Monday, September 1, 2014
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Meek Mill credits Philadelphia's support for his success, gives back at Dreamchasers Summit

Meek Mill on Friday August 30, 2013. ( Stephanie Aaronson / Philly.com )
Meek Mill on Friday August 30, 2013. ( Stephanie Aaronson / Philly.com )

Meek Mill credited Philadelphia’s support for his success in the music industry, saying “if it wasn’t for Philly I wouldn’t be on.”

Friday afternoon’s Dreamchasers Summit was a way for him to give back to his community.

The Summit took place at Temple University’s Performing Arts Center, and provided a forum for a plethora of prominent individuals from across several industries to share experiences, advice, and inspiration with college students and other aspiring young individuals.

Meek Mill, whose real name is Robert Williams, hosted the event, along with his friend and South Philadelphia native Dion Waiters of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The mission statement of the Summit was to bring together some of the biggest names in sports and entertainment to discuss everything from chasing dreams successfully to what it takes to make it in the industry as an athlete, musician, entrepreneur, or business executive. The artist formally known as Meek Millz didn’t disappoint, as he rolled out the red carpet for a bunch of big names throughout the warm August afternoon.

The event started at noon, and the seats of the auditorium remained largely unoccupied as the first set of panelists hit the stage to share some advice. Noon is considered ‘early’ on a college campus after all.

Waiters and Mill wasted little time in bringing out some familiar faces and however, as the first set of panelists was highlighted by ESPN’s Andrew Brandt and legendary boxer Bernard Hopkins.

The panelists provided insights into their successes and offered suggestions to the young audience on ways to find their own.

“You have to show something that other people don’t have,” urged Andrew Brandt, who had to skip out of the Summit a couple minutes early for an ESPN appearance. “You have to have something different, something new, something fresh, something that will get you noticed.”

Much of the advice offered by the early panelists was as applicable to the media members there with professional positions as it was to the still-awaking audience.

Throughout the afternoon a multitude of personalities came out, either in small groups or solo, to share their stories and offer experience-based advice on how to find success in your given field.

There was Noel Lee, founder of ultra-successful Monster products, urging the audience to think outside of the box and to not be afraid of success. The internationally-respected Marsha Ambrosius hit the stage to offer some advice on how to turn a dream into a reality, emphasizing that in today’s computer-centric society there are opportunities for everyone.

Local NBA players such as Thaddeus Young, Maalik Wayns, Lou Williams, and Marcus and Markieff Morris served as the sports-centered panel, informing the wide-eyed audience of just how much hard work and dedication is required to attain a goal.

“I’m in the gym every day,” Markieff Morris stated. “It never stops.”

The highlight of the afternoon however, was the hosts themselves addressing the audience.

Mill and Waiters hit the stage a little before six, joined by superstar rapper Rick Ross. The audience, which had been ballooning throughout the afternoon, was beyond excited to see the trio, and called for Mill to perform several times, a request he quickly dismissed.

“I’m not here to rap, I’m here to give back, to try to motivate and inspire others. You could hear me rap any day.”

Mill, Waiters, and Ross shared stories and experiences about making it in their respective industries, emphasizing how much hard work goes in behind the scenes of success.

“The cars, jewelry, all of that is the end result of hard work,” Ross stated.

“I’m in the studio all day, every day,” Mill added, “I never stop.”

Meek credited his popular ‘Flamers 2’ mixtape as the point when he released that he may be able to make it as a rapper. “When I saw that the whole city was behind me and supporting me, that’s when I realized.”

The support was evident Friday, as throngs of young adults lined up after the event for a meet-and-great with the hip-hop star. While it appeared that much of the audience was equally as interested in meeting Mill as it was with his words of wisdom, it is certainly refreshing to see an artist trying to inspire the youth and give back to the city he credits for his success.

“I got way more out of this than I expected,” one eager fan exclaimed to his friend as they waited for their turn to meet Meek.

“Yeah, I’m going to be the next Meek now,” the friend retorted jokingly, before they were both escorted past the red rope to the meet-and-great area.

Michael Kaskey-Blomain Philly.com
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