Growing up in Baltimore, I was a witness to poverty and hopelessness, which gave me the drive to succeed and be above the norm. I never understood poverty. It literally scared the shit out of me as a child. Even at five years old, I knew it wasn’t normal. I would ask myself “People actually like to live like this? Living in a neighborhood full of abandoned homes, trash, roaches, and rats?” I grew up in the city, but we lived in a fairly decent neighborhood. Other areas of Baltimore was the true definition of Hell On Earth. I always thought I would be shot.
You should’ve seen my poor little face whenever we went to visit family members in the projects. I was always terrified. We would get on that pissy elevator to the 15th floor. It shook the entire time, and the lights would blink on and off; Kind of like a haunted building. On the weekends, my mother would say, “Ok we’re going downtown to Lexington Market!” If you lived in Baltimore in the 90’s, then you knew Lexington Market was junkie central. I used to beg my mother to NOT take me with her, but she insisted anyway. I wouldn’t get off the bus. She had to literally pull me off the bus! And I cried my little heart out the entire time we were down there. I was scared every time we walked past a junkie. It was like The Walking Dead, and they were the real life zombies. It was dirty, and the smell was horrific. (more…)
At times, I feel like I haven’t achieved great things in my life yet, but I have to realize, that’s not necessarily true. I brought a young boy and his siblings into my life and help raise, as if they were my own. I fought for 12 months to get my grandmother diagnosed and provided two places for her to live without a dime in my pocket. I’ve inspired individuals to become better…..
I will never forget this one conversation I had with one of the guys in the neighborhood. He was the type to get in trouble a lot. He suffered from lead poisoning, so he had a very violent temper. His condition caused him to be hyper all of the time. Often times, he was loud. Everyone in the neighborhood knew when Q-Black was outside because he was that loud. He drank like a fish, and fought every guy in the neighborhood at least once. He was basically a dead man walking. He was 21 at this particular time, and I knew him since he were a young boy, so when he walked up to me and said. “I wanna be like you when I grow up.” I was shocked. I said, “What do you mean?” He said, “You know, just being positive. Look at the way you dress. I’m trying to get fresh! When I’m around you, I feel this sense of confidence. For me to do better.” I said, “Well, if you put that effort into being a better individual everyday, then you can be better everyday. Without me even being around.”