Two words. Russell Simmons. We grew up in the same neighborhood (Hollis, Queens), went to the same college and rode the same train to CCNY up in Harlem. It was on one of those old rickety E trains that I remember sitting with him and my friend Carmen and he said something I will never forget as long as I live.
Russell has risen above his seemingly dismal circumstances to become one of the richest men in show business. He parties with the rich and famous in the Hamptons, always has a beautiful woman on his arm and gives money away to help others. Yet he still wears a baseball cap. If you saw him in the street and didn't know who he was, you probably wouldn't even look twice.
We hung out big time in Finley Hall on the campus of CCNY, basically just partying. He's always been a nice guy. I've only seen him a couple of times out here on the west coast and never mentioned his comment to me. But I can't let it go. I need to have a meeting with him.
This is what he said to me on that rickety E train back in the day: "Stick with me Carlease, I'll make you a star." Carmen and I looked at each other and chuckled. Damn. What did I learn from that? Words are powerful. So are intentions and when a person believes in themselves they can make anything happen. Russell knew what he wanted and was not afraid to go after his dreams. He fearlessly connected with the people he wanted to emulate and learned from them. And they helped make him a star. He now helps people all over the world with his philanthropy which is one of the things I admire about him the most. That is definitely a goal of mine as well. But first, I need someone to get me Russell Simmons on the line so that I can find out if the statue of limitations is still open on that comment he made to me on that old rickety E train back in the day.