Last week we shared the latest episode of AT&T Dream in Black’s Rising Future Maker pep rally featuring Hasani Comer.
This week we get to know Hasani on a deeper level. The 21-year-old college senior is an Atlanta native who spent his early years living in the Gresham Road area, but his family later relocated to Stone Mountain.
“I’m a big rep for the east side,” Hasani told GlobalGrind.
The oldest of two kids (he has a 19-year-old sister), Hasani describes himself as an artist in every way (he sings, draws, paints and acts) and credits his parents for supporting all of his creative endeavors.
“I’m super grateful for that,” Hasani told us, before continuing. “I’m realizing not everyone’s family has that. My first love was drawing and painting and my dad wanted to push that.”
It’s only natural that Hasani would be drawn to the arts as his father is an actor and poet.
“He has a voice like Denzel, a deep Denzel,” Comer described. “I’ve always enjoyed watching him do spoken word when I could.”
Hasani may have followed a similar career path as his father’s but he also expressed his respect and admiration for his mom, a business consultant.
“That’s my superhero,” Hasani told Global Grind, of his mother. “They’ve supported the stage of surviving and I love that they’ve seen my dreams and they want me to thrive not just survive.”
As we previously reported, Hasani plans to use some of his Rising Future Make prize money to visit his father’s family in Ghana this December, where he has plans to record his gospel song with some of the children his family and church have been sponsoring there.
“This is my first time,” Hasani says of his plans to travel to West Africa. “It’s going to be super big because we’ve adopted kids in Kenya and Ghana. It just feels like everything is aligning. Through the church we’ve sponsored, it’s a love thing, letting them know there’s somebody here thinking of them.”
Besides being extremely family-oriented, Hasani also credits his faith for carrying him through after his dreams of winning an athletic scholarship were shattered while playing high school football.
“I’m a strong believer,” Hasani told Global Grind. “When that situation happened to me where I tore my ACL, MCL and LCL, I knew God but I didn’t really know God. I knew the religion but I didn’t have a relationship with God until I went into that dark hole and it was just me and him. I’m so glad I got up out of that. So I made a promise that everything I do now is for his glory.”
Comer says he is rooted in his faith and that it feels good to be a man of purpose, but recalls sinking into a deep, lasting depression after his injury left him without any college prospects.
“I think it lasted a year — mentally,” Hasani remembers. “First I had to lay up in bed for three months. That was devastating, by myself. I think I didn’t get out of it for almost a year or two. Almost two years. Senior year of high school and going into freshman year of college.”
Despite his injury, Hasani was fortunate to get the opportunity to attend an HBCU after he ended up being offered a walk-on football scholarship unexpectedly.
“It was a blessing to get a walk-on scholarship to my HBCU,” Comer told Global Grind. “My dad actually played ball there too so that was a big thing.”
Ultimately though, Comer decided to go in a different direction.
“Senior year I made the decision — when I came in junior year I realized that there is more to life than just sports,” Hasani says. “Black men have so many options. Even coming from the east side and seeing so many things, that’s what I really thought my only option was — sports. I wasn’t even rapping and singing, I was just around it. I thought that was it. Coming into senior year, I was like, ‘hold up, let me re-evaluate.’ I saw how much time and energy it was taking from what I really wanted to do.”
With his football aspirations behind him, Hasani is pouring all his passion into music. Comer counts Michael Jackson, Usher, Beyoncé and Frank Ocean as some of his inspirations, as well as Luther Vandross and Teddy Pendergrass.
“We could go to Africa and I love some Kwasi Arthur and Shatta Wale,” Hasani told Global Grind. “Of course greats like Whitney Houston. I’ve absorbed every great that I could. I love music and art period but those are some of the few.”
Comer’s HBCU experience has also offered him the opportunity to pursue his musical dreams in front of thousands of his peers.
“Junior year I got to perform for homecoming, that was the craziest experience ever,” Comer recalls. “That was the biggest crowd I’ve performed in front of. I think it was over 1,000 people. I did my first gospel song “Call On His Name.” Jacquees was in the audience but I didn’t know it. I didn’t realize how big homecoming was, but that was amazing. The whole crowd sang my Hasani Vibez “Yeah Yeah Yeah” anthem with me. From then on I really just, it was just confirmation and more motivation. It was super beautiful.”
That performance was just one of the ways Hasani says his HBCU has nurtured his dreams. He spoke about the powerful network his school has provided, including the information that led to him applying for, and eventually winning his AT&T Dream In Black Rising Future Maker prize.
“I was down and out because I didn’t get anything I applied for before this,” Hasani recalls. “They sent it in our HBCU artist’s group chat and I said, ‘Okay God if this one is the one, I’m just going to do it.’ You know when you have that last little piece of hope? I’m a man that’s like, what’s for me is for me. It was the last piece of hope for me.”
Comer says that besides putting his prize money to use for school and travel, he also plans to give back.
“My biggest thing is to get LLCs for everything I have going on,” Comer told Global Grind. “Some of it is for my foundation. They call me Mr. Thanksgiving. I provide free soccer camps. I pay for the balls and the materials and if they want lunch. That’s something I’m planning for and it’s helping me with the money to do that. I’m investing in it first. To flip it to get more revenue for Mr. Thanksgiving and the Thanksgiving album I have coming. Also doing a children’s book as well.”
Check out a video from The Hasani Vibez Foundation camp HERE and you can watch the Hasani Vibez homecoming performance HERE.
To learn more about how AT&T Dream In Black is recognizing and celebrating HBCU Students through Rising Future Makers, visit attdreaminblack.com/rfm.
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