14 Dec

Beasts of the Beat: Sons of Detroit Using Talent to Change Their World

Today, I am in Detroit for a planning retreat with Usher’s New Look Program Department.  During lunch we had the pleasure of meeting some young gentlemen from Northpointe Academy in Highland Park, Michigan. They were accompanied by their music teacher Joe Vercellino.  I had no ideas what I was about to witness.  All I knew was that these boys confidently filed into the room carrying an acoustic guitar and music equipment.  Well what I saw brought tears to my eyes (literally). In fact, I think I cried during the entire performance.

Before I get into why I was moved to tears, I have to draw  your attention to my last post. In fact here is an excerpt.
“One of the many provocative statements that President Obama made was that we have to do our part to uphold African-American boys. Specifically,’We need to spend some time in thinking about how do we bolster and reinforce our African-American boys?’

So here I am sitting in my comfy chair during lunch and I hear these young boys begin to rap and make beautiful positive music about their lives, love and being champions.  I thought to myself, these boys are really poised to bring about change and become leaders in their communities.  Then their teacher began to ask the young men to share with us why they are apart of the group.  They’re responses included statements like “This is a brotherhood”; “I want to change my life”; “I want to rap about positive things”. I was hearing these statements from young boys, grades 5-9 who knowingly or unknowingly are debunking a stereotype that is often perpetuated in our media of young black boys.  Mr. Vercellino is answering President Obama’s question.

I have to give a hats off to Mr. Vercellino for touching the lives of these boys and sharing love.  I shared with him how great of a job he was doing but I’m not sure he really understood just how inspired I was for him recognizing and helping to develop the talent of these young boys.  When I say that I care about the education of ALL children, I mean just that.  My passion for seeing children succeed is what fuels my work.  My passion is what caused me to well up with tears when I saw these guys on a clear path to succeed.  Regardless of any obstacles they may face, as we all do, Mr. Vercellino has created a space and expectation for them to succeed.

So I want to say to the Beasts of the Beat, you can do anything you put your mind to.  You have the world at your fingertips. Continue to surround yourselves with positivity.  The positivity you are spreading is a part of you now, do not ever lose it.

Check out this video of the Beasts of the Beat:
May you be inspired as well.

Posted by: Category: Uncategorized