One of the hardest things to do in America is growing up as a Black Man. You hear all the stories from every Hip-Hop artist and Athlete: ‘I grew up in a single parent household’, ‘my dad was not around so I had to raise myself’, and ‘the streets raise me so I hustle to survive’. The list goes on and on. These same young men use these excuses to act out. They embrace that type of “bad boy” image because it is cool or as long as corporate America can make money off the stereotype. We have a community of Black Males, claiming to “Keeping It Real”, when it should be “Keeping the Stereotype”. A Hip-Hop artist, who is highly intelligent from the Baltimore area, said that they would rather promote the THUG image of being nothing but drug dealers, womanizers, not caring nothing about anybody but that money. The reason why? “Cause that is what the streets want” was the answer. Are today’s young black males hopeless? The answer is NO. The problem is we need to embrace those who are about change and are role models.
Eric Randall, owner of BE-Z Clothing in Baltimore, you may have seen the shirts “BMORE LIKE US” popping up on social media sites like Facebook or perhaps around the Security Mall where he recently had his car club, Bowtie Boyz Auto Club showcasing cars. As you dig into Eric Randall’s past and you will see that this man should have become a statistic: Father was a drug addict, Mother left him behind to move to California, he was raised by his Grandmother and Aunt, friends were getting locked up and killed. How did Eric survive? “I owe a ton of gratitude to my Grandmother and Aunt. They helped me to see that it did not matter all the things that were happening to me that seemed negative, I could still be somebody” Eric proudly states. Those two women made sure Eric went to the best schools so that he could get a education. More importantly his family gave him a spiritual foundation. “Without God in my life, I would not survive. I am blessed to have the type of support from my family and God because it keeps me going even when I want to give up” says Eric. Not giving in to the stereotype. Does that mean that he has not made mistakes along the way? Eric added “I’m not perfect. I have had my ups and downs. Sometimes, I would jump ahead of what God had for me just because I THOUGHT it was the right thing to do”.
For example, Eric Randall attended College on Scholarship and was a 4.0 student; while starting his the clothing line and seeing flashes of success, he decided to drop out of college.”That was something that I wish I could take back. Education is very important to me and I share that with others when I speak at different youth groups.” There was also the time, when Eric, got so depressed where he committed himself for depression. Eric states “I just hit a really low point in my life and I was losing control. I needed help.” For many, they would have given up or resort to something destructive. Not Eric.”I have never been one to be hold grudges or to be angry. Even if they have done me wrong. I forgive and I keep moving. When I mess up I admit my mistake or try to correct what I have done wrong.”
With that focus attitude, Eric and his clothing line, BE-Z Clothing, have set off to make a difference.”When I started this brand with a few friends, we wanted to be about change here in Baltimore. Baltimore is more than the HBO TV Show “The Wire”. We are trying to bring the community back together through positive measures.” BE-Z Clothing Line sponsors’ artists, host parties, involve in charity, community activities, and of course fashion shows. Eric is also bucking another stereotype, “Many people think if you are into fashion, you’re a rapper, athlete, or not a straight male. I am none of those things. I just love fashion.” We could use more people who want to “BMORE LIKE” Eric Randall.