Dané (3)

Dane standing and smiling
Dane standing and smiling
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“Recently I started reading a book by Leslie Odom Jr. and he had a whole section where he was talking about mentors. And I was like, I need some of that. I don’t really have mentors. I do a handful of things and I think I do them pretty well, but they’re all self-taught. There are things that I want to see and the only way that I get to see them is if I make them happen myself. I learned to draw and color my own artwork. I also learned to write because there are roles that I want to play and I felt that no one was going to give them to me. I learned to sing because I wanted to do musicals.

So everything that I’ve learned to do I taught myself and it’s all raw. I don’t know the right way to do anything. It’ll be nice to have someone, at least for one of those things that I do, help me channel it. It’s all raw, it’s all untamed energy and it’ll be nice to have someone to help me focus all that. There are tons of people who have inspired me and that I respect and that have made me better by example, but there’s never been anyone who took a special interest in me.

I remember watching a recent awards show and it was great seeing all those colorful faces. Donald Glover is doing some great stuff right now. Mindy Kaling and Issa Rae are, too. There are so many wonderful people of color out there looking like they’re having the time of their lives and that’s where I want to be right now. I am like one degree of separation of black excellence and the frustrating part is not knowing how to reach out and make that connection. I just don’t know how to make that leap over the fence.”

 

Dané

Dane looking at camera

Dane looking at camera

This is Dané Raphael Shobe. Dané (he really wants you to know that it’s pronounced ‘Daynuh’ and Shobe, like ‘globe’) is the co-creator for the web series Lucky Us Show. Dané’s passion for acting stems from his love of Power Rangers and pro-wrestling when he was younger. We talked for a while. This is part one of three. ‘Like’ the page to be notified when part two comes out tomorrow and please share with your friends.

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(1/3)

“I don’t want to have kids because I don’t want to bring another brown baby into this world with the way it is right now, because I’d be afraid for that kid every time they were out of my sight.

I had a heavy conversation with a friend of mine the other day about this. There’s no way I could protect that kid. I phrased it to her this way, ‘You think highly of me and that’s great, but if I were to be killed by the cops, you’ll have to watch a bunch of strangers on the Internet try their best to justify my murder. You’d have the media digging through my social media past looking for examples of me being a thug and more than likely you would have whatever officer did it walk away with no repercussions or consequences and that’s what my mom would have to go through. If I had a wife that’s what she would have to go through with our kid if it happened and I’m in no hurry to experience any facet of that.’

Nowadays is the scariest that it’s ever been in our lifetime. One day recently I was walking home from a bar real late and I was walking down 17th street and I saw some white cats way down the way and maybe a couple of years ago I would never think to do this, but this time I went and hid in the neighborhood and waited until they passed because you just don’t fucking know right now.”

Staci (2)

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“Before my son was born, I found out that he had a rare tumor in one of his lungs when I was 20 weeks pregnant. From that point on, we had doctor’s appointments every week and had many visits to a specialist. He was in intensive care for three weeks after he was born. He had surgery right away, so that was also a huge moment in my life. This was right before I started painting. The doctors at the time told me that he had a 50 percent chance of living after he was born and that I could terminate the pregnancy or just wait it out. There were some really rough moments during that time. Where do you find strength when you don’t have strength to find in the first place?

During those times after he was born and I was struggling, I started doing these random acts of kindness. I would buy some stranger’s lunch in the drive thru or go drop a bag of groceries for a homeless person, just anything. My life was so bad that I found happiness by making somebody else happy and so that was the only time that I felt that I was doing anything good. Even after all that I went through, I wouldn’t change anything about my life because it gave me strength to be who I am today.

After my son was born with his medical problems, I decided to stay home with him and do daycare, while still utilizing my education degree. I never imagined it would last as long as it has. I’ve learned a tremendous amount about being a woman, who is a small business owner. Doing it for so long by myself it’s also very much a reason for my success as an artist. It gave me the business skills necessary to make my art a business and also gave me the financial support I needed for my family.”

Staci

Staci smile

Staci smile

This is Staci. She’s the co-owner of The Hive NOTO and she’s also the owner of Laughing Hearts Preschool, for which she receives the first annual “Crystal Apple Award” earlier this year. This part one of her story.

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(1/2)

“I’ve been painting since 2010 and I was really naive when I first started painting. I wasn’t very good at it, but I didn’t let that stop me. I kind of presented myself to the art community like I was great, even though it was just very early on and I was learning and because I was so naive about it, I didn’t let any of that stuff bother me. I was in a period of my life where I was looking to make some changes and try to find myself and figure out who I was and what I liked. Being part of the art scene and hanging around other artists was really energizing and it fed that piece of me that I didn’t have that I was looking for.

I didn’t have the best home life when I was growing up and there were a lot of struggles and there were a lot of moments when I had to fight. I would always say that those moments when things were the hardest is where I picked up most of my strength, so moving forward, it was all about survival skills. I went through two divorces before I married Ryan, so there were a lot of changes in my life back then that I wasn’t happy with. I was 26 and divorced twice and I was like ‘I know that there’s something missing in my life and I need to find something that makes me happy. I can’t keep finding it in relationships.’ I just wanted to be me and I just wanted to know who that person was. I didn’t want to have the stigma of everything that I had lived through in the past. I wanted to create my own person. I wanted to create my own life and make a name for myself that I knew was who I wanted me to be.

When I reflect on how I was 10 years ago and where I am now, I never would have thought that this would’ve been a part of my life. If somebody would have said to me, ‘You’re going to be an artist and be on television and doing this and that and go to London,’ I would have been like, ‘You’re out of your mind,’ but it’s nice to go from having all of these struggles growing up all the way into your adult life and then to come to a point when you don’t have those anymore and the future looks bright every day, even if you have a bad day.

I think a lot of my strength comes from all of the struggles that I had and so does my ability to be determined and passionate and to never give up.”