Category Archives: Personal

Lessons From the State of Black Business Event Last Week

The Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce (www.dallasblackchamber.org) had our 2nd annual State Of Black Business (SOBB) Forum last week.  A lot of people are confused, or apathetic to the mission of the organization I love, both inside and out.  There are a lot of misperceptions and ill-truths that have evolved during the 89 year history of this organization.I would like to show the Chambers “true mission” in this blog; it’s about education, support, and advocacy.

Most people ask me, “What does the Dallas Black Chamber offer to me?” or “Why do y’all exist?” or “Why does it have to be called the ‘Black’ Chamber?” or event still, “Why do you isolate yourselves and only accept black members?”.  This can easily frustrate any human being that exerts their personal and professional time to do volunteer work for an advocacy group, but I gladly entertain the questions.  Why?  Because, where there are questions, there’s curiosity, and where there’s curiosity, there’s an opportunity for me to share the lessons I’ve learned from my father and his colleagues, and contribute to the improvement of the American Economy (no, not Black economy solely, but American economy).

Some clarification, the Dallas Black Chamber is not just an organization where we can provide free marketing to your organization.  Our mission is to advocate and support entrepreneurs, business owners, and corporations that want to support the African-American community, therefore, you don’t have to be black in order to be a part of this organization, you just need to be a cheerleader or stakeholder for improving the situation (with blacks contributing $1 Trillion to the US Economy, there needs to be an organization(s) that can assist with the education and distribution of black wealth).

I can go on and on about this… This is not the purpose of this post (for more info, go to our website or reach out to me).  I’m posting this to show how the Black Chamber helps a community; by being an objective organization that helps all businesses tread the waters of capitalism.

In this clip (that’s difficult to hear) I am interviewing Hiawatha Williams, Founder and CEO of Williams Chicken.  Though inaudible, he thanks the Dallas Black Chamber for providing:

  1. Events like SOBB to provide entrepreneurs/professionals the opportunity to network and build relationships with larger businesses.
  2. To provide advice and strategy for building and growing your business, and
  3. To defend the smaller businesses, encouraging big entities to use smaller businesses to stimulate our micro-economies.

After talking to Mr. Williams, my spirit was renewed about the aims of the organization; as Chair, it’s easy to get bogged down in the politics of the organization, or the status you receive once you participate in outside programs, representing the organization.  Hearing him thank my father (who was ED of the Chamber in the 1980’s) for giving him sound advice when he was an employee at Church’s Chicken illuminated the importance in having a third-party advocate strategize to assist all people to build wealth; someone whose intent is to help all who ask for help.

This was a wake-up call; we, as an organization, need to do a better job at marketing to the masses what we do at the chamber.  I know A NUMBER of businesses who benefited from advice from our organization or ones like it (other ethnic/cultural/geographic chambers), so those business owners need to speak up as well.  Without an advocate organization, we will not be able to defend the small business, killing what we know as the American Dream.

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MLH Workout Chronicles, Day 14

“What you do in the dark, will come to the light”

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August 28, 2015 · 9:00 am

Setting The Tone Dictates Your Destiny

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MLH Workout Chronicles, Day 5

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My Gates Millennium Scholar Experience; APPLY TODAY!

My cousin, Deidra, asked me to say a few words about the Bill Gates Millennium Scholarship for her students at church. I thought I’d share it with the rest of the world how the Gates Scholarship changed my tragetory in life.

I will make other comments in other posts; they will be posted as I recall and remember my experiences in college and beyond. The most important take away, is to apply for the scholarship! There’s no excuse for anyone not to get a good education in America. The resources are here, it just takes work, effort, and energy to get it!   Go to www.gmsp.org for more information.

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MLH Workout Chronicles, Day 1

I’m starting to write/vlog my workout experience…  Please pray for me, lol

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Be Careful America, This Convesation isn’t JUST About Race….

Recently, America has witnessed acts of violence from people and law enforcement that’s tearing this country apart; from the killing of Mike Brown a year ago to the standoff at Dallas Police Headquarters, to the abuse of children at a McKinney pool, to the abuse, arrest, and death of multiple people getting arrested during a “routine” traffic stop. I’ve wondered, “What are people’s motivation? Is it hatred?  Fear?  Ignorance?  The power to exercise their insecurities?  A combination of them all?”  It seems like a complex problem. 

Well if it’s such a complex situation, why are we succumbing to a simple solution: race relations…   I love how in the last year we are placing this conversation in the race box, and nothing else; we’re not talking about privilege, or economics, or power….   Just race.  Really?   JUST Race?   I argue that race is only the manifestation of a deeper issue;  it’s the fruit we see, not the root we need to dig up. This is an issue that needs to be addressed, illuminated, and corrected by ALL parties affected; the oppressed, but most importantly the oppressor, in order for real change in America to happen.  

Lets get one thing straight before we proceed:  I am not saying that race doesn’t play a role.  It’s OBVIOUS blacks are the beneficiaries of violence and oppression from perceived powers at be.  I’m saying our assessments and solutions have been too narrow in scope.   Now back to the post….

My heart is saddened that people are thinking myopically… We’re easy to slap the race card on everything so we perpetuate our cycle of trivializing how blacks are felt in this country and how whites (or non-blacks) can “ignore” the problem and continue to complain how the blacks crying and complaining is affecting productivity or the “American Way”.  The influx of immigrants who can’t empathize the Black American struggle easily side against blacks or become apathetic; they weren’t subject to the slavery and dismantling of their culture for the “American Good”, and sacrificing any policies or opportunities to start from square one in “The American Dream”.

Well I’m sick of it….    There’s a reason why black people feel hopeless, and it’s not just because they are lazy;   I, as a “successful” black man, have a double conscious; one to strive for the best, while the other to strive for the betterment of my people. I am not ONLY screaming for equal rights and opportunities because my demographic is the most vilified, least to tolerate, yet most replicated and admired from afar; that’s too small. I’m urging ALL people to understand they have a responsibility tomake our  society better; and everyone needs to check their position, make corrections, and move accordingly. 
We are smart enough to solve the real problem: Addressing our iniquities of the past (yes, I mean slavery, misogyny, etc.) to make America better.  It won’t be an easy road, but we are made to withstand it.  So before we judge or ignore, let’s try to solve the problem for all to excel.

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How A Recharge is SO CRUCIAL!

I just got back from Washington D.C., initially for a conference (where I learned a lot and became reinvigorated in economic development) but stayed a couple of days to enjoy the city, reflect, and recharge before the consistent grind I will have in Dallas this fall.  It’s probably one of the best choices I made this year.  I was starting to flame out, and was starting to get discouraged.  Though I couldn’t afford a vacation (timing’s bad), I was able to hang out with friends and see new sights in a different land, where I’m just one of many, so I can refuel for Dallas.

I want to share a few points I thought of on my flight home:

It’s important to have a different environment for reflection/reset

I’ve tried to have stay-cations, or relax in Dallas, but it doesn’t work for me.  I’m involved in too many things that can pull my attention from resting, therefore not being productive.  For me, I have to physically remove myself from my day-to-day tasks in order to disconnect from it entirely.  This doesn’t have to be the case for everyone, as people can lock themselves in their house and watch Netflix, or turn off their phone to do the same thing.  Me going to another city (or somewhere that’s not Dallas) is very therapeutic; I’m able to hit the “reset” button while observing things that may be able to work in Dallas to improve the city.

Enjoy where you are fully; let go of stresses/burdens from other situations

The one thing I tried not to do, was to take Dallas with me during my R and R time.  I was responsive during the conference, as I was working, but during the weekend, it was my time.  I didn’t respond to emails, I didn’t worry about what was going on in Dallas, I just enjoyed DC.  By doing this, I was able to feel good about where I was Sunday night, and was able to work Monday morning (I was still in DC, but letting everything go for two days showed me a couple of opportunities I can do up there).

Once your back in your normal environment, GO HARD!

This morning, I woke up, and started SPRINTING!  There’s a lot of things I need to catch up on, and new stresses that appeared, but I’m able to have a fresh perspective and rejuvenated spirit to take them on.  I advise people to go all in when you first arrive from vacation so you can set a tone of intensity and purpose.

The one thing that’s starting to sink in from advice numerous people have told me in the past is to take time for myself…  I get it now. I’m not taking weeks off, or going to the moon, it was an extra two days after a conference I attended, but those two days positively affected me!  I’m ready to take on the World!!!

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It’s Important to Process, but don’t miss the moment of impact (That’s B.S…. I’m Talking About Privilege)

I started doing it again…  Sitting/thinking/processing….  entering “Paralysis by Analysis” stages in certain aspects of my life.

I was reminded last week that I shouldn’t do that because too much analysis will bring in a culture of “political correctness” and uninteresting commentary, but later on there was an incident that reinforced my character-flaw:

That evening, I was enjoying time after a long day of work with my friends (of different races, profession, and relationship statues) at North Park before going to AMC to watch Marvels Ant-Man.  Our last conversation was concerning race and the table next to us (two white young women) told us to “Shut the fuck up”… Maybe it was the saki bomb I just had, but I noticed most tables on the patio were monolithic- blacks were with blacks, whites with whites, and so on…  As I looked at them, both my friend I was arguing with (who is white) and I were in sock; he was pissed, I was scarred (not of what they said, or what I wanted to tell them, but the effects/ramifications of my actions in Preston Hollow) that after all of the subjects we’ve talked about in 2 hours, they decide to comment (destructively) on race in America; this has another blog post that I’m working on… don’t want to go too far on this road for this post.

I have to continually think about my thoughts and actions:  As an African-American man in America, 6 feet tall, larger than an average white person (as this is relevant to this discussion because our society is still controlled by white males and their influences), voicetrous, and can (and will) state my opinion on matters, so I can have an OPPORTUNITY to accomplish what I want.  In this society, if I falter, I can easily be oust from the main population as a convict, trouble-maker, or even die.  I’m sorry, but all of this goes through my head every time I make an opinion of something in public, or when I accidentally bump into someone I don’t know, or write a post that can ruffle feathers.  In effect, this can cause me (and others like me) to error on the side of caution, or not even acknowledge it-which both are detrimental not only to my ego, but the healing of America.  Do you have to go through these thoughts?  If not, then you are privileged.

Back to the “topic” of this blog:  Before you judge anyone, please be sure to walk in their shoes first.  We all have things to improve on, meaning no one is perfect, and EVERYONE is flawed… So friends, If you don’t see anything new on my website, please feel free to reach out to me; it’s not because I don’t have anything to write, I may be processing things so much that I won’t express my thoughts.  Shake me out of that, please?  That’s how we all improve in this society.

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Surround Yourself w/ Purposeful People

It’s around 11 p.m. and I’m on my laptop wrapping up some work.  In the mist of completing my tasks, I reflect on my day… It was a GREAT day.  Like, I’m still smiling type of day….  Like, I  KNOW I need to get ready for bed because I have long day tomorrow but can’t because I have so much energy day.  No, my stock didn’t spike at the right time, nor did I find a bag of money or hit the lottery, but the interactions I’ve had with people (my peers) really felt like a million bucks.

This normally doesn’t call for an extraordinary message post; I interact with people all the time (I’m an extrovert, this is what I do)…  Today, however, was different because I’m not thinking solely on my interactions with the public, but am recognizing HOW I have people in my life; remembering where I was (and how I met them), knowing where I am currently (and how I can retain such great people), and planning on where I want to me in the future (and having the appropriate people mold me).

I had several observations in my interactions with people who positively influence me:

  •  They are from backgrounds that are FAR DIFFERENT than mine:  I want to make this point because normally I’d like to go and find comfort in an environment that I have similar connections with…  However, the more I expose myself to not only different people, but different places, cultures, ideas, etc., the more I see and appreciate things that are “not traditionally” my source of comfort.   This is not always the case, but I’ve learned to open-my eyes to see the similarities we have w/ people instead of the differences.
  • They had something that I can help them with:  The assistance was a two-way street.  I didn’t feel like I was wrongfully indebted, nor did they treat me like a charity case because they were able to help me, and I was able to help them.
  • Their mission and goals involved improving society in one way or another:  Though not the exact goal, most of the people I interacted with today wanted to help other people or systems.

I had at least a dozen interactions with people like this today.  I’m so blessed to be in a position where I can learn from people that can positively motivate and inspire me.  The moral of the story is to surround yourself with purposeful people.  There will be plenty of people who wan to drain your energy, goals, and aspirations like a leech.  They exist in your family, amongst your friends, and in strangers who haven’t met yet.  Try to avoid paralysis at all cost; you don’t need to avoid them per se (we are in this world to influence others), but avoid their attempts to drag you down, and don’t stay in a prolonged period of time with them in their poisonous state.

Just as there are bad people, there are also good people who just need a good word or attitude to turn their attitude around.  A constant interaction with people with a plan, goal, or aspiration will result in you improving your life. If you hang with purposeful people, influence them, allow them to inspire you, and evangelize to all people to become great, then we will make this a better place.

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