HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — A viral internet sensation and motivational speaker stopped in Hampton Roads to spread a message of positivity.
Deuntay Diggs is a deputy for the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office and was the keynote speaker at the Women in Public Service Conference in Hampton.
In 2016, a video of him performing “Formation” by Beyonce at North Stafford High School’s pep rally went viral.
“Nothing prepares you for it. It was kind of shocking for me. It feels great. In and out of my uniform, I can be myself and show people that behind that uniform, there’s a human being and we like to have fun too,” Diggs said.
The 12-year veteran says the viral video led him to many opportunities along the way, including auditioning for “America’s Got Talent,” releasing an autobiography and working on a documentary.
“There’s so many things that have come from it, but all along the way, I get to show people that it’s not where you came from that matters or the negative experiences, it’s what you decide to do and how to approach things,” he said.
That was the basis of his speech at the conference.
Diggs, who spent his teenage years in Gates County, North Carolina, says his mother was addicted to drugs and alcohol.
He was abused as a child and given away before ending up with a family in North Carolina. He attended Virginia Military Institute and decided to follow a career in law enforcement.
The conference is full circle for him because Diggs says nine years ago he attended a conference and realized there he wanted to be a motivational speaker.
“It just feels really good. I came in last night and it’s almost like I had to pinch myself like ‘ahhh, I’m really here,” Diggs said.
Diggs hopes his message of positivity and encouragement through dark times and plenty of ‘noes’ can help others succeed.
“I think that’s inspiring for people who have had a lot of doors closed to them. Keeping going because the doors will eventually open in time,” he said.
Diggs, who used his America’s Got Talent audition to help boost the image of law enforcement, says he wants others to be true to themselves.
“Authenticity is the most important thing, being true to yourself. Once you stand in your true, you’re unstoppable. You can’t be stopped. having compassion, loving on other people and remembering when you make it, when you get to where you want to, don’t forget those who helped you get there and help those who want to make it to where they want to be. Help them out.”