While most of us were enjoying the luxury of a day off work on Youth Day (16.06.13), AKA paid a visit to the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy For Girls where he delivered one of the most motivational speeches that has ever come out of any rappers mouth. Well, excluding speeches you’ve heard from Rev Run who’s technically not a rapper any more. Taken from The Tiger’s Story blog, you can read the full motivational speech that AKA gave to the girls below:
“Good afternoon parents, teachers and most importantly, good afternoon girls, happy Youth Day to each and every one of you. I also want to take a moment to say happy Father’s Day to all the dads in attendance. My name is AKA and it’s an absolute privilege to address the future leaders among us in this room today.
Now before we get into the swing of things I want to bring everybody up to speed on who this AKA is and what he does. I am a musician. Normally this leads to the question, what instruments to you play? I play the QWERTY keyboard and mouse. LOL, and oh yeah, I rap, really well.
More importantly, at 25, I am a young South African who has been able to bring my dreams to life through the opportunities we as young people are now afforded in this great country of ours. Last year I won the Best Rap album and Best Male artist at the South African Music Awards. I’ve been able to see the world, travel to places like Jamaica, The USA, the UK and all across our beautiful continent through the power of my dream.
Without sounding cliché or a lil too Walt Disney, this country’s future is in the hands of all young people who live in it and that’s power. The power to shape your own destiny because you now live in a country where you can be anything you want to be.
You know, so many young people ask me, AKA, I sing or, I rap or I make beats or play an instrument etc.… how do I become a musician, I wanna do what you do. I always tell them, it takes more than talent to become what you want to be. Yes talent is the most important formula to this equation, but you also need to dream. You need a dream that will keep your fire burning every day. When things get tough and you feel like you just can’t break through no matter what you try, the dream will fuel you when come up against obstacles and hardships. Secondly, you need a vehicle, a plan! There are way too many talented young people who are amazing at the dreaming part of this formula, but set no goals, no roadmap for their journey.
They say you never know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been. Today is the day we reflect on the sacrifices of the youth of 1976. Today we can express ourselves in the language of our choice. Today we can speak our minds as young people without fear of persecution because sacrifices were made for us. We think of Tata Mandela who spent more time in jail than most of us, myself included, have been alive on this earth. The question we as youth South Africans now face is, what does this mean? What does this mean for us?
Well, it means responsibility. We owe it to the youth of 1976, to excel. We owe it to them to reach our full potential. We owe it to them to dream big, to push the boundaries of science, politics, business, art, sport, fashion, music or any other field you choose to dedicate your life and career to. There is an Oprah Winfrey sitting in this room. There is a Steve Jobs. There is a Donatella Versace; there is a Brenda Fassie.
These are all people who pioneered, who paved the way for others, just like the youth of 1976. People always tend to group together, to follow the crowd. Don’t be a follower; don’t just follow the trends, set them. Do you want to be a sheep or a Shepard?
Do something that makes you stand out! That makes you outstanding. That makes you the difference between extraordinary and EXTRA ordinary.
2011 was my 1st Metro FM music awards, I managed to walk away with the best produced album, best rap album and best newcomer, all this in the same year as Sahara mind you! Lol. I was quite pleased with myself and naturally the 1st thing I did was to check the newspapers at breakfast. To my horror, the picture they had used for “AKA” was a guy that looked nothing like me, at all. However, the caption read, AKA, SA RAP PRINCE STEALS THE SHOW. I said hmm, rap prince, I quite like the sound of that. So that’s when I started telling people, yes, I am AKA, South African rap prince, before you know it, the media, the public, the fans all started addressing me as Rap Prince. Why am I rambling on about this, because there’s a message here.
Before I go, I want to give you guys a little bit of youth day homework. How many of you have read Thabo Mbeki's "I Am An African" speech? In a world saturated with MTV, following the latest trends, peer pressure & other things designed to distract and mislead, it is important that we have an understanding of what it means to be an African in the 21st century. An African renaissance is underway. It is up to us to decide what position we will play in it. We can be an army of young, skilled individuals armed with the knowledge that will force the rest of the world to change their perceptions of what it means to be African. Africa is next. We should never forget where we come from.
YOU ARE WHATEVER YOU SAY YOU ARE. People will take you as seriously as you take yourself. Don’t let people limit your own dreams and perceptions.
Thank you for inviting me here today girls. I hope I used this platform to inspire and hopefully plant a seed that will grow into a tall tree.”
Source: The Tiger Story’s Blog