Ernest Wilkins

Freelance culture writer and brand strategist

Location icon United States

I’m a trained journalist, content creator and strategic marketer with a passion for content strategy, telling brands' stories, and building world-class user experiences. I have an established track record of contributing to brand success, implementing digital marketing strategies and campaigns and interpreting data to identify opportunities.

I've created content for digital, print, email, podcasts and video while working with e-commerce, user experience, experiential, design, and product development teams at global corporate brands and small start-ups that later were acquired.

Hire me: [email protected]



#52: Balance and Fit - A conversation with Joe Freshgoods and DJ Clark Kent

Audio playback is not supported on your browser. Please upgrade. Making a return to Chicago for the first time since 1988, the NBA All-Star Game and the surrounding events took over the city this past weekend. One of the biggest stories of the weekend was the release of designer Joe Freshgoods "No Emotions are Emotions" collaboration with New Balance.


Ari & Maggie sit down with Geoff Watts, a man who knows more about coffee than most people know about anything. Hear about his travels and experiences searching for the best coffee in the world, the culture of coffee in other countries and learn once and for all what "direct trade" actually means!

Office Hours w/ Ernest Wilkins
Office Hours w/ Ernest Wilkins

There are 48 historically black colleges across the US that operate athletic programs. Despite being members of the NCAA in Division 1 and 2, those athletic programs don't receive the same media coverage as the larger D-1 A (also known as FBS) schools despite averaging crowds that rival some of the programs in big conferences.


Drew The Barber on Creating a Welcoming Shop.

Product Words: Ernest Wilkins 32-year-old Drew "Drew The Barber" Henderson is so deeply ingrained in Chicago that his No Cuts, No Glory barbershop sits proudly on Chicago Avenue itself. The native Chicagoan has been building a bustling career for years, cutting hair and shaping his clients' confidence.

The New 312.

Words: Ernest Wilkins Photos: @bradleyamurray The creative pulse of today's Chicago hums with a new frequency. It feels more inclusive, hungry and inspired than ever before. Yes, the toughness and broad shoulders remain, but the city's creative hustle is being powered by a new mix of street and book smarts.

Culture writing

Joe Freshgoods Isn't Focused on Hypebeasts

It's March 12, a fake holiday in Chicago (3/12, like the area code. Get it?). To celebrate, a massive branded event in the West Loop neighborhood is absolutely humming. It's warm for this time of year, and the city responds to the decent weather with a full-force turnout.

Urban Legends
"I'mma Get On That TV, Mama": Kanye West's 'The College Dropout' Turns 15

Today marks the 15th anniversary of a seminal piece of Chicago music history. The College Dropout, the 2004 debut album from Kanye West exposed the producer-turned-rapper to a new audience. Backed with a strong co-sign from his Roc-A-Fella bosses, Jay-Z and Damon Dash, the record went on to sell more than 400K records in its first week.

Urban Legends
'Yeezus' Turns 5: An Anthropological Look At Kanye West's Most Polarizing Album

Narcissistic Personality Disorder Noun: a personality disorder characterized especially by an exaggerated sense of self-importance, persistent need for admiration, lack of empathy for others, excessive pride in achievements, and snobbish, disdainful, or patronizing attitudes. In 2013, Kanye West-the global superstar rapper/producer-decided he wasn't a rapper anymore.

Chicago magazine
We Asked Chicagoans: What Do You Think of Legal Weed?

When I contemplate what marijuana legalization might look like in Illinois, I'm reminded of a work trip I took to LA around a year ago. A friend offered me a weed-infused drink called a G-Lemonade.

Blood in the Streets: A Conversation About Gun Violence in Chicago

Earlier this week, writing for The Daily Beast, Roland Martin proposed a solution to combat the surging violence on Chicago's South and West Sides: Send the National Guard to Chicago. Martin's essay, narrow-minded and altogether ill-considered, was sparked by the recent killings that took place over the July 4th weekend- 84 people were shot, and 14 killed.

Morning After
Black Dynamite Is the Best Show on TV You're Not Watching

Black Dynamite is the best show on television. Since beginning its second season on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim back in October, Dynamite-an animated spin-off of the 2009 Michael Jai White blaxploitation send-up/homage movie- has depicted the following: Mister Rogers (you know, the army-trained killing machine-turned-children's show host?)

Music writing

Shalamar: Uptown Festival / Disco Gardens / Big Fun

The constant churn of an underground sound leads to mainstream success leads to brazen attempts to cash out. For every genre-shattering release, there are thousands of way-more-terrible versions of that release, all blatantly attempting to strike gold.

Leon Bridges: Coming Home

Leon Bridges, a 25-year-old Fort Worth native with a golden voice, is wholly comfortable living in the past. His Columbia debut (Bridges commented on this phenomenon recently in The Guardian, saying "I have a song called " , and I ask 'Where my brown-skinned girls at?'

Consequence of Sound
The 50 Greatest Wrestling Themes

With all the chair shots, chokeholds and convoluted storylines, you can sometimes forget that pro wrestling at its essence is purely entertainment. Nowhere else is that more apparent than the music that plays when your favorite grappler enters the arena. Seriously, a great theme song can be the difference between immortality and mediocrity.

Kweku Collins: Hip-Hop Misfit

This time last year, Kweku Collins was sitting in class at Evanston Township High School, counting down the days to graduation. The school stands in the shadows of Northwestern University, just north of Chicago, and some of his friends were making plans for college, because that's what 18-year-olds in suburban America are supposed to do.


The self-titled G.O.O.D. Music debut from HXLT (F.K.A. rapper Hollywood Holt) aims to revisit a time when Debbie Harry and Grandmaster Flash rubbed elbows at New York's Danceteria, but ends up feeling like getting invited to a friend's art show-you're rooting for the guy, but man, some of this stuff is brutal.

Boosie Badazz: Touch Down 2 Cause Hell

The Baton Rouge-based rapper Boosie returns from a jail sentence he began in 2010 with a new deal with Atlantic and his sixth studio album. Touch Down 2 Cause Hell is unremittingly intense, proving Boosie isn't content to rest on his reputation as a modern-day southern rap legend.

Lil Durk: Remember My Name

Durk's first studio album since signing to Def Jam has the spectre of death looming over it at all times. While it isn't going to change lives, it is a view into the psyche of those who reframe the concept of death as a way of life, a cost of doing business, or even a source of motivation to create a better life for yourself and those you care about.

Lil Bibby: Free Crack 3

The Chicago rapper Lil Bibby got his introduction to the world with the drill scene gold rush of 2012, with every rapper with a 773 or 312 area code getting a look and/or a deal. His latest tape, Free Crack 3, feels like a game attempt to escape the box that being labeled a "drill" artist puts you in.

Cool Uncle: Cool Uncle

Cool Uncle is the result of a chance meeting between Grammy-winning producer Jack Splash and underrated smooth jazz kingpin Bobby Caldwell. Their record takes equal parts funk, pop, smooth jazz, and yacht rock, laying it all down on a solid retro-R&B framework. Featuring Jessie Ware, Mayer Hawthorne, and Cee-Lo Green.

Sports writing

Daniel Bryan, headbutts and concussions in the WWE

In terms of toll taken on the body, professional wrestling is essentially the equivalent of experiencing a low-grade car crash multiple times a week. Despite this, wrestlers are going all-out to entertain audiences.

Ernest and Tom's Best of 2015

Tom: Kevin Owens Ernest: John Cena Show of the Year: Tom: NXT Takeover Brooklyn Ernest: Wrestle Kingdom 9 Best Weekly TV show: Tom: Lucha Underground Ernest: Lucha Underground Keep an eye on... (wrestler to watch in 2016) Tom: Tommy End Ernest: 3-way tie: Moose, Pentagon Jr.

25 Years Later, The Undertaker Is Still Not Resting In Peace

Welcome to Deadspin's irregular pro wrestling column, in which Tom Breihan and Ernest Wilkins will comb through the past month or so of superkicks, lariats, and 450 splashes in search of the greatest things that this most American of artforms has given us.

Rolling Stone
The View From the Top: Life is Good Once Again at Florida State

Recently, Rolling Stone asked me to describe how it feels to be a Florida State fan these days. Reigning national champions, preseason number one, potential repeat Heisman winner at the helm - those are all great, but my initial reaction was to simply write "How does it feel to be an FSU fan?

Rolling Stone
'Nole Problems: Florida State in the Crosshairs

A lot has changed since my last article. Some things haven't - Florida State University still hasn't lost a football game since November 2012 - but the public's perception of the Seminoles has soured. Some of that has to do with the inevitable backlash that comes when a team keeps winning, but mostly, all that ire has been focused on one central figure.

Is John Cena The Best Wrestler Of 2015?

Welcome to Deadspin's irregular pro wrestling column, in which Tom Breihan and Ernest Wilkins will comb through the past month or so of superkicks, lariats, and 450 splashes in search of the greatest things that this most American of artforms has given us. Tom Breihan: Is John Cena having the best year of his career?

Kevin Owens Has Arrived In WWE, And He's The Truth

Welcome to Deadspin's irregular pro wrestling column, in which Tom Breihan and Ernest Wilkins will comb through the past month or so of superkicks, lariats, and 450 splashes in search of the greatest things that this most American of artforms has given us. Tom Breihan: Kevin Owens is a tubby, not-particularly-handsome wrestler from Quebec.

Can TNA Wrestling Survive?

Welcome to Deadspin's irregular pro wrestling column, in which Tom Breihan and Ernest Wilkins will comb through the past month or so of superkicks, lariats, and 450 splashes in search of the greatest things that this most American of artforms has given us.

Rolling Stone
5 Pretty Racist Storyline Moments Still on the WWE Network

World Wrestling Entertainment announced Friday it had fired Hulk Hogan, presumably after learning that the National Enquirer was in possession of a court transcript featuring the wrestling legend launching into a lengthy racist diatribe.


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