Tyrese Gibson addresses a Trabant University Center audience.

'Ideas are blessings'

Actor, author Tyrese Gibson urges students to build on ideas


3:30 p.m., Sept. 29, 2011--As a youngster, Tyrese Gibson believed he was destined for something better than what was to be found in the Watts neighborhood in south central Los Angeles where he grew up.

Gibson offered his story and his vision in a talk titled “Transform Your Life with Tyrese Gibson” to a standing room only audience of more than 500 students and community members on Tuesday, Sept. 27, in the Trabant University Center.

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The author of How to Get Out of Your Own Way, a recently released memoir, Gibson’s resume of success includes the films Baby Boy, 2 Fast 2 Furious, Transformers and Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

“I tried with all my might to do the good things, in the midst of the bad things that were going on around me.” Gibson said. “I wanted my own identity.”

In creating this personal vision, Gibson said he sought advice from individuals in the community who offered something more than the fleeting flashy lifestyle built by the drug dealers.

“There was nothing that I was not exposed to growing up,” Gibson said. “What I did was to start forming relationships with the teachers and such people from the neighborhood.” 

En route to a successful recording career, Gibson began by singing into a tape player in the bathroom of the small two-bedroom house and then began performing on stage in a local talent show at age 14.

“It was at Will Rogers Park,” Gibson said. “I stood there in one place, scared, but I sang with all my heart.” 

What mattered then, and still matters today, Gibson said, is building on ideas and turning personal visions into successful realities.

“Ideas are blessings, and ideas and water are the two closest things to God,” Gibson said. “You need to ask yourself, ‘How can I do something of significance that can influence the world?’”

Gibson said that building on an idea often means not paying attention to those who only give reasons why such inner visions can never succeed.

“There was an African American man, Barack Obama, who decided that someday he was going to be president of the United States of America,” Gibson said. “I wonder how many people tried to talk him out of his idea. He just said I want to be the president and he did it.”

Gibson said that one thing most humans suffer from is self-sabotage and self-defeating behavior.

“An opportunity pops up and it has your name on it,” Gibson said. “Because you have never done it before, you talk yourself out it.” 

Such an opportunity, Gibson said, came when he was offered a role in the 2001 movie Baby Boy, produced and directed by John Singleton. 

“I can’t tell you how many people tried to talk me out of it,” Gibson said. “When Hollywood called, people told me to stick to singing and not to stick my neck out doing movies.” 

Transforming ideas from the concept to the physical reality often involves a little old fashioned hustle to move beyond one’s circumstances, Gibson said. 

“You need to get your visions out there, because God sent these ideas to you,” Gibson said. “Only those who can see the invisible can do the impossible.” 

The program was sponsored by UD's Cultural Programming Advisory Board. A book signing followed the presentation.

Prior to speaking at UD, Gibson visited the East Side Charter School in Wilmington and talked to students about personal achievement and the benefits of staying in school.

Article by Jerry Rhodes

Photos by Evan Krape

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