“Believe in yourself”

Within a climate determined to either stereotype the black man, make him invisible or erase him all together, three young mentors and businessmen share their stories of trials and tribulations and hopes for a shining future. Bakir (21), Omari (22), and Safee (23) are brilliant New Jersey natives striving and working hard in their respective crafts, determined to beat the odds. These young men have overcome self

doubt and demonstrate true strength of character. Together and individually they aspire to spread knowledge, offer guidance, shift perspectives and set their own standards on what it truly means to be a black man living in America. Rather than making downfalls the core part of their narratives, they want to share the keys on how they’ve reached success thus far and how others can too, motivating individuals not to settle. They believe the power lies within you and indulging in something you love. Bakir currently works for Panasonic, he’s earned a well deserved position as a Product Engineer.

Bakir is responsible for learning, managing, and presenting my assigned product line to customers. In addition to his position at Panasonic, he’s an entrepreneur, working within Stories We Tale, this organization which he operates with his father. His additional business is called The Cr8ve, which is an intermediary agency that sells the emotion behind the gift, “…think of it as the thought that drives every purchase.” Their goal is to grant people the opportunity to do something special for loved ones in a way that has never been done before. Bakir’s extended accomplishments include him obtaining his Bachelor’s degree from Villanova University in Mechanical Engineering. He’s a firm believer that there’s no such thing as failure, but rather opportunities to learn and improve. Abdus-Sabur says that with each “…downfall or low point you experience can be used as tools to help you grow further if you adopt the proper mentality.” A motto he tried to abide by is not letting upsets in life keep you stagnant. When Bakir was in high school, he was unfortunately met with a traumatic, unforeseen challenge, the incarceration of his father.

He had difficulty coping with the loss of a central figure in his life. The pain began to trickle down and manifested in Bakir’s behavior patterns ultimately leading to him slipping up while at Seton Hall Preparatory School. He was met with a wake upcall when administrators threatened to take away his academic scholarship if he didn’t show improvement. Although difficult, Bakir made the decision to push forward for his family and most importantly become an enhanced version of himself. After his father was released from incarceration, he was inspired by his ability to reform and it was then he realized further that he had no excuse not to achieve greatness. Bakir believes that true success comes when you’ve
accomplished something that’s ultimately greater than yourself. Cousins of Bakir, Omari Shakur and Safee Abdus-Sabur are both collegiate basketball players who have aspirations to take their talents to the professional realm. Omari Shakur is currently a senior at Wilmington University studying Business and Organizational Management. Along with his academics and athletics, Shakur holds his own clothing line Hustle Gear Clothing. The young entrepreneur impressively rose from selling apparel out of the trunk of his car to having the line carried in two retail stores in Bermuda. Hustle Gear abides by the acronym H.U.S.T.L.E. which Shakur says stands for How You Survive Through Everyday Life.

Shakur is driven by his own self motivation, his family, and not “entertaining negativity.” Even during instances where Shakur’s career was in jeopardy (having to sit out an entire basketball season due to knee surgery), he didn’t allow the setback to throw him off path and away from his goals. During this period he took advantage of his time and chose to incubate and work diligently on his craft, tinkering away at becoming a better player. Upon his return to the court Shakur was a more explosive player than ever. He hopes to take his talents overseas. Alternatively from
basketball, Shakur is striving to be financially free and reach his goal of becoming a millionaire by 24 with beliefs that his brand will expand far beyond where it stands now. He’s confident he will obtain other sources of wealth from all his resources. Trying times don’t keep him from
stopping “At the end of the day, good or bad I just lay down in my bed, meaning whatever happened throughout your day, good or bad it already happened. You made it to your bed and you’ll live to see another day. Live life!” Safee Abdus-Sabur currently plays hoops at Bloomfield College where he majors in Psychology. He ultimately aims to be a school psychologist. Currently his passion lies within working as a youth mentor and trainer in an after school program. Safee sees himself as a young man seeking to help and inspire as many individuals as possible. With his drive, confidence, and determination, he believes he will make the school’s Dean’s List come 2020.

Though confident and sturdy in his academics now, there were times when it wasn’t always so bright for the rising star. During Safee’s sophomore collegiate year, he fell behind in school and failed a business course, letting down himself and his family. He also let down his teammates when he had to be removed from the season where he was averaging 16 points and 4 rebounds. The following semester, he was met with jabs and shaking heads from those surrounding him regarding his academic and athletic disarray. The let down of those in his immediate circle was apparent and wasn’t easy to shake off, thus affecting his psyche. Safee admits his self esteem was lowering rapidly and he felt down on his luck. He admitted that he gave serious thought to throwing in the towel. It was a discussion with his father that served as an inciting incident to get his act together. He mentioned that his father told him if he quit, all his hard work would have been for nothing. He took his father’s words and transformed them into a high flame, bouncing back the following year by sky rocketing his grades up and his footwork on the court as well. He’s currently thirsting for the honor of being named Player of the Year in his conference.

“Every day I wake up, I know I’m giving whatever I’m doing 110 percent.” says Safee. In present day he continues to work on his athleticism. If his plans for pro-ball overseas don’t go accordingly, he will return back to school to pursue his master’s degree.These men serve as examples to others to expand your horizons and not let others put you in a box. With their resources, they’d like to encourage others to break free of society’s constrictions and go after whatever it is they’re hungry for. They also serve as living proof thatyou can control your individual reality and actualize your dreams with will, faith, and manifestation. When all three men were asked about advice to give others looking for success their answers all varied, but at the core pointed back to self motivation. We all have the capability to have our own success stories, it’s a matter of the actions and the steps we take in order to get there.

There is promise and opportunity for the black individual, no matter how much the world attempts to push back. Bakir encourages others to “…to never give up. No matter how hard or difficult the situation maybe you never know how close you are to achieving your goals but the moment you give up you’ll never know. Keep pushing, your dreams may be closer than they appear.” Omari states that “You can’t force everyone to believe in your dream. Believe in yourself and prove everyone wrong with actions,” while Safee offers to “Believe in yourself andeverybody else will follow.”

If you’re interested in supporting these men and their mission you can spread the word about Stories We Tale and give others the opportunity to share their success stories and keys for expansion.

Follow Omari’s clothing line @Hustle_Gear and subscribe to Hustlerz Paradise on Youtube.

Safee Abdus-Shabur encourages folks to send your children who love to play basketball to train with him and in turn for anyone seeking mentorship or a “big brother” figure.

Written by: By Corrine Jasmin

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