BOWIE – Dee-Morris, known as DeeMo, returned to his old stomping grounds at Benjamin Tasker Middle School to perform for and inspire the students.
The entire school gathered in the gym while DeeMo, a singer, actor, and basketball player, spoke to them about his own life, his time at the school, and his rise to fame. He also did a basketball demo, played guitar and piano singing “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and his original song “Hero.”
“I care about your life, your dreams, and your aspirations,” he said to the students. “I walked these same streets, I went to the same school, and I told myself I would never let anyone work harder than me.”
Dee-Morris aimed to inspire the students to be the best version of themselves as he told his life story, including how six years ago he lost his voice for nine months and was told he would never sing again. Because of this, he does not take any of the opportunities he has been given for granted. He encouraged the students to work hard for what they want to do in their lives.
“If you put forth your best effort, you can always hold your head up high,” he said.
DeeMo was invited to the school after fourth grader Rayne Mendez wrote a book about him for a Write-A-Book Contest. Initially, she wanted to write about exotic animals, but after learning that her dad grew up with DeeMo, she became interested in his story. TAG Coordinator Janet Viana Clark-Green was impressed by the book and reached out to DeeMo through social media.
“It’s great getting real artists that they see in person,” she said. “He was phenomenal. He spoke such life and positivity to the students.”
DeeMo grew up in the Bowie area and attended Benjamin Tasker Middle School. At the time his family lived in poverty with roaches and rats in their house and many times did not have running water or lights. He recalled having to drive to the gas station up the street to sneak water back to their house.
“It was normal to me,” he said. “I did not realize that this wasn’t normal for everyone. I’m so grateful now. I’m honored to have as much as I do.”
On top of living in poverty, he didn’t have many hopes for his future at the time. He was a lost kid, searching for an identity and “trying to survive,” he said. It wasn’t until eighth grade when actor Montel Williams came to speak at the school that his eyes were opened to what he could really do with his life.
After that, he pushed himself to work hard. He attended Bowie High School where he was in plays and the honor society. He started to play basketball at age 16 which he went on to play at Bowie State University along with football. While in college he also began to act in local TV shows such as “America’s Most Wanted” and pilots for BET shows.
Since then, DeeMo has lived in New York, and he travels the world singing. He has performed his song “Hero” at NBA All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles and Carnegie Hall and has an upcoming album. In addition to music, he has worked as an actor on the Fox show “Gotham” and NBC show “Shades of Blue” with more upcoming projects this summer.
“I get my inspiration from God,” he said. “He loved me when I was rejecting his love. He put people in my life who were important to me giving when I wasn’t receiving. It inspires me now that I get it.”
Students were asked to write essays about why they were Heroes, and at the end of the performance, DeeMo awarded two students with scholarships as well as medals and certificates.
“I remember when I was in middle school and we saw stuff like this,” said Samuel Risien, DeeMo’s friend, and music producer. “A lot of times we think kids aren’t listening, but this made impressions on them. People really listened and took a lot from it.”
After the performance, DeeMo met with the students personally, took pictures with them, and told them to follow their dreams. He hoped that he inspired all of them to be heroes.
“I want them to know that anything is possible,” he said. “And make sure they take the time to be a blessing to someone.”
Last modified onWednesday, 13 June 2018 17:25