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LOCAL GEMS: TRIPLE THREAT ARTIST ROSS VICTORY INSPIRES ANGELENOS TO USE THEIR STORY TO STAND OUT

Photo source: Paige Sierra

Tragedy occurs for millions of people every day: losing a loved one, undergoing a health crisis, or suffering from a financial setback.

When the unfathomable becomes a reality, our lives shatter into pieces and create a domino of hardships. Our inner world, if left unattended, may block improvements in the areas of our lives that need it most.

For many of us, hope feels harder to reach in 2021 than before. Now more than ever, we are faced with a collective sense of angst. COVID-19 has ravaged millions of lives, imposed isolation exposing mental health disorders, and devastated the economy.

No matter the type of adversity we experience, the underlying challenges are constant for all of us.

First, how do we adapt to a new reality, and second, how do we keep self-destructive behaviors at bay to make improvements?

These are difficult questions to face for the first time during a global pandemic. While isolation has taken its toll on most, isolation has forced others to prioritize, out of sheer desperation to release stress. And it is through defining our priorities, self-discovery and determination that we can carve out a space for versions of ourselves that we didn’t know were possible.

Photo source: Christiana Valenz

Having grown up across L.A. County from Inglewood to Cerritos to Pasadena to Downtown, local creator Ross Victory is no stranger to grief (Victory is his real last name, in case you were wondering).

Victory serves to inspire a fellow Angeleno to keep reaching—to keep chipping away at their personal goals even as the walls cave in.

Victory says his transformation began when he lost his father, Bert, in 2017. Although his father’s death was devastating, it was Victory’s discovery of elder abuse and fraud that occurred in his father’s last days that shifted his passing from sorrow to disaster. Victory had also lost his brother, Jason Paul, three years before his dad’s passing.

Victory tells L.A. Weekly, “My emotional intelligence was underdeveloped. I was one of those men who thought asking for help was weak, pointless, and frankly a waste of money. I believed you were supposed to just soldier through and it’d figure itself out.”

He continues, “Then, one day I couldn’t breathe…I was falling down the stairs, and my blood pressure was over 160 before I was 30.”

Victory says it was his father’s death and the surrounding circumstances that triggered a self-care instinct and exposed areas in his life that needed immediate attention.

“I began to compare my legacy to my dads,” he says. “I began to think about how my dad and brother had navigated their health as (black) men. I had this heightened sense of my mortality, which I still feel today sometimes. I surveyed the quality of my relationships and asked myself how much I was invested in my life. I asked myself, ‘If I died today, what would I leave exactly?’ And at the time, it wasn’t much.”

A significant part of Victory’s navigation of the waters of heartache came through creative writing, namely stories and songs, activities his late father, Bert, had encouraged him to bring into his life while growing up, which began during visits to Los Angeles’ historic Central Library on 5th and Hope.

Photo source: Ross Victory

Bert, a world traveler, speaker, author, and L.A. County probation officer by trade, did his best to model honor for his sons. Bert, someone with an absentee father, and a student of divorce, understood the value of being present in Ross’ life.

While parents typically aim to improve the trajectory of their lineage, Bert occasionally fell short in an area many men struggle with: processing emotions.

Victory states, “The writing process is cathartic and an exercise in being vulnerable in the loyal pages of a book or a melody, where you have complete control to shape the words and emotions.”

When asked how he overcame his grief, Victory points to counseling and writing as starting points. “I asked myself questions about my upbringing. I invested in self-care—something I didn’t even believe in five years ago. I tried to get a sense of what made me feel good physically, so I just looked toward activities I enjoyed as a kid and just did more of that.”

Processing grief takes bravery, focus, and practice. It’s critical that LA’s youth be exposed to stories from people like Victory, and others, who boldfully work through their hardships to improve their situation.

It wasn’t until Victory’s mother reminded him of his childhood love for creative writing that he contemplated writing a book to honor his late father’s memory, which quickly morphed him into an excellent (and unexpected) published author.

Photo source: Ross Victory

Victory successfully published Views from the Cockpit: The Journey of a Son in 2019. Views is an intimate father-son memoir that uses airplane metaphors to take readers on a “journey” through love, turbulent relationships, and acceptance. In 2019, Victory appeared at the Leimert Park Village Book Fair hosted by Leila Ali and began making appearances on podcasts like Man in the Making, Fix Yourself First, and radio shows like Compton’s Hotwordz Lyrical Theater where he discussed empowerment, creative writing, and mental health.

In 2020, Victory appeared at Pasadena’s Vroman’s Bookstore for their local author event where he signed books and gave a speech called, “Are You the Captain of Your Life or the Passenger in Someone Else’s Dream.”

Views has gone on to achieve five stars from Writer’s Digest and was awarded Bronze by the Nonfiction Authors Association. The book has been featured on the African American Literature Book Club and reviewed favorably by Publishers Weekly’s BookLife.

Views has gained the credibility that burgeoning authors seek. Victory has continued to develop an independent author platform on Medium and Goodreads, writing articles about mental health, travel, religion, and bisexuality. Since Views from the Cockpit was published, Victory has successfully published three more books: Panorama, Egg, and Father & Sun, expanding his focus to novella-length pieces incorporating themes and topics he knows best.

Victory is also a singer and songwriter with a growing digital music catalog of melodic tunes and soothing vocals. Influenced by heavy-hitting songwriters like Ne-Yo, The Weeknd, and Bruno Mars, a dream became reality when Victory met Ne-Yo on Instagram Live and the Grammy award-winning artist added his voice to Victory’s single, “My Fault.”

“I sent a message to Ne-Yo as a dare, and then he responded! I was like uh oh, time to deliver,” Victory says about the Instagram meeting.

At his core, Victory is a writer—a visionary with follow through in musical arts and literature. Aside from Victory’s range of natural talents and fearlessness to share his creative passion with the city, and apart from his entrepreneurial spirit, Victory stands apart.He has positioned himself to make an impact.

The public rarely experiences artists who can engage through multiple formats at a high level, without the backing of big budget publishers or music labels. Even rarer are artists who can speak eloquently to life’s challenges while empowering others to make positive changes of their own.

Photo source: Paige Sierra

Victory’s story and social intersections contribute to critical conversations taking place in society, which will continue to multiply as the public awakens. These include Black entrepreneurship, the public’s desire to support and profile underrepresented voices, and mental health—in 2019, the National Institute of Mental Health reported that men committed suicide at a rate of 3.7 times higher than women and pointed out increasing suicide rates in the black community. Additionally, the Trevor Project, an LGBT-youth support organization reports that 48% of bisexual youth seriously considered suicide. Sadness and feelings of hopelessness and isolation have amplified during the pandemic. And it’s through shining a light on our experiences that we discover community, but also our individual strength.

“I want to tell people when it feels like your world is crumbling, you gotta be honest about it and actively decide to choose yourself. Everyday. Every time. Our personal development is the only thing that truly matters.”

Victory says, “Sometimes you lose someone or even a handful of people but then you gain strength in yourself.”

You may be wondering how you also can access boldness to not only rebuild but to face the circumstances of your life head-on. Perhaps you’ve been building something or aspire to be a higher version of yourself but find it hard to stay motivated and inspired. You are not alone.

Victory shows us how integrating circumstances we do not choose can produce qualitative results and personal achievements. And his contributions and drive is worth acknowledging and celebrating.

Photo source: Paige Sierra

When asked what he hopes to achieve in the long term, Victory tells LA Weekly, “More freedom, more inspiration, more young adults in L.A. building their skill sets and becoming on fire about their lives for no reason…I’m inspired by the careers and impact of people like Walt Disney and Tyler Perry. A dream I have is to write a novella book series positioned for a movie or an experience, but with diverse characters and exotic locations.”

As a wholly independent Artistpreneur with plans to continue creating songs and books to entertain and empower the city, supporters who seek to use creative writing as a first step to personal development can join Victory’s newsletter here and learn more about his upcoming book, Your Story is Your Clout, Your Voice is Your Power.

Victory’s personal brand “Books & Bangers,” sells backpacks, notebooks, apparel, and accessories by independent artists. Supporters can learn more about Victory’s books, music, and the Books & Bangers brand through his official website:

https://rossvictory.com

https://instagram.com/rossvictoryofficial

https://facebook.com/rossvictoryofficial

Contact Nicole Lufton PR for media inquiries @ nicoleluftonpr@gmail.com

LA Weekly