We had the good fortune of connecting with Maagic Collins and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Maagic, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Risk Taking What do I think about risk taking? My relationship with taking risks is unique in that I’ve taken risks that were necessary, as I’ve sacrificed parts of my wellbeing for the truth. At times I’ve been compelled to take a chance, following my intuition, at other times I’ve been reckless and selfish with my life. I look at risk in three different ways. Healthy risk, the ones we must take to grow. Telling the truth at the cost of self preservation at times. Then there are those risks we may unwittingly find ourselves in or they may be trauma informed. The healthy risk: The first one is where I feel most inspirational quotes come from. No guts, no glory. Nature favors the bold. Insert the next motivational quote. It is the mental hurdle to the next plateau of self discovery. Such as starting your first business. Teaching your kid how to drive. Changing your career. Moving to a new town. Stepping up to an abusive boss. Some risks are necessary and healthy. The random risk: Finding yourself in a situation you did not expect to be in, like a random person asking for a ride to the hospital at an off hour. What do you do? There are risks you find yourself in out of love. Such as a parent springing into action to save a child. What it’s like for a child to live in a violent neighborhood, literally every day is a risk. The truth: The most stubborn risk we often succumb to is the risk of telling the truth. It’s a social risk, faced on the regular as we learn how to lie very early in life. Just as we start to learn shame and embarrassment. If not, working through it can set the tone for a lifelong struggle as our lies shape our life. The truth is freeing but it does come at a cost to your social circles. To give up control. Trauma based risk: I spent time in this area. A lot of people with the same type of childhood as I had spent time in this area. You have nothing to lose, why not fight whoever you come across. Abuse substances. Put yourself in the most disturbing situation. I once made a dude so angry he pulled a hunter’s knife on me and I dared him to use it. Something I pray I am not foolish enough to ever do again. It’s okay to live. That moment as well as a few others sent me into years of therapy. What role has taking risks played in your life? My whole life has been about beating the odds. Some risk has always been a partner I’m very intimate with. When walking to school not knowing what would happen on the streets or at school. You would just mentally prepare yourself. Or numb yourself to the possibilities. I grew to hate life early, with nothing to lose, taking risks became easy. Until my mother got sick, which in a lot of ways kept me from the point of no return. The streets were calling me and I hated school. By high school the opposite started to happen, I stuck to what I was good at. Basketball, Art and avoided socializing and big groups. Taking risk turned into walking past noisy areas. Not fearful of being picked on, just something about the noise freaked me out. I believe it was undiagnosed PTSD. College was a huge risk, challenging every intellectual doubt in my body. That I’d be kicked out for not being smart enough. Dreading to get the one answer I didn’t know. Public speaking was another challenge. The only stage where I could hold my own at the time was basketball. The idea of public speaking or acting…I’d rather get into a fight. The first time on stage was a bunch of stuttering and sweating. My scene partner was freaking out just as much. The scene was about this couple having an argument. “Joe and Edna.” We were awful. Nervous wrecks and my homies dropped into the class to see me act. They enjoyed themselves. Thoroughly. In a lot of ways the risks I take in life go right into my career. It’s another area I’ve probably been too reckless with at times. After college I knew if I waited to save up the money to move back to LA, it would never happen. So I sold everything I could including all the self help books. They ended up helping my ass get back to Los Angeles. The first few months I just crashed on a couch and lived off a credit card. Another moment, I left my job of six years without any safety net. It forced me to change up everything I was doing. Break out of the rut I was in at my job. Take care of a pressing family matter. I unexpectedly spent the next few years taking care of a family situation. Taking a step back from my career. In that time I learned about life, spent a lot of time with those that were in the twilight of their lives and watched how whatever decisions they made in their prime now played out in real time.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I don’t really think of setting myself apart from others. I just have to create. Competition has its place. When it comes to creating its just about catching the creative wave and seeing how long you can stay on. Art was my survival throughout my life. Art Therapy before people in my neighborhood new what that was. No bodies life is easy. I wouldn’t inflate my struggles over anyone else. I only use my past to help others, knowing how privileged I am. The way I’ve over come certain levels of challenges has been “good fortune, divine intervention first and for most. Besides that I had opportunities and I made choices that challenged my intellectual fears, such as going to college rather than the army. The lessons I’ve learned. * The first thing I ever learned was how to fight and it’s been a lifetime to learn how to love. I’m a simple dude. I want what is best for this country and this world. For POC to not live in the framework of colonialism. We are all connected. Colonialism, systemic racism, climate change and the unchecked greed that exist. It can not be sustained any longer. We will continue to erode if our elected leaders around the world are not able to stand up to these challenges that are centuries in the making. This work is not devoid of joy and celebration of life, it is part of the work in celebrating the world we have.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would drive them to one of the spots off of Mulholland drive to take a look at the city of angels. Take’m to Echo park to see the homeless situation. Also a few spots where I had some of my best memories. Leimert Park (home of the black artist and spiritual leaders), La Brea Tar Pits, 3rd street Promenade, Venice. Stop by my mothers house and talk shit. Hit up one of the many cafes (my addiction). Go to the Iliad book store in the Valley and not tell my mother, who will definitely want to extend her collection.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
It takes a village. I would give a shoutout to artist in general. The very idea of a creative is forever inspiring. Shoutout to the comedy community. Unknown comedians to the icons. The many teachers i’ve known who have taught me. Some life couches and religious leaders. Community organizers. Love and support from my family members and friends. The business couches I’ve frustrated. The great people I’ve hired to work on my projects over the years. The organizations I’ve worked with while in college. Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), Business Resource Center (BRC), Make A Wish, Men of Honor, Theatre Arts Department at Chico, Diversity Inclusion faculty at Chico State. Project Angel Food, Nami West LA and whatever other organization I may have forgot. Props to the kids who grow up feeling like they have no voice, yet still fighting. Shoutout to my mother and closest friends for putting up with my mood swings, I’m just a dude doing my best.
Mali. B Photography @malibphotography