“He was my best friend, and I didn’t even know it.” Nvee mentioned as he stood in a narrow hallway of his apartment building. The interview hadn’t even started yet, and I was already overwhelmed by his sharp sensitivity and self-awareness. I was there to discuss his latest project, “Running from Evolution” and his journey towards change. I was curious as to how and when it all began. Maybe it started as early as 2002, when he lost his father, whom he now affectionately calls his best friend, or it could have been propelled by the turmoil his past relationships have caused. Either way, I was curious to dig deeper into the basis of his artistry and discover the truth about how men evolve over time.
In 2017 I ran across Nvee, a familiar, beautiful, black man in his 20’s, draped in long locs and glory on Instagram. I had known of him for several years leading up to this, but I could tell there was something very different about his person and artistry that couldn’t merely be defined by the link to his YouTube account this time around. I watched him express himself in a purposeful way. He was a voice and poster child for black men navigating through life. Click To Tweet He was evolving and taking ownership of his reality. There were layers to this.
The coming of age story for black and brown men is very different from others. Their identities, person, and physical bodies are challenged to fit the mold of an ever-changing world. We often find ourselves ignoring their complex nature and make assumptions based on our own projections and beliefs. Click To Tweet
Nvee shared the reality of young men in their 20’s with me. The journey of self-discovery and human evolution go beyond ape to man, and what we are taught in grade school. We are taught the ideals and principles of where our beings come from, but we were never taught how to deal with the changes that occur once we are here. We were never taught how to evolve.
What I thought would be an hour of our time, turned into five hours of champagne, laughter, and friendly debate all while discussing the power of black love, completeness, and mental health. I left his apartment building unveiling what I believe are some important factors in a black man’s life that lead them to evolution and self-discovery. Click To Tweet
Nvee had a lot to say about falling in love and how women empower men to evolve to become their best selves. Nvee shared, “Evolution is inspired by women. Everything is inspired by women in some way. Women can create change in men. The way we dress. The way we smell. The car we drive. Our speech, and music selection. I didn’t realize how much I needed to feel the love of a woman or how much influence I received from women.”
I could tell that Nvee had a deep passion and respect for women which led me to ask about his relationship with his mother. Nvee had an insightful view on his own mother, who had him at a young age. “My mother had me at 15 years old,” he said. “I just remember being 4 years old, seeing her graduation pictures. Her concentration. Her balance. She worked at McDonald’s after school with barely any emotional or financial support. It makes me feel like less of a man when I complain about anything. When you see a strong, respectable black man chances are he has a great relationship with his mother. There is no way to look at us and not see Y’all. I was only able to come to that understanding once my real life started.”
As women, we often question the maturity level of men and fail to realize that a lot of them are going through a metamorphosis of sorts. For some men, it happens earlier than others. As far as Nvee is concerned he wished it would have happened sooner. When I asked where it all started for him he detailed a failed long-term relationship that propelled him to change. Nvee shared, “Men let their ego drive them, and the world is set up for it. Anything that shatters this social norm brings devastation in its wake. Once I experienced heartbreak from a relationship, emotional, psychological and physical suffering set in. I had to learn how to walk again. That’s when I started to study who I was. It was really scary to look in the mirror. I ran from it for a long time.”
Psychological suffering is one of those taboo topics in communities of color, and although trauma can occur early on in a person’s life we tend to bury it. Click To Tweet Nvee was able to explain his relationship with loss and mental health in the black community, “Yeah, I believe I was a senior in high school when my dad passed. He died just a week before my 18th birthday. Black men are socialized to suppress their emotions and move on quickly. From day one, when a little boy falls he is told, “you’re fine, don’t cry” or “you’re a big boy” so from that day forward that’s what I did. When my dad passed I was sort of blank. I didn’t know how to feel because I was taught to suppress my emotions. Showing your emotions was considered a bad thing so I occupied my time with school, music, and sports. All while there was this deep sadness buried inside of me. I ended up going to a school therapist for a few sessions, but I never went to an official therapist because I didn’t want to be labeled as “crazy”.
“So how were you able to pick up all of these little pieces and create something new?” I wondered. “I know what it feels like to be hungry, alone, and uninspired. I started to share my journey with a few people and they were receptive to it.” Nvee explained how he overcame the trials he has experienced and how he is using his message to inspire. “Inspiration boils the water for you. It is the start of manifestation. I get it from legacy, integrity, and queens. I’m inspired by the things I go through. I want my message to have the same feeling as 70’s music, makes your soul light up, and nod your head to the rhythm of your own heartbeat. At 29, I’m finally able to talk about all of these secrets that have lived in my subconscious for so long. There is so much freedom in releasing your truth. I don’t care if you rap it, draw it, or act it out. Give your pain to the… Click To Tweet
Men everywhere struggle with adapting, experience hardship, and face obstacles. What I learned from our conversation is that finding who you truly are is one of the most beautiful experiences you’ll have in life. Nvee is a solid example of how difficult change can be, but he also helps us realize that evolution is necessary to take us to the next level to live our best lives. I encourage you to renew yourself every day, embrace the person you truly are, and consistently live in your truths.
Nvee’s latest project, Running from Evolution is a soulful and thought-provoking production. The album is available on Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal, and GooglePlay. Be sure to follow @nvee22 for updates and future music from Nvee.
Check out the latest visual for the Album: