Curtis Hayes, Jr. is a community activist, advocate, entrepreneur and most importantly father from Bluefield, West Virginia. Curtis is known nationally for his heartfelt conversation held during the June 2020 Charlotte, NC protest.
“And I have a 5-year-old son,” Hayes cried out, palms open to the sky. “And it ain’t happening!” – Curtis Hayes, Jr.
The passion that Curtis displayed didn’t start that day. It started when he was 14 and determined to create generational wealth and change his surroundings. His first business was cutting yards to help provide for his family. With an absentee father and a hardworking single mother, Curtis knew he had to make a change and set an example for his younger siblings.
Curtis’ message to his people is not to become comfortable. We must end the notice of being comfortable. When Black people become comfortable, we don’t go and try to achieve the greater heights. Mainly because WE come from a point in life, WE come from a background of not many opportunities. We’ve been oppressed so long as Black people, that we are now becoming oppressors of our own people. That’s my message, breaking the cycle of that.
I have a nonprofit organization EMCB which stands for Excuse Maker Cycle Breaker, where we challenge the youth to break the cycle, not become a statistic and become an upstanding man or woman of their communities.
Haynes is the founder of the Better Way Movement. Curtis is also running for City Council and plans to run for president by age 38 or 39.
A dream deferred isn’t a dream denied!
“Black King! Black Queen! I Am Angry Just Like You! You will feel My pain! You will feel my hurt! You will feel them With My words! You will feel them with my Fight! Hear Me White People! Generations! Enough is Enough!“
Video courtesy of GOOD MORNING AMERICA: (click here) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXHxe6a1tuI
GO BANG! Magazine: How did your childhood experiences shape you to start your own “lawn business” at 14 years old and later become an activist and entrepreneur?
Curtis Hayes, Jr.: My childhood taught me to be strong and to take advantage of every opportunity. My life also taught me to not become what I grew up in. Not to become a product of my environment. I understood, coming from a single parent home living paycheck to paycheck, that I did not want that for me and my family. So, at the age of 14, I decided to start my own lawn business. Coming from limited possibilities, I chose to have unlimited possibilities. Therefore, it has taught me ultimately to work hard and create generational wealth.
GO BANG! Magazine: On May 25, 2020, George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, was killed in Minneapolis, Minnesota, during an arrest for allegedly using a counterfeit bill. Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, knelt on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes while Floyd was handcuffed and lying face down, begging for his life and repeatedly saying “I can’t breathe.” This incident has caused civil unrest and massive protests across the world. How do you feel about this unfortunate situation and call for police reform due to the horrible treatment of minorities by the police?
Curtis Hayes, Jr.: The death of George Floyd not only impacted his family, but the family of the officer. It’s a sad situation on both ends. Both families are suffering for the action of the police officer. We have been fighting this fight for 100 years. For his life to be taken by an officer, it’s horrible and sad for his family having to suffer. To also speak on the family of the officer, they have to now suffer from the actions on his end, while abusing his power. Overall, it’s a tragedy.
When you talk about police reform, no I am not about abolishing the police. Of course we need them to protect and serve. We must get these officers who abuse their authority. We must increase the training. Police reform is deep. We let these officers get recommendations to move to different departments, instead of termination. They are not held accountable. They abuse their authority and we fire them from one department and send them to another. That’s the bigger issues.
GO BANG! Magazine: Many first became familiar with you from your involvement in the worldwide protests over George Floyd’s murder at the knee of a police officer. At the time, you were at a 2020 Charlotte, NC protest. It was due to a viral YOUTUBE video of you creating dialog between three generations; yourself, another Black gentleman, and a Black youth. What inspired you to reach out to them, how did you feel when you had that conversation and how has that video moment changed your life?
Curtis Hayes, Jr.: The moment after having the conversation at the protest, I realized I was once a 16 year old that experienced hurt pain and frustration. I felt I needed to have that conversation as a human race, a man in this world, and being a black man on top of that the most. We miss out of giving that to our youth. I want them to start knowing they are the current leaders of our community.
GO BANG! Magazine: What do you feel you accomplished at that protest, what did you learn, and what work still needs to be done to help free the Black/Brown man/woman?
Curtis Hayes, Jr.: I feel like it was only the beginning. My message saved a lot of people. I feel as though I brought a lot of awareness of how many generations are experience racial injustice and how long it has been occurring.
GO BANG! Magazine: Please describe your company Excuse Maker Cycle Breaker (EMCB) and its mission to our readers.
Curtis Hayes, Jr.: EMCB – I created this organization to create cycle breakers. We tend to make excuses for what we grew up in. I step in to help break the cycle instead of becoming a part of the systematic problem that the black community faces. We encourage and promote them to become cycle breakers within their neighborhoods and communities.
GO BANG! Magazine: What is the Better Way Movement, which you founded?
Curtis Hayes, Jr.: The goal is to create positive change in communities and cities all across the nation through healthy dialogue between ALL races and backgrounds.
GO BANG! Magazine: I understand that you are planning to soon run for President of the United States. That’s quite a goal to set and quite attainable too. How long from now will you begin your campaign and what will your primary issues be?
Curtis Hayes, Jr.: As I start my journey into politics, me running for President in the next two terms is a high priority on my list of pursuits. My team and I are working right now to find the best options as far as entering into the race and seeing where I best fit.
The primary issues that I plan to focus on include helping change legislation. Also, I am big on the environment and making sure that the future for our kids is safe. Homelessness is a very big issue in our country. It has been on the rise and we have totally abandoned affordable housing. Another major issue that I feel strongly about is taxes and how the American people are robbed to help bigger organizations grow.
GO BANG! Magazine: Who or what inspires/motivates you to do what you do and why?
Curtis Hayes, Jr.: My mom and the American people. I do it because I am a lover of all people.
GO BANG! Magazine: In conclusion, what is next on the agenda for you? Do you have any projects lined up for later in the future, after the COVID-19 pandemic that you can tell our readers about?
Curtis Hayes, Jr.: The next thing on the agenda is to continue to empower and encourage our people through our mentorship, our football organization and through my day to day business endeavors. We plan to enter the political arena. We are starting at the state level and working our way up to the highest office that God allows me to run for.
We do have many projects lined up, but after Covid of course. We have lined up many empowerment speeches/events, as well as other empowering events that will help within our community. We will push this narrative, which is actually the title of my upcoming book, “We Grow up in it. We Grow into it. We need to Grow out of it.”
You can follow Curtis Hayes on Instagram @curtis_hayesnc
Pierre A. Evans is a freelance writer of Entertainment, Music, Art, Culture, Fashion and Current Events, and previously for SoulTrain.com, NDigo.com, ChicagoDefender.com, EmpireRadioMagazine.com, and UrbanMuseMag.com, an author, singer/songwriter, actor, model, poet, dancer, and DJ. He is also the owner of Pinnacle Entertainment Productions. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and on Instagram