One of the most accurate commentaries I've ever heard to describe my life was by Will Smith during an interview with Tavis Smiley. In part, Will Smith said, "The only thing, that I see, that is distinctly different about me is I'm not afraid to die on a treadmill. Right. I will run. I will not be out worked, period. You know, you might have more talent than me. You might be smarter than me. You might be sexier than me. You might be all of those things you got it on me in 9 categories. But if we get on the treadmill together, right, there's two things: you're getting off first or I'm going to die. It's really that simple. ... You're not going to out work me. ... I say all the time, 'If you stay ready you ain't gotta get ready'." I have the exact same attitude. The only difference is I'm not afraid to die on my path or in a library. Over the last decade there are numerous goals I've reached and contributions I've made because of that attitude. Yet with that level of ambition, discipline and time appropriation, there comes many sacrifices. Many. An average day to me begins at sunrise and ends after sundown. In addition to teaching preschoolers during the day and pre-adolescents after school, my weekends consist of activities/events in and out of town. Even with all of this I'm still in my studio producing/recording music or working on articles, books, researching something or etc. Naturally people often ask me how am I able to do so much. Essentially, I'm just pretty good with my time.
I'm going to let you in on a little secret... In addition to time appropriation and having a strong brotherhood, one of the reasons I've been able to accomplish so much is because of the critical mass of women I am connected to and love dearly, starting with my young Queens Asiyah and Aziza. If it wasn't for their insight, guidance and support, especially when it comes to their critical analysis of other women, I would have fell victim to some BS a long time ago -like many of us men do. One of the craziest things I've seen men do is start denouncing all of the women in their life once they're in a relationship with one. Because of the life I lead I don't see the functional benefit in curving, cutting off or "acting brand new" with the women in my life simply because I'm in a relationship now. In fact, my Queen would have to genuinely appreciate these women, because she'll be joining a L.O.E.L. [League Of Extraordinary Ladies]. Not every woman is comfortable with this and I respect that. Some men, many men, aren't comfortable with a woman who has a L.O.E.G. [League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen].
When I meet any woman that I'm getting to know, the fundamental question I ask myself is, "What role does she play along my path?" Whether getting to know her evolves into exploring a potential companionship, business relationship or something platonic, I always debrief her about certain things that come along with my path, as I am also debriefed about certain things that come along with hers. In assessing those things, be it personality, profession, core values or principles, it's all about compatibility and congruence when it comes to exploring a potential companionship. I once met a woman who had two things to read in her home besides the mail. She lived in a city for almost a decade yet didn't know where her local library was. Although her profession, looks and sexuality may have been compatible and congruent with someone else, that, among other things, didn't work for me. I couldn't imagine being out in the public, or not being present, and someone asks her opinion about a project I've done, an article I wrote, book I published and she doesn't know what to say because she never saw it, cared to see it or didn't even know it even existed. This is not pride or self importance talking. I'm talking about a person not being genuinely invested in, an Ambassador of or defender of our legacy. Don't get it twisted, this goes both ways. If my Queen was an artist and she had various pieces she's working on, selling and displaying at galleries, I should know the ins and outs about that. I wouldn't want to drop the ball speaking to a person who appreciates the arts or an art collector looking to invest in her work. Of course my twenty-year-old immature self didn't think like this; I evolved and continue to grow. The worst part is some of us men never evolve to think like this and regardless of our path we're only interested in what a woman looks like, what she feels like and what that mouth do. Not a legacy.
As I grow, one of the most important things I've learned is that it's a better investment to share time with a potential companion along our path, not apart from it. Being apart from my path, there are women I've "crossed paths" with, or veered off of my path to share time with, that I don't even cross paths with anymore. Why? Because we crossed paths to begin with. We genuinely didn't share the same path nor were we headed in the same direction. Some of that time I enjoyed. With others, I know my time could have been better invested. Hell, some of them may think the same thing about me. Sharing time along my path means I've learned to invest time with women who are already going in the same direction. Going in the same direction doesn't mean if I'm an MC she got to have bars or we both need to be preschool teachers. I'm talking about sharing some of the same core values, a similar vision of the future and a tangible investment in a legacy. For example, I may work in the field of education, she make work in government, yet we're both pro-advocates for social justice. She may work in the entertainment industry, I may be a tradesman, yet we're both invested in community outreach and volunteerism. Our paths gotta be compatible and compatibility is about being congruent, not clones. We don't need to do the exact same thing, we just need to be headed in the same direction. When people cross paths, they are not going in the same direction. This doesn't mean that crossing paths is wrong or it won't last. Sometimes one or both people who cross paths may join their partner's path or they may choose a new path to share. That can be a very exciting and positive thing! The negative side of crossing paths is when either person tries to force someone on a path they didn't choose for themselves, even if they think or feel it's for all of the right reasons.
We all have our own expectations, boundaries and goals in regards to how a companionship should be and look like. Some things that work for others may not work for us. Some things will. As a public figure and one of the more visible representatives of the Five Percenters/Nation of Gods and Earths, there is a definitely degree of scrutiny that comes along with what I do, or don't do, that some don't even think about. As a Preschool Teacher, Author of over a dozen books and now a Human Rights Commissioner for my City, this further compounds that scrutiny. I have to be on point in ways that some could never imagine because they don't share my responsibility. My life is very different than working a 9-5 and then coming home to watch the ball game on T.V. If some dudes choose the wrong companion they can just change their Facebook relationship status and move on. If I choose wrong that would unquestionably affect thousands of people who trust my sense of discernment and see value in the things I consistently do. Over the last few years I've thought a lot about the level of scrutiny my Queen would have to deal with simply because she is by my side. There were some women I once took an interest in I knew would not be able to handle that when I saw how they consistently responded to being scrutinized by a handful of local people. They were overwhelmed. So I knew it would be more difficult for them to cope with people globally scrutinizing them, or coming for them, simply because she's my companion. This is often why you see certain public figures yet not their companion. Their companion is not in the public eye or all over social media to minimize the scrutiny of them, their companionship and the bullsh*t that will come along with that. Usually they were prepared for what to expect; debriefed and coached by public relations staff for how to handle being in the public eye and use social media. I never thought I would be in a place in my life where I would have to even consider things like that and I've only begun to accept that reality over the last few years. In accepting that, I also learned that it would only be right to share that responsibility with someone who is willing and able to positively represent, defend and add-on to our legacy. I, nor she, deserve nothing less than that.