In a time where we are still fighting for equality and justice, some still see the Black man as inferior and have determined that the killings of Black men by each other as well as law enforcement is not only right but good. Some see the Black man as dirty, lazy, conniving, worthless, etc. However, there are a limitless number of Black men who defy the labels that have been placed upon them. Some have very recognizable names. Others, not so much. Today, I honor a Tuscaloosa gem!

DeAndre X Dunn and his fiancee Golden Lee/ Facebook

DeAndre X Dunn made an impact upon me a few years ago. At a time when violent crimes increased, local resident Rosalyn Lawhorn held a forum entitled "Speak Up, Speak Out" to give area youth the opportunity to express themselves in a safe environment. They were able to discuss the issues that plagued their generation, which also gave parents a greater insight into their children's lives.

All attendees were given the opportunity to speak about their own life experiences. Some concerned citizens took advantage of the chance to show the youth how some of the things they face correlate with things older generations fought. I will NEVER forget the words of DeAndre X Dunn. He talked about the bad choices he'd made in life, how they affected them, and how he was working to be a completely different person. Dunn stated, "I'm trying to be something I've never seen: A good father, a good man."

That statement stuck with me. When he said it, my older brother and I said, "Wow!" That was so profound to me! I saw Mr. Dunn a few times here and there after that. Never uttered a word to the man, but I watched. At some point, we became Facebook friends. Then, I would check for his posts. Through them, I learned of his skill, innovative ability, his love for his children, his love for his fiancee, and his spirituality. Every now and then, I'd ask him a question or two. But even when we didn't communicate, I watched.

During the holidays, I didn't have much time to be online. Today, I was online and a video he recorded before Christmas came to my news feed. The concept is simple, but the message is one of the most needed in this society that doesn't appear to give second chances:



THEN, he followed that one with this one:


Mr. Dunn is proving on a daily basis that where there's a will, there's a way. In addition, his fiancee Golden Lee is to be applauded for her love, patience, and trust that allows him to be the man he desires to be. There's a lot all of us can learn from the both of them in regards to work ethic, defying the odds, and how to treat others to help them reach their maximum potential. Today, I salute Mr. Dunn and Mrs. Dunn-to-Be.