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.
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.
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.
Ah, yes! #FeelsLikeFriday is back on Kenny and he has 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.”
Before Drake was known for providing the anthems to our summers each year, and before there was an Instagram to use his lyrics as captions for, the project spoke to young, Black kids in college as we tried to get money we never had and the attention we always wanted, doing it all for the cities that made us—especially those of us from Texas.
Simpler times. The best kind of nostalgia.
As I grow older, the thing I appreciate most about maturity is that it provides perspective.
“You aren’t winning in life if you don’t face some adversity, right? I can’t tell you how happy I am to see you, Friday… I missed you.”
Kam Willard is up next on our #FeelsLikeFriday playlist series. The boy was anxiously waiting on his turn like Ginuwine at 10:10 PM, and got you laced up with a little something for your commute from the job to the weekend.