I am a rapper, singer, DJ, producer, community organizer, farmer, public speaker, and mentor with deep roots in the state of Ohio. Although I spent time away, I returned to Portsmouth, my hometown, for high school about the same time I started rapping. I’ve been going strong ever since, rapping, singing, making mixtapes, and DJing at clubs, which earned me the nickname, “Drew Carter the Party Sparker.” Coming together with a diverse crew of local lyricists, I started Fam Click, now one of the most popular underground hip-hop crews in the tri-state area. My interest in behind-the-scenes work led to the formation of World Sound Entertainment, a concert and party promotions outfit that helped get the underground scene started in southern Ohio. I organized the first rap battle in Portsmouth, was the first urban promoter to start throwing parties in the area, and I’ve performed at or run parties at just about every local venue in the tri-state area.
In college, as the President of AHANA student club and a Vice President of the International Forum, I helped to coordinate a joint effort, Books for Africa, with donations of student textbooks. I heard the call and went to help Habitat for Humanity rebuild houses in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. I also traveled to South America in 2005 and 2006, helping homeless families to start earning a living, find housing and register their children for health care and schooling. I graduated from Shawnee State University in the spring of 2007 with a degree in International Relations.
More recently, I have been cultivating my farming knowledge and engaging others throughout the community in the practice of homesteading—an experience I call “From the hood to the woods.” I share my home on the farm with goats, sheep, peafowl, chickens, alpacas, a rooster, a donkey, a cat and dog. I believe that everyone deserves access to healthy food options and to understand the complexities of food insecurity, so I cofounded an agricultural youth development program called Watch Me Grow Ohio. Participants visit my farm weekly throughout the summer engaging in the agriculture and entrepreneurship process while also learning to value quality above convenience—a lesson that will surely benefit them throughout their lives.
Using social media as a platform to hold difficult conversations and to provide access to critical conversations, I host regular Facebook Live sessions in Ohio and West Virginia that link people to resources and meetings that keep them informed about current issues and provide a space for constructive conversations.
Q & A
What makes more livable futures for you?
Growing up I experienced a lot of things that were unlivable – housing situations, drugs, and crime. But it got better; I don’t have to be around that now. It’s still a hard with student loans, especially having to work a full-time job in addition to my volunteer activities when I would rather be living in the present. Right now, I focus a lot of my efforts on the future and I forget to live in the present. But working on projects like Watch Me Grow, and seeing the impact it has on kids in my community, makes the future more livable.
What are you reading, viewing, listening to right now?
I just finished Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds by David Goggins. I like that Goggins took all of the hurt and pain and struggle of his life and used it to push himself. He thrives off of the pain and negativity that he experienced in his life. He reminds me of myself, (except more extreme) in terms of not allowing his past to determine his future. He has been through abuse and racism, things that would hurt a kid, but he used it for motivation to succeed and do the unthinkable.
I’ve been listening to and watching a lot of podcasts, learning different ways to communicate and engage with different people, listeners and viewers—like comedian podcasts and political podcasts. I’ve been listening to Joe Rogan, The Brilliant Idiots, Angela Rye, and Joey Diaz, who talks about growing up in the ‘70s and ‘80s. I’m trying to see what different generations and genres are doing in terms of style (like editing, and their studio environment)—what they’re doing to attract different numbers and viewers. I’m hoping to learn as much I can, but introduce something new and exciting through my own projects, like podcasts and Facebook Live conversations.
What practices are sustaining you?
I’ve been exercising more lately, and trying to be positive. I always feel like, if I have positive thoughts that they will turn to positive results, so I’m trying to be positive. I’m trying to treat people they way I want to be treated, meet good people, and be a positive influence. I get really excited about being able to share my farm with the community, and to see kids experiencing good things that I didn’t experience when I was young. The negativity in the area can be overwhelming, but with Watch Me Grow I’m getting to meet a really different community and a positive community—people with good dreams like us.