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Childhood friends keep us grounded. College friends propel us to achieve more than we ever thought we could. Finding 1 or 2 best friends in college can be a major benefit. The trio can share experiences and leave each other with twice as much exposure to the world’s many facets. But what if you found 16 best friends? You all could be the rat pack.

You’ve heard of The Rat Pack, right? An infamous group of singers that featured crooners such as Frank Sinatra,  Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr.  Well, there’s a new group of handsome, multifaceted young men who’ve adopted The Rat Pack moniker. All alumni of North Carolina A&T University, these gentlemen embody the purest form of  brotherhood.

The HOPE Blog is pleased to introduce you to this unique group of friends.

HOPE: Who is the Rat Pack?
Instantly adjectives were tossed out: young, intelligent, stylish, dynamic, ambitious, charismatic and genuine.“We are young black males who are simply on the road to success to make it plain and simple,” Dom Trent says. James eloquently sums it up like this,  “Together we have the uncanny ability to bring out the best in each other. We are 17 guys who remain extremely diverse, not one person has the same personality or skill set.  For instance, Rivers and I have a lot of similar character traits; lively, energetic, and persuasive but when we’re in the same room working on a project our personalities come off completely different, it’s beautiful.”  

HOPE: Can you briefly introduce the 17 members?
Jonathan Wood “Jonny” – “Renaissance Man” – Dominic Jones “Domo” – “The Producer” – Carlin Myrick “C Myrick” – “Fitness/ Music Guru” – Domonique Trent “Dom Trent” – “The Socialite” – Lawrence Locke “Locke” – “The Poet” – James Rogers “Semaj” – “The Educator” Daniel LeSane “Bone” – “Life of the Party” – Chaz Dawson “Chei” – “The Commissioner” Christopher Martin “C Mart” – “Mr. Logistics” – Jonathan Rivers “Riv” – “The Propagandist” Matthew Green “Matty G” – The Artist” – Sean Nickols “Soze” – “The Big Brother” Donald Boone “Boone” – “The Economist” – Taylor Blake “Tay Blake” – “The Wildcard” – Brandon Wims “Swims” – “The Comedian” –  DJ Dawson “DJ” – “The DJ” – Isiah Hunger “Zeke” – “Sneaker Aficionado”

HOPE: What do you believe is your purpose?
“We want to teach the people how to step outside of their boxes, in all aspects of their life from the way they view each other, thoughts on fashion, music, and keep people in the know of what is going on in the world. We want to show how to form a bond with people.” Johnny says. Daniel then says, “The purpose of The Ratpack is to establish a positive group of young African American men to set an example for and to represent the young men who are trying to make something of themselves in today’s world” and comically ended with a **Wink and thumbs up to the camera.**

HOPE: How have you changed as a result of this friendship?
Rivers says, “Our competitive nature forces us to never be complacent in life or in our careers. We each have our own interests and we share them with each other, now we all have at least a basic understanding of 17 different fields. We talk and we change through our conversations. For example we have discussions on being Bachelors but also about having a healthy relationship and starting a family; when the latest Jordan’s are to be released and the latest private company to go public on the NASDAQ. My favorite thing is not only do we talk about parties but we have a scripture of the day to make sure we’re all spiritually grounded. I have done a lot of things with this group that I wouldn’t have done without this group and I think every member can say that.” James agrees and adds  “Essentially we have become a 17-wheel continuum of never ending growth.”

HOPE: Do you feel that this type of friendship is rare?

Chaz says, “I think we are definitely an anomaly. I have never seen a similar dynamic in a group of young black men as large as our group is.” Domo  adds, “We are very rare because we are all different but it works well.  You have people in law school, film school, doing music, starting their own fashion lines, becoming engineers, business owners, construction managers, Alphas, Kappas, and Masons all in one group. I don’t think you can find another group like us.”

HOPE: How do you give back to the community?
Each of these men, if not as entrepreneurs whose companies engage in philanthropic activity, are personally involved in a variety of community organizations. Matt shared,  “My company ArtOfficial sponsors a team every year for Greater DC Cares.” Domo shares,  “I know Brandon Wims has started a youth group to help young men grow up to be better men and James Rodgers works with troubled youths that grew up in tough households.”  There was also mention of some plans in the works that are too soon to reveal. We will have our eyes on this group because they will undoubtedly make a major impact on their community.

Give HOPE. Live HOPE.

Connect with the Rat Pack

Find out more about the Rat Pack, their personal business ventures and their thoughts on manhood, relationships and more at www.itstheratpack.com. Follow them on twitter at @itstheratpack.

We welcome you to become a guest contributor to the HOPE Blog. Details on the process to contribute can be found HERE.

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