For a young man, the guidance that’s provided by his father can go a long way in shaping who he will become as a man.
However, the mere presence of that father figure doesn’t necessarily guarantee he won’t fall victim to the traps and pitfalls that accompany life in the inner city.
During our interview with Fairfield, CA recording artist & business owner King Miller we were able to discuss how he was raised solely by his father, how he managed his time in the penitentiary, what it took for him to open his 3rd eye & much more!!
Talk to us about where you grew up?
I’m from Fairfield, CA but I was born in San Jose, CA. My family moved to Fairfield after the bay area earthquake in 1989. So, I’ve been out there ever since. At that time, when we moved there, many of the people who lived there weren’t from Fairfield; it was like a Melting Pot because everybody was coming in from the surrounding cities. I had a typical childhood.
Growing up amongst the madness, up under this cold design and programming that has been done to us by the people who run this society. They’re basically getting you ready to be a worker, or even worse, that penitentiary life. Fairfield, like any other city, has its rough parts of town and I was running the streets when I was younger.
When did you start getting involved in the streets?
About junior high school is when I really started getting heavy into the streets. I was set up to be an athlete though. My pops was getting me ready. I pretty much played all the sports when I was growing up. After a while, I started to get away from that and more caught up in the street thing. You know, getting money, chasing women, that type of situation.
By the time I got to high school, I was fully into the streets. So, my 9th-grade year I dropped out and basically all my high school years I spent in and out of juvenile hall. My senior year is the only year that I went to a regular high school for an entire year. I barely graduated in 1998 because I was active in the street and in 11 grade I did a little stint for possession to sell marijuana. I got out did what I had to do to graduate.
Shortly after that, I was still doing my thang in the street, still selling weed, getting money off girls, and eventually, I begin robbing banks. I caught a case in the year 2000 for robbing banks, and they gave me 12 years for that. I had to do 10 years, 8 months. I was able to use that time as a building stage and wake my game up and get prepared to come out here and do what I needed to do. My third eye wasn’t all the way up yet, but it was always there.
It had to be tough for your parents to watch you go through that. Were you raised in the house with your mother and your father?
My mom and my pops separated when I was about 3 years old. My dad got remarried to my stepmother, who he is still with to this day.
Ok, so after your parents separated, who did you live with?
I lived with my pops. It was the other way around for me. Pops was a stand-up guy, he’s one of a kind for sure, you don’t find too many like him. He doesn’t drink or smoke and barely uses profanity. He is also well-respected in the community because he did his coaching thing for alot of years. A lot of youngsters came up under him, he gets mad respect in the street and in the community.
It sounds like your father is a pillar of the community. So, let’s talk a little about your time in prison. How did you come to terms with the fact that you had to spend 10 years behind bars?
I had a daughter when I was 17 years old. When I got locked up, she was just 2 years old. So, I wasn’t necessarily worried about myself. I knew I was going to handle my business and do what I had to do to get in and get out of there. I was 20 years old when I went in and I was thinking, I’m still young, I’ll just be 30 years old when I get out.
The thing that kills me the most was I got a lot of family members that love me. So, when I got my time, it hurt me to see them hurt. Especially my pops, he did everything in his power to keep me away from the streets. I was a rebel though. I had to go out there and get it, had to go see it for myself. That’s what keeps me out of trouble now, making sure that I’m here for them and handling my business as well as being a demonstration for the young ones.
Knowing that you had to make it back to your family. What was your mentality in prison?
I just focused on being myself. I never wanted to be in a gang, so I stayed away from all that. In prison, you have the Bay Area gangs and different ones that try to recruit you if they see you a solid dude or whatever. A lot of people went that route, but I always kept to myself. Even my city, once you get to the penitentiary you have people representing Fairfield, CA or 707.
I was just being me, to the fullest. I didn’t want to be put under anything. As a matter of fact, I was one of the dudes that was dealing with everybody. The penitentiary is segregated. You have the white side and you have the black side. The southern Mexicans roll with the whites, the northern Mexicans roll with the blacks. The Asians run with the blacks also.
So, I didn’t really have any boundaries, of course, there were certain things I couldn’t do because of the politics but you still might see me chilling over here with the whites or the southern Mexicans. I’m just being me, I’m not tripping on all the extra stuff they got going on in there with the Bloods, Crips and all that extra stuff.
I just do me and if something happens and I got to hold my own, then so be it. It happened a few times in there but at the end of the day, it was all respect. I even started a hoop league in there because when I got to the yard, it was dead. Everybody was just walking around looking for a fight or a riot to pop off. At the time, I’m young so I’m still athletic.
Even though I wasn’t necessarily playing for a team when I was on the street, a lot my boys were, and they were on their way to college. We would play together at open gyms or whatever. So, I still had that in me. I was on that yard for 7 years and I ran that league for five of them. We had the whites playing too, which was a big deal, they usually didn’t interact with the blacks. The police tried to shut me down too.
They were upset that I didn’t go through their channels to get the league started, I just did it my way. I came up with the times for the games and we even had referee’s out there. I created stat sheets for the games that I wrote with a pen and I had them copied so everybody had one. I wanted to bring something positive to the yard and give us all something to look forward too. It was a good look for me. I was trying to get my mind and my body together, so I could prepare to come home and handle business.
What is your overall view of the criminal justice system after experiencing everything that you went through??
It’s all set up by design, especially in California. The penitentiary system and the criminal justice system is linked directly in with the educational system. That’s why it’s built the way it is. If you look at it, after completing 12 years of school and graduating, you know nothing about life. They’re not teaching you about how to deal with finances or paying bills they just get you ready for the workforce, college or even worse…. jail.
Black men need to realize that we are probably the most targeted individuals in this country and not just on a mental level, but physical targeting as well, just look at all the police shooting that have been going on. If you look at TV, music, and fashion they are trying to effeminize the black man and ultimately get rid of us…. period. The people that run this country know what the black race is capable of.
They know that if the black man and the black woman come together and start holding down the family and building, they can’t stop it. I’m mad at myself because once I woke up and seen how the game was being played I realized that I was basically a willing participant, who volunteered. I have a lot of nephews, a godson and other people that are out here and sometimes they get caught up in it. I try my best to talk to them because I have ties on both sides.
I deal with the conscious community, but at the same time, I’m not too good to deal with the people where I come from that I’ve always dealt with in the streets. I still try to wake them up and help them activate that third eye. The reality is, there are certain conversations I can have over here, that I can’t have over there. When dealing with people in the conscious community there are things that don’t have to be said, they know it already.
When you are dealing with people who don’t know what’s going on you must break it all the way down to a science. So, this thing is tricky, you got to have an overstanding, not an understanding. We have some serious powers working against us and our people don’t even realize that there participating in the madness. I can just tell them what I know and give them my perspective.
If you’re not careful with that though, you’ll be arguing all day and night with people. Especially politics and religion that’s why I don’t even do that no more. I did more reading and research when I came home then I did when I was locked up. While I was in there I wasn’t reading novels or hood books I had a lot of self-help books a lot of books that focused on business.
I even took a couple of classes while I was in there to prepare myself for the business world. So, I came home on May 31st, 2011 but I didn’t begin seeking the knowledge until 2012. I spent nights reading and trying to figure everything out. As a kid, I just knew something wasn’t right and once I began to learn the truth I had to dive into it. That’s one of the reasons I started the clothing company.
I like fashion but if you look at my clothes I put an ancient African symbol on there and remixed it a little bit and put my own little twist on it. The symbol is a Heru Falcon, but I switched it around and put a lion head instead. I made it one of my main logos and a lot of people don’t even know what that is. It’s basically a very significant symbol that a lot of people have taken from. Some people think it’s my religion and I tell him I don’t do religion I’m more based in spirituality.
Ok, so you mentioned your clothing line, talk to us about why it was important to start your own business?
So, I started the clothing line for a few reasons. First, we need to start supporting our own businesses and also on top of that I try to mix in the fashion with the education. Not everybody, but a lot of people ask me, what does the Falcon mean? At that point, I got to break it down to them and hopefully, they look it up.
Some people don’t want to know what it really represents. I’ve had people do the research and afterward, they would be kind of turned off. I had to learn how to balance everything out. When I first started waking myself up and becoming more conscious of things I would go on Facebook and different social media platforms and drop some cold gems about what I was learning but people weren’t ready for that, I was disturbing people. That’s when I decided to just keep things light when I drop my gems and try to mix it in with other things people can relate to because I don’t want to lose anybody.
After listening to some of your music it sounds like you try to keep that same balance. Is that true?
You know, I try to wake people up but still mix the message with some talk they can understand. I also try to give them a nice beat to go with it because sometimes when you’re making conscious music…… it can become a little too conscious for the consumer. I try to keep it right there in the middle. Grab you and get your attention with something you’re familiar with but at the same time drop some of these gems that they might not even catch consciously, but subconsciously they will.
Ok, Last question. Ultimately, what do you think the black community needs to do to put ourselves in a better position in this society?
I know I’m not perfect and I still have some things I need to work on, but I feel like I have a great overstanding of what we really need as a people. When I first began coming into the knowledge I would tell myself, we don’t need white people in the struggle, let’s just keep everything all black but right now I’m on a super level of overstanding where I recognize that we need everybody.
Of course, the black community needs to get back together and reclaim some of our greatness because the people that run this country disenfranchised us so viciously and got our mental all fucked up. People don’t realize that this D-boy rapper, the athlete, the entertainer, all these images were manufactured. That’s exactly what they want us to be and people fall for it all day. I just want everybody to wake up, so we can do better for ourselves and get out of this cold-ass design.
Connect with King Miller:
Clothing Line: Krcollection.com