Meet CJ Gray

Cornelious Gray II

Your age?

36

Where were you born? 

Downtown Cincinnati, Ohio down by the river.

What are you passionate about? 

One of my passions is the art of making music. From a simple sound of water dropping and creating a loop that can magnify the sound that make the song great. The ability to work with an artist from a different walk of life and to come together in the name of music. The art of music go further then the beats, samples, and the instruments. There is the other aspect of music with the visual which I enjoy watching the music come alive. Capturing the full in body of music makes me excited to share with others because I saw the song birthed and created from the beginning to the present.

Knowing that this is a project designed to tell your story, are there any moments that stand out as life-changing? 

Growing up in Downtown Cincinnati Ohio in low income housing have played a major part in my life. Watching my neighbors selling drugs, getting arrested, and even killed. The dreams and nightmares growing up has played in my mind for so long. The dream of moving away from my neighborhood but the nightmares of dying for a neighborhood that I have no ownership stake in. The path that altered my life when I lost everything and nobody did not speak to me except for my best friend. From that day I changed my mind-set and the way I viewed my life.

If you knew then what you know now... What advise or wisdom would you pass on to the younger generations so that they may focus on what you found to be really important as they grow older? 

I would tell my younger self to invest more into my education. I have spent a lot of time and resources trying to make different things happen by relying on people. If I had just took some money that I earned and invested into my education I feel like I would be in a great situation. I would have told my younger self to get on YouTube earlier.

What is one of the things you like most about living in the Cincinnati area? 

I would have to say that I like the seasons that Cincinnati area gives us. The abilities to enjoy each season without traveling, seeing the leaves change colors, the snow melting away after we are done with it, the rainy days to enjoy the kids jump in puddles, and the sunny days for the pools.

If you had unlimited resources at your disposal, what would you do to help make Cincinnati a better place? 

Our children is our future and with unlimited resources I would invest in them. I would open centers for them to go after school, for a training grounds of fine arts, for a safe haven for them, and to make sure they do not go to sleep hungry. We will break down walls that were built by the elder generations and build greater opportunities for the community to come.

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©2020 by The Legacy Project. A Studio 221 Photography event