Black Male Celebrities on the Age of Obama

Black Male Celebrities on the Age of Obama
ESSENCE.COM Nov, 05, 2009

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“Life is as I knew it, still full of challenges but with a bigger spark of hope. As a Black man, President Obama’s election means that America is coming of age. He inspires me because he is willing to sacrifice and is the ultimate example of leadership and how to be a strong man.” -Bebe Winans, gospel artist, actor and judge of BET’s “Sunday Best”

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“Not so much my life, but it has changed the way I view the life of my son, and Americans’ sons and daughters. My son will grow up never knowing that there’s anything in race, creed or color that prohibits him from attaining every level of greatness because of the life and success of President Obama.” -Donnie Mcclurkin, gospel artist and pastor

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“It still moves me every time I visit a school and see kids who have had their vision of what’s possible embolden and their sights rise in terms of what their possible trajectory in life will be. I never underestimate the possibility of hope for these children of what they can achieve in our lifetime. For many of our elders, this win was more of a point of pride that their labors were not in vain. It means a lot to me for them to know all the sacrifices that were made and all that they gave are now producing returns. For young and older Black men, having the President in office is a gift from the universe that has helped to sustain the most powerful American force—a sense of hope born from both struggle and achievement. This is another sign of hope and promise that our country can continue to march forward and it is our generation who will contribute to this unfolding story with the next milestone of progress being even bolder and greater.” —Newark, New Jersey Mayor Corey Booker.

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“Obama’s first year in office has restored my faith in our system of government.” -Anthony Mackie, actor

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“President Obama’s election has reinforced my belief in the Scripture that says, ‘For the vision is yet for an appointed time…though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come…’ (Habakkuk 2:3). Whenever I see the President, I am thankful to experience this transformational moment in history. As I go along my journey, I am mindful to maintain the principles of my predecessors that were instilled in me from my childhood: Dare to
Dream, Reach for the Stars, and Give My All” —Dulé Hill, actor

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“President Obama has inspired in me the continuous drive to do my best, hold up my family even higher, help others as much as I can, and carry myself with integrity, grace, and full of gratitude.” -Boris Kodjoe, actor

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“My head is held even higher since the election of Barack Obama. Not in arrogance or haughty pride, but with belief that Black men have to be taken seriously. He has inspired me to never stop.” -Fred Hammond, gospel artist

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“As much as President Obama’s election to the presidency has filled the hearts of Black men with pride, such delight will be swiftly crushed if the president does not pay more attention to the plight of the poor for it is this place that the majority of African-American men reside. He must take the lead in changing the conditions of poverty and the absence of opportunity that crush the sole of the Black population. If this mission is achieved, then all Americans will be rewarded.” —Grammy award winning singer, actor and humanitarian, Harry Belafonte

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“President Obama has been a role model for all Americans. His leadership is bold, courageous, creative, energetic, compassionate, smart, fair, bipartisan and civil. I think he has the potential to be one of the great American presidents.”
-Congressman Jesse L. Jackson Jr.

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“I’m honestly not sure yet how my life or perspective has changed since President Obama’s election. I worked very hard on his behalf during the campaign and that victory demonstrated that appealing to one’s better self can still be effective in this country. Maybe not as often as we’d like, but it provided us with reasonable optimism. His election meant that we need to be active in our own lives. It also meant that “getting the job” is not always enough for the soul. We need to stay focused and self-defined. Overall, the man, and his family, are an absolute inspiration. However, President Obama is still running for president. And that may never end. He’ll further inspire me with results. And he’ll inspire me when he finds a balance between strong leadership and accessibility." -Jesse Williams, actor

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“Since President Obama’s election I try to live a life without excuses. To no longer allow whatever realities I face to conflict with truth; truth that I am able to overcome any reality by God’s grace. As a Black man, his election has motivated me in an even greater way to help people of color prepare for the greatness God has placed in every one of us. Some people just need a coach, a voice reminding them of the possibility inside of them. I want to be that voice. The inspiration I feel now fuels a desire for even stronger character and integrity. The eyes of the world are on us as black men. What I do when that the camera is on affects the progress we’ve seen right before our eyes. It’s still not complete, but we can see light at the end of the tunnel.” -Kirk Franklin, gospel artist, host of BET’s “Sunday Best”

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“My life hasn’t changed, but my pride in him has continued to improve based on the courage I’ve seen him demonstrate throughout his term thus far—challenging the political infrastructure, corporate greed and more. As a Black man, I was very happy for the African-American community, the Black family image and the potential for improved international relations. It just reinforced and confirmed what I’ve always known: Obama doesn’t impress me, he simply embodies what I expect (and encourage) of every Black man! I mean that in the best possible way. With access to education, good principles, a strong woman beside you, a firm relationship with God and the right opportunity, you can do whatever you dream. We need to work hard to demonstrate that Obama is not just a flash in the pan. Black men have always been models of excellence and achievement. President Obama has inspired me to continue to be a man of accomplishment, integrity, principle, discipline, family, upliftment, of this country and multiculturalism. He’s also inspired me to continue to believe that each of us is “called” to serve the world (and our country) in some capacity for the greater good." -Lamman Rucker, actor

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“President Obama’s election meant to me as a Black man, that we can compete equally on any level, in any arena. There has always been an unspoken glass ceiling that as a child you are conditioned to believe exists. On that day, that ceiling was shattered for our children and us as adults as well.” -Laz Alonzo, actor

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“I always believed that anything was possible with hard work and preparation, but Obama is a tangible example of this. As a Black man in America who is very aware of our history in this country, President Obama’s election means a lot to me. He stands for perseverance. He is the realization of Martin Luther King’s dream. Since Obama was elected he has continued to inspire me because he leads the country and still makes time for his family. His relationship with his daughters reminds me of my relationship with my daughter Karma.” -Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, rapper, actor

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“President Obama’s election was a significant milestone for African-Americans and certainly a symbol of hope and unlimited possibility for America. As an African American and the Chairman of the Republican National Committee I celebrated the “turning of the page.” However, as our nation continues to confront the reality of health disparities, foreclosures and job loss I grow increasingly concerned about the impact of Administration policies on the African American community. For example, I am alarmed about the growing unemployment rate among African-Americans and more importantly that the unemployment rate remains higher for African Americans than any other minority group – despite the President’s nearly $1 trillion stimulus. In the face of the many challenges today, I know it will take more than an election to bring about true economic, social and political empowerment. It will take individual effort and initiative. I continue to look forward to working hard for our community on the issues of unemployment and building legacy wealth through education, training and economic opportunities.” Michael Steele, RNC Chairman

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“It’s extremely inspirational to see how the world has embraced President Obama. Every time he does an interview his eloquence inspires me. On election day, I took my son with me to the polls and he helped me vote. Just to witness the magnitude it has had on my 12-year-old son and how he truly believes that he can make a difference in this world. Before Obama was elected I never believe that we as Black people could really make a difference, but I’m more in tune with my political interest than I’ve ever been, all because of him.” -Morris Chestnut, actor

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“Because of Presidnt Obama I am more inspired to believe in the eyes of the young men in juvenile halls whom I’ve mentored and the promise that lies within them. It has inspired me to believe in my country and that my Native American and African ancestor’s hard work, pain, sweat and tears were not in vain. The inevitability of our progressive generation generating change for not only the United States, but also for the world was proven to me that night… that a man who looks like me, of the same hip-hop generation as me, could be selected as the man to lead us out of exile and do it with the coolest walk ever. He has forever given me a renewed faith in a government, which is not always so governing.” -Omari Hardwick, actor

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“From a very early age, my parents ingrained in me that you shouldn’t be defined by your race, even though people may make a big deal about it. So, even though I feel like, yes it is an historic milestone that we have an African American in office,’ I believe that it’s a reflection of our ability as a people to do whatever we set our minds to and I wouldn’t say my life has really changed because Barack Obama is in office.” -Ryan Leslie, singer/producer

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“I used to daydream about a Black family living in the White House eating soul food every night and a Black president ruling our country. So the election meant the world to me because it put me in remembrance of my childhood thoughts. Since President Obama’s win, my life and views about my own achievements have increased. There is nothing in this world I can’t do or be.” -Hezekiah Walker, gospel artist and pastor

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