I am a native of Harlem, New York raised during the crack era of New York City. My father was an elementary school dropout who sold drugs and committed a number of robberies in Harlem. My mother was a high school graduate who became one of my father's good customers. I didn't see my father much during my youth as he spent a large amount of time in jail. My mother "raised" me on public assistance in between her drug use. Around 8 or 9 years old, i was removed from her and placed in foster care. I spent the remainder of my independence being bounced between group homes, homes of family members, and roaming the streets. I became an emancipated minor at 16 due to my independent nature.
I was fortunate enough to be found and helped to attend college in Florida. For me the change was a huge adjustment, finally having stable meals and a home. My excitement was short-lived as I learned I did not have the scholarship advertised, was responsible for student loans, and the HBCU experience was not close to the show A Different World, which was my only exposure to college beforehand. However, I went on to have a good amount of success in college. I participated in student government, student radio, fraternity life, volunteer organizations, and worked for the university in various roles related to technology.
Following my negative experience in college, I decided to work towards becoming a college president so I could help create a better experience for those following me. I continued to law school due to the large number of legal issues facing HBCUs at that time. Law school was a positive experience and helped create a great foundation for my doctoral studies that followed. As part of my doctoral experience I served as an administration for a HBCU where I was able to see, in action, the ailments facing these institutions and the genesis of them. Having earned my doctorate, I am now dedicated towards creating a positive and successful environment and experience for students, especially black males.