We had the good fortune of connecting with wizeguyatl and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi wizeguyatl, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
It’s impossible to overstate how impactful our surroundings and upbringings are in shaping us into the adults we become. Our individual biases have much to do with the settings of our lives. My family is from Guyana in South America. I was born in New York and raised in Atlanta and I feel at home in all 3 locations. Coming up in an immigrant household inspired curiosity about other countries and places within me. Throughout my childhood I traveled to Guyana, Aruba, Mexico, and several islands in the Caribbean and visited family in New York every year until my teens. I credit my passion for researching and teaching history to those very experiences seeing the poverty stricken living conditions of people in third world countries. I wanted to understand how things could ever get so bad. New York, being the melting pot it is, offered me additional diversity in the characters I crossed paths with. New York embodied North American society in overdrive. The most densely populated, the tallest buildings, the widest variety of ethnicities, the busiest, the city that never sleeps. New York helped breed me to be tough and cunning enough to compete in a capitalist society, to run that rat race, to maneuver through the minefield of corporate America. This is knowledge and experience that has come in handy and aided me well into my adulthood at pivotal points in my life. It would have been hard to survive without it. Atlanta has historically been the intellectual capital of Black America: Booker T. Washington’s Atlanta Exposition Speech, Alonzo Herndon, the HBCU’s…Atlanta is the house that Dr. King built, the cradle of the Civil Rights Movement! That rich history and powerful energy is still felt today and it’s still a black mecca of intelligence and progress regardless of what other crowd might have the microphone. Not to mention the music scene and culture Atlanta is famous for. I’ve watched Atlanta transform from a quiet country city into another Hollywood. It’s an exciting place to be and feels more like home to me than anywhere else. On a final note, where we are from shapes us but it doesn’t have to define us. Tupac Shakur wrote a poem “The Rose That Grew From The Concrete” about life finding a way even in locations where that seems impossible. He was a rose that grew from the concrete, so was Hip Hop itself being born in the slums of 1970’s South Bronx, so were Malcolm X and Frederick Douglass both overcoming broken childhoods and horrendous conditions to become the best versions of themselves. As impactful as our environments are, YOU have the last say on who you are and choose to be! One Love!!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am an Emcee, painter and educator, all 3 of those are artforms. I’m fortunate to know many talented musicians with whom I make great music streaming on all platforms right now, search “wizeguyatl”. I also paint commissioned artwork and have a few pieces hanging up at local coffee shops, restaurants and other businesses in Altanta. Lastly, I teach at a homeschooling network in College Park named Kinder Gardens Academy where we teach agricultural sciences, self sustainability, creative arts and entrepreneurship to our students. I don’t know what sets me apart from others, other people who are familiar with me and my art would probably have to answer that since they get to see me from the outside looking in. Sometimes the hardest person to see in a room is yourself. I’m most proud of the fact that I’m turning my gifts into tangible things. All of us have gifts, the point of those gifts is to share them with each other and use them to uplift each other and the beauty of those gifts is that they give you gifts back when you use them. I pay bills through my emceeing, painting and educating, fans of my music tell me how they identify with certain songs and lyrics, the concepts we teach our students are transforming young minds at an alarming rate and all that makes my heart smile. Using your gifts makes life easier because when you use them, you’re walking in your purpose, aligned with your nature and because of this, doors will open up for you. Professionally, the 2 main ingredients to get where I am were will power and consistency. It also helps exponentially if you’re passionate about whatever your business specializes in. An architect who only wants to be an architect to make money won’t build anything as fascinating or inspiring as an architect who wants to be an architect because he has a burning passion for doing architectural work. If you’re pursuing a career or building a brand in a field you’re genuinely passionate and excited about, everything else will be easier because you won’t have to create the will power. If you love doing it, the will power will be with you 24/7. I’ve learned too many lessons along my journey to list them here but one lesson that’s been on my mind heavy lately is to leave room for spontaneity as we plan our days and fill up our day-to-day calendars. Life throws too many curveballs to plan everything to a tee. Still plan, but don’t close doors that may open for you because of an over commitment to making sure everything plays out the way you saw it happening in your head. I want the world to experience my brand and story through my art and tell me what they took from it!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Honestly, the answer to this question would vary depending on the friend. Different things would be a good time to different people but as for some of the things I find most fun, interesting, and exciting…I love museums, The High Museum, Dr. King Museum, Atlanta History Center, Botanical Gardens, Georgia Aquarium and other tourist attractions, Atlantic Station, riding my bike on the beltline, The Shakespeare Tavern, The Jimmy Carter Museum, The Center for Puppetry Arts, Magic Theater, Fernbank, Fox Theater, Gallery 992, Little 5 Points, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Stone Mountain, Arabia Mountain, the zoo, and many other places I’m sure I’m forgetting.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My mentor Brian Rock, 730 Vision, Out Da Trunk family, Kinder Gardens Academy, Erik & TJ