Pharell Williams Gets It

Will Beatty

Man… when I say Pharrell Williams gets it, I mean he’s a living example of LifeStyle 4.0! It seems to have come natural for him even in the earlier years of his career.  He always seemed comfortable distancing himself from the heard. He was different right out of gate, tagging himself “Skateboard P” and singing hooks as a Hip-Hop producer and rapper. There was no skateboarding in Hip-Hop! Even I was one of those people who tried to put him in that box back in the day when he sang hooks for those Jay-Z and Mystical songs. I was like “the song is hot but, Buddy needs to stick to producing”.  Well, good thing he didn’t listen to folks like me! Instead, Pharrell chose to live outside the box and be himself no matter what; and it’s working for him.

In a talk with Scott Verner of OTHERtone Broadcasting and ASAP Rocky, Pharrell discusses the dangers of living inside the “box” or the “perceived shell” that people try to assign you to. In this discussion he confirms ASAP’s tendency to step out of that “shell.” Skateboard P says, “when you step out like that and you don’t shiver and you don’t scare and you embrace this new position then you’re good for life. When you’re stuck in that box you will always answer to the perimeter. You will always answer to the walls. You will always answer to the floors and those are the people who are trapped.”

And the younger ASAP, acknowledges that Pharrell being himself inspired him to live outside of the box and only be who he is when he says, “there would be no cats like myself if it wasn’t for fellas like you… (and) Kanye West, being daring.”

The lesson here is that we owe it to ourselves and to people who look up to us to be our best selves… Live our best lives. You never know who’s watching.  I heard a preacher say that ‘even though you might not know them, somebody is languishing in their life right now needing for you to be the best of who you are. Waiting to be inspired by you!’  Let’s get to it!

Pharrell      Explore music by Pharrell here

ASAP Rocky       Explore music by ASAP Rocky here

Source: Complex

The Real Purpose of Art…

“The real purpose of art is not to make saleable pictures. It is to save yourself.”  Sherwood Anderson.

Author, Sherwood Anderson wrote this in a letter to his son who was 18 years old at the time. (You can read more of the letter and Anderson at ) In our case, Art is whatever your Gift is. The most crucial part of living LifeStyIe 4.0 is embracing your gift. It is who you are and stepping into it is the path to becoming your best self. It is your source of passion. Embracing it can improve everything else in your life. If you have denied spending time developing your gift and sharing it with others you are bound to a prison of self-denial. It is time to “save yourself”.

When I first started writing for fun, I wrote poetry. I began to share it in the various little spots in Charlotte, NC including Mynxx and the Moon Room (around 1998).  I found myself holding back work that I didn’t like and I had considered destroying it. Upon hearing, this my good friend Xavier Zsarmani (Zake) told me, “never destroy your work. It is part of you and you never know what it may mean to someone else. Be who you are and share all of it. Don’t rob us of who you are.” He made me see that words that don’t necessarily resonate with me may be a blessing to someone else. The next time I went out to read, I read one of the poems Zake saved from the trash can. After the set a young lady approached me to say how deeply moved she was by the poem. This lesson has stayed with me all these years. Now I want to share it with you. You never know what your gift may mean to someone. Do not rob us of the gift of YOU any longer. This #MakeItHappenMonday begin to spend more time with your gift. Become the best of who you are.

Happy Make it Happen Monday!  Have a great week!


Remembering 9/11

I remember the Twins as majestic and monumental,

as I remember U.

I remember, that day, being bewildered and afraid for myself,

but becoming more afraid for U.

I remember that in the cold clutch of terror,

some rushed in instead of running away.

I remember being inspired,

as they tried to save the day.

I remember watching the Twins fall,

 and knowing we had to stand for U.

I remember, on that day at least,

We all became 1 for U.

I remember knowing things would be different,

but I couldn’t know then exactly how this would change U.

Today and every day I remember the Citizens and the

Charge of a Courageous Few.

I remember those who fell that day and in the years after

as we exacted our vengance for U.

I also remember hoping we would do better.

I have to admit, I still do.

Still I salute and honor U this day.

Still I remember U.

Will Beatty – September 11, 2015

Ta-Nehisi Coates’ “Between The World and Me”… a Review

Will Beatty

These days the water fountain at the mall doubles as a mini water park offering a fun refreshing activity for kids who endure their parents’ shopping excursions. In the photo below you can see my son, Justice, and my nephew, Ethan, doing what kids do. The boys seem like bundles of sheer innocence and energy with all of the running, laughing and joyful screaming. Innocence… that’s the word. For boys like them innocence doesn’t last as long as it should. As a father and an uncle, I’ve had to infringe upon their innocence early in their lives by making them aware that some people will view them differently. For this reason we’ve been teaching them that they need to walk a certain way, talk a certain way, and behave a certain way.  Not because they’re special and we want them to stand out; but because they will be viewed as dangerous and expendable so we want others to feel safe enough to stand down. At some point, their lives will likely depend on it.  As far as I can tell this experience is unique to Black people in the United States.20150716_170041

In Between the World and Me Ta-Nehisi Coates artfully captures the angst that a Black father feels while delivering this survival training to our children; specifically our sons. We begin their lessons early and weave them into the very fabric of their lives from the time that they are toddlers. This instruction is peppered with our own experiences so, many of us struggle to balance the lessons. It’s an attempt to try not to transfer our own limitations to the boys. Coates’ approach is uncompromising at first yet he still achieves some balance. He clearly wants his son to be great; but most of all he wants him to live.  He eloquently and passionately articulates his message in the form of what could be characterized as a loving letter to his 15-year-old son.  I listened to the audio book which is narrated by Coates himself. It flows like poetry as he recalls the situations, people, and places that mark his life experience. Coates eloquently relates a conversation that all Black fathers should have with their sons. If you are already aware of this experience you will be validated. If you are not, then you will be changed. Everyone should read this book.

t coates

You can get the book here.

Home is Apropos

This site and blog is home to my take on things having to do with life. At this point, I like to say that I (and the rest of my contemporaries) am living LifeStyle 4.0.  It’s a term I coined a few years ago when I turned 40 years old. Will Beatty 4.0 was the theme of my birthday party.  It’s one of those milestones where I was compelled to look back over my life and evaluate my station. I did that from June 1st of that year all the way up until November 2nd; the day that I turned 40. During that time I realized that I’m a lot like everyone else and a lot different at the same time. I’ve had some successes and I’ve had some failures. I’ve acquired useful knowledge on some topics and have totally missed the message on others.  I looked at what I achieved and where I failed and realized that, all-in-all, it had been a great ride. It still is today! By the age of 40 I feel like people look at the good & the bad, the highs & the lows and learn to love it all. I mean at some point you say ‘screw it I’ll celebrate the highs, forgive myself for the lows and have some F’ing fun!’.

The other thing that happens (if you have good sense) is you do everything differently. When I say ‘everything’ I mean EVERYTHING!  And it makes sense… I mean, you realize that all of the partying, skipping workouts, eating fried foods, alcohol drinking, and smoking (what ever it is you may smoke) has taken a toll on the only body you will ever have and if you want to live past your 50’s, things gotta change. You also become more aware of your surroundings and you may change the way you engage your community. Even if you had been a dreamer or acivist before now, you change tactics  because  what you do now is different from what you would have done or said in your 20’s.

The Change is what the 4.0 LifeStyle is all about. You change the way you have fun, the way you eat, the way you travel, the way you fellowship with your friends, the way you drink, your interests, the kind of liquor you drink; even the time that you go to bed.  That’s what we’re going to talk about..THE CHANGE and all its joys and challenges. We’ll explore it all. As I said in the “It Begins…” blog post, I’m going to curate and create 4.0 style content for you to consume from many different media nodes. There will be news letters, social media, podcasts, live events, books and whatever other digital outlets happen upon the horizon; but it all starts here.

Even if you are younger or older than 40’ish you will find value in what we do here. In full disclosure, there will be ads and some stuff sold via these channels (I have some college educations to pay for), but I promise it will be relevant to you and I will NEVER spam you with offers.  All of the content that comes to you from me will be value added. That means it will always be uplifting, informative, entertaining, and stimulating. I really value your support and I will always respect it.

That said… let’s get to it. Welcome to LifeStyle 4.0!

It Begins…

Welcome to my site! It is mostly under construction right now so stay tuned. I’m building this platform out myself thus far so be patient… It’ll be worth the effort. I consider myself a Lifestyle Enthusiast. The reason that’s good for you is I’ve got some exciting lifestyle thoughts and content coming your way as seen and experienced through the eyes of a 40 something year old hip-hop head who is interested in us all being our best selves, being better together and just plain ol having fun. I call it Lifestyle 4.0. In this space and on some other digital media nodes I will curate and create content that will be entertaining and useful to those of us in (and around) the 4.0 stage in our lives. I’ll explain what I mean by that later.

Stay tuned… this is gonna get interesting.