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For the Love of Mexico

White Chedda

 

Chapter 4

A Very Big Dreamer

 

I don’t want you to think that I am

not afraid to walk across Mexico.

 

I am.

 

I do not fear any component related to people.

It has been suggested by many that my biggest

danger will be the interaction with the cartels along

the way. Even if I have an encounter with that world,

it does not scare me.

Out of anyone you know, you know I am definitely the best with people. No matter who they are. It is not

just my strength. It is also my profession. I’ve turned friendliness into a long and prosperous career.

It is because of the way I speak. With conviction. With puppiness. My Spanish is as perfect as any foreigner’s Spanish can be and that serves me well in this potential scenario of encountering ‘the bad hombres’

Many of you probably have never thought about this but after 5 years in Vallarta, I do have a relationship with many, many members of the cartel.

 

Not because I wanted to.

And not because I am in any way involved in that world. But because I never discriminated on who I extended

my friendlieness to. The drug dealers in Vallarta are my homies. We’re cool. The first reason is because I always smile at them and say hello. Just like I smile

at anyone else and say hello.

 

The second reason is because there are rumors about me that circulate this city. And those rumors are all good. This motherfucker spends his days rapping for people. Reciting poetry. And people pay him to do it. A bathing suit and a sign. Or A bathing suit and a

leather-bound notebook. Respect.

 

People often shout at me ‘El Rapero Huero!’ from their

car windows, from across the street. Or when I pass, some people bow their head in respect and simply say ‘rapper’. It is truly fucking amazing.

I offer no threat to them. I don’t infringe on their business. They see me as silly and, like many, they admire that I am living my dream and emphasizing the right priorities. Most are acquaintances. Some are friends. I love that.

 

The two biggest things I am afraid of about walking across Mexico are Epic Thunderstorms while I am out in the middle of nowhere and face-to-face conversations with a Jaguar. And the thing I am most afraid of is

meeting a jaguar during a thunderstorm.

This is a journey of pure faith.

An unbridled trust in God

to protect me in a journey of the

purest and most passionate intention.

 

And that is why I am walking.

A passion for something big.

 

God has already showed me that I am blessed and protected. No more evidence is needed. And you have that too. The evidences in your life that you are on high in the eyes of your creator. It just takes a special ability to read that, embrace it and allow it to shape your philosophy. Your activity.

This may sound silly but God is in control of the Jaguar. Same as God is in control of the Sharks.

 

I have done a lot of swimming in the open ocean and that is a similar mentality. You blindly leap and you trust that it’s all good. If a Shark comes to eat you, well, what can you do? If I meet a Jaguar, it was meant to be. I am going to be very afraid, but I may try sitting in a Buddha pose and saying, ‘If you’re gonna take me, take me’ and if the Jaguar gets close, maybe it will lay down it’s defenses and let me pet it. Then I will have a new walking partner. My pet Jaguar. I am pretty sure if that happens,

then we’ll have something to really talk about.

Please keep in mind that I am joking. But only 97% joking. If I meet that terrible and wonderful force, only God can decide my fate. No Jaguar is separated from God.

There’s also snakes and spiders and

mosquitos on my path.

Much to endure.

So why would someone do this to themselves?!?!

 

The answer is that I am so passionate about my mission that I am willing to take any risk to accomplish it. The rest of the chapter is about giving clarity to that mission. An exploration of my mind and how I think. And a deeper dive into something that truly has crushed my soul.

This walk is the uncrushening.

You ready?

I hope I did a good job of preparing you for how important these upcoming words are to me. There is nothing more important. If you are in with me on this journey, then this is the part where you get to understand my why. And I hope you won’t treat the call to action casually. If you love me and you love my spirit, take it seriously. Please.

-*-

There is a sadness that I carry with me everyday. You’ll never guess what it is. It’s so personal.

This walk is my attempt to make it right.

About 13 years ago, in 2011, I decided to become a comedy rapper. I wasn’t yet known as

White Chedda. It wasn’t until 2013 or 2014

that White Chedda occurred to me.

 

For the first two years I was Kirk Sells: Chicago’s #1 Comedy Rapper and then Kirk Sells: Chicago’s #5 Comedy Rapper. Evolutions of thinking

´How can I make this as silly as possible?’

 

Many do not know this but my friend Jon Elist and I were the inventors of the very first video sharing social media app. There’s a whole other story to tell about that at another time but essentially what happened is that we decided not to pursue that path because we knew that we were small beans. That larger companies with

bigger resources were not far behind.

 

It was very cool to be in that position, holding a video sharing app that we invented in our hands before that ever was a thing but what I learned and do not regret is that sometimes in life you have to say no

to a certain path and redirect.

 

In reassessing my trajectory after letting go of that vision, I decided that being a content creator would be such a wonderful and fulfilling new direction in a similar space. I started aggressively pursuing education

in writing, improvisation and theatre at

the world famous, Second City.

What I learned there shaped the person you know today. A dramatic and engaging performer.

Of orginal works.

I hosted standup shows and started making comedy rap videos for YouTube, which you can still find to this day. Oregon Trail Bitch, Groupons Groupons, Kisses Night

& 2 Facebooks. These are really high quality yet fully silly projects that I worked on with large teams to accomplish. Writer, Executive Producer, Star.

 

The idea was that we were creating something so wonderful that it wouldn’t take long to go viral. My goal was to be a YouTuber. Someone who made a living

off of creating wonderfully enjoyable content.

 

At some point a few years later, after I renamed myself White Chedda, I made a decision that, based off all my experiences, I thought was smart. It turns out it was

the dumbest decision I could have made.

 

That decision was to move my entire branding strategy to Facebook. To create a page in anticipation that Facebook would really cater to video content creators and create an infrastructure to help us succeed.

Since there was the community social media component already established, I thought this decision would allow me to go viral but also create a very strong

connection with my audience.

 

There are a lot of other factors that influenced this decision but those were the thoughts

at the forefront of our mind.

It was 2013 when I started working with nonprofits. Dedicating my time and energies to using my talents in songwriting and performance to try and educate young people to do the same. I partnered with Music Unites, a non-profit afterschool music education organization founded by a fellow Northwestern Alum, Michelle Edgar.

I was living in Chicago so I started there. I worked at a school on the southwest side of the city called

Benito Juarez. Working with the administration

under the Music Unites umbrella I developed a

very successful After School Rap program.

High School students would stay after class to join me and learn how to create poetry, put it to music and develop the self-confidence to perform for their peers.

This is where I fell in love with working on the behalf of others. Demonstrating my compassion for my

fellow man by investing my time and love.

There’s a mini-book I wrote about that whole journey if you want to read it, as it isn’t quite relevant to this particular story. Ask me and I will share.

After about 4 years of creating and running programs

like these in Chicago and Compton, I had learned a lot

about how I can dedicate myself to the betterment of communities. Not just on a face-to-face student level but also at a school and district administration level. Some

of the things I have had the opportunity to accomplish

in this time would truly blow your mind.

In 2016 I decided to leverage my Facebook presence to create a campaign that would inspire others to engage in the world of nonprofit work and after school education.

I decided to walk across America.

Now, I have been performing as a beach poet and street performer as my primary profession since 2014 but

the walk was something different. It was a chance

to accomplish both missions. Meet new people

and entertain them while simultaneously

speaking to my cause.

The main mission of my walk across America was to demonstrate, through my experience, the power of support non-profit work in underserved communities. The story of walking and the poetry were the icebreakers to open up that more important dialogue.

When I got back from that walk, that was the new theme

of my life. Poetry & Philanthropy, all day, everyday.

 

I spent years floating between Chicago and Los Angeles with that as my focus but neither of those places was really allowing me to do both full time.

In January of 2019, my girlfriend Dawn and I came on vacation to Puerto Vallarta. That is when it dawned

on me. True pun intended. Mexico is my future.

 

A place where the weather and the cost of living would facilitate my greatest chance to pursue my passion on a daily basis. It was a life-altering discovery. I came home from the vacation, and made plans to move to Vallarta.

 

When I arrived, I kinda didn’t start focusing on the philanthropy work right away. My life leaned heavy towards performing poetry, meeting people,

bringing them into my Facebook community.

Hooking up with hotties and smoking fat blunts everynight on a beautiful rooftop at

Hostel Vallarta. A place of magic.

At some point after 4 months of living in Vallarta, life circumstances pulled me back to Chicago for a summer of festival performance. I was out one day, June 2nd 2019 when I saw the most beautiful woman I could

ever imagine. She was outside of a festival

promoting an event. I walked over and told her,

‘I like everything about you’ and it was true.

A perfectly designed creature.

I asked her name and she told me it was Monserrat. I asked if she was French and she told me to guess again. Turns out, she was Mexican.

 

Whoa.

How beautiful to have just lived in Mexico, fallen in love with it and to meet a Mexican in my home city whose whole beauty, inside and out rocked me to the core.

 

Our shared life circumstances led us down the path of getting married, moving to Mexico and making babies.

She inspired me to want to be an even more epic person. Someone enthralled in constant creativity who carried a big dream. And there was nothing standing in the way.

I had love, family, a self-made job and some ideas

that I could really start bringing to fruition.

And this isn’t like when a painter marries a lawyer. We were both artists and good people and we empowered one another to be more silly, more creative,

and more empathetic.

That is when the seeds of riQueZo were planted in my brain. A real world, functional concept, especially a web-based platform doesn’t just blossom overnight. It takes an obsession of thought.

A mental designing.

A perfecting.

What I wanted to create with Monse was a platform that would demonstrate how grateful I was to the people of Mexico. My new home. Since beach vendors were my

new co-workers, I tried to design something that would empower them by connecting them with the other part

of the Vallarta community, the expats and

vacationers who love this place so well.

These are people who work really really hard and they are entrepreneurs. They wake up early, they jump on a bus, they come to the hot sand and they try and find the best way to make their daily bread by offering their products or services to the people on the beach. Often times, their goal is just enough to put a dinner

on the table, diapers on the babies

and attack the next day again.

If I could facilitate even just a little boost for them, that would be a blessing. And I figured there are a lot of white folks (for lack of a better term) who

would share in that vision.

I was right. We launched riQueZo in February 2020 and within weeks, Covid struck. Our platform was immediately utilized by Americans and Canadians trapped at home

to offer aid to beach vendors in Vallarta.

There was no government aid.

 

In chapter 3 you saw how it all went. It started with one, then two entrepreneurs and continued growing from there. And the empowerer group started to grow as well. The people giving. Not astronomical numbers but enough to give me the satisfaction that this wonderful platform I had developed actually had users and was working.

A nice homage back to my days as the

designer of the video sharing app.

So by now you might be saying, ok I still don’t see the sadness. Why does this make you sad? It seems

like a success. And in many ways it is.

The sadness comes from somewhere else. It comes from the fact that this concept I have developed has not yet caught its full stride, and has not achieved its potential.

It should have already.

 

There is one particular reason it has not. And it is out

of my control. That is what is frustrating.

 

It is Facebook.

See all those years ago, when I decided to build my brand there, there was something I never anticipated coming for me. The greed and maliciousness of Mark Zuckerberg and his expression suppression project infringing on my dream. Many don’t know this because they don’t care to think about it but the majority of the money that Facebook makes comes from asking their creators, and the business owners on their platform

to pay money to create ads to get

exposure for their content.

Because of that model, the platform completely restricts organic reach. They don’t want something to go viral organically because they want you to pay for that to happen. Organic exposure of content

cuts into Facebook's business model.

The problem with that for me, is that I never thought

that would be true. My formula, my dream was something different. Set out into the world and meet as many people as I can. Use my artform as an icebreaker, leading to an intimate connection in person that leads to

a follow up connection on Facebook.

I have 13,000 followers on Facebook and, over the course of 10 years, I am proud to say that I have met most of those people. About half of them are

Mexican and half are not.

So here’s a hypothetical. Let’s say that I know a beach vendor in Puerto Vallarta who needs medical care. I should be able to post a video or photo of her and tell that story in order to rally a percentage of that following around the simple goal of raising money to get her to the doctor and find the solution. Completely sponsored by the goodness of the people who follow me. 50%

would be 6,500. 10% would be 1,300. 1% 130.

I would literally just take 1% in that scenario because 130 people rallying together and sharing their resources around any cause can definitely get that mission accomplished. That’s a lot of people.

But that is not what happens.

 

When I post something on Facebook on my White Chedda wall. The level of engagement and reach is far far

below 1%. Each and every time.

I can see that Facebook actively works to restrict the exposure of my brand even though I have poured my entire soul into it. It’s a vicious animal. It’s the real jaguar in my life. And it destroys my soul every single day. The horror stories I can and will tell about how Facebook has prevented me from fulfilling my dream,

would make you cry. And I do cry.

That is why I am walking. I am done. This last Facebook campaign of mine is my all-in. What I want. What I truly want is for the #CheddHeads to be participants in riQueZo. And to pull away from the platform with me to connect outside of it. A direct and

purpose-driven connection.

I need that. And I tried to make your commitment to joining us so easy. It’s a small amount of money but the impact of what it says is incredible. That all ships rise with the tide. And right now, the world needs that message more than ever before.

The Mission of this book is not the same as the theme.

The theme is the opening line of our text.

Mexico is awesome. And Mexicans are awesome.

The mission is something different.

I already said this but I want to repeat it…

My mission is to un-enslave myself from Facebook and achieve my true dream which is that each and every Facebook #CheddHead becomes a user of riQueZo.

An empowerer of an entrepreneur

in the developing world.

 

That you find one of our wonderful 13, hardworking self-starters in Puerto Vallarta or Sayulita and join our family by committing to send them an $11.11 USD/month gift, directly to their PayPal to empower their business.

The language surrounding riQueZo is that it is a paradigm for the world to see of how we might start addressing poverty and acting to eliminate it. That's where the title of this chapter comes from. I have never shyed away from a big dream. Those are my favorite!

 

 have put much thought to the idea of how to end poverty because I want it bad! Remember who this book is for.

And that sentence above about financially empoweringing hardworking entrepreneurs in

the developing world  is the best, most calculated solution I could possibly invent or imagine.

I think it is the way.

We all know that the world has enough wealth, technology and compassion to eliminate poverty. That is something I think we can agree on. The solution is to organize and mobilize humanity to do so. To give us a

way to concentrate our energies and resources, work together and accomplish that goal.

 

To turn our back on greed and selflishness and embrace compassion and generosity in a unified movement to build up and strengthen the weak and the suffering.

 

That’s my new life passion. The one that will sustain itself until my dying breath. I believe we can end poverty

and I don’t believe it’s that hard.

You know me as a poet. But there is nothing in my library of work that will ever be more poetic than riQueZo. It’s not even about the money given. It’s about what participating in a system like riQueZo says about

our soul as a planet. That we care.

That the blessed might try to heal the suffering.

To make this Earth a more heavenly place for those

who feel like it's more of a hell.

Tomorrow I am taking the day off from writing. Instead, I will focus on gathering some testimonials and stories from entrepreneurs and empowerers on our platform

and publishing those in Chapter 5. I want you to have a chance to see what the people in our family have to say about their experience and especially those who have been with us since the beginning. I would say the next text is likely to come on Sunday morning.

Thank you for being with me on this journey.

It takes a lot out of me to write these pages.

And I will require your prayer and strength as I walk

Please join us!

Become a riQueZoo empowerer.

I know you will love our work together.

Our family.

In 3 days I am walking.

Now you know what it’s for. To create a movement of compassion that shakes the earth and demonstrates that people, all people, are inherently good.

You, the #Cheddheads are on the front lines of epic. Something that will be written in the history books.

You are the reason we will end poverty.

 

I love you.

 

Let’s go!

X

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