My War Story


Well here is a summation of the most amazing unbelievable story you wouldn’t accept unless it came from the main character, me. ​I was born in Pittsburgh, PA until the age of about 3 with my Mom and Dad. From there we moved to Florida. I come from a very creative, musical and innovative entrepreneurial family background.

My Mom played percussion in a symphony and was also a DJ. Plus she was a Beautician. My Dad had a band in the Hill District. He played keyboards, piano, saxophone, sang, wrote, produced and everything else. He was a Master Barber. They worked side by side in their own barbershop salons from Pittsburgh to Ft. Lauderdale. In Florida I went to a performing arts elementary school where I learned to play violin, viola, recorder, keyboards, sing, dance, tap, saxophone, read music and play music by ear. I was actually in a group from my elementary school called Pizazz. The director had me dancin’ and singin’ in a leotard. And not a male one either lol. I was oblivious that there was even an alternative. Next I played sax in middle school. Following, I played in Jazz and Marching Band in H.S. where I was able to make my first visit to Disney World and Manhattan, NY with them. Go Tampa Bay Tech Titans! I ended up being saxophone section leader, competed in recitals, but I got kicked out of the band ha ha. Yea, my rebel nature has always been a love hate relationship to everyone else. I just wanted the band to play the radio smashes in between time outs at the football games.

All throughout this musical lesson and refinement of my innate abilities I was living in a very dysfunctional very broken yet very loving family situation. My Mom and Pop separated when I was seven. I didn’t see my Mom again until I was 19 at Florida State University unfortunately. That put my Dad in a real single parent situation for all those years, but he wanted that. Nonetheless it was terribly uneasy. And not having Mom around would be felt for years to come.

In the beginning Dad and I got along very well. We were super tight. As I got older that changed a bit and our relationship became unstable. It was rocky- is an understatement. But our love would never fade and I am still amazed at all he taught me. He could teach a profound lesson out of something as simple as mopping a floor. We were just going through it. Part of it was because of him not being financially secure. Although, he was always working on that. #HustlerOfTheCentury Another part of the major stress factor was Dad’s health. He was diabetic, had high blood pressure, and had 4 different surgeries on his foot, which was almost amputated. And he had quad triple bypass heart surgery after 2 heart attacks.

Dad’s health issues that were inherited from our genes put him between a rock and a hard place. It was an ultimatum: either sale his barbershop salon “Sho-Ya-Rite” so that his income level could qualify him for Medicaid. Or keep the shop, struggle to pay for the medical supplies and treatment he needed, while risk his quality of life. So he made the smartest decision, which he usually did. He sold it. Got Medicaid. And that’s how we ended up living in a warehouse.

​We had our spats- real crazy situations I thought I wouldn’t make it out of. And in my Sophomore year we separated. Dad went his way and I got adopted by the Wilson’s. They are a great Holland family in South Tampa that took me in originally for a week, but ended up being till this day. Thanks to God first and foremost, but also to my H.S. guidance counselor Mrs. Hollingsworth. Amen. In between all of this moving around, drama, stress, poverty, strive etc. I was on my “I’m Going to College Grind!” My Junior and Senior year I was applying for all the scholarships I could find on-line and applying to the state universities that interested me. Plus I was applying for Financial Aid. Thanks to the College Reach Out/Upward Bound program on the weekends who walked me through that whole process at the University of South Florida.

TO BE CONTINUED IN PART 2... Graduation from FSU, Move to Atlanta, Corporate Job, Jail, Prison, God's saving grace & more!