December 7, 1969 — November 29, 2011

The Echoing Entertainment

On His Own Terms

By Shaktida for Ekko

“People say life ain’t fair. Life is very fair. People aren’t fair, people are terrible”

Life is all about being true to oneself. It is about finding your own definition of what makes you happy and what makes you feel like you have achieved something in your life. It is nothing about adhering to the clichéd definition of success and fame. As long as you keep trying to satisfy the world and the people you will always keep struggling and will waste your time in making them happy. This is exactly what one of the most popular entertainers of America, Patrice Lumumba Malcolm O’Neal did. He was an American stand-up comedian, radio personality and an actor. He gave to the world a fair share of laughter and entertainment. He just gave in his best and never stopped to think if he was fulfilling the requirements of the world’s measure of success. Here are a few lessons that we can pick up from his life.

1. Set your priorities straight.

No matter how good you are at something, as long as you think that you need to take a different path in your life and do something else, never let anything hold you back.

O’Neal was born on December 7, 1969 in New York City. He was named by his mother after the leader of the Congolese independence movement. O’Neal was a star footballer. He had earned three letters in varsity football and a state championship in his senior year during his schooling. He turned down a sports scholarship to Northeastern University in order to attend with the help of a public housing grant, because he preferred studying Performing Arts to playing football.

2. Struggle and strife come before success; even in the dictionary

This is for all those people who give up too easy and too soon. You will never know how close to success you were if you give up. Nothing good comes to you without working hard to achieve it. So do not shy away from struggle, give in your best and give it time. Success is sure to come.

Before becoming the famous stand-up comedian that O’Neal is, he had to switch between bars and grills and spend hours at the stage trying to get the fame he was looking for. In the late 1990s, he moved to the New York City where he became a regular at the comedy Cellar. He finally relocated to Los Angeles in the hope of finding greater fame.

3. It is better to have you approve than the world applaud.

Trying to please everyone is a recipe for stress, misery and frustration. Be yourself. It’ll be good to know who is down with that.

“I am that guy who will say things that people seem to think as a little edgy, a little racy”. This is a famous quote by Patrice O’Neal who made it a point to prioritize his own integrity first instead of trying to achieve success on the terms of other people. Later on in his career he walked away with shows that went on to become very successful. He always did whatever he did on his own terms, unwilling to yield to the demands of American club owners. He therefore shifted to United Kingdom in order to try out his comic stint with the audience there.

4. All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence. Success is sure to come.

Never yielding to the demands he did not identify with and believe in, working towards getting fame and success on his own terms, O’Neal did become successful because he had the two main ingredients for success: ignorance towards what would pull him back and the confidence that he could achieve success on his own terms.

When O’Neal returned to New York in 2002 he bagged a place in The Colin Quinn Show and then Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn. Later that year he recorded a Comedy Central Presents special. O’Neal’s first television appearance was on The Apollo Comedy Hour where he performed his Malcolm XXL bit. From there, he moved on to appearances on Showtime at the Apollo, FNight Videos, and a brief stint as a writer for the WWE. He appeared in guest-starring roles on MTV’s Apt 2F, Assy McGee, Ed, Z Rock, Yes Dear, Arrested Development, Chappelle’s Show and The Office. O’Neal was a regular on the Fox series The Jury, and he starred in the Comedy Central animated program Shorties Watching Shorties, along with Nick DiPaolo. He supplied the voice of Harold Jenkins on Noggin’s animated program O’Grady High and was featured as Jesus in Denis Leary’s Searchlight. In 2005, O’Neal filmed a half-hour One Night Stand special for HBO, and shortly thereafter became the first host of VH1’s Web Junk 20. O’Neal became a celebrated radio personality in New York. He filled for a co-host for Jim Norton, appeared on political talk shows on Fox News, and appeared in Just for Laughs and comedy clubs.

He achieved all the success that he had wanted and on his own terms. His determination and confidence are exemplary which is why his short life and what he did with it stand out and ekko forever.

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