Various friends of Maurice Hicks Jr. describe him as a passionate man of God who will stop at nothing to witness to the youth. But Hicks didn’t always center his life on God.
Honestly, if one were to meet Hicks five years ago, they might have described him as a delinquent troubled child, angry at the world and promiscuous.
The person that Hicks is now has soft eyes, long locks of hair that he has been growing since 2004. He is always seen with a smile on his face no matter the situation.
Hicks is what some may call a transformed man.
Hicks laid out his clothing outfit for the day.
“Lets see.” Hicks said as he rummaged through his closet for a pair of shoes to wear.
“This is the fit right here,” he said smiling. He laid out a pair of short jeans on his twin-sized mattress, slipped his jeans on, then put on a pair of all-white Nike sneakers.
Next, he spread two shirts on his bed; one was green with orange letters and the other white with black letters. Both read: “Without Jesus I suck.”
“I think I’ll rock the FAMU colors today,” Hicks said while picking up the shirt.
Once the shirt was on, Hicks adjusted his long locks. He was ready.
Hicks was on his way to the Set on FAMU’s campus. During the busy ‘Set Friday’, many students shop at the flea market type setting and dance to urban music that is being played loudly. Similar to a daytime outdoor nightclub, one might wonder why Hicks would attend such an event.
Mixing with the girls, many who are showing much cleavage, and guys who are dressed in a way that’s unpleasant to some, Hicks dresses similar because Set Friday is his scene, but only for a moment.
Hicks weaved through the crowd and approached the front of the makeshift stage. The DJ handed him the microphone.
Onlookers smiled at Hicks waiting for him to say something. One girl asked aloud, “What’s with the shirt?”
Hicks said back with a laugh, “Because I sucked as a person without Him, sweetheart.”
The crowd laughed, but that shirt was a perfect icebreaker for Hicks to share his testimony on where he came from.
Born in Savannah, Ga., Hicks, 25, moved around a lot because his dad was in the military.
“I lived in Georgia for a while, but we moved to Jacksonville when I got to the eighth grade. I pretty much called Jacksonville my home,” Hicks said.
Hicks has two older siblings; an older brother who’s 33 years old and a 27-year-old sister. Hicks said that as a youngster, he was influenced by both of them.
“My brother was kind of a loner and my sister was a super model that was such an introverted [version of] me,” Hicks said. “Its easier to be influenced by people you think are cool.” Hicks explained that his brother was the kind of person that had to be left alone and that his sister back then was into the 1990s music group, TLC.
“She wanted to be like Left Eye. I just wanted to hang
with her and her cool friends who smoke,” Hicks said then chuckled.
Although Hicks was influenced by his siblings, he was still very different from both of them.
“I was always so outgoing, a risk-taker, somebody who’s willing to take a chance and make friends with everybody and make friends anywhere. We were all different growing up,” Hicks said.
When asked if he was involved in church at all as a child or if he considered himself Christian, Hicks looked away and laughed. “Not at all my friend,” Hicks said.
Hicks not being a Christian could be shocking to some that know his parents as his family was Christian-based.
“Growing up, my dad was always very deep into the church. My parents are perfect examples of Christians but for the most part, I looked up to my brother and sister,” Hicks said.
Hicks said that from the eighth grade to when he finally changed his ways in his first year of college, he was not the product of how his parents wanted him to be.
“I was all about wanting to be cool in high school,” Hicks said. “I wasn’t the tallest person or the buffest person in school, and I didn’t play sports, but I talked a good game and put of a tough façade,” Hicks said.
Hicks attended Ed White High School in Jacksonville.
Hicks admitted to doing numerous things in high school such as engaging in sex, fighting, skipping school to go hang out with who he called “his boys,” used and sold marijuana. “I was a whore, man,” Hicks said sadly. “I lost my virginity on a park bench…a bench. And acted like I was the king at school for doing it.”
Hicks recalled the moment it happened saying that he spoke to the girl for one week before he had sex with her, all because they both thought it was cool. He said the girl later called him to be sure that she and him were dating after that time.
During his senior year in high school, Hick’s habit of skipping school worsened. His father, Maurice Hicks Sr., caught notice of his son not going to school like he was supposed to.
“I got him a car when he was in high school,” Mr. Hicks said. “And he was fortunate enough to receive money from me as well. Maurice didn’t have to work. All he had to do was go to school. But he would go to school in the morning and not stay, but go hang out with his friends, God knows where.”
Mr. Hicks, who is the same stature of his son wears glasses and works at the Internal Revenue Service. When he found out about his son skipping classes, Mr. Hicks quit his job briefly to attend classes to make sure his son stayed in school.
Hicks did something dissapointing after his father followed him to every class period. To be continued…
Look for the continuation of Hicks’ life story in the Oct. 12 issue of The Famuan.