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Hip-hopís effects on minority males, building wealth among todayís symposium topics

By Laurie D. Willis
Livingstone College News Service
CHARLOTTE ó The effects of hip-hop on minority males, preparing youth for a post-Facebook life and building wealth are among the topics to be discussed today at The Commemorative Classic Symposium, being held at The Park in Charlotte.
The two-day symposium, which ends on Saturday, is part of the Third Annual Commemorative Classic, which pits Livingstone College against Johnson C. Smith University, schools with the distinction of having played in the first organized black college football game on Dec. 27, 1892. The historic contest was played in the snow on Livingstone Collegeís front lawn, and Johnson C. Smith ó then named Biddle Memorial Institute ó won the defensive struggle 5-0.
The symposium, ěBlack/Minority Males Taking Flight through Personal Development, Knowledge Sharing and Commitment to Community,î is designed to introduce young males and females of color to positive men of color who have done well academically and achieved success. Among symposium speakers are Ed Gordon, an Emmy award-winning TV host who has been a correspondent for CBS newsmagazine ě60 Minutesî and a contributor for NBCís ěThe Today Showî and ěDateline.î Also scheduled to speak during the symposium are Sampson Davis, Rameck Hunt and George Jenkins, known as ěThe Three Doctors.î The men, who grew up in Newark, N.J., made a pact as teenagers that they would stick together, attend college, graduate and become doctors.
Today, Hunt is a board-certified internist at University Medical Center at Princeton and assistant professor of medicine at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Jenkins serves as assistant professor of clinical dentistry at Columbia University. And Davis is a board-certified emergency medicine physician at St. Michaels Medical Center and Raritan Bay Medical Center. He also is a consultant for the Violence Prevention Institute and focuses on gang awareness and preventive medicine in Essex County. The men have authored two inspiring books about their lives: ěThe Pactî and ěWe Beat the Streets.î
Hundreds of high school and college students are expected to attend the symposium, a fact that pleases Livingstone President Dr. Jimmy R. Jenkins Sr. and Johnson C. Smith University President Dr. Ronald L. Carter.
ěThere are 1,001 legitimate reasons for failure, but failure is still failure,î Jenkins said. ěThrough the symposium, we are trying to teach young people that they can be successful despite their circumstances. We want them to understand that education is key and itís still the fastest way to upward mobility in the world. So we are bringing in speakers from throughout the country in hopes that they will motivate these young men and women to want to stay in school and do well. Last year the symposium was a big success, and I am confident this yearís symposium will match if not surpass that success.î
The symposium begins at 8:30 a.m. today. Jenkins and Elfred A. Pinkard, vice president and chief operating officer of Johnson C. Smith University, will give opening remarks. ěThe Three Doctorsî will speak during the opening joint session.
Tonight at 7 p.m., the Commemorative Classic Hall of Fame Banquet will be held at The Hilton Charlotte Center City. Businessman Larry Lee Jr., who played football at Livingstone College and for the NFLís Denver Broncos, and Pettis Norman, who played football at Johnson C. Smith University and for The Dallas Cowboys, will be inducted.
On Saturday morning Dr. Bobby Jones, a Grammy-winning gospel artist who is host and executive producer of BETís ěBobby Jones Gospel,î will speak at the Inspirational Breakfast to kick off day two of the symposium. Topics to be discussed on Saturday include ěStop. Think. Connect. Cyber Security and Youî and ěThe Great Gathering, Part II: Faith-based Best Practices for Black/Minority Males. Bishop George W.C. Walker Sr., chairman of Livingstone Collegeís Board of Trustees and the Senior Bishop in the AME Zion Church, will be the panelís convener.
The symposium is scheduled to end around 11:45 a.m., allowing ample time for people to head to Charlotteís Memorial Stadium for the 2 p.m. football contest between Livingstone and Smith. A ěBattle of the Bandsî featuring both institutionsí marching bands will be held before the game, and there will also be a presentation of colors. Former American Idol winner and R&B crooner Ruben Studdard will sing the national anthem, and he will also perform at halftime.
After the game, a championship trophy presentation will be held.
For more information or to purchase tickets to the symposium or football game: www.commemorativeclassic.com

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