I’ve heard some folks say that you should never meet your heroes. The opportunity arose for me to meet one of mine and you know what? Some folks just don’t know what they’re talking about.

The Event

Tariq Trotter, also known as Black Thought, has recently released his memoir titled “The Upcycled Self”. It’s no secret that I am a huge fan, so when I found out that he was coming to Los Angeles as one of the stops on his book tour, I ordered tickets immediately.

Empty Stage at Bovard Auditorium for Black Thought Event
Bovard Auditorium at USC

We arrived early, but I didn’t expect to get such a great seat: FRONT ROW CENTER.

The event took place on the USC campus at the Bovard Auditorium and the atmosphere of the theater was great. A shout-out to USC Visions and Voices for hosting the event.

Black Thought & Jason King in conversation

The conversation between Black Thought and Jason King was intriguing and allowed for some great insights into the book and the early life of the author. Every question came across as super authentic, and I learned a lot more details about my favorite emcee, even though I’d already read the book. I was able to get the full impression of how the arts have transformed this one-of-a-kind artist into who he is today.

There was time for audience questions and Black Thought gracefully answered each one, even though some were not well thought out. Or, if you’re a fan, you would know he’s answered a million times (top 5 anyone?). That’s true professionalism in my book.

The Meet & Greet

The event wrapped up with a book signing opportunity, but it felt like the odds were against us. Since I was seated in the front row, I was instantly last in line after being told to exit the theater and to line up outside. Needless to say, I kept a positive attitude and hoped that I’d make it through the line before the time limit. I’m sure the studio or a flight was calling.

My patience and excitement paid off in a big way (and by patience, I mean the jokes and wisecracks between me and my wife, and apologies to the dude who was standing in line with us), and right before the time limit expired, with the book in hand, I was able to meet one of my heroes!

It was a brief, yet monumental moment for me. Black Thought has always been number one on my top five emcee list, and at this moment, I was standing face-to-face with someone whom I’ve admired from afar for decades.

I quickly said hello and mentioned how outstanding his beard was in person by reciting some of the lyrics from his infamous freestyle. I was much less nervous than I had anticipated. I felt cool as hell and everyone else faded into the background. We shared a quick chuckle and smiled for a photo. He signed my copy of the book, and after a quick dap, I was on my way out the door. It’s one of those brief, yet monumental, life moments that I won’t soon forget. The interaction felt genuine and sincere even though I must have easily been one of over a hundred or more photos and autographs he’d already knocked out.

It was truly an honor, and I send my sincerest appreciation to Mr. Trotter for his time. I haven’t met many of my heroes or famous individuals in general, but to the folks who say, “Don’t meet your heroes,” I’d recommend a different mindset, you have no idea what you may be missing out on.

Meeting one of my biggest heroes was dope. The end.

Myself & Black Thought posing for a photo. Beards in check.

The Upcycled Self A MEMOIR ON THE ART OF BECOMING WHO WE ARE is available at https://tariqtrotterbook.com

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