Noelan Dudley started playing chess young, which kept him trying to outthink his peers but playing chess at an early age still didn’t stop him from making a few bad moves. After being deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom, he made the most destructive move, which landed him in prison for five years. In those five years, he observed lost boys act like adults, heavy racism from inmates and staff, families destroyed by prison sentences, and more. That time and experience gave him great purpose. Now he devotes his time and energy to young black boys and men. That purpose has also led him to author “A Few Bad Moves,” which has hit the bestsellers list, multiple speaking engagements, and more. Dudley wants to ensure we accept responsibility for our actions and never judge a book by its cover.
Christina: What is your Swagger? What makes Noelan, Noelan?
Noelan: I am a 6 ‘1, bald-headed, outstanding brotha full of life lessons and love for the people. I’m bold, a veteran, a mentor, motivational speaker, and I come in peace.
Christina: Who got you into playing chess?
Noelan: When I was 10 years old, my mother’s boyfriend taught me how to play.
Christina: You were deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom. What lessons did being in the army teach you?
Noelan: The army taught me a lot, but the best lesson was how to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations/ positions.
Christina: You spent five years in prison. What is some advice you can give to young men out there that are on the wrong path?
Noelan: Prison is everything you think it is, the worst, the bottom, and the zoo. When you get there, you’ll be amongst hundreds of men, lonely, scared, hungry, and a lot more unnecessary feelings because nobody gives a damn.
Christina: What pushed you to turn your life around after you got out of prison?
Noelan: I started working on myself long before I got out of prison, but it’s something about making your mother cry that did it for me.
Christina: Tell us a little bit about your book, “A Few Bad Moves .” Where can readers go to purchase it?
Christina: If your friends could describe you in three words, what would they be and why?
- Determined: I’m not letting anything stop me.
- Giving: Time is the one thing you can’t get back, and I give it so willingly to many good people, organizations, and projects.
- Inspiring: I want others to win and help them to reach that goal in any way I can.
Christina: If you could say anything to your younger self, what would you say?
Noelan: Ill-gotten gain will never prosper, and karma is real. That thing you thought you got away with will revisit you.
Christina: Is there anything else you would like to share?
Noelan: Fear and inconsistency are stopping you from being great.
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