Changing lives — Andrew ‘Blaize’ Folkes joins Ron Young to empower at-risk youth

Andrew “Blaize” Folkes, a young Jamaican author and inspirational speaker, is on a mission to transform lives and inspire young people with his powerful book, The Power of Pain: My Pain, My Breakthrough.

His remarkable journey from a humble background marked by adversity and abuse has led him to become a beacon of hope for youth seeking a path to resilience, growth, and personal success.

In an exciting development, Folkes has formed a powerful partnership with respected entertainment lawyer and entrepreneur Ron Young. The collaboration signifies a united front to empower and inspire at-risk youth.

Folkes’s journey started against a backdrop of hardship. His relationship with his stepmother was marked by a lack of warmth and empathy. The dynamics of his family underwent a significant shift when his parents separated during his mother’s pregnancy, leading to his exposure to an abusive non-biological relative. From a tender age, that turbulent environment took a toll on his mental and emotional well-being, pushing him into joining a school gang.

Music became Folkes’s sanctuary, offering an outlet for his suppressed emotions and thoughts. Yet the escape eventually led him astray, exposing him to a negative peer group, rife with ill-got gains as well as access to and abuse of alcohol, drugs, and firearms. Folkes’s story is a complex one, encompassing a spectrum of experiences, all of which find expression in his book.

Within the heart-rending narrative, he shares the challenges faced by a young man striving to find his way in a world marked by family dysfunction and its repercussions on his dreams and aspirations. The tale unfolds to reveal encounters with harmful, exploitative, and manipulative individuals, betrayal, missed opportunities, and persistent hardships. Nevertheless, throughout it all, Folkes has remained hopeful, determined to achieve the objectives he set for himself.

Folkes is not content with merely narrating his story, he is resolute in his determination to inspire others. As a dedicated and nurturing father, he aspires for his story to resonate with a broad audience, with the intention of instigating transformative change in the lives of other young men. His book serves as an inspiring, motivating, and uplifting testament to the resilience and determination required to become the best version of oneself.

Folkes remarked, “Having first-hand experience of the impact of family issues at home and how they can affect a child’s mental and psychological well-being, I have come to realise that many students prone to violent behaviour are often silently battling these challenges. My own journey has shown me the importance of reaching out to these young men and women, providing them with support, guidance, and an opportunity to choose a different path. My goal is to empower them to break the cycle and discover their own resilience and potential.”

In addition to his written work, including a second book in the works, Folkes is an engaging and fervent speaker who delivers his message of hope and personal development in schools, sharing the valuable lessons he has gleaned throughout his life journey.

Ron Young first met Folkes at the popular Janga’s Soundbar & Grill, through co-proprietor Jordan Weller. Young was immediately struck by Folkes’s determination and intelligence. Folkes has since gained a solid group of mentors – including Young, Weller, Zachary Harding, and Daniel Edwards – who are all assisting him in his path to self-empowerment and the empowerment of others like himself.

Young offered these words: “I have tried all my life to be a true supporter of Jamaican culture. That is not limited to music. It’s about supporting and uplifting our people in whatever way we can.

“In Andrew “Blaize” Folkes I saw the fullness of the Jamaican male experience – brilliant, hard-working, ambitious, and talented but faced with hard circumstances, bad choices, and the allure of quick money. When I sat with him and read his book, I felt that he had the potential to reach thousands of at-risk youth in Jamaica and beyond with his story of struggle, gangs, and guns and, ultimately, choosing a better way.

“We are creating a corporate vehicle in which Andrew, myself, and others will be true partners, with the goal of showcasing his talents to the world. Most importantly, Blaize wants to uplift and give back to troubled youth. To make it alright for men to speak up about pain, anger, and struggle instead of acting it out negatively.

“Blaize possesses an extraordinary range of skills. He is an author, musician, songwriter, and motivational speaker. We extend an invitation to corporate entities within Jamaica and the Government of Jamaica to support his story, his journey, and his exceptional talents, in whatever way you can, for the betterment of numerous Jamaican youth and beyond,” Young said.