Do you feel as though you live your life with purpose? If so, what is the driving force for that purpose?
Yes, I feel that I do live my life with purpose. I will admit that at times, I question what that purpose is. However, my driving force to find that purpose and walk in it is my two sons. Their survival and success pushes me to do all I can to be great.
Why is it so difficult for black American men in this culture to be themselves, their essential selves, and remain who they truly are?
It is difficult for Black men in America to be ourselves because there are so many stipulations on who we are supposed to be. It seems that everyone has an opinion on WHO Black Men are supposed to be and HOW we are supposed to be. We are strong by nature but even that can sometimes get scrutinized. If we show emotion then we are judged and called "Punks" or worse, if we don't show or express our feelings and emotions, then we are closed off or "emotionally unavailable". There are some that embrace our roles as Kings and protectors of the black woman and walk in that while expressing ourselves through our confidence and looks but that makes us a target, It intimidates some to the point to where they feel the need to dim our light by feminizing us, oppressing us, taking us out of our homes away from our families or killing us. Some of us black men can't be ourselves because we don't know who we are. The negative image and stigma of Black Men in this country causes judgement and opinions that spread abroad and sadly can sometimes even infiltrate our own race and even get to the black woman. So it is hard for a black man in this country to be who he is because of the opinions, influences and targets on our back.
At what point does a boy become a man?
The point that a boy becomes a man is when he realizes that he is in control of his destiny and starts walking towards it. And that includes taking care of himself in all aspects and accepting responsibility for his actions.
What is something that people misunderstand about you?
People misunderstand who I am and how I am. The misunderstanding is understandable to me tho. There are many layers to who I am. My career has painted me to be outgoing but that is only one side of me. I am also an introvert at times and can be shy in certain situations and that can be taken as I am stuck up and that could not be further from the truth. Just like anyone else, there are different sides to me. There is D Chappell and there is Deondre (Not Dave) Chappell lol.
What in life is beautiful to you?
Peace is beautiful to me. With so much calamity in the world and even in our own communities, I find it beautiful when people and loving and getting along.
Where does your inspiration come from?
My inspiration comes from my family. More specifically, my desire to give them all that I can to set them up for success.
Who is the most impressional man in your life?
That is a hard question because there are so many that stand out. But I had to choose one, it would be Michael Jackson. Not the one with the glove, the curl and the glittery socks, he was my radio station manager back at Langston University. While he didn't have a lot, he was heart for giving and his love for others left an impression on me. He took me and adopted me and was a father figure to me long after I left Langston until his passing earlier this year.
For future generations of men reading this: is there any wisdom you’d want to pass on to them? What would you want them to know? Do you follow this advice yourself?
Everything in life is about balance. You can concentrate on making money but if you ignore everything else in life, you will not be happy. It is important to help others but self care is important. You cannot pour from an empty cup. Your greatness is not contingent upon the opinions of others. You are a King. Act like one. That means be kind, understanding, compassionate, helpful and wise. This also means be a protector of those you love and yourself. That target on your back may never leave so don't let that stop you from being who you were placed here to be.
I am learning to take that advice even at this age.