This talented SurveyMonkey intern got to play sax with Solange

This talented SurveyMonkey intern got to play sax with Solange
From USA Today - August 11, 2017

When accepting a new internship theres no telling where it might lead, the possibilities are endless. It might be the key to getting you your first major job. It might be where you meet your lifelong friends, or even your future spouse.

For Jabari Lateef, an Auburn University senior, his tech internship with SurveyMonkey led him somewhere he never thought hed be: on stage performing with Solange. Knowles.

It all started where many groundbreaking discoveries happen: in a Slack channel.

Solange was slated to perform at FYF Fest in Los Angeles in July, but was short a few musicians. A SurveyMonkey employee posted about the openings in the groups Slack channel devoted todiversity and inclusion events, news and opportunities. (Slack is a team communication and collaboration tool used at many organizations.) Lateef jokingly posted a video of himself playing the saxophone, a passion he discovered at age eight through his dads love of jazz.

It was merely just for peoples entertainment, just for those who were in that channel, Lateef tells USA TODAY College. But it just absolutely caught on firethe channel was as live as its ever been.

The video ended up in the hands of Solanges manager. And Lateef was asked to go to L.A. to perform with her.

Lateef works as a quality assurance engineering intern at SurveyMonkeys HQ in San Mateo, about 300 miles north of L.A.,so the journey to the festival seemed daunting. But his work family rallied around in him in an incredible way.

I started receiving donations from people that work at the San Mateo office, and those who work outside of the office. They all just came together in a big effort sending me to L.A., Lateef said. I was in disbelief. My head was just absolutely spinning that whole time because this all happened within a few hours.

SurveyMonkey employees from all over the world donated to cover Lateefs flight and Airbnb so he could perform with one of his biggest inspirations, Solange.

He describes the star as soft-spoken and sweet in person. [In rehearsal] well have a dance that were doing, and shell nicely ask OK, can you guys go back to that one part, please, if thats OK, and were like, Of course its OK,' he said.

While performing with her, he had to force himself to concentrate on playing the sax instead of watching. She had so much energy and so much flavor, it was just astonishing, he says. I had to try to keep my focus. I wasnt trying to look at her for too long while we were performing, but she was just on fire.

When he looks back on it, the experience still seems unbelievable.


Continue reading at USA Today »