'There are journeys, and there are journeys that become legends.' 

I was just 15 years old when I met Les Brown. The world-renowned professional motivational speaker, best selling author, and television personality saw me in a room full of people. Not by chance, but because I, a minute black boy with big ears and curly brown hair was courageous enough to pursue is attention gracefully.  When I was able to hold Mr. Brown attention long enough, I conveyed to him that I wanted to be able to speak with greatness like him and was hungry to live my dreams although I wasn’t entirely sure what they were. At the time I was a youth minister at a modest church in the quaint city of Indianapolis, who was outspoken in my public high school and in my conservative community.

Les Brown became a chosen father to me all of my teenage years, he mentored me out of the limiting negative mindset that I had been conditioned to believe and live my life based on. He shifted my perspective about my gifts, talents, and abilities and enlarged my vision of myself.  He saw a special something within me that I wasn't able to see in myself. All of this because of one question he posed to me at 15, "What if you live your whole life and at the end of it you realized that it was all wrong?" This query shook me free because I was living my life based on what other folks believed to be right and I was prepared to dedicate my existence to their convictions, whether or not they resonated with me. 

I was 21 when I organized a meeting with Maya Angelou.

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On being naked. 

It’s liberating. I’ve waited a long time to get naked in front of the camera, spent the better part of my life afraid of being naked. Sheltered behind closed church doors, inundated with conservative ideology —ashamed of my bare brown skin to be exposed, I never featured my body growing up, I hid it. I’ve experienced enough judgement and shade from the holy to ever let someone catch me with my pants down. 

What began as my saved and sanctified mother putting her hands over my eyes lids every time nudity appeared on the movie or television screen or her confiscating my Playboy magazines hidden carefully under my mattress, ended up creating a negative, shameful, and unaffirming connotation about nudity, sexuality, and sex. The religious dogma stirred into my psyche most of my life caused me to hate myself, my body, and sexual urges and fantasies.

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Something within me was mesmerized by something within him, and despite all my caution I understood him immensely. Whatever I found in him was special to me, Nirvana at best, and at best was often enough for nothing else to matter after him. We were on the run together on an adventure, and as long as we had each other there existed a fire, a love that would make us invincible against the world. For boys like us, there is not much we long for more than love and acceptance. 

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