By now, all of South Florida is familiar with the ambitions of Renda Writer. For years, the aspiring local artist was striving to get on the Ellen DeGeneres Show to read one of his spoken word pieces entitled "Half Hearted." We have to hand it to the guy, his persistence and dedication to such an unusual endeavor is inspiring. No matter what you make of his art, you can't knock Writer for having the wherewithal to follow through on his dreams-- at any cost.
Unfortunately, for Writer, his devotion to his cause has led many in local art circles to typecast him as that unusual Ellen DeGeneres fanatic. According to Writer, it's even caused him to lose an opportunity or two. He was in the thick of setting up an exhibition down in Miami when the gallery owner reneged on him, issuing concerns over, what she referred to as, the "Ellen DeGeneres situation."
That brings us to the remarkable case of Taranza McKelvin Jr, a local 5-year-old drummer who basically, without even trying, catapulted his way onto The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Wednesday. The pint size kiddo served as the drum major/mascot for Glades Central High School and a video of his miniature, band leading cuteness went viral.
McKelvin's internet sensation won the attention of the daytime talk show princess. During a remote interview with McKelvin, DeGeneres awarded him an all-expenses paid trip to Disneyland and the Glades Central band a $50,000 check. See the video here.
We couldn't help but to think of Renda Writer and all his DeGeneres struggles. We caught up with the poet/artist to see what his reaction was to all this McKelvin madness.
"I am actually very happy for Taranza McKelvin Jr. What an overnight sensation! As someone who spent 7 years pursuing a goal to get on her show to perform a love poem, I guess I could be bitter about a kid who gets on basically without even trying, but I am not. Not at all.
I'm not a hater, and I think everything in the universe works out exactly like it should. I am happy for him.
As for me, I stopped trying to get on the show two years ago, but for some reason people still constantly associate me with Ellen. I am still a fan, still a goal-setter, still a poet, still an artist, still a positive dude, but just not trying to get on The Ellen Degeneres Show anymore. I think people should know that, so that they can pay more attention to the things that I am doing, rather than the things I almost did, or aspired to do.
I was never a one trick pony or an obsessed fan. I am an ambitious artist who sets goals and reaches them, and when I don't reach one, I just reformulate and keep it moving. Good luck to the little drummer boy. I've got a big art show this Saturday in Wynwood for ArtWalk at Rise Up Gallery, and that's my immediate focus. I am also writing an autobiography entitled The Journey is the Destination. Dwelling on the past, or how things 'didn't work out' -- nah, ain't nobody got time for that."
So there you have it folks, Renda's moving on, and our boy Taranza, well he is going to Disneyland of course. Writer did have support for his DeGeneres cause, he somehow garnered support from hip hop star KRS One, no joke -- see the video below. And if you are in Miami this weekend, check out Writer's artwork on Saturday at the Rise Up Gallery in Wynwood.