By Ron Carter
Blog Post Updates
I am convinced there are millions of teenagers in the United States of America who are well-mannered. These teenagers are seldom promoted in the media, even though they will be the future leaders of our country. Instead, it seems we see or read more about the teenagers who are behaving badly. I hope sometime soon, there’ll be more stories in the media about teenagers who are attempting to have a positive impact on our society.
Recently, I had the enlightening opportunity to meet five (5) teenage young men who are using their talents in a postive manner. Several months ago, my fraternity brother, Kelvin Tolbert, invited me to a luncheon his wife, Glenna, was chairing. Glenna, the outgoing president of the Association of Black Women Physicians, coordinated a very well-attended and organized luncheon. The Ekpo Trio; Victor, Joseph and Winston, were the featured entertainment at the luncheon. These teenage young men played violin, viola and the cello. And, they played their instruments magnificently. Victor is 18 years old and a senior in high school. Joseph is 16 years old and recently participated in a recital at the prestigious Colburn School of Music in Los Angeles. He also made it to Aerosonde Level in the NASA INSPIRE Online Learning Community. Winston is 13 years old and is in a leadership program at Southwest College. After hearing these young men played classical music, I met with them and their mother, Alondra. A few months later, I booked them to play at Save Africa’s Children 10th Year Celebration Gala. Their performance at the Gala was outstanding.
In March 2013, I was meeting with Dwayne Wiggins, co-founder of cutting-edge R&B musical group Tony!Toni!Tone!, regarding a television project we are planning. Dwayne invited my partners, Mona Lassiter and Felicia Freeny, television producer Aisha Corpas-Wynn and me to visit his brother’s studio to meet his two sons, Dylan, 17, and Jaden, 14. These teenage young men’s group, PopLyfe, placed fourth during season 6 of TV show “America’s Got Talent.” Upon arriving at Blakeslee Studio in North Hollywood, Raphael Saadiq, Dwayne’s brother and owner of Blakeslee Studio, greeted us warmly. He took us into one of his many beautifully decorated rooms where we were introduced to Dylan and Jaden. They were very polite and soft spoken. Raphael who is a songwriter, singer, guitarist, producer, Grammy Award winner, music director and former lead singer of Tony!Toni!Tone! escorted us into one of his recording studios. With Raphael on drums, Dylan on piano and Jaden on bass, Raphael and his nephews performed a few jazz standards for us. Then Dylan got up from sitting at the piano and picked up a guitar and began playing the Jimmy Hendricks classic, “Hey Joe.” These young men’s skills were impressive. We applauded them for the wonderful music they effortlessly played.
I remembered – while driving home after the meeting – thinking what a joy it was to witness the teenage Wiggins brothers practicing their craft in a wholesome environment surrounded by their father and uncle who are mentoring them. It was a wonderful moment to be a part of; a night void of alcohol, foul language and bad behavior. It was a night I will always remembered.