Everyone has a clique. A squad. A crew. A tribe. These few individuals are always there for you, no matter what the circumstances are. Through good or bad times, these people will keep it 100 with you, whether you like it or not. They are your friends. They are family. They still love you even when they hate (dislike) you. They respect what you stand for, even though they tease you about it. At the end of the day, they have nothing but love for you, baby.
That’s how I feel about my boys, The B.I.Z. – a special group of God-fearing, intelligent, talented men from Saginaw, Michigan and Detroit, Michigan. Within our group (roughly around 10 people), we cover every spectrum in life: Business, Health & Fitness, Journalism, Movies & Entertainment, Law, Spirituality & Wellness, Education and Sports. All praises to God for covering us with his love, grace and mercy throughout the years.
I love these dudes – they’re really my brothers. We’ve been through battles, fights and wars together. Through it all, we are still bonded through faith in each other and the ultimate plans God has for us, individually and collectively (Proverbs 27:17). We usually don’t agree with each other (which provides for color commentary and laughter for days), but the respect is always present. The love is concrete. The bond is everlasting.
When we were in high school, we wanted everyone to know about The B.I.Z.: We printed up t-shirts, chanted our name through the hallways at school and even made personalized voicemails, spelling out the letters B-I-Z (guilty as charged – that was my voicemail). We thought we were hot stuff… couldn’t tell us nothing like Kanye. I wouldn’t say cocky, but whatever the level is between confident and cocky, The B.I.Z. lived there. To most people, I think The B.I.Z. was recognized as a bunch of young guys walking around town acting like life was a Bad Boy music video. We danced. We partied. We liked girls. They liked us. We had fun. We did it over and over again. But for me, it was always bigger than just being homeboys and getting girls. I saw a vision for The B.I.Z. early on where we could use our personalities for a “higher purpose.” We can be cool with each other but get paid for our God-given abilities by builidng a collective together. Let’s be best friends while making money together – I liked (and still like) the sound of that.
I know after reading about my crew, we probably sound like any other popular crew of high school boys in America. All of the promise in the world and out there living the dream = hooking up with all of the pretty girls in high school. Well, if you think that was our reality, it most definitely was not. Out of my circle of friends, I wasn’t the only virgin. There was actually three of us within our circle. However, according to the streets, between the three of us, we got lots of play around town. One time, I had a friend who listed 10 girls he “knew” we had sex with. Back in the early 2000s, 10 girls was a pretty big number when talking about sex partners in high school – even for a group of friends. As believable as it sounded, none of it was true. Collectively, our number was steady at zero. Now, the number of girls we kissed is different story!
So, instead of feeding into the rumors, the three of us indirectly made a pact to remain virgins until marriage (Ephesians 5:16-18). We all believed in the purpose of waiting. I remember feeling more at ease with my decision to wait because my dudes were taking a stand along with me. I just figured I’d be waiting all by myself, especially growing up in a town like Saginaw aka Sag-nasty (a smaller version of Detroit). But now with my crew waiting beside me, I felt really good about actually not caving into sexual temptation and going “all the way.” Little did I know, the next year of my life would change my personal path and outlook of abstinence and celibacy. This is where the story gets interesting…