Last spring, I decided that I wanted more from my summer than just a job at a restaurant, so I applied for several internships with newspapers and magazines.
In May, I got a phone call from someone at The Source Magazine asking if I would be able to come in for an interview. A few days later, I learned that I would officially be interning at their office near the financial district in Manhattan.
Before I was called for the interview, I didn't even know what The Source was. Turns out, its motto is: "The Bible of hip-hop music, culture and politics." It certainly was a change of pace from my past jobs.
I dressed up for my first day, and someone who worked there told me to unbutton my shirt because he said I looked like I was about to "go postal." In other words, it was a very relaxed working environment.
My responsibilities at The Source varied. There were some days when I would perform typical intern duties such as answering phones at the front desk, running errands or stuffing envelopes. Once, they had all of the interns deliver media kits to potential clients around Manhattan.
Other days, I actually got to do research for articles that went into the magazine. The magazine was working on a major project while I was there: compiling the 20th anniversary issue. Among other things, I researched the evolution of various gadgets of the past 20 years such as cell phones and video games. I also looked into various cars that have been mentioned in rap songs and music videos. In addition, I worked on a feature called "Wish you were here," focusing on those in the hip-hop world who have passed away in the last 20 years.
There were many other interns in the office alongside me; in fact, at times it felt that there were more interns at the magazine than people who actually got paid to work.
When I started interning, the magazine was going through numerous personnel changes. The Source is currently emerging from bankruptcy and is now under new ownership, so many former employees were let go and replaced.
Although I never got to meet any famous rappers, I did have a few interesting moments. One day, Skinny from the group Nappy Roots called my cell phone, thinking I was going to be interviewing him for a story - it turned out that he had the wrong Sean. Spike Lee came in to the office to take pictures for a photo shoot once, but unfortunately I wasn't there that day.
Working at The Source was certainly a different experience for me. Although I went into it not knowing a lot about rap and hip-hop, I definitely learned a lot from the experience.