The original title was offensive so I changed it.
A Renaissance is coming to Oak Cliff, and Taylor Toynes and the For Oak Cliff community center are two of its driving forces. What began as a small school supply drive in the former teacher’s classroom has since grown into a full-scale community center whose programs have garnered the attention of Mark Zuckerberg, J. Cole, Bay Bay, and the late rapper Nipsey Hussle. But beyond the glitz and glamour, Taylor has one goal: Liberate Oak Cliff from systemic oppression.
There’s something about that feeling you get when you’re with your people, singing your favorite R&B songs, reminiscing and shaking off the stress of a long week. Something that shouldn’t be limited to just a section of a DJ’s set. On this Saturday, April 20, The Set is coming to Dallas with one rule: All R&B, All Night.
More than just an artist, Nipsey Hussle was a larger-than-life reminder that hands that serve are holier than lips that pray. His life was a demonstration of the holiest kind of worship. One that loved our people fiercely, not just in word, but in deed. A constant reminder of where our priorities should be, evidenced by loving and empowering our people and the neighborhoods that made us.
The goal-diggers talk a lot about the first quarter. In this first quarter the brand has been building, laying foundations, making plays. Individually, I’ve been doing the same. Reflecting on the kind of year I want for myself and manifesting it before next week ushers in my 29th year of life. This week's list needed to reflect those things. The opulence of a Maybach Music installment to describe the success I see the brand and myself having this year, balanced with the awareness that materialistic things aren’t nearly as important as God, family or the culture. A little shit talking to make it clear that in 2019 you’re about to see the next level of what you’ve already experienced: another year of outworking whoever, with the culture and for the culture.
“After the officers realized it was Larry Johnson, they approached and told him it wasn’t wise for him to be there, and that the area was full of trouble. Larry then pointed in the direction across the street and told the policemen, ‘This is where I spent most of my life. This is home. I don’t forget home.’
I’m just trying to make sure Dallas returns the favor.”
Kam Willard continues the story of Larry Johnson, a true Hometown Hero whose story took him from South Dallas, to Skyline, and from Skyline to Stardom.
Today a celebration is due for a legend that our city will never be able to replicate. A hero that deserves his roses now, versus being cherished when his achievements are relegated to a never ending list on the ESPN ticker preceded by “Former NBA Superstar dies at age . . .”
Kam Willard won’t allow that.
This series and the projects that pair with it are more than just a hobby and a story to share. This is history that we are engaging in. Kam Willard is taking the steps to learn more about the roots of prominent figures and their attachment to the city of Dallas, continuing the stories of our legends so we don’t let them age away into the chambers of yesterday.
I can’t write this letting anger win, not on the first beautiful Dallas day we’ve had in weeks. Not on Women’s Day. It’s not a 3:30 service attached to it, but let’s praise the queens today. I’mgonna try my best to do it my way despite that derivative emotion lingering.
My Father used to tell me, “Life is going to kick you in your ass.” Just like that, every bit of bluntness you can imagine. We must first, develop an acquaintanceship with our pain, fears and problems. We need to get completely comfortable with what we find uncomfortable about ourselves and our journey. The embracing of these issues will eventually give us the callous mentality that’s a necessity when facing the painful bullshit life hurls our way.
Can I be honest?
The past few weeks have been heavy in my world. A lot of push and pull, and trying to figure out why certain things refuse to come together while other things continue to fall apart. This week was the first time I recognized it for what it really was:
Sometimes our plans don’t pan out because we’d never step into what we’re actually supposed to be doing if things were shaping up how we wanted. We’d never take hold of the best our lives have to offer because we’d be so comfortable with lives, careers, relationships, and plans that are just, well . . . decent. Even when it doesn’t feel quite right.
So on this Friday I’m grateful that God isn’t letting me stay comfortable enough to settle for decent, even though it’s been uncomfortable in the in-between.