Stay strong, ambitious even during hardships

Toluwalase Solomon, Columnist

You can survive any kind of situation or circumstance if you have a brave character and tough inner spirit. The story of DJ Brave, who is now one of the top disk jockeys in Stockbridge, Ga., is a motivational story for people who constantly have doubts about becoming what they want to become in life.

We have the power to overcome almost any circumstance we find ourselves in if we develop toughness of mind and control our thoughts. The Nigerian-born American citizen says he did not pick his DJ name to represent how crazy he makes his fans dance in the club. Instead, he specifically chose to consult the dictionary to hunt for a word that perfectly suits his life experiences.

Eventually, he found the word “brave.”

Taiwo Banjo, now 34, was born into a wealthy family in Nigeria to parents who gave him and his siblings an affluent lifestyle. Despite the fact that he had a plentiful father, he was devoted to being a prudent individual.

Unfortunately, things turned around, and it was back to square one for his father. It was a tough moment for Taiwo’s family to become a family that struggled to put food on the table. At 14, he made the decision to leave with his younger brother on the back of a truck, filled with cows, to seek green pastures in Lagos, a city in Nigeria similar to Chicago.

I find it mesmerizing that a teenager thought of breaking free from the confinement and parental control we all conform to at that age. Parental controls, especially from an upper-class family, mostly produces dominating parents.

Sadly, in the quest for green pastures, Banjo encountered moments that tainted his experience, thus making his life miserable. Interestingly, this experience in Banjo’s life was a blessing that was disguised as a dark moment with no traces of light. In light of his struggles, he was able to choose his own reality and a career he is passionate about.

To avoid being kicked out for sleeping on different roads on the cold streets of Lagos, Banjo accepted an offer from an agent who employed poor teenagers to upper-class families as servants. He served under a hostile woman who had no regard for people from a lower class. Despite the fact that he was mistreated, he remained high-spirited and stayed on the right track in life.

As a result of this, he communicated openly and shared his aspirations of becoming a DJ. Luckily, one of the sons of the hostile woman, Tola, was connected in the Nigeria music industry. Tola connected Banjo with a well-known DJ in Nigeria for an apprenticeship.

After completing his apprenticeship, Banjo was certified as an independent DJ at the age of 20.

The most epic part of his story was the day he played in the wedding ceremony of a Nigerian senator and was invited by an unknown rich man to perform in Atlanta, Ga. Lo and behold, the former servant moved to America to fulfill his dreams. Today, the Stockbridge-based DJ is one of the leading DJs in the area.

I salute Banjo’s courage for maintaining a peaceful state of mind, despite the turbulent times that roared like a lion seeking to devour his destiny.

It is hard to see the glory ahead in the face of our problems and hardships. Sometimes the present circumstances and difficulties blunt our vision of the glory to come. One of my guiding principles is a quote by Robert Schuller: “Can we be gallant in times of difficulties? Can we be fearless to build and maintain high spirit to fall forward? Yes, you have all the keys.”

Toluwalase Solomon is a graduate student in communication studies. He can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].