In the summer of 2002 I left New York City to attend Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. I was a 17-year-old kid from the Bronx who was going off to a school that I’d never visited, only heard about. The UNCF full scholarship along with Morehouse’s offer to cover my tuition (and about 7 or 8 other awards and scholarships) made it an easy choice. This kept the decision making power out of the hands of my parents who at one point were convinced I wasn’t doing enough in high school and threatened to send me to the nearest cost effective community college.
I’d been used to making many of my own decisions. I started working as soon as it was legal and had an internship every summer and most winters in corporate America. By the time I got to college, I’d worked for a software development company, an entertainment law firm, a non-profit organization, and a private bank. Ambition was not something that I believed I ever lacked and it helped that I had a knack for stumbling into people and situations that would continue to fuel it.
College was interesting for me. I struggled with having to create my own structure and schedule. I was also figuring out who I was to become as an individual, as a man, and as a Christian. I would encounter challenges I’d never faced before like having to wash my own clothes (hahaha), getting injured in a car accident, getting injured while breaking up a fight and having to get stiches in my eyebrow, failing and withdrawing from classes which put me on academic probation and forced me to go to summer school.
School wasn't difficult, I was just more interested in what was happening outside of the campus walls. I took any opportunity I could find to get off of campus by volunteering, attending meetings and events along with whatever seminars, parties, or artists I could promote.
My dad passed away during my extended senior year in 2006. We knew he was sick and the doctors gave him a year to live. Unfortunately, they were correct. I withdrew from classes for the semester and used the time to think about what I’d like to be involved with. By this time I’d done a few internships with Estee Lauder Companies and the plan was to finish school, get back to New York, and continue on with ELC. I’d been a stellar intern, promoted to temporary employee, and picked up assignments in the field. However, I wasn’t excited about getting out of school and just working. Some how I felt that there had to be more.
I became interested in music since a friend of mine started DJing on campus. My experience playing the piano, trombone, and guitar (for a summer) drew me to the opportunity to control a crowd with seductive rhythms and get paid for it. I remember it was during a Dwele listening party where I'd meet some industry execs who'd allow me to work with them on various projects.
I went from joining a street team to managing the street team and developing a campus team all while managing a record pool of 100+ DJs nationwide. I decided it was time to leave after a while. I wasn’t growing and I needed a new challenge. That came in the form of working directly with an artist which then led to me meeting a friend and mentor who would inspire me to take on the world. My campus gigs turned into gigs around the city. I leveraged my contacts in the entertainment space and platform as a DJ/personality to become a brand ambassador working with companies on a national and eventually international level.
Since I left school in 2006 I’ve travelled to about 12 countries, performed on several continents, served as an ambassador for several global brands, led influencer marketing campaigns and consulted multinational companies, rubbed shoulders with world influencers and dignitaries, and made countless international connections. I wouldn’t trade my experience for anything.
I returned to Morehouse last spring to finish what I started. The lessons learned in the field enhanced what I was learning in the classroom. It seemed as if the stars aligned. My graduation date was also the 10 year anniversary for my original graduating class and I got to see and reconnect with many of my friends from the Class of 2006 who were in town for the reunion. I'm enough lucky to have experienced college a second time. It gave me added perspective and the opportunity to build more relationships that will last forever.
I haven’t figured out what I want to be known for but I continue to move towards those things that feel in line with my faith and purpose. The greatest lessons I’ve learned are those that have revealed more to me about myself. It has all been worth it whether anyone else cosigns or not. (Oh yeah, and I made BuzzFeed)