On Tuesday, ex-president Barack Obama and Stephen Curry combined their powers for a town hall event that urged youngsters from minority backgrounds to develop confidence without feeling compelled to build self-worth based on chasing women and money.
The event unfolded in Oakland, and it also marked the fifth anniversary of Obama's My Brother’s Keeper Alliance. Both Curry and the former president talked about challenges they faced in their formative years, while also speaking about broader ranging topics, such as hip-hop, policing in minority communities, discipline in schools, male role models, and manhood.
Obama addressed societal pressures that young people face to act a certain way because of hip hop's frequent portrayal of what it means to be successful. The President's remarks on that subject were described as one of the event's "more humorous moments," as he blended making his point with some shade.
"We live in a culture where our worth is measured by how much money we have and how famous we are," Obama said to the capacity crowd made up of youth flown to the Bay from throughout the country. "I will tell you, at the end of the day, the thing that will give you confidence is not that. I know a lot of rich people that are all messed up."
Obama than took a veiled shot against hip hop stars and their image. “If you are really confident about your financial situation, you’re probably not going to be wearing an 8-pound chain around your neck. If you’re very confident about your sexuality, you don’t have to have eight women around you twerking.”
In addition to that, No. 44 did his best to relate to the youth by admitting that he was “all kinds of screwed up” when he was an adolescent, which he said partly came from only meeting his dad once.
In contrast, Curry said that his NBA-playing poppa, Dell, was a “consistent presence” in his youth and gave credit to both his parents for helping him develop his confidence.
“The confidence to kind of get over that hump was a process,” the former MVP said. “The swagger that you see on the court right now, it wasn’t always there. It was a constant struggle.”
Staying on theme, Obama said that he developed confidence when he started thinking about how he could help others.
“I think I started to grow up when I stopped thinking about myself, and I started thinking about how I can be useful to other people,” Obama said. “The amazing thing is, when you help somebody, and you see that positive impact on somebody, that gives you confidence.”
During the hour-long event, he also explained that correcting stereotypes was fundamental to growth.
“Some communities need more police, not fewer police,” he added. “Building trust, knowing who is who and just because somebody is wearing a hoodie doesn’t mean they are a criminal. That is just the style.”
If you have an hour to spare you can watch right here: