‘Let’s Get Ready to Rumble”

It’s amazing how many people are going through really tough times right now.  These tough times go way beyond financial difficulties.  I just want to say that it’s ok to go to your corner, have a seat, drink some water and get some rest in between rounds…but whatever you do…please don’t throw in the towel.  The fight is NOT over. 

You have a partner who’s fighting along with you and He’s the undisputed, undefeated, EVERY weight champion of the world.

Published in: on 03/29/2010 at 9:48 p.10.  Leave a Comment  

New York City

First of all I have to make it clear that I absolutely love where I live.  At the present time I can’t even imagine living anywhere other than Charlotte, NC.  

I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to travel to so many different places, in and outside of the country.  I’ve had the privilege of meeting the people who reside in these places and I can honestly say that it’s been a very good experience being able to see all of this.

However, if I had to choose a favorite place to visit, I would have to say that my choice would be New York City.  I just made a recent trip there, stayed in Times Square and spent most of my time in the Manhattan area.  I absolutely love Times Square; the lights, the amazing billboards and the great food. 

New York is the place that I wake up to sometimes by way of “Good Morning America” with Robin, George, Sam and Juju Chang.   Also, when I’m around in the mornings and need a good laugh, I can watch “Live with Regis & Kelly” which is also broadcast from New York.

I’ve seen the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge, attended games at Madison Square Garden, watched baseball in both the new and old Yankee Stadium and have learned how to ride the subway like a true New Yorker. 

However, what keeps bringing me back to New York is something that’s far greater than the amazing landscape, the lights, the Broadway shows and the awesome sports teams. 

It’s the people.  Funny thing is that before my very first visit, I had always heard that New Yorkers were some of the meanest people in the world.  However, I find that to be very untrue because I’ve met some of the nicest people in all of my travels right there in the “Big Apple”.   

I believe that New York City is the one city that represents America better than any other city.  I say that because of the diversity.  I can meet people who look like me or some of my white friends but they speak a totally different language than we do.  The diversity of NY is so amazing. 

I’ve learned that New Yorkers love where they live, they’re very passionate and supportive of their sports teams and they love helping people who are visiting for whatever reason brings them there.  Ask any New Yorker which subway to catch when trying to reach a destination and watch their faces light up as they give you directions. 

Yes, truly my favorite place to visit.  New York City, the “Salad Bowl” of America. I choose the term “Salad Bowl” over “melting pot” because a “Salad Bowl” describes it better.  A melting pot will melt everything in it until it all looks the same.  However, in a salad bowl, everything can keep its own identity. 

That’s the beauty of New York, you have people from all over the world, they have diverse backgrounds, different beliefs, practices and cultures but they’re still… all American.

Published in: on 03/29/2010 at 9:48 p.04.  Comments (2)  

It is for You!

“What God has for you, it is for you. There is absolutely nothing that anyone can say nor do to keep it from you. When He has ordained something for you, people can talk, lie or do whatever their misled hearts will allow them to do but your blessings will still come.”  Andre Hairston
Published in: on 03/29/2010 at 9:48 p.01.  Comments (1)  

“Small Towns can Have Big Dreamers”

A few days ago, I was thinking about my first day of college when I arrived on campus in Nashville, TN. Every time someone would ask me where did I grow up? I would respond by saying a small town outside of Greensboro. I knew that none of them had ever heard of my hometown therefore, I didn’t even bother to tell them.

As I grew older and began to travel the country and even outside of the US, I would still reference the bigger cities in NC as my home.

However, it’s always in those quiet, still moments that we have the opportunity to truly reflect on which life experiences have really shaped our lives.

One of the areas of my hometown was called “Draper”. My mom, my three brothers and I lived in some apartments there in which we all referred to as “the bricks”. I have so many funny as well as dramatic memories of that neighborhood but I honestly wouldn’t change anything about that experience.

That’s where I witnessed my first shootout. My mom was driving us to the store one evening and this guy who lived in the neighborhood was shooting at another member of his family. One of my best friends was caught in the crossfire, my mother ordered him to get into the car so that he could be out of harm’s way.

Then there were the more pleasant experiences….the Draper Recreation Center. Every day, my friends and I would get off of the school bus, stop by Elree’s Sweet Shoppe (LOL), buy their “world famous” oatmeal cookies and then head to the Rec. to play basketball. That was our little country club. We played sports year round….every sport…even baseball.

The good thing about growing up in my city was that every small neighborhood was an extension of our neighborhood. If we did something wrong on one side of town, news would travel back to our side of town before we made it home. It was even possible to get a few “whippings” before we got home, only to have our parents “whip” us again. This generation of children doesn’t know anything about that. (LOL)

I grew up with some amazing people, who are doing amazing things right now. Some of my best childhood friends are doing well and living out their dreams. Rob H. is an awesome school teacher, Corey M. is a nurse and entrepreneur, Ricco H. started his own car detailing business, Lorenzo S. has served our country for years and now has a son playing football for Texas A&M (73) and Illya W. is a medical doctor in CA.

I’m so proud of these guys and the many; many others who have overcome the odds and have not allowed their past challenges to dictate their future chances.

The hundreds of games of tackle football in Ms. Bunch’s backyard in the Blue Creek neighborhood, the times that the staff members at the Draper Rec. would encourage us, not just in sports but also in life, the many conversations that I had with my grandma on her front porch before she passed away and the many, many times that my mother would sit my younger brother and I at the foot of her bed and tell us that God loves us, have shaped my life more than anything that I’ve experienced. That is my foundation and that’s why I tackle the things that I do, the way that I do.

I absolutely love living in Charlotte, it’s been home for quite some time now. However, Eden, NC, area code 27288…population about 15, 460. That’s where I’m from yall.

Published in: on 03/29/2010 at 9:48 p.10.  Comments (6)  

“One of God’s Most Awesome Creations”

 Ladies…Do you know how beautiful you are? God was at His best when He created you. You are the bringer of life into this world. You are the first teacher of the child. You are the most amazing creature on the face of the earth. A man should never harm you or allow you to harm yourself.  Hold your heads up high, with self love, respect, and dignity. If you do, the rest of the world will see you the same way.      Andre Hairston

Published in: on 03/29/2010 at 9:48 p.09.  Leave a Comment  

“Keep Dreaming”

Some people see things as they are and ask, Why? I dream things that never were and say, Why not?

Mr. Walt Disney took his daughter to a carnival when she was just a little girl. The carousel had chipped paint and one of the horses was out-of-order. He promised her that he would one day build a place where all of the horses worked and there would never be chipped paint. Till this day the maintenance crew at Disney uses fresh paint daily to make sure that it looks the way it did the day before. All of this started with a dream.

If you have a vision it can take you much further than you can ever imagine. However, you have to work hard and not allow anyone to kill your dream by speaking negative words about it and discouraging you. It’s not for everyone to see nor understand.

That’s why it was given to you!

Published in: on 03/29/2010 at 9:48 p.06.  Comments (1)  

“If I Can Do It, You Can Do It”

I can’t even begin to tell you how humbled I am by all of the positive things that have happened in my life. Of course as the poem says, “Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair….it had tacks in it”. However, without those tacks I don’t think that any of us would be as strong as we are when we overcome adversity.

Some people ask me, How do I do it? Teaching more classes than anyone that I know, producing plays, acting in movies, being a single dad, giving back to the community. My question in turn is. How can I not do it?

You see, my work ethic is something that was instilled in me by my mother and grandmother. I come from a family of hard working people. The only “American Dream” that my mother had was to make sure that her four sons had food on the table each night. That we looked presentable when we were out in public. Even if it meant sacrificing all of the things that she needed and that was the case most times.

In all of my years as a child, I can’t remember a time when my mom would go out and shop for herself. She wore the same two or three pair of jeans to work for quite some time. Fortunately for her she worked in the textile industry and that was acceptable.

My grandmother was the same way, she worked hard to provide for her children after the passing of her husband and she was left raising their seven children all by herself. Sometimes even working in places where African Americans weren’t even allow to go…but she did all of this with a smile because she was a God and people loving individual.

Unfortunately my grandmother passed away almost two years ago and my mama had a stroke about 15 years ago, leaving her unable to talk or walk since then. Fortunately I can still hear both of their voices encouraging me to stay focused and keep working hard.

Another reason I’m so thankful is……years ago when I was in college. There was a time when I had absolutely nothing. No money for school, no job because I was a college student and I didn’t want to burden my mother because she was struggling also….plus I was in Nashville and she was in NC. It would have added even more stress to her life.

I was homeless and slept in an old abandoned tire warehouse that was located minutes away from the college where I later graduated. I remember hearing mice running through the walls at this place and sometimes I would be afraid to sleep out of fear that something terrible would happen. I would get up each morning, go to the YMCA to shower and then spend time looking for a job and writing my first play. I had a Y card because my mother’s job provided cards for us at a very reasonable price.

It took me a while to let anyone know my situation because my pride wouldn’t allow me to do it. I was determined to pick myself up out of that place because I knew that God had a better plan for my life. It’s hard for me to share this because that was one of those times that I almost wished never happened.

However, I’m glad that it happened to me because I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to work with hundreds of people each week and when they tell me that they can’t….I can tell them from personal experience that they CAN.

Maybe you weren’t homeless as I was but you’ve had to overcome obstacles to get to where you are now. Stay focused, work hard and keep striving to reach your goals.

Thanks for taking time to allow me to share with you!

Andre Hairston

Published in: on 03/29/2010 at 9:48 p.03.  Comments (5)  

You are a Gift 

“You are a gift. A precious and valuable piece of art created by God. 

Not just a regular piece of art but a priceless masterpiece. 

The Mona Lisa has nothing on you. 

You are unique, as no one else is made just like you.  

Even the tips of your fingers were designed with so much detail. 

You were created to fly, to soar beyond the mountains that can sometimes get in your way.  

When you feel weak and want to give up…there’s something on the inside that rises up and allows you to take it to another level. 

You are able to see sunshine, even if it’s been raining everyday for weeks.  

You can see beyond the challenges of today and begin to rejoice in the championships of tomorrow.  

Don’t stop, don’t quit…stay in the race!

Even if you have to crawl across the finish line…at least you finished.”

Andre Hairston

Published in: on 03/29/2010 at 9:48 p.03.  Leave a Comment  


Regardless of what last year looked like for you, use this transition as a way of looking forward and not looking back. 

Sometimes we can be our own biggest critic, as well as the only person who stands in between us and our destiny being fulfilled. 

Don’t focus so much on your past but work hard to build a future.  

Don’t worry about your failures but appreciate your freedom to dream.

Don’t think so much about your imperfections but think more about the perfect God who created you and offers unlimited possibilities.   

Published in: on 03/29/2010 at 9:48 p.01.  Comments (1)  

“Locked up….but still Free”

On February 11, 1990 one of the most influential people in world history was released from jail after spending 27 years incarcerated. His only crime was that he was fighting for the rights of the people. He wanted equality for all of the people of South Africa.

Over the past four decades he has received over 250 awards including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.

After being released from jail he was elected President of South Africa from 1995-1999, under South Africa’s new multi-racial democracy. He taught the people of the country how to forgive, how to love each other and how to come together as one.

One of the ways that he did this was by using the South African rugby team as a bridge to unite blacks and whites. As President, he invited the captain of the mostly white rugby team, Francois Pienaar to join him for tea. During this meeting he shared his heart and vision with this very popular and respected athlete, for the New South Africa.

In 1995 South Africa defeated New Zealand 15-12 in one of the most exciting games in Rugby history. You can actually learn more about that by watching Clint Eastwood’s movie “Invictus” starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon.

However, South Africa won so much more than the title of champion on that day. They won the victory of being able to build bridges that had been destroyed by many years of the ugly reigns of Apartheid.

Just thinking about how God used Mr. Nelson Mandela….mind you…that was in jail for 27 years, to bring the people of South Africa together. It’s a strong example of how we can remain “free” regardless of what situations we may face. It may appear that you’re in the jails of a failed relationship, a dead end job or even major financial problems but as long as you don’t allow these situations to incarcerate your mind….you will always be free! To think that Mr. Mandela was able to keep a sane mind, a forgiving heart and the ability to keep his eyes on the prize is beyond amazing!

Now, when I watch the soccer world cup that’s taking place in South Africa I can’t help but to think about and thank the man who has done so much to make it even possible for it to be played there.

Nelson Mandela or Madiba as he’s called by many in South Africa is someone we can all look up to as a great example of what wonderful things we can do with a heart that’s filled with love for mankind.

Published in: on 03/29/2010 at 9:48 p.06.  Leave a Comment