Tomorrow, as students gather in the Lory Student Centerâ€™s Grey Rock Room at 7 p.m. they should expect to get a little motivation.
Speaker, author, activist and minister Eric Thomas, also known as the â€œhip-hop preacherâ€ will be giving the opening keynote address for CSUâ€™s Black History Month celebration.
Thomas, whoâ€™s known for his high-energy speeches, urges young people to break the cycle of â€œcrime, hopelessness and despairâ€ in order to reach their full potential, according to Thomasâ€™ biography on his official website.
â€œFrom what weâ€™ve seen (on his website), heâ€™s really realistic about his approach and heâ€™s straightforward,â€ said Gabrielle Ohaya, public relations officer for Black Definition, the student organization hosting Thomas. â€œIt will definitely get you thinking.â€
As a 16-year-old, Thomas dropped out of school and ended up living on the streets of Detroit until, one year later, his life changed after a chance meeting with a pastor who revealed Thomasâ€™ true potential.
Years later, after earning his GED and enrolling in Oakwood University, Thomas decided to reach out to drug dealers of Detroit, urging them to start living their lives with purpose by going back to school.
During his time at Oakwood, Thomas also started Break the Cycle I Dare You, a non-profit organization centered on youth programs with a focus on making good choices and dealing with â€œfamily, social and academic struggles,â€ according to www.etthehiphoppreacher.com, Thomasâ€™ website.
Thomas went on to receive his masterâ€™s degree and is in the process of obtaining his PhD in education administration at Michigan State University.
His motivational speaking style is expected to be a little different than most students are used to, said Danielle McConnell, of Black Definition, who expects around 30 people to attend the event â€“â€“ half of the rooms capacity.
â€œWe thought that it would be something different and not as boring as just having someone come and talk,â€ McConnell said. â€œHeâ€™s kind of upbeat and lively, so it seemed like it would be more exciting for students.â€
Senior Reporter Erin Udell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Attend the speech
What: Motivational speaker, Eric Thomas is giving the opening keynote address for Black History Month.
Where: The Grey Rock Room in the Lory Student Center
When: Tuesday, Feb. 15 at 7 p.m.