Tomorrow was one of those days that would scare the life out of me, but then I began to pray and the challenges and burdens became removable. When I first arrived in Grambling I thought of all the opportunities, dreams, and mountains I could climb, but most of all I became engulfed of how to evolve into who I am today. As tomorrow greeted me in the morning to rise for class I begin to see the wonders of Tigerland the charismatic environment that would bring me to where I am at the present moment preparing to walk the stage on May 10.
Even when everything goes great in college, I found myself transitioning from being complacent to beating on doors closed to other people. At times, GSU became the hardest place to survive and countless calls to my mother saying” God placed you there for a reason,” would mend the tears and prepare for a new day. After becoming a Gramblinite I joined the award winning Gramblinite student newspaper, two powerful mothers Joyce Dunn, and Wanda Peters, who both treated me like their own and scolded me for late deadlines and grammatically incorrect articles. What can I say 4 years later Room 112 became a second home and the Gramblinite became more than paper but an addition to my family tree. Walking through those doors, I knew where I belonged, and it took time to grow from an imaginative adolescent to leaving as a strong, challenging hardheaded man of God. When I wrote, it became a labor of love and frustration. From late nights glued to an apple desktop to the release of emotional endorphins that are still triggered when I gaze at my piece of work published. Even when life became challenging and I felt even I wasn’t progressing the Gramblinite always became a safe haven and a place where Austin became Mr. Richard. My love for fashion may not have been born here, but certainly opened the doors so the foundation of clothing would resonate within my nervous system.
When a place like the Gramblinite is considered home, friends start to become people you can’t live without but with seasonal visits. I will never forget Imani Jackson who is beautiful, lyrical, fountain of knowledge and thrifting connoisseur. Tiana Phillips my little bottle of fabulousness and keeper of photos and all things weave. Dasha Flournoy, who when I needed a pick me up I turned from shopping to listening to her big sister advice. Alaina Wood who is the modern ” Mary Poppins” and I truly believe that we are siblings reincarnated as fashion gatekeepers. Last but not least Shakari Briggs who continuously entertains my foolishness and intelligence, but lifts me up when I was ready to fall.
My sister Candice Dixon who knew that through every argument, cry, and my last hug that even though you’re over seas, you still lift me up to be the best I can be. You challenge me to look in the mirror and take responsibility our friendship is priceless. Now to my extended family, from late nights in that newsroom to countless musical videos, memories are only a click away. Kim Monroe, we met in choir, lived in Rolling Hills and became roommates all in one-year child I lived.
Ciley I thought when I left my first major I was getting away from one California’s best photographers I was wrong, I gained another friend who isn’t afraid to cry in public.
Kat Harris and Tierra Smith, you have grown into beautiful women who are brilliantly talented. Justin Madden even though we bumped heads I respect you as leader and cant wait for your future Oscar nomination. Last but not least, Jeremy who is without a doubt one who’s editorial gift is a true gift from God, always being there keep strong who will do great things.
As a Mass communication major I learned my true calling, writing was an outlet but GSU Television became my world as became a broadcaster a long with practice and hours of editing, recording and guidance. The Guru of Production and true genius of media Alan Blakeney, taught me how to grab life by the horns and create my own opportunity. Even though my dad is in another state and phone calls away. Blakeney became my dad away from home who still yelled and occasionally cursed to show he cares. Hands down his wife Rebecca bakes the best roast on the planet. I can’t begin to even fathom, where I would be without the Department of Mass Communication and Art.
Most of all I will miss soon to be Dr. Sandra Andrews Lee, who encouraged my blonde while pulling teeth to make me perform at my best in her photography class. People like her, Ms. Peters. Ms. Evans and Mother of Mass Communication Carolyn Cage, continue to see something inside of me that on my worst day I was blind too. Throughout my tenure here in Tiger land, the opportunity I’ve experienced is only given from God, and truly believe that he puts people in your life for a season and a reason. He also introduces angels who help you up and in return you see them take flight.
Brittney Scales, from the pageant world to finishing this journey together to the tears that will fall as we gear up for May 10, you are truly fabulous in your own right and deserve everything that God has for you. You’ve always accepting me for the man my mother raised and no matter what we go thru I’m always a shopping trip away. Danielle Amanda or my Melanie Fiona, no words, just hugs and with 24 hour inspiration, you always find room for me in your hectic schedule and I know you will make one-hell of teacher, cause I’m always ready to voucher as one of your students.
Twins, Whitney and Brittney who encourage me to perform and live as if I am the only one on earth who can slay the people lol Lord knows I love you and will always have room for you in my heart. As I pass the torch, I take the time to thank my NAACP family and Windy Calahan who I would never trade being chapter president and holding me up even when the road through detours.
I wish I could name everyone but Keisha, Desi, Kitta, Drella just know drinking session coming soon. Kariefa and Donneka, who give me vogue realness everyday the House of Pendavis draws life from your fabulousness.
I thank God for family and friends like Ms. Harris who’s love is God, “Rusty” Ponton and Uncle Ray for treating me like their own, last but not least Melanie Thomas who is the sassiest Delta but always made sure I was where I needed to be. I want to thank God for gifting me everyday especially tomorrow; because its not promised. To my Christian brother Seth I thank God for you bringing me to reunite with him, God truly placed you in my life when I was lost and for that I eternally grateful.
As I leave Grambling I refuse to say goodbye but Farewell, for in the future I will return with cubs waiting to grow into Tigers.