Authenticity is rare. Those who invest in insight, as well as, the courage to express what is authentically happening for him/her are even more rare. The ability to express oneself through whatever craft of choice: words, movement, canvas, sound, et cetera requires first a command of craft, then insight and the courage to do so.

Suffering is not rare. We all have it. We’ve all faced down challenges that have shifted how we understand ourselves, others, and the world as a whole. Those who move through adversity swiftly, with openness, toughness, and love — and emerge with a creative way of doing things differently —  are some of my favorite people.

Jimmy Smith, Founder and CEO of Amusement Park Entertainment creates, has faced down adversity, and celebrates both the humanness and spirituality of people. He has earned countless awards for his work as a Writer and Creative Director for Nike at Wieden + Kennedy, Executive Creative Director at BBDO and most recently, Gatorade’s Group Creative Director at TBWAChiatDay LA.

Jimmy was voted as Fast Company’s 100 most creative people in business.

Enjoy the simple joys — carving your own path

“The worst thing you can do is tell me is I can’t do something.”Click-To-Tweet

In This Episode:

  • Enduring racism as a child and how it shaped him
  • Why he doesn’t have hatred in him
  • Refusing to take no for an answer
  • Where he developed confidence from
  • Racism in the ad agency world
  • How he filters through what a great idea is
  • Figuring out what he was good at
  • His 1st ad campaign
  • The importance of having African-American role models to look up to
  • Working through his relationship with God
  • Stresswood as a defining moment in his life



“The same kids that were calling me names, some of them ended up becoming my best friends.”

“Violence was different back then. You could have a healthy fight and it wasn’t like someone was going to grab a gun or knife.”

“The worst thing you can do is tell me is I can’t do something.”

“The average huckleberry hound- black, white, pink, blue, or whatever after a while says ‘ah I’ll go do something else.’ I don’t know that word give up.”

“Nobody else is going to believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself.”

“The cool thing about sports is that it’s not black or white.”

“Everything I do has some type of spiritual nature to it.”

“I can’t be everywhere but my work can be in a whole bunch of places where I’m not so people can see and feel it.”


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Jimmy Smith was an American jazz musician who achieved the rare distinction of releasing a series of instrumental jazz albums that often charted on Billboard.