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Behind The Velvet Rope: ESSENCE Festival Day 1

ESSENCE sat down with celebs to share uplifting stories.

SHOW TRANSCRIPT

(music) Hey what's up I'm Rodney Rickai and I'm Gia Peppers We're here at Essence Fest 2016 behind the velvet rope with Verizon! Yes, yes we've had fun all day long but tonight we're going to bring it to a whole A little bit of the good side of things. We talked so much about the celebrity drama but know we're gonna talk to celebrities about what makes them happy when they give back. What inspires them and the good stuff. You know we got to talk about the good stuff too. Gonna be a lotta more coming from you guys here that's what 2016 behind the velvet rope With Verizon, [INAUDIBLE] Gia Pepper. Beautiful, Gia Pepper. So, this your second year at Essence Festival man. What's it been like this year? obviously, last year you guys presented underground to the world. What's the reception like this time around man? It's been amazing, man. The fans, they really showed up and showed out this year. It's been all love. First year y'all Second for us, but it's all good, I'm gonna let y'all have that. But this year, you know, the love is so overwhelming and we're just so humbled by it. Awesome, awesome. One of my favorite parts about being here is that we get to play little games and before we got you on stage we told you to pick a quote. Yeah. So, we want to know what quote you picked, so show us real quick which quote you're gonna pick with us. [SOUND] All right. He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life, the great Mohammed Ali. Rest in Peace Mohammed Ali, of course, man. Why that quote? What does that quote mean to you? It's something I guess It's one of the mantras of my life. I've gone through this industry taking risks. It's about not putting yourself in a box. It's about breaking out, breaking the norm, being bold, being brave, being courageous. Running towards fear, as opposed to letting it make you stumble in life. It's just one of those things that I think we all need to live by in order for us to really break the barriers that we need to in this This, then it's the entertainment industry. Man, we have another a lister in the building. Yes. Mr. Morris Chestnut, how you doing man? I'm doing well, I'm doing well, how you doing? I'm amazing, man. Man, you've been in the industry and working for so long. I'm sure you've accrued so much wisdom and knowledge in your journey, What's the best piece of advice you could offer someone who wants to walk in your shoes one day, man? The best piece of advice that I could offer, for me, is and I could think of it as if I was a young person coming up in the industry, and it's always just to really focus on your crap. Nowadays, people feel like they can, there's a fast route, do a tape, or something else, and to be famous. And some people focus on the potential things that you can have, the material things if you become famous but just focus on your work and all the other things will come, that's my opinion. We're having such a good time over here Essence Fest 2016, behind the velvet rope we have Mike Muse, we have Mr. Walter Latham as well, gentlemen, how are you doing man? Good how are you man? I am also. I'm great, I'm great. Cool. We have this amazing Verizon Samsung tablet here. Yes. They're fill with quotes. We want each of you to take a quote that most resonates with you. Something that kind of embodies where you are, who you are, and what you've been through. So go ahead and give it a look. Scroll on through, see which one you like. Well, I mean, it's pulled up right now right in front of me actually. Okay, let's go ahead and get that on the screen for the people out there. Player [CROSSTALK] Whoopie Goldberg in the building, I am, where I am because I believe in all possibilities, Man. Is that pretty much sum you up in a nutshell right there, Man? I mean, it does, that's like carving out your own lane at the intersection and positives about culture. Again I get that question so much. What is that you do? And so for me to be able to see the finish line, and to understand my work Has value. And to go against the grain, people question. People snicker. People wonder. People are condescending. People will laugh at you behind your back. But for me to keep pushing forward, to sit back here behind the velvet rope, and to talk with U2 today. To talk about my passions and my curiosities and my success. Because I saw it as a possibilities when the others didn't. So that's the power of this quote for me. Man. A lot of people say this is how you are supposed to do it and being in Hollywood and being in entertainment, they tell you there is a certain way to do it and there is a certain way you can't do it. And I think what you're saying is you did it the way you wanted to do it and how you felt best doing it. And it worked for you. So when people say, who are you? It doesn't really matter because you know who you are. I've already defined myself. And self-worth and self-definition is more powerful than what other people think of you anyway. My man, that's why we're together. That's awesome. I love it. [INAUDIBLE] together. [LAUGH] When you're behind the velvet ropes, it really means something. The man in me that just somebody, and right now i'm feeling like somebody because I have the iconic Maxwell with me, man. How you dealing sir? It's good to be here. How you doing brother? Feeling awesome, man. Awesome, awesome, so this is Geo Pepper. She's gorgeous, she's gorgeous. Nice to meet you. She's amazing. She's amazing We cool, you know. [INAUDIBLE] mad cool hey! So we have this Verizon Samsung tablet here, right? It's filled with quotes, why don't you just look through it really quickly, let us know which one speaks to you the most. I may Change the game. You gonna choose another one? Okay. Okay, so it is, I am where I am because i believe in all possibilities. Whoopi Goldberg. Tell me why you chose that one and how it applies to your life. I chose it because I think that when you look at what we are as a people, as Americans, apart from being African Get American that we do have a wealth of opportunity here. We don't just have to be creative people, we don't just have to be athletes. We can be engineers, we can be scientists Be doctors, you could be anything. And I think it's awesome what Verizon's doing with their initiative, to put tablets in places in the inner cities. To get children interested in expanding their minds and their horizons in the world. How awesome. [SOUND] [BLANK_AUDIO]