Parents are you looking for something to do with your kids of all ages? Teens are you looking of cool weekend hangout with friends? Check out the New York International Children’s Film Festival for young people ages 3 -18.
The New York International Film Festival’s short films are my favorite and the heart of the festival. The short films are the best new works from around the world geared specifically for kids ages 3-18. You can find these films playing at several theaters around the city:
Just at taste of what is in store:
Heart of Fire
Recommended Ages: 12 to Adult (Subtitled)
Heart of Fire is the powerful new film from the award winning director of The Story of the Weeping Camel. The story centers on ten year old Awet, who is taken from an orphanage run by Italian nuns to live with the washed up rebel father she has never met. Awet and her
Heart of Fire is the powerful new film from the award winning director of The Story of the Weeping Camel. The story centers on ten year old Awet, who is taken from an orphanage run by Italian nuns to live with the washed up rebel father she has never met. Awet and her older sister are soon recruited, along with other children, to become soldiers for the Eritrean Liberation Front, engaged in desperate guerrilla fighting with a rival rebel group. At the rebel camp, young Awet finds a role model in the powerful and independent female guerrilla leader, Ma’azza, a charismatic revolutionary and newfound parental figure. But when the war takes a turn for the worse and the children are given rifl es and sent to fight, Awet becomes disillusioned by the hypocrisy and pointlessness she sees, and she lashes out with a pacifistic action both courageous and dangerous. Inspired by the controversial memoir by Senait G. Mehari, Heart of Fire is elevated by the expressive debut performance of Letekidan Micael as Awet, whose commanding presence conveys an undiluted sense of justice, and whose eyes never fail to reflect her chronic disappointment in the adults around her.
NOTE: Film contains realistic battle scenes, including violence and bloodshed.
Presented as part of the special series CHILDREN AND WAR.
Check out http://www.gkids.tv/intheaters.cfm for more information.
Hello Say It Loud! Readers…Let me kindly introduce myself. I’m Natelege Whaley, a Brooklyn native, and a sophomore print journalism major who attends Howard University. I have so many stories to tell about college life and how it has changed me for the better.
But I’ll just start out by describing life at HU. Howard University is a historically black college, located in NW Washington DC. There are students here from all parts of the country including California, Texas, Georgia, and of course NEW YORK! Also there are many international students from Africa and the Caribbean. Some famous people that have attended include P. Diddy (Bad Boy Records) , Phylicia Rashad ( The Bill Cosby Show) , Taraji Henson (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), and Lance Gross (House of Payne), just to name a few.
Howard is also known for is it’s Homecoming. Homecoming is probably one of the most exciting times of the year on Howard’s campus. During this time, alumni come back to Howard to celebrate in school spirit with current Howard students. The week of Homecoming is filled with activities including The Gospel Show, Fashion Show, Comedy Show, R&B Concert, Mr. and Ms. Howard Pageant, Parade, Homecoming Game, and ending it with the Step Show. This year I had the opportunity to represent my dorm Slowe Hall, as Ms. Slowe, in the Homecoming Parade.
Even though Howard has a lot of fun activities, the reality is that you still have to do your work and find a balance. This is probably my biggest challenge thus far.
I am actively involved in 4 organizations on campus and I am also taking 17 credits, this semester. Sometimes I feel drained. My biggest most challenging course right now is a course called ‘Reporting & Writing’. For this class I am assigned to a particular area in DC, and I must report, write, and publish at least one article per week about issues in this area. All in all I am really trying my best with this class. My other classes are fairly manageable, however.
Trying to maintain school, extra-curricular activities, and just being young and having fun is hard. Now imagine having a boyfriend. I’m in a long distance relationship with my high school sweetheart. Things have worked out great so far, but I’ve honestly seen other couples’ relationships go under the waters as fast as my eyes could see. Bottom line is, if you don’t have a strong relationship before going away to school, then chances are your relationship probably won’t last.
Another thing I face at school is trying to stay healthy and fit. Ordering out, and late night snacking can cause one to gain weight quickly. So I try my best to cook. There is a kitchen in my dorm, so I’m able to save my money and buy groceries to prepare foods.
Dorm life is also fun…but I’m going to stop here with my parade about college. I can’t put everything into one post. But throughout the time I am at Howard, I will definitely blog about my experiences and my challenges on SAY IT LOUD!.
Call it School Dayz 411. I basically got all of you covered with the inside on what really happens in college, not all the fluffed up stuff they tell you on college tours and in college brochures!
So return soon and I will love to take you all on my experience as a college student! : )
By Fatima Payne
Name: Naeem Reid, Jr. Age: 15
Hood: Park Slope, Brooklyn, N.Y.
School: Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School Music & Art and Performing Art
SIL: How would you define your personal style?
Naeem: Classic, clean and versatile! I enjoy sporty clothing as well as urban wear. Comfort is extremely important to me as well.
SIL: If we were to take a trip in your closet, what would we find?
Naeem: A nice selection of options such as: cargo pants and slim boot cut denim jeans. Various tees such as, Aeropostale, American Eagle, Ed Hardy, H&M, Ralph Lauren, Old Navy and of course the simple white tee.
Plenty of zip up hoodies, plaid button up shirts, Ralph Lauren short and long-sleeved shirts, linen shirts, dress pants, basketball Jerseys, basketball shorts, various Nike Basketball sneakers, track sneakers, boots, dress shoes, and Nike flip flops.
SIL: What inspires your style?
Naeem: My upbringing and my hometown. Music & entertainment, or sometimes the mood I am in for that particular day.
SIL: Who are your favorite designers?
Naeem: I have many, but, Ralph Lauren and Nike are two of my favorite designers.
SIL: What are your favorite stores?
Naeem: Lord & Taylor, Swagga 360, Something on 5th, Jean Stop, Century 21, NBA store, H&M, American Eagle, Old Navy.
SIL: Favorite Accessories?
Naeem: Watches, single earring, wrist bands
SIL: What are your fashion “must haves”?
Naeem: A presence! A fitted cap, a pair of stylish frames, a fresh cut, and sweaters and hoodies
SIL: Personal style quote:
Naeem: Fashion is form of art and self expression, so on that note -
Let Me, Be Me!
MEET JOE BRANCH
Co-Founder - uwantgame.org
Very few organizations work with preparing teen athletes for life after high school. However, SIL Magazine had a chance to sit one on one with Joe Branch, co-founder of UWANTGAME.ORG, a dynamic program that mentors and guides high school athletes for maintaing the game off court on the collegiate level.
SIL: What was the inspiration behind forming UWANTGAME.ORG?
Joe Branch: U Want Game was basically a vision from my mentor who wanted to give back. We both were college athletes and we both saw the need to give back. A lot of former athletes were out there without a vision or without a need as to where they wanted to take their life in sports. We felt that instead of waiting until the college level, why not start teaching teens career development and life skills on the high school level.
SIL: Why does your organization focus on just student athletes?
JB: I think it’s a niche. There are other organizations that help and focus on regular students who need help with school or testing, or that do curriculums, but this was the life that we lived, basically. There are many kids who want to live that life as well; that aspire to be professional athletes and that pour a lot of time and energy into being the best they can be on the field. Therefore, we know that there needs to be an extra push geared toward those students as well. We feel that this is something that we understand, so this is why choose to seek out high school student athletes.
SIL: What is the process of getting students involved in the program?
JB: Right now we’re based in New York and we want to grow. Teachers or kids can reach out to U Want Game via our website, or relationships through us, or management. We have an application and a short essay that we’d like to see. Basically, we want to look at their road map or the journey that they want to live. We get consent from a high school administrator or a parent, we review that and hopefully the relationship is underway.
SIL: How many applicants would you say you get at any given time?
JB: We have about twenty-five to thirty students in our program right now. That’s really the amount that we need to have. We don’t want to get too large right now, because we want to be able to have a good impact. We have about twenty-five to thirty mentors as well, so there’s a one on one mentor ration as well.
SIL: How are the mentors selected?
JB: The mentors are selected through the management team. They have an application that they have to fill out also, and basically we want to know if they have a sincere vision to help these high school student athletes. Some of the mentors are former collegiate athletes as well, so it’s like a niche market, like we’re building the game behind the game. These are all of the mentors that have walked this path, some of them walked the path with mentors before, and some didn’t, so the ones that we have are eager to give back.
SIL: So how do you build the relationships with the different schools? What high schools in New York are you working with now?
JB: We’re at [Benjamin] Banneker High School, we have kids in Bishop Lockland High School, Xavier, St. Michaels, Boys and Girls High School, and we have Manhattan Center also. We have about five or six high schools.
Some of these relationships were developed from my previous job at Nike, where I did a lot of grassroots marketing, so these were the relationships that I had then. Now, it’s just a matter of going back to these guys and letting them know that we’re building a business, or building a program and a curriculum off the court for these students that want to be a part of it.
SIL: There are many athletes that tend to put sports before education. What does U Want Game offer that instills the importance of getting an education as well?
JB: I think when you’re working with a student athlete, you don’t want to deter their dreams of being a collegiate or professional athlete. There is a hunger, desire, passion, or work ethic that you have to have at a very early age to reach these goals. What we want to do is coincide with that and make sure that they understand what we call the plan B, but we want to pull out what else that it is that they can do with their lives. As our mission says, we want to build the game behind the game, so if its writing skills, interpersonal skills, if it’s public speaking skills, if its about the basics of finance, our goal is to teach them.
SIL: So, if they have a dream or vision of playing sports on a collegiate level, the program basically prepares them on how to balance this?
JB: Right, within the three years, we’ll have career panels and workshops where they’ll meet various authors. We have something that we call the book of the year, and an author will come to speak with them. We have something where mentors can speak to them about the academic, athletic experience, and how to balance things. They are talking to them about what college life is really like; the time they’ll spend in the weight room, the time they’ll spend in study hall, the training table, road trips, and different things like that. Then, each year we’ll go to at least one college for a visit, so they can ask the questions that they have.
SIL: Is this a major challenge that a lot of high school students going into college face, trying to juggle all of that?
JB: Oh, yes! I think college is new for everyone and everyone is prepared in high school in a different way. I went to a college preparatory high school; some people go to a public school to focus. I wasn’t a primadonna student athlete, but I worked hard and I received a scholarship. There is a lot given to high school student athletes. Once they sign a letter of intent, things change, there’s a new crop of freshman every year, so you’re just another one of the guys or young ladies once you get to the college level. It’s like you’re a brand and you have to say how can I best sell my brand, or what can I do to enhance my brand on this level.
SIL: What makes U Want Game better than a PAL or YMCA?
JB: Well, I think what makes us different is that again, it’s a niche market. All former collegiate athletes are mentoring high school student athletes, and its all
focused on off the court development. It’s male and female, and there are three years instead of one year. There is a certain amount of structure that we have, and a certain amount of support. There is a certain amount of guidance and a certain amount of access that we provide for kids that really want to go to the next level. We think it’s a unique experience being a part of U Want Game.
SIL: Where would you like to see U Want Game in the next couple of years?
JB: First, I’d like to see a first class of mentees graduate in New York City. I’d like to see some large scale programming events around the country that we’d like to do; we’re working on some things like that, some symposiums. Also, I’d like to see us branch out into other markets as well.
SIL: Since you were a former collegiate athlete, that experience must have an impact in terms of how you are rearing teens?
JB: Yes. There’s nothing that they’re going to go through that I didn’t go through, so a lot of times you might have a mentor or somebody that they don’t really relate too, but we can relate. I go to church, I liked girls when I was young, I had to lift weights, I played three sports in high school, so there’s not much that a kid that is 16 years old in high school is going through that I hadn’t gone through.
SIL: Is there any advice that you’d like to share with our SIL audience?
JB: I would just like to say, give back! Be a mentor, have a vision, ask questions, dream big, and have a passion.
If you are a high school athlete or a mentor interested in becoming involved in the U Want Game organization, check out their site at firstname.lastname@example.org for the latest 411.
Stylist: Kimberly Johnson
Fashion Director: Sonya Magett
By Andre Awon and Danielle Blaize
He showed us the moves as Bruce Leroy in the 80′s Motown film classic, The Last Dragon, but Taimak recently spent some time with SIL to talk about his new fitness video, Taimak Fit. Read first hand how to get that body fit just in time for the summer.
Danielle: What inspired you to do the fitness video,Taimak Fit?
Taimak: While I was training different people, I noticed that the same questions would always come up like, “How do I start?” “How much should I do?” “How long should a workout be?” How many repetitions, sets should I do?” All of those questions came up, so I decided to answer them on my fitness DVD.
Danielle: What type of exercises are featured on the DVD?
Taimak: I geared the DVD to people who were interested in working out and those who don’t work out. I advise them to not let not working out get too far away from them because you don’t have to work out everyday if you’re just trying to be healthy. You could do three times a week for a half our or for forty five minutes and that’s fine. A lot of people start working out and then they just stop cold forever, so I advise them to just try it for one to three days a week, or if they want to get in incredible shape then they can work out everyday.
Danielle: How does nutrition play a part in an exercise routine?
Taimak: Nutrition plays an integral part of exercise because whatever you are putting into your system is giving your muscles energy. So, if you are putting the wrong things into your body, then your muscles won’t be fortified with energy, nutrients, minerals and vitamins, and so forth.
Danielle: In the DVD, do you teach martial arts along with your work out methods?
Taimak: I have a martial arts philosophy in it, however, I’m not teaching martial arts in the DVD. I’ll be doing that in another DVD.
Andre: Growing up in New York, what inspired you to get into martial arts?
Taimak: Well, New York was a tough area when I was growing up as a kid. I grew up in uptown. When my father was a little kid, he used to get picked on a lot, so he put my brother and I in martial arts when we were little kids. I took to it more than the rest of my siblings.
Andre: What schools did you go to?
Taimak: I went to Brandeis High School. I also took some courses in college. When I was out in L.A., I took classes at UCLA and Santa Monica College.
Andre: What different styles of martial arts have you learned?
Taimak: As a young boy, I was doing Japanese Gojo. From there, I started doing Akido, Judo, and then I started doing Tae Kwan Do and I stayed with that for a while. When I was fifteen, I began to study Chinese Gojo for about ten years. I then went into a Japenese style that was a mixture of Jujitsu and Akido, and developing your inner power and inner Chi, that was called DoJitsu. I got into Brazillian Jujitsu, which I liked and I’d say that’s where I’m at now.
Andre: Have you ever practiced Capoiera?
Taimak: Capoiera was very acrobatic and I was trying to do some other things, so I wasn’t that deep into it.
Andre: What martial artists would you say have inspired you?
Taimak: Bruce Lee, of course. Many of the Shaw Brothers movie stars. The Shaw Brothers were a group of guys from China who used to do movies like the Five Deadly Venoms. I liked the Asian martial art stars the most.
Andre: Have you met Tony Ja?
Taimak: Yes, I met Tony Ja.
Danielle: Would you say that Bruce Lee was a role model for you?
Taimak: Sure! Bruce Lee had a lot of powerful and deep things that he put out there, not only about martial arts, but about life itself, which he was able to put in his books as well as his movies. He was the guy to follow when I was a kid.
Danielle: How did getting the role as Bruce LeRoy in “The Last Dragon”, change your life?
Taimak: Well, really… I would say it made me more self conscious. I was always self conscious as a high school student, because different guys want to look good, or they want to be liked in school, so that’s one level of self consciousness, but then when you star in a film, then everybody, not only the people in your school, but everybody is looking at you. I started thinking more about my behavior and more about what I wanted to put out there.
Danielle: Have you been able to travel the world as a martial artist and a fitness expert?
Taimak: I’ve taught a few seminars in Turkey and in Europe. I’ve met a lot of different martial artists too.
Andre: How can a young person like myself benefit from your fitness DVD?
Taimak: Well, a fitness DVD basically takes you and puts you in the driver’s seat for your own body. Most people, especially when you are young, you don’t relate to yourself as someone who needs to take care of your health because you are young and you don’t have the aches that a lot of older people do. I just think that young people should educate themselves more on health and fitness, and eating properly.
Danielle: How does the discipline in martial arts spill over to the other areas of someone’s life?
Taimak: Discipline is related to practice. Practice is not for the purpose of anything other than just practice. Your mind, your body and life, is life. Life doesn’t exist unless it is being done. In life, if you do things always to try and get to a place other than where you are at, it’s sort of like a dog that’s chasing its own tail. So practice is connected to discipline. It’s a good, consistent discipline for life to work well. It’s actually more interesting. If you practice, then you will get to enjoy it.
Want to find out more about Taimak’s fitness program? Check out www.taimak.tv for the latest 411.
Article By: Octavia Obermuller
Are you a basketball lover and admirer, or look up to your favorite player? Or, are you just an ordinary person who watches basketball? Have you ever went to a sneaker store and couldn’t find anything you liked, and when you went to another sneaker store they had the same exact thing? Well, you won’t have this problem anymore at the NIKE HOUSE OF HOOPS, presented by FOOTLOCKER. This sneaker store is devoted to basketball and its fans. House of Hoops is located at 268 W.125th street in Harlem, right across from the famous Apollo Theater.
HOUSE OF HOOPS is filled with excitement and inspiration. It has a full force of history that’s never been told, which amazes you in every aspect. When entering the HOUSE OF HOOPS, the first thing that sparks in your eyes is the player wall. The player wall is dedicated to the 6 most valuable players; Dwayne Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Steve Nash, Jason Kidd, LeBron James, and Amare Stoudemire. What shocks you the most is a glass wall filled with signed sneakers from some of the leagues most valuable players. It’s not just an ordinary sneaker they signed, its their own sneaker that they have worn on the court.
HOUSE OF HOOPS has a variety of exclusive apparel from top players and special teams. It includes exclusive footwear and matching apparel from Jordan, LeBron, DWade, and Carmelo. Each section is dedicated to these players and special teams. In addition to the locker room set up, there are numerous trophies and awards symbolizing each player’s achievements. There is also a Hoops essential made by Nike. Its apparel that basketball players wear to warm up and practice in, it has a wide selection in sizes and color. Now you can also warm up in the same as your favorite player or team color gear rain or shine. Even better is the fact that local New York City high school basketball teams can order their sneakers adorned with their school’s team colors. Now, how’s that for originality?
If you want to relax from shopping, take a wonderful break in the “VIP Section”, where you can sit back and have fun! Take time to watch basketball history and tips on the game on a flat screen, or take part in a Bball game on the Play Station 3. If you are the active person, you can run up front to the half court and shoot some hoops! Feel like being a little creative, check out the “T-Shirt Bar” where you can design a t-shirt of your choice with prices ranging from $20-$25 bucks. Not a bad deal, considering that it only about takes five minutes. Before leaving the HOUSE OF HOOPS , stop and take a good look at the breathtaking, Patrick Ewing mosaic. This fabulous piece of artwork honors one of the leagues greatest players.
I personally think HOUSE OF HOOPS is an amazing, inspiring, and unique establishment. It’s not just your ordinary sneaker shop, but a store with plenty of enjoyment centered around the theme of basketball. The staff is great and is willing to show you around. I encourage all basketball lovers to visit this place. You’ll have the time of your life and will not want to leave!
By Brandon Hunter, age 12
Occupation: Chief Operating Officer
Company: NYC Media Group
Education/Training: MPA, Baruch College (National Urban Fellows Program) 1996 BA, Vassar College 1992, Xavier HS 1988
SIL: Did you always want to pursue a career in media? If not, what did you want to be before this career?
Trevor: No, initially I wanted to be a criminal defense attorney, and spent a couple years working for a criminal defense law firm as an investigator. I
then spent several years in a variety of positions in areas such as community and economic development, government and non‐pro9it management, and sales
and marketing before ending up in television.
SIL: What do your duties as the Chief Operating Officer of NYC Media Group include?
Trevor: I oversee all business development, sales and marketing activities and provide oversight and direction with respect to programming, content acquisition, distribution, and partnership development across all media assets. I have also created and continue to executive produce a variety of the shows on the network.
SIL: What made you pursue this career?
Trevor: I was interested in a media opportunity where I could pursue both creative and business development initiatives. As a New Yorker, I was also intrigued by the opportunity to create and distribute content that celebrates New York City’s eclectic and diverse character.
SIL – What steps did you take to get to where you are now?
Trevor: I went back to school and took courses to familiarize myself with media production and while I was in school I was fortunate enough to secure a position, in large part through networking, with CBS Sports as an Associate Director. I spent two years working in live sports event production and then I sought out the opportunity with NYC Media Group, where I have been for 5 years, initially as Director of Business Development and Operations, and as Chief Operating Officer for the past year and a half.
SIL: When you were younger, were you into technology?
Trevor: I’ve always been fond of gadgets, so I guess I was fond of technology in my youth. My father really enjoyed photography and always had a new camera, and I inherited his fondness for picture taking which evolved into an interest in film and television production.
SIL – What were some of the challenges and obstacles, if any that you had to overcome?
Trevor: Small budgets related to production and marketing have always been an issue, but it has forced us to be creative about allocation of production bandwidth and seek out promotional partnerships in order to raise the profile of the network and the many brands we control.
SIL – What are the highlights about your job and what do you love about it?
Trevor: I enjoy the process of developing content from an idea through its actual broadcast premier, and being able to share that idea with a sponsor who gets excited about supporting that content because it will help them reach a desired audience. I also enjoy being in the 9ield and actually getting my hands dirty with
live event and production.
SIL: What type of advice would you give to a young person about choosing a career or lifestyle?
Trevor: Always seek out opportunities that will challenge and extend you, and perhaps even take you out of your comfort zone, because these are the opportunities that will help you grow the most professionally and in life. I don’t like the sidelines, I much prefer to be in the game making decisions and even mistakes. But that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with being a bench player. The important thing is to understand how you 9it into the team and focus on the things you do well, while not being afraid to accept new challenges when they are presented to you.
Jennifer Safara Perry
Last summer, Say it LOUD! took several road trips and Miami, Florida was one of our main stops for Zo’s Summer Groove featuring D. Wade. Now in its’ 12th year, proceeds from ZSG benefit both Alonzo Mourning Charities and Wade’s World Foundation. Highlights included a youth summit, youth basketball clinics, golf classic, benefit dinner, block party, all-star basketball game, and comedy show.
Both men were excited about joining forces to make an even bigger impact on the community, “Dwyane’s leadership and personal interest in helping young people develop their goals is aligned with the core of what we do,” said Mourning. “Alonzo and I share the same vision. I’ve learned so much from him about the importance of using our successes and voices to positively affect change in the community in which we live. I’ve had a chance to participate in many ZSG events over the years but now it’s not only even more exciting, but also very personal to me, because it’s something we are doing together: merging our goals to make a greater impact” said Wade.
Alonzo Mourning Charities’ mission is to encourage the educational development of our youth by creating programs and youth enrichment centers that promote positive change in low socioeconomic communities. Since 1997 AM Charities has raised more than 6.5 million for various programs that aid in the development of children and their families. With the help of donors, Mourning opened the Overtown Youth Center in 2003. A major component of AM Charities is the Honey Shine Mentoring Program that works to empower young girls to shine as women.
Wade’s World Foundation provides support to community based organizations that promote education, health and social skills for children in at-risk situations. Dwyane was inspired to start the foundation because he wanted to give back to underserved communities and support issues of purpose. As Wade’s World Foundation continues to develop and expand, the mission is to touch young lives around the globe. With the goal of building a youth center in the area where he grew up, Dwyane will continue to support a variety of programs that inspire, uplift and motivate. “I can’t just let basketball define who I am and what I am supposed to become,” said Wade. “Like my mother always tells me, ‘[My life] is bigger than basketball.’”
Mourning and Wade acknowledge that our youth are constantly faced with challenging situations and decisions. Along with the Michael Fux Foundation they organized a full day summit designed to open the lines of communication and discuss real issues that are important to youth at this stage of their lives. Covering a gamut of issues, youth participants had an open dialogue with model individuals, prominent leaders in the community, entertainers, professional athletes, and other teens to find solutions and gain a positive perspective. The following are excerpts from various panelists involved with the phenomenal Youth Summit. We encourage you to read and take heed to their important and profound advice. Although they addressed that particular group of youth, their words resonated and are relevant to all.
Alonzo “Zo” Mourning: Bill Gates is one of the richest men in the world, if not the richest man in the world but he’s still learning. He will tell you that he’s still learning, trying to find new and creative ways to make money, to make things happen. So don’t ever stop learning, don’t ever stop gaining and developing and looking for new and improved information. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and please don’t be afraid to say it because that’s the only way you’re going to improve in life, learning from your experiences. What we’re in here telling you today is for your own good. We’re not here just for ourselves, we’re here for you.
Ed Lover: The difference between constructive criticism and somebody trying to say something to bring you down is just like if your interests, your passions, you want to be a baker, you like to bake, you like to cook and somebody tastes your stuff and they go, “This stuff is nasty, ill” and they just walk away and tell everybody, “She can’t cook, her stuff is nasty.” The difference is somebody saying, “This is really not good, maybe you should add this or maybe you should try this or maybe you should try a different method or I saw this on television you can add this ingredient.” That’s constructive criticism. Somebody can tell you it’s nasty not adding anything to it or not enhancing anything for you, that’s the difference. Some of you might be into fashion. You might have a certain way you like to wear your clothes, or you might want to create your own clothes. You break it out and show it to one of your friends and they’re like, “That’s corny.” Maybe if you change the buttons or maybe if you did something different, that’s constructive criticism in comparison to somebody that is trying to say something to bring you down.
Terence: I host 106th & Park and it’s really enjoyable for me. I always wanted to sing or rap or do something like that but I was never able to do those things. So I ended up being on TV, kind of in the industry and that goes to show you might not be able to get exactly what you want out of life meaning some people wanted to play basketball and may not be able to go into the NBA like D. Wade or Zo but there’s so many different opportunities in the industry. You could be a broadcaster, trainer, publicist, you could be so many different things, you could be part of the team. So once again whatever you want to do in life just keep on going for your dreams but getting that education is what’s going to really be valuable in you being successful regardless of what you do. I ended up on TV by mistake, I never grew up and said I want to be a DJ when I grow up it just kind of happened and I’m really blessed to be here and meet you guys today.
Tamekia Flowers-Holland: That’s another thing, I’m glad you brought that up, he does one thing but he’s not afraid to try something else. A lot of times you just fall back on one thing but diversify your skill sets, diversify your interests. You’re doing things; look into other things, that’s how you can really find out what it is that you have that true passion for. There’s nothing wrong with that.
Alonzo “Zo” Mourning: Each and every one of you all in here has a talent, regardless of if you know it or not right now. You have a talent and it’s up to you to educate yourself and find out exactly what your talent is. Terence said he didn’t know exactly what talents he had but he was persistent in trying to figure out, this is my big chance, I’m going to go here, I’m going to go there. I’m going to drive here, I’m going to drive there, I’m going to make the sacrifices I need to make in order to put myself in the position where I can find out, what am I exactly good at. So as soon as he got his foot in the door, these opportunities opened up for him because he worked his butt off, he continued to put himself in positions but all in all, it tells us educate ourselves in some type of magnitude, you’ve got to get some type of education. And I’m not saying you’ve got to run off to college and get a college degree and everything, which would be great obviously, but you’ve got to get some form of education. You’ve got to read up on certain stuff, you’ve got to learn different things. You’ve got to understand that the only way to even get somewhere, that I have to do something to get there. It’s not just going to fall from the cracks alright. I have to be an active participant in my success. I can’t wait on somebody else to do it you’ve got to do it.
Tracy Mourning: My children are my inspiration. My children make we want to know more and learn more. They teach me things that I don’t even want to know, and by my children I don’t only mean the two that I’ve given birth to I mean my children, my girls, you all, that inspires me. I know that I’ve been blessed all my life, God is so good, He’s blessed me all my life, but I know it’s not just because. He’ s blessed me because I have a responsibility and I have work to do. I just don’t want you to ever give up because things are going to get tough. Life is not easy, it’s going to get tough, you’re going to have challenges all your life but don’t give up. You can’t live your life in fear afraid of trying things, you must move forward in faith. So instead of living in fear, please live in faith and never ever ever give up, it’s too much work to do. You have a responsibility all of you to see where you can make a difference for someone else. So please don’t ever give up.
Lauren London: I’m going to give you the same advice that I keep telling myself, I tell myself every morning be patient with yourself and embrace where you are. I just want to say keep going, but be patient with yourself, on your pace, and love yourself.
Gabrielle Union: It’s about being better today then you were yesterday; it’s all about evolution. If you were a “C” student yesterday be an “A” student today.
Judge Hatchett: If there is no limit, sky is the limit on what you can do with your life, what is your dream for your life? Close your eyes and count to three. If you could be anything in the world you want to be? I want you to hold that dream and don’t let anybody or anything get in the way of your dream, not the haters. This is your homework assignment, I want you to go home and I want you take a piece of paper, and I want you to write in big letters what that dream is. Then I want you to ask your parents permission to get four thumb tacks I want you to tack it up over your bed. Why, because I want it to be the first thing you see every morning when you wake up, and I want it to be the last thing you see every night before you go to sleep. You will remember the day when you tacked on that ceiling, when you’re delivering babies in a hospital 15 years from now, you tacked up obstetrician. When you win a championship ring you will remember that you put up pro baller; a journalist when you win a Pulitzer Prize. It’s real, because in our community I started this whole posting a dream theme all around the country, because we have got to be in the business of posting our young peoples dreams.
Dwyane Wade: To our young Black, beautiful women, to our young Black strong men, one thing you have to do in life, there’s many things, but one thing you have to do, you have to believe in yourself. If you don’t believe in yourself there’s no one that can believe enough in you so if you want to succeed in life, you want to succeed in anything, it comes from the inner and then it comes outside. So look at a mirror everyday and say “I believe.” Thank you.
Alonzo “Zo” Mourning: Anytime we have an opportunity to do this, this is truly a blessing, not just for you guys but for us, because we are able to use our blessings and our experiences as tools for you all to take out of those doors and use them for the rest of your lives. Use them to build; we’re giving you tools to build, all the information and all the things that you’ve gone through, we’ve gone through. So those experiences that we’ve had, we’re giving them to you providing words of wisdom so that you can take with you and build your own lives, become productive citizens. We all want to see each and every one of you become productive citizens and run this world. You will be our leaders, truly our leaders, so stand on that information as you go out and you accomplish all the goals that Judge Hatchett just said that you’re going to write on that piece of paper, go out and accomplish those goals, use these particular tools. I love each and every one of you like you are my own. I want to see each and every one of you all accomplish all your goals, that’s the purpose of this session right here. Please take all the words that we said, take them with you and use them in your lives. Remember what I said, in order for good things to happen in your life you’ve got to surround yourself with good people. God bless you all.
Truly an insightful and motivating day, some teens shared that they learned, “Be true to yourself. Never give up. Don’t disgrace women. Be you. Be different.”
Please check the video for more highlights of this spectacular event.