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Meet Kumase “Mas” De Mesma of Narbonne High School & Rocc Solid Ent. in Harbor City & Compton

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kumase “Mas” De Mesma.

Kumase “Mas”, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
It all started with a faith-based background. I was raised to believe in Jesus Christ and that I could do all things through Him. When I was young all I wanted to do was play basketball. With basketball, I faced challenges at a young age that tested my faith. That carried over into when I became an adult. The challenges I faced as a man definitely needed a faith-based foundation. Otherwise, I would not be where I am today.

I’ve lost friends and family to gang violence and lost a parent unexpectedly due to illness. Had to find my way to not be completely influenced by a toxic lifestyle and stay on a positive path. I’m the oldest of 4. 2 younger sisters and a little brother. I had to figure out how to be a positive leader for them and how to be my own man. Without my faith, love for basketball and my family…. there’s no telling where I’d be. I’m thankful to be in my current position.

Has it been a smooth road?
My biggest struggle personally was finding my purpose or what I wanted to do after playing basketball. I played all my life and I didn’t know if I could do anything but that. I played at a small college and played a little overseas but it wasn’t satisfying. I retired simply because my body was breaking down. I tore my meniscus twice and broke my knee cap. So I had to figure out what I wanted to do.

When in college and overseas, I worked with children. When I came home, I applied to work with LAUSD as a teacher’s assistant. Working with inner-city kids helped fill that void slightly because I felt like I was helping kids that looked like me. But it wasn’t enough at the time to help me figure it all out. So I knew I wanted to do something involving helping the inner-city youth from day 1.

A couple of years had went by and I thought I could make a comeback with playing basketball but that had failed. In about May 2019, I reconnected with a family I was familiar with growing up in the Compton community. A small portion of my life was spent in the New Wilmington Arms apartments with my grandmother and great aunt. I was young but definitely remember my time there. One of my peers, Azjah or the Princess of Compton, was an up and coming music artist and was redesigning the basketball court in the Arms apartments that we used to play on.

Without hesitation, I asked how I could help as that was always a dream of mine as well to re-do the court. We teamed up, I helped buy paint and bought the backboards and rims. We all assisted in painting the court and reminiscing on how bad it used to be. We mentioned how it will be great to give back to the kids of today.

That’s when I knew how to fill that void. I knew I just wanted to give back to kids. Nothing specifically, just as long as I could help in anyway. Shortly after that, I called my old high school basketball coach and asked if I could help coach at my alma mater. He didn’t even need a second to consider. He said of course! That is when that void was filled.

It makes perfect sense because that’s all I ever saw growing up. My stepfather Marty Walzer always gave back to his Watts community. My mom Cherona DeMesma-Walzer is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. and always gave back with her organization. My dad Wendall DeMesma was my parks and rec and AAU basketball coach. And my uncle whom most think I favor “KJ” Johnny Williams was the first person I did a food give away with along my baby cousin Anaiyah Williams who has her own nonprofit to help the youth as well. It was always my purpose. I was just late figuring it all out.

Not only am I capable of helping kids in my community of Compton, but I can also help them out in the basketball community. Now I couldn’t be any happier.

Please tell us about Narbonne High School & Rocc Solid Ent.
When giving back to the community, I’m with Rocc Solid Entertainment. We mainly partner up with Do Good Works Life who does a great job in fundraising to help us do backpack giveaways, Thanksgiving drives, Christmas toy drives and feeding the homeless. If they aren’t assisting us, most of the things we make happen come out of our pockets.

I specialize in meeting with people that have access to resources and bringing them in to help the kids in our community. Every time we have an event we want to host, I go to the city hall to get approval from the City of Compton. I also help with advertising and designing the set up for our events. The thing I’m most proud of about Rocc Solid is that we give back just from having a genuine heart. It’s not all about music. And that’s what separates us from most. I’ve seen a lot of people only do things to gain some type of publicity or notoriety. That isn’t something we care about. We really grew up in Compton and remember our struggles. We want to make sure our kids of today have less days like that.

We consider ourselves family. So even when we have disagreements, we all find common ground cause at the end of the day, we do what’s best for the people. And I’m grateful to have partners that trust some of my judgment calls. All our events have been successful so far.

With coaching, I believe I specialize in building comradeship. I’m only 26 so I get to be looked at as the big brother sometimes instead of coach. And although I’m not as healthy or good as I used to be, I still get to go out there and show the boys I know the game of basketball. I have a good relationship with all my players. Even when I’m tough on them, they know it’s out of love and because I want the best versions of themselves to come out when they play. I like to think I’ve adopted the Mamba Mentality and want them to use it as well.

We really emphasize family at Narbonne. Our head coach is a father figure. His head assistant is like the cool uncle. And my assistant and I are like the big brothers the kids can lean on. & we’re comfortable going to battle with whatever is on our team. We don’t feel the need to recruit or anything. We want who WANTS to be apart of this family. That is what separates us from other programs.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Our city is a great place to start businesses like ours. We represent us. We represent opportunity. When kids see us, we want them to say, “If they can do it, so can I!” Cause it’s true. Rocc Solid is a music label, but I don’t specialize in music. We don’t have to put ourselves in a box. We’re all artists and have the power to paint whatever picture we want for how we want our lives to be.

For someone starting out, my advice to you would be to don’t be afraid to start. That’s half the battle right there. Do your research. Plan properly. And just make it happen.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Nikki Boutte’, Kelvin Williams, Daily Breeze

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