A little while ago, I sat down with Joseph Taylor (@jotaprince33) and had a conversation about the company, brand, and Overcoming Anxiety T-Shirt. I think the interview was a God send for both of us for many reasons - creating some amazing content for people seeking more sincere conversations about mental health.
You can check out the full article on the Crown Jewel Blog and an excerpt from the interview below.
P.S. - The interview lowkey made me want to get back in the studio and make some more music...
Ladies and Gentlemen, Dojo Seven.
Jota Prince: Ok so we are recording. When I’m done with the interview I will type it up and send it to you for your approval. I want to make sure you’re represented in the best light possible.
Dojo Seven: I have a request and a comment. The request is that I get a copy of the recording and the comment is that even if it's not in the best light if it's telling the truth I’m with it.
JP: Well, yeah. I agree.
DS: Some people might be like oh this guy is jazzy or he’s a fucking asshole, but you know. I’ll live.
JP: You know, we all have it in us. Even the ones that like to pretend like they don’t. They’re the ones that got it worse. So, let me ask you about
Dojo Seven. What is that about?
DS: What is it about? I’ll tell you what it's about. Now it’s about helping people to have better lives by making better decisions and choices. By helping people have better lives, we’ll help families and communities grow to be more powerful.
JP: So where did the idea come from?
DS: The idea came from me not being the best guy that I can be and having to deal with a whole bunch of stuff as a result of it. And I’ve been blessed to have people and lessons come into my life, that started to shake some of that b.s off me and transform me into a guy that I’m kind of proud of. You know, I wasn’t a malicious guy. I wasn’t an evil guy, I had just been taught the wrong things about life, about women, and about everything. So, if I didn’t know none of the stuff I know now, how different would our communities and the world be if some of the things I learned was more accessible. It’s for the love of people. Wanting to see people, especially black people be healthy and happy. I want to see people be amazing and being the best they can.
JP: You call this a nonprofit brand. What does that mean?
DS: Yeah, it was not originally a nonprofit. Originally it was a rap name.
JP: Oh, you’re a rapper?
DS: No, I like to freestyle. It’s a lot of fun. I’ll drop something eventually just because I enjoy it, but that’s not the career goal. I grew up freestyling over radio edits and stuff like that. I’m better at it than a lot of people but I just enjoy doing it. The way it turned into a nonprofit, was that I started moving in a different direction after my own personal spiritual conversion. It was going to be a clothing line, but it couldn’t accomplish what I wanted it to be. Because the purpose of a clothing line is to sell things, and not necessarily to teach things. If your business, or your brand, or your life or your job, or your hobbies or whatever it is you’re involved in is not purposed toward your goal? There’s a disconnect and you’re fucking up. You have to make sure you’re in line with your goals. So, I had to change what I was doing because I wasn’t trying to take anything from people. I’m trying to give something to people.
JP: So how did you come up with the name Dojo Seven?
DS: That’s a secret!
JP: Ok! It’s a secret.
DS: It’ll be worth a billion dollars one day.
JP: Well I don’t have that kind of money.
DS: I’ll tell you what, I grind up and you grind up, and five years from now I’ll tell you.
JP: Right! OK then, I’ll be waiting. I saw some of your shirts on your website. One shirt that reads “Overcoming Anxiety” stood out. Is that something that’s personal to you?
DS: Do I have anxiety? Is that the question?
JP: Maybe not yourself but maybe someone you know. What’s the reason behind having a shirt that says overcoming anxiety?
DS: Oh. Because I got anxiety! Here’s the thing man, a lot of people have anxiety and deal with it personally. It’s this thing that’s in the margins of society today. Everybody is worried, everybody is anxious and flooded with anticipation. Nobody deals with it properly because we don’t discuss it. They don’t have a lot of information about it because it's not okay to say, hey I have this or I'm dealing with this. So the t-shirt was inspired by when I first started putting out videos. I was like “Yo! I deal with this. I have panic attacks, I worry about the future.” The response was some of the best response I’ve ever had, and I was just like wow. People need to see somebody go through this publicly because everybody fights it in silence.
JP: Most definitely. That shirt really stuck out to me because right before our interview, I did another with a young lady who just put out a book that talks about mental health and anxiety/depression. I had a great conversation with her, about ten minutes and I let her know that I was just recently prescribed a pill for anxiety and depression.
DS: Like G.A.D? General Anxiety Disorder?
JP: Yeah and depression. Apparently, it’s something that I’ve been dealing with for a few years and didn’t even realize it. I kept getting feedback from family and friends like “you’re changing” and “your attitude sucks” and “you never do this anymore”. I'm just like “get out of here there’s nothing wrong with me! Y’all are just pissing me the hell off!” So, I talked to my doctor about it and when he told me it was an anti-depressant I was like oh no!
DS: I don’t know if it was an article I read or a podcast I heard but we say mental illness, but we don’t think of it as an illness. You get a cold or the flu, nobody trips. You go by some fucking Nyquil, you swallow that shit and you’re alright. We don’t think about depression and anxiety the same way but literally, everybody gets it. That’s why it’s like an untreated cold. That shit festers and spreads and becomes so much more serious than it would’ve been if we treated emotions as a part of the complete person. So, no shame bro. Take your fucking meds and do your thing.
JP: Right. I definitely can tell the difference in myself since I’ve been taking them. A big problem I had is that I didn’t want to feel like a zombie. I still want to have control of my actions and thoughts. I just wanted to be sure that I wasn’t letting some bullshit come by me just because I’m on this medication and I’m zombie out. So far I’ve been doing great.
DS: How long have you been on it?
JP: It's just been a couple of weeks so far and it’s a big difference from where I was just a couple of weeks ago. The thing is, am I going to be able to function when I come off them? Because I don’t want this to be something that’s regular.
DS: And that’s the thing, right? Think about it like a cold. Once you deal with it, it’s done. And the other thing is, as this becomes more mainstream, just like there are natural remedies for a cold, there are also natural remedies for (anxiety/depression). So, there’s a way to fix everything. It’s just that nobody is talking about it. When we hide stuff and put a stigma and shame on stuff, we just can’t develop it. And that what that shirt was about. I’m not scared, throw your stones.
JP: I was thinking about which shirt I wanted to buy, and I think you’ve sold me on that one. As far as your nonprofit goes, what exactly do you do to make this thing operate?
DS: So… I don’t know
DS: The goal and vision that we are working on now, that you’re going to start seeing roll out in the next couple of months, is to put out articles, blogs, lessons, webinars around the stuff that we are talking about. I also want to have workshop style events in Atlanta where we just talk about wisdom. Talk about wise decision making and wise choices and seek out wise people to do interviews like this and bring that to the people. The goal is to connect those who are looking for guidance and information to those resources and not try to serve as the resource. In my bio on Instagram, I say I’m learning as I go. That’s real. I’m not the guru. I’m not the fucking Jedi master. I don’t have all the fucking answers. I’m fucked up just like everybody else. But I just want people to come along with me as I find people and resources that do have the answers.
JP: Do you have any events coming up soon?
DS: No. We did a workshop that we will probably pick back up after my birthday. My birthday is 4/20. I’m also on a podcast with a company called Black Republic and Company.
JP: I guess we are getting ready to wrap up. I did notice that you have some songs here on your website.
DS: At the bottom of the listen page?
DS: Yeah man check it out. I told you I have fun, I’m good. I’m really good.
JP: Are you not trying to promote that?
DS: Here’s the thing, and this is where the wisdom and better decision making come in. There was a time in my life when I could’ve made the music thing happen. And the time may not be over but there was a time that I was buzzing enough in Charlotte, that I moved to Atlanta the first time. I was in studios, got to co-write a song for Snoop Dogg and I was really putting in work to be a successful music artist. The issue is, when you do not make the best decisions and are not really aware of how life works, it doesn’t matter how talented you are or the opportunities that you’re presented with. You’re not going to take full advantage of them because you don’t know what’s going on. So at the time, I was a music artist as a career, I wasn’t disciplined enough, in terms of perfecting my craft. I wasn’t doing it for the right reasons. It was more about the lifestyle. Me and my brother was smoking seven days out the week. We had all kinds of girls and strippers coming through and it was unwise. In that lack of wisdom and lack of good decision making, I squandered an opportunity that I had. Today, the talent is still there but the vision has changed. So if you want to, listen to it and download it. I’ll keep putting stuff out because I love doing it and its one of the gifts that God gave me. It's not a vision to be an artist anymore even though I’ve learned the lessons that would make me a successful artist.
JP: I’m going to listen to all of them. Is there anything else you want to tell me about the Dojo Seven movement?
DS: It’s growing. I think that it’s going to serve a need that people may not realize they need yet. I’m happy, I'm happy with life and with what’s going on with my ministry and just trying to bless people.
JP: Well Joshua, I really appreciate you doing this. I’ll be in touch with you.
DS: Alright brother. Peace.
Even though he wouldn’t tell me the meaning behind his name, I’ve studied numerology for some years now. I actually rely on it a lot for understanding. In numerology, the number seven is the thinker and searcher of truth. It is a spiritual and intellectual number. After our conversation, I can honestly say he embodies that meaning of the number seven completely.