Power Malu

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

On who you are...

My name is Power aka Babee Power aka Powermalu aka The Mane Man. I'm a humble, generous spiritual being constantly working on becoming a better version of myself. I'm an artist and actor from the Lower East Side of NYC. I enjoy writing lyrics, recording songs and performing on stage.

Photo by @Destiny.Mata

On running...

I'm a coach of the Bridgerunners running crew from NYC and an urban ambassador of running and fitness. I enjoy training up hills and on the steps of the East River Amphitheater on the Lower East Side. The first time I ever ran aside from playing with my friends was with my dad in the East River Park when I was about 5 or 6 years of age. My dad was a professional boxer and sometimes he would take me with him jogging. He would run laps around the track and I would join him for half a lap to his every two laps. It wasn't until I got older when I realized the discipline that it takes to be a runner. I began using running as my therapy and a way to come up with creative ideas for my writing and various projects. I also enjoy that natural high I get from knowing that I'm going further than what I had originally planned or expected. I look forward to running because I know it's another opportunity to be with my crew and encourage new people to go that extra mile. I'm responsible for the newbies or people who are new to running or joining us for the first time. I also offer support to those coming back from an injury. These runners are usually with me in the rear and I'm there helping them face their fear.

On Street Culture...

Hip Hop is Street Culture. I've been raised around all the elements of Hip Hop which we see displayed in our everyday lives. The fashion has always been about creating your own wild style and expressing that via what you wear and how you wear it. Break Boys and Break Girls have influenced modern dances and have even showcased Hip Hop into mainstream media by using Hip Hop dance in tv commercials and even mixing it with classical, jazz, and ballet performances. The music played by the DJs and raps performed by MCees is from the streets and is now being embraced by people everywhere including on Broadway stages in the form of musicals. 

Graffiti artists have landed corporate jobs as art directors and continue to open doors for artists to showcase their work in art galleries moving away from subway trains. Running is also street culture. We see running as an opportunity to Bridge The Gap and BRing people of all ethnicities together under a common ground, their love for running. Similar to the gang leaders of the 70's who used Hip Hop culture to stop the violence and bring crews together via their love of Hip Hop.

On tour in Europe

Running Culture...

For me, running is about the neighborhoods and roads less traveled. Most people don't dare come near dark alleys or urban neighborhoods but my instinct is to explore these paths with blind ambition, welcoming the unknown into my world of curiosity. Running allows me to master the senses, adapt to all environments and share my life experiences with people of all ethnicities. The unknown doesn’t scare me. It inspires me. I believe running is not all about speed but more about embracing where you are at the moment and focusing on your breath so you can practice how to remain in the zone. However, if speed is your thing then by all means embrace that and express it, no pun intended. I don't consider myself a fast runner but I make sure I finish strong on all runs. 

BRidgerunners are at the forefront of running culture and because we've been around for 11 plus years we have helped pave the way for other crews to come through and BRepresent. Now we have dozens of crews worldwide that are part of the Bridge The Gap movement. Our intention and focus is to make the running culture accessible to all. Regardless of your athletic ability, we encourage you to take baby steps towards becoming a runner. One of our run commandments is No One Gets Left Behind. We believe that when you are running with a crew you stick together and should remind one another that You Are Not Alone. Running is not a fad or a trend, it is a way of life.

Hitting the stairs for extra work during a run. "The City Is Our Gym"
On Gadgets...

I've never been a big fan of gadgets until recently when I was asked to write and narrate a story about my BRidgerunners crew for a fitness app called Runtastic. I use my phone during my runs but usually only to take flicks of the scenery and crew members. The Runtastic app is stacked with cool features that are easy to use and designed for everyone from the pro athlete to the beginner and everyone in between. What I like about Runtastic is that they are all about encouraging regular people to get some movement in their lives and provide us with easy to follow instructions and info and some tools to help us on our path to becoming better versions of ourselves. 

Working on the Runtastic story run "The City Is Our Gym" allowed me to meet some of the creatives and executives of the company and see where their hearts were and what they're all about. I found out that they enjoy fitness as much as I do but more than anything they love helping others make positive changes in their lives through fitness. For me that is what set their app apart from the others. Their main goal was to create something that could be used by the community to communicate and encourage one another first and foremost. That falls right in line with my belief system when it comes to this whole fitness journey. I recommend Runtastic to anyone willing to try out a new app for a change. They don't have the money for the crazy ads or billboards yet like the other guys do, which makes them more of a grass roots, word of mouth, underground type app. but once you see the features you'll atleast want to give them a shot and see how they can help you stay the course.

"The City Is Our Gym" A few sets of pull ups before we continue the run"

On Injury...

This can be a minor or a major set back. Depending on the type of injury. I had to learn all about set backs and battling depression when I completely tore my anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and required Arthroscopic reconstruction ACL surgery. I was not able to do any running or working out for about 7 months. Could you imagine not being able to get up to do what you love? I went from being a fit junky to becoming a depressed food junky. I must've gained over 20 lbs and my confidence and self esteem reached an all time low. It wasn't until after about month number 4 when I started feeling like there was some hope for a comeback. I was finally beginning to see some progress from all the therapy sessions I was attending. Then the breakthrough happened... I attended an event at Madison Square Garden I can't remember exactly what the event was for but I do know that I was at a VIP section hobbling around with my crutches. I sat down at a table and shortly after, about 9 athletically built men sat at the adjacent table. It was members of the NY Giants NFL Team. They had just won SuperBowl 42 maybe a month prior. Anyhow, my first instinct was to go over and congratulate them on the victory but something more important came into my mind. I remembered that the Giants star receiver Amani Toomer had tore his ACL the year before and underwent the same ACL surgery that had me down and out. 

Long story short, I convinced myself to hobble over and introduce myself. I told him about my injury and how I was physically and mentally struggling with the situation. He went on to give me some great advice which I applied the very next day. My entire outlook changed and my confidence began to slowly build back up. After all I just got some priceless advice from a star receiver on a Super Bowl championship team. I now see an injury as an opportunity to assess where you are in life. Those 7 months forced me to deal with things on a slower pace and really look at every aspect of my life deciding what I really needed and what may have been holding me back. It forced me to face the mirror and be honest with myself. My injury was not a set back or a detour, it was more like a little nudge in a different direction that was necessary for me.

Favelas in Sao Paolo Brazil Grajau X shooting the music video for my song "I Bet You"

On Achievements...

I don't put much focus on achievements as much as I do on the journey. However, when I do achieve something, I look back on the journey and relive certain moments. For example if we set out to run 4 miles and we end up doing 7 miles I achieved running 3 miles more than expected. I usually look back at certain moments where I may have felt like I wasn't in the mood to run any extra miles but kept on pushing and told my mind to stop lying and I finished strong. I feel good when I achieve writing a new song or performing a play on stage. In order to achieve anything concrete in life, hard work ethic and consistent practice is required.

On Future Goals...

I'm recording some songs to put on my EP. which will consist of about 6-8 songs. I will then shoot some music videos for some of the songs and put them out online for the public. I have a Hip Hop theater group where I will be helping to develop and produce plays that incorporate some aspect of urban culture with Hip Hop as the back drop. I'm working on a couple of other productions for the web and the big screen as well. I also look forward to traveling more via running and also excited to share my art with more people around the world.

Performing at Summer Stage in Central Park NYC
On Social Media...

I use my social media platform to post things that I think will trigger some thoughts and inspire people to explore and express themselves. This is a revolutionary tool that can be used to unite and uplift people. It can also cause people to live a lie and become immune and numb to things that are dumb. There is plenty of motivating information being posted on social media you just have to be willing to sift through the nonsense and find what feeds your soul and your conscience.

Bridge Runners

On Pink...

The Pink Panther theme song

Pink shirts, ribbons and other pink items worn to acknowledge breast cancer awareness.

On Pain...

Understand that there's a difference between pain in the form of soreness in the muscles from working out hard and pain somewhere in the body due to an injury. I embrace the pain I get from working hard when I train. When running you may feel a little pain but not enough to make youstop. When this happens I focus on my body and experiment with ways I can shift the pain elsewhere. Usually by placing my focus back on the breath I take my mind off of the pain and although it may still be there I'm no longer thinking about it. Unless it is something excruciating that stops you in your tracks just keep moving and you'll push past the kinks.

When we die...

I do not know where our spirits go. 

Maybe they stay around to guide and protect our loved onesor perhaps the spirit enters another form of life and goes to the next level or continues from where it previously left off? 

Either way I believe we must make the most out of this life and use this blessing to inspire others to find a passion. When you find your purpose and your true calling you become inspired by inspiring others. I love connecting with the world by creating art from the heart. I'm pure and true to who I am whether it's encouraging people through running or motivating them with my music or acting. It is easy to get caught up and live your life worrying about judgements and whether or not you'll be accepted amongst your peers. This can cause paralysis by analysis. Therefore I've been practicing the act of not overthinking things. The power lies within the self realization that this is bigger than you and is all about us. Art is the most powerful tool that can be used to shift culture. I'm using all of the skills and talents I have in my tool box to create works that will inspire others. I especially want to encourage and motivate the ones who think their voice doesn't matter, to speak up for themselves.

My focus is to encourage and inspire people to become active right where they are, right now. My goal is to support and motivate people as they create new healthy habits for life. Encouraging them to embrace the fear that comes with beginning a new journey. Letting them know that everyone is welcome to join the movement whether they are seasoned athletes, or trying to be active for the first time or recovering from an injury. All you have to do is just show up for yourself and your health. With our hearts and soles, we will push everyday to become better versions of ourselves -Powermalu

Photo by Lars Schneider @schneideroutdoorvisions


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