Sincerely Chosen: Ameen Akbar, Director of Student Life at YouthBuild Philly Charter School

Breaking / Carousel / SCLIS / September 9, 2014

“A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”

SCLISAug_9753Ameen Akbar lives his life in accordance with the Greek proverb quoted above.

If there was ever a time when we need the black man’s voice, strength, leadership, mentorship, power and vision…it’s now.

Fortunately, there are black men who have made a commitment to being and giving all of the above day in and day out. Ameen is one such man. I met him nearly two years ago at YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School. Since then, I’ve watched him motivate, empower and inspire young men of diverse upbringings throughout this city. He has dedicated his life to serving as a light and remaining unmoved in the fight to empower our city, young black men and the various communities they’re a part of.

As a child, Ameen desired to walk in the footsteps of his father and role model, P. Ameen “Skip” Akbar, in addition to influential historical figures such as Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and Ghandi.  As a man, he has not only walked in those footsteps but become the same source of strength, direction and wisdom for the young men who are coming up behind him.

I sat down to chat with Ameen about his personal journey as a Philly native; the essence of manhood; public education with special focus on the drop-out population; the importance of mentoring in our city and his position with Kenneth Gamble’s, Universal Companies; the state of the young black man and violence among young black men; the role of Islamic faith in his life; and his thoughts on a plethora of hot topics. It was truly an amazing and empowering experience–one which left the audience members of the sold out show reeling in laughter, grimacing at the reality that young black men face, and [prayerfully] determined to “plant trees” of hope and opportunity for generations the to come.

As usual, DJ G33k provided the perfect soundtrack to a night full of inspiration and motivation while East Eden Vegan Catering and Aliyah Seven Wines kept the conversations flowing. I’d like to give a special thank you to our featured monthly sponsor,; our featured performer, City (@citydotcom); and Modern Day King Productions.

Ameen, thank you so much for sharing your story and for giving us a positive glimpse into the mind and life of an empowered black man.

Up Next…

ZEEK-XPRNCE-PROMOWe welcome vocalist, arranger and songwriter Zeek “The Experience” to the stage. He will join us for a special edition of #SincerelyChosen in collaboration with Pier Entertainments’ Up-Close Live at Relish Restaurant on Thursday, September 18th at 7:00 p.m.

I first introduced Zeek to SS blog readers in February of this year. A newcomer to Philadelphia, Zeek, (born Zacahriah Burse) is known for his ability to take listeners on a journey through musical chords and life experiences with his compelling and soulful voice. Zeek infuses the best elements of Soul, Pop, Jazz, and Gospel into a mélange that tugs your heart with honesty and prowess. He’s so good at what he does, they put the words ‘The Experience’ after his name.

Zeek will be interviewed about his personal journey as an upcoming artist and Philly transplant; his gospel roots; the state of soul music; the power of music as an art medium; the Philadelphia music scene and the struggle to thrive in it; his success thus far and his thoughts on a plethora of hot topics.

September and October are especially exciting for Sincerely Chosen: The Live Interview Series as I partner with Pier Entertainment to kick off their Up-Close Live Concert Series.  The one-of-a-kind showcase features a multi-genre lineup of some of the most prolific young, seasoned, and self-starting artists from the area. The 8-week residency at Relish Philadelphia will see artists headlining 2 full sets of music for their fans, in addition to a live sit-down interview with yours truly. Click here to learn more about this exciting new concert series.


Get your tickets:

The August show was completely sold out–standing room only! Don’t be caught standing! Tickets are currently available online for $10 at as well as the day of at the Relish Restaurant for $15. Online ticket sales end on September 17th, 2014.

See you loves soon!!! xoxo

– Sincerely Syreeta

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