Published January 2020 on YouTube

305: Shaka Senghor | Writing My Wrongs

1. Introduction

Shaka shares his inspiring story of how he turned his life around while in prison, and how he became a bestselling author and prison reform activist. He emphasizes the importance of personal development and treating every day as a learning opportunity.+

2. Detroit's Crack Epidemic

Growing up in Detroit:Shaka reflects on his childhood in Detroit before and after the introduction of crack cocaine. He shares fond memories of a diverse and tight-knit community where cultural exchanges and sharing food were common. However, the community dramatically shifted once crack cocaine was introduced, and the impact of the drug was not fully understood at the time.+
Childhood Innocence:Shaka shares his experience of being a 14-year-old drug dealer and how it distorted his childhood innocence. He reflects on his first significant amount of money and how he spent it on buying every type of cereal he wanted, something he couldn't have growing up.+

3. Surviving the Streets

Surviving the Streets:Shaka shares his experience of being robbed at a young age and how it shaped his perception of drug and gang culture. He discusses the aspirational aspect of the culture and how it can be seen as a hero-like element for those who are able to provide for their families.+
Trauma and Culture:Shaka reflects on the trauma and nightmare that the drug culture is for kids and how it changes and transforms who you are as a human being. Jordan adds that the opioid crisis is happening everywhere and it's not just affecting black and brown people.+

4. Honest Conversations

Honest Conversations:Shaka and Jordan discuss the importance of having honest conversations about the racial and class divide in our society. They share personal experiences and insights on how recognizing the similarities in struggles across different communities can lead to healing and positive change.+
Family Dynamics:Shaka reflects on the impact of his parents' separation on his childhood, including the disruption of normalcy and safety, the differences in parenting styles, and the rejection he felt when his mother asked him to live with his father. He also discusses the lasting impact on his relationship with his mother and the validation he still yearns for.+

5. Derailing Childhood

Derailing Childhood:Shaka reflects on how physical and verbal abuse at home and lack of attention from teachers at school led to his shift from being a high-performing student to selling drugs on the streets. He emphasizes the importance of adults paying attention to changes in children's behavior and the need for better resources in schools to deal with such situations.+
Building Walls:Shaka shares how his childhood experiences, including moving from his mom's house to his dad's, led him to build walls and navigate life on his own. He also discusses the challenges of being a single father and the lack of support structures for fathers who are parenting or co-parenting.+

6. Sponsors

Jordan and Jason discuss the benefits of Hydros water bottles and filters, including their fast flow technology and use of activated coconut charcoal. Listeners can get a 20% discount on Hydros products by visiting

7. Single Dads and Male Identity

Single Dads:Shaka shares his experiences as a single dad and the challenges he faces in dating and co-parenting with his son's mother. He emphasizes the importance of consistent love, routine, and shared responsibility in raising their child.Show transcript +
Male Identity Struggles:Shaka and Jordan discuss the struggles young boys face in finding their identity and self-worth, and how society's expectations of male behavior limit emotional expression to anger and frustration. They emphasize the importance of healthy emotional expression and the need for more space to talk about what it means to be male in this world.+

8. Teenage Drug Dealing

Teenage Drug Dealing:Shaka shares how he got recruited into drug dealing at a young age and how the emotional need for validation played a huge role in his decision-making. The validation from the older drug dealer, the pretty girls, and the lifestyle made it hard for him to turn down the opportunity, despite the risks involved.+
Surviving Gun Violence:Shaka shares his experience of getting shot at 17 and how the influx of crack-cocaine led to an increase in gun violence amongst young people. He discusses the lack of emotional support he received after the incident and how it led him to carry a gun every day.+

9. Breaking the Cycle

Breaking the Cycle:Shaka and Jordan discuss the lack of access to therapy and mental health resources in black communities, and the cultural and societal barriers that prevent individuals from seeking help. Shaka highlights the cycle of violence and trauma that perpetuates without proper intervention, and the need for more accessible and culturally competent resources.+
Mental Health Stigmas:Shaka discusses the lack of trust and mental health care in black communities, and how Charlemagne and Big Sean are creating platforms to remove the stigma on mental health treatment. Jordan and Shaka also touch on the effects of the crack epidemic on young boys and their relationships with women.+

10. Impact of Early Sexual Experiences

Shaka shares his experience of having sex with a woman in her 30s when he was 15 and how it impacted his emotional development. He discusses the importance of understanding misogyny and the emotional dysfunction in young males. The conversation also touches on the impact of early sexual experiences on young boys and how it shows up in different ways.+

11. Sponsors

Overcoming Adversity:Shaka shares his journey of resilience and redemption after spending 19 years in prison. He highlights the importance of self-reflection, forgiveness, and second chances. Jordan and Jason discuss the power of mindset and the impact of childhood experiences on adult behavior.+
WeCrashed:Jordan and Jason discuss the upcoming Wondery podcast, WeCrashed, which tells the story of WeWork's CEO Adam Neumann's fall from the top of the startup world due to conflict of interest, mismanagement, and mounting losses. The podcast promises to give listeners a behind-the-scenes look at the rise and fall of coworking spaces.+

12. Toxic Narratives

Toxic Culture:Jordan and Shaka discuss how toxic cultures perpetuate stereotypes and normalize abuse, leading to harmful behavior. Shaka shares his personal experience of developing a toxic narrative and ending up in prison.+
Tragic Mistake:Shaka shares his experience of being incarcerated for second-degree murder at 19 years old. He reflects on the moment of the tragic mistake that led to the death of David, and the childlike response he had in the aftermath. Shaka also talks about the regret he feels for his actions.+

13. Unpacking Trauma

Unpacking Trauma:Shaka shares his experience of going to prison and the lack of space to unpack the trauma. He talks about the label he was given by a therapist and the struggle to navigate his emotions. It wasn't until he received a letter from the woman who raised the person he shot that he was able to humanize him and feel a deep sense of shame.+
Forgiveness and Entrepreneurship:Shaka shares how forgiveness played a big role in his healing journey and how a letter from a woman he harmed helped him forgive himself. He also talks about the entrepreneurial skills he learned while in prison and how prisoners can be exceptional entrepreneurs.+

14. Life After Prison

Prison Business:Shaka shares how he developed entrepreneurial skills in prison, from networking and profit sharing to innovation and loan sharking. He explains how these skills are transferable to the outside world and how they helped him survive in prison.+
Life After Prison:Shaka shares his experience of life in prison and how he developed skills that were beneficial for entrepreneurship. He also talks about the challenges of finding employment after prison due to stereotypes. Shaka also discusses the biggest changes in society, particularly the advancements in technology, that he faced upon his release.+
Life After Prison:Shaka shares his experience of reacclimating to life after prison, including the challenges of navigating relationships and crowds of people. He discusses the importance of pacing oneself and honoring one's experience, as well as the overwhelming feeling of having too many choices after being confined for so long.+

15. Life After Prison

Shaka discusses his experience in prison and how it reinforced negative behaviors and beliefs. He shares how self-reflection and journaling helped him rewire his thinking and become a man of his word.+

16. Outro

Jordan shares tips on how to connect with great people and manage relationships using systems and tiny habits. He also offers a free course on networking and encourages listeners to reach out to guests and share the show with others.+