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    1. #1
      Jahness's Avatar
      Jahness is offline OniOni Warrior

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      Arrow T.I. turns to civil rights icon as mentor


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      T.I. turns to civil rights icon as mentor

      By JONATHAN LANDRUM Jr.,
      Associated Press Writer




      In this June 17, 2008 file photo, Rap star T.I. whose real is Clifford Harris talks with children at a day camp in Decatur, Ga. Harris, must spend at least 1,000 hours talking to youth groups about the pitfalls of guns, gangs and drugs before reporting for about a year in prison in a deal worked out with prosecutors. He was arrested Oct. 13, 2007, and charged with possession of unregistered machine guns and silencers, as well as possession of firearms by a convicted felon.
      (AP Photo/John Bazemore, file)

      When he was growing up, most of T.I.'s male role models were either selling drugs or locked up in jail; he ended up following in both of those paths. Even after T.I. started his rap career and became one of its biggest stars, he didn't abandon a life of crime: He recently pleaded guilty to federal weapons charges and faces almost a year in jail.

      So T.I. would be the last person one would expect to be espousing the beliefs of Martin Luther King Jr. and reading the words of Andrew Young, the longtime civil rights leader, King compatriot and former U.N. ambassador.

      But these days, T.I. is thinking about social responsibility and leadership, thanks to an unlikely mentor in Young, who reached out to the rapper a few months ago.

      "He's bright enough, sensitive enough, vulnerable enough and intellectual enough that he might be able to help the society deal with the problem of violence," said Young, also a former mayor of Atlanta.

      It may seem odd that the 76-year-old Young, who marched and stood for nonviolence alongside King, would affiliate himself with someone caught purchasing machine guns and silencers.

      But Young sees T.I. in a positive manner especially after they met at Young's home saying the rapper has the potential to influence this hip-hop driven generation in a similar way King did during the civil rights movement.

      "If you put him in jail for 20 years, that won't do any good toward gun violence," Young said. "The judge had the wisdom and courage to give him a chance and force him to think about the process."

      T.I., whose real name is Clifford Harris, was sentenced in March to serve about a year in prison after completing at least 1,000 hours of community service and three years of supervised home detention. He was also given a $100,000 fine. To avoid a lengthy sentence, he agreed to speak with youth about the pitfalls of guns, gangs and violence.

      That's where Young stepped in. He took T.I. to a rehabilitation hospital in New York to meet with people who were paralyzed from gang violence. He's given T.I. books to read, including one written by Young and another on the genocide in Rwanda.

      Young hopes to take T.I. on a trip to Africa before he starts his prison sentence in late March. He already took him to an exclusive birthday party for poet Maya Angelou in May.

      "He's a mentor of some sort to me," the 27-year-old T.I. said of Young in a recent interview, shortly after lecturing almost 100 youths about the importance of education and entrepreneurship.

      "Thing is, I didn't really expect to be the spokesperson for positive decisions in kids lives," he said. "That's not necessarily what I saw for myself."

      It's also not the kind of message he's doled out in his music. Though his lyrics aren't exceptionally violent or profane given rap's often raw standard, his rhymes depict some would say glorify life on the street, whether it deals with gunplay or drugs. He would certainly never be called a conscious rapper.

      Yet Young sees him doing great works. He welcomed T.I. to his home: They talked for almost three hours about King not initially wanting to lead the civil rights movement until he finally took ownership of the guiding role.

      During their meeting, T.I. said Young compared the rapper to King.

      "Once he saw that no one else wanted that responsibility, he was forced into it," said T.I., recalling his conversation with Young about King. "People depended on him and pushed it on him. It wasn't until (Young) said in Montgomery (Ala.) that King accepted the responsibility of being the leader of the civil rights movement. He compared that to my situation."

      When asked about the comment, Young neither denied or completely confirmed it.

      While Bishop Eddie Long, leader of megachurch New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, doesn't speak of T.I. in King-like terms, he does believe the rapper who has given himself the boastful title "King of the South" has the drive and ability to reach a large mass of people even Long can't reach.

      "Here's a man who has a past," the pastor said. "Here's a man who has gotten himself in some trouble because of decisions. Here's a man that commands a great audience of young people, who maybe I may not be the prophet of the day.

      "But he is someone who can say things and make people move in a generation we need to touch. So he is very valuable."

      From Atlanta to Los Angeles, T.I. has visited community centers, churches and schools, speaking to crowds of about 250 youths. On a short leave from house arrest in March, T.I. delivered a speech on overcoming life's tribulations to almost 30,000 churchgoers for Long's Easter service at the Georgia Dome.

      T.I. is used to having an audience of millions. Last summer, his sixth album, "T.I.. vs T.I.P.," debuted at No. 1 on the album charts. T.I., who also appeared in the Denzel Washington-Russell Crowe film "American Gangster," was enjoying perhaps the biggest success of his career when he was arrested just blocks away and hours before he was to headline the BET Hip-Hop Awards last October.

      Federal officials said he was trying to pick up machine guns and silencers his then-bodyguard bought for him.

      His actions beg the question: Why T.I. would jeopardize his rising stardom?

      Fear, according to T.I. His best friend Philant Johnson was killed and three were injured in a gun shootout following a post-performance party in Cincinnati in 2006. He worried that he could suffer the same fate.

      "People would also love to say they, 'Hey, I killed T.I.'" he said. "Let's say if T.I. is out, didn't have any weapons around and I got shot dead in the street. The first thing people are going to say is, 'Why didn't T.I. have something to protect himself?'"

      But T.I. has a new train of thought after his arrest.

      "No matter how much security you have, how many guns you got, no matter how much money you got, God's will supersedes all of that," T.I. said. "So, instead of walking with guns, I now have to walk with God. I now have to trust in God's will."

      He's currently on a 14-city concert tour to promote his upcoming album, "Paper Trail," which is expected to released in September. Even though his first single "No Matter What" has no curse words, he says it doesn't mean that the album will be profanity-free. And he won't promise that violence or drugs won't be mentioned in his lyrics.

      But now, he plans to use those topics not to glorify, but to advise others about the consequences. He's trying to not disappoint the many who believe in him like Young.

      "I don't want to disgrace nobody who supported me who believed I pushed pass this situation," T.I. said. "I won't disgrace their good faith with another absolutely unnecessary situation."

      _____

      On the Net:

      Official T.I. Web site: T.I. King of the South

      T.I. turns to civil rights icon as mentor - Yahoo! News

      Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.
      Posted In The Spirit of Learning & Sharing
      One Love & Respect Always

      ***************************************
      The Quest for knowledge stops at the grave.
      HIM Emperor Haile Selassie I.


      If you fail to prepare,
      you are preparing to fail!


      Mind what you want, because someone wants your mind.

      Working together, the ants ate the elephant.


    2. #2
      Jalili's Avatar
      Jalili is offline Continuing the Fight

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      I don't know why but I don't feel the least bit "proud" of what he's doing.

      He is forced to talked to kids and now he's being called "a civil rights icon"
      So he is the prefect role model to kids?
      A convicted rapper?

      If he was really out to do some good he would have done it before the court said he had to.
      "We may be investigated, incarcerated or murdered for the things we dare to write...
      But we are young and Black, fearless and free...
      Every poem, every incandescent word is a personal revolution"
      Celeste "ayasha" Golden (my queen rest well and I'll see you when I get there.)
      http://awrittenlifeapoeticsoul.blogspot.com/
      http://justiseverything.blogspot.com/

    3. #3
      Sourakhata's Avatar
      Sourakhata is offline Proud Son of West Afrika

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      Let's hope this not a marketing operation.

      May this spark a real involvement & concerns for his own and well-being of his people..!

      And no matter what game they play
      We got something they could never take away
      And it's the fire (fire), it's the fire (fire)
      That's burning down everything
      Feel that fire (fire), the fire (fire)
      No water could put out this fire (fire)



    4. #4
      JOSIE's Avatar
      JOSIE is offline Warrior

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      Too bad he couldn't do it on his own and not through some plee bargan...


      He dosen't look too happy doing it either....just sayin.
      I follow my heart...

    5. #5
      Fenix's Avatar
      Fenix is offline aFROdemic

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      I have my thoughts about Andrew Young.

      But to the matter at hand. I'm tired of these fools pimping the struggle. First time they get in trouble, the community is supposed to back them up 100%? It doesn't work like. Or at least it shouldn't work that way.
      "Oh Africa! When shall be the term of thy long degradation? Behold here, even now, I pledge thee, O my Mother, that I shall devote my years to thee, shall work for thy redemption, shall love thee and be proud of thee and glory in thy power now lying dormant and shall strive to bring it to the light. Take my youth, my labors, my love, my all and do thou when I shall have died for thee, take me to thy bosom, an untamed, untamable African." -Hubert Harrison

    6. #6
      Raha's Avatar
      Raha is offline Be EASY.

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      I wouldn't compare T.I. to a civil rights icon.

      But I can't say that he hasn't been involved with his community, either.

      It's sad that it had to come to this before he realized that he needed to make a change, but I'm just glad that he is changing and hopefully sees the error of his ways.

      "Thing is, I didn't really expect to be the spokesperson for positive decisions in kids lives," he said. "That's not necessarily what I saw for myself."


      What people do not realize is that one doesn't not have to be told that they are a role model in order for them to be one. Everything that one does (or does not do) sets a precedent saying that it is ok to do (or not do) certain things. I think that T.I. is beginning to see that.

      One doesn't have to be a "perfect role model" (which I don't think the article is saying at all), but one does have to realize that people are watching that person, and their actions are being taken into account.

      P.E.A.C.E.
      Pyrrhic Victory (New songs are up!): http://www.reverbnation.com/pyrrhicvictory

      Some people take themselves WAY TOO SERIOUSLY, when in actuality, no one else is really taking them as seriously as they think.

    7. #7
      Majadi's Avatar
      Majadi is offline Warrior

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      He would do better to have us train him in social responsibility. This is one of the few depositories of Afrikan Genius and Revolutionary Consciousness. Andrew Young is only relevant as an elder in that part of our movement to deal with integration and Civil Rights issues. The revolutionary ideals and links to that Nationalist type of consciousness can be found amongst us. Can anyone touch bases with this brother, maybe we can help him out of hell and into his divine Afrikan mind???

    8. #8

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      I wish more rappers were role models instead of money-hungry juggernauts. T.I. is fake, he's not even from Bankhead, which leads me (and most logically thinking people) to believe that he altered his true origins because he wasn't viewed as some hardcore gangster in the area that he's really from (Riverdale).

      It's one thing for rappers to illustrate the hardships of blacks living in poverty and dealing with the many enticements of the ghettos, but that's not the same as creating a fake image and glorifying it to the detriment of your people. That's what separates today's rappers from rappers like the Sugar Hill Gang - they were showing the world how black people fell into the traps of the ghettos - today's rappers are bragging about how black people have fallen into those traps. A lot of these rappers are encouraging kids to do things that they themselves were never dumb enough to do, they just take pieces of the lives of the real McCoys and run with it. A perfect example of that is the relationship between Snoop Dogg and the pimp Don Magic Juan : Don Magic Juan is a real live 'pimp', and so Snoop Dogg hangs around him all of the time to embellish his own image. It was the same with that rapper named 'Gotti' who hung around Victoria Gotti's sons just to boost his image - they feed off of the reputations of others - pathetic.

      T.I. exposed

      Trust nothing completely, not even the clearest water; for its very transparency alters things, making them larger than they are and changing their shape, or hiding them in its depths, smiling and murmuring as any politician would -Baltasar Gracian

    9. #9
      Jahness's Avatar
      Jahness is offline OniOni Warrior

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      Arrow


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      Greetings Everyone!

      Hopefully T.I. has learned his lesson. It may be a marketing, publicity scheme or just an easy opportunity for him to get by. I don't know how genuine he may be in this new path he is willing to walk, but time will tell just how sincere he is in doing the right thing and helping the youths.

      I wish him the best and hope he makes good use of the opportunity to make his life better and live by example of doing the right thing because the youths really look up to him and other rappers.

      Much appreciation to everyone for taking the time to share your valuable coments.

      Peace & Blessings!
      Posted In The Spirit of Learning & Sharing
      One Love & Respect Always

      ***************************************
      The Quest for knowledge stops at the grave.
      HIM Emperor Haile Selassie I.


      If you fail to prepare,
      you are preparing to fail!


      Mind what you want, because someone wants your mind.

      Working together, the ants ate the elephant.


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