Social justice entrepreneur,
In the year of 1997, at the age of 16, I was charged in the District of Columbia as an adult for being an accomplice to a felony murder. My experiences as a child inside of the DC Department of Corrections was filmed in the Emmy award winning documentary “Thug Life In DC”. I was taken to trial and convicted under the accomplice liability doctrine of felony murder and sentenced to a term of 40 years to life imprisonment.
During my incarceration, I discovered my love for the literature & arts. My childhood friend Momolu Stewart encouraged me to start freestyle rapping. Through the encouragement of Anissa Chisley, who started writing me after watching the Thug Life In DC film, I began to write poetry. Transitioning from rap to poetry further intensified my connection with words and using them to creatively express the trauma of growing up in DC during the Crack era when it was known for having the highest murder rate of any city in America and receiving a life sentence as a child.
In the year of 2005, I started my own publishing company “SATO Communications”, SATO being an acronym for Struggle Against The Odds. Learning entrepreneurship from selling crack cocaine in the streets at the age of 12, I transferred that ambition for self enterprise to spread my message of love beyond the walls that sought to make me invisible. I have published eleven books covering the genres of poetry, self help, financial literacy, and my memoir “Makings of a Menace, Contrition of a Man”. (Link here to books on Amazon.com)
In the year of 2016, DC local legislators proposed a new bill to allow those that were convicted of an offense that was committed while they were under the age of 18 to be able to petition the court for resentencing and release after serving 20 years imprisoned. Ironically, this bill would not apply to those that had already been convicted as juvenile lifers in the 80s and 90s before the enactment of this law. Through my contacting the Mayor and all of the DC City Councilmembers, having someone to read my personal testimony at the public hearing for this bill and staging a social media campaign to have DC citizens to testify at the public hearing in support of making the new law retroactive, on April 4, 2017, the Incarceration Reduction Amendment Act(IRAA) was enacted into DC law to apply retroactively to any person that had been convicted of a DC offense before the age of 18.
In the year of 2018, I was sent back to the DC Department of Corrections from the Federal Bureau of Prisons for my resentencing process pursuant to the IRAA legislation. While at the DC DOC, I was able to enroll in the Georgetown Prison And Justice Initiative to become a credit earning student at Georgetown University. Also, I was able to serve as a mentor in the Young Men Emerging unit inside of the DC DOC which is a carceral community for young adults detained there under the age of 25 that is modeled after the therapeutic corrections culture of other western developed nations in Europe.
On March 21, 2019, after serving 22 years and 2 months behind bars, I was released back into society. Since my release, I have worked with Kim Kardashian for her documentary “The Justice Project”, done a spoken word performance with Kanye West at his famous Sunday Service, received the Halcyon Arts Lab and Echoing Green fellowships, and spoken at panels at universities and conferences around the country about the impact of the arts and entrepreneurship to correct our criminal injustice system. I am currently launching my fashion line “Ideallionaires”, which will be done in collaboration with a digital graphic novel and animated series that I created.