‘TO BE A RAPPER, YOU REALLY HAVE TO BE REAL AND GENUINE’ DUANE GIBSON ON MOTIVATION, PERSEVERANCE AND CONNECTING WITH YOUTH

Offering four programs that focus on the topics of anti-bullying, self-confidence, leadership, peer pressure, literature and Black history, Gibson estimates he’s delivered more than 2,500 of his empowering speeches and workshops to hundreds of thousands of students

“Black History is full of examples of persevering, staying driven and defying the odds when people say, ‘you can’t do this,’ but you do it anyway and see it through to the end,” Gibson said. SEAN CAESAR

“Stay driven.”

For 20 years, that message has been the underlying theme of Toronto hip-hop veteran Duane “D.O.” Gibson’s presentations at over 1,000 schools across Canada.

Offering four programs that focus on the topics of anti-bullying, self-confidence, leadership, peer pressure, literature and Black history, Gibson estimates he’s delivered more than 2,500 of his empowering speeches and workshops to hundreds of thousands of students — the majority of them in Southern Ontario — since 2001.

“It’s been a long journey,” says Gibson, who will host the upcoming virtual Northern Power Summit on Feb. 20 and has launched a chronicle of Black Canadian history at blackcanadian365.com.

“But it’s been a rewarding one.”

The rewards have come from running into students, years later, who remember him.

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