Barack Hussein Obama. Mr. President, leader of the free world, husband, father, role model, first black president of the United States... However you want to label him, he has made an indelible mark in history. You don't have to like him, his ideals, morals or standards, but his current title has earned him a measure of respect that anyone in his position, past and future, is due. He is president.
For me -- a mother, a woman of color -- and others like me, he is a symbol of hope. We can tell our children, especially our black boys and young black men, that they can be anything they want to be, if they put their mind to it and work hard. Do I want my sons to run for political office? Absolutely not. Do I want them to be strong, spiritual, responsible, law-abiding citizens, who are respected and make positive contributions in their communities? You better believe it.
President Obama motivated a whole generation of young people to do things that they never imagined doing because they didn't feel at home in their own country. He reminded the older generation of all the counsel they'd received and passed along. "Stay in school and you can be anything you want. You can be president." Even though they may have not believed this would occur in their lifetime, they still said it. We tend to see our children as superheroes and give them super-human qualities. It's our job to believe in them even if no one else does.
Children used to be encouraged to keep themselves busy -- read, write stories, play and maybe watch some television -- mostly things to stimulate their minds. But somewhere along the way, those principles were lost. Perhaps life got in the way; family, bills and all sorts of personal and professional challenges. We're told to grow up, get a job and do something with our lives. What if you don't want to stop daydreaming, playing and having fun? What if you can't stop being a character, and it pleases you to play on? Then, you become an actor. You become a filmmaker, a screenwriter, an entertainer. That will solve that problem. Or will it?
What happens when the platform you have chosen was not designed with you in mind? You can't push, force or demand your way into someone else's house. So, build your own house!
That's the story of a wonderful human being I had the pleasure of meeting. Quinton Aaron was the star of The Blind Side, with Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw and Kathy Bates. It's the amazing story of Michael Oher, who became an offensive tackle for the Baltimore Ravens, another example of how big dreams do come true. He has gone on to appear in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (opposite Jill Scott), Mercy, Harry's Law and Drop Dead Diva.
The dreams are bigger than the man himself. He is very much aware of his size, and of being a black man. But he does not allow that to be a hindrance. He realizes the challenges that lie ahead in this business, and he is prepared to take them on. He has the support of industry greats. He aspires to be the first black James Bond. And we are excited at the prospect of Aaron in this giant role.
His mother, the late Laura Aaron, told him, "You know you best. Only you can sell you." He takes those words to heart. Moms have a power and influence that cannot be duplicated.
Aaron's upcoming part in 1982 is sure to keep him on the path to stardom. He continues to perfect his craft in front of the camera, on the set with other more seasoned actors, such as Hill Harper, Elise Neal and the legendary Ruby Dee. So whether it is acting or behind the scenes, Quintin Aaron is going to leave his mark on the movie industry. With a heart of gold, and compassion to match, he is poised to be a success story. We are sure to see more of Quintin Aaron.
Like President Obama, his mother and grandmother nurtured Aaron's hopes, dreams and aspirations. And today, both men have achieved beyond what they could have ever imagined. Perhaps not. Maybe they are just where they imagined their dreams would take them.