My True Story ~ From Skid Row to Pastorship ~ Olusheyi Banjo

When I started this blog, I named it Ramblings because I didn’t ever want to be tied to one topic. When I started interviewing girls who self-harmed, I realized how much I preferred doing interviews over the basic blog write up. It’s a good thing I consider others way more interesting than blogging my own thoughts and opinions constantly, right? Since then, I’ve talked to numerous people and have covered a plethora of topics. My favorite is talking to people who are willing to share their stories. People who are willing to be honest and forthcoming about their circumstances and their history. I found another one of those individuals and I really enjoyed speaking with him. Take a look!

This is Olusheyi Banjo. I saw his video on a friend’s timeline. After listening to his song that keeps you humming long after it’s done, I immediately wanted to know his story.

Welcome, Olusheyi! Glad to have you.

O: Glad to be here. 

On the video, it says that song is your 50th single. How long have been writing songs?

O: Yes, this is my 50th single. My first single titled “Keep Hope Alive” was released back in 2002. I’ve been writing songs since I was 8 years old. I believe my first song that I wrote was called “I Miss You, Mommy” The song has a long story to it.

Aw! I would love to hear the story sometime.Do you write the lyrics and compose the music?

O: I write the lyrics and the melodies. I have friends and producers that compose the music.

Where is your music available?

elsewhereO: My music is available on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and all of the online retailers around the world.

Tell me a little about your association to Skid Row?

O: I’ve been living in Skid Row off and on for 12 years. It’s cool at times and other times I just say, “Oh no, I gotta get out of here!” Lol.

Haha, I bet. Skid Row is certainly not for the faint of heart. Folks from cities like mine can’t wrap their heads around big city homelessness.

When you say you’ve been living in Skid Row off and on for twelve years . . . In what capacity?

O: I was homeless when I came to Skid Row but I ended up in various SRO’S as well as various apartments including the apartments where I am currently living now. I moved here before I thought about ministry.

What does SRO stand for?

O: Single Room Occupancy

Got it. So when did you become a pastor?

O: In 2013. It was a long journey that started before I was born. But ironically, I became serious about pursuing the ministry in 2008 after my father, who was a pastor himself, and my great-grandmother, who was like a mother to me died. I began to pray about it. I told my then Pastor about it. He immediately . . . kind of dismissed it. So I sat on my calling until my neighbor told me about a free bible college called Bethany Christian Bible College. I immediately enrolled. I finally graduated and got offered a Pastorship at The New Community Missionary Baptist Church in South Los Angeles. I wrote an autobiography about my experiences.

So far, you’re a pastor, musician, and now author! Awesome! What’s the name of your book?

O:  It’s titled, I Ain’t Ashamed:The Life Adventures of Minister Olusheyi Banjo.

o-b-bookI linked your book to iTunes, but you are also on Barnes & Noble and lots of other places too, right? I found some others books out there when I looked for your autobiography. Three others to be exact, your name with a middle initial A. Are those yours too?

O” Yes. *smile* Those books by Olusheyi A. Banjo are me. I’ve been writing poetry books since 2005.

What’s the life of a pastor on Skid Row like? Tell me about something that’s happened where God clearly intervened.

O: One day, my neighbor passed out and didn’t appear to be breathing. I began to pray for him before the ambulance came. I prayed as hard as I could. When I finished, I opened my eyes and his eyes were opened and he was breathing. The ambulance came and took him to the hospital after that, but before he left he said, “Thank you for praying for me.”

Aw. Sweet.

What happened in your life that originally brought you to Skid Row?

O: I got kicked out of my great-grandmother’s house and I had nowhere to go. A friend suggested that I come down here to a place called the t-house. They said they’d help me get a place of my own. So, I followed my friend’s advice, and the rest is history.

I have a few random questions for you. Besides God, who has been your biggest help?

O: My family and my friends. they really helped me.

What has been your most difficult struggle?

O: Eating unhealthy. Especially sweets.

Ha! Olusheyi, that is not the answer I expected. But I feel your pain there, lol.

What are your plans for the future?

o-banjo-radio-showO: I plan on continuing my radio show Pastor O’s Top Ten Gospel Countdown on Accelerated Radio.

And you have a radio show too. Well, dang. Keep going . . .

O: I also plan on releasing my 11th album “Pastor O” on October 7. As well as a jazz tribute album to my great-grandmother on April 3,2017 (Which would’ve been her 100th birthday).

Sweet!

O: Plus, I plan on releasing my 8th poetry book titled “Poetry Jam” next year as well as my second children’s book. As well as continuing in the ministry.

Your plate is full, my friend. In a good way! *smile* Life is sweet! With or without granulated sugar. Thanks for being here, sir.

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What a superb example of all that you can do with your life. Never stop!

 

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