Chris James: A Journey of Artistry, Advocacy, and Authenticity

In the bustling streets of Atlanta, where the pulse of culture and history intertwine, Chris James stands out as a beacon of resilience and transformation. From the spoken word stages across the nation to the frontlines of mental health advocacy in Georgia, Chris’s life is a testament to the power of change and the relentless pursuit of wellness for Black men.

The Poet Who Writes His Own Path

Chris James began his career as a spoken word artist, a venture that propelled him from the steps of the United States Capitol to esteemed stages nationwide. His voice, a melodic blend of raw emotion and sharp insight, resonated with the trials and tribulations of his early life in Little Rock, Arkansas—a city once notorious for its violence. “Wellness, health and wellness for Black men is my focus. I do serve as the chairman of health and wellness for the Atlanta Black Chambers here in Atlanta,” Chris reflects. These poetic beginnings were more than artistic expression; they were a survival strategy and a profound method of connection. His words, rhythmic and resonant, served as both shield and sword against the adversity faced by many young Black men. As a teenager, poetry became his pathway to influence and leadership, writing not only for himself but also for those who found their voices silenced. Today, these origins fuel his passionate advocacy, as every stanza and speech he crafts carries the weight of lived experiences, aiming to inspire and ignite change in the hearts of his audience and beyond.

From Poetry to Purpose

Transitioning from poetry to mental health, Chris embodies the evolution from artist to healer. His work primarily supports Black boys and men across Georgia, guiding them through their unique mental health journeys. This shift was more than a career change; it was a mission sparked by personal trials and a deep-seated desire to give back to his community.

The Intersection of Art and Advocacy

Chris’s artistic journey didn’t stop at poetry. He ventured into playwriting, creating works that speak on racial and social issues. His plays, such as “Dear Black People” and “The Odds Against Us,” have been recognized and celebrated across the South for their poignant narratives and powerful messages. “That’s where I started,” Chris explains, “It was after seeing the potential of what art could do—that it could really make a difference—that I kept writing.”

Healing Through Literature

Chris’s latest venture into the world of publishing is another layer of his multifaceted career. His book, “Get Up, Get Out, and Get Some Healing,” is not just a call to action but a guide to healing. “It’s about making mental health relatable and accessible, breaking it down so a sixth grader could understand,” says Chris. The book encapsulates his philosophy that healing should not be a solitary journey but a communal endeavor.

Chris James is a Member of The League of Black and Unlimited Dads.
This Father’s Day, Walmart is proud to launch The League of Black & Unlimited Dads campaign in collaboration with TheBlackManCan. We are celebrating the inspiring stories of Black fathers across the country who embody the spirit of dedication, love, and resilience. This campaign will feature an animated short, surprise home celebrations and a series of compelling editorial stories that showcase these incredible men as the superheroes they are in their families’ lives.

The Role of Family and Community

Chris James attributes his success to a robust support system, anchored by his wife and extended by a close-knit community of friends and colleagues. “My wife is a crucial part of my support system,” he shares. “She’s seen all versions of me—the good, the bad, and everything in between—and she’s been my rock through it all.” As a cornerstone of both his personal and professional evolution, his wife’s unwavering support and understanding are vital as he navigates the complex landscapes of mental health advocacy and community leadership. “She’s not just my wife; she’s my partner in healing, in life, and in love,” Chris explains, his voice tinged with gratitude. Her role extends beyond personal support, as she actively contributes to his initiatives, offering insights and encouragement that help Chris stay grounded and focused. Together, they form a dynamic duo, tackling life’s challenges and championing mental wellness with shared commitment and compassion.

Chris James’s role as a father has been both a profound challenge and a source of immense growth. “Becoming a father at 16 transformed me—it forced me to learn and adapt quickly,” Chris recounts. His journey through fatherhood has been one of constant evolution, navigating the complexities of life while striving to provide stability and guidance for his children. “My kids have seen different versions of me, from a struggling young dad to the man I am today,” he reflects. This progression has been fundamental in shaping his approach to parenting, emphasizing openness, understanding, and the importance of showing up fully, flaws and all. “Fatherhood has taught me resilience and the beauty of unconditional love,” Chris admits, acknowledging the journey’s deep impact on his character and his ongoing mission to be a better man and mentor.

Looking Forward

As Chris looks to the future, his goals are clear: to continue creating spaces for Black men to thrive and to reintegrate his brother, who is returning home after years of incarceration, into society. His journey is a powerful reminder of the strength found in vulnerability and the transformative power of community support.

As the sun sets over Atlanta, painting the skyline in hues of fiery orange and deep purple, Chris James’s story stands as a vivid reminder of the enduring human spirit. His life, marked by trials and triumphs, poetry and advocacy, echoes through the communities he serves, instilling hope and encouraging resilience. Chris’s journey from a young poet in Little Rock to a leading mental health advocate in Georgia is not merely a narrative of personal success but a beacon for collective healing and empowerment. “Every step I’ve taken, every word I’ve spoken, has led me here,” Chris says, his voice resonant with purpose. As he continues to write his story, one of profound impact and transformative change, Chris James remains a testament to the power of relentless perseverance and the indomitable strength of the human heart. In sharing his journey, Chris does not just recount a personal history—he invites us all to believe in the possibility of redemption and the promise of a better tomorrow.

You can Follow Chris @chrisjamesjourney and visit his website https://www.thechrisjamesjourney.com/.

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