I revere artists for one reason. They offer through their work an elixir that mends our brokenness and rejuvenates our souls. I have noted and notice in my own life that when I don’t have art by way of pictures, music, and laughter, my spirit withers like a plant rooted in the desert. It’s when art is abundant that my life is full of abundance. I have written many times about musicians and painters, but I have not given full credit to another art form that is equally as important. The art I’m alluding to is the ability to make people laugh and the art that comedians create through jokes.
It was a random conversation with a good friend Chris Garret that prodded me to write this article. He told me that Steve Harvey was a source of both laughter and inspiration during Chris’s darkest moments. You see, Chris and I are roommates at this sanctuary called Harvest Farm in Wellington, Colorado—both of us came here in desperate straights hoping to find a new life. Chris and I share two traits even though we could not be any more different. Chris is a “white guy” from Tennessee with a southern accent to boot; I’m a guy from Ethiopia who was raised in the DC Metro area. Yet we found a common bond through music and the comedians we both appreciate. In a lot of ways, it was music and comedy that healed us in our broken places.
Chris told me that Steve Harvey was a man he deeply admired for he stayed humble even as he became super rich and famous. He told me of the ways that Steve Harvey always led off with a prayer that was masked in an inspirational quote and how those utterances gave Chris hope.
“Teddy, if you could only hear how Steve Harvey talks about his wife and the level of admiration and love he has for her,” Chris shared with me. “You can tell that he is a man who has humility deep in his heart.”
When we are born from humble beginnings and choose to remain humble in our spirits, we can be blessed abundantly as we pursue our gifts. Steve Harvey is a testimony of this. Born in a far from affluent Welch, West Virginia to a father who was a coal miner and a mother who was a stay at home mom, Steve knew on an intimate basis the struggles of trying to make ends meet and the notion of hope sandwiches. This is why comedians are so funny; they face choices early in life to either rise above their circumstances through laughter because they know the opposite road is to drown in tears aided by ennui.
Steve chose defiance by smiling in the face of hardship and found ways to make others laugh in the process. This is something that is a common denominator in a lot of comedians; look at their formative years and you will uncover struggles and hardships that would have buried millions. The hard times followed Steve Harvey into adulthood as he faced countless bouts with homelessness and hopelessness way before he found the path towards fame. This is what many of us don’t see from the stars we either adore or scorn; we see their lives and wish we had it but few of us are willing to walk the pavements full of thorns and thistles that many sauntered on before being discovered.
Steve Harvey walked on many pavements full of thorns and thistles before he found stardom. His first stand-up comedy was performed back in 1985 at the Hilarities Comedy Club in Cleveland, Ohio. We have choices in life when we find our calling and our purpose; we can turn towards pragmatism and refuse to take chances or we can chase our passions and go through the billows and furrows in order to grasp our destinies. Steve Harvey chose the latter and boy did he go through endless billows and furrows; as he went state to state performing at comedy clubs, many a time he found his pillows to be steering wheels and back seats of Fords became his mattress. At night he made people laugh; during the days he struggled to find the next meal.
Perseverance and tenacity, Steve Harvey had both in spades in ways that few can comprehend. Through the rough seas and challenges, Steve Harvey rose above the struggles and in time fame and fortunes came knocking. I have written many times against the rich and powerful who bleed this world but let me make this clear, my beef is not against all who find wealth. There are those who take as they receive and then there are those who give back as they are blessed. Steve Harvey remembers the mind bending travels and travails of being homeless and the struggles that it brings. This is why he stayed humble even as his head rest went from steering wheels to goose feather pillows.
As I pay homage to Steve Harvey, I’m really paying respects to all the greats in the past and the comedians in the present who continue to make us laugh. Laughter is needed the most in a world that seems to be devolving into the pits of antipathy and animus. Perhaps the answer lies in sharing music, eating, and laughing together. This is what comedians have been providing for as long as humans evolved the cognition to conjugate sentences. Comedians like Redd Foxx, Gilda Radner, Robin Williams, Lucille Ball, George Carlin, Robin Harris and Bernie Mac to name but a few continue to make us laugh even as they are no longer with us. As past greats graced us with comedy, comedians of this era like Kevin Hart, Adele Givens, D.L. Hughley, Dave Chappelle, CL Lewis and Margret Cho continue to give us laughter as they find hilarity in the things that would otherwise give us sorrow.
This is a thank you note especially to Steve Harvey, who by the way belongs in the same fraternity that I once pledged. But this is beyond fraternity for what I write about is humanity and our need to find inspiration during times of distress. Just like my roommate Chris Garret, I too used to listen to Steve Harvey during my dark days and continue to do so when I need laughter the most. A king of comedy is one who is able to make us roar in laughter one minute then the next give us a nugget of wisdom that can give us hope for a better tomorrow. Steve Harvey does both, and for that he has my deepest respect. #SteveHarvestingInspiration
“I’m not a doctor. I just have a tremendous amount of common sense.” ~Steve Harvey
If you liked this article and appreciate Steve Harvey’s ability to make us laugh and impart inspiration as well, share this article on social media using #SteveHarvestingInspiration. While you are at it, tweet this article to @IAmSteveHarvey and tell him #Tadias and thank you for the laughter.
First, let’s get to the inspirational side of Steve Harvey, a video suggested by Chris Garrett
Check out one of Steve Harvey’s stand up comedies from back in the day
Check out the Steve Harvey each weekday, click on the picture below or HERE to find out about the Steve Harvey Morning Show.
Teodrose was born in Ethiopia the same year Emperor Haile Selassie was deposed by the communist Derg junta. The great grandson five generations removed of Atse (emperor) Tewodros Kassa II, the greatest king of Ethiopia, Teodrose is clearly influenced by the history and his connection to Ethiopia. Through his experiences growing up as first generation refugee in America, Teodrose writes poignantly about the universal experiences of joys, pains and a hope for a better tomorrow that binds all of humanity.
Teodrose has written extensively about the intersection of politics, economic policies, identity, and history. He is the author of "Serendipity's Trace" and newly released "Soul to Soil", two works that inspect the ways we are dissected as a people and shows how we can overcome injustice through the inclusive vision of togetherness.
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