11.29.2012

3rd Annual Smart’N Up! Black Male Summit gives young boys blueprint for success in life


by Jesse Muhammad

Who says young Black males won't get up on a Saturday morning for something positive? Well on Saturday, November 17, hundreds forsook their beds to attend Smart’N Up III Black Male Summit on Education at Lone Star College Victory Center in the Acres Homes area of Houston.

The annual event is the brainchild of citywide recognized activist Deric Muhammad in partnership with the Lone Star Community College System.

"True education does not necessarily take place in the classroom," said Deric Muhammad during the standing room only crowd at the opening session.

He then gave the attendees a four step formula: 1) Find out what you're good at 2) Get Better At It 3) Become The Best At It 4) Just Go Win!

“In order for you to win, you got to have confidence in yourself. When you're trying to accomplish something in life, you have to step with confidence. Believing in yourself costs you nothing, but failure to believe in yourself costs you everything,” he said.



Joyce Wiley, the community outreach coordinator for Lone Star, welcomed the attendees and expressed, as a mother, how appreciative she was to see something like this being done with the young males.

Inner-Active Workshops 

Summit participants, wearing “Smarter Than You Think” t-shirts and backpacks, eagerly walked through the Lone Star College hallways to get to the scheduled workshops. Workshop presenters and themes included Bryan Robertson (“Tailor-Made for Your Success”), Khalis Rashaad (“Run Toward Fear! Think Big and Be Your Own Boss”), Durce Muhammad (“Your Appearance - Asset or Liability?”) and Silky Slim (“Conflict Resolution and Stopping the Violence”).

Silky Slim, an ex-gang leader from Baton Rouge, is now touring the country with his Stop the Killing message. The most touching part of his presence was the fact that his mother had passed the day before, yet he felt she wanted him to carry on with his work.


His slide presentation was definitely not for the faint of heart because he showed bloody images of Black males murdered at the hands of other Blacks. He even had images of himself with fine cars, big guns and gunshot wounds from his days of ‘hood terrorism.

“I had all of that, but I was empty on the inside. Some of us searching for the wrong type of success. Money is not success,” said Silky Slim. “You have to say to yourself 'I am somebody because God doesn't make junk. Just like they dig for diamonds, you have to dig within yourself to find out what God has deposited within you.”

As sharp as he looked, you couldn’t tell that Khalis Rashaad is a high school dropout who served 12 years in prison as a result of being a drug dealer. He now has a MBA and owns an accounting firm.


“Who is really living their passion? Most of us are chasing other people's dreams and not thinking for ourselves. Schools don't teach you about money and entrepreneurship,” said Rashaad. "While the average person sleeps, I'm up grinding. My day starts at 4am. That's what it takes to win!”

Bryan Robertson, an experienced educator and motivational speaker, spoke strongly about vision, goal setting, hard work and confidence. “You have to have the attitude that you're going to succeed. Show up, have faith and go through something,” said Robertson.


Durce Muhammad spoke about the power of appearance and self-respect. “A man knows that clothes don’t make him, but knows it can make a first impression. His wardrobe may speak louder than what he has to say.”


During the lunch break, the North Forest HS Men of Distinction stomped a hole in the floor stepping! After the break, the Brother 2 Brother Society of Lone Star College hosted the closing panel themed "The Re-Education of The Black Male."


“Each of you is an individual miracle. Not one of you is an accident!” said Nation of Islam Student Minister Robert Muhammad. “You're an answer to someone's prayer. And you have to start thinking and acting like that.”

The Black Male Summit concluded with free giveaway prizes for the attendees including money, tickets to museums, shirts, books, etc. Deric Muhammad has plans to take the summit on tour in 2013 to various areas in Houston.

Let’s all Smart’N Up!