In late 2015 I received a message on Linked In from a gentleman by the name of Bruce George (Read more about him here). He had come across my Linked In profile and felt that I was a great fit for a movement that he started called "Genius is Common". I 'll be honest, when we spoke and he asked me what the words "genius is common" meant to me and I was a little offended at first. The phrase was thought provoking and really made me check myself. I thought that the title of "genius" was one that had to be earned. You had to be beyond smart and talented with supernatural abilities that most other people don't have. It turns out that Bruce George thinks I'm a genius, he thinks that everyone else is a genius too. I, like everyone else have been brain washed to believe that genius is some exclusive category. The truth is, it's an elitist word with a false definition. My genius happens to be art and inspiration, I've learned that in the last few years.
(Bruce George during his time at Def Poetry)
What gifts have you been blessed with? What are you really great at? You usually know early on in life but not always. My passion has always been in art, teaching and helping others; I happen to be really good at all three. In 2015 I was given multiple oportunities to teach after school enrichment in three completely different programs. All of the kids have different backgrounds and experiences. Some are right brainers and some are left, all are very different. Teaching is a very difficult job because not only do you have to always consider safety first, you also have to get familiar with each personality and find what works best with each. I watch them create and am continuously amazed at how gifted they are without even knowing.
(Guiding a group of students at Eli Whitney through an anti bullying mural, 2012)
I have a friend named Joy who is so creative that she can build something out of nothing; she actually recently won first prize for turning trash into fahion for a traveling fashion show. Another very close friend, Shanna is a phenomenal poet and writer, so phenomenal that she leads a writers group, runs a local poetry venue which is going 11 years strong, travels all over to perform and was named the Ambassador of Poetry at a local college. My friend and studio partner Janelle paints, makes jewelry, designs logos and web sites,makes clothing...I can keep going but you get the idea. My brother Brian builds web sites from scratch manages some of my social networking, edits my blog and he's an amazing body paint model. My daughter Teyana creates beautiful sketches of the human body out of her head. My sun (son) builds really cool things from scratch that make me scratch my head sometimes but he builds them nonetheless.
(Standing with some phenomenal women at the Phenomenal Women Panel event by Marouge Publicity, April 2016.
The point is, you are a genius and so is everyone you know. We need to encourage each other to really tap into the things that we are best at and bring them into the world. Imagine the deprivation we would go through as a people if some of the following geniuses listened to their doubts:
Martin Luther King Jr.
The teacher who never gave up on you
The friend who pushed you beyond your limits...The list goes on but you get the point.
Learn more about the Genius is common movement here! It's a movement that is growing daily and having a tremendous impact on many communities. Become a part of the movement.
Visit the Genius is Common web site to learn more about the movement and what you can do to join. There is also apparel avalable there and lots of videos with people around the globe sharing their genius.
Genius is Common apparel with my art work coming soon!
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