“BET and CBS News Present: Boiling Point,” a six-part docu-series (executive produced by Jason Samuels for BET and Mitch Weitzner for CBS News) that currently airs weekly episodes focused on several life-changing events for Black people in American history. Through the use of original interviews and archival footage, the series explores the racial inequalities we have had to face and the brave, everyday American heroes, past and present, who have fought for progress and change.
Hurricane Katrina is the topic of discussion for this week’s episode, which aired on Tuesday, March 16. Although it occurred in 2005, the event sparked questions and an uproar about how race and class influenced the government’s response to the crisis in New Orleans.
Multi-award winning rapper and entrepreneur Master P (Percy Miller) and celebrated author, political commentator and professor at Vanderbilt University, Michael Eric Dyson PhD, come together for this week’s episode to discuss the impact that Hurricane Katrina continues to have on the Black community in Louisiana and the consequential lessons that have been learned from that devastating experience.
Here’s a preview of their conversation:
Michael Eric Dyson: Tell us why it was important for you to participate in this series and as you started off talking about setting things straight to get the truth out there as much as possible.
Master P: Yes. Well, we don't like to deal with the truth. I grew up in New Orleans. I was born and raised there and that town means so much to me and my family and to be able to experience Hurricane Katrina and see how far we came and what we went through, I mean, nobody should have to go through that.
And I feel like now, as we educate ourselves and figure out, well, what's the real true problem, I started realizing that it's not just the levees, it's economic empowerment. We don't own nothing! We think we own stuff. We don't control nothing, and we don't understand education the way it was given to us. So, it was a lot of things that I look at from that level. We don't pray for money; we pray for wisdom.
The Bible says that then we look at that, that we're not educated. So, a lot of these things, even when you look at the levee breaking, we didn't have insurance. I'm talking about the African American culture. So, we weren't able to get a lot of things that a lot of other races were able to get and so, things like that is what I want to talk about.
I want to be able to share that with you because you know me and you both, we've been through so much, but education is what got us further and it's going to keep us going. We keep educating ourselves and no matter what. As we get older, we still seek information and education and I think our culture needs to understand that because everybody wants to get the money, but nobody is preparing to have a plan or even an understanding where we come from. Because we always talk about slavery, but I'm saying today, me and you sit here, we're able to do stuff for ourselves and our families, and even other people. But if we didn't educate ourselves, we wouldn't be here, and I think that's the importance of getting an education and passing that down from generation to generation. We want to break this imbalance and add some diversity when we're talking about business or just life in general.
Check out their full conversation below and for more on the docu-series, check out Hurricane Katrina episode of “Boiling Point” and future episodes, which airs on Tuesdays at 11pm ET on BET.