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    Posted March 3, 2014 by
    Washington, District of Columbia
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    My advice to men like me

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    My advice to men like me: wear your hoodies


    The late great motivational speaker Zig Ziglar said that fear is nothing but F.E.A.R.—False Evidence Appearing Real. For young men of color (and everyone reading this), I ask you one simple question: what would you do in this world if you did not have fear? Would you be President of the United States? The doctor who discovers the cure for AIDS or breast cancer? Greatest teacher your school has ever seen? Whatever it is, you must go for it and be fearless in that pursuit.

    The fact of the matter is that much of the world already has a low opinion of you. The murders of Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis and the subsequent destruction of their lives in the media prove that many in society view you as expendable so why spend your time in fear? You were picked out to be picked on so get over it and get to shining! Don’t dampen your light for anyone. I have traveled to 20 countries with my work, released 7 albums and 6 books. I’ve studied everywhere from Harvard and Princeton to Morehouse and Georgetown. I’ve even been fortunate enough to appear on a major TV news station that starts with “C” and ends with “N” (they gave me an award too). While those accomplishments may seem impressive, I could have doubled it all if I did not let my soul be governed by fear at different points in my life. If you get rid of your fears now, what I have accomplished will not compare to what you can do with your life.


    In short, you are only going to go as far as your fears will let you so let the fear go. Stay focused, and use your history as a source of inspiration. Whatever your race is, you come from a great people. Use your history and the shoulders you stand on to bring out the greatness that is dormant inside you. Remember as Oprah that you were validated at birth so you have nothing to prove. Wear your hoodies. Wear your suits. Wear whatever you want. Just choose to be great under it all. I dare you to be great. In closing, I will leave you with a rap I wrote entitled “G.R.O.W. Towards Your Greatness!”


    When I was young they used to call me a monster
    African bush boogie, monkey, I was bothered
    They used to pick on my clothes, I didn’t have Nikes
    Didn’t have nice bikes, other fancy things
    Didn’t have no loot, no savings no trust fund
    So walkin’ out my house every day was not fun
    Had no heat in the winter, no AC in the hot sun
    Next to my bed was rats, leftovers they got some
    I used to wonder why me while seein’ on TV
    Dudes wit Beemers, Jaguars, of course Mercedes
    Being broke as a kid used to drive me crazy
    Hearing the guns at night I couldn’t sleep like a baby
    But now I’ll make it plain, I’m writing this on a plane
    On my way to California for a show what changed?
    Well I stopped making excuses, for myself took blame
    Take control of your life you can do the same

    Don’t matter you been abused, grew up with no parents
    You dealt with booze, dealt with drugs, wheelchair ramped it
    Maybe you grew up poor, in a house not a home
    Maybe mom was an addict, pop a rolling stone
    What you gotta see is life is just testing you out
    To see if you’ll take your life, take the easy route
    To see if you’ll throw the towel in, surrender your soul
    To a life of crime, life of loss, life outta control
    But if you take a step back think twice get some goals
    If you focus on your dreams and not your nightmares yo
    You’ll see your life get better with your new mindset
    You’ll get new experiences that you won’t regret
    I took control of my life now I travel the globe
    Met Clinton, Obama, Maya Angelou
    I might be the next man on the cover of “O”
    You take control of your destiny you never know
    I’ve been on BET, BBC, CNN
    Been to 20 countries spoke before millions
    Now they don’t call me a monster lest I’m beastin a flow
    They don’t call me nothin but the G.O.A.T.* at a show
    So what can YOU do if you focus on great?
    More than me probably if you concentrate
    Get the haters out your life stop lifting dead weight
    And listen to no one who ever said “Wait!”
    Get away from folks who say your life ain’t hot
    Only folks at the bottom say you can’t get to the top
    Don’t look at where you are dream of where you’re going
    Today you might be struggling tomorrow you soaring
    If you never give up and believe in yourself
    If you take care of body and develop good health
    You’ll live the life of your dreams, trust me you’ll see
    Cause you got nothing but greatness in your destiny!


    *Greatest Of All Time

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