The biggest stars of hip-hop and politics came together to deliver a message to the youth about the importance of service, maximizing opportunity and finding their identity.
Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) moderated the “Young, Gifted and Black – Reclaiming Our Time” panel during the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 47th Annual Legislative Conference on Friday, Sept. 22 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Northwest, where rap star T.I. challenged the audience to find their calling.
“I would like for everybody in here to find their true purpose, and live that to the fullest,” T.I. told the hundreds in the audience. “You know we as Black people, we are talented and we can sing, dance, rap, do all of that, but everybody in here has something inside of them, a fortune in their mind already and all you got to do is get it out.”
T.I. told the youths in the crowd that everyone’s gift isn’t going to come out through dancing, singing or rapping and that they must think bigger.
“That’s the thing that each and every last one of us has to do, so we can apply our gifts and strengths and be the most effective that we can for the generation, for the culture and humanity. That is each of our task,” he said.
The rapper, actor and humanitarian said he does so many things because he’s on a search for his own inner truth.
“I don’t know rapping may not be my true purpose. It’s what I love, it’s what introduced me to you, but if telling stories through film, finding ways to get more people registered to vote, developing real estate programs and finding ways to get Black businesses open in our communities happens to be my true purpose than great,” he said.
The superstar panel included CNN political analyst Angela Rye, singer Tweet, producer Malik Yusef and rappers RAtheMC, Vic Mensa and David Banner whose sentiments T.I. reverberated.
“To echo what my brother Banner said, success is when preparation meets opportunity. Just as he said when you have prepared yourself tirelessly, continuously, educated yourself, perfected your craft, when the opportunity presents itself than success is inevitable.”
T.I. asserted that the young ones shouldn’t be offended by criticism they receive about their dreams.
“You’re going to shine, one, when you find your true purpose and two when you are prepared for the opportunity and not before,” he said. “Don’t be frustrated, don’t think everyone around you is hating because they keep telling you, ‘man, that ain’t it.’ That is the universe’s way of telling you [that] you might be passionate about this, but it’s not your true purpose.”
T.I. reiterated his point to many of the young hopefuls who one day aspire to his success.
“When you go head up against the universe, you’re fighting a losing battle,” he said. “You can fight a lot of things, but you can’t fight the universe. It was here before you, and it’s going to be here after you.”