Never judge a book by it’s cover.
The same goes for people. We all have stories, struggles and triumphs. We can accept the cards we are dealt with in life or we can become our own dealer, shuffle a new deck and create a new inspired hand in the game of life. In middle school her Principal told Nekeidra Cromwell she wouldn’t amount to anything. She didn’t listen to him. Another time, a boy in school took her purple drum sticks and when she attempted to get them back, there was a fight. The principal, held her while the boy punched her and she was expelled. She was a young and rightfully frustrated young lady and knew that all of this wasn’t right. She was born a fighter, but this fighter has lived through decades of experience to now fight for a noble cause.
In the 1970’s and 80’s George Jung, known as Boston George was smuggling large amounts of cannabis coast to coast. His story was depicted by Johnny Depp in the 2001 movie BLOW. In 1974 he became connected with Pablo Escobar and the Columbian Medellin Cartel. This is when the influx of cocaine arrived. In 1980’s crack cocaine entered Miami and spread into all the major cities and soon the burbs.
Cromwell now 47 said, “We were the first generation crack babies.”
Drugs had infected lives, habits formed and as a result kids grew up in a different kind of world, navigating a harsher reality. Known to many now as Keidy Weedy, like many teens, had her first encounter with Miss Mary Jane at 16. She burned her lip and wanted nothing more to do with it. As a young mom she was living with her parents in an apartment. For years her mother would complain to the management that the walls seemed extremely hot. One night Keidy and her daughter had slept with extra clothes on, which was not the norm, and woke up later to the entire complex on fire. When they returned the only thing untouched was her bible on her dresser. She knew then the Word was real and she was protected no matter what.
After the fire she had to find a place to live. Several family members offered, but for one reason or another, it did not feel right. After a huge snow storm that year, and the Red Cross vouchers ran out, she contacted the local Baltimore TV station for help. A women heard her story and offered her an apartment. Cromwell found herself in the heart of the hood in Baltimore. Being a single mom and taking care of her brother, she had to get creative with income. She had gone to hair school, but that was not cutting it. Sometimes in life we wonder why we end up in certain places. Sometimes we experience darkness or difficult times only to realize that we are there to bring the light, have experiences that make us stronger, help others, or discover our own personal power to create positive change.
Areas of American cities like Baltimore had been infected with drugs since Jung and Escobar had created a lucrative pipeline. Additionally, many jobs had been sent over seas in the 80’s. Certain socio-economic areas were most affected and putting food on the table meant taking it to the streets for “easy money”. This is when Cromwell was reunited with Mary Jane. If you ever watched WEEDS, she became the Nancy Botwin of Baltimore. Nancy was a white suburban house wife whose husband had died and she wanted to keep up her lifestyle and take care of her kids too.
Cromwell was also a second mother to many of the kids on the block. She wanted more for all of them. She wanted them to see that there was more to the world than 20th and Barclay. Cromwell said, “These kids were living blocks from the Inner Harbor and had not seen it. I walked them out of the hood so they could see it. They had not even seen the beach, so I later arranged for two school buses to bring them to Sandy Point Beach for the day. You should have seen their faces.” Cromwell was a guiding light for these kids showing them that there is way more to life than the streets they grew up on. She gave them a wider vision of what’s possible.
Cromwell had three pivotal experiences that led her out of the hood she called home.
One was being robbed and pistol whipped one night. The second was being diagnosed with cancer and the third was she started having additional health issues and was blacking out. She went to John’s Hopkins to get help only to be labled a drug seeker. At the time there were only a few strains of cannabis on the streets. She discovered that one of them was helping her from blacking out and her other symptoms. When family got wind of what was happening she was summoned back home to have additional support. Cromwell has nothing but love for the block that welcomed her with love, respect and open arms. “It was an amazing community and many of us still keep in touch,” She said.
With her health issues escalating she had to become a self advocate and began researching her symptoms and solutions until she found an enlightened doctor that gave her a sigh of relief. It turns out she had a condition called Chiari Malformation and was told her she needed surgery. Hopkins describes Chiari malformation as an issue in which a part of the brain (the cerebellum) at the back of the skull bulges through a normal opening in the skull where it joins the spinal canal. This puts pressure on parts of the brain and spinal cord, and can cause mild to severe symptoms. You can read more on Chiari Malformation, here.
Cromwell had brain surgery in 2015 and her life changed. It took her several years to fully recover and as she puts it, “I had to learn myself again.” She said it was her kids’ and the cannabis that helped her fully recover and come back to life. A fire was lit and she went back to school to learn about everything she could about the natural medicine that was labeled a drug in which she attributes to saving her life in more ways than one. She studied at University of Colorado Boulder and then Anne Arundel Community College Cannabis Science and Medicine. She has high praise for her professors who are not only teachers but empowering way showers. She took her story and education to the streets, conferences, and then Capital Hill. She wanted to eliminate the stigma of Ms. Mary Jane and set her free, just like it set her free. Due to her tireless efforts and those of her community, Maryland and other states legalized this natural medicine in 2022.
She is passionate about addressing the trauma that so many people have experienced, endured and have not had the proper support. She said, “People have a right to be angry, but we cannot go all Malcom X. We must lead with compassion, because compassion is King.” In 2019 Cromwell became a recovery coach to help her community heal. She speaks publicly on the Antidote to the Opiate Epidemic. We are all recovering from something. Trauma is real and so is healing.
Cromwell says, “I hope to save others from the toxins and addictions of narcotics, ignorance and pain.” You can also find her on the comedy circuit. You must have a sense of humor in this life otherwise you grow old and bitter. We can shed light on reality in many ways to bring healing to humanity. Her vision is big including to create compassion houses, to get people back to nature so they can heal and remember who they are and what they are made of. All of us can make a positive contributions to this world. We just need compassionate spaces to heal. We can start within our own hearts.
“Boss Up, find what lights you up and become compassion in action.” ~Keidy Weedy
The future is lighting up for Keidy Weedy. Her platform aims to educate, empower and inspire healing to those that come across her path. She is loud and proud of all she has overcome and wants to offer that hope and support to others. You can find Keidy Weedy on Instagram and Facebook. You can also visit her at www.keidyweedy.com
If you plan to be at the Super Bowl this year she will be hanging with the United Empowerment Party at CONSUMPTION PARK.