He first travelled to the nation's capitol when he was 16 years old after winning an essay contest. At the time, he says that he was an average student living in poverty with his recently divorced mom, so winning the contest was a big deal for him.
"I was able to meet politicians and people from different backgrounds, and that trip literally changed my life," he says. "I came back and told myself that I needed to get my grades up and work harder, and I ended up graduating with honors."
After being given the opportunity to rise above his situation of poverty and all that he went through as a child, Malone says he made a commitment to always come and give back to his home state, no matter where he is in the world.
He graduated from Alcorn State University with a bachelor's degree in political science in 2008 and went on to attend Jackson State University, where he obtained his master's degree in political science in 2012. From there, his political work in Mississippi led him to D.C.
Mississippi was a good training ground for him because it gave him the opportunity to build his career and get connected, but one of the things holding the state back is its inability to unify, he says.
"D.C. is a more liberal city and the opportunities for advancement are so great," he says. "It was very hard to build certain relationships and alignments in the political arena in Mississippi because you had so many people pulling at the same thing."
Regardless, Malone says he doesn't take for granted what he learned in Mississippi, and that's one of the reasons he uses resources obtained in D.C. to give back to his home state as much as he can.
On Feb. 25, 2017, after hearing the news that Carolyn Bryant lied about Emmet Till grabbing her, Malone and his organization put together the "Emmet Till: We Demand Justice" rally, deciding that he could not call himself a community activist and speak up against injustices if he was going to stay silent at a time where voices definitely needed to be heard.
"I was inspired by Congressman John Lewis, who used to always say, 'Speak up and speak out when you see injustices within your community,'" Malone says.
The rally, which took place in Mississippi, emphasized to Malone the need for brave men and women to take action just like Lewis did in order to initiate change. He says that it was also a reminder that even when the status quo and society tells you not to do something, you should always take those bold steps because your one step could be the one to change the generation.
He has a book coming out in April that he says will speak on his experience of finding an authentic voice outside of his home state. It will follow the journey of how both D.C. and Mississippi helped contribute to his voice.