The Oridgenators presented by Ruffles is a six-part IGTV series that spotlights pioneering Black creators from the intersecting worlds of basketball, sneakers, social media, music, and entrepreneurship. Each episode profiles one unique individual who defied societal norms in pursuit of their dreams to inspire and uplift.

We all need something to help jumpstart our dream chasing. For Jacques Slade, his motivation for greatness came in 2013 when he was let go from his job at a publishing company.

“I got fired on Friday and on Monday, I put up my first video on my own channel,” says Slade. “That’s what opened the doors for me because it allowed me total creative freedom to be who I was.”

Although humble in his accomplishments and titles, the beloved sneaker YouTuber, host, and tech guy appreciates the power of his work and platform. “If you come to me to work with you, you come to me because you trust my voice and my vision,” he explains. “Allow me to continue to use my voice to speak, not to impose what you think it should be, and do it in a way that is authentic to me and to my audience.”

During his virtual Oridgenators shoot, Slade speaks candidly about his success and how one of his songs became the theme music for Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Recalling the joy and sense of pride that overcame him, Slade quickly realized that one moment, as great as it was, didn’t mean it would be smooth sailing for him as an entrepreneur.

 “I remember having a thought like, ‘Yo, [my music] is the theme song of a primetime television show. That’s a big deal,’” he beams. “Yeah, it’s a big deal, but you still gotta work.”

With 1.27 million YouTube subscribers, Slade knows there are many people who look up to him as the blueprint for success, but he’s quick to say there really isn’t a formula. However, he does credit his grandfather as being a positive example. 

Growing up, Slade’s parents worked full-time jobs so he often had to stay with his grandfather who woke up religiously at 5 AM. As a child, Slade often accompanied his grandfather on those early morning trips and hated it, but now as an adult and businessman, he views those experiences differently. “I would reflect back on my grandfather, and I don’t know if that was his intent, but he was putting that work ethic in me,” he says.

So whether it’s creating content for his subscribers, working with brands, or interviewing celebrities, Jacques Slade knows the grind never stops, and neither does his authenticity.