Candid discussion on crisis facing black males at Essence Fest

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11 July 2013

New Orleans, La. — There was a candid discussion on the plight of young African-American males at the Morial Convention Center as part of the first day of the Essence Festival.

Musical entrepreneur Master P, actor/producer Ameer Baraka and others took part in the Saving Our Sons empowerment seminar Thursday.

“To see my brother lying in that casket… I said, ‘Mom, I don’t want to put you through this, that’s why I’m going to change my life,'” said Master P, whose real name is Percy Miller.

None of the participants held back.

“At the age of 14 years old I killed another guy because he was selling drugs in my project,” said Baraka.

He and Master P have something in common. Both called the B.W. Cooper, formerly the Calliope Housing Development, home. But neither gives the city’s young males an excuse for taking the wrong path in life.

“I don’t blame my momma, my daddy, any mistakes I made in life, I blame me,” said Master P to loud applause.

Master P told the audience that he could have blown his chance at real success. “When I rode through that project and had [Lil] Romeo sitting in that car seat with me, and what I was into, I had to realize I don’t want my son to be into this, so I ‘m going to have to make a change,” he said.

His son Romeo, a TV actor and rapper, took the stage, as did Master P’s daughter, who sings as well.

Baraka, who had a role in HBO’s “Treme” series, said while incarcerated an older male changed his life with positive words. Now he is committed to raising awareness and telling it straight when it comes to some of society’s ills.

“[A] black woman shouldn’t be pregnant for a drug dealer, are you crazy?  You’re pregnant and he’s a drug dealer, that’s a disaster waiting to happen. Get out of that, there’s no hope in a drug dealer,” said Baraka.

Written by: Sabrina Wilson

Read full story and see video here


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