Taking a Loss

Yesterday, a divided nation decided that it would, in part, continue to go down a path that leads toward its demise. But, just because you’re going down the wrong path doesn’t mean you can’t pause, reflect, and commit to bettering yourself.

It’s time for us to demand more of our leaders. As I continue to prepare myself for elevated levels of leadership by taking on more roles and remaining a lifelong learner, I am adding more best practices to my arsenal. Today, as I was reading some of John Maxwell’s work, I was reminded that “(l)eaders lose the right to be selfish.”

We have to start holding our leaders, elected and otherwise, to a higher standard. Sometimes that means turning down campaign dollars from sources that lack integrity. Other times, it means foregoing a raise or rejecting a bonus so your support staff maintains its morale. Paying bills and engaging in self-care are not selfish. Shoot, even getting a bonus when everyone’s doing well is ok. But when, as a leader, you look out for yourself at the expense of those around you, you’re doing damage to the culture and community you’re suppose to be protecting.

Think of it like this: As a leader, if you do something selfish and stupid that jeopardizes your community’s reputation, you’re not only risking your job but also the jobs of everyone that supports you. Let’s look at all the companies that have gone down the drain because of poor leadership. The leaders were not the only ones affected. Their employees weren’t only affected. The employees’ families were affected. The generations that follow that employee are affected. Our decisions, as leaders, will have everlasting impacts on the world.

Yesterday’s election results, though some positive change took place, disappointed me on a large scale. The battle may be a wash but the war is far from over. Over the next two years (and long after that), let us, as follower-leaders, pledge to change the culture across political, economic, and social arenas. We have to get to a point where we can disagree without being mean-spirited and that starts with requiring our leaders to model that. We influence them by demanding more of them so that they can influence us. It’s a simple cycle.

 

Make selfless leadership a requirement.

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It’s Pronounced FOO-KET and It Looks Like…

Went to Phuket. Thought it was pronounced like that thing I say when someone pisses me off. I was wrong.

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Somebody get this man some Winterfresh. His breath is HOT!

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Around the corner from the garden.

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Wipeout!

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What harm have these eyes witnessed?

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What’s the point of a beach if you can’t swim there?

 

Make seeing the world a priority.

Fear the Sky

“Due to the decades-long War on Terror, US drones have killed civilians at weddings and taught young children to fear the sky.” — Namira Islam

As a child, I looked to the heavens in awe, eyes filled with intrigue
I dreamt the cumulus cloud to be the magnificent home I would one day build
I appreciated the beautiful background it provided for all of life
Whether a dark blue before the rain came
A light blue on a magnificently perfect day in May
Or a night full of fireworks before I found that the 4th was not meant for my kind,
I loved the sky
It housed the sun and the moon
It was a limitless highway for airplanes and birds alike
The sky was amazing
Fast-forward two point five decades
As I read an article articulating that there are children who fear the sky
Children who are brown like I, or a few shades lighter
Brown like my children could be
To them, the sky brings terror
How ironic
Those we categorize as terrorists before they can form an intelligent sentence
Those are the ones we terrorize and traumatize
With our drones, missiles, and air strikes
“Well, their parents shouldn’t have been first cousins of someone
Someone who was on a watch list for…
Well, no they didn’t but they may have thought it”
Well, to that 1984-esq thought, I say,
“Your grandparents shouldn’t have been the descendents
Descendants of slave owners who brutally raped human beings
Working them to death and dividing families
Because their broken religion claimed Christ
But in actuality was devoid of Him as Xmas in a Hebrew home.”
Has anyone ever held that against you?
If so, did it cause more than a temporary temper tantrum?
One stemming from the guilt that it may be true?
You see, I believe that, just as God is not in the hate America spews,
Allah is not in the evil that violent Middle Eastern sects promote
God is love
Allah is love
But the hate?
Much like His blood-stained words,
I challenge you to
Render therefore unto Satan the things which are Satan’s
And unto God the things that are God’s.

Superhero Status

I’ll tell you my favorite thing about volunteering with young people: It enhances my superpowers. Inspiring children allows me to reach into the future and impact a generation I may never see born. That’s pretty dope.

Yesterday, I visited my old elementary school and spoke to a group of young brothers who are where I was 25 years ago. Talking to them about their aspirations reminded me of my own imagination at the time. I encouraged them to be there for one another because there are rooms in this world where, if we as black men don’t cheer for one another, no one will. I let them know we are one another’s tribe.

Find a way to inspire a kid between now and Monday morning. Even if it’s just a quick word of encouragement to the little girl sitting on the floor of Barnes & Noble reading. Let her know she matters. Or if it’s a little boy on the basketball court working on a certain move, let him know that, if he keeps practicing, he can perfect it. If it’s positive, encourage it and that positive mindset will spill over into other sections of their lives.

 

Make reaching into the future a priority.

How Did We Forget Them?

I’m watching Flint Town on Netflix and I realize that America has forgotten about this city. If the citizens of Beverly Hills or Orlando or even Chapel Hill were drinking/bathing in/brushing their teeth with toxic water, it wouldn’t be happening for four years (well, three years and eleven months to be exact). People are drinking water that will adversely affect them for decades to come. It is a slow, government sanctioned genocide and we know about it but no one is being held responsible. Do the children in our community deserve clean water any more than those in Flint? What makes one life more valuable than another?

And, for those who say it’s their fault for living there, what choice did the children have? The lead levels are still going up, nearly four years later and these young people with bodies that are still developing will be dealing with this forever.

The bottom line is we don’t care. I wish the citizens of Flint’s rights were as important to America as the rights of gun owners.

We don’t trust in God. We trust in money and Flint isn’t a production metropolis anymore so, guess what? Flint is dispensable.

If I’ve screwed up your weekend, imagine this being your 204th weekend knowing that your water was poisoned by your government.

 

Make loving our fellow human beings a priority.

#BelieveInTheG 2018

Hey everyone. While I usually use this platform to discuss issues affecting young professionals, today is all about helping young people become young professionals. My alma mater, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, kicked off its Believe in the G campaign today and will conclude it tomorrow at 11:59 PM. This is a great opportunity for Spartan alumni, family, and friends to show what the university means to them and their loved ones.

I had a great experience at UNCG and was on a partial scholarship while there. Now I am an established professional who adds immense value to organizations and comes with a wealth of potential. Much of this is because of the time I spent in Greensboro and I believe it’s only right to give back to an institution that taught me so much, both in and out of the classroom. That being said, I would love for everyone who sees this page to make a gift or pledge to UNCG today. There is a Daniels Dollar for Donor match on the table that Desirée  and I are sponsoring and, the more donors we get, the more we can give to help provide access to education and resources to more young people. The size of your donation isn’t as important as the act of giving it (but if you can give a large amount, by all means, please do!).

Visit BelieveInTheG.com today and make a gift. You can give to any fund you would like and the Daniels Dollar For Donor match counts but, if you don’t have any preference, please consider either giving to the Pi Zeta Scholarship Fund or the Deryle Daniels BBSA Scholarship Fund (you will have to select “Other” as your designation and then write either of those fund names in the comments).

Thanks in advance for helping a young person have a chance to better him/herself.

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Make investing in the future a priority.

The Charge (MLK, Jr. Day 2018)

“We have fought hard and long for integration, as I believe we should have, and I know we will win. But I have come to believe that we are integrating into a burning house.” — Rev. Bro. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

This quote is of the Dr. King, Jr. that I have come to love even more than the “I Have a Dream” M.L.K., Jr. It takes a mature person to take a step back and say, “Though my heart was in the right place, I was wrong.”

Segregation was a struggle because of a lack of equal resources combined with an abundance of white people who looked to stand in the way of our self-sufficiency. Integration, however, has been a struggle of epic proportion because many of those who would be our strongest leaders divested from our communities in hopes of separating themselves from the negative stigma America had placed on our communities. White America gave them jobs and titles and affirmative action on predominantly white college campuses and athletic scholarships and, before we knew it, our community was devoid of its greatest resource: leadership.

As they moved the Talented Tenth out, and subsequently their offsprings, we saw the illicit drug industry thrive, single-parent households increase, a spike in black-on-black crime, and the value of education decrease in more impoverished black communities. Miseducation and distractions in the form of substances and soulless entertainment had replaced much of the pride that once defined the exclusively black community. And, on the other side of town, those blacks who had “successfully” integrated themselves and their families into white society felt accomplished and that their mere existence (even if from a distance) serves as an example to those with whom they never come in contact. It is sad to feel uncomfortable walking into a community that is one you should be taking ownership of, only to realize that, in actuality, it is owned predominantly by WASPs, Jewish people, and Asians.

On this Dr. Martin Luther Luther King, Jr. Day of 2018, I charge you to embrace these next few years as a resurrected Harlem Renaissance. Creatives, create. Business leaders, develop. Educators, educate. Investors, invest. But do all of this in our communities.

And, lastly, put your money where your mouth is. This past weekend, I placed a decent amount of money into Mechanics & Farmers Bank, a black-owned bank out of Durham, NC. When I look to secure my home loan, I will be doing so with a black-owned bank. I work out at a black-owned gym (Prime Athletic Training & Fitness Institute). My tailor shop is a black-owned tailor shop (Levi’s Tailor Shop). My graphic designer is black (Charity Coleman). My photographer is black (Reko Daye). My financial advisor is black (George Acheampong). My go to artist is black (Tatiana Camice). Sadly, my grocer is not (though I hope to start growing my own vegetables next year) and my black dentist recently retired and sold her practice but I’ll be back in the market soon.

Self-preservation is not racist. I’m not saying we need to segregate again. I’m saying reinvest in the growth of your own communities. Ironically, for those who think it’s unsafe, we know for a fact that, where money flows, safety becomes a priority. We can no longer return to the times of an untainted Black Wall Street. What has been done is done. But we can take what we’ve learned in these decades since realizing the watered down version of Dr. King’s dream and use it to build our own communities back up and to fortify them.

Feature image by Ernest Camel. Click here to follow him on Instagram.

 

Make a well-rounded community a priority.