Kwanzaa Day 6 - Kuumba: Creativity

Updated: Jan 28

Kuumba: Creativity - To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.

Anyone who knows me knows about my best friend Deandre. He committed suicide on April 14, 2010, so this coming year will be 10 years without him. We only knew each other for about 13 years before this happened so soon there will be a time where it’s been longer without him than with him. I’ve detailed this in past works on my former blog and even on my Facebook page so I’ll try not to dwell too much on it now (April and October will be here soon enough for that.) I bring it up today because his death pushed me to live and I literally feel like he traded his life for mine. I had been suicidal myself for years and like many people now, I battle bouts of depression from time to time. Even after having my oldest daughter I thought of going through the process and ending it all but in all honesty, I figured I would be doing him a disservice. I figured Dre would never forgive me in life if I did it and left him alone, so I never went through with it as close as I got. About a year before he did it himself, I told him that he was basically saving my life and when he told me he wanted to die, I told him that I was going to do all that was in my power to save his. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough and he took final breath that April day.

However, when he did this, I realized I couldn’t kill myself. One of my driving forces was to make sure he stayed alive but now that he was no longer here, I had to make sure that the world knew he was at some point and he made an impact on my life and the lives of others. Before he passed, I hadn’t recorded any new solo music in a couple of years and the first thing I did was start working on Dre’s Tape, my 2 EP tribute turned compilation album. I found a guy to help me record who ended up being a MAJOR help in my recording going forward and a phenomenal friend, and people helped out in different ways to pull the project together. A (low budget) video was shot and each April (the month he died) and October (his birth month) I make sure to post it to make sure people hear a little piece of what he meant to me, especially at that time. I also started advocating more for suicide prevention and people getting more into mental health services and therapy. I’ve always wanted to work in that field but his death was a catalyst for a bigger mission within my life to try to help others. Dre’s death was the worst thing to happen to me, hands down. It also is the single event that also saved my life, kept me in my daughter’s life, and then helped me to create my second child a little over a year later. Dre helped to make my world more beneficial and beautiful than the way he left it.

Everyone has different ways of expressing themselves creatively but I think there should always be something positive that comes from it. Even if what you create doesn’t serve some sort of bigger purpose like selling what you make or making some grand statement, your creativity should do something good for YOU. That means easing your mind, calming your nerves, and from there, making you a better person to serve your own community. I jumped back into music, others will paint, some will write novels, some will run for office, and some people might just make memes. Whatever works, just do it. This year I plan to create more but for the purpose of making things better. As stated in previous installments, I want to help my friends, my family, myself and those I’ve yet to meet or may never meet. But I don’t want to make things to be incendiary. I don’t want to rile people up only to be angry, I want to make people think about what’s going on around them and infect change. Change sometimes occurs by fire and then will come roses. Those roses are beautiful and will help the next line of people see the future more clearly.

I always say I never try to speak for Dre because he’s not here and didn’t want to be. However, I will use what he instilled in me to make things better. I hope you will, too.