Stars Making A Social Impact: Why & How Mr HUBB of The HUBB Arts & Trauma Center Is Helping To…

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Stars Making A Social Impact: Why & How Mr HUBB of The HUBB Arts & Trauma Center Is Helping To Change Our World

I believe that individuals, society and the government can do a better job supporting the smaller grassroots organizations that are on the frontline making a difference. Too many times we are overshadowed by the usual large organizations that have no clue on how to assist us but know how to write it as if they are doing so. Most times they bring the grassroots organizations to the table and give them pennies for the hard work after receiving humongous payouts due to their infrastructure and longevity.

As a part of our series about stars who are making an important social impact, I had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. HUBB aka Al-Tariq Best.

Growing up in Newark, NJ, Mr. HUBB aka Al-Tariq led a far from semi-charmed life, from the age of nine, Al-Tariq was making music as an outlet. After a life-altering event at the age 17, Al-Tariq traded in his music career and pointed more towards social reform. He formed FP YouthOutCry Foundation, (Not-for-Profit 501c3) today legally doing business as The HUBB Arts & Trauma Center in Newark, NJ. H.U.B.B. stands for “Help Us Become Better.” While his 9000 square foot, Mayor-Appointed “Center of Hope” focuses on arts & trauma recovery, Al-Tariq, known now as Mr. HUBB to Newark and surrounding cities’ youth, utilizes the arts to save the lives of others the way music saved his. His latest venture ThatHUBBLife ENT, LLC is a socially responsible Entertainment, Networking and Therapeutic company that will introduce a roster of new talent, releasing their music, but also making sure that they’re prepared for the road ahead in an otherwise unforgiving music industry.

Thank you so much for joining us on this interview series. Can you share with us the backstory that led you to this career path?

I appreciate you for having this platform to get a deeper look into what most audiences do not get the chance to ever find out. The backstory that led me to this career path has been a roller coaster ride of poverty, trauma, victimization and an amazing will to survive…no matter what.

I must first say thank you for all of God’s blessings to still be able to testify how good God has been to me. I grew up in Newark, NJ in a broken home by a strong, God-fearing, single mom. I have seen a lot of things and been in too many situations that a child just shouldn’t have been in or witnessed. Luckily, I was blessed with the ability to rhyme and put poems and songs together. That was my saving grace because it allowed me an artistic way to express my innermost thoughts and feelings that always seemed to hurt whenever the thought of speaking out loud would even enter my mind. Almost every incident that I had ever encountered or experienced found its way into a song or a poem. I believe God gave me the talent to convey in writing so that one day I would be able to turn my tests into testimonies.

I lost a lot of family to AIDS and tragedy. My grandfather was murdered and stabbed 46 times as he fought his assailant from the second floor to the front door of the only stable house that me and my brothers called home. This house was also a place where I watched my Dad hit and drag my mom and when I questioned his actions, I found that I was not off limits to the abuse. My father slapped me so hard that his handprint was present as a welp on the right side of my face. I tried to fight back with a pool stick and then a butcher knife. My mom, while crying from being hit herself, saved my dad’s life that day and in hindsight she probably saved my life as well! I often think about what if she had not stood in between us…where would I be today? How different would my life be? I swore to my dad that day that if he had ever put his hands on me or my mom again, I would kill him. I was only ten, but I meant every word. So much trauma happened in this house, but we survived it once mom finally got the courage to leave my father.

Things didn’t get better once we moved because my mom found herself in a way worse abusive relationship with a man who had a drinking problem and nearly beat my mom to death on so many occasions. Me and my brothers would fight this man and wake up the next morning with him back in the house and with my mom cooking and apologizing to him as if she needed to be forgiven. As a child, I never understood it. In fact, it made me very angry because I loved and adored my mom and always felt that she deserved more than what she was allowing herself. Mom would still always praise God even when this man had totally violated her. This went on for years and me and my brothers were affected mentally by this. We all grew up accepting abusive relationships as love because that’s what we were taught. These behaviors followed us into our adult lives and my mom has a lot of health problems today that no one can tell me that some of it doesn’t stem from the beating she took earlier in her life.

Outside of the home, I hung around with all the young people that my mom told me was bad news. I seemed to fit in with them easily since I had anger built up and I was able to understand their anger and pains without judging them. I was accepted in those crowds but prayerfully was not allowed to participate in certain negative activities. The dealers and hustlers would always have these deep conversations with me and school me on life. I was always told that I was talented and had too much to lose.

All through Jr High and High School I was a neighborhood celebrity when I showcased my ability to put songs together. I used to battle rap in the local clubs with the likes of Naughty by Nature, Lords of the Underground etc.,. I was the leader of a Jersey group called Da Hangmen and I had developed a group of artists coming out of NJ called FIGA PHAM with our own studio in East Orange and a following that was growing from a single we had called “Hood Love”. I was mentored and managed by Barry L. Roberts who was VP Marketing & Promotions for WEA (Warner/Elecktra/Atlantic). Barry was responsible for big artists such as Keith Sweat, Anita Baker and Silk and he had me do songs with Shinehead and Chubb Rock. We performed many summers down in Miami for WinterFest and the Jack The Rapper Family Affair Music Conference in Atlanta. As life would have it, I had a perfect opportunity for success that was completely short lived. I was featured on Soul IV Real’s last single “Come See Me”. After weeks of hearing Funkmaster Flex and other DJs constantly playing my verse that started the song off, I just knew it was finally my turn for stardom. Unfortunately, something happened with the singing group “Soul IV Real” and the single was pulled off the radio. It felt like my dreams were shattered.

My big break in the music industry just never really came, so when the bs happened with Soul IV Real I think I had been so deflated that when this traumatic situation in Newark happened with me and my sons it literally changed my life forever. I pretty much gave up on the music business and dedicated my life to making my community a better place for my children to grow up in!

It has been said that our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I think the funniest mistake I made that became a great teaching tool for me was that as an adult I thought I knew it all to help the youth just because I had survived Newark. When I first started my organization, I was dead set on being the answer to my Son’s question about making a change in my community. My very first program 16 years ago was MTOL (My Thoughts Out Loud). I had this idea that I would give youth an open floor to talk about the issues that they were dealing with in communities like ours. MTOL became this weekly, nonjudgmental youth forum that went from community to community with the intentions of entertaining, educating, and empowering the youth. The funny mistake was that the first couple of MTOLs I hosted I went in with other adults and had it all planned out what we were going to talk to the youth about, how we were going to do it and what the result was going to be (as most adults do).

I learned very quickly that our youth were going through traumas and situations far worse than we ever imagined as youth. The youth had way more access to information than we were ever privy to, and it made a difference in how they viewed life. A youth had told us that we had to listen to them in order for us to truly assist them. Again, from the mouths of Babies, my whole thought process changed and from that day forward up until present day, we let the youth lead the MTOLs and we, as the adults, are there as a bridge for support from our experiences and expertise. MTOL has lasted nearly 17 years and has taught me and my staff so much that now I listen to understand and comprehend rather than hearing to respond!

What would you advise a young person who wants to emulate your success?

Today I advise young people who often say to me that they want to emulate my success, that they need to understand that there was nothing pretty or easy about the road that I traveled to get to where I am. I encourage therapy and peeling back layers if there are any issues that they have been avoiding or just haven’t identified with. Healing is a process and more times than not if you grew up or are growing up in underserved populations where poverty exists, then you have experienced some trauma. I am vulnerable enough to explain some of my traumas from a trauma-informed lens, so they feel comfortable enough to explore the possibility that maybe something happened, even if it didn’t. However, I am always continuing to push the idea that the world is your playground and that you can achieve anything that you are willing to put the work into to achieve. Perceive it, Believe It, Then Achieve It as my mom taught me when I was 5 years old. It stuck with me all these years. I live by it and I teach it to anyone that will listen.

Is there a person that made a profound impact on your life? Can you share a story?

I feel like if I am going to talk about a person who made a profound impact on my life then it would have to be my mother, Jacqueline Foster. I chose my mom because of her resiliency and her belief in God. Throughout everything that life has thrown at her since I was born, I have watched her cry some tears, praise God and get back to working and taking care of her family.

Since I can remember, my mom was in abusive relationships even with my biological father. I am the middle child of 3 brothers and my brothers also gave my mom a rough ride. My mom was the oldest of 8 siblings to which she became their go to as a mom as well, because of my grandmother’s drinking issues and health problems.

My mom never stopped praising God and raising us on cliches. She has always pushed us to chase our dreams and to work hard. Mom was the neighborhood mom because all of our friends were able to come over, get fed, get a Word and get a hug. I watched how my mom would mother the children everyone would label as the bad kids. Those labels given by society didn’t matter to her. In her eyes they were just misunderstood and needed some love. As we grew older, all of our friends from all of the different places we lived were considered her children and they all called her their mom too.

I watched my mom, with all her health issues, struggle to work 2 jobs, help us with our homework, deal with my brothers and friends who often got into trouble, and also deal with abusive relationships…one after another. She would always say that we are supposed to treat others the way we want to be treated, no matter how they treat you. She would also say that when it was time to meet God that You only have to answer for what You have done so to always treat people right. It’s like she saw the good in everyone even when they didn’t see it in themselves. Mom was always doing for others even at her job with Newark Housing Authority, where she started out as a janitor, then a repairwoman, then because of her relationship with the people she found her way into the offices working with the property managers as their executive assistant.

My mom is now 69 years old and for the last 20 years she has had an insurmountable amount of health issues and has been bed-ridden for the last 5 years, however she continues to praise God and manages her family as if nothing is wrong even though we all know that the Lupus is excruciating pain from the inside out and in dialysis 3 days a week! I know that I have said a lot this far, but I wanted to point out one other factor about my mom’s resilience that strikes to the core. My mom has been married for the last 31 years and my stepfather unfortunately stepped out of the marriage and a child was conceived from the infidelity. My mom took in the newborn and has raised the child as her own and as our brother. He just graduated and off to college as an 18-year-old basketball hero for his high school. Through all her hurt and pain she still found love in her heart to raise another child so my brother wouldn’t be a product of the system!

She is my true Sheroe and I believe her teachings and living life the way she did made me who I am to my community and why my work ethics are always on point to achieve regardless of any obstacles. I learned how to be obedient to serving God’s People!

How are you using your success to bring goodness to the world? Can you share with us the meaningful or exciting causes you’re working on right now?

Many of the friends I grew up with didn’t survive the storms of poverty as I have. When I think about success, that is the first thing that comes to my mind. I made it to 18, then to 25, then to 30, then to 45 and till now! Where I come from that is a huge success story and I live my life everyday remembering that I am blessed to still be here. My mom also used to say that “Every day that God blesses us to wake up with an able mind becomes a chance to get things right,” so I live with intentionality to make a difference in this world.

From the mouth of my baby, my life was changed forever! I am now the Founder and CEO of The HUBB (Help Us Become Better) Arts & Trauma Center in Newark, NJ. The HUBB ATC started nearly 17 years ago and has utilized a three-pronged approach, Entertain, Educate and Empower, to identify and address the impact of violence and victimization in communities. Through arduous cultivation and subsequent implementation of alternative therapeutic engagements, The HUBB ATC has provided a robust array of intergenerational programs throughout the five wards of Newark, NJ. We utilized cutting-edge technology and expression, through the arts, to help participants heal from complex traumatic experiences. Our approach focuses on the deployment of supportive and comprehensive creative environments across the artistic spectrum. Our center is equipped with state-of-the-art recording and radio/podcast broadcasting studios, a photography and video production studio accompanied with computers; all created to facilitate interactive activities for youth and their families.

Our proven success in assisting the youth and families of Essex County has led to the expansion of our services, and the creation of the very first Youth-Focused Trauma Recovery Center in Newark, NJ. The completion of the center will culminate in the opening of the first emotional Youth-focused TRC on the east coast. Here The HUBB Youth-focused TRC aims to assist participants in transforming from victims of trauma to triumphant survivors of their traumas. The HUBB Youth-focused TRC meets participants where they are in their healing journey utilizing trauma informed, victim, and art therapy services. Our goal is to assist survivors with trauma who are committed to establishing their individual healing journey, those who are willing and able to fine tune their life’s purpose and promote the goal of increasing survivors’ access to trauma-informed, evidence-based, culturally responsive, and competent effective services. The center is committed to providing Education about trauma and its effect on youth and families; to Entertain their spirits and hearts through artistic therapeutic interventions; and Empower their families to heal from trauma and become triumphant over victimization. The HUBB ATC and The HUBB Youth-focused TRC will continue to increase culturally appropriate healing services in Newark, New Jersey as a Mayor appointed “Center of Hope.”

As the leading arts organization in Newark that addresses youth trauma through the Arts, The HUBB ATC developed our CBVI (Community-Based Violence Prevention) program to utilize strength-based methods to cultivate the natural leadership abilities of justice-involved youth by providing training that will prepare them to serve as youth High Risk Interventionists (HRI) and Credible Messenger Street Outreach Teams, thereby enabling them to participate in their own transformational healing. The arts therapy programs include music production, audio engineering, sound recording, artist development, music business, radio broadcasting, podcasting, video production, photography, editing, social media training and other art modalities.

By using cutting-edge technology and expression, through music and other arts, participants begin to heal from complex traumatic experiences. With the support of Trauma Social Workers experienced in trauma-informed care, these youth then become highly skilled in conflict resolution, trauma-informed care, motivational interviewing, Teen Mental Health First Aid, social media, and much more to help them address their own trauma and cultivate them as credible Community Messengers. These trainings enable youth to recognize conflict and intervene to prevent violence among their peers, while directing peers to The HUBB ATC for enrichment services, case management, and therapy which staff believe will transition youth away from problematic behaviors and directly impact the rate of violence and crime in the area. This unique outreach welcomes young people and their family units into our wrap-around services and arts and culture-based programming, offering life skills, trauma healing and restorative justice, as well as system navigation support. Youth go home to a family and the staff at The HUBB ATC understand that, in order to help the program participant, it is important to respond to the needs of the family. Participants trust and engage with The HUBB ATC because we have an ‘open door’ policy with a ‘no judgment’ zone, which removes the stigma around trauma informed care, housing needs, and/or mental health services. We believe in honoring human dignity to build trust and support within the community.

The HUBB ATC has identified an important gap in service within the City of Newark. The HUBB ATC asserts that all youth living in underserved communities, experiencing trauma, and witnessing violence are “at risk”. In 2022, the NJ Office of the Attorney General (OAG) funded us to increase the level of service provided to under-served youth and their families. The HUBB ATC wanted to ensure that youth that were “at-risk” with a lapse in protective factors would not transition to “high-risk youth. We strategically identified youth that are “at risk’ and ‘high risk” to provide deeper support service.

The HUBB ATC empowers our youth with tools to repair their community while healing themselves (saving their own lives). We train youth in conflict resolution, trauma-informed care, motivational interviewing, Teen Mental Health First Aid, social media, peer mediation, and more to cultivate youth as Credible Community Messengers/High-Risk Interventionists. Those youth are now essential agents in the community who demonstrate they are Credible Messengers. Our youth are leading other youth in the community. They also are providing other youth an opportunity to prevent, intervene, and develop recovery strategies for their peers. The HUBB ATC programming is different from other CBVI programs because we include the arts in our trauma-informed therapies.

The HUBB ATC encourages youth to recognize conflict and intervene to prevent violence among their peers while shepherding peers to our Central Ward location for enrichment services, case management, and therapy. This method has assisted our youth intro transitioning problematic behaviors to demonstrating coping skills which directly impact the rates of violence and crime in the area. To ensure we were working in the best areas to support our youth, The HUBB ATC created maps that identified areas of high violence, criminal activity, and gang activity. With our unique approach, we created “Hot Spots’’ within each ward of Newark. We used our strength-based methods to cultivate a Youth High-Risk Intervention Team.

The results from Newark Public Safety Collaborative (NPSC) show that our CBVI intervention is making an impact in Newark. With our focus on the Central ward, we have seen the largest positive changes in homicide and aggravated assault. From Jan 1 to Nov 2 year over year comparison, homicides were down 54% and aggravated assaults were down 16% in the Central Ward. In contrast, during the same time homicides were up 54% and aggravated assaults were up 13% in the South Ward (source: Newark Public Safety Collaborative (NPSC), School of Criminal Justice, Rutgers-Newark)

Because of The HUBB ATC’s success in the Central Ward over the years, Mayor Ras Baraka has asked us to expand our programming to Newark’s West Ward with the construction of a second location, The HUBB ATC-West.

Can you share with us a story behind why you chose to take up this particular cause?

At a time of my life where music was everything and had been in every aspect of my life, things were starting to change as I became a father and identified with what trauma really was. Growing up in Newark gives you sort of a badge of honor, especially if you survive the gangs and violence that occurs. My children were born in Rahway, NJ so they were not used to the violence and ills of a poverty-stricken city like Newark. Their mother used to always make jokes about how horrible Newark was and I would always defend it to no end. It had gotten so bad that my children’s mother feared she would not let me take my boys to any functions or events in Newark.

This one particular day, I was able to convince her to allow me to take my sons to a cook-out in Newark. My sons and I were about 5 blocks away from our destination at a stop light with 3 cars in front of us. While waiting for the light to change from red to green, a mob of guys was beating up on another guy right on the side of my car with my sons witnessing this whole incident. These couple of minutes seemed like a lifetime because my sons were afraid and saw this incident escalating in front of their eyes. My oldest son (14 years old) said “Dad, he has a gun!” At this point I swerved around the other cars, still at stop light, and we passed the light and came to the next corner where I saw a police officer parked on the next corner. I quickly got out and told the officer what was happening, and the police officer made a U-turn and sped back towards the mob of people a block away. As I reached back to my car, my sons were still frantic but then we heard a gunshot and the look on my son’s face showed me that they knew it was a gunshot. Something inside of me exploded and I started yelling at my sons not to ever let me catch them in these streets. I was so embarrassed that they were seeing everything that their mom was fearful of happening and the thought that they would go home with this story was overwhelming me. I was not ready for the next moments because in the middle of my rant to my sons, my oldest questioned me. He said “Dad, you are always talking about being part of the solution and not the problem but what are you doing about helping the community?” I was stunned and speechless. I felt like my son had just called me a hypocrite and what was more embarrassing than anything else was that I, as a parent, did not have an answer! Me not having an answer broke me down. There was silence for the next couple of blocks till we got to the cook-out. When we all got out of the car, I hugged my sons and apologized for yelling and screaming at them. At that moment I knew that I had to do something and that doing nothing would never ever suffice. I vowed to never ever be in a situation with anyone, especially my children, asking me what I was doing to help my community and I did not have an answer!!!!!

I didn’t know the first thing about running a nonprofit but that next week I started a nonprofit organization and I have never looked back. Since 2006, FP YouthOutCry Foundation (501c3) and The H.U.B.B. (Help Us Become Better) Arts & Trauma Center has been Al-Tariq’s answer to his son’s question. Throughout these 16 years I have been awarded all over for the work I was doing to help others but the one award that stands out was in 2009 when I received my first award. I had my sons come on stage with me and I told the story of why I started the organization, and my sons never knew that they were the reason why! Today, unfortunately my sons are 30 years old and 29 years old and they are still traumatized by Newark, NJ and refuse to ever come. They are proud of my accomplishments and that I have truly found my passion with helping youth and for the last 11 years youth have been growing up in a center I built for the community to Help Us Become Better.

Can you share with us a story about a person who was impacted by your cause?

Over 6 years ago, an 18-year-old girl walked into The HUBB ATC to participate in one of our “My Thoughts Out Loud” (MTOL) programs. This discussion platform is an intervention-based arts therapy program that provides an open forum in a safe environment where youth can share their experiences of trauma, victimization, and conflict. MTOL is our flagship program. MTOL embodies multiple culturally appropriate art forms. It includes the use of spoken word, music production, songwriting, graphic arts, photography, video-production and radio broadcasting. It also includes the use of traditional art forms including drawing, painting, and visual arts. MTOL became a vehicle to allow participants to be able to be vulnerable and open up in a nonjudgmental space that also leads to therapeutic intervention. MTOL also gives children the opportunity to talk candidly about their experiences with crime and violence in a familiar, safe and welcoming space.

On this day, the topic was Sexual Assault and this young girl’s eyes told her story before she even uttered a word. As she began to explain her past, the pain and hurt was evident however her courage to survive overwhelmed us all. Her mom passed away when she was nine and for the next seven years, she found herself and her siblings’ statistics of the foster care system. She was frequently sexually abused as she moved from home to home but forced to suffer in silence for so long. In her mind, she had no choice but to carry the damage around until she released her burdens in MTOL; a judgment-free zone of love.

Her name is Kimberly, and that day not only did The HUBB ATC acknowledge her resilience and potential for leadership but she became a hero in this community space designed for healing.

After being exposed to The HUBB ATC programming and its wraparound healing services, Kimberly (known today as Joy) has learned to be a recording engineer, radio engineer, photographer, activist, mentor, a youth leader in her community and a Victim Advocate to assist others where the system failed her. Throughout the years she was employed by The HUBB ATC as a Victim Advocate, Summer Camp Director, and a trusted Assistant to the CEO. She is currently attending Rutgers University seeking her master’s in social work and vows to change the foster care system one day. Until then, she takes pride in Helping Us, as a community, Become Better!

Are there three things or are there things that individuals, society, or the government can do to support you in this effort?

I believe that individuals, society and the government can do a better job supporting the smaller grassroots organizations that are on the frontline making a difference. Too many times we are overshadowed by the usual large organizations that have no clue on how to assist us but know how to write it as if they are doing so. Most times they bring the grassroots organizations to the table and give them pennies for the hard work after receiving humongous payouts due to their infrastructure and longevity.

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Why do you think music in particular has the power to create social change and create a positive impact on humanity?

Since the age of 9, I have always felt that music had a hold on me. The vibrations and energy that music sends through the eardrums, body and soul can make a difference in how one responds to and in life. Music has historically been life-changing when you think of older songs like “We Shall Overcome” or more recently like “Rise Up.” Music has and will always be a universal language, so we have to be mindful of how we send messages to garner emotional reactions. I think music in particular has the power to create social change and create a positive impact on humanity because data shows that songs can break barriers that laws and other tactics were never able to fully achieve. Unfortunately, some of us do not realize the power our songs have over our own actions, our fans and listeners, so we do more harm to our people by sending messages of self-hate, degradation and trauma at its purest form when it’s accompanied by a visual display. If our oppressors can promote it and leverage it to keep us killing each other then it can also be the same for the opposite and bring forth Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness!

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started”?

1. Take your time young man!

2. Love yourself unconditionally

3. Cherish the moments you have with your loved ones because one day they will not be here.

4. It’s better to be alone than to be with someone who doesn’t value your worth

5. Keep all of your receipts and paperwork in order

You’re a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

For the last 16 years I have dedicated my life to a movement of Helping Us, as a people, Become Better. This idea has allowed me to create a safe space for youth and their families to grow into better versions of themselves. I have watched youth from the ages of 6 grow into adulthood at The HUBB Arts & Trauma Center and then go off to college just to come back and volunteer here as a way of giving back. I have also watched broken souls come in as victims and developed as victorious change agents for several different causes throughout the 16 years. I will never downplay what the Boys & Girls Club have done for so many youths but instead I will pay homage to them by playing a role in my childhood and allowing me the experience to conceive a safe space like The HUBB ATC. We have been able to entertain through the therapeutic art incentives, educate with life skills workshops and empower with social services and therapy.

I would like to open up The HUBB Arts & Trauma Center in all underserved communities whereas Entertainment, Education and Empowerment methodologies do exactly what it has done for thousands of youth and their families in Newark, NJ.

Can you please give us your favorite life lesson quote? And can you explain how that was relevant in your life?

“Hurt People Hurt People but Healed People and Healing People Can Heal People!” This quote became evident to me once I finally identified with the traumas I had survived throughout my life. Now, as a Certified Victim Advocate and a Trauma-Informed Trained Specialist, I am able to be vulnerable and honestly reflect on my childhood and upbringing including the pain I once buried in the trash can of my memories. I understand that You cannot teach what you were not taught. So if you grew up in a household where no one hugged you, kissed you, talked to you or helped you, etc. then it’s hard to imagine that you could then give those things to someone else. The yelling, hitting, cussing are all forms of abuse. My ACE (Adverse Childhood Experience) Score was a number 8 out of 10 because of some of the things I experienced. I am very conscious about how I talk to my children or other people’s children, how I project Love and Care towards them because of what I know I had been missing or I have seen the lack thereof in other childhood friend’s homes.

We are blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.

My immediate thought of a person I would love to have a private lunch with would be Tyler Perry because of everything that he has been through in life, and he didn’t let any of those obstacles stop him from achieving the success he desired for himself. Tyler always has a life message or lesson behind the comedy. I believe that he would be able to relate to my life’s passion. How I didn’t give up when things got rough. I founded my organization in 2006 and didn’t receive my first grant till 2017 for $25K. I invested everything I had into the vision of a safe space that youth would grow up in and be entertained, educated and empowered to believe in their own abilities to perceive, believe and achieve. The HUBB Arts & Trauma Center became just that and now dreams are realized daily, traumas are identified and more than often faced but to me what makes it all worth it, is that a lot of youth and their family that come in and do their “Work” end up on a promising healing journey!

This little African American boy from a broken home and survived so many traumatic events that invaded his mental space every single day didn’t allow the negatives to drown his purpose. God gave me the vision to see the good in people and in things. I turned a 9000 square foot dilapidated building into a home for so many to grow and receive unconditional and intentional love at. We, at The HUBB Arts & Trauma Center in Newark, NJ, Help Us Become Better every day, all day. I chose to want that lunch date with Tyler Perry because I believe he overcame the hardships of life and has a heart that is anointed by God with vision for our people, even when we don’t recognize our own potential. His story inspired me to continue pushing even when others told me I wouldn’t be able to achieve what they all come and visit today in awe!

It’s funny that this question was asked because about 5 years ago I planned a trip to go see my brother Lonnie “Dash” Hudson and my nephew “King Nahh” who was the youngest motivational speaker making major moves at this time. While I was in Atlanta, I asked them to take me to Tyler Perry Studios. Because they knew how important it was to me, they agreed. We arrived and walked to the gates and after taking pictures, I prayed that God would provide me a way to one day sit with Tyler Perry! We all laughed but I was so dead serious and determined to make a difference in this world that I still believe it will be achieved.

Till that time, I ask that anyone reading my thoughts out loud here to please understand that the universe pays you back for what you invest into it. I have committed my life to Helping Us, as a People, Become Better and I pray that all willing and able bodies do the same!

Salute to you all for this amazing opportunity to share a piece of my story with you and I hope that it blesses someone enough to not just “Talk the Talk” but may God give them the Courage to “Walk the Walk!”

Thank you so much for these amazing insights. This was so inspiring, and we wish you continued success!


Stars Making A Social Impact: Why & How Mr HUBB of The HUBB Arts & Trauma Center Is Helping To… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.