Reggie Dabbs talks life and love at Hamblen schools
Motivational speaker, Reggie Dabbs taught a rap “I can, You can, We can, I got your back,” to the audience during Family Night Tuesday at Morristown West High School on Tuesday.
His message was simple, above all else one word can change someone’s life: love.
For the past two days motivational speaker Reggie Dabbs has told students in Hamblen County schools that they have the power to overcome any situation.
Similar to his school assemblies, Dabbs shared the story of his upbringing and the effect it had on his life to a packed audience for the Hamblen County Board of Education and Morristown Rotary Club sponsored Family Night at the Morristown-Hamblen High School West Auditorium, Tuesday evening.
Dabbs told the audience “If I can make it from my past, you can make it from your’s.”
Dabbs was born in Knoxville to a teen mom who gave him up to an English teacher and janitor to raise. Living in the Robert Taylor projects, Dabbs became aware he was a foster child and struggled like many children to find an identity.
His foster father once said to him “I can’t give you my blood, but I can give you my heart.”
The love that Dabbs was shown by his foster parents served as motivation to become anything he chose to be, among the choices was an accomplished saxophone player.
Dabbs incorporated several songs in his message that his audience could relate to like Andy Grammer’s “Keep Your Head Up” and Phillip Phillips’ “Home.”
“The No. 1 issue with kids today, is they think they are alone,” Dabbs said.
He said he calls his son, who is a sophomore in college, every day to tell him he loves him, and encouraged parents to issue the same communication.
Dabbs brought college students with him from all over the country who write and act out music videos to deliver their messages of the harmful effects of bullying and how words can hurt.
The students acted out stirring interpretations from the music of Linkin Park’s “Easier to Run” and TobyMac’s “Get Back Up.”
“When I was little I asked my (foster) dad why he was raising me and all he would say is, ‘because.’” Dabbs said. “If I do something just because, and you do something just because, then the world would be a better place. Everyone has something they can do to make somebody smile, to make somebody’s day. We just have to choose to do that.”
To stay current, Dabbs hangs around young people and gets his music influence from kids. But he said people and the issues don’t change.
“Hurt stays the same and loneliness is the same, everybody looks for one word of hope and that’s what I get to do,” Dabbs said.
Dabbs shared a story of how he once helped a teenager at a school put down a gun he had aimed at his head in his school cafeteria. Years later the young man came to another show of Dabbs with his four sons to thank him.
“I’m no superhero. I leave that to Batman, Superman, Spiderman, Ironman and Wolverine,” Dabbs said.
Those five superheroes are the ones kids identify with the most, Dabbs said, and then he realized those heroes all had pasts of hurt and loss before they became heroes.
Dabbs said to the kids if they have feelings of hurt or pain like they can’t go on, to hold on, because one day the world will need them when least expected.
-By Chris Phipps, Tribune Staff Writer