What are you doing now in your community to influence positivity?
I try to live my life in a way that inspires people to think differently and have diversified ideas. I surround myself with people who represent growth and share a passion to leave a legacy of positive influence.
I know that I have a history that predates slavery…but the first thing people relate to black people is slavery, not knowing that there’s so much history and so much culture before all that that we lost touch with. The more we can the more we can become attuned to those things that we did before, the more we can see where we’re going and what we can do.
I think we all have a responsibility to our people, to our communities, and to the world. Just because I’m black, that doesn’t mean I can only speak to my community, I can inspire people all around the world.
At the same time, because I am this hue, I do want to focus on the people I see often getting the butt end of the stick. I created a company, ReelSCARS that could reach out and help a person that’s trying to build themselves up and have a voice in this world. We go out and do videography, photography, cinematography, build businesses, and build brands. We’re trying to bring ideas to fruition in a creative and engaging way, where people want to engage and pay attention.
What are some things we can all do to affect positive change?
I majored in sociology in school and I don’t remember much.
What I do remember is that your environment has a huge effect on the way you think, act, and behave. So if you have an understanding of that, you will be able to empathize with people better because you know that how they act and what they think is a product of their environment, what they grew up in.
However, now we have a huge amount of access to things on the Internet, so we really don’t have the excuse of not being cultured.
When I first went to college I was in a dorm full of athletes from all over. But then I went into the school year and met a lot of the other students for the first time, people mainly from Washington. I met a guy who told me I was the first black guy he’d ever met. I asked him why he had told me this and he said, “Before this, all I really knew about black people was what I saw on television, what I saw on BET, what I had seen on social media.”
At that point, he only knew what he had seen and unfortunately, a lot of what gets shown are the negatives or the fictitious things like reality TV. If that’s all you’ve seen, then you are going to be completely lopsided in your views on people of color. He said he was thankful to have met me. I could tell I was changing some of the things he had previously thought.
It happens all the time in places like that, and that’s okay. It was so cool that he was comfortable saying that to me.
What would you say to people who want to take action, but feel unsure what to do?
There are a lot of people that want to help but they don’t feel comfortable speaking out. Too often there are those voices that are saying, “Why are you speaking out, that’s not who you are.” Or “Why are you speaking out? It doesn’t affect you.” But that’s exactly why you should be speaking out because wrong is wrong no matter what color you are. So you should always speak out and make your thoughts heard if you want to make a positive change.
Improvement really starts with empathy and gaining a heart and understanding that we are all human…take a moment to talk to a person on a deeper level and understand them. Educate yourself a little bit more on the things that other people have dealt with in their life. We all go through a lot.
[…] Read Part II of LeAndre’s story here […]