Home of the Brave: Making Tough Decisions in the Year's End

This past November will be one as an artist and more importantly as a citizen of the United States, I will never forget.  Here's a quick post, highlighting some things I've learned and want to share with my friends, family, and followers. 


Twenty sixteen won't be a year I write home about, there's been a lot of changes (some good & bad) since arriving in Chicago. This last year has included some of the more trying times of my albeit short adult life. Major job switches, personal relationship issues, and just serious questions of fulfillment and place in the world have all come up in the last year, and all of that I think has been accented by this recent election. 

I've wrote about it at length in the below Instagram post, but other than the crazy disappointment it's led me to re-analyze the effects and ripples of what we put into the world. The same week all this stuff happened, I was on a flight to DJ my first match with US Soccer, the infamous "Dos a Cero" bout in Columbus that as you would guess.... did not go US Soccer's way.

Tomorrow I am playing quite frankly the biggest DJ set of my career. It's a journey that in 7 years of doing this, if you asked me at the beginning If tomorrow was possible, I would have laughed at you. But here I am... DJing the biggest game of the year for USMNT. I'd be untrue to the way I was brought up if while packing to represent our country, I didn't feel an utter sense of embarrassment, and of disgust at what primarily white citizens of this country have decided in the elections as our course of action. After Tuesday, I was initially wishing the set wouldn't happen at all. Nothing I say ever will equal the fear my African American, Latino, Asian, Female, or LGBQT friends are feeling right now, and in coming months I hope despite the absolute disappointment this is, the love we show for one another only grows to trump the hate that's reared its head this week. What I've realized now, is that this trip isn't really about representing the country, it's about representing all of you. You are the people who've made me who I am, and literally carried me to this point in my life. I wouldn't be here without you. The diverse cultures and friends who have opened their doors to me and I to you, sharing equal love, respect, and understanding. Tomorrow for me is about that love, as well as your beauty, your humility, your kindness, and respect. I hope I can even do justice to half of the wonderful people and experiences you have given me during my lifetime. We are family. Thank you. This one is for you.

A photo posted by STEP (@callme_step) on

As I echoed in that Instagram post, I'm not going to pretend to personify or even understand the multi-layered disappointment and fear the election has evoked in my friends of color - but I did start to think about how could I best be an advocate and support others.

Like most DJ's do, I thought about this in song form.  

While watching the national anthem go on in Columbus for the soccer match, I couldn't help but look up into the November sky and wonder if we were (or have ever) lived up to that "Land of the Free" title we emblazon ourselves with on the regular.  Surely we do get a lot of political freedoms to protest and speak our minds, but when decisions like the past election occur, it appears hate crimes and discrimination are on the rise. During these moments, lyrics like this seem more hollow than ever. 

But as in most difficult moments, you can find some sliver lining of hope in the same song that makes you question your current positions.

"Home of the Brave" (the next line in our anthem) - Is an idea that will stick with me in these long winter months. As we turn over this new year and face potentially some of the darker moments in recent memory "making the brave decision" is going to be harder than ever.


Bravery comes in many forms.  It could be as simple as donating to a worthwhile cause, or as difficult as having tough conversations about life with friends, significant others, and family. Whatever you decide is your brave moment I'd encourage you to take it head on this December and connect with a friend to help you conquer that issue.  Like most dangerous things in life (from scuba to sky diving) it's better to be brave in pairs then battling alone.  You have the power to make change and you are what you need at this very moment.

This isn't to say self-reflection (like the song exercise I just mentioned) isn't valuable or not another way to progress to a better place, but I know despite the rough times - the spirit of connection and collaboration won't be decided on an app or digital screen - it will be sealed over a cup of coffee and genuine in-person connection with others. 

Wishing everyone good luck this December and a happy new year!