Percy “Master P” Miller is arguably one of the most accomplished African American artists and entrepreneurs of his generation who has achieved success across multiple industries. JPMorgan Chase hosted Miller for a fireside chat at its annual Advancing Black Pathways Black History Month event for Los Angeles last week.
Miller’s resume is impressive, if not extraordinary, as it encompasses a wide body of work that includes him as an entrepreneur, rap artist, record producer, basketball player, philanthropist, and a committed family man. A consistent theme of Miller’s discussion last week was that across all of his chapters, he has always found himself focusing on and helping the next generation.
When asked to sum up his life and career, Miller was succinct: “You are not successful unless you make somebody else successful.”
The discussion was moderated by Barry Simmons, Managing Director for Consumer Banking and Wealth Management across California for Chase. Simmons had a tough assignment as moderator as he could have asked Miller any number of questions about his life and career. But as the event was just as much an introspection on Miller’s own journey, it was equally a celebration of Black History Month and recognizing the accomplishments of so many great figures in history, past and present.
Miller believes that while Black History Month has traditionally been a celebration of so many heroes of the past, it should also be recognized as a celebration for the great people who are still alive today.
“We have to celebrate us. We don’t do that. As African Americans, we wait until we are gone to talk about how great we are. As a culture we’re almost scared to tell someone how great they are while they are here. Why do we do that? I want to celebrate African Americans while they are here with us.”
Miller elaborated this point, reflecting on the recent passing of the late Kobe Bryant. “We talk about how great Kobe Bryant was. But when Kobe was here, I wish we were able to talk about ‘how great he is’.”
Of course, Miller remains keen to honor the past. “We need celebrate everything about Black History Month. We need to tell the stories of Martin Luther King, of Harriet Tubman, these people paved the way that we can’t forget about. To me, Black History Month is celebrating the ones who are here, and not forgetting about the ones from the past.”
Simmons concluded the event by rounding out Miller’s insights and extraordinary career, “When we think about Black History – it’s easy to stand on the shoulders of so many great people that came before us. But today we stood on the shoulders of the living legend, Percy ‘Master P’ Miller.”