National Youth Pride Services is proud to announce it’s Third Annual list of 50 Winners Who Are Helping Others Win on our national magazine RizeUp! We used our national membership of youth and young adults across the U.S. to come up with the list and we are excited to see who they are not only watching, but learning from.
Interview by Jamie Allen
How was your childhood?
I was raised in Macon, Ga. I had a closeted childhood but was very active in school. I danced and volunteered all throughout school but was shy due to my fear of being outed.
What are your hobbies/interests?
Fitness. Anything creative. I love to fuse creativity and fitness together. I also like to do different and adventurous fitness things. The most adventurous endeavor I did was a triathlon. The biggest challenge was learning to swim in the Pacific Ocean.
Speaking of fitness, you are a personal trainer. Where do you see yourself going with that in the next 5 years?
I want to fully launch my PT/health business and have a physical location within the next 2-3 years. Ultimately, I want to start a nonprofit organization for trainers and other fitness professionals that will serve undeserved communities.
Within the LGBT community, specifically the Black LGBT community, what is your viewpoint on their health & wellness as a whole? What advice do you have for them?
It’s not a priority as it should be. African-Americans period are not programmed to take health/ fitness seriously. We don’t get serious until something serious happens to us. We focus on those we see have the potential to be a star in say football or basketball. Then we push them. As far as advice goes, the earlier the better. The sooner you prioritize the better for your body. Be proactive, not reactive.
Clearly you are passionate about wellness. What other topics do you want to address?
Well, an untapped area of wellness that we all should focus on is mental health. I really wanted to make sure I talked about this because it has helped me in so many ways. I went through therapy myself and it helped me to realize that I had trust issues, not letting anyone get close. It stemmed from not having the relationship with my parents like I wanted to. All that festers into all of our relationships if it goes unnoticed and unchecked.
Aside from therapy, what other methods did you employ?
Well my theme song is “Lose Your Self” by Eminem. I play it everyday. Self-help books helped as well. I personally recommend The Four Agreements, The Fifth Agreement, & The 5 Love Languages. The first two teaches you how to respond to people and the Third one gives you a perspective on how people treat you. Oh, and I can’t forget The Alchemist as well.
In what other ways do you give back to the community?
I have an organization called MPACT2: Men Practicing Affirming &Cultivating Their Truth. It’s a bank of men for younger men. While I was living in California I noticed a lack of things that appealed to minorities and I wanted to change that. After meeting with The Gentlemen’s Foundation, I decided to start MPACT2. Not just anybody can mentor here. There’s an application and interview process to weed out those who are a good fit. This isn’t a hookup type of place. It’s hard out here where I live and people need the proper guidance to navigate through life without getting caught up and end up somewhere that’s not good.
That’s great!! Now you are also a star on a web series called “Tha Life: Atlanta Season 2.” What can we expect to see from this?? Is it messy like these other reality TV shows?
No actually. Well, a little but not that deep. I don’t want anyone to think it’s just a bunch of gay men throwing shade and creating drama. We are really dealing with real life things. We’re actually going to talk about a lot of issues such as HIV and coming out. Everyone should watch it and hopefully find something positive to take away from it.