Gentleman of the Month: Tefo - Truth Enlightenment Freedom Opportunity

This week I had the pleasure of having a conversation with a gentleman by the name of Tefo (formally known as TreyR) from Toronto that I believe will become a household name very soon. Tefo (pronounced Teh - fo) meaning truth, enlightenment, freedom, and opportunity, dropped more than enough gems in our conversation. His new single “Play Play,” which will be dropping at the end of May, is a summertime bop. It will have you thinking that you are at a dance hall in Jamaica or in the Bahamas on a beach at fish fry on a warm Wednesday night. It is that good. We discussed some of his family background and at what age he discovered his love for music. We talked about the ups and downs of the music industry. Tefo even gave some valuable tips to up and coming writers, producers, and artists. I’m sure you will enjoy this conversation just as much as I did.

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Don’t forget to check out Tefo and his new single “Play Play” coming end of May.

Bio: http://officialtefo.com Instagram: http://instagram.com/officialTEFO Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/officialtefo

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Hard Work is Ugly

I just got done watching the Beyoncé Netflix documentary Homecoming a couple of days ago and I must say that I am inspired. The countless hours that she put into her Coachella performance was grueling. She coordinated everything from the props, dancers, musicians, singers, lights, etc. That woman is a beast. But what I truly enjoyed about the documentary, was the behind the scene moments. I enjoyed the choreography rehearsals and the repetition of the same moves being perfected. I enjoyed seeing all the mistakes that were made and the drive to get them right. There was even one point in the documentary where Beyoncé sat her team down and explained to them that she was frustrated with the passion of the performance not translating on film. The camera wasn’t catching the foot stomps, the screams, and all the intricate movements that made the show great. Ultimately, the show would be one of the greatest, if not the greatest Coachella performances and Beyoncé would become the first black woman to headline.

I watched Homecoming in three parts because while I was watching it, I was at the gym working out. I would get on the elliptical, turn on the documentary, and be amazed. My sweat would be dripping all over the machine and my phone. My hoodie would be drenched. As the sweat fell from my forehead, a couple of droplets would get in my mouth and I could taste the saltiness. I didn’t care. Beyoncé was in front of me singing and rapping while dancing. All the mistakes and rehearsals paid off for this epic moment. The pains, the aches, the pushing, and grinding might have been ugly, but the results were beautiful. This prompted me to believe that Hard Work Is Ugly. The word ugly means unpleasant or repulsive. So, doing the work maybe unpleasant and you may not even want to do it, but the outcome is beautiful.

Working out has been might one of the hardest things I’ve done in my life. The mental prowess it takes to force your body to go beyond measures it is not accustomed to is remarkable. I must push myself to shift my mentality towards excellence, black excellence to be exact. The process is ugly, but I love it. I spend an hour to an hour in a half in the gym making my body feel uncomfortable. I grunt and yell to lift weights against gravity to build strength and obtain muscles that I never had before. My hair is uncombed, and my clothes are wet. After all the sweat and soreness, I’m glad I did it. The results are finally coming in and I am happy about the progress. I’m not there yet, but my mentality has shifted. I want to feel good and be happy. If I have to get a little ugly to do it then I’m willing to get ugly.

Are you willing to get ugly or are you already ugly?

Magical Nigga

My skin is majestic 

Bless it

Worshiped                   

Blessed          

Kissed by the sun

Melanin Covered

Uncontested                                              

Hair nappy Like my pappy

Slight Overbite                                   

When I’m happy

Nose Big

Like my mammy                                    

And I love it                        

Understand me    

Eyes brown                                         

Like the ground      

My ancestors are buried in   

Hands ashy

Like from the chains                      

My people were carried in                     

Chosen by the most high                                

So tell me                                

Why would they lie    

I am a king           

Royalty    

Fresh                                                    

Fly                                                 

Cool   

Sweet                                  

And one handsome guy                        

A heart like a lion                   

Passion like a dragon          

To fuel the dreams     

My mind likes to imagine 

I’m 5 foot 10                          

With a big head     

And a thick figga     

If you haven’t noticed by now                  

I’m magical nigga

Run Black Men Run:The Marathon Continues

“The fastest runner doesn't always win the race, and the strongest warrior doesn't always win the battle. The wise sometimes go hungry, and the skillful are not necessarily wealthy. And those who are educated don't always lead successful lives. It is all decided by chance, by being in the right place at the right time.” (Ecclesiastes 9:11) No truer words have been written by one of the wisest men in the Bible, King Solomon, son of David, succeeding ruler of Israel. While trying to understand this verse, I had to dig a little into King Solomon’s life. Ecclesiastes was written shortly before King Solomon’s death where he reflects on his earthly journey. This book explores the meaning of life without purpose. It says no matter the good or bad you do, you die and that’s it. That sounds morbid, but in the final chapter of Ecclesiastes, King Solomon gives us hope on how to live a meaningful life by saying, “Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone's duty.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13) Our purpose is to fulfill the purpose God has designed for us and our lives will have the meaning we are looking for.

I believe Nipsey Hussle was living in the purpose that God had designed for him. Is it God’s design to end his life so short? I’m not here to discuss that and to be frank, I really don’t know. However, I do want to discuss the impact that he had and still has on the world by living his life in his purpose. His death hit me. Harder than I had anticipated. I didn’t listen to his music, but I listened to his interviews and watched his moves. He did what every black man should do, take care of home. The lives he has touched at the young age of 33 is remarkable. I remember being at my parent’s house watching tv when I got the Twitter notification that Nipsey was shot. I just knew he was going to pull through. Then a couple minutes later, another notification came through saying that Nipsey was pronounced dead. My mouth was agape. Whoa! Nipsey Hussle is gone.

Couple days after his death, we would get to know Nipsey’s killer. Nipsey was executed by another black man because he embarrassed him by calling him out for being a snitch and his ego couldn’t take it. With the death of Nipsey, I can see a slight shift in the way black men treat each other. I hear black men saying I love you to one another. Black men are now checking up on each other. Black men are feeling again. We run such a tough race, so why would I stick my leg out to trip my fellow brother? If my brother is ahead of me in this race, I know that I too can get ahead. It’s a marathon and Nipsey knew this. He wanted to give others a head-start by giving back to his hometown. His business acumen was incredible. He was buying back the block and making it accessible to those who couldn’t afford it. He invested in his own community because he wanted to see it thrive. How can you kill someone like that?

My message to my fellow brothers is to run, run like hell. Run like you have never ran before. Nipsey has shown us that the marathon continues even after death and what you leave behind will help the next man succeed in their race. We need each other, and we cannot afford to lose. If you kill your brother, you kill yourself. I love you all and I mean that with my whole heart.

 Rest in Peace Ermias Asghedom aka Nipsey Hussle.

A Few Faithful Men

This week I wanted to do things a little differently. I reached out to a few men that I know to talk about faithfulness. Take a listen as I asked the men a couple of questions regarding faithfulness and the question that sparked it all “What would it take for you not to cheat?” Don’t forget to subscribe, follow, and share.

Hubris

I am a huge reader of Greek mythology. I love how the characters are all flawed and how each story has a hidden meaning that can be related to life. One of the common themes in Greek mythology is hubris or pride. For instance, one of my favorite stories that I’ve read was Oedipus Rex. If you took a psychology class, you may have heard of the term Oedipus Complex derived from the well known psychologist Sigmund Freud. It’s the idea that a child is competing for love and affection against the same sex parent or in other words, a daughter might be jealous of their mother because of the attention her father gives to his wife. Crazy right! Well that theory comes from the Greek mythology Oedipus Rex.

 The story is based off of a prophecy told to a king and queen that their son will kill his father and marry his mother. The king and queen wanted to make sure that this prophecy did not come true, so they told their servant to take their son to the mountains to be killed by wild animals. The servant took the child, but could not go through with the act. He instead gave it to another village where the child grew up. Once the child became a man, he heard that a kingdom was cursed by a sphinx and the only way to release the curse was to solve the sphinx’s riddle. Oedipus was smart and knew he could solve the riddle. He also heard that if the riddle was solved, he would be married to the queen there and become king. While on the way to the kingdom, a man ran Oedipus off the road. He was so filled with anger that he ended up killing the man. Once Oedipus got to the kingdom, he solved the riddle immediately and became king. He had two children right away and became a successful ruler.

 To make this story less long, one day Oedipus asked his queen what happened to the king. She told him that once the sphinx came to town, he left. Oedipus then asked why they didn’t have any children. The queen told him of the prophecy and Oedipus laughed it off. The queen then became curious of Oedipus’s background. He requested for the servant that took care of him when he was young. The queen saw the servant and became ill, she realized that the prophecy had come true. She urged Oedipus not to ask questions, but he persisted. The queen ended up committing suicide. He also found out that the man on the road that he killed was his father. Oedipus was so distraught that he banished himself from the kingdom and ended up plucking his eyes out.

The story is tragic, but its meaning is simply, don’t let pride get in the way. Oedipus’s parents didn’t believe in the prophecy and tried to circumvent it by killing their child. Unfortunately, they ended fulfilling the prophecy due to their pride. The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree as Oedipus pride got the best of him as well.

We can learn from this story that too much pride can have dire consequences. Pride can drive people away, especially those that are close to you. I have been guilty of pride and it has cost me a friendship. There is nothing wrong with taking the high road at times. Check your pride before you end up making terrible mistakes.

What are your thoughts? Join in on the conversation. Don’t forget to like, subscribe, and share!

Use Your Millennial Gifts

Most of my peers are in their mid to late 20’s. What does that mean? Some of us have finished up our first degree and are working towards our second or third. Others may have found their dream career and are actively working on moving up the ladder of success. Some of us, like myself, have decent jobs, but also have a side hustle trying to figure out this adult thing. Contrary to popular belief, all of this is okay. As millennials, we have been put into a unique position. The generation before us think that we are lazy and entitled. For most of us, I disagree. We are in a time where there is so much information and opportunity that we have no clue where to start.

Past generations like to simplify life in three steps. They tell us to graduate college, get a good job, and start a family. It sounds good, but why go to college and rack up over hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans? I enjoyed my college experience and met some lifelong friends, but at times, I contemplate if it was worth the financial stress. After college, we are then told that we should be able to get a good job, but they don’t tell us that looking for a job is the job. As I have discovered, many employers are looking for eager young people that have 5+ years of experience in their field. It’s difficult to obtain that experience when we’ve only had time for college. On top of that, our parents want us to start a family, so they can have grandchildren. Unfortunately, it is tough when you are trying to build a career and pay off your debts. Life would be great if it was just those three steps, but it’s just not that simple anymore.

I don’t mean to sound like the complaining millennial, but those are some of the issues this generation is struggling with. However, all hope is not lost. Our 20’s and even our early 30’s is a time where we should be putting in the work on ourselves. We have so much at our disposal that we should take the time to explore what we want. Even now, one of my friends is moving from our hometown Milwaukee and starting her adult life over in another state. Some might say that’s bold, but I say that she has recognized and tapped into her millennial gift of opportunity. We all have millennial gifts, but life can get in the way of our vision. Unlike past generations, we are not confined to the rigidity of life. We can get up and go when we want. Millennials have a hustler spirit that we can tap into and create something that has never been seen or done before.

Now some might disagree and think they don’t have it, but we all do. We must do the work! The work may include losing weight, seeing a therapist, reading books, attending lectures, and using YouTube. YouTube is a millennial gift that is often used for entertainment. It has so much information on its platform that it can be an alternative for college. Be fearless and seek out possible mentors. There are people out there that are willing to help. Recognize the power that you have as a millennial and the world is your because “they” know what we are capable of and you should too.

What are your millennial gifts and what gifts did I miss?

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For The Love of

Well, Valentine’s Day is over, but I can still sense the passion still in the air. Speaking of passion, I wanted to talk about one of mine. Ever since I was a little kid, I enjoyed music. My parents may not have noticed, but when they were singing and dancing to their oldies but goodies, I was paying attention. Maxwell, Prince, Sade, Isley Brothers, Shalamar, Atlantic Starr, Debarge, Earth Wind and Fire, and The O’Jays were just some of the artist that I heard them play on the radio. When it was cleaning day, I could hear Anita Baker’s soulful voice filling up the apartment we stayed in singing, “With all my heart, I love you baby.” Her voice was amazing. I remember when After 7’s Ready or Not would come on the radio and my parents would stop what they were doing just to hear or sing along. As I got older, I discovered that “Ready or Not” was their wedding song.

 I was born June 18th,1991. I don’t remember much of the early 90’s, but the mid to late 90’s was something else. My parents didn’t let my little brother and I listen to rap or hip hop too much, but I knew r&b. One day, we were taking a trip down to New Orleans to get my mom’s birth certificate in my dad’s Astro Van. I forgot why she needed it, but it was a trip. When we reached near downtown, R Kelly’s “I believe I can fly” came on. I don’t know what came over me, but I started singing it, loudly. It caught the attention of everyone in the car. I wasn’t blowing, but I was in tune with the song. I remember my mom turning around saying “Keep going.” Now shy, I told her I forgot the words, but I never forgot that feeling. It was the feeling of making people happy through music.

 When we got back to Milwaukee, I told my parents that I wanted to get baptized in church and join the choir. That next Sunday, I stood up and went to the congregation and said I wanted to be baptized. The church was happy and so was my family. The secretary took me to the back and gathered my information. Then she asked me what do I want to do in church. I had two options, which were join the choir or join the usher’s board. I was nervous to join the choir so I said the usher’s board. I told my family and they marched me back to the office and told me to tell her I that I want to join the choir. Ever since then, I have been a church choir.

 In middle school, there was no inhibitions. I would rap against anybody in class or at lunch. My friends and I would take hit songs on the radio and make them into parody songs. I still have the notebooks with me right now. Typically, I was the shy kid in class, but once music was the conversation, I lit up.

 Fast forward to high school, my love for music soared. I took music classes all throughout my high school years. I started to make music at the end of my freshman year. That’s when I finally learned how to read music and how to play the trumpet. My sophomore year, I shifted from the trumpet to the piano and joined the school choir. I wanted to do everything musical. People would want me to make beats and write songs for them. I couldn’t get enough of it. However, during my senior year, things were put into perspective. I had to figure out what I wanted to do for college and where I wanted to go. The answer for one of those questions would have been music. However, I ended of going to the Milwaukee School of Engineering for electrical engineering.

 Music didn’t stop in college. I was still making songs and making beats during my breaks or off schedule. So much so that my family thought that my failing grades were because of music. The thing that gave me joy was causing so much frustration. My family wanted an engineer, but I wanted to be in the music industry. Eventually, I transferred schools and changing my major to business with a focus on marketing. My first class at the new school was music theory. I had to take some electives to get my credits up. Down the line, I graduated with my degree in business admin with a focus in marketing. My family was proud, but I do still feel empty.

 Even to this day, I can’t get enough of it. I’m addicted. It’s in my blood. I want it to be my career because of my deep love for it. I consume it everyday. I’m not giving up on my passion and I hope you don’t give up on yours. There is still time to put the work in. What’s your passion? What do you love to do and cannot do without?

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