“Every black man is a king. Regardless of what society says, and despite what someone may have told us, we are royalty.” – Rayvon Shelton II
Who is Rayvon Shelton?
I am the black guy from Chicago who decided to create his own narrative of the black male experience because he was tired of seeing people get it wrong. I work hard, I pray harder and I’m not afraid to go all in. I’ve made my share of mistakes, but I haven’t allowed those to define me. Instead, I’ve used them to make me better and that’s why I never lose. I’m either winning or I’m learning.
What makes you jump out of bed every morning?
I was once one of those people who dreaded getting up and being obligated to something like work or school. But then I began to see the beauty in having another opportunity to get “it” right, another opportunity to do something great and another chance to inspire those around me. Not everyone is given the blessing of a new day, and I consider it nothing short of a blessing every time I open my eyes and still have the activity of my limbs.
How do you define inspiration?
Inspiration for me can come from anywhere. It could be a waiter at a restaurant, a commercial on TV or a family member having a conversation with me. Inspiration is that “aha” moment where your brain begins to consider a new perspective. It’s when you see, hear and reason differently. And through that, you’re inspired to create and do something differently.
What is an accomplishment you’re most proud of and why?
I must admit, I’m most proud of #CauseRaySaid because it’s a tangible representation of everything that is important to me – my faith, the culture, health/wellness, family, style and uplifting the black male.
What is something you would like to see black men like yourself do more of?
Not enough of us are motivated to be the best version of ourselves, and that’s why #CauseRaySaid is so relevant. Every black man is a king. Regardless of what society says, and despite what someone may have told us…we are royalty. I’d like to see more of us acting like the kings that we are.
If you could give advice to your younger self, what would it be and why?
Don’t worry about what people have to say about you – they’re always going to have something to say, because that’s what people do. The best thing you can do is believe in yourself and be mindful of who you share your time with. That’s one thing you can never get back.
Who is your role model and how do they inspire you?
There’s a village of people who I can honestly say have contributed to the person I am today. They include my mom, my pastor, as well as my mentors. They each bring something unique to the table but they all have one thing in common: resilience. They’ve overcome so much and they’ve handled it with grace, and I’ve learned so much from how they live their lives. I want to be better so that someone can look at me like I look at them.
If you could share with the world something interesting about yourself, what would it be?
I have the same birthday as the late, great Marvin Gaye.
How do you overcome fear?
Anytime I’m fearful of a situation, I remind myself that where there is fear, there can be no faith. And at the beginning, middle and end of the day, I’m faith-driven. I’ve learned not to tell God how big my mountain is. Rather, I tell my mountains how big my God is. It gets difficult at times, but it’s well worth it in the end.
In what ways has travel positively impacted your life?
Traveling has really immersed me in a world different from the one I created for myself. Through various trips, I’ve met amazing people, many of whom I still talk to and have sustained friendships with. Because of my ability to travel, I’ve been fortunate enough to see how society operates in other areas, which has a way of putting things in perspective and making you thankful for the life you live, ya know?
What does the phrase “Keep Shining” mean to you?
In order for one to keep shining, they have to have already exuded light in a consistent manner. For some, it may be volunteering whereas for others, it may be making others feel better. Fact of the matter is, whatever you can do to enhance the life experience of someone else, that’s what shining is. It’s a selfless life of service above self.
I am unapologetically authentic because…?
That’s what I expect from everyone around me. I will never have higher expectations of others than I do for myself.
ABOUT RAYVON SHELTON:
Rayvon is a Copywriter at Apple. When he’s not writing, he enjoys content creation, mentorship, and exploring representations of blacks in contemporary American films. He is the mastermind behind #CauseRaySaid, which is a platform he uses to encourage and uplift black males while reframing the black male experience in the media and in real life.
Get connected with Rayvon below!