The person privy to my plan for writing this book was Anthony “Tone” Taylor. He was my truest friend, a brother, and the motivation I needed during some of the darkest hours of my journey. Either by prayer, a timely conversation, or inspirational “You can’t give up C!” text, he made sure I stayed the course. I’ll always be indebted to him for his friendship, loyalty and belief in me.

Although, Jacquie Lee and Tone never met, I have no doubt that he would have signed off on her as I did. Jacquie Lee went against the grain, followed her instincts, and chose to work with me although to many, I was a nobody. While her friends knew her for brokering multi-million dollar deals questioned her logic for working with me, she was relentless, and faithfully responded with, “I have a feeling about this guy.”

They say that a key element in the production of diamonds is pressure. If that’s true, Jacquie Lee took the pressures that comes along with a D-list talent, and carved out a diamond. My marketing and business plans, arranging my placement at key red carpet events, and aligning me with key corporations, she did in six months, what should have taken three years. She looked at a desert and saw a forest, and for that I’ll always be grateful. I was born with big ideas. Jacquie taught me how to give voice to those ideas.

Erika Marie juggled the role of business manager, online specialist, social media director, editor, and event booker for many months. She often encouraged me through her entertaining Las Vegas stories, and often times with a subtle, but powerful prophetic affirmation. She and her mom even made me a great Sunday dinner one day. She’s a champion’s champion, and worth her weight in gold.

Where would my story be without my beautiful mother, Queen Vera? It wasn’t enough that she gave me life; she also took time to allow heaven to use her during a transitional period in my life. Whether I’m in need of a smile, hug, or a good home-cooked meal, she’s always been there. With a ‘whatever you need’ attitude during this journey, she made sure I had everything necessary to complete this adventure. Thank you, Mom.

There are a host of people that I’ve met on this voyage who have touched me, and this project, in some way. Thank you to: my big sister, Cicley Gilkey, who kept it real with me every step of the way, and who fed me sushi when I needed it; my twin brother Terrence Miller for his kind heart and wise sayings; my older brother, Eddie Miller, who every day reminds me that the grind never stops; Misty Miller, my younger sister, thank you for keeping my spirits up during my time apart from Jazmin and Arielle; my buddy, Gurney Hale in Dayton, Ohio; my prayer partner, Haad Majead, who never lets me forget that I’m chosen and called; Monica Cost, who keeps me honest and accepting of the room I have for growth with our deep “live your truth” conversations; Dana Frank for her sweet spirit, late-night chats, and constant call-to-action energy; LaRita Shelby, for her progressive, pure, listening heart; Bobbi Brown, queen of the lipstick game, thank you for allowing me to be a part of such a special program; Joi Gordon, President of Dress For Success, thank you for showing me that corporate America still has a soul; Charlie Mac, the guy who is everybody’s big brother, thanks for the access and the words of tried and proven wisdom; Chaka Zulu, thanks for being a living, walking testament that humility still exists in the entertainment business; President of The National Urban League, Marc Morial, thank you for your time, wisdom, and professional guidance; Jameel Spencer, thanks for showing me how to grind in style, and for styling me for my photo shoot; Munson Steed, owner of Rolling Out, thanks for allowing me to grace the cover of your magazine; Jamie Foster, owner of Sister to Sister magazine, thank you for your support and for answering the phone every time Jacquie called on my behalf; “The Angel,” Victoria Christopher Murray, thank you for allowing your heart to bleed on my project; Author Jihad, thank you for making sure my first book made sense economically; Frank & Paul—the FargoTube duo, thanks for offering me such a great partnership, you two were the fourth quarter boost this project needed; Tiffany Williams, thank you for having an editing heart when I needed you to; President and CEO of BET Deborah Lee, thank you for sharing your coffee shop story with me.

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