You Created It

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Interview and Photographs by Brian Bielanski

Charles “Silk” Dunn spent 24 years in a federal prison in the 1990’s for being a drug kingpin. Since his release he is on a mission to help others meet life’s challenges. Dunn owns his past and uses that street cred to go into prisons, schools, and corporate America to share his story.

He doesn’t hold back on his feelings on “the system” and how it works or doesn’t work.  His strongest message is “You Created It”. Whatever challege we are facing; we created it and we can get ourselvs out of it.

BB: When and where were you born?

               I was born in Dayton, Ohio, October 9, 1968.

BB: Tell us about your childhood.

               I was raised up in the church.  I have one of those moms that she falls asleep with a Bible on her chest.  I was criticized and talked about a lot growing up because I had a large head and a skinny body. I was criticized for being dark, and I had a speech impediment.

               I went to Detroit when school was out in June. It was for me, it was like the lifestyles of the rich and famous. So my aunt would pick a different place in the world and take me. She doesn’t have any children. So I was like her child. So she kind of spoiled me for three months out of the year.

               (She would say) whenever we leave the country, whenever we go out of town, you have to try some of the finer things in life. So, you know, I learned a lot about different foods, like ossobuco I learned a lot. I mean, I travel the world from everywhere from Ottawa to Montreal, Canada, to Guadalajara in Mexico.  Like I mean, you  name it. She picked a different place. And I think that balance really benefited me as I got older.

               So I think that that’s important for a child to see, because that let me see that there was other life outside of how I was living.

BB: How did you get started dealing drugs?

               That day I got that phone call from my mom saying my brother was  just been arrested for selling drugs and he’s gonna lose his NFL contract. I literally lost it. I remember it like it was yesterday. I ran through my whole apartment in college, broke all the dishes, punched my fist through the wall.  I said, “Oh, this is how they want to play.” You know, we played by all the rules to get here and right at the brink of it, everything was taken away from us.  I vowed, to bring something to the streets, to the game that they have never seen before.  I vowed to get the money out of the street that I felt like was taken from my brother and I did just that.”

BB: There’s a big space between someone who deals and someone who’s a kingpin, right?

               Oh, yeah. It’s definitely a big space. So let me tell you something. I was doing a lecture last night and I was talking about business plans. It takes two things to elevate from being a regular drug dealer to a kingpin, as well as being an employee to a CEO. Are you motivated? How much are you motivated and what do you think about every day? It starts there. If you think about I gotta pay bills, I’ve got to get shoes. I got a car. I want to get this building. Then that’s not the dog pattern that’s going to get you what you need to get to, if your vision and your goal is to get to the top. For me, it was simple. You have to realize I didn’t sell drugs out of even necessity. I didn’t sell drugs because I had no way of feeding myself or because I wanted shiny things. I sold drugs out of vengeance. It was vengeance.

BB: Now you’re going around the country, going around the world, telling your story, inspiring people.  How did you get to today?  I assume you showed up in prison pretty angry.

               Why? Why would I be angry in prison? What would be the purpose of that? How would that add value, me being angry? Would I get in there and kill somebody. Let somebody kill me. I have a bad attitude and take it out on my family and my loved ones. I’m already away from everybody. Now I’m a burden you with a bad attitude and demands. So no, I’m going to be in jail and I’m going to be encouraging. I’m going to be uplifting. I’m going to be excited. I’m going to be rejuvenated. Llet me tell you why I love prison. Let me tell you why I love prison. I love it. Everyone should find a prison and put themselves in it, because people don’t take the time to listen to their inner voice.

          Most people have never been introduced to themselves.

BB: Tell us about your You Tube spoken world video “You Created It”.

               That’s my baby. So let me tell you about “You Created It” I’m in jail. so I lay back and I wake up at two in the morning, and it’s like I got this epiphany. I got this message from God or from my higher self. It’s in there and I listen. Go tell the world you created it. Stop praying to me and complaining and askin’. Go tell the world they created it.

               The universe is reflecting the energy of everyone in it. So if you don’t like your life changed the way you think. Change the way you speak. Change how you talk to people. Change how you feel. There’s no reason to pray and ask and complain, when you are the thinker that creates the thoughts, that creates the things. So I say you know what, go tell them you created it.

               It took me six months to write that, poem, and when I finished it Brian, I knew it was a masterpiece. I had the (prison) case manager call the whole prison. I had a poetry slam in jail and I performed “You Created It” in front of the whole prison.  A jaw dropping response, standing ovation, people were crying. All I was hearing was “man, I got to get my life together, man.”

BB: When I read your book what am I going to learn?

               It’s about the mind set of a champion. You’re going to learn that, in winning, everything is a state of mind. Everybody thinks that when they read my book I will tell a story about selling drugs. You see that on the news. You know you could you could see that in movies. What we need to help people is show them how do you get from self doubt to being confident. What it takes to have the mind of a champion? How do I reprogram myself to win, and not embrace loser and not accept mediocrity from myself?”

               “One of the chapters is called ‘Expect the Magic’. No matter what you’re going through in this moment, expect the magic in that next moment.”

               “You have to surround yourself good positive people, with good positive energy and take in positive energy.  You have to find a way to uplift yourself daily?

Charles’ new book “I Will Not Be Denied” is available now on at Amazon.com

Brian Bielanski is a journalist and portrait photographer based in Los Angeles. You can listen to the podcast of this interview at BrianBielanski.com

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