Rodney Z. Black
20 Bradston Street
Boston, MA 02118
Hello, my name is Rodney but I'd like to be called by my middle name, Zion. I was born in Gambia, West Africa. I came to this country in 1985 when I was five years old. In those days, a lot was going on in my village and around the world. For personal reasons, I will not get into why my family fled my homeland.
I have no photos of myself in this place called jail AKA Afghanistan, but if you like, you can look at my Facebook page under Rodney Black. In there, I have photos of me and my daughters, Lacey and Natalia, back home in Africa last year.
Anyway, I am a Rasta man by heart with dreadlocks. I have love and respect for all people of race and gender, religion or ethnicity. I'm looking forward to corresponding with females who love fashion—someone who is a fashion designer, a painter or a even a singer—who plays musical instruments and loves life; who has respect for other cultures. All women are welcome to respond. Also, men who are in the same field are welcome to respond. Men, please take note: I am not gay, so please respect me as I shall respect you. Let's keep this strictly business, gentlemen.
Well, what put me behind bars? Well, let's call it stupidity. Making bad choices. I believe that sometimes God turns people's lives upside down so they can learn to live right-side up.
Before I came to the South Bay House of Corrections, I was a self-employed business man. I was the proud owner of King Zion's Den, located on 20 Hancock Street, Dorchester, MA. Before King Zion's Den, I owned and operated African Roots, located at the Dudley Station MBTA Pushcart in the heart of Roxbury, Dudley Station. I was the sole proprietor, and it felt so good to be an independent black man and a small business owner. At that point and time, I was not grossing 2 to 3k a week, selling all African art clothing and Rasta clothing and items.
In 1998, I incorporated African Roots Inc and, at that point and time, I had no clue of a corporation. I was blindsided, used, and abused, and taken advantage of by the so-called president of my corporation. Please feel free to check the Internet for my article of organization.
In 2008, I opened up King Zion's Den (google it) that burned down due to negligence of the owner. I lost over $330k worth of merchandise, and I had no insurance. My life was turned upside-down. I started drinking to rid myself of the depression, and it all winded me in jail.
But I believe that pain + perseverance = beauty, and that what doesn't destroy me will make me stronger. The beauty of my spirit is in that strength and my strength. I'm not referring to anything muscular or hard. I'm talking about stoicism or any kind of "pretend strength". I'm talking about the type of strength it takes to face each of my situations and to let myself feel the hurt, disappointment, sadness, and fear that it brought me. And to still, step by difficult step, walk through it until I reach a new season in my life with its own set of trials, temptations, and testimonies.
Of course, the difference is that when I was younger, I was not as certain there was another side. A place where there will be less pain, where the challenges I'm facing will evaporate into a memory. But I know now that I don't have to hold onto the pain to hold onto my memory of my business, King Zion's Den that burned down in 2008.
I will be home soon, and it will be a start of a new beginning, a new business, a new name, new ideas, a new beginning. Please look forward to reading my business plan, Concrete Jungle, in my next blog post. Please feel free to correct me, walk with me, talk with me, and help me. I am open for new ideas, new products, a new adventure. Looking forward to a response soon. Please feel free to write by mail or through the blog.