Local author, entrepreneur spreading positive vibes to youth
Koran Bolden carries a number of different titles, including author, motivational speaker and entrepreneur, but the one he’s most proud of is father.
Bolden grew up in St. Louis without his father and struggled with developing into a young man with no male influences. Bolden said he had an older brother who died due to violence.
“It was hard to define the role of man in the house,” he said. “The only role models came from hip hop.”
Now as a father of three children, Bolden is trying to provide influence not only for his own children, including a son, but for youth across the country.
“It’s possible to come from an urban area and succeed,” he said.
Bolden credited music as the outlet he needed to express his thoughts and feelings throughout youth, and even received a record deal with Def Jam in 2003.
The music he created while at Def Jam Records didn’t have the right message or image he wanted to portray, so they parted ways a few years later.
But Bolden said that gave him the opportunity to start pursuing his goals and use the power of hip hop music to provide a more positive influence on this generation.
That’s when the musician turned motivational speaker opened Street Dreamz Recording Studio and Party Center, which served as a safe house and writing positive lyrical messages, in 2010.
This past year, he closed that location to pursue bigger ambitions and action throughout the region and country.
While 2015 looks to bring more national speaking opportunities, Bolden plans to open five satellite Street Dreamz offices in different schools throughout St. Louis.
“Young people are looking for new leaders to emerge who can connect with them,” he said.
Bolden said that the five new locations will combine education and multimedia arts, while also including a component dedicated to entrepreneurship.
“There is not a culture … a real relevant culture that makes it cool to be successful. I’m just crazy about changing their lives.”
Keeping him motivated and excited about helping kids are his own children.
“My mom always made me promise her that when I had a son that I made sure I broke the cycle of my fatherless home,” he wrote in an email. “I have done that, and I can honestly say that my son is 10 steps ahead of where I was when I was his age. This proves that strong families and positive role modeling are the main ingredients for young adolescents to succeed.”
Bolden’s overarching goal is to provide youth tools for success through education, art and entrepreneurship.
“Youth want to graduate and succeed, but they don’t have the tools to succeed,” he said. “I feel as if I am one of the many qualified voices in the nation that can spearhead an entrepreneurial leadership platform that shows young people how to truly beat the odds just like I did.”