1. What inspired you to want to start sharing your story with others?
I thought that it was a story which needed to be shared. It's not only a story about the streets but also about the journey. How does a young kid get there, and then once he or she arrives at that place, how do they return to where they need to be? How do we pull them back in from the streets and a road to greatness?
2. In writing your book, what did you find most difficult about the process?
The editing was the toughest obstacle. Being comfortable enough to allow others to make changes to your work is very challenging, especially when it is your personal story. How can you edit your life? It can be stressful, but it's also a necessary part of the process to make your book readable.
3. In addition to helping others, do you feel that writing about your experiences has helped you, too?
Of course. Writing has been therapeutic for me. It's helped me get rid of the baggage I was dealing with. It helped me grow as a person and as a man. Writing has also helped me better understand the role I played in many of the bad situations I've encountered in my life. Reflecting and putting to words was a powerful exercise in healing and making amends, hence the title "Lessons Of Redemption".
4. Would you tell us a little bit about The Mario Do Right Foundation and how you became involved in this project?
The Do Right Foundation is a nonprofit which focuses on substance abuse prevention education. In 2007 MTV came to Baltimore specifically to film a piece on my business partner who is in the music business. The piece was highly successful and drew 4,000,000 viewers once aired, and focused on his mother's heroin addiction. MTV actually suggested that we should start a foundation to support children of addicts. My partner asked me to help build the organization, and we became partners from there. I became the co-founder, working diligently to grow an organization which could have a real impact. We wanted to support children struggling from the negative effects of their parents and addiction.
5. If you knew that a youth in crisis--or the parent of a youth in crisis--were reading this right now, what might you say?
Find them help immediately and don't waste time. Don't hesitate and don't second guess yourself. If you think something is abnormal, more often then not you are probably right. There are tons of resources online for substance abuse and mental health.