The Man Behind the Cause: Ahynte Heard

December 16, 2015 0 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Article by Britney Broussard

For those of you who are not familiar with the name Ahynte Heard, allow me to enlighten you.  Ahynte stands for ‘All Have Yearnings None Truer than Enlightenment.’

Anthony “Ahynte” Heard was born in Rochester, New York. He grew up in an abusive household. But outside of the Heard household, Ahynte was a normal boy who was well known and very athletic. He stood out because of his drive and determination.  

“At the age of 10 or 11, I knew that my words and experiences would lead me to a place where I could help other people,” said Heard.

Heard has accomplished a lot in his 33 years. Not only is he a father, brother, and grandson, but a poet, community activist, mentor, graphic designer, and web builder. He’s also the founder of Verbal Essence, Recycle Our Dollar and A Great Day in LaVilla.

“Ahynte is a person that is misunderstood. He can sometimes come off as arrogant, but he is a passionate and caring person with a big heart,” said Alexis Thomas, Heard’s best friend and a substance abuse counselor at Lakeview Health.

When I sat down with Heard at Three Layers Café, there wasn’t a single question he didn’t answer. We sat down in the bar area. He took off his black leather jacket and laid it across the back of his chair. Dressed in jeans and a sweater, he closed his eyes. Looking at him, one might think he was closing his eyes to block out the background noise and focus on the interview.

Heard desires to help stimulate economic activity into struggling historically African-American neighborhoods like Jacksonville's Eastside.

If given the chance to see the interaction between Johanna “Free” Brown and Heard, one might think they were blood-related. Though they don’t share blood, Free says Heard has stepped up as a big brother.

“I have only know Ahynte for three to four years but he is a great big brother,” said Free. “Giving me noogies, great advice, and being fiercely protective of me.”

Ahynte Heard has been a hustler ever since the age of 15, when he had his own apartment, and his first job washing cars. He was emancipated from his parents.

“Washing cars taught me hard work and perseverance,” said Heard.

Ahynte Heard has lived. At the end of the day, no one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes. But Ahynte Heard is a person trying to help the community -- specifically black businesses and the black community.

His new project, Recycle Our Dollars, is a project designed to do just that.

“I have walked from start to finish with his project,” said Heard. “We have a mission statement, goal and branding. To me, this is the only organization that deals with how African Americans spend their money and cares about them having financial longevity. It is all about support. We are reaching out to the black community with a black list of more than 50 different businesses, so they know how to support black businesses. For black businesses, we are giving them four-hour training classes that help them in customer service, how to grow their business and how to reach out to the community.”

Black Wall Street, the name fittingly given to one of the most affluent all-Black communities in America, was bombed from the air and burned to the ground by mobs of envious outsiders. In less than 12 hours, over 3,000 African Americans died and over 600 successful businesses were lost. Courtesy of

Ahynte Heard is trying to take all the excuses out of why African Americans can’t support businesses and why black business owners are not growing and developing.

"My ultimate goal is to take 13 blocks from every major metropolitan and recreate a black wall street," such as what once existed in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

In the early 1920’s, there was a Black Wall Street that was fluent in African American business, with our own banks, schools, hospitals and everything we needed,” said Heard.

Before the 1921 riot, Tulsa's Greenwood was known as the Black Wall Street. Courtesy of

“My legacy that I want to leave for my kids is them knowing that their father made a difference in the world, and for them to be proud of their father and not ashamed.”

Article by Britney Broussard