Even when I’ve experienced letdowns in my life, I’ve always kept hope in my heart – hope that even if something didn’t work out for me at that exact moment, it would happen the way it was supposed to down the road.

As a young, black man growing up in France, America represented a place of opportunity – a place where even we could reach heights we’d been told we would never reach at home. Cinema, music and culture from the United States transcended its own borders and made its way into my home through such things as MTV and the NBA. I became fascinated with the lifestyle being portrayed and even at 10 years old, it became clear to me that I would ultimately live in the US.

I was the kid that was always curious and interested, the kid that didn’t accept the simple or the easy way, the kid that always longed for more and stopped at nothing to learn and experience. Some people say that my young eyes saw only an idealized version of the United States, and that this place had and has the same deficiencies as France. While America is not perfect by any means, I truly believe the achievements I’ve been able to reach here would not have been possible back home.

As an entrepreneur, America allows me the chance to recognize the best of myself, display it for the world, be happy and proud of who I am and what I can do and fight for what I want. In turn, America wants to know what I can bring to the table, and is anxious to capitalize on that no matter what I look like. Here, I am not met with the judgment and arrogance I would expect back home. Here, I am encouraged to think and create outside of the box. Here, I see black role models – the Spike Lees, President Obamas, and Denzel Washington of the world that provide hope to me, my son, and all kids that look like him. Showing them that they can be whoever they want to be.

I am lucky to be a man of three states – the one of my heritage, the one of my birth and the one that welcomed me with open arms and allowed me the opportunity to live my path and create a business, and live life beyond limits.