'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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It has taken me four days and nights to locate the words to share what my soul is feeling. My spirit is disturbed at the insanity of the ways of our world. My heart is broken because I wear my gayness like I wear my blackness, boldly without apology; just as my straight white brother wears his. I know the pulse of the LGBT experience of color like I know the spelling of my full name. Forty-nine of our brothers and sisters were gunned down, another 53 are wounded, some gravely, and still some of us on this wayward planet are not phased by this atrocity. Way too many of us don’t care because no one died that we knew or loved, no one close enough to us for us to taste the bitter blood in our mouths, or feel the void in our lives. There are many of us who are disturbed but are lost as to what to do and send our condolences in sadness. Most of us are looking for someone to blame. We have our pitch forks pointed in fear at the Muslim community; we have fashioned our own mental bombs armed for retaliation at ISIS.

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