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Actor, author Hill Harper’s speech inspires crowd


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By Isabel Dieppa




The IU Auditorium was filled with buzz and anticipation Saturday as guests awaited speaker Hill Harper, the keynote speaker for Black History Month at IU, presented by the Union Board.

“He does motivational speeches to bring awareness to the black community,” sophomore Daisha Thomas said. “It’s really great to see when a person of such a high status comes to talk to young people.”

Harper attended Harvard Law School, where he befriended President Barack Obama. Along with being a well-known actor on CSI: NY, Harper has published three books, including “Letters to a Young Brother” and “Letters to a Young Sister,” which were both popular books amongst the crowd.

“He is very motivational, especially in his book ‘Letters to a Young Sister,’” visiting student ShaDé Watson said. “In the book it talks about your self-worth and is very influential for women.”

His fourth and most recent book, “The Conversation,” is geared toward black couples. Harper addressed the audience with his reason for writing the book.

“I wanted to know why so many African-American men and women were marrying outside of the African-American community,” Harper said to the audience.  
Along with talking about relationships, Harper aimed to motivate audience members to gain confidence in their dreams.

Harper quoted Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when he said, “We are all tied together in a garment of mutual destiny.” From that quote Harper explained to the audience why he cared so much about their success.

“I should care as much about what you are doing as someone who is a member of my family,” Harper said.

Harper went on to break down the word “fear” as false evidence appearing real, and he explained to the audience members how to become architects of their lives. Harper interacted with audience members, asking questions about the process of building a building, but many of the audience members were shy to answer.

Some in the audience were uncomfortable with the way Harper treated other audience members. Remarks could be heard when Harper scolded an audience member for not knowing an answer and then told her she was brilliant and should have confidence in herself.

Harper also had a question-and-answer session with the audience where he spoke about his acting roles and the process of choosing roles.

“I’m into the message of the project,” Harper said. “I like to do projects that have a positive and true message.”

At the end of the speech Harper encouraged audience members to live their lives courageously and from the heart.

“I hope that the audience left with the knowledge of how magnificent they were and are encouraged to dream bigger and live better lives,” Harper said.

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