Sunday, July 28, 2019

LeRon Barton: Using His Gifts to Make a Difference One Milestone at a Time

by Cyrus Webb

It's hard to believe I first interviewed LeRon Barton some six years ago, and in the years that have passed we both have grown and expanded in our work. As an author, contributing writer and motivational speaker he is able to use his platform to not just inspire others but get them to thinking about issues that matter to him and affect individuals around the world.

In 2018 he was able to fulfill  a long-time dream: deliver his own Ted Talk. In this conversation we talked not just about that experience what’s to come.

LeRon could you have imagined when you began this journey as an author in 2013 that you would be where you are today, achieving the things that you have?
No! I mean it's funny how like life sort of takes you right? I mean I started out with my first book. I wanted to write something, as I said in the first interview, that was really impactful. And Straight Dope was a labor of love. I learned how to write a book, then going on to becoming a contributing writer to a lot of sites.

And it's just been like everything just seems to be building up to this moment and it's going to build further. I am just truly grateful. God has really blessed me, and I love the movement, I love the struggle. I love how far I have come, and because I am so busy, Cyrus, and because I am moving all of the time, I don't really get a chance to step back and look at okay what have I done before. I am not really that kind of person to brag on myself, but like when you brought it up like when we first talked in 2013 I was like wow it's been awhile.

And I think the consistency is important. I can definitely appreciate that about you, LeRon.  You have been consistent over the years as well as dedicated. Even for those who don't know about Straight Dope I think we should tell them even from the very beginning when you introduced yourself to the world as an author you were bringing attention to causes even then. Do you feel as though now some six years later that your voice has just become more amplified and that you are able to do that in such a bigger way?
Absolutely. I am constantly talking about social issues, whether it be drug abuse, racism or others. At the end of the day I am just being of service, and I am speaking for people who do not have a voice. I think that's so important. As many accolades as I get or as I may get in the future, at the end of the day everything stems from the writing and also giving people a platform and speaking for those who may not be able to speak for themselves.

An obvious question would be then for those who are looking at this path that you have been on is how does it begin? When did you first realize that you had a message you wanted to share in some form or fashion, because even though the methods have evolved, whether it's going from books to contributing writing to now speaking you've known that you have this platform. When did that become clear to you that you had something that you wanted to share?
It's crazy. At my basis I am a writer and a poet. It just comes from my mother. She always said if you are not helping out you are not doing anything. I love to talk about things that are going on around me. I am very fascinated with people. I am pretty sure you know this, I am a pretty inquisitive dude. I just like hearing what people have to say.

So my being a writer, I also know it's a responsibility for me to talk about what's going on. I love writing fiction, but I kind of got away from that so now I just write about social causes, things that are happening. I write about being a young black man in America in addition to speaking for those who can't quite articulate what's going on but want to express themselves.

So it's all about telling a story as well as giving people a peek into my life.

You did that in a very big way, LeRon, in 2018. I was so proud of you when I first saw on Instagram about you were going to be giving a TED Talk. You talked about even online how that had been a dream of yours. What was it like for you to have that dream realized?
I love that question. I always was really fascinated by TED Talks. It was one of those sort of like pie in the sky things, and so what happened was my now fiancĂ© and I we went to one of her friend's house. She had a book how to give a TED Talk, and it just kind of made it real, like okay this is actually attainable.  I applied to about two or three of them, and I got in to one in Florence, Alabama for Tedx Winston Park.

I knew that I wanted to talk about something that was very personal. I had been putting off talking about my stutter, but I was like you know what? Let me be as honest as I possibly can. So I started to talk about it and formulated a speech, and I delivered it, and it was truly like one of the greatest moments in my life. Being on a Ted stage, I mean, the name is just synonymous with just brilliant ideas. I am not saying that mine was brilliant, but just being there was an amazing thing. 

And I will tell you, Cyrus, as great as it was to deliver it the response was just as great. I mean I have messages all of the time saying ‘hey man your Tedx it really inspired me. You showed me that we can live with stutter and do these things.’ I’ve been talking to so many people. And it's something that I kind of thought of recently and it's like act as if you are an inspiration to everyone, move as if you are inspiring someone.

What a great example of what we can achieve if we are willing to take the first step. Since that Tedx talk LeRon has achieved other milestones, including walking in a fashion show!  This goal is to continue to motivate and inspire others to go after their goals and dreams, using his gift with words to reach people online as well as offline.

Stay connected with LeRon’s journey on Instagram at

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