They were the modern day Odd Couple, opposite in every way. For two years, they lived their lives in front of the cameras on MTV’s Rob & Big showcasing their life’s adventures. The friendship of Rob Dyrdek and Christopher “Big Black” Boykin began before the show when Dyrdek, a professional skateboarder hired Big Black to “deal with” security guards who were trying to run him out of skate spots. We interviewed Boykin and Dyrdek in 2008 and talked to them about what it was like growing up and the types of conversations that they have.
Black describes growing up in Mississippi and why he decided to go into the military.
“It’s still the same in the South. One race is over here, the other is over there. That’s pretty much what told me that I had to move on cuz I’m not about all that. I went from having white, Korean, Mexican , and Puerto Rican friends [in Chicago] to having one set of friends who were all black. That was just not the life I wanted to live. I wanted to be around a lot of different people. I wanted to understand different races. When you understand people, you understand they’re not different. That’s why I came to California. I joined the Navy. I skipped college for a couple of years so I could join the military, become a man, see the world a little bit, and serve my country…We were a team, 456 guys. I knew everybody’s last name because I was the cook. I saw them every day. I served them every day. So it was sorta like one big happy family.”
“The poor plead for mercy; the rich answer with insults. There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:23-24
Dyrdek shares about how the types of conversations he has with Big Black.
“I try constantly to try to bring him into philosophy and supernatural stuff…but he’s as solid as a brick. Not remotely interested…In my younger days I was really into alternative thinking and life-questioning. I almost sort of grew out of it without getting any real answers. A lot of [my interest] came from dealing with how religious my parents were…trying to get answers to the simplest questions. Is everybody else going to hell besides you and the other Christians? So there was that sort of struggle. And then my last girlfriend came from a family where they don’t have TVs, they all let their hair grow down really long, and they don’t have churches they meet in halls. So dealing with all of that…But over the last couple of years I’ve almost faded into such militant focus that it’s like I’m running the end of the race to relax and then figure it all out…start to contemplate it all again.”
Befriend someone. It might be someone in your class, a co-worker or neighbor, there are people all around us that we can befriend. It is easy to stick within our social circles or small group and not really branch out. It might be our schedule and not feeling like we have time for new friendships or feeling shy and hesitant to reach out to someone new. Think about the people that have befriended or invited you out over the years and you can play a similar role in someone else’s life. Pray and ask God to show you someone that you can be a friend to. Ask Him to give you the boldness to reach out if it is outside your comfort zone. It could be something as simple as inviting them to an event at church or grabbing coffee after small group to get to know someone better.
Ask the tough questions. Each of us can go through periods where we question what we believe. It is okay to ask questions about faith and Christianity. It can be helpful to ask a trusted friend, small group leader or pastor. Know that they might not know every answer, but hopefully they can help you find the answers. There are several great resources that can help you with your questions including Evidence That Demands a Verdict, The Case for Christ and The Case for Faith. Josh McDowell who wrote Evidence That Demands a Verdict and Lee Strobel who wrote The Case for Faith and The Case for Christ were both atheists. They each set out on personal journeys to disprove the existence of God and what their books are what they discovered along the way.
Include others. Each of us has people around us that are different from us – different upbringings, different skin color, different religions, and different beliefs. Rather than distance ourselves or only associate with people that are the “same” as us, it can benefit us to take time to get to know someone that is different than you. It can be helpful to ask them questions about how they grew up, what they believe, or why they feel a certain way. As we seek to include and understand others, often times we will find that we have more similarities than differences.
To read our entire interview with Christopher “Big Black” Boykin and Rob Dyrdek, click here.