I am a modern day polymath (Renaissance man). I bear the titles of speaker, entrepreneur, author, narrator, publisher, mixologist, graphic designer, inventor, software trainer, photographer, videographer, and most importantly, father.
Born on September 1st, 1968 in St. Louis, Missouri, I was raised in St. Louis and East St. Louis, IL. In East St. Louis I was raised without my father, by my mother and an abusive step-father (whose negative actions toward me would help to shape my world view on being a defender of those who are unable to defend themselves).
In St. Louis, where my mother decided to leave me to be raised by my grandparents, I experienced first hand what it was like to be an unexpected burden on others. My grandparents, not prepared for the extra expense of having a grandson, were not able to give me the support like so many young people need in finding their place in the world. This too would shape my thinking and approach to life. I knew early on that if I had the right exposure, or access to the resources that my Caucasian peers had, I could excel as they had and not be relegated to a lower standard of living.
I recall how I felt at the age of 6 when I wanted to attend a classical music performance with my class. But due to a lack of resources, I was unable to go. That was the moment I realized that something was wrong with this picture. “Why can’t I go? I’m in the same class as they are.” I also recall my time in the boy scouts when I did not have the same quality backpack, boots, and tools that the other White scouts had and wondering, “Why don’t I have the same things they have? I’m as good a scout as they are!” And yet another time, when I was a gymnast winning awards, but no money or resources to consistently attend a gym or school geared toward the Olympics. This clear evidence of resource imbalance would continue to grow and fester in my life.
Upon graduating from University City High School, and unable to go to college (due to a lack of resources and support), I joined the US Marine Corps. Eager to prove myself in an arena that I thought was based on equal merits, with equal resources and support; I excelled with the credentials to graduate number one in my platoon. I would not, however, graduate number one in my battalion. I wasn’t held back because another Marine was better than me knowledge and skill wise, but because the leadership LIKED his LOOK to represent the battalion better mine. “His look?!” I thought to myself. This was yet another example of a resource or support that I did not have.
Faced with the reality that all are not treated as equal, I sank into a depressive state. I no longer cared to prove himself as an equal, but sought to gain comforts through cheating what I thought was already an unfair system. I then became engaged in criminal activity.
Eventually I ended up not just in prison, but a Japanese prison because I was in stationed in Okinawa, Japan at the height of my deviant behavior. Sentenced to serve 5 years but only serving 3 1/2 years for good behavior, I would take this time to reflect, pray, and then study.
Looking for answers to why the world seemed so unfair to the point it would lead myself and others to criminal activity, and ultimately jail, I surrounded myself with books on spirituality, history, politics, leadership and health. But no book or person had more of an affect on me than a man I would come to view as the father I never had.
This man, my mentor, would teach me the meaning of being a REAL man; a man that creates a reality out of seemingly nothingness; a man that can do the impossible because he was made in the image and likeness of God. This man, my mentor, eliminated depression and sadness as an option and stopped me from looking for other people to be fair and do for me what I should do for myself! I learned that there was no reason to be depressed and emotional over a circumstance that I have the ability to change.
This mentor had created an educational system that had K-12 schools in every major city. He created his own newspaper that was distributed weekly in every major city. He built his own trucking company to distribute that paper and many other products he would later come to create or own. His mentor was at one point importing millions of pounds of fresh fish to feed black people in order to wean them off of pork. His mentor also setup spiritual homes of development in every major city and owned thousands of acres of farmland. He owned 2 banks and had several office buildings. He wrote 5 books, had his own radio show, and held events that attracted tens of thousands to hear him. My mentor created Malcom X, Minister Louis Farrakhan, Muhammad Ali, and suggested to Alex Hailey that he should research his own family tree in Africa, which led to the TV sensation known as Roots.
My mentor, Elijah Muhammad, gave me a real world, working example of what was possible once a person accepted who they really are. From my literary encounter with Elijah Muhammad, I began to test the limits of my own abilities. I first accepted that I TRULY was created in the image and likeness of God and then began to study the attributes of God, believing that I was studying the attributes of myself. So why could I not create ANY reality I wanted? Through financial difficulties, to periods of great financial success, I have continued to create new realities and continue to help others to do the same. Thus far, my life journey has led me to:
• Teach myself graphic design
• Create a graphic design company
• Author 3 Books
• Publish 2 audio books
• Create Black Civilization TV
• Create Video Vault TV
• Create The Independent Video Channel (IVCTV.NET)
• Create WatchMeShowYou and Photoshopping 4 Dollars
• Compose and Publish a Classical and Jazz CD
• Create Venue DVD
• Teach myself to be a Photographer
• Produce “Everyday Cooking” TV Show
• Become The (food) Mixologist
• Tour Internationally with Lil Wayne
• Create Safi a deodorant and Body Butter
• Be a father
I recognize Elijah Muhammad as my focal point, but at the same time, I admit that I am not an active member of the Nation of Islam organization. My relationship with the one I choose to pattern my life after is personal. My life work and activity defines it, not a meeting at a building or a title from an organization.
I believe that all we need is truly within our UNIQUE God given design, and I live my life to be an example of that.
"Doing you doesn’t have to look like anything that has ever been done before", is my mantra to others. Look at what I have done with nothing! What more can you create with something?
My life has been about acknowledging that we may not have what others have, in the way of resources and support, but if you see who you really are and accept it, then you will know that you have all of the resources in the realms of the universe at your disposal. The measure of which is only based upon how much of yourself you can accept…as God.