I’ve had the privilege of being involved meeting many different interesting people, and in this interview, I spoke to a reporter about the importance of owning your own personal story, he’s an established man in his own rights and we spoke for about an hour or so. Funny thing was the interview was only twenty minutes so we spent forty minutes off air just talking about everything. So, without rambling, here is a bit of how this conversation went.
Reporter: Here is what just crossed my mind. I haven’t seen you in person for a year now, but I’ve known you for five years now. I’ve watched you throughout high school when you were still a teenager, and now you have a full Goatee!
Akeem: haha! Man thank you for acknowledging that. People stay hating on my facial hair growth. It’s been a long time coming! I still can’t grow a beard though.
Reporter: I see everything. Now, A few years ago, I spoke with your mom Kim, and I asked her a question. I asked her “What does she see when she sees her son coming up to her?”. Do you know what she said?
Akeem: ah man, I have no idea.
Reporter: she said, “When I see Akeem, I think of hope.” Why do you think that is? What do you see yourself as?
Akeem: I don’t see myself as anything special by any means. But I do know that I have more responsibility than most people my age. As far as the word hope goes, yeah. I think that’s what I’ve always tried to represent. A sign of hope. Hope from a common ground. Yeah, I think that goes with me.
Reporter: I agree with her, I think hope is something that sticks with you. Like you, I was born in Jamaica myself, I wouldn’t say I grew up poor but we didn’t have much extra, at a young age my father would say to me, “A person needs to do more for themselves than anybody can do for them” and I didn’t understand why he was telling me this until I got older, and I realized that for the most part you are in control of your own life, yes you can’t control everything, but you can always control how you respond. To gain a certain amount of success, what do you think is one or two things you must do?
Akeem: Westmoreland Stand up!
Reporter: Yes bredda!
Akeem: You know, I’m no life guru or coach or any of that. But I think the main thing, is you must own your story. You must look at what’s going on in your circumstance and situations, and you must decide if you’re sick and tired of being where you are and what you’re going to do to change that. It all starts with a decision. Now of course once you decide that, it doesn’t mean life won’t punch you in the face, in fact that’s probably what’s going to happen sooner than later, all you can do when you decide, is say to yourself “no matter what, I’m going to get through this”.
Reporter: When you say owning your story, why do you think others don’t own theirs? Is it a bad thing if they don’t?
Akeem: There is this notion of “what’s cool “in society. Most people are trying to compete about who has it harder and sometimes I think people create this image of what they wish it was like instead of the reality of what it is. For someone who’s been through hard ships I can say first hand it’s not cool. It’s not cool to have one meal a day if that. It’s not cool to wake up without heat or lights or hot water in the house, it’s not cool to get kicked out of your home, it’s not cool to be homeless, Mark my words there's nothing fun about any of that. The story of “growing up with nothing and making it’ is extremely interesting, people have some remarkable stories out there, but struggling isn't fun, to the ones who haven’t grown up in it, be thankful and appreciate what you have. Every story is significant, we all just have different experiences. But for me, However, I wouldn’t change a single thing.
Reporter: You mentioned “Making it”. Did you always know there would be brighter days ahead? Most people say they do, but did you?
Akeem: I wouldn’t say I always believed, but I always had faith that it would get better. It’s hard man, cause when you’re going through something, it’s hard to focus on anything else other than that. But I’ve always had faith that it would get better, the funny thing about believing something is that it takes practice, like anything else, it takes practice to believe something will work out. But faith is seeing something even if you can’t make out the picture. So, I held my faith close to my heart until progress showed me how to believe.
Reporter: “I held my faith close to my heart until progress showed me how to believe”. I don’t think there is anything else that needs to be said.
Part 2 To be Continued…