ORLANDO, Fla. – Inspiration, specifically that to better yourself and others, comes in all sorts. In most cases, it’s likely from other people, maybe even from within yourself.
For Jacoby Waters, it’s a bit of both. His path to eventually founding and leading Young Men of Distinction — a nonprofit mentorship organization that seeks to inspire and guide youth — began with a dream inspired by Master P.
This week on “Black Men Sundays,” host Corie Murray interviews Waters to learn how his desire to start his own record label led him to where he is now, mentoring the future.
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”I wanted my record label to be where distribution, everything, happened at the label, so where big labels have to come to me and I cut out the middleman,” Waters said. “...So that’s why I said I looked up to a person like Master P when I got into the whole mindset of being an entrepreneur, and then when I started Young Men of Distinction, like I said, just seeing a lot what was going on in the media, especially with our young Black men, and me being a Black man myself, I’m like, ‘I know there’s tons of positive young Black men, I can’t let the media go ahead and spread all these false narratives about us as Black men.’”
Waters said he asked himself what he could do, what his part could be to change that narrative. His organization was his answer.
“It is an organization I started back in 2019 and I was just the person that- I don’t believe in being just a nagger, complainer, about not being a part of the solution,” Waters said. “I’m also a father of four Black men of my own, so I’m trying to carve out a legacy, not only for future generations to come, but my own sons in my own household to see what trail their father has laid while he was on this Earth.”
As far as how best to enhance the Black experience for young men, as Murray put it, Waters said that mentors should strive for transparency.
“I allow them to be who they are. I let them know off the rip I’m transparent as the adult and I’m vulnerable with our young men to show them that it’s OK — as an adult, I can admit when I’m wrong, I don’t draw it up,” Waters said. “...I realized I was one of the few in my neighborhood that lived in a two-parent household, so you know, I realized that, how blessed I was to be that type of environment, foster that type of environment. So that’s how to do it at Young Men, I try to foster a healthy relationship, let them know that it’s OK to be you.”
Hear the full interview and more in Season 2, Episode 18 of “Black Men Sundays.”
Black Men Sundays talks about building generational wealth. Check out every episode in the media player below.