Lamont Wright, a dancer and entrepreneur always wanted to help his community. Living in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods of Pittsburgh, Homewood, doing that was a challenge. The people that he was trying to assist were the ones trying to break him down. He even got robbed by his own community members down the street from his own house. Although he faced many difficulties, he knew what he had to do.
Growing up, Wright lived with both parents and little sister. His mother wanted them to be involved and exposed in different things. Because of that Wright was able to join many things in school from chess club to basketball. He was even able to teach a middle school class on abstinence which helped the pregnancies go down to zero.
ART IN THE CLOUDS: A company started in his freshman year of college, to help pay for his tuition, and food, is being re-released this summer. Wright’s inspiration for the clothing not only came from monetary needs but for a positive change in his community. He wanted to make clothes that people wear every day with positive messages. He made shirts with “Dreamer” on it, “Christ Saves” in the RUN DMC logo, as well as a nonviolence shirt after a close friend was murdered. He also began to think strategically with his products by creating clothes that went with certain shoes/sneakers, such as the South Beach Lebrons. Although he was able to sell out everything he has ever made, he didn’t want to get rich off of it. Wright said, “If I could do it for free, I would have. Unfortunately you need to have money to do that, to reinvest.” Wright recently stopped making things for his company to dance and his classes were getting harder. Although he was very successful, there were some issues. There are no studios in State College and going home every weekend for him was not feasible. It’s hard to make something that isn’t close to where you’re distributing. Wright said, “having a studio in Pittsburgh makes it hard to have things in State College. Even if people would make things in Pittsburgh, they would have to ship 100 shirts. Opportunity cost isn’t logical. I sell out of everything he makes. I want to say my messages sell the shirt but its either the design or shirt. The may not like the design as much but the message is important that they’ll buy the shirt. I’ve had a kid come up to him saying he lost friend to f violence and wanted to purchase the shirt for himself and my brother. This summer things will be different. Wright will be putting his clothing line in stores such as Urban Outfitters and sophisticated stores. He wants to sell wholesale so his message can spread to more people. Shipping and marketing alone is a very difficult task. Through this entire experience he learned a lot about business marketing, management, and finance. He hopes that he inspires people to do what they want to do with the gift God gave them. The purpose behind your work is most important.
DANCE was a part of his life since he was 2 years old when he would dance to the Jeopardy theme song. He was obsessed with Michael Jackson, and watched his videos every day. As he got older, he only showcased his dancing skills with his family because it wasn’t seen as a cool thing to do, it was only for fun. It wasn’t until high school when Soulja Boy came out that it was socially acceptable. After a successful dance battle during homecoming, Wright finally became known as a dancer to his peers. Shortly after, Wright joined a dance company at home called Knaka Entertainment which is where he learned how to dance and choreography, and eventually moved onto start his group. During these years he was competitively performing against other groups and won many titles.
Following high school into his journey at Penn State, he learned many different techniques and aspects that he uses now. He learned musicality, and how to freestyle with no music (Dub step) by joining Raw Aesthetics Movements (RAM) Squad, which is a freestyle dance group. Recently he was asked to join Misfits which is a branch off of RAM. The choreography was more personalized and intricate than RAM. It was an outlet to go beyond choreography for group and self. Expressing how he felt through art was what he was doing, which is how he started his Youtube story.
Wright’s YouTube series , “Based On A True Story”, are dance videos about his life and the certain situations/problems that were occurring. He tried to make everything in his videos as real as possible by even recreating life moments. For Wright, dancing is a way he can express himself that he cannot through words. Therapy wasn’t helpful to him, but his series was. Wright says, “Now people can have something of me forever on the Earth after I’m gone. They can still relate to me, personally or just struggles in general. I try it make everything positive because I can. Honestly, I do want to change the world through art, clothes or dance.” Wright is fine with changing one life, but he wants to change millions. With that he said, you “need a certain level and status.” “I feel like God put me on this earth to spread positivity. You don’t have to sell drugs, pick up a gun or do anything negative to be successful to make change and be respected. “