With over 43 million views and countless numbers of shares on various social media platforms, it is safe to say that the Black Excellence video released in January of this year, has put the Everett brothers and Jonathan Brooks on the map. With their infectious personalities and zests for life it is easy to see why.
Terrence and Terry Everett met Jonathan Brooks, an exercise science major, in the fall of 2015 at VCU’s freshmen orientation. After realizing that they all shared an interest in studying in the medical field, and would spend their first semester in college living on the same floor of the same dorm, the three formed an instantaneous bond. A bond which eventually lead to their creative minds coming together and coming up with a memorable and quite popular Vine video.
When reflecting on how quickly the video went viral the Everett brothers, both biology majors, never thought that would happen. Terrence recalls, “We were just sitting around in our dorm room and I was like, hey let’s bust a beat. And from there it just exploded.” When people told him that he and his twin were breaking the internet, he was surprised and admits that he had never even heard that term before. Since then the guys have gone from sitting in their dorm room, to becoming internet stars overnight and inspiring others to strive excellence.
The now widely publicized video features the twins and Brooks in their “dapper Monday” attire, enthusiastically rapping about being in school and being strong black men. While many of their peers loathe the thought of Mondays and choose to dress in sweats, the twins believe in dressing up to impress on Mondays. The ever self-confident twins point out that while everyone dresses down, “we look the best.”
Admittedly the guys believed the video’s popularity would eventually wane, so it obviously came as an unexpected, but exciting surprise when the video made it to BET. Some would say they had made it big. Yet, despite their notoriety the young men have managed to stay grounded and focused on their goals.
One of the biggest sources of inspiration for the twins is their parents. Other than doting on them and trying to convince them to keep making videos, they have pushed them through school and helped other family members to become better people, which in turn has served as a source of encouragement for the twins. In Brooks’ case he watched his parents struggle and persevere all his life, just to provide for him and his sisters, in order to get to where they are now. Brooks hopes to mirror his parents’ success one day.
Family is very important to these young men. Although their relationship with each other can be described as being rocky when they were young, the twins now have nothing but love and respect for one another. In thinking about who inspires him Terrence says, “He [Terry] reaches so much stuff, like different opportunities and it inspires me.” These young men not only inspire one another to strive for excellence, but many other young people as well.
The phrase black excellence has been used and hash- tagged many times, and assuredly means many things to many people. When discussing the term Terrence believes it’s about “putting themselves, as African Americans, on the map. It is making the map an even playing field for everyone.” Brooks said similarly that black excellence is a way of breaking those stereotypes imposed on African- Americans. For Brooks it is about taking a negative and making it a positive, and uplifting individuals.
Terry views black excellence as a mentality, a mentality that pushes people to achieve the goals they have set out to accomplish. While Terry concedes that complete excellence is unattainable, he believes that striving for excellence will get you where you want to be. “You can never stop growing as a person, you just got to keep going. And not only achieve black excellence, but excellence as a whole.”
These young men are truly striving for excellence in all aspects of their lives. With requests for appearances, an interest in music, a focus on excelling in their academic studies, and a desire for success in their future careers these young men have made their mark and are certainly on track to do great things in the future. We will keep them on our radar!
Image credits; Anastasia Arthur
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