TROY, Ala.—Today’s young people need the support and guidance of their elders. That was the message actor and director Tim Reid left participants of the ninth annual Leadership Conference Celebrating Black History Month with during the event’s closing session Saturday afternoon at Troy University.
The Leadership Conference, co-hosted by Troy University and the City of Troy, annually brings together civic and community leaders, clergymen and business leaders in a collaborative and education forum.
Reid, owner of New Millennium Studios, is perhaps best known for his role of disc jockey “Venus Flytrap” on the television series “WKRP in Cincinnati,” and has also appeared in starring roles in the series “Frank’s Place” and “Sister, Sister.”
“Our young people need us,” Reid told the audience of nearly 400 participants. “Our young people today need intervention. Who’s talking to them? Who is helping them to shape their values and beliefs?”
Reid said the biggest problem facing the world today is a lack of character.
“Dr. King had a dream that one day our children would be judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,” he said. “What is the content of their character today? We are now at an age and time where the survival or failure of the world hinges on the content of our character. Do we have the type of character necessary to meet the challenges of the 21st century? I believe we have some character-building to do.”
Reid pointed to the media and athletes and entertainers, who “lose millions of dollars by becoming involved in foolishness,” as sources of role models for today’s younger generation. Therein, he said, lays one of the biggest problems facing society.
“Our young people need role models with good, strong characters,” he said. “I refuse to stand by and watch as the media and entertainers dictate how our young people act, think and believe. Those that came before us saw life as full of meaning. Today, we spend much of our time sitting back doing a lot of hoping and praying that things will get better while taking very little action ourselves to make this a better world. All too often we sit at home and leave our responsibilities to others.”
Earlier in the day on Saturday, Grammy Award winner and “Real Housewives of Atlanta” cast member Kandi Burruss encouraged conference participants to surround themselves with good, quality people.
“I’m a work-in-progress like everyone else, but the network of people you have around you is important,” Burress said. “If starting a business is your dream, then develop relationships with those who have been successful in that type of business. I’ve heard it said, ‘Your network is your net worth,’ and I believe that is true. You never know what may come out of a new relationship you develop.”
Burruss was a member of the R&B group “Xscape” that rose to fame in the 1990s and turned to songwriting when the group disbanded in 1999. That same year, she penned the No. 1 single “No Scrubs” for the R&B group “TLC,” which later earned the Grammy Award for the Best R&B Song. Since that time, Burruss has written songs for artists such as “NSYNC,” “Joe” and “Boyz II Men.”