Fats Joe tells the children, “If you wish to achieve success, nobody can cease you.” – Bronx Instances
On Wednesday, November 15, Joseph Antonio Cartagena, also called Fats Joe, visited the Mott Haven Library to talk to Brilla Public Constitution Faculties college students.
Photograph by Eat Rodriguez
On the nice and cozy and welcoming Wednesday morning of November 15, seventh- and eighth-graders from Brella Public Constitution Faculties within the South Bronx entered the Mott Haven Library and quietly took their seats.
Whereas they waited for a shock go to from a star, Library Director Tiffany McRae performed hip-hop songs by native Bronx musicians to offer college students glimpses of the visitor of honor. The thriller was over as quickly as he walked via the door and the scholars gasped and laughed with applause and awe – it was Joseph Antonio Cartagena, higher recognized by his stage title Fats Joe.
He sat on the entrance of the room subsequent to a desk of books, amongst which was his memoir, “The E book of Jose.” In it, Cartagena recounts his life rising up on the rundown streets of Mott Haven across the Nineteen Seventies and Eighties and traces his path from poverty to multi-million greenback fame.
“Once I was younger, nobody would come and discuss to me,” Cartagena mentioned. “We didn’t have anybody who seemed like us, who got here from the place we got here from and have become profitable, who may encourage us, so it’s essential for me to come back out and discuss to you.”
The Cartagena go to was the second as a part of “Celeb Story Time” — an initiative created by the Mott Haven Library in March in collaboration with chef Melba Wilson, a cookbook writer and Meals Community character, in addition to the proprietor of the favored Melba restaurant in Harlem. This program is a part of the New York Public Library’s ongoing efforts to advertise studying and entry to data for younger folks, particularly teenagers.
Presently Bronx County It ranks eleventh within the high 50 most educated counties in New York State and first in New York Metropolis with about 27% of residents having lower than a highschool diploma.
“For me, studying was my escape,” Wilson mentioned. “We have been so poor that we could not even afford the opposite O and R within the phrase – we have been simply poor.”
Wilson defined that when she was a younger woman, she picked up Norman Vincent Peale’s 1952 e-book The Energy of Optimistic Considering: A Sensible Information to Overcoming On a regular basis Life’s Issues. By means of studying, she was capable of develop her creativeness and perception in herself, which might gasoline her culinary creativity and make her the businesswoman she is right this moment.
For the library director, it was particularly essential to go to Cartagena due to his upbringing within the neighborhood.
“Let’s get the children on this neighborhood impressed of their neighborhood,” McCray mentioned.
Along with its frequent meet-and-greets and vacation meals giveaways, Cartagena-based clothes and sneaker retailer Up NYC at 2490 Third Ave. Within the Bronx, mentoring of neighborhood youth and after-school applications that train laptop data and literacy.
Cartagena held a question-and-answer session with the scholars after his phrases of encouragement with quotes like “Sensible children – don’t make enjoyable of them” and “Who runs the world?” Ladies!” A scholar within the viewers requested what he needed to be when he grew up, and 13-year-old Carlos Hanson replied, “An engineer.”
Cartagena was given his personal workplace card, brightly emblazoned with the phrases “Wild Model” — a time period coined by the late graffiti pioneer Michael Christopher Tracy, who glided by the title “Tracy 168,” and who just lately handed away in September.
As an added shock, DJ Khaled FaceTimed Cartagena to inform the scholars: “You’re the greatest!”
The go to ended with pictures for everybody and pizza for the scholars in addition to NYPL pencil instances and bookmarks.
“When you step up, and I do know you do, don’t neglect the place you got here from,” Cartagena mentioned. “It is your job to encourage the subsequent age that comes after you.”
Attain ET Rodriguez at (electronic mail protected). For extra protection, observe us on Twitter, Fb and Instagram @bronxtimes