So You Seriously Want Your Kid to Be a Star?
you think your child has what it takes to become the next
Usher, Wynton Marsalis, J-Lo, Bill Cosby, Nas, Chris Tucker,
Morgan Freeman, Bobby McFerrin, Jasmine Guy, Laurence Fishburne,
Bernie Mac, Mos Def, Marc Anthony, Wesley Snipes, Halle
Berry or Jamie Foxx huh?
You really do think that your precious,
precocious little daughter has the looks, pizzazz, and more
importantly—the talent—to become the next Angela
Bassett, Jada, Beyonce, Beverly Johnson, Alicia Keyes, Selma
Hayek, Tyra Banks, Sally Richardson, Nia Long, Missy Elliot,
Toni Braxton, Rita Moreno or Queen Latifah.
So your son/daughter has that "certain
something" that makes you believe that s/he could be
just as great as Gregory Hines, Will Smith, Sidney Poitier,
Lauryn Hill, Prince, Richard Pryor, Michael Jackson, Leontyne
Price, Oprah, India.Arie, Grace Jones, Jon Lucien, Bobby
McFerrin, Denzel, Russell Simmons, LL, John Coltrane, Art
Tatum, Wes Montgomery, Johnny Hartman or Celia Cruz?
Personally, I have made the acquaintance,
professionally and personally, of young people who had that
"certain something" that if properly nurtured,
developed and guided, could very well have made those young
individuals highly successful, artistically and financially,
off-Broadway, on Broadway, in Hollywood, on the (fashion)
runway, on Madison Avenue and in the "music game."
There is one story I often share concerning
this elementary school student I came across over five years
ago while a Theatrical Artist-in-Residence in a small South
Carolina town. I will never forget the elfin young girl,
approximately 10 years of age, who had such operatic control
of her voice as she sang traditional Gospel songs in her
audition for the original play we were mounting. She bashfully
told me that she couldn’t act but she loved to sing.
I kid you not; there was something
about the young lady reminiscent of Mahalia Jackson. It
was her delivery—not only was she able to place the
notes exactly where she wanted to but they were from the
center of her diminutive soul. The songs oozed a maturity
and passion that should not have existed in this tiny little
person. I was astonished that this colossal talent was dwelling
in this small, insignificant town.
I called three universities: New York
University, Georgia State University and an Atlanta-based
historically-Black institution that shall remain nameless
for a soon-to-be apparent reason, to ascertain what their
individual policies were for "discovering and determining
artistic and creative genius."
In other words, were there any programs
available at the respective schools for those children whose
creative and artistic intellect was far in advance of their
Well, both New York University and
Georgia State University told me that such a child could
be tested and if found and deemed "intellectually gifted,"
there were programs available at their respective universities
to nurture and develop prodigies.