Magic Johnson Spearheads Celebrity Mentor Program

by Myeisha Essex

Magic JohnsonMagic Johnson is known for giving back to his community, and now he’s teaming up with Coca-Cola to spearhead a national apprenticeship program.

Johnson, BET CEO Debra Lee and rapper Common have joined forces with the Coca-Cola Pay It Forward campaign to give young people ages 16 to 21 a chance to shadow them for a week this summer.

In an interview with < em>The Grio, Johnson said he attributes his success to the guidance from his mentors and role models. Now, he said, he wants to teach teens “focus, discipline and sacrifice.”

The successful entrepreneur said it’s a chance for young people to pick his brain and learn the craft. “I want them to understand the professionalism, versatility and hard work,” he said. “Young people forget we were once their age. We’re still connected to the streets, neighborhoods and communities through the work that we do.”

Common added that he will be involved in overseeing the work that the mentorees do over the summer. “Beyond music, it’s important for me to reach back and create a legacy bigger than my career,” he said. “I want them to experience the ups and downs, the hard work and discipline that it takes.”

“A lot of us come from tough situations but there is always the opportunity to turn things around,” Common said. “It’s about making the right choices.”

“Pay it Forward” is accepting nominations for aspiring young people through May 2nd.

What other celebs do you think should serve as mentors in a program like this?

  • http://tontonmichel.tumblr.com/ Tonton Michel

    Jay Z

  • http://gravatar.com/oroide73220 Jezreel

    I genuinely admire Magic Johnson. He is one of the few successful, Black men who really illustrates the principle; each one, teach one. He has never turned his back on the Black community. His Aspire Network has one focus; provide a positive image of African Americans. I’m so proud of him because he’s put his money where his values are. And he values his roots and never forgets those who are still struggling to achieve success.

  • Joy

    They are NOT celebrities; but Tavis Smiley and Cornell West. Tavis may already have a similar program, and if so he needs to expand it to target black males all over the country. Our black males really need our reaching out to

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