July 24, 1997
I remember that day like it was yesterday.
It was the day that I loaded up all of my stuff on a moving truck and moved to Atlanta.
I had just graduated from South Carolina State in December of 1996. I was still living in Orangeburg, SC. I had a few job offers in South Carolina but nothing that I really wanted. I was working as an assistant manager at a video store. It was cool but I knew that I couldn't put my marketing degree to use at that spot. I was contemplating my next move. I knew that I wasn't going to move back to my hometown, Florence, SC. I loved my hometown but I knew that the day that I left for college that I would never live there any more. It was time for the young bird to leave the nest and fly. And I did. I had my sights set on Atlanta.
In the spring of 1997, I wasn't sure how I was going to get to Atlanta. I had put off going to grad school. One day I called up one of my partners in crime, JFresh. Me and JFresh have been friends since we were 6. We went to high school together but different colleges. He too had just graduated and moved back to Florence. I mentioned to him that I wanted to move to Atlanta. He said he wanted to live there too. He suggested that we move there together and get an apartment together. I thought about it for a second. Fresh is my boy but he is by far the weirdest cat that I know...but that's my boy. So, I told him that we should do it. As July moved closer and closer, I thought that JFresh would back out at the last minute. He didn't.
I had no long term plans about being in Atlanta. I had fallen in love with the city when I was in college. It was a place that represented upward mobility for young black people like me. The hip hop scene was bubbling at the time. While acts like Outkast and Goodie MoB were on the scene...others like Ludacris (a radio personality on Hot 97) and T.I (I saw him perform at an underground club but didn't catch his name but he ripped it)...had yet to blow. I came to FreakNik in 1994 and I told my friends that I would move here after college. Growing up, the only place that I had envisioned myself living was New York City (Manhattan). I love New York. I couldn't imagine wanting to live anywhere. But Atlanta just felt comfortable. It didn't take long for me to feel at home. In a city with 5 million people in the metropolitan area, the only person that I knew was JFresh. We didn't know our way around but we both had a great sense of direction so we knew we wouldn't get lost. We rented a townhouse in a north Atlanta suburb. It was the typical bachelor pad...TVs and electronics...but very little furniture. LOL. We figured that the best way to get familiar with the city...was to party! And we partied! Sometimes we would hit parties on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, AND Sunday nights! And we soaked up all Atlanta had to offer. We lived together for a year before I moved to the east side of the city but we still hung out almost every weekend.
Years passed. I would eventually would settle down. I got married and started a family. Fresh moved to LA. But this place had become home. I felt as comfortable in Atlanta as I did Florence. I adopted the Atlanta Falcons and the Atlanta Hawks as my teams that I would support (not the Braves, though). I had my oldest son in 1999, got married in 2000, and then bought my house in 2001. Little did I know, I had planted roots here. The foundation was set. The thought of raising kids in city like this is challenging. Growing up in Florence, I could go around the corner and nothing would happen. That's not the same when you live in a place like Atlanta. Anything can happen. That's a scary thought as a parent. But this is where I wanted to be. Over the years, I have thought about leaving. But there's always something that convinces me to stay. Sometimes, I think about how life would be in Manhattan. But the cost of living in NYC is unreal! Unless, somebody wants to pay me a LOT more money...I'm not going anywhere. You can find me in tha A!