In 1985, I was a teenager in the midst of an emerging hip-hop generation. The era’s culture, music, art, fashion, and design was ingrained in me and fueled who I was becoming as a young, entrepreneurially minded man.
Quickly, I slipped into a lifestyle of illegal graffiti art, drugs, violence, and crime. My influences were west coast gangster rappers whose lyrics terrorized youth culture and threatened political movements. This threatened my future. For the next 10 years, I lived with no sense of purpose or direction, no desire to become anything, no understanding about life and consequences.
In 1997, after a weekend retreat, I was transformed; I encountered God. Since that moment, I have been on a mission to serve the needs of urban youth who live the same story I did. Unlike my experience at age 13, I want the church to give our youth direction away from the negative influences that bombard them. I want to change this reality for the youth of today.
At Concrete + Canvas, we are on a mission to reach a generation whose father figures, role models, and values are lost. Our work focuses on teaching teenagers practical leadership skills to empower them to make a difference in their communities and the world.
After dropping out of 9th grade and working dead-end jobs, I’ve since graduated from college, seminary, and various leadership programs. My story isn’t finished; I am committed to transforming our youth, offering the chance for them to lead and contribute to the growth and well being of our neighborhoods.