Many people hold true to the saying, “There is no success without failure,” after being knocked down, set back and rejected in their careers. But rather than staying down, those who are the most successful in the long run get back up, roll their sleeves up and come back with a greater fight. Below are five celebrities whose journeys prove that success doesn’t happen without failure and major bumps in the road.
Jay-Z: He made his mainstream rap debut in 1996 with his album Reasonable Doubt. After being denied by major record labels, Shawn Carter went on to start his own, Roc-A-Fella Records, with friends Damon Dash and Kareem Biggs. Now, with 17 Grammy awards under his belt, part ownership in an NBA team and the No. 3 spot on Forbes “Hip-Hop Cash Kings” list in 2012 it’s clear that despite the rejection, Mr. Carter has went on to be arguably one of the best MC’s and businessman of our generation.
Jennifer Hudson: After losing in the Season 3 competition of American Idol, many thought Hudson’s career was over. Proving that it takes more than the disapproval of others to stop her from going after her dream, the Chicago native auditioned for the film “Dreamgirls” and landed the role of Effie White that led her to win several awards for Best Supporting Actress including an Academy Award. With a booming acting and singing career, Hudson is considered to be one of the most successful American Idol contestants to date.
Taraji P. Henson: After being being rejected from Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, DC, Henson’s acting dreams were crushed until her family motivated her to continue following her passion. Shortly after graduating college, Henson moved to L.A. as a single mother in hopes of turning her dreams into reality. In 2001 she landed a role in John Singleton’s “Baby Boy,” and despite audition after audition, it wasn’t until three years later that she earned another film role. Now with several No.1 box office films under her belt and an Oscar nomination for her role in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” Henson is proof that it takes failure, patience and struggle to reach success.
Mara Brock Akil: As this year’s Essence Black Women in Hollywood Visionary Award recipient, Mara talked about the struggles of being a black writer in Hollywood and how hard it is to get networks to pick up your ideas. Thankfully, Mara didn’t let the constant rejection get to her as she’s now the creative mind behind BET’s hit show “The Game,” which raked in 5.3 million viewers premiere night last season, screenwriter for the remake of the film “Sparkle,” women behind UPN’s early-2000s hit show “Girlfriends” and is the founder of Akil Productions along with her husband Salim Akil.
Michael Jordan: After being denied from his high school basketball team, Jordan went on to practice harder than ever at the sport he loved. After a successful basketball career at University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Jordan entered the league and quickly became a superstar on the court. As a six-time NBA champion, five-time MVP winner and 14-time All-Star player, Michael is considered one of the greatest talents to ever play in the league.