With the current events that have been circulating in the media, it is easy for us all to get lost in the sea of negative news, politics, death counts, and #BlackLivesMatter stories of pain. It’s easy to lose control of our ship and allow ourselves to navigate from our path of finding our purpose. My friend, Craig Henderson, has always been a beacon of hope no matter what adversity came his way. He helped me to stay focused when things in my world seemed to crumble. What he is able to do for friends and family, he wants to do for the world: inspire and motivate.
What if there was a character, a symbol that could remind of us to focus during trying times? Something, which would tell us to think outside of the box when we need direction? What if there was something to remind us to love what we do and continue to put action behind our words? Craig Henderson created a character that does that and named him ibii. When we decide to tap into our inner ibii, we can build our own positive world. Individually, we can create a world that will encourage us to remain positive, passionate, and to not lose sight of our dreams; we can live in ibii’s world. A character like ibii will remind us of our surroundings and how we can live above them as long as we tap into ourselves.
Craig Henderson was born and raised by two loving and supportive parents in Bedford Stuyvesant Brooklyn with his younger brother and sister. He has always been a creative person, had an innovative mind, and loved art since the young age of 6. His grandparents were artists and they helped fuel his desire to be an artist himself.
Craig, who was 14 years old at the time, recalls riding in the car with his father and sharing with him how he wanted to create a character without copying from existing art, but he didn’t know how or what the character would be. His dad gave him the simple advice for him to give it time; the idea for his character would come to him when it’s supposed to. In the year 2003, Craig moved to Atlanta, Georgia where he was offered a graphic designer position that complimented his talents. While in Atlanta, Craig knew that he had a bigger purpose to fulfill in his life, but he did not know what that purpose was yet. While trying to discover himself, he kept up with his digital artwork and tried to promote and sell it under his artist name Jassart.
In 2011, while still creating artwork but not actively promoting and investing time into his pieces, Craig created a digital character that he originally named Pixel. In usual Craig style, he shared his character with some friends and family hoping that it would come off cool and simple as Hello Kitty, which was his inspiration. His friends, colleagues, and family quickly took a liking to this character while Craig struggled to find the proper name for his latest creation. He started googling weird names when he came across the name ‘ibi,” he liked the sound of it and then decided to just add an extra “i” to the end of the name. When asked what “ibii” stood for, Craig would simply state it means creativity. For a wealthy investor, willing to invest in the message of ibii, that answer of “creativity” just did not cut it. That declination of the investor then forced Craig to figure out the why behind his character ibii.
Craig began to ask himself, how can I come up with a character and everyone has more of an idea of what it should mean, except for me? He then looked back at some old notes that reminded him to be focused and passionate about his future endeavors, and then an acronym began to form in his head for ibii; he came up with, “I bring Ideas and Inspiration.” The actual birth of ibii occurred in 2013 after he came up with the acronym and when a friend of his, was able to bring ibii to life through animation. Once Craig saw ibii, literally come to life, he knew that this character would serve a much bigger purpose.
“I bring ideas and inspiration because every day I see the human race running from humanity,: Henderson said.”We have allowed our differences to become a wedge instead of junction.”
He realized that the stickers he would randomly hand out were a conversation piece, which left people happy. People would inquire about the character, then they would reply with how it speaks and applies to their lives. People seemed to pay it forward by sharing the same info with the next person that would ask about ibii. Now, when asked what is ibiis purpose, Craig states “ibii is two fold. One, ibii inspires us all to live in this world by focusing on your God given talents since we all have a positive purpose here. Secondly, it is realizing we have these talents & getting others to follow suit which in turn will develop a more purpose driven world.” Ibii is the change that we are all striving to see in this hectic world. You are the captain of your fate and the master of your soul-ibii is the compass that navigates you.
Ibii is a character that is becoming a symbol of a larger movement of positivity, love, inspiration, innovation, creativity, and amazing ideas. Craig’s persistence and energy keeps ibii alive. His hope is to develop elementary school curriculums nationwide and internationally based on the idea that learning is not defined by oneʼs ability to provide the right answers, but by oneʼs ability to ask the right questions. Inquiry leads to discovery. Discovery leads to innovation. Innovation leads to a world of unlimited possibilities. Ibii helps teachers challenge students to discover, define, and manipulate the world around them. For more information about Craig and ibii, please visitwww.freeibii.com
A version of this post originally appeared on BOLD
Images courtesy of Craig Henderson