This year, 2023, August specifically, is celebrated as the 50 years of hip hop. And I wanna talk about how hip hop has influenced Solution Focused Brief Therapy, and how hip hop has influenced me, and the culture of hip hop.

I wanna start by saying how honored I was. I got to participate in an iHeartRadio event honoring the 50 years of hip hop celebration. And for me, it was one of the greatest privileges I’ve had in my whole life, because hip hop has influenced me in a massive way.

Growing up the way I grew up, I didn’t have a ton of confidence. In fact, my confidence was torn from me, going through really difficult abuses and really difficult attacks. And it was hip hop where I found confidence. If you ask me who is my favorite hip hop artist or rap artist, I would tell you Jay-Z, because Jay-Z influenced me to be confident more than any other thing at a time when I really needed it.

I would listen to his music, and he would talk about how he was the greatest rapper alive. And he would talk about it in a braggadocious way. People hear that as arrogance. And it’s not really arrogance. The system was designed to hold us back. You gave us every obstacle, all the handcuffs, everything. And we still found a way. And I used to hear that as a child, as a young person, I would think I wanna be that confident. I gotta develop those skills. Little did I know that I would need that confidence and that internal strength to navigate the professional world that I would one day become a part of.

Hip hop taught me to stand up for myself. Hip hop taught me that my culture is beautiful. Hip hop taught me that I can think of myself in positive ways, and I can be confident in what I can do and who I can be.

Hip hop taught me that it’s okay for me to have my own thoughts. It’s okay for me to stand out. Hip hop taught me that I have every single right to do, and be, whatever I could achieve, because that’s really what hip hop is all about. It’s about self-expression and confidence and finding a way.

I think a lot of people not familiar with hip hop culture, think about violence, and they hear rap music and they don’t understand. But really, hip hop is where I learned really important life lessons. And it’s influenced me to influence the Solution Focused world. Without these lessons, I don’t know how I would’ve navigated the hardest parts of my career when I had to deal with judgment, or when I had to deal with racial bias. I had to deal with bigotry and racism within my field.

I don’t really believe that I could have made it. I think the field didn’t know what to do with a black person showing up and owning and honoring his blackness. I don’t think the field knew what to do with someone who showed up, who had courage, who had strength, who had confidence, who had their own ideas and every intention to pursue them. And the field tried to beat me down and hold me back. And because I come from a culture that hasn’t been held back, or at least the attempts to hold back weren’t effective. And we found a way through, that became my nature as well.

So I’m so proud to be someone that comes from the hip hop culture that influences the way I drive, the way I dress, the way I walk, the way I talk, the way I everything. It influences absolutely everything about my life. And it influences how I teach Solution Focused Brief Therapy, and how I talk about what we do.

It influences how I was able to stand up for myself and be the person that I authentically want to be. It influences me because I think that’s what the world should be, a pursuit of authenticity and being who you are. I think that at the root, that’s even what therapy is about.

When someone comes to therapy, they’ve been through a difficult thing, or they’ve got a pain that is interrupting their ability to be the version of themselves that they want to be. And if I do my job really well, it helps them overcome those challenges and become exactly who they want to be. And I think that is the essence of psychotherapy. I think that is the essence of Solution Focused Brief Therapy. And I think that is the essence of hip hop.

So it’s cool. Hip hop is now 50 years old. 50 years ago there was a party in the Bronx, and that is kind of known as the birthdate, birthplace of hip hop. And now all these years later, it’s influencing all over the world. I’ve talked to some of these artists, like LL Cool J, they thought it would just be just something they did in their neighborhood, and now it’s influencing all over the world, including Solution Focused Brief Therapy.

So thank you for all of you who support me and allow me to be my authentic self. And I hope I’ve said something to inspire you to be your authentic self. Hip hop or not, I don’t care, I just want you to be the best YOU, you can be.

Hip Hop helped me become the best me, I can be. I’m so thankful for it. And I hope something I’ve said, some piece of content I created has helped you to be the best YOU, you can be too.

Love y’all. Thanks for watching this video.