Have you ever stopped to think about how much of your daily actions may be about yourself? Whether you’re posting back-to-back selfies on Instagram or unplugging from the world in the name of self care, there is an emphasis on making sure that you keep yourself first in most things. While this may be the case for a lot of us, it isn’t the case for content producer and journalist Mia Hall.
About a month ago, Mia came across a young man in Inglewood named Cameron who was detailing cars to make ends meet. Sparking up conversation was easy for the both of them, and Cameron quickly opened up and explained his story to Mia while also dropping gems and words of encouragement. Mia’s journalistic instincts kicked right in, and she sprung into action and began recording parts of their conversation to post on social media. Cameron’s story soon went viral and BlackLove.com had the opportunity to catch up with Mia to learn more about her random act of kindness, what inspired her to help, and most importantly why community should also be a priority.
Black Love: Hi Mia! Before we dig into this story, can you tell the Black Love family a little bit about yourself?
Mia Hall: I am a multimedia content producer and freelance reporter for outlets such as Shadow & Act and Black Enterprise. Originally born in Brooklyn, New York, I moved to Los Angeles a little over a year ago for a change of pace and to be able to share more positive images of people of color in the media. I also have a program called Brown Girls Glow which empowers teenage girls to Grow, Learn, Overcome, and Win.
BL: A few weeks ago you posted a video on Twitter of a young man named Cameron Hillary detailing your car. In the thread, you explained that he’s currently doing this to make ends meet and that he’s currently living out of a hotel. Why was it your first instinct to turn to social media?
MH: My first instinct was to post on social media because I distinctly remember seeing a story of a homeless man who stood on the side of the road and held up a sign saying that he was in need of a job. A woman took a photo, posted it to twitter, and it went viral. He got several job offers, got a job, and is no longer homeless. I am sure he is paying it forward too. When I saw this hard-working young man, I thought maybe I can help him do the same thing. He was very nice and articulate, so I figured that if people saw what I saw and the potential in him, then maybe he could get an opportunity to get out of his unfortunate situation.
This hardworking young man, living in a hotel currently, cleans cars to make ends meet. Very humble and did a great job!
If you’re even in Inglewood and need a quick detail, he is your man! (A thread) pic.twitter.com/kXee1x2xUY
— Brown Girls Glow (@Mia_Hall19) February 25, 2019
BL: Did you expect your video to go viral as quickly as it did?
MH: No, not at all. When I first posted it, it had gotten a few retweets maybe after it was up for about a day, and so I thought it wouldn’t get any more eyes than those that saw it then. My friend, Adena, saw it and reached out to someone she knew at the Rams to see if they could get him tickets to a game or do something for him, but we hadn’t heard any solid answer just yet and I didn’t have his number. Then all of a sudden, after the first day passed, it really started to pick up and I was pleasantly surprised. I didn’t know that it would get as many retweets as it did. I almost didn’t know what to expect because I had not tweeted a story like this before. I didn’t know how much information to include in my tweet or anything, so I just thought let me post what I could and see what happens.
BL: As he detailed your car, he also went into his backstory and dropped quite a few gems. Can you tell the Black Love family a little bit about that?
MH: In the first video that I posted to Twitter, you can hear Cameron say, “As long as I WANT to succeed, I will.” Further, he was talking a lot about positive thinking and putting your mind to your goals and being able to accomplish anything you want. Him telling me this as he was working and in spite of being homeless, was inspiring to me, because here is someone who could have easily given up hope but did not and is spreading positivity.
He also spoke about how some children can’t help the environment that they grow up into and how sometimes a life of crime may be all they know. He basically shared how sad it is and how a lot of times, limited options cause people to choose the wrong path.
BL: What did Cameron say that really influenced and poured into you?
MH: Honestly, it was his authenticity and his positivity. It seems like he could’ve been so easily negative because of his situation but the fact that he was positive just really, really inspired me.
He poured into me because it is always refreshing to me to see a young person respect their elders and work hard. Unfortunately, a lot of young Black men are often portrayed in a negative light, so it was touching to have one display such respect and decorum.
BL: People are often too busy to stop, talk to people, and be kind — how do you stay centered and remember that being kind is part of being human?
MH: I’m certainly not perfect, but with God I try to be as Christ-like as I can, so loving my neighbor is something I look to do daily. My mom and dad have also always taught me to treat others as I want to be treated growing up and that has stayed with me throughout my life. Also, so many people have helped me and gave me opportunities along my way, I think that it is only right for me to do the same for others.
BL: You started an Instagram page for him in order for him to get his business out there to the masses. What inspired you to do this?
MH: I used to do career coaching and I have a great love for entrepreneurship and helping entrepreneurs to develop and grow their businesses, so this was almost an automatic thought for me when I saw people wanted ways to get in touch with Cameron. I have been writing for Black Enterprise for almost eight years and have had a passion for Black businesses for a long time. I also have been running small businesses of my own since grade school so my thoughts surely went to giving him a hand in helping his business to grow pretty quickly.
BL: How has Cameron been since the video went viral?
MH: He has been very happy! I spoke with him over the phone and he said that he is really overwhelmed by all of the love he’s receiving, and he is very thankful and grateful. He also has started his own Twitter account and is in touch with a lot of people who want to help him start a website, get a logo, to get him more supplies and even a place to stay. He also wants to get a driver’s license and a car.