Unorthodox Entrepreneur-Turned-Comedian Ensures That Every Voice Is Heard – Forbes
Unorthodox Entrepreneur-Turned-Comedian Ensures That Every Voice Is Heard
On the surface, we live in a world that encourages free speech and attests that every voice is valid; but that’s not exactly true. A simple peek beyond this facade will show how unforgiving our world can be, especially to non-traditional perspectives and opinions. We are at the peak of a cancel culture where not every voice matters.
But every voice does matter. Because without it, our world is lopsided and imbalanced. Entrepreneur-turned-comedian Jordan Power is one person who’s finding a way to buck this trend and create a level playing field where every voice has a fighting chance. “A great step in the right direction is to break mainstream media’s stranglehold on global conversations. The national conversation in many countries is being dictated by 10% of the population alongside a mainstream press. Take an issue like defunding the police, for instance. We were led to believe it was very popular, and yet it turns out 80% of the population doesn’t want it. The media is failing to keep their finger on the pulse of what the average person wants, and that’s an anomaly I’m fighting to correct,” said the Toronto Native.
This fight to break the restraints of the mainstream has earned him record success with two podcasts, Shame on You and Unmentionable. Besides podcasting, he is a highly sought-after marketing consultant and the founder of one of Canada’s most recognized Marketing agencies, Grey Smoke Media. As an accomplished entrepreneur, Power has grown two separate online businesses to seven figures. Most recently, he has forayed into comedy, being inspired by the fact that it’s the most potent vehicle to deliver story. There are a few lessons to glean from Power’s life and career that’ll help anyone join the fight against censorship and cancel culture.
We all experience moments of sorrow and joy. When we feel sorrow, we often cope by stifling or compartmentalizing the feelings. But sorrow doesn’t go away just because it has been locked in a mental closet. The best thing to do is to face it, learn from it, and use your insights to help others.
Power is a testament to the efficacy of this advice. His life reads like something out of a Hollywood script. His experiences run the gamut from soothing and professional to wild and chaotic. He has spent time consulting and handling marketing and communications for the rich and famous and endured an embattled relationship with his gay lover, who was still closeted. He found out his dad was gay when he found him on a gay hookup site, triggering his parents’ eventual divorce. He has experimented with hallucinogens, partied in unorthodox places worldwide, and struggled with ulcerative colitis since he was 18.
“You could say my life has been a rollercoaster combination of romance, horror, comedy, and every other genre of experience wrapped into one. So when I decided to start podcasting, it was easy to get content because all I had to do was look inwards.” Power’s advice, especially for people who plan to utilize an online audience, is to start from themselves. “If you believe everybody’s stories are valid and worth listening to, then so is yours. First, put your story where your mouth is and pretty soon others will follow.”
From a practical perspective, anyone can understand why using their personal stories is a good idea. But what if the stories are too painful and stir up shame, grief, guilt, and other negative emotions? Power’s advice is succinct: tell it anyway.
If your chosen path is to help others who mainstream media and culture have sidelined, you have to be willing to be vulnerable while doing it. When Power started the Shame on You podcast with Brad, his best friend at the time, they had to be willing to be open as possible.
“We were just two gay men who had observed the stigma gay people had to contend with from society and the shame and feeling of being less than and unlovable. We had to be willing to make ourselves suffer for their sake, to be explicitly transparent and air our dirty laundry in the public. We told everything about our lives and experiences as gay men—the good, bad, and ugly. And two years into the podcast we had recorded over a million downloads and received thousands of messages from people who had been helped by what we were doing.”
Power also advises aiding your healing with therapy, which is something he did, too, after ending his toxic relationship. “Therapy helps a lot and puts you in a better position to be vulnerable to others, but I’ve also discovered that vulnerability in itself is a kind of therapy. Your ability to bare it all is what gives your audience the strength to come out of hiding and live their honest lives without a care about dissenting voices.”
While Shame on You was mainly about showing his scars and experiences to encourage people like him, Unmentionable was focused on allowing people to speak for themselves. Power’s thinking is that his story alone will not do the trick. Other people are at different stages of their journey. If you’re an influencer in any relevant circle, using that influence to help others share their own stories is extremely helpful.
When Power launched Unmentionable with his producer, Shivam Wadhwa, in November 2020, they dedicated the podcast to interviewing some of the most interesting people in the world. Since launch, they’ve interviewed Ari Nagel, the world’s most famous sperm donor, Mistress Marley, a financial dominatrix featured in the New York Times, Junia Joplin, a transgender priest fired for coming out, a woman who made over $200K bottling and selling her farts, and many more.
“I also remember interviewing Mercedes Blanche, a nurse who was forced out of her healthcare job after management found out she was on OnlyFans. At first, she was dejected and pissed at the colleague that ratted her out, but she ended up making ten times her salary on OnlyFans, so you can say she had the last laugh. I bet her story inspired many that society has been trying to force into an unwanted mold. No matter who I’ve got on my podcast, I always try to leave my audience with life lessons centered around rejecting victimhood, overcoming the seemingly insurmountable, and finding purpose.”
To others who are beginning a similar journey, Power warns them to expect extreme pushback and to be ready to develop a thick skin to survive. “While the response to our podcasts was overwhelmingly positive, we did catch our fair share of strays trying to put us down and negate all the work we were doing. You will meet such people too, but if you’re operating out of strong conviction, it won’t matter much what they do or say.”
Power believes that the gatekeepers in the content and entertainment industry are dissolving due to their inability to produce top-tier content that can gain traction. “The balance of power in content is slowly tilting back to the masses. The appetite for uncomfortable truths never died. Most people will always want brutally realistic, non-partisan content, which is a big reason I ventured into comedy. Our everyday stories, struggles, triumphs, and opinions on everything and anything are the real content people want to engage with. And when media no longer controls the narrative, every voice is worth a seat at the table.”