Like a handful of other cities across the nation, New Orleans is a vibrant place full of culture and resilient people who can bring a smile to face of just about anyone.
Unfortunately, for many residents of color living on the outskirts of the city, their reality is a much different one from the joyous vibe associated with Mardi Gras or the non-stop party that seems to engulf Bourbon street from sun up to sun down on any given day. Plagued by a string of natural disasters that have continuously threatened to wash the entire city away -- and just about did in 2005 -- the city has had just about everything negative you can think of thrown their way without cease.
But among the many things the city of New Orleans and the people who call it home have that's unlike that of any other place is their unwavering spirit of hope and ability to unite to bounce back together in even the most of difficult times.
Proud NOLA native, Hip Hop mogul and 2017 ESSENCE Festival partner and performer Master P is a product of that very environment. Together with New Orleans Pelicans coach Robert Pack, he's channeled his own fearless spirit into a remarkable youth charity foundation called Team HOPE NOLA.
Founded by the two business partners consummate philanthropists in 2016, Team HOPE NOLA selects 20 at-risk male students between the ages of 12-15 whom they mentor and equip with the life skills necessary for success. Through the foundation, the young people are provided with access to resources including job training and scholarships opportunities. In addition, Master P and Robert Pack make conscious efforts to keep them involved in enriching extra-curricular activities that build on the concept of young Black men working together as a team to create better futures for themselves, their communities and their families.
P himself has even made the organization a family effort, getting his children involved with helping to give back to the community that raised him.
Check out the video above to hear more from Master P about Team HOPE NOLA and then click HERE for more information on how you can get tickets to the first-ever Essence Festival Celebrity Basketball game hosted by Master P and Team HOPE NOLA, with proceeds going towards a scholarship fund for New Orleans youth.