Meatloaf & The Empire

Story: Mark V

The American dream comes in so many different flavors.  The dreams are all different just like fingerprints, but they all seem to seek the same in the end.  If you ever wonder why everyone wants to be here in this country called America it’s because for good or bad, this is the greatest place in the world.  But even saying such words, what we have here comes at such a high price for many.  The struggle is real, but the struggle is also what you make it. Here in the streets of New York nothing is given but everything can be easily taken.  No one ever said it was fair or easy.

That is why I want you to sit back and take a listen as I share a very special friend with his own story of his never-ending chase of the dream…. I introduce to you Meatloaf Rockboy Scalesa.

Building an empire

Born in Birmingham, Alabama, Meatloaf at the age of four received his one-way ticket to New York via the foster care system.  Growing up in East New York, Brooklyn and now living in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn has always remained Meatloaf’s home and I am thinking always will. 

His love for all things motorcycle was injected in him as a child and have never left.  He calls himself a Lone Wolf but that’s a hard claim when you are embraced and surrounded by so many, both at home and across the world. 

It was nice to do what we here call stoop sitting in Williamsburg, Brooklyn as we caught up.  I have known Meatloaf for well over 10 years now, our first meeting was back when he was with what we will call the original group of Rockboys.  It was great hanging out in the big garage that was also a make ship barbershop.  We talked bikes, culture, living hard in the city, and anything and everything that was going on at the time.  As I look back on our talks it was always about moving forward and not looking back.  In a city that can be a very hard place to keep the lights on, there was never discussion on passing blame on any situation, it was always about the next steps forward and making those steps the right way. 

fast forward to the present

Today as we sit and chill after so many steps forward Meatloaf is very proud to call himself the true Black RockStar! Always keeping his eye on the prize, he has surrounded himself with a great support system of like-minded hard-working men who ride the bikes they build.  His cast of characters include the likes, and I’ll call them by name Hammer, Kmart, Drizzle, and Lindbergh to name a few.  He calls them his equal out of respect and their mutual desire to make their world a better place to live.  Always giving back yet always moving forward.  They are a support group for each other, they remain bonded by their love of motorcycles and there shared culture. 

As for Meatloaf himself, so much has changed over the years from when we first met.  I have watched the ups and downs of his struggle to do things on his own terms. I remember him working with his now forever friend Marilyn Stemp, who at the time was Editor & Chief of Iron Works Magazine, together they put Meatloaf on the cover of that great and dearly missed magazine and really stirred the pot, making him the first black rider to ever grace the cover.  With all the kickback received, together they moved forward and shrugged the haters.  That created a bond that will never be broken.  That is the Meatloaf way.

Going across the grain is just what Meatloaf is all about, the method to his madness however is that in the process he manages to bond friendships, merge cultures, and pass it forward all while keeping his eye on the prize and not fooling himself that he is in the game to win.

the game

So, what is the game you ask?  The game according to Meatloaf is success on your own terms.  I know I have mentioned it, but these are the rules, and the stakes are always high.  As a result of playing the game his way the RockBoy Empire was created! 

The list of accomplishments under this self-created brand seem to be endless and ever growing. They range from barbershops, a transportation company, RockBoy Apparel, RockBoy Choppers, and the YouTube series RockBoy Empire to name a few. 

With the very busy public facing lifestyle at hand there is the other side not often seen by many but very close to Meatloaf’s heart.  A stable family and 25 years working for the New York City Department of Sanitation has kept it all real and keeps him grounded feeling forever blessed. 

As this summer goes blazing by things never take a break.  Currently working on 32- and 34-inch bagger projects this man stays forever busy.  Also in works is the second annual RockBoy Bagger Super Show!  A three-day event taking place August 13th, 14th, and 15th right in the heart of Brooklyn.  This may be the New York showstopper of the season with rumors baggers will be flowing in from all point of New York and beyond. 

And with this all going on there is still time to give back to the kids as the RockBoy Empire prepares for their back-to-school survival drive, where inner-city kids are given backpacks and all the tools needed to start the school year right.  Once again, the Meatloaf way.

In closing I want to share what I feel is the true story behind the man.  After setting up the shoot for me and Speedy (see the feature here on the site), Meatloaf of course came down to have our chat.  Now with two big 34-inch rollers on hand of course you draw attention.  All along as I’m working with Speedy, I see Meatloaf in the corner of my eye talking to people and letting people just sit on his bike and take pictures, he is truly in the moment and of course loving it all.  But then I see what makes him stand out from the rest.  As I look over my shoulder, I see a mother with her young boy and of course Meatloaf.  I truly believe for all it was a life changing moment as this gentle giant took the time to let this young shy boy into his world and make him the center of attention.   I could only watch at first form a distance and then knew it was a moment I had to get into my camera.  I will let the images I share speak for itself, for this is what the culture is truly about.  And to be honest this is just the Meatloaf way, colorblind, culture-blind, and just living life trying to make each moment better, even if the moment does not belong to him.

Watch out for this King of New York, this true Black Rockstar as he continues to take steps forward. And if you’re wondering why they call him Meatloaf…. you ask him.


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