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Promises ... In Shades of Black

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Briana Boykin
Quiet as it’s kept, there’s a powerful spirit moving in the village these days, and I am continuously blessed to experience the glorious shades of leaders that are rising up from the spirit of the village.

Recently, I’ve had the privilege to brush shoulders with some of the Inland Empire’s most promising leaders, and I must say, many of them have come in the most unique, most unexpected packages. Several of them are thinkers and philosophers unrealized that will one day change the course of humanity. Others are quiet storms, who will enlighten the world around them through their gentle and pure kindness, humility, and perseverance.  Alexander Sterling and Shawn Hunt, owners and operators of Brothers & Christ T-Shirts, are two leaders of these types: I have come to better know the village through their work in the community and through their passion for life. Through entrepreneurial efforts, both young men are carefully crafting a space in the world that will allow them to effectively execute their goals of ministering to God’s people and impacting the universe.  Sterling, who is well on his way to becoming an educator and one day operating his own school, sheds light on issues pertaining to Black business.  “A lot of our people get caught up in the vision of their business and don’t focus on the practical aspect of having a business,” states Sterling. “You must have a short term goal and a long term goal. You must write your vision down and then execute it step by step.”

Sterling admits that this tactic is challenging, not only for those within the village, but for anyone being educated in today’s society. “This society breeds batteries for someone else’s flashlight , ” Sterling explains. “It teaches [its citizens] not to be self sufficient but to make someone else rich.”

Both Hunt and Sterling, who became business partners after realizing their shared potential in planning, working, and executing goals, recognize the issues concerning Black business and have been better able to navigate the issues that arise when creating a business. They also know that the key is paying themselves while working for themselves. They are currently operating as a small enterprise and working their magic to turn what was once just a blueprint into a real life story.

Under the primary umbrella of Brothers & Christ T-Shirts, the other entities of the business include: Lord Jesus Designs - a graphic arts component, and the Poet X - a spoken word and art component of the business that entails the selling and distribution of poetry and art by Alexander Sterling. A percentage of Bothers & Christ efforts go back into their ministries, which consist of: donations to African nations, homeless outreach, and evangelism efforts.

Brothers & Christ, which Hunt reveals is a professed belief in the power of brotherhood and their fervent belief that “without Christ [we] can do nothing,” sets the tone for what is to come. These young men are pieces of our quilt who reflect that we belong to each other, that we have done well in serving one another as a community, and that we will continue to do so each stitch of the way.

See you next week: same place, new shade.


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