A motivational speaker who has made tens of thousands of dollars giving speeches recently gave a free talk at a deprived school and, when the teens were chatting, he seriously put them in their place.
Eric Thomas, the self-dubbed “Hip-Hop Preacher” who wants to make people “reach their highest potential”, appeared at one of Missouri’s worst performing schools.
The speech, led by Eric along with two younger guys “closer to [the students] age”, aimed to inspire the youngsters at Vashon High School to work hard and aspire to better lives.
“On my way here I was driving, I almost cried,” began Eric, “I’m looking at the buildings and I’m like wow. You gotta get through all that to get [to school].”
But when a group of students repeatedly sniggered and spoke over him, Eric became genuinely frustrated and deeply emotional as he told them, “They pay me $50,000 to $100,000 when I speak to corporate America.”
“I ain’t getting a dime here. I’m here because I love you, but I’ll be darned if I come here for free and you disrespect me.”
“I just heard we had a rapper here last night. How many schools did he go to? He came and took your money, but he didn’t invest nothing back to you.”
“I’m not here to take nothing from you. I’m here to give you something,” said Eric, “You think something is funny. Look how we’re living. Ain’t nothing funny. Ain’t nothing funny y’all.”
“The only kids that disrespect me is black kids. That’s it, my own, are the only ones who disrespect me. I work in any other school and they’re like, ET, we’re taking notes. I come home, you talking. You’re capping jokes. You think something is funny. Look how we’re living. Ain’t nothing funny. Ain’t nothing funny y’all.”
The hard-hitting speech certainly made some of the students sit up and pay attention and his emotional rant earned several rounds of applause from the kids.
You can watch the full video of Eric’s speech below (he gets emotional around 3:40).