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HEROES 4Real ORIGIN COLUMNIST | Sol Guy


Photo: Josh Thome


My name is Sol Guy. I’m a music producer currently living in LA. I work with the artist K’naan in a management role. I also produce and host a National Geographic television series called 4REAL, and I’m developing several film projects. The projects that I choose are determined by my level of passion for the material, as well as my ability to say yes to the following questions:


Is this project good for people? Would my father be proud of it?


10 | OriginMagazine.com


I have two heroes; they are separate and they are one. Both live with me every day. My father’s name was William Richard Guy, an only child who never knew his father. I believe that because of that parental void he became a fiercely loyal and outstanding father to my sisters and me. He was not without flaws, but the interesting thing about death is that the very best of you remains once you go. So it is with my memory of my father.


I grew up in a small town called Grand Forks in the interior of British Columbia, Canada. My father, my sister Shoshana, and I were the only black people in the community. In fact, besides a couple of Indian and Chinese families, we were the only people of color. This reality was not lost on my father, and he made sure that we understood from a young age that we were not the same, that we were different, yet special. He gave me Alex Haley’s novel Roots to read when I was 11 years old and


made me write a book report for him. He also told me stories of a great man, a hero of mine to this day, for whom we shared an affinity all the way to my Dad’s deathbed. That man is the Champ… the greatest, Muhammad Ali. My father was inspired by Ali and made sure that I was aware of the courage, intelligence, talent, and unbelievable audacity of the Champ.


Who tells the world they are the greatest? Some scream it, others live it––but the most authentic ones ARE IT in thoughts and actions. My father challenged me to be the greatest at whatever I did. These two men taught me with their words and their stature, but mostly with their actions. The similarity between them is evident in the shared fact that they did not do what was popular. They did not go with the crowd. In fact, they went in a difficult and uncertain direction, instinct was often the only solace.


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