A Houston man overcame a murder conviction to become valedictorian of Texas Southern University.

On his way to graduation, Ren Moore ran into trouble that almost side-tracked him.

“I had to go to the restroom and my class is already marching up the steps,” he said.

However, it seems catching up is the 42-year-old’s purpose.

“People used to say I was dumb growing up,” Moore said. “I believed it.”

The kid from north Houston did time as a teenager. He later served 20 years in prison for murder. Moore killed a man during a dispute over a drug deal.

“If I would have died a long time ago, I would have just been known as a guy who killed another guy,” Moore said. “Now, I’m being known for something different.”

Behind bars he learned to rap. At first, it helped him release rage. Later, ambition and college credit earned in prison changed his heart.

“All of that self-worth that I was looking for in the streets: that money, that power, that respect I didn’t get it,” Moore said. “I got degraded.”

It pushed him to enroll at Texas Southern where he earned all “A’s,” respect and the self-worth he craved.

“The temptation is to say to all of y’all that told me I wasn’t going to do nothing (and) all of y’all (who) told me I was dumb, look,” he said. “But that may cheapen it.”

Instead, Moore focuses on his crafts: rapping, acting and inspiring others to find their purpose too.

“If I can do it, everybody can,” Moore said.