|Speaking at Prairie View A&M University on April 12|
The panel I was on took place April 9th with the theme “Media Voices Beyond the Mainstream.” The discussion surrounded the power, growth, establishment, influence and future of grassroots media entities. It was a great hour and a half discussion. I still have a ton of the audio to upload from it, but if you would like to hear my 8:43 opening words just press “play” below. Thank you to the organizers for being so gracious to invite me, fly me out there, house me in a nice hotel and give me the opportunity to network with some great people from across the country.
I returned to Houston on April 11th and the next day I was set to deliver a message that would be very dear to me. Of course, I count every speaking moment as a blessing and don’t take any for granted. However, this one was very special because I was returning to the school that helped to shape me into the young man I am today. The school where I honed many of my organizing skills. The school where I was able to test that which I was learning in the ministry class at Muhammad Mosque No. 45. The school where I got my first speeding ticket. That school is Prairie View A&M University.
Isis McGraw, who works in the PVAMU Special Programs and Cultural Series, invited me to be the final speaker in their second annual Students Participating In Transcendent Knowledge (S.P.I.T. Knowledge) Lecture Series. They invite several speakers per semester as guests and I was blessed to close out the 2010-2011 year. I was preceded by CNBC Contributor Keith Boykins, Domestic Violence survivor Carolyn Thomas, anti-racism activist Tim Wise, and Dr. Maya Rockeymoore.
This was my first time speaking on “The Hill” since 2001, when I led a protest against former President George W. Bush, who was the keynote speaker for the commencement ceremony. Long story short, that almost got me kicked out of school!
When we arrived at the new student memorial center I was in awe of how nice it was especially since my tuition fees contributed towards its development. Yea, we protested that too back then. The event took place inside the auditorium, and before I spoke I was interviewed in the holding room by Panther Newspaper writer Shei'Tia Benson. (Click here to read her story)
I was then brought out to be seated and was given a surprise that honestly was a tear jerker. Members of the dynamic Charles Gilpin Players performance group (pictured below) practiced for weeks to do a skit in honor of me. They performed many skits of some of my stories, blogs and motivational quotes! OMG! I was not prepared for that and I humbly thank them.
I was introduced by Trenton Johnson, who is a part of the schools PALs (Panther Advisor Leaders). That was the same week as the annual PALs week-long of activities and they graciously added my talk to their calendar. Thanks Trenton (pictured below) for the Twitter promotions and great introduction.
It had been a long time since I was nervous about a talk, but once I started I felt like was at home talking to family because PVAMU was my home for nearly five years. Within 45 minutes I touched on various organizing experiences I had as a student, the future of America as Minister Farrakhan has warned, finding purpose for one’s existence, several news stories I’ve written included the recent Mississippi hanging of Frederick Jermaine Carter, the true purpose of education, self-identity, love, and the sexual assault of women on campus. I talked about the impact that Mayor Frank Jackson and the late Dr. Imari Obadele had on my development. I closed out my talk by inviting them to take the “Red Pill and the Blue Pill” like the movie The Matrix--meaning I shared with them some of the contents of the books "The Secret Relationships Between Blacks & Jews" Vols. 1 & 2 by the Nation of Islam Research Department. It sparked a lot of interest.
I then fielded many questions from the audience that covered a vast amount of topics. Plus I entertained more questions from a line of students at the end of the evening. What a joyous experience, and I thank the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan for this and all opportunities to strive to represent him as a student in his class.
I’m sure you’re wondering if anyone recorded it, right? Well I was so focused on being sure I delivered the message properly that I did not think to ask about any audio/visual setup. However, I did press record on my handheld digital recorder just before I mounted the rostrum, but somehow it did not record one second of my talk. Urgh! Oh well, it happens.
I was blessed to receive feedback from Ms. McGraw (pictured below) who said that the feedback from students showed that they were most pleased with how I was able to relate to them and also many of them said I should have spoken longer. Interesting. Thank you to Ryan C. Versey for all of these wonderful photos.
All I have to say is: P-V-U!
Praise be to Allah!
(You're welcome to follow Brother Jesse's boring tweets on Twitter @BrotherJesse or his sometimes funny posts on Facebook. Follow at your own risk!)