I participated in a program called the Minority Youth Entrepreneurship Program at Washington University in St. Louis. That was the very beginning. That was a program for high school seniors that really introduced you to the world of business and entrepreneurship. And, I think I’ve kind of kept that entrepreneurial spirit all the way. I think you kind of have to have that entrepreneurial spirit to do things like racing because it’s a matter of getting that sponsor or not, and [have] that sponsorship work for you and work with a team.
What advice do you have for young, African American adults trying to break into the sport or the motorcycle business?
First, do your research. Know the history. You have to know what’s happening in the sport. I think that applies to any business that you’re looking to get into, but, you got to know the sport. You can’t just walk in because this is not a sport that is well known, so you got to know who it is. This sport is a small pond, [and] you kind of have to pay your dues in this thing.
Second, volunteer to get your hands dirty. There are lots of teams out here that are trying to make their big break from smalltime racing to primetime racing. Going to volunteer to be a crewmember for a small team that is maybe running on a small budget and small operation—that’ll be a great way for people to get in and understand the business.
Third would be to learn how to ride a motorcycle. Learn how to be a part of the community that it’s serving. It’s an exhilarating experience for sport and for pleasure. The motorcycle industry is a billion dollar industry for sure. There are some opportunities out there. Maybe not necessarily in racing, but the main part of the industry, which is motorcycle sales and motorcycle accessories sales. Folks are buying helmets and jackets and gloves and all that kind of stuff to ride the motorcycle or to fix up the motorcycle. Become part of the community.
Prior to linking up with Michael Jordan and his team, did you ride or have any interest in motorsports at all?
I had a little Suzuki 50cc scooter, when I was like 13 [or] 14-years old. So that was my first riding experience. But the family that lived across the street from me, their kids were a little bit older, and the boys in that family all had motorcycles. I always wanted [a motorcycle], but never had a chance to get one until after college.
I started riding a little bit before the whole Red Bull experience, but when I got to Red Bull and saw all the different aspects of that brand, which was very motorsports heavy, I really got into riding. By the time Michael Jordan Motorsports came around, I was full-fledged motorcycle rider—taking classes and going to track days and racing a little bit. This opportunity came and just fell into place. [It] was something that I had a personal passion for.