How this 67- year old veteran balances being a rapper, marijuana smoker, and grandfather
Unc Imo talks spirituality, society, marijuana, and the power of not giving a f*xck
Most of our grandparents, parents, etc. depending on the generation you are in are usually at home. Enjoying the fruits of their retirement and just letting life run its course. Why? Well that is what they were expected and told to do. Go to school, have a family, work, retire. When you retire stay home and help watch the grand kids. After you have given your entire life to another person’s dreams, go sit at home and dream about your dreams. My grandmother lived her life in this way. It took me a few years after her passing to realize that she did not live her life. I did not even know what her dreams were, who she was, or what she wanted out of life. I have no idea if even she did. It is sad but true, as mothers, fathers, children, etc. society programs us to never truly be free or even seek freedom. We work to live and live to work. Well, not all of us. Meet Terry Brown, aka Unc Imo. Terry lived most of his adult life working for someone else and it is with age that he realized he had it all wrong. At 67 years old he decided to become a rapper, move to a different state, advocate for the use of marijuana, and live his best life. Check out our interview with him below:
- Does it ever worry you that other people see you in a negative light? I really do not care, that is their opinion and they have the right to it. I just do what I do; I do not care about their opinion.
- If you could give the younger you any advice. What would it be? To work, work, and work. Love and light, work from there. Earn your income off what you like, do not just chase the money or job.
- When you came back from the Vietnam War, you suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). What advice would you give to parents who are enlisting and may possibly go to war? I was 19 years old when I went to war; I ended up on heroin when I got back trying to escape the nightmares of what I went thru. We did not have PTSD back then; I did not even know I had a condition. My advice would be to get prepared for it mentally; it is a terrible thing to have to deal with. For those back from the war do not ever give up. Always believe that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Never ever, think of suicide. We have lost so many veterans because they are taking their own life. Look at my story, all I have been thru, I overcame addiction and then lost it all in Katrina. You will get through it but you cannot give up on yourself. Suicide is not the answer.
- How were you able to overcome your addiction and recover from Hurricane Katrina? I lost my religion years ago but I am very spiritual. I know that God is in all of us. Trials and tribulations should not break us but make us stronger. I found a lot of relief from marijuana as well; it helped me from the nightmares. Many people who are addicted to drugs should be get off them and use marijuana as a medicine.
- Do you think people can only be addicted to drugs? People are addicted to food, television, social media, and so many things. People do not like to admit to their addictions. Even with marijuana, it is not an addictive source but it can be. We use these tobacco rolls to smoke the marijuana and now it is addictive. However, we can break those addictions if we get spiritual and understand “who” we are. Spirituality comes with so many aspects it is a mental, emotional, and physical thing. It is so hard to change because we have so much negativity pushed our way. Society teaches us to hate others and only worry about ourselves. We are not taught how to love selflessly, be the light to others, etc. We have to learn how to love and the love will bounce back to us. That is how you overcome your addictions and find peace.
- Did getting older make your goals harder to achieve? It is harder to achieve your goals because the mindset is that once you get to a certain age you are supposed to watch television and retire. People tell me go home before you have a heart attack and die on stage. My response is this, if I die on stage doing what I love and what God called me to do than so be it. I am more worried about how I live versus how and when I die.
- Do you think that smoking marijuana determines how good or bad of a parent you are? No. All those mindsets are to condition us. They wanted to make marijuana a drug so that they can incarcerate us. They have people believing this lie that smoking marijuana is as bad as crack and/or cocaine. Marijuana is literally a relaxer for the mind, we believe we are doing drugs but marijuana itself does not cause any ailments to the body. We are prescribed real drugs that are far more dangerous than marijuana when the doctor gives us a prescription. That is why I made that song “Get High”; people need this as a medicine more than a drug. Smoking marijuana does not make you a bad anything.
- Why do you think the government is making it so hard to legalize marijuana everywhere? To keep us in jail. The jail system is just a modern day slave ship. We have so many people in jail for marijuana and small things, more than anywhere in the World. Louisiana is one of the worst states when in regards to incarceration. They will never legalize marijuana because it will mean fewer profits for the prison system. In Louisiana and many other states, they have the “Three Strikes” law. This law states that if you are sentenced more than three times for certain crimes you get a mandatory life sentence. Each state has different guidelines on what those offenses are. For example, in California drug possession can get you a life sentence under the “Three Strikes” law. In Louisiana, a defendant who has three nonviolent convictions (i.e. marijuana possession) can face 12 years in prison up to life without parole. I had to move to California because the Department of Veteran Affairs would not change my benefits so I could take my medicine. I had to leave my family and friends and come out here alone just to heal.
- What is your take on the newer generations? Yall are amazing, you guys fight for what we would not. The older generations would let things go on, we just followed and did what society told us to do. That is why things are so bad right now. We did not vote. We have to stop as Americans letting other people take and choose our rights. With the help of the youth that can happen, the older generation just accepted anything. I am proud of my youth and the way they stand up.
- What is your favorite song you have released and why? “Get high” is my favorite because it explains that marijuana is a medicine from God. The message behind this song is threefold. First, I am promoting the legalization of marijuana everywhere. I am creating a platform for my folks in New Orleans, LA that are still suffering from Hurricane Katrina. I am also advocating putting an end to the senseless minority killings in this country.
- What advice would you give to parents? Get your kids away from the television. We call our children in to watch television because it is easier for us. Call them in to whatever it is they love instead. Help them find their passion and what gives them peace and purpose. If it is music let, them create it. If they like drawing let them paint. Let them nurture their love. If you teach them to work, they will be programmed to go to a job that is depressing. Cut back on the social media, television time and find out what your kid loves. Let them explore their creative side, let them nurture it and pursue that in life.