Tag Archives: support

IG – Building a Community of Peers

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I’m working to create the community I know me and my peers deserve!

Share your voice! Share your journey! If you need help I got you!

Call to Successful Black Man – 2

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Call to Successful Black Man – 2

By: Quinton Mudd
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A continuation of our conversation about the duties of successful Black men in today’s American (global) society.

Missed part 1 – Check it out here

We express our love through our actions and each action should always be inspired by care and concern. To love is to put the well-being of those you care for on the same level as your own well-being. This society has trained us to put our individualistic desires before the needs of the common folk and that is detrimental to any society. An expression of love is an attempt towards unity. Division is crippling and nothing divided in many parts can ever become one. A divided family, community, corporation, team cannot reach its fullest potential.

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Standing vs. Sitting

Sometimes you disgust me. You’ll spend 6 hours in a club in one night but can’t spend a few hours a month helping mold your future.  This “I don’t have time to give back” excuse that many of us use is just no longer acceptable.

You’ll brag about how successful you are and how far you’ve climbed the corporate ladder, yet you won’t use any of your time to give the knowledge you’ve acquired to assist others that are in need of the guidance you can provide.

Most of you Black men are probably being underpaid because you do more work than the higher ups are willing to compensate you for. They know they can underpay you because they know that you’re dependent upon them. You’re probably one of the few if not the only Black male at the office so you feel you have to work twice as hard as your meager salary suggests because you want to show boss that you’re not like the “rest of them.”

Nevertheless, you probably trick yourself into saying that you love what you do but deep within you know that there is more to life than your profession. You look at the world and you see how it’s functioning. You see injustices and even if you don’t consciously speak on them, your soul is telling you that something is wrong. Something within you is telling you that you can and should be doing more.

You’re probably afraid of identifying with the youth (who you once were) because you don’t want to be associated with the imperfections of youthfulness and inexperience. You think you’ve made it, but in actuality, the world only sees you as a nigger with a suit on.

You see how our young Black boys are treated by others and unfortunately Black boys have been beaten to the point of devaluing themselves. It hurt you to hear about Trayvon Martin. You may have changed your facebook profile to a picture with you in a hoody to show your support but you knew deep within that there was more for you to do. It pains you to hear about the Black-on-Black killings that have been happening in cities all across the Western-hemisphere.

Every time you feel pain within, your soul is speaking to you and telling you to do more. Your soul is telling you to take your rightful position in your community and in this world. You are supposed to be doing more and you know it. Let’s start with mentoring. We will build off of that.

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A Knock at Midnight

Your words may not completely change the minds of those that you mentor but that doesn’t mean that your words won’t influence them. It doesn’t mean that your words won’t challenge his traditional way of thinking. Your presence will positively affect them if you approach them with humility and a willingness to show them that you care.

Many of you say that you haven’t reached the point in life where you feel comfortable with mentoring a child. I respect that concern because that was me. I was a broken male and strongly in need of mentorship myself. Nevertheless, I realized that although I had not reached the level of success I initially deemed necessary for a mentor to have, I did have some knowledge and experience that could be beneficial to someone.

People of other races step up quicker than us to mentor our children. Some of them have been monumental in helping get children to college and I commend them for that. Unfortunately, many of them do it as a means to puff their resume.

No man of another race can ever show a Black boy how to deal within this society as a Black man. You know the very makeup of this society. Its economic, educational, and political systems are adverse to the rise of these Black boys. That in itself should light a spark within you to do more because you know what it feels like to grow up in this world.

I know most of you are hurting internally. You may not want to admit it and you may be afraid to be vulnerable. You’re in pain because many of you never had the opportunity to address some of the issues that have been eating at you for years.

Many of you have never talked about the issues you grew up with as a Black male in this society. You never had a chance to be open and talk about some of the issues that have bothered you for so long. You’re expected to walk around like Supermen on the outside but you are weak and beaten down within. Many of these kids out here today are going through the same issues you were going through 10, 20, or even 30 years ago. Unfortunately, many of our youth don’t have the luxury of support that some of you had when you were growing up.

It is time for you to step up and provide the needed light to a generation that is surrounded by darkness. You are like a candle. The combination of your wisdom, knowledge, and experience is similar to the flame that burns when a candle is lit. The flame can work towards eliminating darkness and it can also light other candles all while remaining lit itself. Your mind, like a burning candle, is light.  Use it to enlighten and illuminate the minds of the youth and just watch how your own light will brighten.

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Call to action, and mentoring resources:

Imentor – is a school-based mentoring program matching public high school students in New York City in one-to-one relationships with college-educated mentors. iMentor partners with public schools to ensure every student at these schools receives a mentor and to augment existing guidance and college counseling programs. Mentor-mentee pairs are matched for three to four years and exchange weekly emails and meet monthly in person.

Big Brothers Big Sisters – What is every child fulfilled his or her potential? Think how amazing that would be. Now, you can start more LIttles on the path to big things.

100 Ideas to Use when Mentoring Youth (1) – Courtesy of the CCC/THE MENTORING GROUP

25 ways you can give back to your community – If mentoring with an actual individual isn’t your thing you can still give back to your community by trying some of these techniques out.

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Quinton M Is a graduate of Purdue University currently working for Lukoil Pan Americas. He has served on the Board of Brooklyn CARES Mentoring Movement, and also contributes to the Mentor Advisory Council for iMentor and on the Junior Board of Directors for Urban Pathways.

Call to Successful Black Man – 1

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Call to Successful Black Man – 1

By: Quinton Mudd

What if someone told you to build a house in which you would live for the rest of your life? You have no experience in home building and you have absolutely no clue where to begin. However, you are given two options. The first option is to essentially build the house from scratch with little to no help. The only examples you have to use as a guide to building your house are the other surrounding houses that are in whatever particular environment you are in.  You are not provided with the tools needed to build the house nor are you provided with the directions needed to construct such a large structure.

The second option is to build the house with as much help as you can possibly have. You’ll have help from people who will bring a vast amount of knowledge of house building to the table. Not one of these experienced builders have houses that are identical to another because each construction project experience was a unique experience.

I assume most sane people would select the 2nd option. I assume most people would want as much help as they can get as they undertake such a challenging task.

Let’s look at it in a different light. Let’s replace the house you’re supposed to build with manhood. As a boy, would one prefer to develop his manhood with help from successful men or would he prefer to do it on his own? Personally, I would prefer assistance.

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The Dilemma and the Challenge

As I examine our society (United States of America), I see too many boys having this “every boy for himself” option thrust upon them. Manhood is not given to us by age and seniority but rather it is gained by us with knowledge and work.  This concept is evidenced by the plethora of adult males walking around this society with absolutely no idea of how to be a man. Either these men have no knowledge of what manhood truly is or they lack the determination and will to put in the work needed to build their manhood.

These males look great on the outside. They wear the costume of a man flawlessly. A house built by a novice whose only guidance were the surrounding houses in the neighborhood may look great on the exterior; however, the interior and foundation may be weak due to being built incorrectly.

A person may look, dress, and speak like one would assume most men look, dress, and speak. However, you’ll notice that these males are weak internally and that weakness is manifested in their childish and amateur behavior.

Nevertheless, too many boys, especially Black boys, are not being equipped with the proper tools and knowledge needed as they embark on their personal journeys toward becoming the greatest men they can become. This is where I become a huge advocate of mentoring and its power to change the world. Many men want to help and many boys want help. Mentoring allows for a structured environment that lessens the cultural barriers to entry that may exist in the streets and communities.

Susan Taylor, founder of the National CARES Mentoring Movement, said that the most revolutionary thing we can do is love one another. We express our love through our actions and each action should always be inspired by care and concern. To love is to put the well-being of those you care for on the same level as your own well-being. This society has trained us to put our individualistic desires before the needs of the common folk and that is detrimental to any society. An expression of love is an attempt towards unity. Division is crippling and nothing divided in many parts can ever become one. A divided family, community, corporation, team cannot reach its fullest potential.

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House vs. Field

Much of society vehemently critiques our boys for not behaving in a manner that they believe men are supposed to behave in. Some of the most burning critiques come from Black men that are deemed successful by society’s standards of success. The doctors, lawyers, business owners, executives, consultants, teachers, or any other persons that believes they’ve “made it” are filled with condemnations against our youth. I understand their recognition of and frustration with the many problems that exist but I also suggest they look in the mirror if they’re truly interested in solving the problems.

I must say that I do not think that a man with copious professional credentials and achievements is more qualified than his less educated peers to work towards uplifting our youth. Some of those men are so psychologically damaged that I’d prefer that they stay as far away from our children as possible. However, I do believe the professional Black man has the power within him to change the minds of those young Black boys he encounters.

His profession isn’t as important as is the opportunity to offer a presence that may be foreign to the mind, eyes, and ears of the young Black youth. This new presence is sure to challenge many of the homogeneous thoughts, norms, and axioms that have been beaten into our kids’ minds.

Professional Black man, you provide the opportunity for many of our underserved youth to be exposed to ways of living that they may not otherwise have access to. Don’t act as if you don’t know how Black men have always been portrayed in ‘Murica’s media.

You know that society is either covertly or overtly telling our youth that their place in society is either on the mic, field, in the bed, or in jail. Many of you Black men were told and sold the same garbage that these kids are exposed to today. Think about the light that was illuminated within when you discovered that there was more out in this world to capture.

Whenever you start a new job, you expect to be trained on the responsibilities of your position and you also expect to be assimilated into the culture of the organization. Well, who is training these Black boys on the many responsibilities of manhood? Who is assimilating them into America’s culture? If there aren’t many real men to guide them then they have no choice but to learn on the job. Yet you blame them for the mistakes they make.

Quinton M – Is a graduate of Purdue University currently working for Lukoil Pan Americas. He currently serves on the Board of Brooklyn CARES Mentoring Movement. He also serves on the Mentor Advisory Council for iMentor and on the Junior Board of Directors for Urban Pathways.

Part 2 coming soon…

The Purge – Vary

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The Purge – Vary

Meeting with my fellows fellows, older fellows, and baby fellows… I’m able to see clearer that everyone engages in this work (teaching) through their own space, their own lens, their own context. Variation is the only constant. I think it really easy to forget that there’s value in variation. Yes, I’m the Black guy that teaches whose hair matches some of the students. And, yes that (my Blackness, not necessarily my hair) gives me certain entry points that serve as advantages over my peers. But, we all have entry-points at our jobs that can be taken advantage of. Not only is there value in knowing yours, but there’s value in being able to harness other peoples’ entry points as well. I’m still too deep into trying to really figure out my own advantages to have identified others’ yet. But, I do think that will be a focus of mine in 2014.

This is why I share my experiences. When I read Baruti Kafele’s manuals I feel like I get to live through and learn through his life as a successful school leader. I’m only hoping that my words inspire that same person now or later.

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Big ups to everybody out there just living their lives everyday and making it happen! There are so many lessons to be learned and it’s a shame we can’t just learn at will whenever we wanted to. I’m pushing to be receptive to seeing other people’s entry points into whatever work they do, and figuring out how I can incorporate this knowledge into my own life. Sometimes I walk around thinking that even if I don’t know the answer, I (alone) can get to the answer with a little bit of brain power and a pad of paper. I often times have to check myself from being so mentally egocentric. Because in reality it would be virtually impossible for me to be successful at my job if I can’t to all of the people and signals around me. Everyone has something to give. The question is am I receiving it?

I’ve decided that when everyone listens the result has to be harmony. When we listen we are called to adjust. When we are called to adjust, we react.

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What power does YOUR variation bring? What specific skills do YOU bring to this just because of who YOU are and what YOU’VE been through? What is the power of the variation YOU are exposed to everyday? Are YOU listening to and learning from the variation(s)? Specialization is key, but YOU’LL never know how you can specialize if YOU can’t identify the power of the vary.

There are so many varied experiences here. There’s value in all…

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The Purge – Bootstrap

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The Purge – Bootstrap

There’s a lot of shit going on and history being made right now, this second, in the world. 80 years from now people will be reading about these current times in whatever newspapers, books, or blog posts there are in the world or beyond. During these, future times what do you want people to read about humankind, humanity? Some bull-shit about you making Fool’s Gold in a global economy!? Or stories about you inspiring your peers and community by trying to enduce and inflict the positive impact that that time needed!? Time will judge what that calling will be.

At the end of the day, my observation as a teacher is that we need all strong citizens to feel compelled to reach back into their communities to teach and support those that need it, which is really everyone. No matter where you come from, if you’re of able body and mind, you should feel obligated to do what you can to (over)fertilize that ground and village that you sprouted from. It should be inherent in you to leave the ground more plenteous for whoever comes after you.

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Support, lead, guide, nurture, develop, fertilize, choose whichever word carries the most meaning to you. I can accept initial ignorance, and in response, I will inform you now! Teaching and learning are the nutrients and the duties we all carry as a burden if weare to complete our most basic of civic duties. If you’re reading this, I will repeat again, (your interpretation of) teaching and learning are the nutrients and investment you must see fit to return once you reach individual success.

Change would be instantaneous in communities around the world if people began to purposely mentor the youth they touch (family, friends’ kids, neighbors, church family, students, friends, co-workers… whatever.) And also chose to view these as learning experiences more so for your for your own sake just as much as your mentee’s. I think this is a vital step toward beginning to build strong communities of worldly citizens, importantly strong Black, Brown, urban, marginalized, (insert label here).

As Dr. Kunjufu says, no one gets to success without stepping on a few backs intentionally or inadvertently along the way. Even people that believe they achieved success through their own grit and control – You owe it to that very alignment of the stars-esque luck to actively help align the heavens for someone else. Once you know these gates exist, they are easily out-maneuvered. However, the cost of this privileged-knowledge burdens its users with a debt of eased-maneuverability and flexibility: often forgotten, and never paid back in full with interest.

My strong Black and Brown citizens, it takes a new level of arrogance and disconnect to believe that you, yourself, have found success without having received uninitiated support and guidance from a community elder during your youth. Remembering the context that this is the same world where the verdict in the George Zimmerman Trial could have been anything but not-guilty. This argument instantly puts my emotions into over-drive – filling my body with the passion that leaks out of my eyes and mouth – words and motions spilling out on the floor faster than I can process or recall for all that matter.

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No string of language(s) exists that can begin to describe the institutional webs that block the natural and otherwise promised progression of young people of color, specifically males. And to be clear and fair, there is no amount of studying that will ever make me believe I know all the ways these (plural) institutions affect our daily lives for better and forthe worst.

At the end of the day, really all I wanted to say was this. HEY YOU, do your job homie! If you can read this ask yourself are you purposely teaching and learning? If you are not, for the sake of your ideals on equality, justice, humanity, love, whatever – Start. If you don’t know how, ask someone to help you start. It’s that simple. You can ask me and I’ll brainstorm with you. Yes, it’s that simple.

info@skoolhaze.com (info (at) skoolhaze (dot) com)

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This piece is really a response or better yet an explanation of a rant of mine on facebook.

SkoolHaze ThePurge Bootstrap Rant

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SkoolHaze’s 5ive Sources of Inspiration

SkoolHaze’s 5ive Sources of Inspiration

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What makes me tick? Well, there’s a large combination of things that keep me focused and help me push even when I don’t feel like being bothered. Oprah has her yearly favorite things, I figured I would share my Inspirational Things for anyone interested in diversifying their own sources of inspiration. I have allowed these things to have power over me in a way that is a bit fanatical in the sense that they give me the one-track mind that I feel has helped me get to where I am today. That’s not to say that on the surface I agree with everything that is presented here. But it is to say that on a deeper level, these things continue to push me to question my own motives and actions toward those motives and goals on a fairly consistent basis.

Black Scholars and Historical Figures

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From Booker T. Washington to Thurgood Marshall to Malcolm X to Carter G. Woodson to Dr. Juwanza Kunjufu to Marva Collins to Barute Kafele to Lisa Delpit – there is nothing more enthralling to me than learning what these Black scholars and, in my mind celebrities, have to offer. I can honestly say that I didn’t know anything about Malcolm X until perhaps 4 or 5 years ago when in one of my nightly Youtube trances I stumbled upon some of his speeches. From that moment on I was captured by his eloquence and capacity to string a lethal combination of words together that clearly conveyed his non-restrained message. I don’t know if it’s the fact that Black history and knowledge is in a way hidden from mainstream grasp, or that the characters involved are filled with the same blood and roots that I am that empowers me so. But, all in all, I love finding new pieces of information and knowledge left by my predecessors. Most of their messages, warnings, and predictions are still quite true today, decades and even for some even a century after that fact. I’ve actually amassed a personal library that far exceeds my capacity to download and process the information contained within the pages. Part of me wants to one day be one of those books on someone’s bookshelf that made them think more critically about the world and their responsibility to change it.

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Life Coaches and Motivational Speakers

Over the past 3 years I’ve worked with, or at least connected with 3 different life coaches/motivational speakers. I’m drawn to people that are go-getters and have the ability to remain positive all of the time. I like to think I’m a glass-half-full kinda guy. But I absolutely don’t think I would be where I am today had it not been for these particular people in my life. About 2.5 years ago I somehow ran into an ad by my frat brother Darius Gant who was looking for new clients for his life coaching business. At the time I knew that change was in order and that my days at my non profit youth development job were numbered. Working with Darius on a weekly basis helped keep me accountable to clarifying my goals and finding the doors that I once thought were hidden from me. I looked forward to our phone calls, the homework he would assign me, and the ability to just talk my plans through with another motivated young professional. To date, I’ve run into quite a few similar characters who have helped me in varying ways keep my eyes on the prize when it comes to my own success as a person and professional. If you’re at a crossroads, or just need some extra motivation to see your own goals through I would definitely look into life coaching from a peer OR searching through youtube and Google to find easily accessible motivational tools. I actually am still benefiting from the residual connection(s) with these individuals and hope to one day show them that I was serious about finding my own way to success.

www.dariusgant.com – Darius Gant’s Website

www.sidehustla.com – Jullien Gordon’s Goal Coaching website

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Specialized Media Consumption

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I don’t know what to call this one… I was trying to think of a fancy title, but I really just carefully choose the media and messages I allow myself to consume, consciously and subconsciously. There is power in the messages we hear and surround ourselves with on a regular basis. As the old adage goes, if you tell a child they’re stupid long enough, they will eventually believe you.  Better yet, if you’re never exposed to success then you never quite understand that it is always possible. Donald Trump once said that in order to become a successful business executive you first have to visualize yourself flying around in your private jet closing million dollar deals. If you don’t visualize it, then you’ll never work hard enough to make it happen. That’s not quite the life I want for myself. But, I am crafting my version of success, and in order to do that I purposefully surround myself with media that either agitates or develops my mind toward that direction. I don’t want to come down on people that watch TV. But, I’ll say this, an overwhelming majority of the images that are on tv aren’t positively framed images of people of color. Somewhere I read a study that said the only individuals that can watch tv for X amount of hours and come away feeling better about themselves are White males. If you’re going to spend your time watching tv, you also need to supplement those messages with more positive and developmental images and messages that represent characters that look, think, and feel like you. Below are some of the links I visit regularly.

http://addicted2success.com/ – Website filled with motivational content for everyone

http://atlantablackstar.com/ – Black news outlet with Buzzfeed-like content

http://abagond.wordpress.com/ – Blog that posts critiques of history from different vantage points.

http://www.yourblackworld.net/ – Black news outlet headed by Dr. Boyce Watkins

http://thegrio.com/ – Online Black News Magazine

http://theroot.com/ – Online Black News Magazine

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Personal Excellence

It’s sort of a gift and a curse, but I’ve always been the type of person that wants to be the absolute best at what I do, whenever I do it. I can remember early on in grad school people I knew would say that at some point you just have to find a balance between getting enough done to survive and doing a good job. For the most part I feel like I’ve done a pretty good job at trying to push for excellence in every action I make with teaching, graduate school, and my personal life. Of course excellence isn’t always what is achieved. (just ask my supervisors) But, I do appreciate the little engine in me that expects to go all out every time I’m called up to bat. I’m not quite sure what process I went through to make this happen. But I’ve gotten to a point where it is ingrained into my system to go hard and don’t go home. As I mentioned in a previous post, being an athlete I learned the difference between coasting and training. Now, I purposely try to direct my energies toward things that are difficult or that don’t immediately peak my interests. The practice of doing what I can’t do and don’t want to do is the sure fire way to make myself grow into a better and stronger person. When I was younger and first starting to understand what growth truly meant I likened it to being a robot, and not having any weapons to fight with. However, the more experiences and challenges I go through in life, the more I weaponize my person into someone who is more capable of handling and conquering grander situations.

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Community Development

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All of this work would be pointless if I was only doing it for myself. Realistically I am indeed focused on being the absolute best version of myself I can be for myself. But, in reality the benefit to pushing for the best version of myself will, or rather should, spill over onto the communities and individuals I come into contact with each day. For that reason they serve as a huge source of inspiration to me. Its difficult to quantify how much my students, the neighborhood(s) I represent, my family, peers, etc… get from the work I do. But, the driving force for me is to be so good at what I do that the people around me benefit through proximity or through more direct influence and actions I have taken for those individuals. There’s nothing like being tired, exhausted, upset, drained, whatever, and thinking about how my audiences rely on me to deliver a purposeful and quality product to them regularly. I think people often feel they’re too small to truly impact their communities, but I don’t agree. I do have an actual impact on what people believe they can do and achieve. And much of that belief is ingrained when I keep pushing even when I’m ready to say Fuck It.

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BONUS: My Peers and their projects

Looking back, its amazing to see how peers groups work together in unison and in conflict to move themselves forward. For instance Martin and Malcolm were peers who for the most part stood on opposite sides of the same coin. But part of what makes both of them so great is that they in a way worked together to help bring change and revolution to the world. Booker T. Washington had George Washington Carver and W.E.B. DuBois. Even Michael Jordan had Scottie Pippen on his side, and people like Magic Johnson across the aisle. I’m not quite sure who my peer group is as of yet. Its something that I’ve searched for and haven’t quite found yet, which is irritating to say the least. But, I do appreciate that I have found some figures out there who are doing some amazing work in their own communities. At the very least it shows me that I could be doing a lot more than I’m doing now. And for that I respect them!

Brandon Frame – Founder of TheBlackManCan.com, and author of The BlackManCan Presents: A Guided Journal for Black Boys and Men. Brandon a former teacher has his hands full with his Black Man Can Institute that has made stops in Baltimore, New Haven, Atlanta, and New York City. While I’m struggling to wake up on time for work Brandon is working non stop to educate and empower youth of color… in multiple cities. *Respect* Check out The Black Man Can’s facebook page.

Aaron Mallory – I actually went to school with Aaron way back in the 90’s. He was a few years younger than me. But I remembered him because his mom was a substitute teacher at our school, and his family lived across the street from the school. Since those years Aaron has become a motivational speaker, author, graduate student at the prestigious University of Chicago, and has even built great community organization for the Chicago community – Guide Right Organization. *Keep it up homie*

Antoine’s Five Steps for Pursuing Your Passion

Antoine’s Five Steps 

for Pursuing Your Passion

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1.     Take risks Pursuing your passion means making yourself vulnerable in every aspect.  You must become emotionally naked, allowing yourself to make mistakes and risk being terrible.  Even if you don’t desire fame and grandeur, pursuing your passion means that you want to be good at it.  It means that you want to excel in it; and excellence only comes with de and re construction and you cannot be deconstructed without exposing and becoming vulnerable.  Risk also involves opportunities; seizing every one that is beneficial to you and the pursuance of your passion.  Read up on the stories of the people who excel in your passion, whatever it may be, and guaranteed that the level of success they achieved is almost directly associated with the level of risk they had to take to get there.  Its not easy and can even be as serious as violating the values and priorities to which you adhere.  But, it is necessary and it is ultimately this that distinguishes the difference between a hobby and a pursuance of passion.  Do what no one else would and become what no one else can.

 2.     Remain Teachable- One of the hardest parts of being a human is pulling down your ego and learning from and listening to someone else.  As hard as this is it is integral in pursuing your passion.  You must be able to accept what you are not good at and listen to people you respect on the road to change and growth.  Defense is an enemy; you must listen to criticism and be able to be broken down and take any criticism objectively and use it to your advantage; appreciate it.  Now, there are people out there to whom you shouldn’t listen, as their intentions may not be genuine or they could be haters to put it plainly.   These people are to be nodded and smiled at and their “criticism” taken in one ear and out the other.  Discerning between them and true friends may be difficult, but with common sense and evaluation of character, they will be found out.

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3.     Make complacence your worst enemy- In your passion there is ALWAYS room for growth, always.  Whether you grow vertically and improve on what you already do or horizontally and switch lanes to tackle something different or use a different approach to what you already do, growth is possible.  With this said, it is most definitely ok to be happy with something and to leave it alone.  When a song I have finished gives me that complete feeling, I leave it alone. There are times I even have to be told to leave it alone, but, nonetheless, I do.  Sometimes things are perfect just the way they are; but, holistically, as far as my vocal ability and the way I sing and how my voice sounds, there is no limit to how much I can improve. It is easy to become happy with where you are and dwell on that but just know that you can go higher.  If you’ve conquered a city, focus on conquering the state, then the region, then the country, and dare I say the world?  And yes, the universe as well.  It all lies in the balance of knowing your limitations and not having any at all.

4.     Research and analyze- As a musician I no longer listen to music, I analyze it, unconsciously sometimes.  When a song enters my brain I almost automatically hear harmonies, tone, technique and how the singer hits the notes, and everything in between.  A passion consumes you and you cannot be afraid of that.  In whatever your passion is you must research and analyze the best of the best.  It is necessary to get yourself familiar with what makes the greats great.  Watch their interviews and how they work.  Research their stories and their history.  In an age of ubiquitously available information, you have your passion at your fingertips; take full advantage.

Antoine Live Performance SkoolHaze

5.     Don’t be afraid to be greatAn unknown fear of greatness is what I believe hinders us all.  There is comfort in mediocrity and people don’t realize how limited their mentality is and how they hinder people from their own greatness.  In short, Mothafuckas are haters and in most situations their hate is a reflection of their own limitations, doubts and fears.  I used to be afraid to say I wanted to perform like Michael Jackson or I wanted my vocal tone to be as pure as Whitney’s in her prime.  I used to be afraid to have standards higher than those around me for fear of standing out.  In pursuing your passion you have to have the confidence to RESPONSIBLY associate yourself with the greats.  I say responsibly because we all know someone who LOVES to do whatever it is they love to do and claims they’re the best at it, but in actuality they suck, morbidly!  If you’re a painter, set Van Gogh or Warhol as your standard.  If you act, aim to be as good as Meryl Streep.  If you are a film director, be Michael Bay and nothing less, but do it responsibly and in your own manner of course and know the work that’s set out for you to be that great. Above all, prove it! Don’t just talk about it.  Greatness speaks for itself.  Know internally what your standards are and claim them commandingly.  Know that you are and can be THAT GREAT and let the work speak for itself.

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Back 2 Music is the motto. Hailing from Baltimore, Md currently living in Boston, Ma, Antoine is an independent artist bringing back real music one song at a time. His style mixes so many inspirations and genres alike. His versatility and appeal as an artist sets him apart, making his style unidentifiable, but his music and performance an identifying unmatched signature in itself. Working to make every record and live performance an unprecedented experience Antoine is sure to entertain and inspire, one note at a time. Be sure to check out Antoine’s latest video for his song Make You Love Me.