By: Kenny Reeves
Ah, yes! #FeelsLikeFriday is back on me and boy do I have a lot to say! As I waited patiently through the weeks to talk to y’all again, I thought long and hard about what I could’ve possibly shared with y’all that would stretch beyond the surface. See, for all of you who don’t know, I’m moved on inspiration and often times, self-reflection is the trigger that gets me going. This week, that self-reflection met me in a way that I definitely wasn’t prepared for.
Enter Oak Cliff, TX, my home, my stomping ground, the place that groomed me and placed me on the potter’s wheel. Oak Cliff is a part of my DNA and while being from the “Cliff” comes with a sense of pride, it also comes with a sense of duty and responsibility.
At the top of the week, one of my good friends said something that stuck with me. It was around the premise of being able to think on both sides of the fence, being from Oak Cliff but being college educated and having experiences that reached beyond my natural environment. While I felt pride in being able to have grown and shared new experiences beyond Oak Cliff, it made me think about several of my peers who were just as smart as me growing up but didn’t have the same opportunities. See, I attribute a lot of the opportunities that I’ve had to a strong support system, good decision making, GREAT parenting and a little bit of luck. But what about the people who’ve had some decisions already made for them?
On this same day, I had the honor of meeting an extremely bright young man by the name of CJ. CJ sat in on the Good Culture board meeting this week at For Oak Cliff and the conversation with him really stole my thought process for the week. CJ is a 13 year old kid, from Highland Hills who loves NBA Youngboy, Moneybagg Yo, and Mo3. He’s also publicly dealing with the loss of his sister, Shavon Randle. Shavon Randle was kidnapped and murdered last year over $150,000 of drug money that had absolutely nothing to do with her or her precious life. As we talked to CJ about Dallas sports, Hip Hop and culture, I couldn’t help but to go down a wormhole of thoughts and emotions that would ultimately get us here.
This is the responsibility piece that I was getting at earlier. A lot of kids in our neighborhood are BRILLIANT and extremely talented, but circumstances of environment can sometimes plague our trajectory. While this story sent me on a whirlwind of thoughts and emotions, my vision is VERY clear on the subject. We, the lucky ones, the ones who left and came back, have a responsibility to be there for the kids that follow us. It is our job to fight for them, help groom them, and question a lot of the unnecessary bullshit that they’re faced with every day. Let’s make a toast to Friday, but let’s also make a toast to change, real change. This list is dedicated to CJ and Shavon Randle.