WHEN YOU FOLLOW YOUR OWN DRUMMER,
YOU HAVE TO BE YOUR OWN CHEERLEADER.
Growing up in Flatbush Brooklyn, NY Black Tom Cruise learned to believe in the “POWAA” of transformation. His personal journey is a testament to positive affirmation and believing in yourself. Born Otis Dean Perkins, the first born of Willie and Marie Perkins, Otis aka Black Tom Cruise (BTC), wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth by any means. He lived with his parents and younger sister in a two-bed room apartment over a hardware store in a tenement building. “To say my parents hustled is an understatement.” Otis’s mother worked two jobs, as domestic help and for a disability facility while his father worked in a hardware store as a delivery driver. “My parents worked all the time so my sister and I were on our own. As a young kid I kept to myself. As long as I had my video games and food I was cool.”
But that soon turned into a problem. At a young age Otis struggle with his weight and in school he struggled to keep up.
At one point I was over 150 pounds in elementary school so I don’t have to tell you how things went…there’s no place tougher than the playground.”
In addition, Otis was placed in special ed class for students with learning disabilities. My mother was livid but my father kept saying “you’re better than that. You can do anything you put your mind to.”
“I wasn’t focused so I just tuned out. I was that guy hanging out on the corner everyday and night for that matter.”
But it all turned around for Otis in junior high and high school when he started playing football. “Football saved me. I got on the team ‘cause I was big, then I started working out and was part of something I could be good at.” “Those friendships I made back then I still have to this day.”
“I was always a big guy and it never bothered me, but now I had a dream.”
“It’s funny, but once you have a dream you have direction and once you have direction you begin to focus.” In order to play football Otis needed to keep his grades up or at least pass his classes. “I never said I can’t do this. I knew if it meant playing football, I had no choice.” Being behind the eight ball seemed to work and motivate him as he not only graduated with his High School diploma but received a special certificate from his school’s health & medical technology institute department.
Otis took it to the next level and got a scholarship to play football at Nassau Community College. He received his Associates degree in Communications surprising all the nay sayers. All seem to be going well, then he got hurt.
One day I was on a path, the next I was trying to figure out what my next move would be.” It turned out his next move was NYPD. He joined the force but something was still missing and again, He lost his focus. “I was getting out of shape again so I started hanging out around a gym called Riches.
All though Junior High, High School and College I was training. I became a regular gym rat.
I was hanging out at Riches and I started training on a regular. That’s when I gave myself the handle Black Tom Cruise. Then I heard about the equipment over at Coliseum gym and went there. That’s where BTC met Kevin Oak and a young, hungry dude coming up in the game named Larry Wheels.
I would say I was working out for about four years before I really started getting serious about Powerlifting. Training with those guys helped me a lot. Larry and I would meeting up every other day to workout. We tried to inspire each other to reach our goals. That’s where the POWAA began.”
Here’s where BTC began to hone his skills. He signed up for his very first Power lifting meeting on March 22, 2015 and did 690 lbs on the deadlift, 405 lbs on bench press and 530 lbs squat for a total PR of 1,625 lbs (737 kg). Not too bad for a beginner and he was hooked.
Many meets and conferences later BTC has become a well know name around the circuit and in the powerlifting game. Training with some of the top names in the industry from strongman (World’s Strongest Bodybuilder) Hafthor Bjornsson to his good friend Larry Wheels. With his signature sayings and motivational quotes like POWAA! Melted Ice and Morning Paper.
I’ve always tried to turn my negatives to positives. My hobby and passion are now an important part of my lifestyle and who I am. It takes commitment and discipline and sometimes there’s a lot of pain and sacrifices that goes with it but the satisfaction that I get from being a part of it, for me, out weights it all.
“I’m always surprised when a complete stranger stops me on the street for a photo or call out hey it’s BTC or POWAA!”
I’m serious about the gains but I tried to keep a balanced approach. The people I’ve met, the camaraderie I have with people, having a good time and along with accomplishing the short and long term goals helps me stay level.
“Its like picking-up the morning paper.”
BTC recently lost 55lbs through training and clean eating. Reinventing himself and striving for new goals is his testament that you really can do anything you put your mind to.
“Sure there’s others stronger than me, there always will be. There are new people coming up in the game everyday and there’s room for everybody, young, old, male and female and if you have heart there’s nothing you can’t do…that’s what I love.”
FUN FACTS ABOUT BTC
Well, when I was looking for a handle, I wanted something catchy but also, something that brought certain characteristics to mind. Tom Cruise characters are always, cool, charming but with a lot of action and energy. Anyway I liked the way BTC sounded.
I’ve always been a gym rat. But I would have to say I started getting serious about my training about 4-5 years ago. I met some serious dudes but I guess once I started training with Larry Wheels and Kevin Oak that’s when it started.
I love performance vehicles and racing. I had a Mustang Cobra, BMW M6 and currently drive a Viper and SRT truck. I also like traveling. Cuba, Greece, Caribbean, all around the world man.
I’ve been working out twice a day as well as eating lean. High Protein and low carbs, although I do eat a lot of rice. I lost about 55 bls. all together using my workout plan.
Well, I tried to video my workouts and see my strengths and weaknesses to improve and get better. I also challenge myself to see how far I can go. Its also good to stay positive and set achievable goals.
If you have a passion for it, you have to put in the time and do your research. It’s a lifestyle and a culture so you’ll know real quick if it’s a fit or not. Align yourself with people that are doing what you want to do and make the commitment. You gotta be disciplined. This lifestyle is not a race it’s a marathon. You see a lot of people come and go.