“Why Me?” This is how Ice Cube starts this song, and every time I hear that line, I laugh, because the first response that comes to my mind is “because you asked for this.”

When you work towards a goal, and then something bad happens, like a person getting murdered or dying, we often wonder “Why not me?” we wonder why we were so lucky. Blessed, prioritized. Statistically speaking I shouldn’t be here. I’ve said this repeatedly in the past.

By statistics alone, if you believe the story I’ve told you about myself, (and you should,) I should be dead, so why am I here?

Why am I the one that’s still here, when John’s on drugs, Dayon is in prison, and Jamie won’t get out until I have children – so you know, never. Why am I the one? Because I made different choices? Or because I got lucky? Because I had my mom, to be honest with you.

In the early years when the abuse happened, I became really good at blaming invisible boyfriends or lying outright about what was happening, but over the years my mom has had my back 100% of the way.

My mom, my friends, and the people that I have CHOSEN to have in my life are completely different than the people I grew up with.

The people I grew up with carried me through a lot of shitty shit, but they weren’t there for me when I needed them the most. I had to get myself through that awful night by telling every lie and being as crazy as possible, but I got through it and now I’m here, in this place that isn’t great but is better than what I had.

I don’t have money or fame, but I have the freedom to say things that people in America would be investigated for saying. I have the freedom to be myself, to be a mess, and to be honest with the world about what’s happening here in my country.

I’m here because I was born in Canada. Born anywhere else and my life might be very different if I had one at all.

All the things that you are, all the things that you’ve been through, brought you to this place that you’re in now, and if you don’t like it, you’ll hear a dozen people telling you to change it, but they won’t know how, because they can’t see what you can see.

Ice Cube decided, at some point, that he was going to be an OG, the Greatest Rapper, and the Best lyricist, he Decided.

Snoop, and Dre, all decided. They all made the DECISION to be bigger than life, to make sure that everyone knew their name and they worked for. However you want to split the hairs around it, you can’t deny that these Black men made the decision to be great, and went out of their way to prove it, repeatedly over the last 35 years.

Music used to be a way for Black enslaved folks to tell stories while they worked in the fields, it was also a way to pass messages from one part of the field to another so people would know how to escape when they were ready. Because escape WAS possible, and many thousands made the trek.

Music today is a reminder of what came before. You, because your ancestors toiled in the fields. You because your mama decided you weren’t going to die in the streets. You because you worked your ass off. You because you told God this is what you wanted.

You because you decided.

So first you decide.

Who, what, where, when, why, and how. That’s how I started LMBG. I decided I wanted to be this person, and I gave up a whole lot to be here, a lot of friends, a lot of love, and a lot of dreams, are no longer possible because I chose this, and what’s coming is a complete surprise to me, but it’s worth it because I finally get to be myself.

Once you’re done deciding, you move forward by taking steps toward making your dream come true. Maybe you don’t have an army to support you but I promise you have me.

Just like you do, if you want to.

Sending all my love,

Devon J Hall

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