J.O.N.B.O.Y.D.: World’s Most Interesting Man

June 2, 2019

“Up late calculating my work, I wanna leave my mark on this earth. I pray to God that I finish my work before he snatch me off of this earth.”

These are the words from Jonnie Tsunami, also known as Jonathan Boyd. If you ever want to meet someone genuine in all sectors of life: genuinely nice, genuinely talented, genuinely funny, and so much more, he’s the guy for you. Tampa, Florida native Jon Boyd is one of the greatest people that I’ve met thus far.

He says “I’m fucking 25 about to turn 26. I’m black. I’m trying to make an impact.” As a black man from the wild aka Florida, it’s amazing to see the impact that he has had not only within his city but as far as the continent of Asia.  In the past two months he’s raised almost $3000 for Homeless and Foster kids in the Tampa Bay Area while giving out over 400 ice-cream cones. Crazy right? 

In the word’s of Kanye’s Last Call “Yo but I rap too.” Yeah Jon Boyd is a talented ass rapper a part of a collective called Bluuzone which consists of other creative geniuses adding their unique flares to music.

I met Jon through my dear friend Tyree aka SheepishNarco, and I’m so glad that I did. I’m not just writing this interview as a spectator but as someone he’s impacted. I’ll never forget him helping me get through my fright of singing and finding my voice again.

Who is Jon Boyd? Who are you?

I’m fucking 25 about to turn 26. I’m black. I’m trying to make an impact. I think when I hear that question I think about how I just changed my instagram bio. I hate to be so cliche…but I just changed it to like a “professional dabbler.” I’ve never been able to just be good at one thing. I feel like I’m good at a lot like a fucking renaissance man in the truest sense. That’s cliche but I like to do a lot. I don’t want to be in one box.

So you grew up in Tampa?

Yeah.

So tell me about your childhood because that was funny when you said you would watch TV with your mom and you knew all of the grown women shows.

Like Girlfriends and shit.

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Yes!

Yeah so I guess in the most cohesive sense, I was born in Brandon, Florida. Grew up in Plant City, Florida. I went to elementary school at Temple Terrace Elementary. Yeah before they were the Tigers, we were fucking Dolphins. I’m an only child, my dad’s still there. My mom is still there. I grew up hanging out with my parents a lot just because I lived so far away from a lot of people at school. I feel like that made me grow up really fast. Like I remember ironing clothes in like second grade and shit. Doing my own laundry and shit. Not really hanging out after school with a lot of people. I’d rather keep to myself. I think I’m an extrovert but definitely have introverted moments.

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Is your family here?

Yeah, family is still here. A lot of my family lives in, you know, Plant City, Tampa and in this very small city called Fitzgerald, Georgia. Super, super southern. I like to think that I get my morals from a very Christian and Southern background. And unapologetically Black, you know what I mean? I went to middle school at Roland Park and then I went to high school right at Jefferson. When I graduated, I got my International Business degree at USF and I minored in Marketing Economics. I worked in management for a year and after that I went to China for three years. I worked for the Walt Disney company. After that, I came back to Tampa. Now I work for a Tech Startup company.

So what was China like?

I would say everything that people expect. You’re in a foreign country and as soon as you land in the plane, you know that. Some things are the same. So you know fashion is a little bit of the same. Technology is a little bit of the same. It is very different. The food is very different. You know the customs are very different. Culture in general was very different. But China in a nutshell was amazing. I got to travel all of Southeast Asia except Malaysia and Taiwan.

So I’ve done a lot of travel. I learned a lot about myself. I think I needed it. I think China is a place where you go, and especially if this is like your first or second time out of the country and you’re living abroad. It’s a place where your maturation process excels. You have to learn how to be an adult really, really quickly. Outside of the college experience, outside of the study abroad experience, this was a place that I need to learn how to grow up really fast because I was taking care of myself in the truest sense. You know when your mom is 7,000 miles away, it’s like you can’t ask her for shit.

What would you say was your favorite Chinese custom?

I definitely say Chinese people are the kindest people I’ve ever met. And I think that sharpened my skill about how to be genuine to people, how to love people in the right way and how to love yourself. I think they did a really good job at showing kindness. They have very strong family morals. But also taking time in reflecting to improve themselves in every sense: when it comes to food, fashion, music…they’re always refining their process. I think that it takes that to be where you want to be.

Which way did you see yourself mature the most?

I think in humanity. In a very human sense. I think I appreciate things more. Being an only child and having Christmas only to you, makes you very greedy. It makes you very self centered. And i think a part of that maturation process for me was to kind of shed all of that. So I appreciate people more and I give more. I try to make the impact more because I know that time is short. We don’t know how long we have. I try to give as much as possible and then kind of take my time to reflect and refine myself, you know what I mean? Everyday. It’s kind of like that human process that I think people kind of miss out on.

Tell us about your project that you are working on right now.

So a part of being that professional dabbler, is figuring out how to make an impact that not only helps me out. Because you know I make music and all that. But also it’s like how do you impact and give back to your community? So we me and my friend Luke launched this project called Jon’s Ice Cream Drive. And basically we’re renting out an ice cream truck and we’re giving ice cream out to everyone in St Pete. We also partnered with a charity called Birthday Candles for kids. And the charity is dedicated to help foster kids and homeless kids to celebrate their birthdays that have never celebrated before. So it’s apart of that “Ridding yourself of that ego.” to go back to that China question. But yeah so we’re collecting donations on behalf of them and giving out ice cream. We’ve got a lot of traction so far. I think it’s going to be super successful.

Check out his Ice Cream Drive and Donate.

And it’s leading up to your 26th birthday? How does it correlate?

So you know, it goes back to “ridding yourself of that ego” and my Christmases I spent them alone with my family, but alone. And I spent my birthdays primarily alone. So it’s like how do I help people celebrate my birthday but also help them celebrate other people’s birthdays. It’s my born day but it’s not necessarily about me. I think it was a really cool initiative to do it. For me personally, how do I align this initiative with some of my other goals? And think this just makes sense. Especially when you want to build a platform to do good for others. This was the first step.

I think this project is really amazing and going to help a lot of people as well as bring a lot of awareness to issues—even things that may seem small like celebrating a birthday. Or even putting your thoughts on foster kids not feeling like they matter or are appreciated. 

Yeah could imagine never celebrating your birthday? Could you imagine that?

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Tomorrow is gonna be sweet! Birthday Candles for Kids, Inc and I will be handing out free ice cream from 3-7! Thank you to USFSP, Sundial, and Intermezzo for hosting us! If you can’t make it to one of the stops, no worries we will be rolling all around town 🍦 . . . . . . #stpetefl #Ilovetheburg #sunshineshere #sunshinecity #dtsp #lovefl #locallove #tampabay #birthday #nonprofit #fostercare #instagood #icecream #softserve

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People just take that for granted. I think this will make people think more. It will most definitely grow the feeling of empathy and looking outside of ourselves.

Yeah, I think that that is a tough skill to learn. I think before we can grow, I think you have to be vulnerable. I think that’s something people are afraid of. But I think it takes looking in the mirror and dissecting yourself. Figuring out your pros and cons and appreciating yourself. Realizing that there are certain things that you want to fix about yourself. So in order to practice that empathy. You have to be vulnerable. That’s part of the reason why some people don’t practice it.

So you impact people through your charity work but also your music. How did you get started into making music?

So music has always been apart of who I am. So growing up I definitely sang in church. I remember in elementary school, the first real introduction to singing in a structured way was doing chorus. So I did that for a couple of years. I liked singing and I like my voice but I was very insecure about it. So I transitioned into band. I did and for almost five years. I play the trumpet, piano and I play a couple other instruments. To be very honest, In high school I was embarrassed and insecure about joining the band. I was like “You know what? I’m not going to do it. I’m going to try to be cool and hip and make as many friends as I can rather than chasing after a passion of mine. I suppressed that. I tried to suppress it until like sophomore or junior year of high school when I met Jordan Patrick.

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Jordan Patrick and Jon Boyd in High school. 🙂

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I put my heart in the microphone. #shows #forthepeople #forthecity #KOTD #SOTD #nofilter #sockgamecrazy #@james_rozay_harden @jxpvtty @thakidsully

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When I met him he was doing music. At this time it was like 2008 or 2009. And my favorite genre of rap EVER is Ringtone Rap. Like “Snap Ya Fingers”. Like all that shit is my shit! T-Pain! All that shit is amazing! T-Pain?! I’M IN LUV WITH….all that shit. So I’ve always tried to emulate that in my head privately. And then I met Jordan and saw how talented he was. And we would always freestyle and bullshit with our friends and he was like “I think we can kind of do something special.” So the first song we ever did, me, Jordan Patrick and my friend Aaron Sullivan. We did this song called Free Throw in 2010. It was basketball referenced song with a whole bunch of bullsht. They actually played it at the Teachers vs Kids basketball game at our school. They played it at half time and when I heard the reaction I was like ‘THIS IS IT!” I was like “I’M ABOUT TO BE A RAPPER!”  But I don’t think that I ever fit the kind of persona of a rapper. Back in the day and nowadays we pitch only one kind of person in rap. One Schema.

My mom is a huge India Arie fan and my dad is Jamaican so I grew up on Beres Hammond and all that shit. So very melodic. When I wanted to do rap, I wanted it to be very melodic. All of the music that me, Jordan and now Patrick Hughes, makes comes from a very melodic, soulful and honest place. Because we’ve had very similar childs….AND PLUS WE LOVE KANYE WEST. It’s a very specific era of Kanye West.

(This project will change your life like it did mine in February of 2015, my sophomore year at Howard. I vividly remember rapping and singing the songs in my dorm with my best friend)

Which Era?

That Late Registration, College Dropout, Graduation…Those first three albums, I think we are stuck in that. I think we do a 2019 version of it.

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Yes, because that era makes you feel a type of way.

It’s unapologetically Black.

So Black.

It’s fun and innocent but

It’s real shit.

Also it’s our story.  We don’t really hear our story too often. And it’s done in a very high quality way. I think both of those things are two things that I focus on. Being unapologetically me but also having a high and unique quality to it. Because I’m very aware of what sells and what’s popular. I feel like in order to spread your message you have to do both of those things at the same time.

You said that you love Kanye West, how do you feel about him right now?

I hate this question! Man I don’t know. I go back and forth with myself all the time. So here’s my theory about Kanye West: I think he works best when his back is against the wall. Right? So the best Hip Hop album that he’s ever made was My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. And he made that because he was in some shit with Taylor Swift. Ok that’s just what it is. That media stunt changed his narrative from “We love Kanye” to “We hate Kanye.” When that happened, he made the best album of his life. So I think the whole Trump thing was “How do I put my back against the wall? How do I get that sense of urgency to create?” I think he needed it but I think it was the wrong thing. You can’t just endorse a Bigot. I don’t think he saw that. I’m sure he was like “Ok I’m going to get this backlash and I’ma prove them wrong.” That’s the thing with Kanye West, he likes proving everyone wrong. When the industry went right with Gangster music and big ass chains he went left with polos and backpacks. So his whole dichotomy is “Anti Popular.” What’s the biggest “Anti” popular thing right now? Donald Trump. Like “How do I find that Anti like again? When everybody’s going right, I go left.” It was Donald Trump and I think it was a terrible decision. But that muhfucka made Family Business. So it’s like, I told Tyree (@SheepishNarco, Check out his photography) “Man, I hate Kanye West. Kanye West is my Rap Dad. I grew up listening to him. I can’t let him go because he made some bogus ass mistake, even though I hate the mistake he made. So I’m with Kanye West musically but I hate decision right now.

Yeah I feel that. Kanye West is one of the most popular….

Yeah if not the most influential person ever.

Right! He has soooo much influence and people will not acknowledge that for some reason. 

Absolutely.

So to misuse your platform like that is very irresponsible.

I don’t like the fact that he’s like “I should have the right to say how I feel.” Yes you do. But also, you have a social responsibility to black people. I’m sorry. We helped you build your brand. You owe it to us. There’s not a lot of yous.

Same dude that said “George Bush Doesn’t care about black people.” A true activist using guerrilla marketing. I get mad at him because I feel like he’s my family. Shit, my brother thought he was him back in 2005 in high school wearing double polos.

Hell yeah! I begged my mama for some fucking shutter shades. I had the fake one because the real ones were white. I had BLACK ONES! I got them shits from the Flea Market!

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I’m not gone even lie, I wanted to be Kanye West. That’s my rap dad and I’m not afraid to say that off the wall shit. BUT he has a responsibility to us. The thing is, from Country artists to pop stars there are so many of them, they don’t have to shoulder that burden. But Kanye West does.

Yes Kanye, we’re gone hold you to this and not accept any of that “Oh I’m just being a creative” shit. No you were wrong and we love you so we’re holding your ass accountable for this crazy shit.

I think as fans we have to take a hard look in the mirror and think about what he’s doing now with that soulful Sunday shit and Gospel choir. To me it’s pandering so I don’t subscribe to any of that shit. That music is not even that good.

You don’t think it’s that good?

No, I love choirs and strings. Sunday service has both of those elements but that shit seems pandering as fuck.

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What do you mean pandering?

Pandering to me seems like  he’s just trying to win over black people again. Like he’s saying “Oh hey guys! I’m black again and this is how I’m doing it.” By a choir and singing church songs because really in essence, every black person is that. That’s a whole other conversation. That’s just my opinion. But we’ll get an album and the music will be good.

Tell us about your album BIG (Before I’m Gone)

Sidenote: This album is so fucking good. Naveszn does not endorse mediocre work. Narco Family (Jon, Jordan (most talented producer in the state of Florida, and Patrick (I could go on for days about this talented a$$ dude…sheesh) are so underrated. I implore you to go check them out like now. 

Yeah so in early 2015 me, Jordan Patrick and Patrick Hughes made It’s Not You It’s Me. It was an idea that I thought of. It was how do we make compilation music popular again. Because like I said I grew up in the Ringtone Rap era. Apart of that wsa the Remix Era, so we would hear “Lean Back” And then we would hear “Lean Back Remix” with like 30 people on it. So how do we capture that because we lost that in the mid 2000s…early 2010s. My idea was to make a compilation project with different sounds and different tones. How do we make it really cool?

Funny story about that is..we actually waited to the last minute. My idea was to drop it on Valentines Day. I don’t think we got started until like February 12th. So all of that project was done in literally 48 hours. We got a studio right off 50th street. We spent an entire night there and came back the next day, the 13th and finished up some work. On the 14th we dropped. We did 11 or 12 songs in 48 hours. That was “It’s Not You It’s Me.” I decided to leave the country in 2016. I think that’s what kind of motivated me. We had a really strong momentum. We started performing in the city. And then I was graduating college. I graduate college and I came out a little depression.

I was like “What the fuck am I going to do with my life?” Everything that a college graduate goes through I went through. That kind of delayed some stuff until I was ready to announce that I was going to leave the country. Before I left the country, in that same kind of sense I finished my project. I did a project called BIG (Before I’m Gone). We finished 7-8 songs. We finished that in 48 hours as well. I dropped it when I landed in China, which I thought was pretty cool. 2015 is about relationships and how do we capitalize on them, the Up and Downs, and Ebbs and Flows of relationships. BIG is about being fearful and trying something new but doing it and praying to God that you’re right. I think we executed it well and you pair it out the music that Patrick Hughes is making and the momentum of Jordan Patrick; we’re getting together and making one more and figuring out what the next move is.

What do you see for you future? Could be as a rapper, a philanthropist, or just growing in who you are.

Oh man that’s a very heavy question. When I think about my future, I try to not think about it as often as people do. Because I’ve learned, as of lately, you need to be kind of present in the moment to enjoy things.

Period.

I have a hard time at doing that because I am a big thinker. My mind scrambles with ideas all the time. I think that’s why I have a hard time answering questions about my future because I feel like I have so many different paths. But ultimately I want to impact my community. I want to build platforms for other people. I want to be able to travel at my leisure. You know I work at a really cool job and I’m in the tech and startup industry. That’s super cool and I’m networking with a lot of people. But ultimately I never want to work again. I never want to work a 9-5 ever again. I don’t want my family to do it. I want to build something. No matter what it is, it will set up my family for their future. You have to remember that I’m an only child so my perspective is different. There’s this pressure…Shout out to therapy because I talk to my therapist about this. There’s this pressure that I have with being the last of my lineage. I’m a boy and that’s it. When I die, the Boyds are gone. So I really need to make a real impact for not only me but the future of my family.

In a very cohesive way, I really want to make an impact regardless of what it looks like.

Lastly, what’s your favorite ice cream?

Cookies and Cream, baby!

A truly amazing person. Please go follow him and continue to watch his journey to success while listening to amazing music at the same time.

His Instagram, and Twitter.

“It’s Not You, It’s Me 2” coming out soon. Check out his Soundcloud.

 

Author: Nave Sizon

Founder of Naveszn.com - I'm a FL native, a Howard and Columbia grad and a creator of many things. As a polymath, I do so much. I care about so many things. Naveszn.com was the perfect tool to utilize my gifts and my love for highlighting the talents and stories of black people and culture.