Randy Kearse: Changing Your Game Plan

Randy Kearse: Changing Your Game Plan

In 1992, 26-year-old Brooklyn, NY, crack cocaine dealer Mo Dawg was sent to prison for 15 years. The judge called him a menace to society. Mo Dawg was a native of Brooklyn’s notorious Farragut low-income public housing project. In the ‘60s and ‘70s, Mo Dawg was still Randy Kearse, one of countless Farragut kids hopefully looking for a way out of the projects. Then came the drug epidemic of the 1960s, sweeping across America and the world, indiscriminately claiming lives from all walks of life. For kids in the projects, it was mostly crack cocaine, and often meant a roller-coaster ride to a ruined life or a painful, untimely death. For others, like Randy Kearse, crack represented an opportunity for escape to a life of money and ease. Randy dropped out of Fort Hamilton High School, and transformed himself into Mo Dawg, a gangster who took a street-corner crack cocaine trade to a million-dollar-a-year industry.

Dawg ran a gang of two dozen workers, covering several cities and earning $100,000 or more a week. As is so often the case, however, law enforcement caught up with Mo Dawg, and dropped the hammer on him for 15 years. He was released in 2005, a little early, after serving 13 years, 6 months and 2 days of his 15 year sentence. But it wasn’t Mo Dawg who walked out of prison that day. Randy Kearse stepped through those prison gates, breathing once more the air of freedom. Mo Dawg, like so many other dangerous inmates, had met his end in prison. Randy replaced the troublesome alter-ego, and everything the gangster represented, with positive values his parents had tried to teach when he was a kid back in the projects.

His motivation to do so was clear, and obvious. First, Randy was deeply affected by being sent to prison. Suddenly life was no longer a game, the money that had poured in too fast to count became meaningless. He was locked away from life for 15 years! Second, the disappointment he saw on his mother’s face wounded him deeply. He began to understand the wisdom of his parents’ advice. Third, on his very first day in prison, another inmate was murdered. Now that’s a serious introduction to the reality of prison life. Finally, he heard that a good friend and fellow dealer was tortured and murdered. This was a jolting reminder of what the chances of a life of crime outside the walls offers most gangsters. These events helped kick-started Randy’s decision to find a better life, no matter what, when he got out of federal prison. And so, in 2005, Randy Kearse found himself back on the sidewalks of New York, a 39-year-old former drug dealer looking to build a new life in the straight world. Normally, he would have had to deal with the fact that the prospects for success for an ex-con with little education and no formal training in anything are miserable to none. But when Randy Kearse bumped off Mo Dawg in prison, he actually had a plan.

When he regained his freedom, he wasn’t going to be just other ex-con. He was a man with a plan, and determination and the energy to make that plan work. The plan started when he saw another inmate reading a book titled 1,001 Jokes. Randy immediately got an idea for his own book, one with “1,001 street slang expressions”. He was in a federal prison, after all, surrounded by regional slang from all over the country, including different generations of slang which offered historical perspective. The book project exploded into 10,001 expressions, and took Randy seven years to finish. But finish he did, right before getting out of prison. With some help with finances from his mom, Randy kept the dream going and published his first book, STREET TALK: Da Official Guide to Hip-Hop & Urban Slanguage. Barricade Books, an independent publisher, distributed it to bookstores around the world. Randy Kearse, ex-con and former “gangsta” Mo Dawg, was a published author. Randy had always been good with words, and this success led him to a second book, Changin’ Your Game Plan! How to Use Incarceration as a Stepping Stone for SUCCESS. “My mother was a schoolteacher, and I was always good at English,” he says. “So I went back to that foundation and tried to rebuild my life based on this groundwork of words and language.” Randy’s second book doesn’t focus on physical incarceration, in spite of what the title suggests. It includes chapters on “mental confinement”, how people can trap themselves in self-made prisons of poor habits and negativity.

The book has proved to be an inspiration for all sorts of people seeking to make positive changes in their lives . Randy was so passionate about this book, he went out and sold it himself, one on one, on the New York City subway system - and sold over 15,000 copies. Randy was so popular on the subways around the city that he became the subject of articles in New York newspapers, television news stations, and was a guest on numerous TV shows. He says a major purpose of the book is to reach young people and show them the dangers of traveling the road he took with drugs and crime. He exhibits some real insight about how to turn negative situations into positive ones, and how not to get caught up in the “game” of preventing yourself from achieving your personal potential and your goals.

The success of the second book inspired more books, and more activity aimed at helping others avoid the common pitfalls of modern life, and find the strength to push through obstacles to success. Randy started a company called Positive Urban Literature Inc., to publish literature that is “uplifting, educational and empowering”. He’s written 3 more books, including The Writing Game: How to Print, Publish, Profit in the Book Industry, The Street Survival Guide for the young Black and Latino Male, and My Side of the Story: An absent father explains.

He recently launched a monthly newspaper, and a weekly radio show called The Positive News Report. And Randy now is taking assignments as a success coach to help people face adversity and overcome the challenge to change. He says he has already transformed “career criminals, gang bangers, people with drug dependencies, at risk youth, and hardened street individuals.” It helps that Randy combines the smarts of “street experience” with the ability to clearly articulate his ideas. His philosophy of “no nonsense, no excuses, take responsibility for your life” may seem to be a tall order for some people, yet it’s proving extremely popular among both young people and adults.

At Novus Medical Detox Center, our clients have recognized that they are trapped in the prison of substance abuse. Like Randy, they have taken on the responsibility of a no-nonsense, no-excuses personal journey to recover their lives through drug detox.

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