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9| On Being Black, Gay, and Over the Top in America, Norman J. Liverpool IV

9| On Being Black, Gay, and Over the Top in America, Norman J. Liverpool IV
Half the City

 
 
00:00 / 01:01:35
 
1X
 

Norman J. Liverpool IV is an entrepreneur and speaker, with a passion for spreading awareness for the LGBTQ+ community and the issues that community faces.

He’s also the creator of a signature mentorship and coaching program designed for that same LGBTQ+ community called Over the Top Living. Prior to accomplishing so much not only for himself, but others as well, Norman left his home in Chicago and relocated to Las Vegas in 2007, that he began his journey to finding himself. By 2008, this journey led him to the realization that he was gay. Then identifying as a gay black man, he would spend the next several years in and out of varying versions of himself. This process has spanned for over 15 years. We’re here to talk quite a bit about that.

Show Notes

Follow Norman on Instagram | Facebook

Theme music by: Ruel Morales

Brian Schoenborn  0:01  

Hello, hello. Hey everybody. Our guest today is an entrepreneur and speaker, the passion for spreading awareness for the LGBTQ plus community and the issues that community faces. He’s also the creator of a signature mentorship and coaching program designed for that same LGBTQ plus community called over the top living prior to accomplishing so much not only for himself, but others as well. Norman left his home in Chicago and relocated to Las Vegas during this time in 2007, that he began his journey to finding himself by 2008. This journey led him to the realization that he was gay. Then identifying as a gay black man, he would spend the next several years in and out of varying versions of himself. This process has spanned for over 15 years. We’re here to talk quite a bit about that. Give it up for my friend, Norman J. Liverpool, the fourth.

 

Brian Schoenborn  0:55  

My name is Brian Schoenborn. I’m an explorer of people, places and culture. In my travels spanning over 20 countries across four continents, I’ve had the pleasure of engaging in authentic conversations with amazingly interesting people. These are their stories on location and unfiltered presented by 8B Media. This is Half the City.

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:21  

What’s up, man? How you doing, Norman?

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  1:23  

I’m good as another day in paradise, that’s for sure.

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:25  

Another Day in Paradise. You are absolutely right, man. Now, I gotta tell you, man, I’ve so I’ve known you for quite some time. What is like, 10?

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  1:33  

Yeah, we met we met back in ’08.

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:36  

yeah. 2008 That’s right. You know, when I first saw you talking about what you’re up to now, I got…Well, I was really interested, of course, but I was also really, really impressed with how far you’ve come in the last, you know, 12, 12-plus years. You know, it’s really inspiring, you see, to see people growing and changing like that, you know, like, like the way I see things is everyone’s kind of a collection of our moments, right, where and how we respond to it. So everyone’s unique, you know, 8 billion people, which is why I named my company 8B Media, and everyone’s got a story and everyone’s perspectives and frameworks and everything like that are all unique to their experiences. So I’m interested, if you can kind of tell me how, how you went from Northern Liverpool, coworker, to kind of to discovering that you’re a black gay man, and then kind of coming into your own a bit.

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  2:35  

Well, it started back actually in 2007, when I moved to Las Vegas from Chicago. And a huge reason that I decided to move is because my family back home were extremely religious. And I was still trying to figure out myself, I was trying to come into adulthood. And I just didn’t feel like I could do that with All of these influences around me. So I got a one way ticket and came to Las Vegas in December of 2007. And I got the job at Metro right away. But then again, I was still like a baby, you know, I’m 21 years old. I didn’t know up from down. I didn’t know what expressing myself and living as a gay man what that actually meant, because for so long I was told that it was wrong, I’m going to hell, all of that. 

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  3:32  

So when you and I met, I was going from one extreme to the next because I did not know like where to even begin. So I remember back then, like I would have like long hair and carry big purses and have you know, like all of that and then because that’s what what when you look at media, you know, that’s what I saw. And I did not know that that I didn’t have to be anything but myself. And so I spent quite some time kind of acting, if you will, trying to figure out what being gay means. And what, what it meant for me. 

 

Brian Schoenborn  4:16  

Mm hmm.

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  4:17  

And, oh, it was years of of turmoil and going up and down and in and out of relationships, and it was just like a lot of craziness. And then I got into property management back in 2012. And that really shifted things for me because prior to that, you know, I was working, you know, as you know, at Metro PCS, and then I was also a part time bartender. You know, I did drag shows and I was doing all these things. And then when the property management came on the table, I didn’t have time for all of that because now working nine to five I have really important responsibilities and duties and so that was kind of like the catalyst that kind of started a lot of this, just because it changed the way that I had to interact professionally. And then from there, I just really started doing the work. I started writing, journaling, and really doing the work, you know, get in touch with myself and figure out what the heck that even meant. But to be completely honest, it wasn’t really until last year, where things begin to shift focus for me, and my my vision and my purpose became a little bit more clear.

 

Brian Schoenborn  5:39  

That’s interesting. I um, kind of similarly, um, you know, like, I’ve lived with PTSD for like, almost 20 years at this point. 

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  5:50  

Right. 

 

Brian Schoenborn  5:51  

And, you know, because of that, I’ve spent a lot of time searching for my self, my purpose and all of that as well. Right. 

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  6:00  

Yeah. 

 

Brian Schoenborn  6:01  

You know, that that took me to Vegas, it took me to Boston and New York and, you know, China for a few years and all over the place and just trying to find a fit, right? Like, where, where my sweet spot is right?

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  6:13  

Right. For sure. 

 

Brian Schoenborn  6:14  

And it wasn’t until, like, I moved up the corporate ladder, and all this and that, and, you know, at a fairly young age, my early 30s, I was near the top of a major corporation, Jose Cuervo. Living a job of, you know, a lot of people’s dreams, that sort of thing. And I was just miserable, you know. And so, finally, at that point where I’d kind of like I’d given up and I’m like, you know what? This isn’t sustainable for the next 30 years of my life. 

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  6:39  

Right. 

 

Brian Schoenborn  6:40  

I got to figure out what the hell I’m going to do with my life who am I, you know, and so I started doing the work as well. You know, I kind of locked myself in my bedroom after work for like two months and like, I was journaling, doing skill and ability assessments and you know, things like that. And that kind of set me off on this path of you know, figuring out is something related to communications, international stuff, that kind of thing. But even then it took me a couple of years until I kind of finally realized that it’s, it’s the storytelling stuff, right, that’s that’s the stuff that gets me. You know, it’s, it’s telling my story, it’s helping other people tell theirs, that kind of stuff, but but it took a long time to get there. 

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  7:21  

Yeah. 

 

Brian Schoenborn  7:22  

Just you know, when you when you talk about doing the work, you know, there’s a lot to be said about that. What kind of stuff did you do? Like what was your…did you have a process that you laid out? Or was there you know, certain books that you read, or

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  7:35  

I don’t necessarily know that there was a process, I just knew that I was destined for greater. And so then the work became connecting A to Z. Oh, I’m here, but I know I need to go there. 

 

Brian Schoenborn  7:49  

Hmm. 

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  7:50  

So part of that was me surrounding myself with like minded people. But it’s also surrounding myself with people who had already attained certain things that I wanted for myself and professionally, personally. So, I mean, I’ve read books, you know, but a lot of the work had to do with me letting go of toxic family dynamics, toxic friendships, letting go of the the self shame that I had dealt with being a black gay man, and dealing with that kind of thing. And it was mostly internal, the work that I had to do. It was it was working on myself so that I could allow myself and give myself the permission to be the person that I knew that I’m destined.

 

Brian Schoenborn  8:47  

Yeah, no, I hear that and, you know, like for me, you know, so I went through some I had a little bit of process and I kind of figured out, you know, it was a lot of internal processing to, but it wasn’t until like, you know, when I, when I made that decision to go to China, gave up everything. You know, I said, hey, I’ve got to do something international something communications, but I don’t know what it is not leaving China till I figure it out.

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  9:11  

Right.

 

Brian Schoenborn  9:13  

It was in China that that’s when I, that’s when I got to that point where I was like, Okay, give up all of these constructs that I that I have learned throughout my life, you know, give up caring about what people think about me, that sort of thing, and allowing myself just to be and to happen. Right. 

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  9:35  

Right. For sure. 

 

Brian Schoenborn  9:36  

It was it was that, you know, a conscious decision. when everything started getting easier, everything and everything started happening, and it was all the stuff that I’ve kind of always wanted to happen. I just didn’t really know that I was allowed to.

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  9:53  

Oh, for sure. Yeah. Yeah, you definitely. I mean, you definitely have to give yourself permission and thing that I don’t think A lot of people understand, you have got to give yourself permission to say no to everything that is not leading you to your best self and your best lines. And that was really difficult for me because I’m a yes person, you know, I will help everyone I want to do everything for everyone. But as my mom always says, you know, when the airplane, you know, when they’re doing that kind of spiel, when you get into an airplane, they say, if the mask comes down, put yours on first. And so as, the 2019 was the year of me putting my mask on first and to self care, self love, and even being a little bit selfish, and I know we try to steer away from that that term, selfish, but I really had to be I had to be selfish with my time. I had to be selfish with the energy that I was allowing myself allowing you know myself to put into other things and so Yeah, it really was the year of me putting my own mask on and just kind of finding my own footing and setting some new boundaries, you know, for others as well as myself.

 

Brian Schoenborn  11:08  

Yep. Yeah, hear that. I mean, you know, like for me, again, cuz so the last probably two, three years it’s been really where I’ve been like, okay, all the way. But you know, it wasn’t until I found that found that sweet spot, figured out who I was and then once I got it I’m like there’s no way am I letting this go, you know, bury my head in my work you know, the only the only thing that I can do is think about this and like, push this forward you know that whole thing. Curious you just kind of backing up a little bit. You mentioned you mentioned talking about living as a black gay man. Right so like, you know, I’m neither black nor gay. 

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  11:48  

Okay. 

 

Brian Schoenborn  11:48  

So so I don’t understand necessarily the you know, the micro cultures of us or how they how they are you know how how that intersection, that intersectional micro culture might be, but I know that like, you know, over the last 15-20 years has been so much progress made as far as, you know, rights within the LGBTQ community, as well as, you know, general acceptance, and everything else that’s that’s happened over the years. You know, I feel like there’s like our society in general, is a lot more open and welcoming to people of pretty much, you know, any intersection. I know, there’s a lot of work to be done. 

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  12:33  

Oh, yeah, for sure. 

 

Brian Schoenborn  12:34  

But there’s a lot of ground that’s been made. So I’m just wondering, like, you know, what the difference between being a gay man is maybe versus being a black gay man, or even a gay man that grew up in those religious constructs.

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  12:47  

So I’ll tell you, I have a quote that I love, and it’s from a movie called great that’s on amazon prime. And it says being a black man in America is a reality that should never be justified. So you can Imagine being a gay black man. And so the way that I liken it is being black and this is just being, you know, completely transparent. You’re born with a strike against you already. Okay? 

 

Brian Schoenborn  13:15  

Yeah.

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  13:16  

And, and it’s the sad reality that we’ve definitely made some strides in leaps and bounds, you know, for more of a closer inclusive type of thing. But, I mean, if you’re born with that, you know what I mean? And I’ve seen it, you know, my dad is a black man, my uncles are black men. And I’ve seen the struggle and it’s, and it’s almost something that is internalized and passed down generationally. It’s, it’s really bizarre. So, when you’re dealing with the construct of what a black man is, you know, there’s stereotypes there’s the reality there’s all these different things that that that people think about being a black man, but one of those is not being gay. 

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  14:03  

So, the the difference for me and you know, this is my, my experience is that it’s literally like, I’m wearing a scarlet letter before I even open my mouth and I’m the type of person that people know, I can tell that I’m gay right away, you I’m not…I’ve never been one of those people like I’ve been over the top my entire life. And so, to walk into a space and immediately trigger whatever people’s responses are to black people or to gay people, or to gay black people, whatever, it almost is, like you have to be on the defense. And, you know, I, I felt like I was having to choose what events I was going to go to. I learned how to ignore certain things. So that way, it didn’t affect me, you know. But to be completely honest, a lot of the stuff that I had to work through came from my family. 

 

Brian Schoenborn  15:02  

Huh.

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  15:02  

And it wasn’t so much from the outside world, you know, which I mean, I got that. But I think what it was is the rejection from my family and the hesitation for them to really know Norman and so that really shaped my, my, my perspective because I looked up to, you know, various family members who were men and so that to have them say some of the things that they said and did some of the things that they did, it really it showed me Okay, yeah, you’re you’re black and gay. Because it’s like, now these like, these black people are going to point out that you’re gay. And so it’s literally just having just, like, almost like a clown. Like it’s whenever you go somewhere. It’s like, Oh my god, who’s gonna say something about this or who’s gonna say something about that? And what’s ironic is that the whole kind of discrimination about me being gay happened well before I can consciously remember being discriminated against for being black.

 

Brian Schoenborn  16:11  

Hmm. Interesting. 

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  16:12  

And the discrimination and again part of it is my like maybe my obliviousness to discrimination as it was happening, but I don’t really recall a whole whole lot of discrimination for me being black when I was younger. That happened, quite honestly, within like the last five years where I have kind of experienced some some of those types of things. But the the gay thing that that that started long, long time ago, and what’s funny about it, is it started before I even knew that I was gay. 

 

Brian Schoenborn  16:55  

Hmm.

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  16:56  

So it was like, you know, classmates were calling you gay or fag or whatever you know, and so it kind of pushed me into trying to figure out what and who I was. And it didn’t happen organically. Because these people were telling me, this is what you are. And so I, it confused the hell out of me, it…And it’s funny to this day, I still am in contact with one of my classmates who was the first person to call me gay. And I told him back in 2010 I said, you really messed it up for me. Because y’all didn’t know what gay was. But you were putting this off on me. Now I don’t know maybe because I was different. Maybe it wasn’t because I was black. Maybe it was because I was creative and had like, you know, I was good in the arts and stuff, but it really started, for me, the discrimination for me just being me. I can recall that going back all the way to fourth grade. 

 

Brian Schoenborn  17:59  

Wow, okay. And, and because you because you said you’re like a creative artistic type person or

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  18:05  

Well, it was a lot of things like, people didn’t like me because I said I talked to you white. Or you know i, talked too girly. You know, the other kids they didn’t understand like because again, back in this time I was the we were the first black family to live on our street. I was I was the only black student in my class for several years. We lived, you know, in a predominantly white, Caucasian area. So yeah, it was it was just really crazy.

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  18:41  

And looking back at it is one of the reasons why I started over the top living because there’s a lot of people that have gone through that that have taken their own lives. You know, pick up habits that are unsafe and things of that nature and some just don’t want. I want to do my part to prevent that from happening as much as possible. Because it really it really could have gone the other way for me, because it wasn’t just that I was getting it from outside, I was getting it from within my family. Well, literally forces you to a place where like, Okay, well I’m gonna make this happen on my own. So that level of independence that kind of grew from that is what allowed me to finally branch out and and do what I’m doing.

 

Brian Schoenborn  19:34  

Yeah, that’s amazing, man. Kids or kids can be cruel, dude. Yeah, kids can be especially when you’re not when you’re not getting that love from the family, either. I mean, that’s like, Where do you get a break? Where is your peace, you know?

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  19:48  

And you know, the thing is to what I’ve recently realized is that the various things that happened with me and my family wasn’t coming from a place of malice. It wasn’t, you know, a place that, for me, I’ll go back and say from my immediate family, but it wasn’t coming from that. It really was coming from a place of fear. It was coming from a place of naivety, it was coming from a place of ignorance, it was coming from a place of what I see on the news is real life and it’s gonna be your that’s what’s gonna happen to you. And so for a long time, I held resentment against my parents. Because, well, I mean, specifically kind of with my mom, because she now is my greatest supporter, but she was literally scared for me. You know, it wasn’t that she wanted anything bad to happen. But when all you see and here are bad things happening to a group. 

 

Brian Schoenborn  20:46  

Mm hmm.

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  20:46  

And then someone that you love and care about says, oh, by the way, I’m a member of that group of people. It’s almost like you go into defensive mode you go into like mama bear, and unfortunately, you know, with our relationship They caused us to be estranged for a while. But you know, now we both have done the work and she’s my biggest champion, but it was it was time to go there for a while because I look to her to be like my source of happy, joy, all these positive things and I experienced that from her after literally just trying to allow her to know and love the real me was very difficult.

 

Brian Schoenborn  21:29  

I think it’s one of those things. It’s like, ignorance leads to fear. Fear leads to like fight or flight. Right. And, but that’s that’s where a lot of the friction in the world comes from. I think it’s ignorance. 

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  21:45  

Yeah.

 

Brian Schoenborn  21:45  

Right, like, I mean, I’ll tell you what, man growing up. You know, I grew up in this small town in Michigan, right? Probably 90% white people. And, and a lot of them don’t. A lot of those people. They live For generations, they don’t leave that little area. 

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  22:03  

Right? 

 

Brian Schoenborn  22:03  

It’s fine. It’s a good life for them, you know, they have all the things they need friends, family, food, all that stuff, right? But you’re not exposed to the various things that life in the world has to offer. And you don’t you don’t understand it and you don’t get, you know, you don’t get to humanize, you know, people or or understand, you know, cultures or anything else like that. 

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  22:31  

Yeah. 

 

Brian Schoenborn  22:32  

Then as far as you know, it’s whatever is being propagated to you from the news, right or 

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  22:37  

Right for sure. 

 

Brian Schoenborn  22:37  

Or whatever other source that you hear it from, and, you know, if you don’t take time to, like, get to know people or experience, things that, you know, are not things that you’ve always known or that you’re used to. You don’t grow. 

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  22:53  

Right. 

 

Brian Schoenborn  22:54  

I think I think that’s kind of one of the big things here is by kind of, I guess, educating people, but also like, you know, getting to know people that may the, the certain listeners may, you know, may not otherwise be exposed to.

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  23:08  

Yeah, and I think that’s huge. Because it’s, it’s, it’s kind of like my whole situation like when I came to Las Vegas, I came from Chicago, which is a huge city. But the way that our kind of our family construct was, it was like, we did everything together and with my extended family, so my grandmother was a pastor. So we all my whole family, we all went to that church. And so I was very much sheltered. As part of the reason why when I came to Vegas, I was wilding out. 

 

Brian Schoenborn  23:43  

Right. 

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  23:44  

Time. I could do what I wanted. When I wanted, I didn’t have to answer to anyone. So if I wanted to go out in this, you know, go out with a wig on or go out with how I mean whatever it is, I was able to do that. But it really prompted me to get to know a wide variety of people. I learned tons of lessons, you know, good and bad. And I think that you hit the nail right on the head, you know, when we’re not exposed to certain things. It’s scary. 

 

Brian Schoenborn  24:16  

Mm hmm. No, absolutely. Like I just, I go back to this thought like when I, you know, I lived in China for almost four years. And when I the first time I came back from Beijing visited my family in Michigan. I ran into this lady that I grew up with. She was she was the guitarist at my church or something like that. So I knew her pretty well. She I bumped into her like this local store, and she’s like, oh, what are you doing? And I’m like, Oh, you know, I’m just I’m living in China just doing my thing. She’s like, oh, China, China, right? What are you doing there? I’m so scared for you. It’s communist. Baba, Baba, Baba Baba. stuff. Are you safe? Are you safe? Are you safe? And I’m like, yeah, it’s actually you know, I feel just as safe there. If not safer than in America and 

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  24:59  

Right. 

 

Brian Schoenborn  24:59  

warm and welcoming. And, you know, there’s I’m having a great time over there. And she’s like, oh my god, I can’t even believe it, Brian. I’m scared for you and like, but that’s the thing because, you know, China’s I mean, that’s an example where it’s the opposite side of the world, you know, China’s always in the news, right? As the existential threat to American domination, you know, all that. When all you hear is this doom and gloom, or like naysaying sort of things then, you know, that’s the picture that you have painted in your mind about someone or something or whatever, right someplace. But until you actually expose yourself, you’re never gonna really know. 

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  25:40  

No, you never know. Mm hmm.

 

Brian Schoenborn  25:43  

Tell me So you said I think you started kind of kind of started coming into your own and like in 2019. How did the…how did that start? Something about a Powerhouse Academy? Is that what that was?

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  25:57  

So it actually you know, and I have to give credit where credit is due. It actually started a little bit prior to the power house. I was involved in multi level marketing. And on top of everything else I’ve got going on. And one of the foundations of the organization that I worked with was personal development and growth. 

 

Brian Schoenborn  26:20  

Hmm. 

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  26:20  

Oh, in addition to our sales and all of that, we would get up in the morning and be book clubs at five in the morning. We would, you know, we promoted healthy lifestyle. We promoted reading, writing all of that. And that situation really put me in the room with like minded individuals. From there is how I met Chandra Brooks, who is the founder of the Powerhouse Academy because she was actually invited as a speaker to the group that I was working with. 

 

Brian Schoenborn  26:52  

Hmm.

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  26:53  

And, you know, while we’re talking and you know, I was doing some research on her and about this academy and it was specifically geared towards women. And so I didn’t even think like that, you know, it was something that I could even consider. But then I began to look at Chandra’s roster. And I began to see the list of politicians, authors, podcast hosts. Just these these powerful women and, and high ranking positions. They have access to all these different tables and like, I need that. And I reached out to her, and I, whatever it is that you’re giving these women in Powerhouse, I need that. And the Powerhouse Academy is a leadership and development and business coaching mentorship, like it’s all that kind of wrapped into one. And it’s a six week program, eight weeks, eight week program. Actually, we actually went a little bit longer, but it if it wasn’t for the power house, I would have never kind of honed in on exactly what my vision was, because you can be good at a whole bunch of things, but you can’t do a whole bunch of things at one time. So what the Powerhouse taught me was, okay, what are you passionate about? And what are you good at? And can we put those two things together in a package that will allow you to touch lives, allow you to make an impact, but I mean, also, you know, allow me to make money? And so that really is like that’s what took it over the edge. But kind of my I was kind of already getting in that that groove and the powerhouse just literally, it truly changed my life. Because I went from the mentality of always being an employee to now being an employer. I shifted my mentality to you know, my limitless potential. I shifted my mentality from always being okay being mediocre to pushing bnack to become my very best. 

 

Brian Schoenborn  29:02  

What? So just kind of curious about, like, what is the powerhouse? I mean, you said it’s like an eight week course. Are there things in there like, I mean, cuz it sounds like there was a major transformation that happened during that period. Of course, going back to the thought process was that the process was it like what? What was the thing?

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  29:23  

It was the process but it was that having a coach that held me accountable for example, if you know so we would have group calls every week, you know, we would have print subject matter every week, we’d have group calls, individual calls, and she would give us homework. And so throughout the week, now literally to this day, she still watches everything I do. If I if I post something on Facebook, she’s like, Oh, you need to change the words you know, to do this or, but it was really having access to the resources. That’s number one. And that’s one way to advocate you know, having a coach because she has already Been there. And so she already had a multitude of resources that I now have access to. She kept me accountable. So if I said that I was going to reach out to Xyz Corporation, you know, for a speaking engagement, or if I was, you know, whatever it is that we had planned, she was on my ass about it. And so it basically was a catch and switch in my mentality from inactivity to activity.

 

Brian Schoenborn  30:27  

From that. So from those lessons in the shifting of the mind, the accountability, and the action, how have you taken that and kind of roll, ran with it?

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  30:39  

Well, I have launched my speaking tour, which I’ve always considered myself a good speaker and I always consider myself a wordsmith and someone that it was able to articulate. But it wasn’t until I owned my whole story. And that was one of the things That Chandra pulled out of me because I was nervous to talk about my family to talk about my mom, you know, one of my speaking topics is you won’t live to see 30 words from your mother, you know, so and be very transparent and vulnerable. I wasn’t ready for that. But when it was put into the perspective of Norman, there are people who need you and don’t even know it yet. There are people who are waiting for the services that you’re going to provide. It shifted my mindset to being a little selfless. And so I had to have a conversation with my family and say, This is what my new my venture is. And it just so that you know, the things are going you know, are going to come out, but it was, it was a kind of a package of the accountability, the resources, and also the other women that were in my cohort. You know, we offered a ton of support for each other. And that’s really what catapulted me into wanting to speak. And then from there, she pushed me, okay, reach out to these people reach out to these people. And so speaking engagements started coming in, things started changing, things started shifting. And, you know, that’s that’s literally how it happened and it happened very fast. 

 

Brian Schoenborn  32:24  

Wow, that’s awesome. So, um, what are what are some of the things that you’re speaking so you’re talking about you won’t live until 30?

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  32:31  

Yeah, so that’s one of my speaking topics. Um, and basically that was, I mean, it just explores my family dynamic. You know, my mother was a single mom for majority of our upbringing, and my younger sister is gay as well and it’s just the two of us. Now, mind you we didn’t come out till much later. But that was challenging because I would have to imagine as a mother, she would have seen something or or been able to pick up about something and so, when I came out, she didn’t think I would live to be 30. And it wasn’t that she wanted me to die or, you know, anything like that. But in her circle, you know, the people that came out and live the openly gay lifestyle, they were involved in things and and, you know, drugs and, you know, extremely promiscuous and, you know, obviously back then, you know, AIDS was, you know, very it was in the spotlight, you know.

 

Brian Schoenborn  33:34  

Yeah. 

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  33:34  

It was very new, it was newer. And so in her mind, she was like, Well, if you are going to live this way, there’s no way that you’re going, you’re going to live past 30. And so, I talked about that and talk about how our relationship has completely transformed into the beautiful mother son relationship that we have today. My second speaking topic is Be You Boo, and it’s living unapologetically and unshamed. And it says exploring coming into your own self, accepting yourself learning to encourage yourself, you know, I feel like as human beings we get so caught up in this outside validation, that we don’t realize that everything that we need is already inside of us. So we talked about that. And we talked about some of the Over the Top Living hacks that I’ve kind of created, which will be, you know, coming out in my book that’ll be released later this year. But we talked about some Over the Top Living hacks that you can just catch that that thought and switch it to something, you know, more productive or positive. My third speaking topic is Double Trouble, my Black Experience. and so that explores my journey as a black man who’s gay. And I kind of talked about the unique challenges and how internal and external influences ultimately brought me to where I am. And it talks about not just my professional development, but my personal development as well.

 

Brian Schoenborn  35:01  

Hmm. So I mean, it sounds to me like you definitely put the work in. You know, that’s a lot of, you know, there’s a lot of deep self reflection, you know, working through certain kinks, you know, that kind of stuff, getting to that point, man, that’s, that’s great, dude. I mean, you sound like a very, very whole a whole person right now.

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  35:23  

Yeah. 

 

Brian Schoenborn  35:24  

Fantastic. 

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  35:25  

For the first time.

 

Brian Schoenborn  35:27  

That’s great, man. I’m so so proud of you, man. What about I’m also curious because again, going back to that kind of the the black gay dynamic as well as with your with the religious family. You know, what did it take to talk about your mom for second, like, what did it take for like, how did she come to terms or come to grips with everything and and ultimately accept you and your sister?

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  35:56  

So it’s funny you asked that because what I’m getting right to share with you I just found out last week. When I came out, my sister saw how the family reacted. And at time that I was coming out, she was going through the same thing. But I found out, she just shared this with me last week, that she was terrified to come out after seeing what I had gone through. 

 

Brian Schoenborn  36:21  

Hmm. 

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  36:22  

And, you know, essentially what happened is my mom basically said, I can’t deal with this. You are, I’m giving you back to God, essentially. And we didn’t speak for quite some time. Now. I don’t remember how long it was that we didn’t speak. To me. I thought it was like eight or six months. My sister said it was over a year. She was living in Illinois at the time and she shared with me that my mom’s husband and my sister were one year begging and pleading my mom to call me for my birthday. 

 

Brian Schoenborn  36:55  

Wow. 

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  36:56  

Um, and and she just couldn’t or wouldn’t But it really took knowing what I know now, it really took my sister and my stepdad, to really kind of step in and and, and say this is still your son. And so we started talking again, I want to say we started talking via email at first. And then, you know, she started to come and visit. I think that what it was is when she saw that I am, as you said, a whole person. I wasn’t living in a bunch of lack. You know, I’m still the same Norman from before. And as she began to interact and insert herself more into my life, she thought, Okay, this is these are my kids. And it was that initial shock. And I think that in some ways now that I’m, you know, speaking of it, she was trying to protect her heart. 

 

Brian Schoenborn  37:58  

Mm hmm.

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  37:59  

And so once she came and started involving herself in my wife, involving herself more of my sister’s life at the time, I think that’s when it became easier for her. And it was a no brainer at that point. Because she sees Oh, wow, I raised great kids. It was it was definitely a process. Okay. It was a process that took years. But part of the success of this relationship is that I had to set boundaries on what I was willing to accept, what I was willing to hear, where I was willing to, to see all of that. And so we had, you know, we set these boundaries, and now we interact as mother son, but as adults. And so it’s a completely different dynamic now, and I’m really blessed that, I’m really blessed to have the support of both my parents, but I’m really, really proud of where me and my mom are today. Because, again, it was touch and go.

 

Brian Schoenborn  39:11  

Yeah. That’s, that’s interesting, you know, say I think about, like, you know, every kid, sorry, every parent wants what’s best for their kid. And but at the same time, the reality of it is, you know, as a parent, it’s easy to get inside of this bubble, you know, you’re raising the kid for, you know, 18 years, whatever the case may be, and this has always been your little boy and all that stuff. And then life starts happening. Right, reality starts happening and out and a lot of times, you know, parents don’t really know how to respond to that. You know, for example, you know, I kind of like I said, I’ve had PTSD for almost 20 years. I was actually I was drugged and raped by a man in the military. Right? And so that that’s fucked me up for a long time. There’s been in my parents have known about it since early on and they’ve been, you know, try to be loving and stuff. But I remember probably must have been like five years ago, I think. I was taking a road trip with my dad. And he said he goes, Brian, just get over it? Why don’t you just let it go? 

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  40:23  

Right. 

 

Brian Schoenborn  40:24  

And it’s, you know, like he just doesn’t understand like what’s going on inside of my head with with experiences that I had and you know, everyone’s different. Some people can let things go, you know, some people experience a traumatic event and develop PTSD. Like that’s how it works. You know, whether they want to try to discount you or push you away, or whatever the case may be, you know, they’re always they love you and they care for you and they want what’s best for you. 

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  40:48  

Yeah. 

 

Brian Schoenborn  40:49  

And also, they’re, if they’re discounting it or whatever. They’re just trying to like, in their own way, I think make it right. But

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  41:02  

It’s a sense of control that that you have. And you’re dealing with, you know, your parents, they want to protect us. They want to keep us safe. They don’t want to believe that anything bad can happen to us. And when something does that is completely outside of their control, what I have found is it sends them haywire. There’s something in the brain that just does not allow them to like to accept the fact that I don’t have control over this situation. This is something that happened is that my child is going through and I’ve got to give them the space and time to move through it. 

 

Brian Schoenborn  41:40  

Yep. 

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  41:41  

I think that that’s the biggest thing that I’ve learned, at least from my parents. Is that it all it all came from a very loving place. But when you’re dealing with your kids or anyone you love, sometimes that loving place can manifest itself something completely different

 

Brian Schoenborn  42:04  

in so many ways to I mean, this, you know, this, you know, again, whether it’s whether it’s being you know, whether it’s whether it’s having a certain orientation or having, you know, maybe you have certain beliefs about religion, maybe you join a church and your parents weren’t or maybe you left something or whatever, you know, or also there’s countless other things that can kind of send them that way. You know, like, Oh, you know, I was raised Catholic. Oh, you didn’t marry good Catholic girl. or whatever, right? Um, you know, it’s just so stupid. It’s so stupid, you know, but it’s but you’re right, it sends them haywire and I think it’s a control thing, too. is probably probably gonna stay that way for the rest of time. Because you know, everyone says they’re gonna do things differently. But, you know, you get wrapped up in that bubble and you know, it’s the nurturing instincts. I think, rght?

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  43:00  

Yeah.

 

Brian Schoenborn  43:02  

But it’s it’s great that a great to hear that she was able to work through it, you know, finally accept you for that man and it’s and not only that but like to the max right like, like it’s crazy.

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  43:14  

And you know and I have to you know because I know my dad is gonna listen to this and actually give him credit because I asked my dad on Saturday, I knew we were preparing for this and I have some other things that I’m preparing for and I said, Dad, how did you react my came out? And he said, I’m still waiting. And so I didn’t realize that I never officially came out to my dad accepted me and we rolled with it. Now mind you when I lived when I first moved to Vegas, and I was working with you at Metro I was living with him. 

 

Brian Schoenborn  43:49  

Okay. 

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  43:49  

Oh, I, in my mind. I thought that I would have had to have told him. 

 

Brian Schoenborn  43:54  

Yeah. 

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  43:55  

But no, he said I never came out. He said I’m still waiting. I just have to give him that, that that credit and not to discount you know from either parent. They’re, they’re both amazing, but I was really I was really proud at that moment. And I’m proud of both of my parents because I’m proud that my dad just kind of rolled with it. So super proud that my mom worked through her own bullshit and own stuff and her own whatever was in her mind or from society to get to where we are today. 

 

Brian Schoenborn  44:34  

Shout out to mom and dad. Is that three? 

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  44:36  

What? 

 

Brian Schoenborn  44:37  

Is that Norman three?

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  44:38  

Well yeah, that’s Norman the third. 

 

Brian Schoenborn  44:40  

Shout out shout out to Big Three. 

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  44:42  

Yeah.

 

Brian Schoenborn  44:45  

So he talked a little bit about like some of the speaking engagement stuff, kind of shift gears a little bit. This is all related to Over the Top Living? Like what is what is Over the Top Living? Like how did you get to that point, you know, decide to create whatever, you know, what this is?

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  45:02  

So Over the Top Living, the way that that came about I actually had this business name for years. Oh, probably since 2012. Just because my mom is very much like, prepare, have your documents in order. And I always knew that I was over the top, but…

 

Brian Schoenborn  45:27  

Yeah, no shit, huh? 

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  45:30  

I decided to take it from a negative and turn it into a positive. A lot of people were saying, Oh, you know, Norman is over the top, and it was in a bad way or a negative connotation. And I’m like, you’re right. I am over the top. And so basically, the over the top, it’s multifaceted. So it’s my personal brand, as well as my signature mentorship program. So my speaking and basically everything I’m doing right now is some way tied to over the top living. So, right now I’ve recently, two weeks ago I was sworn in as a member of the governing board of the Southern Nevada Health Department over there at the Community Center. 

 

Brian Schoenborn  46:19  

Nice, man huge. 

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  46:21  

Yeah, yeah. Huge, huge. That’s also an extension of over the top living. My speaking engagements are an extension of over the top living. And, you know, my coaching and mentorship program is one is a part of that as well.

 

Brian Schoenborn  46:39  

Right on, man. And so how do you how do you live over the top like that’s, I mean, I know you Norman, and I know you’ve been, you know, you’ve been over the top, extra, as far as long as I’ve known you. 

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  46:51  

Yeah. 

 

Brian Schoenborn  46:51  

How like, how do you how does one go about living over the top like, lay it on me.

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  46:56  

It’s two things for me, which are multi layered, but the cacth and switch attitude. So what I mean by that is I catch any negative thought or anything and I switch it with something that’s productive. I switch, I catch my inactivity and switch it for activity. But the main thing was you do the work. Okay. And then once you’ve done the work you live, unapologetically and unashamed period. That’s how you live over the top. Your version of living over the top may not be as loud and in your face as mine, you know, a client that I’m working with who she is, she’s definitely over the top but in her own way, and over the her was changing her mindset that she can start her own business and do herself. So it really is what you make of it, but it is catching and switching those negative, non non productive thoughts and behaviors for something positive and productive. It is changing that inaction for action word, and then it’s just simply living in purpose, on purpose. It is very intentional.

 

Brian Schoenborn  47:24  

Mm hmm.

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  48:14  

And it’s living, unapologetic, and unashamed like you mentioned earlier, when we stop caring about what other people think. If I was caring if I still cared about what people thought I wouldn’t even be able to be sitting here doing this podcast with you like, well, oh my god, you know, I’m just, you know, I’m Norman, like, who wants to hear from me, you know, but I had to throw that out the window and really just live my truth and purpose on purpose.

 

Brian Schoenborn  48:58  

Hell, yeah. I love that living in person, on purpose. Like that’s a I love that. That’s a great a guidepost. What else you want to talk about? Let’s go, so you mentioned that you were on the governing board of the Southern Nevada Community House. Like, how did this happen, dude, like this? I mean, just because that’s a big deal. You’re still young, right? You seem awfully young to be a board member of something so big.

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  49:27  

Yeah. From your lips to God’s ears.

 

Brian Schoenborn  49:29  

I mean, how did this happen? Dude, tell me about this.

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  49:31  

So, again, I’m gonna, I’m gonna circle back to the Powerhouse, because it, it has a lot to do with a lot of the things that I’m doing right now. So essentially, I was asked to be on the board. And because of, you know, I’ve been in Vegas for since 2007. I, you know, previously back in the day, I was on the Las Vegas pride board and, you know, I was an entertainer and so I know the community here very, very well. I kept saying no, oh I’ll think about it or, you know, whatever. And then the individual that that had been, I don’t want to say pursuing me, but had been encouraging me to join. He literally looked at me and said, this is your community. Do you care about it or not? 

 

Brian Schoenborn  50:24  

Wow. 

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  50:25  

And what was crazy about that, Brian, is when I went to get sworn in there was nobody that looked like me on the board. 

 

Brian Schoenborn  50:36  

Hmm. 

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  50:37  

Um, there were no wait, hold on. Let me take that back. There were no black gay men. 

 

Brian Schoenborn  50:45  

Hmm.

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  50:47  

There’s a couple gay guys. And I said gay guys. I mean, these are high ranking. You know, you know, the the mayor Pro Tem for North Las Vegas is on my board and and he’s not gay, but I I’m just saying that these are huge, heavy hitters. I didn’t see anyone that looked like me. I didn’t see a young professional. I didn’t see, you know, the young, gay person, I didn’t see a black gay person. And so in that moment, I knew that I had a responsibility to be on that board. I knew it, right then. 

 

Brian Schoenborn  51:25  

Yeah.

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  51:25  

And so, you know, it was, again, allowing myself the permission to be myself in this room and accept the fact that I belong there.

 

Brian Schoenborn  51:40  

That’s an interesting situation too right? Like, when you start Well, first of all, I’d say representation matters. 

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  51:49  

Yeah. 

 

Brian Schoenborn  51:49  

So you know, that’s, I mean, whether it’s, whether it’s like on screen or whatever, but like, but you know, it also matters in the local community, right? Because that’s, that’s how you, that’s how you tailor policies or whatever towards everybody, you know, be inclusive like that, it starts there. But also like, when you’re in the right spot, right, like when you’re, you know, like when you know you’re in the right spot things just they work, right? Like the guy in um, so, so in addition to this, you know, I’m developing some other projects, film TV and stuff like that. And over the last couple of years have been introduced to a lot of award winning producers. I you know, I did an event with some professional athletes. And you know, the amazing thing to me is like that like that stuff all started happening once I figured out what my path was, my purpose, 

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  51:57  

Right.

 

Brian Schoenborn  52:01  

And everything started coming together and you know, I meet these people and we just hit it off and like we’ve no, no others. These producers are these celebrities are these professional athletes. We just hit it off man and like, and it’s good, you know, it’s the creative juices flowing, it’s respecting each other. You know, it’s having a good time. But it’s just a fit. 

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  53:11  

Yeah. 

 

Brian Schoenborn  53:12  

You know? And I mean, I even think like back to and, you know, when we worked at Metro shout out to Metro PCS, shout out the metro. But when we’re working there, you know, like, I struggled man, like, I mean, I could do the work. I got along with a couple of people, but I fucking hated it. You know, and I was and I was a cog in a machine, and that’s how it was most of the most of the way through my corporate career before I decided to go and never work for anybody again. You know? But it’s that point, right? Like, you know, once I, I did the work, I get, you know, I changed my mindset and a lot of things. And, you know, figured out what my thing was, and that’s…again, everything starts falling in place, and then you realize you’re standing around, maybe at an event or something and you’re looking around and you’re like, I’m surrounded by a bunch of high profile powerful people. And guess what? They’re treating me as one of them.

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  54:15  

Right? Because you are. And that’s the crazy thing about it. 

 

Brian Schoenborn  54:21  

And you’re like, Really?

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  54:22  

Yeah. 

 

Brian Schoenborn  54:23  

Hold on a second. Me? Come on. 

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  54:27  

Yeah, yeah. It’s, it’s, it’s crazy that the rooms that I’m in now, just by aligning myself with my purpose, you know, and before I even spoke, they booked me for the graduation of May.

 

Brian Schoenborn  54:45  

Oh sweet!

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  54:46  

Yeah, it’s crazy. I’ll be the keynote speaker at the lavender graduation may 1. It’s just the room that I’m in at the table that I’m at now. Really positioning me to do some huge good, you know? Not just for the LGBTQ community. I mean, as that’s my focus, but I mean for everybody.

 

Brian Schoenborn  55:06  

A big respect to that dude. And I mean, I’m not sure if you know, but like, so again, going back to my PTSD stuff, like, I’m also in the process of developing writing a book and developing a show around my experiences with that, you know, I’ve done a lot of work on myself. I’ve worked through a lot of I still live with it, I’ve learned to manage it. 

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  55:25  

Yeah. 

 

Brian Schoenborn  55:26  

But the problem with like, PTSD, for example, is that, you know, so many people have it. And nobody ever wants to talk about it. Right? So so even by just saying, okay, you know, what, Hey, I’ll come talk about it. I’ll write a book about it, you know, I’ll make a show about it or whatever. For me, that’s, I’m trying to help those people because, like, let’s face it in the military. I mean, there’s a there’s a number number 22. There’s 22 military, active duty or veterans that kill themselves every single day. And a lot of it has to do with PTSD related stuff. 

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  56:05  

Wow. 

 

Brian Schoenborn  56:05  

And yeah, and those are, those are things like those are internal battles that you’re fighting with yourself every day, right? Nobody wants to talk about the event, because it’s the most horrific day they’ve ever experienced. Right? Because they don’t want to talk about it. No, but their family and other, you know, medical professionals, whatever, they don’t know how to respond. And it’s just kind of a, it’s a it’s a, it’s a, like a downhill downward spiral kind of sort of thing, right? It’s the opposite of a virtuous cycle. 

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  56:39  

Sure. 

 

Brian Schoenborn  56:40  

It’s just all bad. And you know, like for me to see all that kind of talk about stuff like that, you know, and I’ve been told by some some people that you know, doing what I’m doing is going to save lives. 

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  56:51  

Oh, I believe it. 

 

Brian Schoenborn  56:52  

No, I mean, that’s that’s kind of what keeps me going. And But still, I’m just like, wow, like, you know, if I I’ve been living with this for damn near 20 years. I could have. I mean, I could have done something about this long before that. But I think you have to wait until you become that whole person, right, until you until you work through your stuff. And, you know, if you’re the type person that wants to have that type of focus or platform, you’ve got to wait until the time is right.

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  57:27  

Oh, you have to, you have to timing is so crucial. Because especially doing what like what you’re doing. It’s emotional, and constant because not only are you living with it and managing it, but you’re talking about it and you’re sharing it consistently. And so if you’re not in a mental or emotional place to manage that also, it’s it’s actually does more harm than good.

 

Brian Schoenborn  57:57  

Right? And so that, and that’s exactly right. Like I’ve had other people that have had similar situations in me, like reach out to me that I’ve never met before they’re like, oh I wanna share my story. I’m gonna share my story. I’m like, No, you don’t know like, not not No, you don’t, but you don’t right now, like, take some time process through this stuff, try to get some sort of grip on it. And then you can make the decision if you want to share it. You can if you want, you don’t have to, either way. But, you know, somebody’s got to talk about various situations. Because that goes that goes back to the exposure thing, right? If we don’t, if we’re not exposed to it, we don’t know about it. And that which we don’t know, we fear. That which we fear we cause harm to, right?

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  58:43  

Yeah, yeah.

 

Brian Schoenborn  58:47  

So I’m just over here doing my little part.

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  58:51  

You know what, I’m glad. I’m glad that you are because especially learning that figure of the military personnel that take their own lives, that that’s huge. And I’m glad that you’re here to tell it.

 

Brian Schoenborn  59:03  

Yeah. Appreciate it, man. I think we’re at a pretty good spot to wrap it up. I think it feels pretty natural. 

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  59:10  

Yeah. 

 

Brian Schoenborn  59:11  

Do you have anything else you want to talk about before we wrap it up?

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  59:14  

Yeah, you know, no, I’m just again, I just want to get across, you know, from everyone that can hear me. You are enough. I want to challenge you. I want to challenge you that thing that you’ve been putting off that thing, that that book that’s been in the back of your mind that song that you’ve been wanting to write, that business venture, that contact that you’ve been wanting to reach out, I want you to be intentional with that. I want you to begin to live in purpose and on purpose. And then just do you, as I say do you boo. And live unapologetically and live unashamed, in your truth.

 

Brian Schoenborn  59:53  

Hell yeah, man. Hell, yeah. Anything else you want to plug?

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  59:57  

So definitely all day long. I will always plug the Powerhouse Academy but you can go to Chandra-Brooks.com or you can just YouTube Powerhouse Academy is all over there and then also Over the Top we will have our official launch on April 18 here in Las Vegas, I’m really excited about that. Our website is currently under construction just so that we can bring some, you know, fresher content just you know follow you can follow me on Instagram @theMrLiverpool I’m on Facebook overthetopliving so I just invite any of you that even if you have any questions just feel free to be able to connect with me on my speaking engagements, my speaking tour, or on my signature mentorship program.

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:00:41  

Right on man appreciate it appreciate the time as well. Been been a good one. Good catch up and learned quite a bit man. I you know, I’m really like I said I’m really proud of you know the person you’ve become over the last few years, man, you’ve really come into yourself.

 

Norman J. Liverpool IV  1:00:55  

Well, I appreciate it. Thank you.

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:00:57  

Give it up for my friend Norma Liverpool everyone. You’ve been listening to Half the City with Brian Schoenborn, presented by 8B Media. Be sure to subscribe to this podcast, share it with your friends and leave a solid five-star review to ensure these stories get spread far and wide. For more information, as well as listen to other shows, including Relentless: a Survivor’s Search for Passion, Purpose and Inner Peace, and Beyond Relentless, be sure to check out 8Bmedia.com. Thank you for listening.

 

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

 

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