Rapper Kirk Williams was lucky in avoiding being one of many African American felons in the United States. At the age of 14, Williams had been a drug dealer and homeless. He was also declared dead three times after being shot protecting his sister from an attack.
Williams was renting from his neighbor at the age of 14, dealing with bills and rolling with a lady old enough to be his mother. “I didn’t have a childhood,” he told The Clarion Ledger.
He added: “I can tell a man that I’m not a felon – even if I should have been. You can’t say that you’re not one just because you haven’t been prosecuted. You just managed to escape those hoops by the grace of God.”
The rapper, who goes by the stage name Trembleduzzit, took charge of his destiny and those of his generation and returned to the classroom. He is now a Master’s of Arts in Urban and Regional Planning recipient from the Jackson State University at the age of 36 with a 3.9 GPA.
“To come from an environment where 98 percent of people have felonies around you, there is always a concern about being able to register for school and apply for financial aid,” Williams said.
Williams was 23 when his journey to earning his master’s degree began. He worked on his GED and after four failed tries made it on the fifth attempt, enrolling in Jackson State University where he earned his bachelor’s degree, followed by his master’s.
“The only way to maintain my focus was to get up every day and study. I had always dreamed about going to Jackson State. There was something about walking over to the next street and hearing the band playing and watching them practice on the field. At the time, the neighborhood didn’t have a representative who said, ‘He’s from the block, or from the ghetto, but can still go to college’,” he said.
The 35-35 Entertainment signee hopes to release his soon-to-be-published book “The Latest I Can Be Was On Time.”