Dr. Martin Luther King Jr once stated, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Kofi Forson is a living testament of those words.

Queens native, 21-year-old Forson is a Delaware State University graduate from the class of 2018. DSU is where found his true passion.

In the fall of 2016, after his battles with depression, Forson launched AKizzleBrand, also known as AKB, focusing on helping and inspiring others. The AKB website offered viewers videos on how to get out of the depressed state and also allowed people to blog about anything that came to mind, giving them an outlet to express themselves.

“My main goal with AKB is to just help people, period,” said Forson. “During my bouts with depression, it was extremely difficult for me. It was in those moments and even to this day where I say, ‘I can’t be the only one struggling with this.’ I really genuinely love the feeling I get from providing substance to someone’s life. It is a feeling that really can’t be described. I crave it seriously.”

AKB openED doors for Forson that he had not imagined.

Forson got his start as a motivational speaker while attending a transition forum at DSU, an event that he didn’t want to attend in the first place.

“At the time, I could not stand going out,” he said. “I’m such a homebody. I didn’t want to leave my room. I wasn’t even aware that I was going to speak. I went with the mindset that I was just going to be an audience member. It wasn’t until midway through the forum I was told they wanted me to speak about AKB. I just went up, told everyone what I do and why I do it, and since then I’ve jumped at any opportunity that has presented itself for me to speak.”

Motivational speaking was not Forson’s chosen profession. He graduated this past May with a bachelor’s degree in computer science. He was going to pursue a career in that field, but decided instead to focus more on AKB, which he described as “a leap of faith.”

He explained, “This definitely was a risk, but one I was willing to take because what do I really have to lose? Someone’s opinion of me? When you think about it, I’m so young I could do this for 10 years, fail, pick something else up and be good. Motivational speaking was always in the back of my mind, but I was just too scared to initially pursue it because didn’t want to do something that wasn’t a traditional career path.”

As time progresses and the brand grows larger, Forson has even bigger plans for it. He wants AKB to become a resource. “I see myself leading a team of motivators rather than being the sole motivator,” he said. “I think oftentimes when we think of motivational speaking, we think of one person, maybe two. I want to lead a team of people that are under the AKB branch, like a motivation network rather than one speaker. That’s where I’ve always been headed with the blog and everything.”

Through Forson’s passion and vision for motivational speaking, he is already affecting many lives. He has spoken at different venues during his time in Delaware at DSU and here in New York City, including the Cambria Heights Academy 2018 graduation ceremony where he was the keynote speaker.