GREENSBORO, N.C. — Grass grows by way of cracks within the basketball court docket. Now not are baskets and nets connected to its backboards.
Close by, what had been a small area for youths’ soccer has turn into a part of a neatly-cut garden across the condominium complicated.
That is Trinity Gardens within the metropolis’s northeast part, the place James DuBose lived from start by way of sixth grade, again within the Sixties and ’70s.
Right here, he realized to play basketball and soccer, the latter a sport that despatched him briefly to the Nationwide Soccer League.
Though his mom not lives there, DuBose usually stops by when he returns to his hometown from Los Angeles to go to household and pals.
On this quiet morning in early August, he feels protected in these acquainted environment of childhood. Longtime good friend Hayward Parker joins him within the go to.
“I am protected with the love round me,” says DuBose, now 54. “I am protected with my pals round me… It is only a protected area to be who I’m.”
What he’s now’s head of programming and govt producer for Fox Soul.
The streaming digital tv community operated by Fox Tv Stations launched in January 2020.
It options authentic and syndicated programming focusing on African Individuals.
He nonetheless runs his enterprise, DuBose Leisure, an LA manufacturing firm.
It has supplied him with a dream profession that mixes sports activities, music and leisure.
“I am so blessed to come back from the place I come from, the struggles that I’ve struggled,” he mentioned. “For God to put me right here, bless me with this job, proceed my profession, proceed to raise me and to develop me.”
However to get there, DuBose went by way of one other part — darkish days of despair.
It began round 2012, continued into 2013 and intensified from 2015 to 2017.
He tried to cover these emotions beneath a facade of happiness and confidence.
“After I reached success, it did not really feel like I believed it might,” DuBose mentioned. “I could not work out why I wasn’t joyful. Folks would have been extraordinarily joyful to be doing the issues I used to be doing on the time.”
He wipes his eyes and apologizes. “It was by no means sufficient,” he mentioned. “The extra I did, the extra I felt I wanted. As a result of the extra I did, the darker I grew to become inside.”
DuBose lastly reached a disaster — and obtained assist.
He desires to encourage others in comparable crises to not maintain it in, however to speak and get assist.
“One of many issues I dwell by now, it is not about being on the proper place on the proper time,” DuBose mentioned. “You’ve got to be the precise particular person on the proper place on the proper time.”
“Success was the worst factor that would have occurred to me at that second, as a result of I wasn’t ready for it internally for myself,” DuBose mentioned. “It introduced me down.”
Now he speaks out on panels and on tv about navigating his journey as a Black govt by way of Hollywood, the NFL and psychological well being.
“At first, there was a very long time once I did not talk about it in any respect,” he mentioned about battling despair. “There was a stigma round it.”
“You are worried about, ‘Are they going to assume I am loopy within the enterprise? Am I going to have the ability to promote content material?'” he mentioned. “As a Black man or girl in Hollywood, there should not lots of people who appear to be us on the high.”
“You hear extra now that lots of people are opening up about it, particularly within the Black neighborhood,” he mentioned.
Now, he mentioned, “I attempt to be as clear and truthful as attainable, as a result of I would like another person to have the ability to study and really feel comfy in opening up.”
Mary Ann DuBose labored at AMP whereas elevating her son as a single mum or dad. He had a superb relationship together with his father, additionally named James, however longed for it to turn into stronger.
“You do not perceive a few of the selections they’re making, till you get your personal (youngsters),” James DuBose mentioned. “I did not actually recognize every little thing my mom was doing for me. As I obtained older and went by way of my very own trials and tribulations, I noticed how a lot she did for me.”
After he completed sixth grade, his mom moved them past metropolis limits, to The Orchard neighborhood.
James attended Northeast Guilford Center Faculty and Northeast Guilford Excessive Faculty, the place he performed soccer and basketball.
He nonetheless praises “nice coaches, nice pals, every little thing you may ask for.”
“It simply by no means completely felt like residence,” DuBose mentioned.
That feeling of disconnect would hang-out him.
“I believe leaving this place simply did one thing to me,” he mentioned, as he checked out Trinity Gardens flats surrounding him. “I by no means realized it till I obtained a lot older and needed to undergo a whole lot of ups and downs. I could not work out why I simply felt disconnected.”
He attended Wake Forest College on a soccer scholarship.
“They’d a communications program,” he mentioned, “and I all the time knew I wished to be in leisure.”
A soccer harm prevented DuBose from taking part in a lot throughout his senior 12 months. After he completed his diploma, the Detroit Lions signed him as a free agent.
There he met well-known operating again Barry Sanders, even getting baptized in Sanders’ bathtub.
The Lions launched DuBose in 1990, earlier than the beginning of the season. After a short stint with the brand new World Soccer League, he headed for Los Angeles.
He began as a manufacturing assistant. “I do not know why folks noticed one thing in me,” he mentioned.
He served as govt vice chairman of Sean “P. Diddy” Combs’ Dangerous Boy Tv beneath the Dangerous Boy Worldwide Leisure model.
In 2006, he took a leap of religion and began DuBose Leisure.
DuBose Leisure began with actuality exhibits.
He served as govt producer on initiatives with celebrities corresponding to Michael Vick and Trey Songz.
He created “Keyshia Cole: The Manner It Is” with the R&B singer. It grew to become one of many most-watched packages in BET historical past.
At one level, DuBose recollects, his firm had 65 staff and 5 packages airing on BET.
“That was a second when everybody knew my identify,” DuBose mentioned.
“I by no means wished to be identified,” he mentioned. “I am a quiet man by nature.”
“I simply wished to be efficient in something I did,” he added. “And never being the person who I wanted to be, the ability that got here with the success that I used to be having, the cash that got here with it, the celebrity that got here with it, all simply crumbled and made me extraordinarily depressing.”
He began a file label, a sports activities company, “completely different companies I had no enterprise beginning,” he mentioned. “I used to be simply spending cash to attempt to discover my happiness and peace, and I could not.”
“I had a enterprise supervisor on the time who mentioned, ‘James, you have to cease. You may’t afford this.’ I could not inform him, ‘If I cease attempting, I will actually die.'”
“However I did not really feel like I might converse to anybody,” he added. “I spent most of my time attempting to cover my ache. As a result of that is how we have been made, particularly as Black males. You do not talk about it… Sooner or later, it catches as much as you.”
In March 2013, he reached a breaking level.
Early one morning, he drove to a hospital parking zone, armed with a gun.
“I used to be going to go kill myself at this place, be near the hospital, away from my household so it would not have an effect on them,” he recalled. “I used to be crying and had the gun to my head. One thing in me instructed me to go contained in the hospital as a result of I began having main, main chest pains.”
Witnesses referred to as police, who took the gun from DuBose. He spent just a few days within the hospital, then in a psychiatric ward.
“That was the start of me simply letting go and saying, ‘I need assistance,'” DuBose mentioned.
For 3 years, DuBose Leisure went on hiatus whereas DuBose sought remedy for despair.
Cash, household and plenty of pals went away.
“So once I mentioned there’s a whole lot of collateral injury, there was,” DuBose mentioned, “and I’ve to dwell with that for the remainder of my life.”
Parker, his longtime good friend, nonetheless lived in Greensboro however labored for DuBose Leisure.
At first, Parker mentioned, he did not notice what was occurring together with his good friend.
“He lastly admitted that he was going by way of a whole lot of completely different stuff,” Parker mentioned. “We simply talked and prayed about it. It is what pals do to assist one another after we’re down.”
Therapeutic did not come rapidly.
In October 2013, former BET president and good friend Loretha Jones paid for him to spend six weeks in PCH remedy heart, he mentioned.
For a 12 months, DuBose mentioned, he pretended he was significantly better.
“The arduous half about that’s whenever you lastly should look within the mirror and admit to your self which you can’t level the finger at nobody else however you,” DuBose mentioned.
DuBose longed to strengthen his relationship together with his father. As that started to occur, his father died on March 8, 2014.
Progressively, DuBose started to heal.
He not takes remedy for despair. However he nonetheless attends month-to-month remedy classes.
His daughters from a earlier marriage, ages 23 and 19, work for him at Fox Soul.
He and his associate and confidante of six years — “my peace,” he calls her — have two younger sons.
In 2018, he labored as govt producer on a Fox present out of Atlanta, “This Nation.” That led to his present submit in LA.
“It’s essential get up every single day and the very first thing you have to work on is You Included,” he tells others. “Then every little thing else will begin to movement from there.”
And he likes to go to his hometown, the place he hugs his mom and visits Trinity Gardens.
Final month, he was amongst these honored in Atlanta as an African American trailblazer in media.
He not too long ago returned to his hometown from LA to console Parker, who had not too long ago misplaced two shut family members.
“When a good friend is in ache, that is simply what we do,” DuBose mentioned. “I do know first-hand there isn’t any higher feeling than to have somebody present up in your darkest instances.”