I am Suppose to be Here!

Dr. Donald Arnette

I am Suppose to be Here

By Shawn Sturges

DrErvin188

“Make sure you are aware of what uniform you’re putting on when you go out in public because you are going to be judged by it. It doesn’t mean that’s right or wrong, its simply reality, and we have to learn to live in reality because that is what this world is all about.”

Dr. Donald Arnette! Medical researcher and liaison, public speaker, and now published author has accomplished much throughout his life. If you were to ask Dr. Arnette what his dream was as a youth the answer might not surprise you. “I want to be rich,” was the answer he provided his father at the age of twelve. Almost all youths have the desire to become rich, but what steps are taken to achieve this outcome will determine the success. Arnette’s father suggested that a career as a doctor would be the perfect way in which that goal could be realized.

“To say I was always comfortable in my own skin is an understatement.” In high school Don fell in with the crowd. He was not comfortable with his intelligence. As a result he would tell friends he also failed exams although the scores proved differently.

The message he brings to youth today is not let others deter you from the path in which you have set out to achieve. In the past, intelligence was synonymous with glasses and pocket protectors. Today it is possible to be intelligent without the sacrifice of one’s personal image. The image he explains should be demolished. “You can be smart, the star of the basketball team, and have the girls like you as well.” The once negative image of intelligence no longer has any bearing on a person’s swag.

The first impression often sets the tone of the speaking engagement, meeting, or conversation. When Dr. Arnette first meets youths in schools it is his intention to not allow teachers to inform their students about his career path. He shows up in a pair of blue jeans and t-shirt and follows with this… “I will give anyone twenty dollars if they can tell me what I do for a living.” To this day he states that twenty dollars has remained rooted deeply in his pocket. The immediate perception devised by the students is he must be an athlete or entertainer, so when he reveals he is in fact a doctor the students are often surprised. This allows him to demonstrate,

“Each of you just profiled me, and associated my appearance with your personal experiences. This allows you to understand that others do this to you as well, and not necessarily from a position of hate, but some people honestly don’t know how to perceive your personal image. Their immediate association is that you belong to a particular crowd.”

Once the realization dawns on them that it is human nature to create judgements and perceptions of our interactions with others they become better prepared to deal with future related situations.

Dr. Arnette’s path to public speaking can be loosely attributed to one day when taking his children to school. Teachers asked him if he would speak to several students that currently did not have positive male influences in their lives. He took this opportunity to become their positive influence. This rapidly snowballed into engagements with elementary schools, career days at junior high schools, and even being asked to speak with outgoing high school classes. These opportunities led him to other topics which include conversations not only about what one can become, but health and fitness, dispelling myths about rumors of hypertension, high cholesterol, and cancer. He states,

“Everyone calls it motivational speaking, but I call it having the opportunity to educate. I like being in the best position to educate and inform others with knowledge which will allow for better informed decisions, and where ignorance will no longer be an excuse.”

An important path to Dr. Arnette’s role as a public speaker and author can be seen during his doctoral fellowship. He ran a research project called, “The Glass Study – The Genetics of Longevity in African Americans.” He had almost five hundred patients enrolled in this trial. Over five hundred were over the age of seventy who had a cultural bias to the participation in medical studies. The Tuskegee experiments were fresh on their minds, and the major contributing factor to their apprehension. He seemed to have an inherent talent to convince people that everything would be alright, and not only calm fears but answer questions. The trust he was able to foster allowed a demographic that hardly ever participated in trials to now change their view point on their participation.

“When you are able to connect with that group and get them to give blood, and explain what DNA is to a 75 year old African American man who has a ninth grade education and says, ‘Ok, I trust you.’ That is when I knew I had something.”

Dr. Arnette considers himself to be a chameleon since he has the ability to adapt and be comfortable in various social environments. While at UT Southwestern he studied with a Nobel Prize winner by the name of Al Gilman. This provided him the ability to participate in intellectually stimulating conversations. At the same time, he was just as comfortable meeting up with an old friend who he knew from high school in south Dallas, one of the poorest areas of the city, in order to drink a beer.

He never set out to write a book, so when he would write his thoughts down it was more so as a therapeutic outlet. It wasn’t until Spirit Reign, a publishing company out of Atlanta, GA, approached him that the reality of a book crept into his mind. The publishers heard his story through friends of friends. They were impressed with the way he dealt with many of the situations he was faced with and which were completely applicable to today’s social climate. Eight months later the book was finished and gained the title of “I Am Supposed to be Here.”

When asked how the title came into existence he followed with,

“The title finally came about because I went back to the very beginning when a policeman said to me that, ‘You don’t look like you’re supposed to be here’. And I said, ‘let’s make a statement and turn this thing around, I am supposed to be here’.”

He was determined to not make this a racially motivated book even though his experiences stem from this social issue. The ability for him to not only tell his story, but create a work that anyone can connect with that transcends the issue of race alone was quite important to him.

Today, he has many people approach him in order to share how much they have learned about themselves from his book. So much so, that they have shared the book with friends and family. Another main theme throughout the book is to show that he is not some sort of anomaly. Anyone can achieve their highest aspirations through hard work and determination and not let others’ perceptions of them veer them off their own life path.

Shout outs

  • To my wife and kids who support me in all my endeavors.
  • To Spirit Reign who helped make my first book become a reality.”
  • To Beatrice Davis, President of Sassy B Worldwide, who has been a godsend in moving my speaking career forward.

Years of the Canine: Off Ice, and Ready to Melt Your Ears! A collaboration between vocalist Dynamax and multi-instrumentalist/producer Dom Beken

Years of the Canine:
Off Ice, and Ready to Melt Your Ears!

By Shawn Sturges

“When you spend a long time in a darkened room making records it is so nice when people hear and go ‘I like that’, ‘I’m interested and want to talk to you about it’, ‘I want to hear how you made it’. For me, that’s one of the things that pushes you forward and it’s worth doing this.”- Dom Beken

DomBeken
Dynamax

Five years in the making, Years of the Canine is the collaboration between vocalist Dynamax and multi-instrumentalist/producer Dom Beken. The two met during Dom’s High Frequency Bandwidth project. High Frequency Bandwidth was a project created by Alex Paterson of The Orb and Dom Beken who was a fellow band member, simply because Dom wanted to start a Hip Hop project. Dom was interested in guest artists to feature on HFB’s album Hell, Fire and Brimstone so, Kris Needs, (iconic Rock writer and mutual friend of the two) suggested Dynamax. He and Dom got on really well with one another throughout the sessions, and they looked at each other and said, “We should figure out a way to do a lot more of this. What do you want to do?”

Dynamax followed with, “I have this idea I want to do which is this crossover between rock and rap, and you’d do real music as well as the electronic music. What do you think?” Soon after the two sat down and wrote a record.

Where do these two musicians receive their influences? Well here it is. Dynamax had the opportunity to lead Afrika Bambaataa’s Zulu Nation in Europe, and was also inducted into Ice-T’s Rhyme Syndicate by Afrika Islam. Dynamax stated, “Afrika Bambaataa told me basically, ‘don’t be afraid to experiment with other styles of music.’” This drove Dynamax to pull influences from the collaboration with Dom on High Frequency Bandwidth and Dom’s jazz eclectic Hip Hop vibe, which provided a huge opportunity for Dynamax to work in fusion. Dom Beken pulls his influences from Jazz and Hip Hop. His main job is as a film composer, so he writes a lot of orchestral and classical music, and infuses that with as much Jazz and Hip Hop as he can. He has also played in various bands, one of which was The Orb – pioneers of ambient house music.

When asked where the influences for Years of the Canine came from Dom followed with this-

“We were kind of looking for a way to kick start the record, and give it a feel and flavor. A group of friends of mine on the same label as us in the U.K., a label called Malicious Damage… the label originally signed and started the band called Killing Joke. They are quite a legendary rock outfit now. They sort of had a feel that we liked, so I started writing some stuff for them to play. We needed that flavor to give ourselves a direction, and that’s where tracks like “Resurrected Angel”, “No Evil”, and “Long Ride” came from, and set something of a template for what we wanted to do in terms of flavor.”

Simply put, “Years of the Canine is sort of an equilibrium of different styles of vibes”, which is Dynamax’s own personal opinion of the record.

Dom worked with punk rock band Headcount to develop the music for “Resurrected Angel”. After the initial track was created, Dom worked to balance the music and mellow out the music which made it suitable for Dynamax to lay down the vocals. Dynamax then wrote the lyrics to record in Dom’s studio Projector Room 2. The rap sections of the song were then freestyled by Dynamax. Dynamax simply stated, “I was really in love with the track.”

However, the project stalled and came to a halt due to a loss of momentum. Dynamax had this great analogy to share, “The record got frozen like Captain America in ice”. Soon, Emma Walker, the founder of Love Music Magazine, discovered the music of Years of the Canine, and absolutely fell in love. Furthermore, Dynamax got in contact with Carrie Dowd, founder of OMO Entertainment & Management, to share their music with her as well. Carrie, like Emma, also fell in love with the music, and just like that a new pair of legs attached themselves to the project.

Under Dog Nation Volume 1 was the title given to the record. Dynamax had a shear vigor, enthusiasm, and passion about him when he spoke these words, “Who wants to join the nation of underdogs? And be a part of us, and help us push this record forward. It’s all about peace, love, and unity. It’s about being a human being first and all the other things second.”

Under Dog Nation Volume 1 is set to drop in the fall of 2015. The record was recorded in the U.K. at Dom Beken’s studio Projector Room 2. Currently there are hopes to develop a tour to support the release of the album in the fall. The goal is to have two show styles with one set up being just Dynamax and Dom to provide a more intimate show atmosphere, while the second set up being that of a full band. As an avid music lover I urge all of you other music fans to check out the rock infused hip hop sound of Years of the Canine. “Resurrected Angel” is the single which was released on July 3, 2015, and soon the entire full length album will be upon us. Years of the Canine has a smooth sound with high energy that will surely not disappoint your musical ears.

I will leave everyone with this quote from Dom Beken:

“You can either be one of a million other people just being beige in a beige world, or you can try and do something that’s going to touch people, and then you stand a chance of standing out.”

Shout Outs
• Aaron Gum – Director of video for “Resurrected Angel”
• To all the people that participated in the project
• Carrie Dowd – OMO Entertainment & Management
• Dom Beken – Multi-instrumentalist/Producer
• Guy Pratt – Pink Floyd Bassist
• Kris Needs – Iconic Rock writer
• Headcount
• Donald D – Dynamax’s partner in the Rhyme Syndicate
• Beatrice Davis – Sassy B Worldwide Productions, Inc.