Although you may be wondering, what the hell is he talking about now, rest assured, I shall make my case. To create a point of stability that would be easy for us to build on is critical, so we start with football. Both Forrest Gump and I played for major D1 schools, Alabama and USC, respectively. We both visited the White House. But it’s how we got to football that’s similar.
Forrest couldn’t use his legs and I couldn’t properly use my tongue. This put the both of us in the crosshairs of bullying and teasing…and we all know how brutal kids can be. Being unable to fully use my body gave me an added level of awareness and perspective. When you don’t talk very well, you better be able to listen and understand everything around you, so I did. Forrest was discovered running away from bullies, me, I discovered my abilities while playing against the friends that made life rough. Playing football was the only time they were really nice to me, the only times where I felt included. But for the both of us, Football was a training ground for our values and principles.
Forrest, selflessly braved danger to go find Bubba and in that process saved many a people, including Lieutenant Dan. Forrest was being of service to others. I personally feel that this is a result of having to overcome adversity at such an early age. To win that early victory, you overcome yourself. Something many don’t have to do until much later in life. So when faced with a chance to choose himself or others, he chose others. Putting his very life on the line. He was in war. I too am at war. With poverty.
For some reason, I like Forrest feel the need to run back in. In making it pro, I made it out the Combat Zone to safety. But 10 years later, I’m back home. Running back into the combat zone, because like Forrest, I feel that If I can save a man, I have to to try.
When Bubba died, Forrest honored Bubbas idea and followed through on his word with BubbaGump shrimp. Forrest took care of Bubbas momma, the way Bubba would have. Bubba made his dreams clear and Forrest believed in him and them. In this instance, Dr. King is Bubba, his life, a call to action. Like Forest, I seek to honor his vision. A vision of Black progress and a culture of Black Excellence. So I created Milk and Soul, a frozen dessert cafe rooted in Black culture to begin an economic and social turn around. So, childhood difficulties, football, service and entrepreneurship are the commonalities. My favorite similarity is the investment in technology.
Forrest invested into Apple at the very early stages prior to it dominating the world. Nobody knew then what Apple would be now, but the point is quite clear. He took a risk, one that paid off. My investment into tech, is in SmartFit, a revolutionary cognitive focused technology company that has the potential to truly and legitimately change the world. I don’t know what the future holds, but being involved and helping build and grow the company has been a joy. A joy to know, that somewhere, someone will benefit from the work we do today.
I also have the amazing gift of marrying my childhood best friend, coming full circle. My entire life I wondered what would’ve been , if we could’ve been something more when we were older. We happen to be at that age now. And I’m happy to have my best friend back in my life. She’s always made me feel safe, loved and understood. For that, we need more than a lifetime. But a lifetime is all we have.
Forrest has always been an inspiration of mine. For some reason, I never cared about how people thought him stupid. I loved how he tried. He did what he could, even when it wasn’t convenient for himself. But his uncanny ability to accept the life is a box of chocolates conundrum that life throws at all of us, is admirable. You gotta be ready for it all and be ready to do it with purpose.
The Black Forrest Gump