarily youth and families, working with different agencies like The Salvation Army, social services for children and a few others.
It worked out for me where I would go ahead and relate to these young teens and figure out what they wanted and what they were trying to do, things of that nature and figuring out what how to help the families. Some of them were struggling. They were going through all different things financially or trying to make sure they kept a roof over their heads, things of that nature. For me, being raised in the Bronx, I had a ton of resources. I was able to go ahead and help out a lot of families and some of the youth that I worked with, I helped them to get into college. It’s worked out great.
One of the main things that worked out for me a lot with working with youth, with starting music programs. In starting these music programs, they all encompass getting all this energy out that these young people would have. Some of them want to be rappers, some of them want to be bead makers and things of that nature. I was like, “I will go ahead and start these programs so they could understand that not only being a bead maker or a singer or a rapper.” The only thing is you also have to go ahead and understand the music business.
One of the programs in the South Bronx organization called Sobro, we started a program which was called Premier Entertainment and it was run completely by the youth. All we did as adults was go ahead and teach them the nature of the business and also how to go ahead and enhance their skills whether it was through playing piano, guitar, drums, singing, rapping, but they would run the complete business of the record label. At the end, after the ten-month period, during the time that they’re in school, the final product is a concert that they would go ahead and hold. Also, they would have a product of a CD that they would have produced themselves.
We had funding from the Sony Corporation, Microsoft and a few others. They worked out well. It was a matter of me pitching to these organizations. This is what we’re doing. Writing out an RFP, which is a Request For Proposal, writing those out are easy to do but it’s better when you could go ahead and speak to a person face to face and let them know, “This is what we’re exactly doing. This is what the end product will be. Your investment into this helps out these many kids.” We have 5 high schools and 200 kids we were working with.
You’re having to come up with these RFPs and a lot of business-related aspects. In education, you’re focused on Psychology for your doctorate degree. How did you get the business savvy with that knowledge?
A lot of it was by accident. In the music business, for example, I had to learn the hard way. There were certain songs I had written. Some of them got stolen from me and other artists wound up having them and they didn’t do that well, but there was one that was a big hit. It was one of those things where I knew I had to learn better. It wasn’t easy raising a family, going through a couple of marriages and divorces, but music was always there for me. The business side of this whole thing is that I needed to make sure that I could protect me. It was a matter of meeting with people, asking questions, some of the answers were logical, some of the answers were not.
I’m an analytical person. I need to go ahead and have the answers that are put out there. This sound logical. They have to go ahead and be set on a foundation of something that I could go ahead and look into research and make sure that it’s factual. That wasn’t easy to do because coming out of the military, I was not much of a studious person, as I would say. I was studious in elementary school, junior high school and in high school, but once I was in the military there wasn’t much to do but to go ahead and be a combat Marine.
You’ve done a lot of work with the vets since then?
I had the opportunity. I can honestly tell you that being in the military gave me a particular work ethic that I still hold to this day to make sure that certain things are in line, that everything is done in a timely manner. You always show up early, never on time because if you’re on time, you’re late. I applied a lot of that to who I am, to my music and also into business. Once I got into college, which was in 1991, I had an easy start, but then things started to get a little out of hand. In my third year of college, I was going through a nasty divorce. Things fell completely apart from me. I was a 3.7 at the time and I don’t even want to speak about the number that wound up coming up by the time the divorce was over. I had to take a three-year break from school. During that time, I decided to travel, go ahead and continue deejaying. Along the way, I’m picking up little tidbits here and there producing and learning the business and everything else.One of the biggest strengths a woman has in sales is that we are natural relationship builders. Click To Tweet
It’s interesting to me that you got into the DJ business and I want to hear what you’d apply it to, but I want to ask you about the DJ thing because when I grew up, you’d have DJs played records. They weren’t like what they are now. What happened that this is a celebrity thing now? it’s a big deal. What do you think made that be that change?
In 1976, I started out playing records. I’ve gone through the transition. I still have a huge collection of records. I’m a record collector now. I went through the transition of vinyl to CDs to thumb drives. I didn’t do the whole laptop thing because I was still a purist. The transition took place for a lot of DJs because they needed to make it a little easier. Vinyl is not something that you want to carry all the time. I happen to be a big guy. I lift my weights and I could carry heavy loads. After a while, it does take a toll on you, especially if you’re running around a city, different places, around the country or around the planet and you’re carrying records all the time, that was a huge strain on your shoulders. I’ve had shoulder problems.
How many records can you carry?
The average a person can go hand and carry if they’re doing it in a bag would be about 50 records.
They don’t make vinyl records anymore of recent music. Do they?
They still do. Vinyl made a comeback many years ago, but it was a slow process. There is a battle out there. Here in the United States, nobody cares about vinyl. Nobody even understands vinyl. I could go ahead and show a bunch of kids vinyl records and they were like, “That’s the stuff of my grandmother. My grandpa used to listen to.” If you do the same thing in the UK, for example, everybody knows what it is. It is huge in the UK. A lot of artists would go ahead and you do this stuff on vinyl. A lot of artists will do to the same thing in Germany.
Does it still make that crackling noise?
Depending on the processing, on how it’s made. That’s part of the allure of vinyl. Go ahead and get that little crackling noise. As long as it’s not that bad, it’s good. The thing is that when you have a society that is always looking for the easy as I’m going to put it, vinyl is not part of the easy. You can’t carry it. You can’t go ahead and play it automatically. Nothing of the sort. With technology coming into play and it made it easier to go from vinyl to CD to MP3s. MP3 is still the king of the music industry.
If you’ve got the vinyl, you can do the back and forth thing where maybe it makes that sound when you go back and forth with the record.
When you’re doing the scratching, which I haven’t done since the ‘80s, it’s best to do it on vinyl, but with technology, you have what vinyl records that carry digital data on it. You go ahead and now transfer that digital data onto your computer, which software, and you can wind up doing the same thing. There’s also what I call CDJs, Compact Disc Jockeys. You pop in a CD or you’re putting thumb drives and it has a small platter on it, about something close to, depending on the maker. It could be a little smaller than 7 inches or about as big as 7 inches. You can use that to go ahead and scratch as well. The element of scratching is still there. They made it easier because you don’t have to go ahead and carry all the records. You don’t have to worry about scratching your records.
I want to ask you about many things you do because in the DJ thing, you done much of the veteran thing, you’ve done much of what you do with the presidential group that I mentioned. You do all these different things but you’ve also written books, but before we talk about that, I’m curious how you picked the name Sal Negro from Orlando Herrera. Is your book written under which name?
It’s written under Orlando. Sal came up when I was a graffiti artist over in high school. You always have teenagers that wind up with a group, you have your little factions and groups in high school. I was in an old art school. You had those that were comic animators, fashion designers, painters, those that were in advertising, and photography. Everybody was always a different group. They had those groups. We had these group of artists, including myself that were different, and we took the normal stuff that everybody else does and we combined it. Graffiti was the name of the game for us over in high school.
I used to write the name Salsoul. It came from the Casablanca Records called the Salsoul. I took off the UL and left the Salso. That’s the name of went by when I was doing my graffiti. It not much on the trains. I barely did anything on the trains. I saw a lot of bad accidents take place, but I will go ahead and we have these black books and I would go ahead and do my artistic things, a full color in these black books. Salso stuck with me for a while and everybody was calling me Sal. That’s where the Sal part came in. The Negro came in when I dated and she used to call me Negro. I’m not dark by any stretch of the amount, I’m more of a caramel color, light brown, no way near black which is what a negro would mean in the translation into English. She came up with that name and that stuck with me.
That’s been what a lot of people know you as. You’re now under Orlando Herrera, Jr. and you’re writing your book with that name and you’re going into a whole new direction, which you’ve been doing all of these different directions. I want to talk about how you had these white papers and then you wrote a book by the same name as one of your white papers. That’s a controversial name to your book. I want to know why you came up with that and the response you’re getting to it?People want to blame women because it's easy. Women aren't broken, the system is broken. Click To Tweet
Marti has asked me to go ahead. He gave me a couple of topics. There was the arrest that took place in Philadelphia at the Starbucks of the two young black gentlemen. They were waiting on a friend and he asked me to go ahead and write something about that, which I decided to go ahead and write a white paper on that one. It was interesting because I had to go ahead and do the research and looking into the policies of the Philadelphia police and the city itself before I could go ahead and put all this out. When it came down to the second white paper, it had to do with the use of the N-word in classrooms in the south.
I didn’t want to get into that paper because it was going to make me angry, which eventually it did, but I was glad to go ahead and do it and then I became angry afterwards. I wrote that and that went well. I was asked by Marti if I wanted to go ahead and write a paper on segregation in the south. I don’t think I got maybe to my second page when I decided, “Let me come up with a title for this paper and then I could go ahead and go from there.” I decided that it would come up with No Darkies Sit in this Section of the Bus.
That’s a controversial title. I used to hear that when I was younger. Why that word in Darkies?
I’m not into the N-word. It was suggested to me that I should use the N-word and I refuse to go and do that because anybody that knows me knows I do not use the N-word.
Why not black people or something else?
I had to find something that fit the time and that word darky was one of those words. There are a ton of words out there and I drew from this book that I had read Nigger by Randall Kennedy. I read this while I was in college. I even want to peachy our course on that book. When I got to writing this book, it was coming off of that. I decided, “Let me go ahead and start writing this paper first,” and then it turned into a book. It was a short book, but I saw myself writing about Rosa Parks in this whole thing and found that there was a young lady named Claudette Colvin that nine months prior started the movement. She was the pioneer. Most people would think that Rosa Parks was and she wasn’t.
Why do you think Rosa got the attention?
The way it worked out is that Claudette Colvin was a teenager at the time. Though the NAACP was ready to go ahead and bring this whole thing up about the segregation and this whole backwards thinking of the Montgomery Bus Company’s policy of blacks. They have to pay in the front, but they have to walk to the back of the bus in order to enter the bus. The other one was they had a sign that would separate the front of the bus, which whites were sitting, and then the back of the bus was blacks. That whole thing, they wanted to go ahead and stop. Claudette Colvin got caught up in the whole thing when she was arrested.
When they went to go ahead and get ready to bring this whole case up, there was a rumor which was never substantiated that she was pregnant by a white man. That was going to tarnish the whole image that the NAACP was trying to go ahead and put out there. They decided not to do anything based on Claudette Colvin. Nine months later, Rosa Parks went ahead and refused to give up procedures like Claudette did and was arrested. Because there was nothing wrong with Rosa Parks, they were like, “This might be it.” Their reasoning for this is that she’s an older woman. She favors whites and she speaks well. Now we can go ahead and push this whole thing, which made Rosa Parks the celebrity, the mother of the movement.
Claudette was pushed to the side. Never heard of again. It was like she was pushed into exile. One thing that in looking into this whole thing, there were two other women before them in the 180os. One brought up a case in San Francisco. The other one brought the other one up in New York City. They both won their cases because back then, it was streetcars. They brought up and won their cases. There’s little information on both of these two women, but I included them in my book. I got as much information as I could without having to track down Claudette Colvin to interview her to get the rest of it. I used what I could and the majority of the book is about Rosa Parks.There's only three times to stay idle, when you're having something to eat, taking a shower or using the bathroom, and when you're asleep. Click To Tweet
It’s something that we continue to struggle with all the race relations. I could see that this book would be something that a lot of people would find interesting and timely in nowadays situation. A lot of people have to be fascinated by you because all these things that you do. This is something that a lot of people are going to want to read and want to know more about. If people want to follow your work, to look at all the things we mentioned you’re doing with the Presidential Culinary Museum and American Veterans. If they want to read your book or follow you, is there a website or something that you can share?
You can find my book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. As far as following me, as a veteran, business person or psychologist, you can find me on Facebook.com/Orlando.Herrera. I’m a commander of AMVETS post here in DC and the 2nd Vice Commander for the department, which is state-wide. It’s a veteran organization. We help veterans all day long. We have a blast doing that. I’m a member of several boards and I’m also the Senior Vice President of Government and Veteran Affairs for the Presidential Culinary Museum and Presidential Service Center.
You are a busy guy and you’re pursuing your doctorate, other than that, not much going on in your life.
I stay busy to keep from getting depressed. I suffered from PTSD, depression, anxiety, and a lot of that has to do because I am a survivor from the Beirut bombing back in 1983 and I suffered a head injury. It wasn’t a drastic one, but it was enough to where I do go through my moments of depression. One of the things that troubles me the most is the 4th of July. As a kid or even during my time in the military, I enjoyed the 4th of July. I do not like the 4th of July because of the sounds, the fireworks. There is a lot that I do and that is to stay busy, which I tell a lot of veterans, “Find something to do. There are only three times you should stay idle is when you’re having something to eat, when you’re taking a shower or using the bathroom and when you’re asleep. Other than that, you should be busy all the time.”
It sounds like you’re taking your advice to heart because you’re doing some amazing things. You’ve done much to help many people. I look forward to following your work and thank you for being such a great guest.
I’d like to thank both Cynthia and Sal for being on the show. We get many great guests on this show. If you’ve missed any past episodes, please go to DrDianeHamilton.com. I hope you enjoyed the episode and I hope you join us for the next episode of Take The Lead Radio.
- Sal Negro – Twitter
- National Association of Women Sales Professionals
- Mikki Williams – Previous episode
- Dr. Gilda Carle – Previous episode
- National Association of Women Sales Professionals – LinkedIn
- Cynthia Barnes – LinkedIn
- American Veterans
- No Darkies Sit in this Section of the Bus
- Barnes & Noble – No Darkies Sit in this Section of the Bus
About Cynthia Barnes
Cynthia Barnes is a woman in sales influencer and founder and CEO of the National Association of Women Sales Professionals (NAWSP). She lives by one motto: “I’m in it to Win It!”
She has an exemplary 20-year track record as a Top 1% corporate producer and sales leader proves that you can accomplish what you set out to do and overcome any adversity, come hell or high water if you’re courageous, disciplined, and willing to put in the work.
About Sal Negro
Sal Negro, one of the most celebrated, fun loving, and joyous DJs of his time was born Orlando Herrera, Jr. in Santa Clara, Cuba.
He was raised in the Bronx and was introduced to music by Cuban born Juan Gonzalez. He first entered his career as a musician and as an artist at 8 years old, then as a DJ at age 15. For Sal Negro being a musician and DJ has spanned over 30 years of his life. He has had music in his blood since his introduction to it.
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