Ha, at least that’s what my boy Harold Melvin used to croon, along with his Blue Notes, in smoky dancehalls across Philly and later the nation. While I appreciate the effort musically – the song easily ranks as one of the most covered tunes over the last half-century – I have to disagree with the sentiment.
Growing up on the streets of Conroe, TX, just north of Houston, I developed a different philosophy. Maybe it was all the haters, maybe it was chip on my shoulder from living in a small town or it could be that like the heroes that inspired me as a kid (MLK, JFK, MJ – all them alphabet guys) I wanted to be bigger than life. So, with my basketball in one hand and a mic in the other I set out on my quest, alternating between long stretches in the Fourth Street labs and stretching over fools on the way to the basket at courts up and down I45 from Huntsville to Haverstock.
I was in a zone, my mode – and yeah, people were starting to know me but I wanted more. And that’s what I finally got after a chance encounter while I was a student at Texas Southern University opened up the world to radio to me. At first it was hard. I gave up basketball and girls for early mornings spent learning and filled with errands and late nights at the club doing promo work, while others my age danced the night away clueless to the responsibility that awaited them in the ‘real’ world. But the work paid off. Now lots of people know me. From H-town to L.A. and New York Man, I’m International like Yao Ming.
You might think that having ones name known is a pretty narcissistic achievement, with no value. I won’t argue with the narcissism. Look at me. Denzels like this don’t pop up every day (thank ya momma). On the latter point, however, I would have to disagree with you. From the earliest days I had a sense of what I was doing. I guess it was the notion that one man can make a difference that had been cemented into my brain by my parent’s, my idols and the naivety to believe that man could be me that propelled me on in my quest for fame. After all you can’t really make change if no one knows a’re there.
So, what’s my agenda now that I’ve reached the top? I want more. I’ve done a little good. Food drives, a children’s book, becoming the radio voice of the people in Houston and trying my best to keep my people laughing in these hard times. To really be effective, though, I’m going to have to take things to the next level.