The Genius Talks Go Deep

Floyd Mayweather, Jr., Bill Withers, Snoop and more sat down for candid conversations regarding their struggles and triumphs at the 2014 BET Experience.

For the second year in a row, the BET Experience brought loyal fans Genius Talks. The candid conversations with music, literary and sports legends along with their younger contemporaries gave insight into their respective professions and how they balance their success with real-life issues as they constantly grow.

Harvard Law School graduate and actor Hill Harper sat down with vocalist Bill Withers, the man behind classic songs “Just the Two of Us” and “Lovely Day.” Harper asked the legend how he feels about the turns that music has taken regarding lyrical content and the way women are objectified and the singer said, “There ain’t nothing new about being ignorant,” which received an audible and satisfied reaction from the attendees.

In another Genius Talks discussion, sports journalist Jemele Hill led a conversation with rap icon Snoop and NBA star Chris Paul. Both men discussed the importance of giving back to the community through service while simultaneously leading by example to change the lives of young people everywhere. 

While Chris Paul discussed collaborative efforts with Carmelo Anthony to give back and having a positive impact on young people everywhere, Snoop revealed some of the community improvements that he’s seen since starting his youth football league.

“When I created my league I did a lot of volunteer work with communities that were at risk,” the rapper explained, “it was a lot of gang violence, so when we brought these football teams to these neighborhoods, we ridded the neighborhoods of a lot of violence.” He continued by saying that a lot of gang members ended up becoming coaches in the league and that a lot of kids were eventually able to play in parks that would have been deemed dangerous to venture into beforehand.

Another star discussing his journey was boxing champ Floyd Mayweather Jr. In one of the deeper and more revealing conversations, Mayweather revealed how being a winner influenced the way that he raises his children.

“My grandmother used to clean offices and hotel rooms to give me the best life that she could possibly give me. My mother was on drugs very, very bad. My dad was a hustler, but all those things wrapped in one made me want to pull my family out [of] that predicament — that situation,” the champ told Doug E. Fresh. He continued, “I think it all started when my dad used to take me to the gym and the only thing I always knew was just to win at whatever I did, just win — be first. But I [instill] something different in my children. I [instill] that as long as you give 100 percent, that’s winning to me. To whereas, with my dad, it’s like if you’re not first, you’re not nothing.”


To see all of these Genius Talks and more featuring Nikki Giovanni, Dr. Mae Jemison, Mike Tyson and Will Packer click here!

(Photo: Mark Sullivan/BET/Getty Images for BET)

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