Hello and welcome! It’s now February, which means it’s officially Black History Month. In honor and celebration of Black voices, Black identities, and Black success, we are going to be featuring all of Kankakee Podcast’s African American guests on the Kankakee Podcast blog. A guest will be featured each week of February to recognize each individual’s story and highlight the diversity, positivity, and perspective that they bring to our community.
And, without further ado, our first featured guest is the one and only Derek Grant!
Derek Grant, who appeared on episode 28 of the podcast, is the founder of the apparel brand Apply Pressure. Apply Pressure, which was created in 2019, is also Derek’s life motto, which he talks about in depth throughout his interview.
As Derek explained, the term Apply Pressure became his life motto after experiencing a series of traumatic events as a teenager and young adult. At the age of 17, Derek fell victim to gang violence. He was shot 11 times while sitting in his car with his girlfriend. Fortunately, Derek did not suffer from any vital organ damage, but his wounds – and the experience – lead to heavy scarring and years of PTSD.
After years of battling mental illness, Derek attempted to take his own life. Derek explained that at this point in his life, he felt as if no one had anything good to say about him. Fortunately, through what Derek described as divine intervention, doctors were able to revive him.
Out of dark times, however, comes shining hope. Derek’s experiences helped him forge the path he is living and sharing with others, including his brand Apply Pressure and the Man Up! program he does in conjunction with the city of Kankakee.
I don’t think anyone who has listened to Derek’s story will disagree when I say this episode is probably one of the most emotional stories we have heard. While Derek’s story reminds us of the importance of good role models and the vitality of a strong community, it also highlights the perseverance and resilience that Derek has demonstrated, and he reminds us that we are all diamonds. As stated by Derek himself, “A diamond, simply translated, is unbreakable.”
Thank you, Derek, for openly sharing your journey with us. You are an inspiration to the community.
Listen to Kankakee Podcast episode with Derek:
To learn more about Apply Pressure, visit:
To learn more about the Man Up! program, visit: