The Power To Return…The Resilient Sha Born
Mind over matter… how frequent do we hear this offered as a suggestion for ridding ourselves of negative thoughts, working our way out of tough situations or simply a means for dismissing unwanted feelings. Those words are uttered by many yet seldom practiced. Often times we fall prey to our circumstances not tapping into our birthright, the power to be viewed as important, lovable and worthy; instead our minds are clouded with desires of worldly possessions and the constant murmuring telling us we’re not good enough, unless! Sha Born has survived the battle between morality and temptation, he’s stood firm in his beliefs and there’s been times he’s wavered however these are the experiences that paint his journey, a colorful journey it is. Thoughts drive outcomes, making the widely used ‘Mind over matter’ affirmation one of his best practices. Sha Born transparent, revealing how the murmurs in his head lead him in and out of love, too fast money and a 25 year prison sentence. He is a living example of how the law of attraction can take a person from their lowest point to the heights of empowerment. His story is one of gratitude, resilience and redemption.
A quiet and calm voice answers, its a Monday evening just before dinner; Sha stops everything, postponing dinner and making time to talk about how he arrived at the place he’s in in his life. Alfred Adams Jr. also known as Sha Born was born in Brooklyn, New York, but he’s sure to mention that he was raised in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. He currently resides in South Carolina, a place that has been home in his head as far back as his memories can take him. Sha comes from a heavily religious upbringing which might cause one to question how he’d one day land himself in prison. “I grew up in a very religious Christian household.” His parents, devoted working class people raised Sha and his 5 sisters and 2 brothers to the best of their ability. His mom a nurse turned college professor and father an entrepreneur and business owner, exposed their children to religion and set positive examples with the career choices they made. As Sha begins to talk about his family his voice awakens, “There was always a lot of love my family is still very close-knit, we are a very close family.”
By the time Sha was 13, he developed a strong set of core values, he remained involved in church and soon recognized his musical talent. He became a band member of 3 different gospel quartets which would later give him an opportunity to view the world from a larger lens. Sha began touring around the world earning an honest living as drummer. “From 13-15 years old I was traveling the world, I gained an independence. I was proud to return home with my own money! I had money for school clothes for himself and for my sisters and brothers. It felt so good to take that responsibility away from my mother and father.” It would be that taste of freedom and responsibility that drove Sha to set his sights on living the good life! Following the blueprint, Sha enrolled in college at New York City Technical College unsure of what he wanted out of higher education; good grades came rather easy but the good life not so easy.
￼The early 80’s to 90’s has been labeled the crack era but most affectionately it’s been called the Golden Age of Hip Hop, the era of innovation and influence. Nothing about the time period was forced, everyone was free to explore and define themselves; from fashion to music everything was loud and in your face. Either you wanted in or your were creating the trend. Sha Born was in the middle of the action, he was the 80’s, he was the 90’s, he is a product of the Golden Age. “I saw my friends driving cars, dressing better and making moves in and out of town…they were getting that out of town money and I wanted it too.” As Sha reminisces his voice grows monotone, it’s clear he’s not ashamed of his path; however, his tone resembles remorse. It became obvious the day Sha decided to jump on the road to making fast money was a vivid memory. Despite his core values, and Christian upbringing the influence was too great. Sha caught a taste of the good life he once dreamt of and there was no turning back. He began dating a well known rap artist “Sweet T’,” whom was signed to Profile Records, with her mainstream popularity in music and his growing street credibility, the couple was what we now know to be an “it couple.” Soon the long money, Influences of the music business and pressure to maintain what he’d created made turning back far from an option, Sha became accustom to the lifestyle.
Sha knew the lifestyle of a drug dealer came with insurmountable consequences, he tried to be smart and cautious; never in a million years could he prepare his self for his downfall. “My uncle caught a case and set me up…I was caught with a kilo of cocaine and was sentenced to 25 years and served 12 ½ .” He moves pass the details, careful not to sound like a victim because he’s owned responsibility for his choices. He’s intentional about sharing that he wants to help youth learn from his mistakes. While incarcerated it took Sha a moment to get out of the mindset of which the fast money and privilege created. However, he knew he had to evolve, reading helped Sha to clear his mind and eventually pick up the pen.
￼Sha lives up to the characteristics of a true Aquarius man, a humanitarian with an acute intuition and creative mind. If you ask Sha did he know he’d be a writer one day he’ll surprisingly tell you, no! However, it’s in his nature to share, teach, and help…he simply had no clue literature would be the vehicle. An avid reader, books became an escape for Sha during his time in prison. In early 2000’s Sha picked up a book titled, ‘The Coldest Winter Ever,’ as he read he was drawn further in. “I kept telling himself, I can do this!” He remembers feeling connected to the characters in the book, “I was that dude, I knew a thousand Winter’s.” Feeling challenged by his inner voice Sha began writing and within 3 days he had written his first novel, ‘My Brother’s Keeper.’ True to the title of his first novel Life circumstances would make it possible for him to live up to the title of his first novel… his younger brother was also incarcerated and writing novels; however, the brothers weren’t aware of one anothers new pass time. “Unbeknownst to me my brother was writing a manuscript also. We started sending one another our work and we began editing each other.” Sha pridefully shares that he also has a sister who is an author and his brother has a publishing company which is very successful. He hopes to work on a family project one day. Shortly after Sha’s release from prison he embarked on a 60 city book tour with a childhood friend, rapper and author, Queen Pen. Queen Pen introduced Sha to his audience; although, his book was out in the world circulating there was a time when he wasn’t therefore he credits Queen Pen for putting him in touch with his fan base.
Sha attributes his raw and compelling storytelling to everything from relationships to the time he spent incarcerated. Although Sha hasn’t inked an autobiography he admits that a piece of him lives in each book he’s written. To assume the time that Sha spent incarcerated put him at a disadvantage would be foolish; he has used that time to strengthen his core values and to become one with his gifts for writing and motivating others. His path has helped him to create characters and concoct stories which keep readers glued to the pages of his many books. While incarcerated Sha studied publishing, he wanted to begin selling his books on his own and his entrepreneurial spirit prevailed, Sha would sell 30, 000 books within a 6 month time frame. “ I promote self publishing, I’m a believer in doing things for yourself . “ He credits Donald Goines as one of the authors whose work he aspires to, “his work put you in the pool hall, it put you in the alley way. I could see and hear everything I read in his books.” Sha strives for the consistency that Goines exhibited in his work, “consistent content is key, it will keep your loyal fan base and it will grow your fan base; you have to have more than a hot cover!”
￼As a young boy Sha clung to the stories his parents and relatives told him about a place where Blacks settled securely, overcame oppression and thrived as a community during a time where opportunity wasn’t freely handed to Blacks….Dewey Hill. Dewey Hill was a community established in North Charleston for Blacks in the early 1900’s. Dewey Hill got its name from a popular member of that community named Duley Lambright also known as the Mayor. Sha thought what better name for his publishing company than Dewey Hill…a place that he’s never physically been but where he’s lived in his mind from the moment he was introduced to it. Dewey Hill is Sha’s mind or matter , and has helped him achieve a prosperous and peaceful place in his mind when he only had a pen and paper.
In addition to his gift for writing and the motivation that he would gather from Dewey Hill, Sha is fueled by giving back to his community and supporting youth who have faced similar struggles. His appearance on A&E’s award winning docu series ‘Beyond Scared Straight’ airs til this day, it was this opportunity that made visiting youth detention centers and youth serving organizations very important to his work. Sha recalls being a young cub scout and the comfort of being participating in activities at The Boys & Girls Club as adolescent, “It is because of my first-hand experiences that I know how life changing it can be to have an adult genuinely care…so when I travel on book tours speaking to youth will always on the itinerary.” When asked to narrow his feelings about speaking to youth into one word Sha energetically says, “Satisfaction.” Sha Born is what the world needs right now,…he is experienced, he is knowledgeable, and most importantly he is willing to do the work.