Name: Kareem “Biggs” Burke
One Word That Describes You: DETERMINED
What does being one of the BE Modern Man 100 Honorees mean to you?
Being a “BE Modern Man 100 Honoree” is an expression of how love and friendship have shaped my life and motivated me to persevere. I have always tried to be an example for those who didn’t think they had a path to make it.
What are you doing as a BEMM to help support black male achievement now or in the future?
One of my great passions is to support men who have been incarcerated through my nonprofit, New Canaan Society Inside, where I take the initiative to encourage and support those who are going in, being released, and currently inside prison.
What are some examples of how you turned struggle into success?
During one of the hardest points of my life, I was a part of a men’s fellowship that helped me see a better way of living. We encouraged one another to forgive those that hurt us and to actually forgive us too. This was a turning point that helped lead me to my successes.
What is your “Extraordinary Impact?”
In all that I do, I look to honor and obey GOD. My work takes me places all over the world where I meet people from both high and low stations in their life. The best part of my business is meeting people and sharing what I’ve learned, from the mistakes that I’ve made, to help them succeed.
What is an important quality you look for in your relationships with others?
Honesty in business and in life. There are going to be hard times and honesty is a critical component.
What are some immediate projects you are working on?
I executive produced two films that just premiered at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival: O.G. and a documentary called It’s a Hard Truth, Ain’t It. I currently own three clothing lines—Reasonable Doubt, 4th of November, and Redo96—and have additional fashion collaborations on the horizon. Developing the Roc-A-Fella docuseries and a TV/film division that has a multimedia component. Working on raising money for a healthcare fund.
What is the best advice you ever received?
That I can trust God with everything, including my life.
What is some advice you have for other men who want to make a difference?
In order to make a difference in the lives of others, it is crucial to have peace and joy within yourself, no matter what. You cannot give what you do not have.
How do you prep for an important business meeting and/or event?
I pray, and then focus on the purpose and intentions that I have for the meeting. I then make sure the people/team members and resources are available for that or the agenda.
As a busy Modern Man, how do you unwind on vacation?
This always includes a healthy dose of laughter, removing my phone, and spending time with people who love me in spite of my flaws. It is never about where I go, but who I surrounded myself with.
If you could travel and stay anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
St. Thomas, because that is where I have some of my best childhood memories of spending time with my grandmother and my mother who are both deceased.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I am thankful to be honored amongst these 100 honorees. It is inspiring to see fellow men in our community give back and truly exemplify the definition of “distinction.”
It’s our normal to be extraordinary. Follow @BEModernMan and join the conversation using #BEModernMan.
Come celebrate the BE Modern Man 100 Men of Distinction at the 2nd Annual Black Men XCEL, Aug. 29–Sept. 2, 2018, at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.