Busta’s Person of the Week: Tragedy leads man to turn adversity into new career and launch successful business

Busta's Person of the Week: Tragedy leads man to turn adversity into new career and launch successful business The post Busta’s Person of the Week: Tragedy leads man to turn adversity into new career and launch successful business appeared first on WS Chronicle.

Busta’s Person of the Week: Tragedy leads man to turn adversity into new career and launch successful business

By Busta Brown

In 1987, DRL Toons’ mother moved from East Orange, New Jersey, to Los Angeles, California, to keep him away from trouble. But trouble eventually found Toons at the age of 12. “My mom thought she was keeping me out of the crack cocaine scene in the ‘80s. But moving me to California, I’m now in the middle of different gangs trying to recruit me,” said Toons. 

In his early teens, the New Jersey native was on a quest to be accepted in the hard knock streets of California. His art caught the attention of an Oakland rap legend, which became a pivotal turning point in his life. “By the grace of God, I met Too Short and his crew. They were smoking blunts, so I asked for one. He said, ‘Let me see your pictures.’ After taking a look, he said, ‘It’s easy to do what I’m doing, but you keep doing that,’ and wouldn’t let me smoke with him and his crew. 

“Eventually my mom saw the direction I was heading, so in 1989 we moved to High Point,” he said. The move became a rude awakening for the teenager. “Where I’m from in New Jersey, it’s a lot of loud talking and nothing ever happens. But in the streets of North Carolina, if there’s a problem, they tend to handle it right there. I realized very quickly that if you’re going to survive in these streets, I knew I had to be about that life. The streets did help me overcome fear and being scared of people,” said Toons. He added that once you can protect yourself on a certain level, you become fearless.

During high school, DRL Toons’ life took a turn for the worst. “I started getting into a lot of trouble in High Point, but fortunately, then Guilford County Sheriff Danny Rogers was a High Police officer. He saw something in me and gave me a job to get me off the streets,” he said. With Rogers’ guidance, Toons decided to turn his life around. 

Some of my high school friends got locked up for selling drugs. I was with them that night, but because Danny believed in me, and the grace of God, I went home early. When I went back to school the next day, I had no friends, so I felt like there was nothing there. I felt all alone,” he shared. 

One day he walked into the cafeteria and saw a recruiter for the Marine Corps. “He looked well put together, so I approached him. The only time I’ve seen a Marine was in the movie “Dead Presidents.” After we talked, I went home and watched the movie,” said Toons. After watching the cult classic, it gave the high school senior the courage he needed to join the Marine Corps. “I said to myself, if you’re going to be a bad ass, then go into the Marine Corps and prove it, instead of being out here in these streets causing trouble. 

“It taught me everything a man should and shouldn’t be. It taught me integrity, tenacity, and patience. When you have five grown men yelling in your face, you quickly learn patience and discipline. Then they train you to be a killer, and then tell you not to kill anyone. It was the best decision I made. It saved my life,” said Toons.

In 1997, during training in the Marine Corps, he met someone. “I thought the moon, stars and sun shined on her. We fell for each other and then had a baby,” he said. Toons got very emotional. “While in the Marine Corps, I was gone six months at a time, I couldn’t spend the time I wanted to with him. That was hard on me, Busta.”

In 1999, he left the Marine Corps to pursue a family life with his girlfriend and son. A year later, the unthinkable happened. “The cord on a toy he got for Christmas got wedged between the wall and his mattress, and it wrapped around his neck and strangled him. We couldn’t save him,” said Toons as he fought back his tears. The loss of their only child caused a strain on the relationship, and the two went their separate ways. 

“After losing my son, I was depressed. God took everything from me. My girlfriend, my son, and the apartment manager kicked me out. I lost everything. That’s why I know the stories in the Bible about losing everything are real. It was the worst time in my life and I wanted to go back into the streets, or I could’ve turned to drugs. But I chose to do something productive in honor of my son. I had nothing and didn’t know anyone but God and my mom. I told her that I wanted to start my company in honor of my son and she gave me the strength and support I needed. Although she was hurting with losing her grandson, she put those feelings aside to help me get through it. She didn’t tell me to go get a job and or be gainfully employed. Instead, my mom believed in my vision. She told me it’s not the end of the world and you can bounce back from this. My mom is an amazing woman, Busta,” said Toons.

In 2001, with his unwavering faith in God, and the love and support of his phenomenal mother, Gail, “I stopped expecting people to feel sorry for me and put all of my focus and energy into building my company and launched DRL Toons. He’s the CEO, owner and the graphic designer for his company. 

In the early 2000s it was his rebranding of 102 Jamz radio station and its personalities that helped the company make a name for itself. The company also created the brand and does marketing for The John Coltrane International Jazz Festival. DRL Toons is now one of the most sought-after graphic design companies in North Carolina. Along with branding and graphic designs, they also provide marketing, promotions, business consulting, billboards, logos, flyers, hats, t-shirts, posters, magazine layouts, and more. 

Toons was commissioned by the Hayden-Harman Foundation for a very special project. “The mother passed away. I was commissioned to draw a pink elephant for her funeral. Everyone loved it! My business partner Joe approached me about doing a series using this pink elephant. It led to me becoming the illustrator for eight books that hospitals use to help children get better,” shared Toons.

DRL Toons is not your typical entrepreneur. He does it his way and it works, because he mastered the most important key to a successful business – trust. His clients trust and respect his work. “When my clients tell me what they need or want, and I tell them that and more,” boasted Toons. “What sets my company aside from the others, my clients don’t need to give me a lot of instructions, because they trust my work. I believe in branding from the bottom to the top. I give your logos legs so it can walk around, and they have a heartbeat to it. You can feel it. Of course, not physically,” joked Toons. He said his work covers anything his clients request. “Edgy, a corporate look, anything you can see, I can bring it to life. That’s where I come in. Over the past 20-plus years, DRL Toons has built that trust and respect in North Carolina,” said the proud CEO. He shared, as a graphic designer, it’s very important to give his clients brand consistency. 

My phenomenal Person of the Week is DRL Toons. “I no longer look around, I look up. God is all I need to look to.” For contact info:  @drltoons, @drltoonsdesignstudio, @drltoons@nullgmail.com.

The post Busta’s Person of the Week: Tragedy leads man to turn adversity into new career and launch successful business appeared first on WS Chronicle.