As a highly functional sufferer of depression, Olatunji Oboi Reed needed an outlet for himself to heal– ultimately finding a form of therapy one day when he decided to take his bike out for a ride for the first time in years; finding joy in the wind and sun around him.
He developed a passion for cycling and in the process he found that there were significant inequalities as far as safe mobility in black and brown neighborhoods. Oboii decided he needed to join the fight for racial equity, through the means of increasing safe mobility in these neighborhoods.
How cycling became a part of his therapy during his time of depression
His drive and motivation for cycling
How he worked through his depression
Getting help with his mental health and the sigma that can be associated with mental illness
Mobility issues for Black and Brown people across the US
His project to address the mobility issues of minorities
Olatunji Oboi Reed’s passion is deeply rooted in community, culture, and health. As a racial equity technician, he works globally with other organizations to bring racial justice and increase mobility around the world.
Given his background in management and corporate, he is able to build a whole team of diverse individuals, all working together to achieve racial equality and mobile justice in the city of Chicago.
He was the co-founder and served as the President & CEO of Slow Roll Chicago. Slow Roll Chicago was a spin-off of the Slow Roll rides that started in Detroit. Slow Roll Chicago, purpose is to ride bicycles to make black/brown neighborhoods better. Slow Roll Chicago’s vision is equal bicycle usage across the City of Chicago with respect to race, income and neighborhood. The vision was bicycles as a form of effective transportation, contributing to reducing violence, improving health, creating jobs and ultimately making black/brown neighborhoods more livable
Oboi was awarded The White House Transportation Champion of Change award by The White House and the United States Department of Transportation, under President Obama.
He is currently the founding president and CEO of Equicity, his main outlet to manifest his social justice passions for equal mobility for all– targeted mainly at uplifting the lives of Black and Brown people across the United States.Equiticity vision is a city where racial equality is integrated at the policy and legislative levels. He envisions Equiticity creating a US city that serves as a model for the rest of the world on how to normalize, prioritize, and operationalize racial equality in terms of resources.
Deciding to give cycling a try, I started a journey to find the best bike for me. In Episode two, I shared how my godson was the inspiration for me to actually compete in a triathlon. Getting a bike was the first step in that process.
After joining a club and attending a group ride, I realized that I had a lot to learn about the sport. Major Taylor Cycling Club of Chicago members were instrumental in giving me that knowledge although I am still learning about the sport. The way I learned about pacelines, and drafting is how I learned about crit (criterium) racing. Ignorance was bliss and I kept coming back for more. In this episode, I share cycling race experiences and how invigorating it is .
Starting a new sport is always challenging, and hopefully this episode inspires you to delve right in, you could be surprised!
Buying my first bike
Joining a cycling club and my first group ride
My first Crit Race and what I learned
The benefits of group cycling
The keys to Crit Racing
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Where we start isn’t always where we end up. Today I’m joined by a longtime friend, Rob Hardy, to talk about his life and all it’s unexpected turns and opportunities laid on his path. He has overcome so many obstacles to make it to his finish line.
From Mechanical Engineering to Hollywood directing, it wasn’t exactly a straight line for Rob. His love for his calling came with the drive and passion to take a chance and go for it. While interning, he knew inside that he wasn’t fulfilled by his work. After putting pen to paper and building his team, they raised thousands of dollars to finally shoot their mega film, earning the attention of investors along the way.
Join us today to listen to Rob’s story of grit and determination becoming a prominent TV director and producer.
How Rob became interested in film
Rob’s college decisions and why he chose Mechanical Engineering
How he slowly built his name in directing
How his team first got funded
Rob’s projects after Chocolate City
The different terms in Hollywood Directing and Producing
His writing process, and finding his writers
The obstacles in his way to becoming a director
How Rob stays humble
The different skill sets for different genres
Rob’s foundation and its goals and purpose
Rob Hardy is a film director, film producer, screenwriter, and television director. Rob Hardy recently directed the pilot for Power Book III: Raising Kanan. Hardy previously directed the pilot for All American, which is currently in its third season on The CW, while also streaming on Netflix. Additionally he developed the BET Networks series The Quad. It was listed by the New York times as one of the Top 15 Shows to Watch in 2017
Hardy began his career as a high school Senior, with the camcorder-shot movie G-Man. While pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering at Florida A & M University, he made the leap to film with the low-budget motion picture Chocolate City. This experience earned him the institution’s highest honor, theBernard Hendricks Student Leadership Award, and launched his company Rainforest Films.The underground buzz on the project soon led to his controversial film Trois. Hardy not only directed and co-wrote the thriller, he was also instrumental in self-distributing the project to be the fastest Independent African American film to pass the $1million dollar mark. In 2003, after directing the critically acclaimed thriller Pandora’s Box, he added the role of “Executive Producer” to his credits by collaborating with his former business partner Will Packer, to produce several movies including: No Good Deed, Think Like A Man Too, Think Like A Man, Stomp the Yard, Three Can Play that Game, and Motives. Hardy also wrote and directed the spiritually themed drama entitled The Gospel, and later directed the sequel Stomp the Yard: Homecoming
In 2014, Hardy formed Rainforest Entertainment and partnered with Mitzi Miller where they have developed projects with the likes ofViola Davis’ JuVee Productions, Michael B. Jordan’s Outlier Productions, John Legend’s Get Lifted Productions, Bruckheimer Productions and rapper/actor T.I.
He recently created a foundation to help train and place apprentices on film and TV sets called the Rob & Shaun Hardy Amazing Stories Foundation.
The sport you start in, isn’t always where you find your success. For Russell Winfield, he found his passion after being groomed to be a Hockey professional, falling in love with snowboarding and deciding to turn his hobby into an opportunity.
With determination and vision, he ultimately became the first black professional snowboarder. With his people skills, he was able to meet the right people and build up a whole network that would eventually lead him to one of the biggest breaks of his life.
With his professional snowboarding history now in the past, Russell Winfield joins me today to talk about his whole journey to be that icon and role model for other aspiring black snowboarders.
How Russell started in Snowboarding
Russell’s athletic childhood
Russell’s journey to snowboarding certification
His experience as one of the few black kids in boarding school
His big break
Starting his sponsorships
Moving past his snowboarding career
Going on a hiatus as a pro-snowboarder
Russell’s injuries from snowboarding
How he became a pro-snowboarder
Russell grew up in upstate New York and had a passion for hockey—a vision to go big on ice skates. Being from the East Coast kid, he didn’t have surﬁng. He did have skateboarding, but he didn’t have any of the West Coast stuff and he craved it. There was something inside of him that needed it so he combined the surfing with skateboarding and the love of snowboarding came out of it. It just felt right to Russell whereas hockey, which he had been playing since I was three years old and was pretty accomplished at. He just didn’t get that feeling. There was something about riding that he couldn’t shake off. It was like surfing for East Coast kids. After learning to ride ( snowboard), he hung up his ice skates
He had the support of his parents in the pursuit of his dreams. Russel, with his determination, was able to gain certification and build the right network– one that ultimately gave him his big break and become the first ever professional black snowboarder.
Life is full of unplanned partnerships– for Fanon and Leon, it’s thanks to their amazing snowboarding trip to Chile that they ended up where they are now, with a venture called Epic Life.
What started out as a small group of friends, quickly snowballed into an event with over a hundred fellow adventurers. Inspired by the idea of new journeys, they aspire to constantly provide new experiences in unique locations across the world.
As the world continues to fight the coronavirus, they’ve had to make big changes and even put a pause to some of their adventures, but spending it preparing for the day that we’ll finally be allowed back to experience the world once again.
Listen in on our conversation as we talk about how and why they started Epic Life, their growing pains and challenges, and finally how they grew to love snowboarding.
How the Pandemic affected Epic Life and their events
Why they started Epic Life and how they organize events
Their marketing strategy
Platforms they used to connect to fellow adventurers
Their growing pains and challenges they faced as a team
Each of their stories getting into snowboarding
Fanon is from Los Angeles, California. Currently, he’s an associate professor of history and American studies in the graduate school of Global Studies at Doshisha University in Koto, Japan. After a graduate degree from Morehouse College, he went on to receive a Masters Degree from Syracuse University, and a PhD from New York University. Most of his research is focused on the global contours of the black freedom movement in the 1960s, and black expressive culture. He’s a father of two, and enjoys the outdoors as an avid adventurer and bat country snowboarder.
Leon hails from the Motor City of Detroit, Michigan but was raised in Akron, Ohio. He graduated high school and joined the army, where he learned order, discipline, and direction. He graduated from the University of Akron with a Bachelors of Science in Engineering, and went on to serve his city by joining the Department of Public Safety. Ontop of all this, he’s snowboarded across the United States, South America, the Japanese Alps, the Canadian Rockies, and the French Alps.
Epic Life was founded in 2014 by Fanon and Leon following an amazing snowboarding trip to Chile the previous year. After spending significant time in the North American Rockies and the South American Andes, Fanon and Leon decided to bring some of our closest friends to the powder fields of Hokkaido, Japan. What began as a modest ski/snowboard tour for a couple of dozen people quickly morphed into nearly 100 adventurers. From the first trip to Niseko United in 2014, it was Epic from the beginning and has grown exponentially ever since.
Via social media and word of mouth Fanon and Leon have taken hundreds of Epic Lifers to Japan to experience its unparalleled powder and refined Japanese hospitality. Although their roots are in the mountains, their spirits are driven by a profound sense of adventure and global exploration in community. They not only travel together but we live to party even harder. I can attest there is nothing like an Epic Life Happy Hour or a late night gathering during our fun-filled trips.
When people ask me what my favorite sport is– they always expect me to answer with running; but that’s not exactly the truth. I love skiing, and I have loved it since 1998 when I joined the Charlotte Breezer ski club. I initially joined to meet some people, and discovered a sport that I am passionate about.
Since 2002, I’ve joined every National Black Ski Summit hosted by the National Brotherhood of Skiers ( NBS) except when I was in for the four years while I was in surgical residency. It is because of Art Clay and Ben Finley and the NBS I not only found a sport I love, I found a family that has given me countless friends. This family grows every year.
If you’re thinking about skiing or snowboarding as a sport you’d be interested in trying out– you should take this as a sign and do it! Because no matter how many injuries, I can’t imagine myself ever stopping.
How I discovered The National Brotherhood of Skiers
The National Brotherhood of Skiers and its history