YBP Feature December 2017

The Young Black and Purposeful Feature Series will feature the profiles of people who exemplify what it means to be young, black, and purposeful in order to inspire and motivate others. If you know of anyone who fits that description, please nominate them to be featured! I had the pleasure of sitting down with Malcolm Carter to interview him about living a purposeful life. Check out Malcolm's interview:

Malcolm Jamaal Carter is a multifaceted creator that expresses his talents through film, theatre, business, and community. Films starring Cuba Gooding, Jr., Leonardo DiCaprio, and Hill Harper have always had a tremendous influence on Malcolm who was originally born in Inglewood, CA and raised in Englewood, NJ. Malcolm’s love for performing was first confirmed the moment his mother encouraged him to re-enact Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech at their local church at age 15. He has since used his gifts on stage to tell stories of chivalry, integrity, and courage. After graduating with a degree in finance from Howard University in 2014 and a few years working on Wall Street, Malcolm realized his destiny was truly rooted in service and the arts. Simply put, his mission is to show everyone the power of faith with works.

Q: How would you describe your purpose?

A: “I would describe my purpose as an honor, as a gift from God, as an obligation, and a responsibility that I’m grateful to have. I think while we all have unique purposes, everybody [ultimately] has the same purpose, to minister. Ministry and discipleship are the [ultimate] purpose. I think it’s a blessing that [God] even makes it unique for us and breaks it down. You [may] have a specific purpose, but the responsibility doesn’t change. I feel like God has a lot in store for me in my life, so much so, that I don’t even know all of it yet, but I do know that he has definitely called me in the direction of performing arts, theatre, and acting.”

Q: What is your “day job”?

A: “In the state that God has me in right now, I want to say that my day job is being a better man of God, [which requires me to be a] full-time servant and surrendering to what he wants me to do, first and foremost. Even if [what God wants is] not in alignment with a day job as you would typically think, or something you get a check from, [God] takes care of that.”

“In terms of doing things that do provide income, I do a little bit of finance on the side. I started a business called Equal Chance Investments and it is where I initially started learning about trading stocks and bonds and different securities, in order to grow money. I do that as a source of income from time to time. I [have] hopes of it being a venture capital business one-day [that] sows into different ventures where kids and communities who don’t have the same opportunities given to them [would be able to benefit from the funds.]”

“Beyond [my work on Equal Chance Investments], I’m really just trying to go hard with acting and auditioning. This is again one of the testimonies to God of how he works when you start doing things for him and you start surrendering to him as he’s calling you. [After just recently talking about LL Cool J and his faithfulness], I got a completely random text message saying that I was referred for an opportunity to do an LL Cool J tribute at the Kennedy Center Honors. LL Cool J was the first rapper to be honored by the Kennedy Center. The first event is the Chairman’s luncheon. It’s a live performance with the honorees. The production company needed someone to do an LL Cool J tribute, so I was referred by someone I was working with, doing some play, months back but it was completely random. I did a quick audition and that was it! [God] purposed that for me to understand how much he goes to work when you sow into what he wants from you. He did it in such a specific way that I would have no choice but to say, that was God. I [also] just did a shoot for Homeland season 7 as an extra. God’s literally bringing these opportunities to me. I’m not spending every waking hour and moment trying to do this. I’m just trying to do what he wants me to do on a daily basis.”

Q: How do you manage working while also pursuing other passions?

A: “I wake up, [and I challenge myself to start with] 10 minutes of prayer and 10 minutes of reading his word. I start with that and I just try to lean on [God's] direction, daily. I have those occupations on the side that I do but if God is telling me to wake up today and not do that right away [then I don’t]. I may feel uncomfortable about it, and it’s taken me some time [to overcome] the same old habits [but it's worth it]. When you wake up and just listen to [God] and spend time with him, he reveals things to you and he brings things in your direction. That’s truly when you know that God’s doing a work in you. It may be a new work. We need to trust God to do a new work in us, something that hasn’t been done before. People are missing out on so much that God has for them because they’re not living the lives that he intended them to live.”

Q:  What were some key moments or experiences that helped you get to where you are today?

A: “Meeting my girlfriend, definitely was one. I knew Jamika Whitehead since freshman year of college, but I [didn't truly know her] even though we had the same mutual friends, [until senior year]. That was something that God ordained because we didn’t even really start [seriously] talking until we were both in the state of actually sowing into our relationship with God more. It just worked out in so many amazing ways because we grew with each other. We work on each other and we’re accountable to each other and I think it took that [process of] staying in God’s word and going to church that made the difference. My girl [also] influenced me to understand how powerful it is to just be positive, to let nothing but positive words come from your mouth and see how it changes your life. [It’s biblical that] everything flows from your thoughts and your words first, before it flows into your actions. If you’re using your mind and your words for positivity and you are patient with the process, it’ll all start coming together.”

Q: What struggles have you overcome in pursuit of your purpose?

A: “Being patient, I think being patient is a struggle that a lot of us face. Whether it’s with the timing, the process, or how it’s all going to come together. I’ve [also] overcome struggles with surrendering my time, my days, my lifestyle, what I was used to, spending, and other habits. [I have been] really frugal lately even if it doesn’t suit the people that are in my life all the time. I’m also dealing with generational curses within my family that I’m praying over and claiming are already being resolved that I know God is working on. [I am] actively praying for healing for them while trying to take care of myself.”

Q: What advice would you give to someone who is trying to figure out what their purpose is?

A: “The way God operates, when he has specific purposes for you in life, I think for everybody, he consistently pulls us in that direction, no matter what we decide to do. There’s this one scripture that everyone always talks about, Seek God and his kingdom and all things will be added unto you [Matthew 6:33]. I want to break that down a little bit to explain what God has taught me in my life. [When scripture says] seek him and all things will be added, he really means just seek him, it’s that simple. He’s asking you literally just to read his word, 1) So you have knowledge and wisdom of who he is because you can’t serve somebody you don’t know. 2) When you understand more about who God is, then you can ultimately understand what it is that he wants from you. [Then], you can understand what it is that he’s placing in your life when you ask for direction and when you ask for him to answer a prayer. Sometimes he’s answered it and you just haven’t seen it. It’s literally that simple.”

Q: What advice would you give to someone who is afraid to fully pursue their purpose?

A: “That was definitely me at a certain stage, and even now to a certain extent. I think what helped me get over that edge is thinking about the two alternatives in my life. There’s a point in time when you’re afraid of taking that leap and you’re [concerned about what others will say or think and you let it impact your level of confidence in what you know you want to do]. At that point, you have some alternatives. Imagine what [it will] be like to stick with what you know is safe, comfortable, or anything that’s the opposite of taking that leap of faith. You can 9 times out of 10 predict how the rest of your life is going to be. What you can’t predict is how it’s going to be once you take that risk. You can’t predict how much God can do for you when you decide to [take that] leap. [Ask yourself] how precious is my life? How precious is every day that I have on this earth? Let’s just say tomorrow is not promised, would you take the risk? Think about it in terms of someone laying it out to you like that, as if it was a reality because in a sense it is a reality, tomorrow is not promised. How are you going to choose to live your life? I think that’s a good start to get you over that hump of fear. [Also,] if you’ve lived your life on the basis of God is good and he’s able to bless you like no one else can, then start living like that. Start living like he can actually do some of those things. Live like you believe it.”

I want to extend my sincerest thanks to Malcolm for sharing his story to inspire others. Please follow him @eqcinvesments or @timelesscartier on Instagram to follow his journey. 

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