Tuesday, May 3, 2011


The Special Greeting That Went out on Facebook

Hey everyone.  It took me a moment to gather my thoughts when it came to writing this blog, so forgive me if you find it long or boring or long overdue. 

A wise person once said, “if you want to know someone, meet their friends.” It has been a mantra that I’ve stuck by my entire adult life.

I know a lot of people. When I say a lot, I mean hundreds (possibly thousands), however, I have very very few true friends. In my cultivation of friends and loved ones, I have been blessed by God to have amazing and wonderful people in my inner group and because of them, I feel complete. Because of my completion through these people, I never desired material things to bring me happiness. An iPad would be nice, don’t get me wrong, but a call from a friend to say “I love you” is far more valuable.

The reason for this blog is simple.  I want to thank the people in my life that made my 45th (ugh) birthday the most amazing one I have ever had. To give you a little background on me, I have never really REALLY been fond of my birthday. When my family moved to New York in 1980, my father passed away the day before my 14th birthday due to the over consumption of alcohol. It was a VERY devastating time for me. We were new to New York, I had little to no friends and no one to turn to. In a time where entering my teenage years, a male (especially one of color) needs a positive male role model in their life was suddenly gone and I was then had to grow up and become a man. My father was my best friend, confidant, rock and shoulder. When he was removed from my life, I was never the same (for years). He gave me my first life’s lesson: we all will die one day. And because of that lesson, I no longer fear death. It is beyond our control.

Therefore, my birthday was never a truly joyous occasion for me. In my twenties I had my first surprise birthday party and I met that with reluctance (much apologies to the people involved with that [Kare Alford and Daryl Goodwin]) and throughout the years, my friends have learned that when it was Dallas’ birthday, don’t make a big deal. It is just another Tuesday or Wednesday, or whatever day it may have fallen on in a particular year. Because they loved me, they honored it. And because of their love, I never thought the need or want for anything. I was complete.

I have always been the solid foundation in all my friends’ lives. If anything was ever needed, they know that they can always call on me, and if I couldn’t do whatever was needed, I made it a point to make sure I can find someone, somewhere to get it done. However, when the roles were reversed, I often shunned the offers. I always took the stance of I can do this myself.

One day a friend of mine wanted to do something for me, I turned him down, he replied with tears in his eyes (and I will never forget): “you are the only person I know that can make someone feel bad when they want to do something nice for you.” It hurt me to my heart, and from that point onward, I never did that again.

So now that you have an understanding of my sick and twisted pysche, let’s fast forward to my actual birthday, which fell on a Wednesday in the year of 2011. It was the first time that I actually told myself I was not going to work. So I moved away from the camera, the Wacom tablet and from the computer and just decided to enjoy the day. It was a gorgeous day for April in New York (which was the birthday gift from Mother Nature).

As I am relishing in my day off feeling naughty, I hear a song linger through the apartment I share with my best friend, Butch Johnson.

“Thank you for being a friend,
Traveled down the road and back again
your heart is true you're a pal and a confidant
And if you threw a party
Invited everyone you knew
You would see, the biggest gift would be from me
and the card attached would say,
Thank you for being a friend.” (For those of you who don't know, it's the theme song to "Golden Girls")

The Results of That Special Greeting

As Butch entered into my room, in his arm was a wicker basket overflowing with birthday cards from around the globe. My good friend and business partner, Michael Maddox (with his magical team of supermodel helpers) commandeered Facebook and made my birthday one that I will never forget.

I received cards from as far as France and Japan, well wishes from everyone and anyone on Facebook as well as birthday video greetings. The moment was so overwhelming that I had to take a moment and thank God for the people in my life and I actually took another moment to cry.

I am not a person who likes a lot of fanfare and I personally will never know HOW they pulled it off (now as I write this blog, I NOW know why I didn’t get any mail two weeks prior to my birthday). Cards came for almost two weeks after, which is why it took me so long to write this blog (I wanted to make sure I said thank you to EVERYONE).

I want to thank:

Michael Maddox (for everything!)
Ursula M. Alberto
Cristian Alexander
Vince Allen
Sanba-Naudin Babacar (all the way from France)
Zion Babb
Jayce Baron
Brian Baskins
Adi Batista
Charlotte Berry (thank you for a great lunch!)
Tonya Blowe
Mark Bower
Chris Bowie
John Brathwaite
Catherine Brown
Ella Brown
Jeff Brown
Jeremy Brown
Jordan Brown
Noah Brown
Donna Buch
Michael J. Butler
Kevin Calloway
Michael Calloway
Brendon Campbell
White Cedar (all the way from the west coast of Canada)
Kaila Charice
Kelleen Lim Chea
Pearl Chin (there is nothing like You and Haru!!!)
Iris Colburn
Stephen Cole
Lloyd Cook
DeAngelo Davis
Tina Davis
Rick Day
Cassie Dee
Sheree Devereaux
Destinee Dickerson
Melvin Diggs
Robert Dowdy
Isaisah Duckson
Lauren Dundee
Brown Family
Barbie Flores
Shae Fontaine
Terrel Fraser
FaceBook Friends
Philip Gadsden
Leo Gallo
Mother Gallo
Armond D. Goodin
“Hercules” Lamar Gordon
Rick Gore
Courtney Grant
Chris Gray (Kobe!!!!)
Cottrell Guidry (to my fellow James Baldwin fan, thank you!)
Amber Guzman
Joseph Hall
Nick Hamilton
Rich Hardt
Petra Hayek
Gretchen Hemmi (for the delicious hand delivered carrot cake)
Lendl Henderson
Justin Ceasar Hingleton (beautiful basket!)
JoAnne Hoffman
Remy Hou
Broderick Hunter (please, don't sing... just model)
Stephanie Morris Hunter
Cuffy Johnson
Butch Johnson (for suffering through it)
Tim Johnson
Willie Johnson III
Ebony Jointer (from Tokyo, Japan)
Sherian Jones
Steph Jones (loved the video!  You have a great voice!)
Claudia Jordan
Greg Konop
Russel Krus
Shelby Lackey
Jae Lamar
Nathanial Lamar
Seth London
Brandon Lucas
Manderson (of Austin Texas)
Maretini Manumalo
Goldin Martinez
Autumn McCauley
Dwight McMillian
Erica Mitte (and company)
Caroline Monteverdi
Michael Moore
Ne’Kandra Muhammed
Yusuf Myers (what a way to end the night MOJITOS!)
Eric Nagle
Megan Newberry
Morris Nuamah
Alva Page
Billy Payne
Spencer Phillips
Zenith Pimental
Esquire Quarterman
Ajaya Ram
Max Reed (the first card delivered!!!!)
Arlene Rewti
Brandon Rice
Tim Ricks
Dennis Robinson
Daniel Rogers
Mamadou Sall
Sergio Sanders
Kristine Scott
Justin Shaw
Ursula Sumler
Jimi Sweet
Dushawn Tapper
Brandon Thomas (A shout out to the most hilarious video!!!)
Nicole Thompson
Jaimes Timas
Retta Timmons (AKA NextLevel)
Cherise Trahan
Marcus Turner (I LOVE my cereal!!!!)
Carlene & Tyone (Thai)
Agu Ukaogo
Alexis Upton
Carla Walker
Andre Washington (God, if I could sing like you)
Elijah Wells (you better SING!)
Sharon White
Maria Whitjett
Ryan Wills
B.J. Williams
Ronald Williams
D’Angelo Wilson
Zack Yanni
Marlon Yates
Jennifer (of Medford Oregon)
Residents of 819 Hoffman Avenue

For anyone I could’ve possibly left out, please accept my apologies. It’s been a little overwhelming. Thank you for making my birthday a very special one.

Until next time…


  1. (Tear) you are very deserving of this even more after you sharing what has taken place in your life.

  2. Is this a softer side of Dallas? lol just kidding. Your character and wisdom is manifested through the work that you do and those lives that you have touched. I have yet to meet you but I know if you're friends with Michael, then your good people. Glad to have been included on such a special occassion. Kindness has its own rewards. Hope you enjoyed your day my guy. Thank you and your welcome

  3. Thank you Dallas for all of the ways you share, love and inspire...me.

  4. Dallas,
    I was on the blitz and didn't know it was your birthday. Reading your blog, I had to respond with a birthday wish for you and that is, continue being you. I've only had two encounters with you as a professional and as a person. In those brief moments, you've boosted my enthusiasm about my choices as an artist. Thank you for that. HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY Guy. You're the COOLEST!!!

  5. We had so much fun with the cards! My family loves you and we want you always to be happy and healthy!!

    Love you Love you

  6. I thank God for a young man like you coming into my son, Billy Payne's life. Because of that, I got to see your excellent work and moreso to see the excellence of your mind with your thoughts that MAKES one stop and think. Few people do I let touch my soul after my sister's transition in'96. You overwhelmed me with your spiritual awareness that flooded my mind to allow your thoughts in without even meeting you, YET. Glad you enjoyed your month of birth. LOVE-2-U, Shae

  7. Hello My Dearest Dallas,

    It took me a month-and-a-half to orchestrate this beautiful gift of love with the help of my son and Kobe. We knew that you deserved it. You're such a good person and a blessed individual, and sometimes it takes miracles to happen in your life in order for you to recognize how blessed you are. You are the one! Never double-question yourself about that. You give grace to every human being that I introduce you to. Happy Birthday over and over and over again! Especially for the years that you felt like it didn't matter, all the while, it mattered to people like us.