On Sunday I watched this amazing documentary on Pearl Fryar, a topiary artist in South Carolina, on HGTV. The documentary focused on how Pearl, with no training, gained national acclaim from his small town of Bishopville, S.C. just doing what he loved.
It was such an inspiring story to me because Mr. Fryar really represents what makes me proud to be a Black North Carolinian. Pearl was born and raised in central North Carolina where his parents worked as sharecroppers. He developed an interest in farming because he had to work with his family in order to make ends meet.
Through extraordinary work ethic, he was able to buy a home in Bishopville, S.C. after he was married with a 3 acre plot of land. While working full time, he designed and maintained a topiary garden at night that rivals some of those I saw at the palaces I visited in Italy.
Besides his success at his art, he has spent a great deal of his time inspiring Black youth to stay in school and pursue their passions, whatever that may be. The documentary also touched on his 40+ year marriage, which was really beautiful to see.
While I was watching I thought, "Why aren't programs like this publicized more?" But then I was just grateful to see such a great story on TV at all. He reminded me so much of the great male role models I had growing up that never saw failure as an option and did whatever they could to live their dreams and provide for their families. We need more young Black men like that today!
Then I couldn't help but think that perhaps the timing of this documentary is part of the "Obama effect"-- I've been seeing more and more images of "Black male role models" on TV in everything from commercials to news anchors and political pundits, etc. I hope that isn't just a trend!
Anyway, if you'd like to see the documentary and be inspired too, check it out on April 3rd at 4pm!
photos via hgtv.com