Where to begin?

I finally made it to the Playboy Jazz Festival this year. I finally made it to Strawberry Fields. I had a strong feeling that John was going to play ‘Continuum’ live at the Forum, but I was too deep in the eye of the hurricane at that moment to go to that show.

But, because it’s 2019, one of my good friends live streamed the performance so I was sort of able to experience it live anyway.

I’m forever connected to my favorite city to visit and won one of the biggest awards of my professional life there. Telling a story about a black family. An angry black family. I was reminded I have always had friends in Gotham and places to crash whenever I feel like visiting. I took the train to pay my respects to Malcolm and Betty. I’ve outlived my hero now and may be at the beginning of my legacy to the community.

‘1 out of 30’ is the very public thing, but my success means I try to plant the next seeds immediately. I generally don’t go for announcing charity work, but I was able to ‘help’, however small, in the black Muslim community, in Syria, in other places, in a way I haven’t before.

I visited my favorite city to visit of my youth where I now have friends, which gives me a new incentive to go back more often. I’ve done New Years Vegas, the Vegas Show, the Bachelor/’Hangover’ weekend, UFC Vegas weekend. Now it’s about Fam. As it should be at this point in life.

The professional pedestals I was put on are nice; many of you have embarrassed me by reminding me you put me on a pedestal a LONG time ago. When I appreciated the flattery, but I just wanted to be an anonymous twenty something free to make the same mistakes that other twentysomethings could make without lifelong repercussions. Someone asked me recently if I regretted not holding myself to this standard sooner, and the answer was an immediate no. I needed to figure out how to laugh everyday. I had to figure out how to have fun and enjoy myself when so many things are designed or set up for me to not win. When so much of just living as myself in this business I’m passionate about and in this country I call home is just flat out depressing. I had to figure out the difference between ‘I get along with pretty much everyone’ and ‘these are the people who are passionately in my corner, who choose me and who fight for me, even when I’m not in the room’.

Now we’re here. Malik X as the young homies call me. Overwhelmed with gratitude one more time this year as I reflect on how blessed I am, and burning with passion to completely live up to the potential of all those who believe in me.

Onward.