Sex, money, cars, girls and clothes used to be all that motivated Shawn Blanchard, a Detroit city official and author of the new book, How ‘Bout that for a Crack Baby: Keys to Mentorship and Success.
The title of Blanchard’s memoir says a lot, but there’s more than meets the eye for this modern-day Renaissance man, who once sought out to become a drug lord.
A Detroit native, Blanchard was born with crack cocaine in his system. The 33-year-old says his mother was a “professional shoplifter.” His father? Hardly in the picture. As a result, Blanchard lived with his grandmother, who instilled in him the value of education. But when his grandmother died, Blanchard had to raise himself and his younger brother at the tender age of 12.
“You don’t know what you don’t know,” Blanchard says. “Going through situations of loss at such a young age can make you become numb to the pain.”
Almost immediately following his grandmother’s death, Blanchard started selling drugs. But the harsh reality of street life soon set in when his older brother was murdered in a drug transaction.
“I didn’t have anyone I cared to look up to,” Blanchard says. “I looked to the black market because it was more of a tangible measure of success. It was appealing at the time.”
Read the rest of my story for Jet Magazine [here].