Dr. Fairest Hill told a roomful of students and adults Saturday how their destiny is up to them in a personal story about the differences between his late sister and himself.
Growing up in a ghetto outside Detroit, Mich., Hill lost his father when he was 11 and a single mother raised him, two sisters and a brother and him. The motivational speaker who spoke at the Youth/Parent Summit said he attended his sister’s funeral last year.
“My sister said when I was 11 you were born in the ghetto and you will die in he ghetto,” he said. “I remembered that at her funeral.”
But even back then he refused that notion.
“She said it and it happened to her,” he said. “I was going to get out.”
Ruled in school to be functionally illiterate, he said he overcame his shortcomings and with his mind set on becoming a businessman, he got out.
Getting motivation from his mother and a teacher who took to him in school, he got out of the ghetto and now he travels the world and has brought his message to millions of children, he said.
“Now I have a Ph.D. I have books and I own my own publishing company,” he said. “That’s not bad for someone who didn’t know how to read.”
He told the audience he followed the advice of his mother who told him you may be in the ghetto but don’t let the ghetto get into you.”
He didn’t, despite the fact that his siblings apparently didn’t follow him as they are all lingering in how they grew up.
He also was guided from the ghetto from a teacher who took a liking to him and saw his drive. She asked him what is it he wants to do and wants to be.
“I said, ‘Mrs. Williams, I want to be a businessman,’” he told her.
She bought him a briefcase and she told him not only to take it everywhere he went, but also tell people when asked that he is a businessman. He got a hard time over it, but he brushed it off.
“People would say to me you don’t even know how to spell it and I said maybe, but I know I’m going to be one.”
He added, “Because of that teacher I became an A and B student and I got a scholarship.”
Hill was hired as a motivational speaker to speak at Saturday’s fourth annual event. He spent about 45 minutes on center stage at the Pow Pow at the Carver Recreation Center. The man who became famous being the original drummer in The Gap Band not only drove the students with his music and speaking, he drove the parents as well. Of the hundreds in attendance, he not only kept the students dancing and repeating his phrases throughout his speech, he had the parents participating as well. At one point, he called up people to the front in the gymnasium at the Carver Recreation Center to dance and seven people – parents and students – came up many of them using the one-liners he pushed at them. They were sayings to keep their hope, keep their drive and rely on themselves to be successful in life.
Music will make you feel good but knowledge will make live good.
Don’t be selfish, your life is bigger than you.
My destiny is up to me.
Life is too short to not be effective.
You need somebody to help you.
As examples of what he was driving at, he gave his audience three examples of those with drive who have made it.
“Look at Michael Jordan,” he said with a photo of him on a slide showing him as a child.
“Look at those big ears,” he joked. “No one probably had any idea what was going to become of him.”
He showed a slide of Oprah Winfrey.
“They probably had no idea how big she would be on TV.”
Then he showed a boy on a bicycle.
“No one had any idea that this would be the first African-American President of the United States,” he said. ‘Look beside you, you have no idea who you are sitting next to.”
And in his motivation to parents, he emphasized their importance on their children’s lives.
“If there’s anytime you fight for your children, we have to fight now. The season has changed,” he said.
He emphasized their importance to hear the word of God, but hear it and listen to it, he said.
“God never said he was obligated to what he didn’t authorize,” Hill said, but he said, they have to fight for the little ones because they are the “greatest commodities of our lives.”
“If you want your children to be right, you have to be right. Your attitude is everything,” he said.