Happy Birthday, Jefe!

I met Young Jeezy in 2011 at a party at Jermaine Dupri’s. I had found a little spot in the corner that I liked just for me, and I stayed there for a while. Anyone who knows me knows that the only reason that I can comfortably hang out among all these celebrities is that I use a networking technique that I created and that I always find a “safe space,” in the room. I went to get a drink or a wing (probably a wing) and as I walked back to my corner spot, my safe space, —he was there. I had too much momentum to walk away without looking crazy, so I took a deep breath, walked over to him and introduced myself.

That introduction would lead to about five years of cool times with Jeezy.

It would lead to me hanging out in the studio with him, having dinner with him and Usher, and being able to walk into any club he was in just by sending a text and leaving my name. It led to a few amazing interviews and events. It led to love and support from dozens of people.

Today is his birthday.

This post is my gift to him.

It was 2014, at a party for YG. The young Compton rapper was putting out his debut album. We gathered at Patchwerk to eat, drink, and celebrate. After about an hour, Jeezy, YG, Don Cannon and more arrived. They took up Room A, playing the album. The large studio suite was full of people who ended up there, were happy to be there, and grinded their way there. It was another half-hour before I was permitted inside. My cameraman and I were supposed to interview YG, take pics, etc.

One thing about Jeezy is that he never comes over to you. You can hold out your hands, your arms, your money out to him and he will never approach you. But, if you talking right he will accept you when you get close to him.

I reached out to him and he gave me a smirk, so I took a few more steps over and ended up between his legs. Get your mind out the gutter, I ended up there because it was literally that crowded and he was sitting on a shelf and after this hug I couldn’t go much further. So, I practically stood in his lap and we talked about Detroit and music, and he made me laugh and I made him laugh. Before I figured out a way to climb out of his lap and just listen to the album standing next to him, my cameraman said, “Let me take a picture of y’all.” We looked at each other, “A picture with him? I got so many pictures with him. But, okay.” And we posed for the camera. This is that picture.

Meeting, hanging out with, working with Jeezy has been a turning point in my life and my career. That’s why it hangs up prominently in my studio apartment in New York. I appreciate every moment and every time that I could just pick up the phone and make two calls to connect with him. I appreciate how his assistant told me, “He’s only gonna answer one question, from you, so make it good.” I appreciate how when he met my boss, he said, “You got a real one right here.” Thank you Jay Jr., for introducing me to your dad. For letting me hear some of your music that you may never even release. Thank you for complimenting me, listening to me, for speaking to me. Sometimes a lot, sometimes just a little, but always enough. You inspire me so much. Happy Birthday, Jefe. #ItsThaWorld

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