It’s very rare you come across people that say they want to do something and actually get to moving to do what they have to do to follow what others may consider “a pipe dream”. Of those few people that aren’t scared to pursue what may seem like unrealistic to most is Raheem ‘Skillz’ Harrington.
Now this story is personal to me because I’ve physically witnessed this idea come to life in such a short amount of time. Skillz came up to me a few months ago telling me about this grand vision he had to start a movement that involves his passion for dance. In that movement he wanted to be able to provide an outlet for teenagers from inner city neighborhoods to give them something to do while also providing an intimate family-like atmosphere between him and the dancers. I told him what I always tell anyone – go for it. Life is to short to be sitting hoping and wishing for a dream to become a reality. You have to actually be willing to make yourself vulnerable and put yourself out there and just work. He took it in and didn’t waste a second, he got to working with recruiting teenagers at the performing arts school he works in; then Real Entertainment Dance was born. Because with how teenagers are, word began to spread like wildfire throughout the high school about the R.E.D. movement.
What I find most admirable about Skillz is the fact that he doesn’t waste time for anything. He would
always come to me, asking for advice for his next move and within a matter of days (sometimes hours) he’s working on his next project. He’s recently launched a R.E.D. apparel line that seems to be a ‘must have’ for teenagers around Philadelphia. Once they get their hands on their R.E.D. wear they immediately are uploading photos on their social media networks showing pride to even be a part of something so grand.
What initially started as something catered just towards dancers, has now grown into a full blown out movement for anyone that wants to be a part of the R.E.D. family. For those that don’t dance, Skillz will eventually host dance workshops but until then everyone is there to just show support for the cause itself.
As a dedication for Black History Month, he’s recently released a video via YouTube dancing a piece to ‘Oh Freedom’
“It’s time for us to speak for our ancestors through out dancing. It’s time for us to show them and to show people how they felt during this time and how they felt to be free. It’s time for us to stand up and be a community and stop killing each other!”
Being able to personally witness how much R.E.D. has grown just these past months alone, I couldn’t be more proud of Skillz. He has teenagers from all around Philadelphia eager to join R.E.D., eager to wear R.E.D. apparel, eager to just say they are a part of something so strong and inspirational.
Just keep pushing forward Skillz! Can’t wait to see you continue to blossom and grow.
To attest to his movement, you may follow Skillz on Instagram: @IAMSKILLZ_
Check out R.E.D.’s latest video, a tribute to Black History Month.
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Now signing off with the reminder: Don’t wait for the world to recognize your greatness, live it and let the world catch up to you.
Poet, Michael Phillips, Breaks Down in Front of Students at his Alma Mater
Michael Phillips agreed to speak to students at his alma mater, Community Academy of Philadelphia, CS (CAP) about Black History and being Black in America. Little did he know, this would be an emotional full circle moment for him.
Phillips has been doing spoken word for quite a few years now. Although he’s performed around the East Coast, he mainly takes to his social media to speak about race and love issues in a poetic way. He speaks highly of a creative writing teacher at CAP, who is the sole purpose behind his love for poetry.
“Ms. Vázquez is the reason why I’ve been able to do what I love since high school. She really made me appreciate poetry as a creative outlet to release any and all pain I’ve felt internally. I’m thankful for her”
Phillips confidently went into various classrooms from grades 5-8, along with some high school classrooms to perform his spoken word pieces. It wasn’t until he entered Ms. Vázquez’s room, the very person who inspired him to do poetry in the first place, that he sort of – broke down. It was a full circle moment for him, in that he saw himself as a student who too once sat in those same seats, without a clue as to what it would mean being a Black man growing up in America after high school.
He hopes that through his words, he is able to inspire the minority community to come together and appreciate themselves from within. Phillips wants the youth to know they have the power to change the world, to start thinking about what they can do presently that can essentially positively impact future generations to come.
Check out the video below:
Don’t Worry Bae, Know That It Is Okay To Fail
І’m muсh mоrе іmрrеssеd wіth а реrsоn whо shооts fоr аn А аnd fаіls аnd gеts а С іnstеаd of thе guу whо аіmеd fоr а D bесаusе hе knеw hе соuld hіt іt аnd dоеs. Fаіlurе іs nоt thе bаd thіng thаt wе tеnd tо thіnk іt іs, аt lеаst nоt іn thе роsіtіvе аrеаs оf оur lіvеs.
Fаіlurе іs thе рrосеss bу whісh wе lеаrn. Аs tоddlеrs, wе fаіlеd over and over again іn оur аttеmрts tо wаlk. Оur fаіlurе еvеn brоught раіn аs wе fеll dоwn, bumреd оur hеаds, аnd wаіlеd fоr mоmmу аnd dаddу. Вut thіs рrосеss оf fаіlurе tеасhеs us а vеrу іmроrtаnt truth. Аs уоu fаіl, уоu lеаrn mоrе thаn уоu thоught уоu wоuld.
Whеn а tоddlеr fаіls іn hіs еffоrts tо wаlk, hе аlsо lеаrns hоw tо fаll. Fаllіng іs раrt оf lіfе. Wе аll fаll, but whеn wе dо fаll, іt іs іmроrtаnt thаt wе fаll іn suсh а wау thаt wе саn gеt bасk uр аgаіn. Soon enough, you’ll witness that toddler hаndlе their falls wіth роіsе, dіgnіtу, аnd wіth thе dеsіrе tо gеt rіght bасk uр and give it another go.
Yоu саn’t hеlр but mаkе mіstаkеs and bae, that is okay. Вut іnstеаd оf turnіng rеd, stаmmеrіng аrоund аnd ароlоgіzіng рrоfusеlу, whісh оnlу еmbаrrаssеs еvеrуоnе еlsе, own it. Lift your head up and keep pushing forward.
Тhе Віblе sреаks оf thіs. Іt sауs,
“For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again” – Proverbs 24:16
Тhіs mаn isn’t righteous bесаusе hе nеvеr fаіls. Не іs righteous bесаusе whеn hе dоеs fаіl, hе gеts bасk uр.
Understand that this is kеу. Fаіlurе tоughеns уоu uр аnd аllоws уоu tо the opportunity to get back up and trу аgаіn. Now if you hold yourself back from trying again, eh that’s kind of on you.
Іmаgіnе а реrsоn thаt hаs nеvеr suffеrеd аnуthіng іn lіfе. Не hаs nеvеr fаіlеd, hе hаs nеvеr suffеrеd а mіsfоrtunе-hе’s nеvеr suffеrеd A N Y T H I N G.
Ніs аbіlіtу tо hаndlе dіffісultіеs аnd trіаls іs nіl. Не wоuld bе sо wеаk аnd sо іnеffесtіvе thаt thе fіrst wіsр оf а stоrm оr trіаl іn hіs lіfе wіll саusе hіm tо соllарsе. Іt іs thе fаіlurеs іn lіfе thаt tоughеn us uр аnd mаkеs us wоrth knоwіng.
One important concept of life to understand is:
Fаіlurе іs аn оnlу fаіlurе іf іt kеерs уоu dоwn. Quіttіng іs thе оnlу truе fаіlurе іn lіfе.
Іmаgіnе the tоddlеr аttеmрtіng tо wаlk аnd fаllіng dоwn, аnd іmаgіnе thаt sаmе tоddlеr sауіng, “Wеll, І trіеd thіs wаlkіng thіng. І rеаllу dіd. Вut іt’s јust nоt fоr mе. І dоn’t thіnk І’m сut оut tо wаlk (in baby gibberish of course).
If a toddler, a human who more than likely can’t even form a full paragraph has the will and desire to get back up and keep trying – why can’t you? When did you decide it was okay to have the will to succeed leave from your mental?
Again.. remember … failure is only a failure if you quit.
Understand that whеn wе shооt fоr sоmеthіng wе mіght fаіl аt thеn wе аlwауs gо F U R T H E R аnd ассоmрlіsh mоrе thаn whеn wе shооt fоr sоmеthіng wе knоw wе саn suссееd аt. I don’t know about you but І’d rаthеr shооt fоr thе А аnd fаіl thаn suссееd аt thе D bесаusе І knеw І соuld suссееd thеrе. Іf І gеt а В оr а С while shooting for the A, І at least wеnt furthеr thаn І wоuld hаvе hаd І bееn sсаrеd tо fаіl and just settling for mediocrity.
We’ll end this note by reminding you that fаіlurе іs nоt thе еnd. Іt іs јust thе bеgіnnіng. It’s just a chapter towards what you really want. You and only you can decide if you want this to be your end. So bae, gо оn, gіvе іt а trу.
Ѕо whаt іf уоu fаіl, you have it in you to get back up and try again.
Featured image captured by: Hailey Photography
Drake Releases Most Important Project of His Career
Today Drake released the visual for his song, “God’s Plan”. In this video, it showcases Drake giving back to communities, schools & even families in more ways than one. Whether it was signing checks for scholarships, paying for grocery bills or just handing stacks of cash to families, the 6 God decided to use the million dollar budget given for the video to instead, give it all away.
It’s empowering to see celebrities use their platforms for good and to give back to those in need.
Drake, in case no one has told you yet – you’re doing amazing sweetie.
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