My father was a coal miner, and worked hard every day of his life. He taught me the value of a good day’s work, how to be a man and to do what you say you’re going to do. My mother was a Sunday School teacher. She instilled in me the importance of having a relationship with God, and showing gratitude. She always told me, “You are blessed to be a blessing.” That your success means nothing, if you don’t show anyone else how to achieve it. Those two people are the biggest inspirations of my life. My parents ingrained in me a sense of responsibility. Teaching me to work hard, serve others and use my voice to empower.
Long ago, my mission was made clear. I am here to help change the lives of young men and women. I cannot afford to sit on the sidelines. The calling that’s been placed on me is to participate and actively do something. I am committed to this mission. By investing time, resources and dollars to create opportunities for boys and girls that will expand their horizons, reinforce the power of dreams, and positively impact the communities in which they live. I feel joy when I think about how many lives we’ve been able to touch so far. But there’s so much more we can do, and I will always leverage my success to expand the work we are doing.
Some of my fans, followers and so called friends have expressed concerns about my choosing to sit down and talk with those on the other side. The method I’ve chosen may not be popular, I understand that. But I’m not in this to be popular. Also, I didn't ASK for a meeting. I was ASKED to meet. First by a person from the Obama transitions team. Then I was placed on a call with the Trump transition team. After that the meeting was set. While in the meeting with president elect Trump, we had a congenial conversation about tv and golf. During that conversation he was very aware of the fact that I was on the opposite side of the voting ballot. I congratulated him on his win anyway. He asked me what I wanted. That's when I said I wanted to help Dr. Ben Carson who is the newly appointed head of HUD. To his credit he immediately put Dr. Carson on the phone. He listened to my vision for the inner cities. Then we sat and agreed that we shared the same desire for the inner city. The two of us who operate on opposite sides of the track found a common ground. We have since had several meetings. I have even been invited to the H.U.D offices in D.C, where I met with a very eager staff of people. Having very meaningful dialogue. We are now in the process of making this vision a reality with one goal in mind; To change the lives and directions of millions of young people and families who are so underserved in these inner city communities.
I went there to explain my mission, and see if anyone on that side shares at any level the same commitment to help these young men and women get a better chance at achieving the American dream. We don’t always agree with the politics, and we can complain about it until we're blue in the face, but then we have to also ask ourselves, what are we doing to provide a solution for the problems that plague our young people in our inner cities? I have the power to use my voice and influence to gain an audience with people to understand if we can find some common ground and change lives. When we do, let’s move forward together.
I will not stop fighting for the lives of young people. I started down this path a long time ago, and I will remain on it. I fight for the inner city youth and will continue to fight for them, because I am a product of the inner city myself. In my heart, I will always be an inner city kid- regardless where this fame and these suits take me. I have not changed, in fact I am even more committed. I believe that this country still represents an ideal; That despite the odds, you can defy the most daunting of circumstances. You can come from nothing to create the life of your dreams. I am blessed to realize the American Dream, and hope to help others do the same. I love you all, and I am honored to not only entertain but also serve you.