Motivational speaker gives heavy dose of tough love to students who interrupted him

Motivational speaker Eric Thomas didn’t take kindly to being interrupted while speaking to a group of mostly black students in St. Louis, Missouri, last month, and did he ever let them know it.

Making an appearance at Vashon High School, just a few miles south of Ferguson where 18-year-old Michael Brown was killed while attacking a police officer, things got real intense when Thomas began scolding the students and telling them he only experiences bad behavior when speaking to “my own.”

Thomas, who turned his life around after living on the streets of Detroit for two years, told the disadvantaged students that even though he gets paid $50,000 to $100,000 to speak to corporate groups, he was sharing his story with them for free because he cares about their future.

“When people love you, you don’t do them like dirt. When people care for you, don’t disrespect them,” he said. “You ain’t got but a few people who care about you in this world.”

“You got the nerve to act the fool when somebody cares about you? You’re talking when I’m talking,” Thomas continued. “Do you know that if I go to a Jewish school, them kids are quiet. If I go to a white school, them kids quiet. If I go to a Latino school, they quiet. The only kids that disrespect me is black kids.”

“That’s it, my own, are the only ones who disrespect me.”

And he reminded the students of just how serious things are for them.

“I work in any other school and they’re taking notes,” Thomas said. “I come home, you’re talking. You’re capping jokes. You think something is funny. Look how we’re living. Ain’t nothing funny. Ain’t nothing funny y’all.”

Watch his reaction here, with the most intense moments coming at the 3:30-minute mark:

Tom Tillison


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