I was born November 18th, in a sea-side city. In my younger years, I realized a lot of kids getting hurt, and an immense sadness surrounding me. I wondered why other kids were getting hurt. I had my first drink when I was three – a man put beer in my baby bottle. I remember being a three year old, holding up my bottle. The backdrop was a bearded man who was laughing like a child drinking beer was the most glorifying thing in life. Through the years, I became involved in drugs and gangs, and wrong crowds. I constantly felt so sad, disgusting and alone. The first part of my life was internalizing all this pain, darkness and suffering that I saw in the world. Eventually, I began hurting others, and there were times I deeply cried over this. I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do, but in a way, I felt trapped and powerless to do much better than I was. Thankfully, at sixteen years old in juvenile detention Camp Kilpatrick, I met a non-profit organization called Street Poets, Inc.

I went to juvenile halls twice and ultimately came out getting into deeper levels of addiction. I was in deep with a gang and all roads seemed to be pointing away from the life I wanted.

I always had the seed of love deep inside me, but I really didn’t know if I would be able to make it, or if I would get there. One morning I decided to rob someone to get more money for crack. I took a phone from somebody and ended up getting arrested for that. Seeing the pain I caused my mom broke my Heart. I really didn’t know what would happen, but I know I had perhaps hit the lowest point of my life, and that’s saying something. Well, when I got arrested that first day, I decided I would leave all the drugs, gangs and the life I was living beside me, to find a new one — I was on my path to redemption, with a deeper commitment than I had ever had before, and I truly made the commitment.

My first day in city jail I fell asleep and my deceased Aunt came to me in a dream. She said: “Brandon, I just want to let you know that everything’s going to be alright.” Two years later, after almost getting life, after being sexually harassed by a male cop, and after being in a dorm riot two months before I went home, I was paroled from prison. I took the Amtrak home and met my mom at LA’s Union Station.

When I got out, people had noticed the change. They were pretty much astounded. I still had so much work to do, but it was so beautiful being home. My community, Street Poets, received me by each of them placing a hand on me and saying a word about my character. My blood family took me for pizza. Since then, I’ve done many rituals, I’ve committed to healing and personal growth in my life, I’ve helped facilitate writing workshops, I’ve performed, I’ve been on three Street Poet albums, I’ve done a lot. It’s not about my accomplishments, but I just wanted to show you how much I’ve committed to my healing. After almost four years of being free, I am finally at a place in my life where I’ve graduated from life student to teacher. I’m committing myself to healing the world and everybody in it, I’m taking action and I’m ready to do it any way I can. I care for humanity and I let my Heart guide it; it’s the compass we were born with.

I stress that last paragraph so much because I adamantly believe in redemption. I also didn’t have compassion with where I was at and all my warts when I was fresh out of prison, so I pushed myself incredibly hard for the last five years. I’m barely getting through different layers and levels of burn-out. I’ve had to slow down immensely and take many breaks this year. It’s disorienting, coming back from the fog – but, it was necessary, and a blessing. Because even though at times I pushed myself too hard, I gave myself so much through my travels and I’ve managed to get to a place where I feel much more better about myself than I ever have. And that’s a miracle and worth it all. Every struggle.

I use Hip Hop, poetry, writing,  various expresions of creativity and conversation with others to help bring healing into the world. I do my best to find many ways to help more healing come through. I am deeply connected to Nature as I believe we all should be, and I believe in the natural forces of this world. I believe in helping youth and I believe we live in a time where lives have grown cold, so what we deeply need is community. The mind is over-celebrated in this culture, and we need to emphasize Heart connection with people. I don’t follow any spiritual tradition; my tradition is Nature. I believe people shouldn’t fight over each others spiritual views, but that we should support each other.

There’s more than one way to help heal the world, but I’ve finally found my calling and I intend on following it until the end of my days here.

Thank you, and feel free to reach out to me.

contact: mcbelliott@gmail.com