Do you feel as though you live your life with purpose? If so, what is the driving force for that purpose?
· I do believe that I live my life with purpose. I used to believe my purpose in life was simply to provide for my kids (4 girls & 1 boy) and be a good example for them. As they get older and I come to the realization that one day they’ll be adults on their own I now believe my purpose is much deeper than that. The driving force behind my purpose is growing up with a single mother & watching her struggle to make ends meet while raising 5 kids. I want to help educate and show my people that we can be successful and provide generational wealth for our families even if you come from the hood where violence is normal and your only idols are the local drug dealers. I believe in our culture we’re accustomed to settling and not reaching for the stars. I want to be an example that with hard work we can build a solid foundation for our families for the next generations to build on.
Why is it so difficult for black American men in this culture to be themselves, their essential selves, and remain who they truly are?
· For most black men like myself who grew up without a man in the household we lack the example of what a man truly is thus making it hard for us to truly identify with who we are as men once we enter into manhood. It’s as if we’re playing catch up and we have to find out who we are as men very quickly instead of it being cultivated inside of us as kids from the men we should have been learning from and looking up too. We tend to portray what it is we think people want to see based on films, music, tv shows, news outlets and now social media. Oftentimes we have to adapt to our environment and when you do that you can lose yourself. For instance you can be the most kind hearted person, but when you live in a neighborhood full of convicted felons and murderers you adapt to that environment and sometimes become cold hearted and defensive. Once removed from that type of environment we tend to let our guard down and that’s when we become our essential selves.
At what point does a boy become a man?
· I believe a boy becomes a man once he begins taking on certain responsibilities that we don’t expect for a boy to have. Meaning once he’s able to support himself financially and mentally without needing to depend on someone else rather than be our parents, spouse or friends. That’s not to say as men we don’t ever hit rock bottom and need help getting back on our feet because a real man will do just that no matter how hard times get.
What is something that people misunderstand about you?
· I think some people perceive me as an asshole. I admit there are times I can be one if I need to be, but for the most part I believe that I’m stern, to the point and most people aren’t used to that. I don’t cut corners, I don’t beat around the bush and I expect people to be the same way with me. I mean well even though I may come off aggressive and assertive in my approach.
What in life is beautiful to you?
· Seeing my kids grow up. As I mentioned I have five kids so I get to see five different personalities blossom. Five different kids that have different goals & they want to be different things in life. To see their evolution is the best part of life to me.
Where does your inspiration come from?
· My kids are my inspiration. If anything else I know there are five people who look up to me and depend on me. That inspires me every day to be the best I can be.
Who is the most impressionable man in your life?
· Unfortunately no one. I didn’t grow up with men in my family and as I became an adult I found it difficult to maintain friendships with other men. I do watch T.D. Jakes online from time to time, but that’s about it. I think he’s a great role model for men like myself.
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?
· Please… Please… Please…wear a condom during sex to not only avoid STD’s but to also not have kids prematurely. I can’t stress this enough. Focus on a career and bettering yourself before having kids. Find out who you are first before having to help a child figure out who they are. It’ll make the process of finding yourself that less difficult. I love my kids with every inch of my heart, but I do wish I waited until I was more financially stable to take care of them. Make no mistake about it, my kids live in a great neighborhood, attend one of the leading public schools in Oklahoma & they want for nothing now, but there were a lot of obstacles we faced when they were younger that we could have avoided if I waited until the right time to have kids. The right time being when you're financially and mentally able to take care of a child. I didn’t follow this advice, but I’m hoping that someone will take heed to my advice.