by: Skyler Parks
It is the spirit to vigorously pursue your goals and dreams while never putting yourself on a higher pedestal than others. It is moving away from home but never forgetting where you started. It is grinding all day, but still coming home to take care of your family with a smile on your face. It is about facing setback after setback, but still mustering up enough strength to say “Thank you God for all you’ve done for me.” It is about remaining humble. It takes a special individual to possess this characteristic and it has found a home in Channing Hawkins.
To understand him, you must start on the south side of the city. His first few years of life were spent in his grandmother’s home in Canton South. By the age of five, he and his mother would move to Willet Avenue SE where he’d spend the majority of his childhood. When he was not with his mother or grandmother, he would find himself traveling between Canton and Toledo to be with his father.
Getting by with the bare necessities is how Channing and his brother survived childhood. From having the gas and water cut off, to using a jug of water to flush the toilet; nothing came easy to them. They witnessed their mother do any and everything to provide for her two sons. With an alcoholic husband (Channing’s stepfather) in the house, money being tight, and working nonstop, she was still able to do what was best for her children without it appearing burdensome.
Around the age of 13, Channing had a realization that he could do more for himself and his entire family. This moment came when Channing’s mother gave him and his brother $10 each. Surprised by his newfound “wealth”, Channing questioned why his mother had given them this money.
His mother replied, “Son, it makes me feel proud to be able to give you something.”
After failed attempts to return the money, Channing made up in his mind he must do everything possible to make sure his mother could live without barriers; a noble endeavor for a 13-year-old.
In the early 2000’s, there weren’t many jobs openly hiring 13-year-olds. There were however, other avenues to obtain an income for this 13-year-old such as cutting grass, washing cars and even an avenue that he never thought he would pursue; selling drugs! Fortunately for Channing, selling drugs was a very short lived source of income. He realized that this was not the life for him and if he put his mind to it, he could do anything in a more positive and legal light.
Channing wound up picking up a microphone. Music was always in Channing’s life due to his father and grandparents being musicians. The church he attended gave him the platform to flex his talents at an earlier stage in his life. No, he would not be singing; rapping was where he found his niche.
Music was his way to say things unsaid. Instead of senseless chatter, he meticulously analyzes the proper approach before engaging in dialogue. It was in Toledo, around the age of 16, where he would meet a man who would become a very influential person in his life. His name is David Macintyre. He touts Dave for his ferocious work ethic and reliability. Much of his successes thus far have been aided by Dave as he now serves as Channing’s assistant. Channing would put out his first mixtape in 2010 underneath his first business endeavor Commission House Entertainment.
Commission House Entertainment was founded in 2010 when Channing was 20 years old. Through this company, he has released four projects; his latest, The Mood EP. When Commission House Entertainment started it was just a dream that didn’t have a clear direction. Yes, music was the start of it all, but he never wanted to limit himself to being just a rapper. His mogul mentality caused him to create his own clothing line, recruit models and conduct photoshoots. These endeavors had its perks and successes, but his next move would be what truly challenged him.
Picture trying to make an entrance into a market with leaders like RedBull and Monster, an uphill battle no doubt. Channing decided to created his own energy drink in 2015, Zeal Energy. It started with convincing his Commission House team to back his decision. They were at odds initially trying to weigh pros and cons, but eventually went with the idea.
Much like starting anything new, you must research to obtain the knowledge to be successful. Channing did just that. From meeting with different individuals in the beverage industry, to researching different products and recipes, to testing out what would be good and healthy for the public, Channing continues to ensure the best for his product. He is currently experimenting with the recipe hoping to make a healthier energy drink without sacrificing its taste. From music, to fashion, to energy drinks, and even partnerships with Hershey’s Chocolate (The Mood Bar), he keeps busy traveling around the Western hemisphere promoting his brand.
“Sometimes you can get trapped in one place trying to impress the same people over and over,” he said. “Some of us are scared to take that leap of faith because of the ‘what if it doesn’t work’ factor, instead of ‘I’ll figure this out.”
One year ago he officially relocated to Houston, Texas. It would prove to be a move necessary for his self-growth. With advice from Dave and his Commission House team, the support of his loved ones, and his faith in God, he found a way to make the move work.
In 5 years, he hopes to have his brand globally recognized, from his music, to his energy drink and potentially his own candy bar without having to partner with anyone. He also hopes to open a clothing store and relaunch his clothing line within the year. Of most importance to him, he aims to be a role model for the kids and the people of Canton to follow.
“I wasn’t thrown a rope or given much help growing up to achieve what I have so far,” Channing said. “I have a lot of nieces, nephews, and little cousins that I hope can benefit off of what I’m building, in which I hope they’ll continue to build on.”
You can download Channing’s new project The Mood EP for free on datpiff.com. Check out more of his work on Instagram:@Kingsinatra19 and Twitter: @MrHawkins23
“I know what it feels like to have a passion for something, but no one to direct you properly, I like to help out as much as I can.”