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A few years ago, at age 17, Alton Kirksey found himself struggling with low self-esteem and striving for recognition amongst peers, for his actions. He felt he was accomplishing great things in and out of the classroom, but others rarely noticed. It began to take a toll on him.
Kirksey said he decided to take matters in his own hands. He began spreading positive messages on social media, rather than focus on the negative. He soon realized other students were catching on to the movement of self-love, and thus the Black Excellence brand was created.
“I wanted to spread the message to everyone to be the change you wish to see in the world,” Kirksey said. “From there, it clicked.”
According to his mission, Kirksey wants to teach those who suffer with low self-esteem and lack of pride that there is nothing wrong with telling the world you are excellent.
“It’s more of a movement than an actual for-profit company,” Kirksey said. “We’re trying to get the black community to understand that we are black, and we are excellent. We come from kings and queens no matter what our situation is, and we are always excellent.”
After starting with a goal to help black males become more comfortable with themselves, Kirksey said he found a growing interest from women as well. Also, while the name of the company is Black Excellence, Kirksey made it clear he would love those of all backgrounds to support the movement.
“We’ve gotten a lot more women who took interest in the brand as well,” Kirksey said “and it’s not just for the black community. Just because it says black, doesn’t mean you’re not excellent either. So, we need all the support we can get from anyone.”
Kirksey said he has goals to get enough support to build his vision in to a high-profile brand. One he hopes will carry on the message forever.
“The main goal is to turn it into a Fortune 500 company”, Kirksey said. “This should be something that is going to be implemented for the rest of life being. People need to understand the black community is one the rise, and we’re not going anywhere anytime soon.”
Building a brand that lasts forever is not easy task, however. Kirksey said patience failure are keys to his continued dedication.
“It takes heart, it takes patience, and it takes failure,” said Kirksey. “Failure is nothing but a lesson on what not to do later in life. The more heart you put into it, the less likely you’re going to want to give up.”
Beyond Black Excellence, Kirksey said he has dreams to open his own gym one day in Detroit, and start a nonprofit for African American males to teach them about health, mental illness, and being a proper gentleman.
“I see the company becoming self-sufficient one day to where all the profits go toward starting and opening my first gym in Detroit, along with my non-profit.”
Alton Kirksey is living up to his favorite phrase- to be the change you want to see in this world. He concluded with the most powerful statement he would like everyone to realize.
“The most excellent thing you can be is yourself,” Kirksey said.