Exposing Kids to their Future


BE-Style: How did you get your start in the industry which now has turned into a re-known radio personality? 

FS: I started in the industry while attending school at the University of the District of Columbia and I worked for the college radio station. At the same time, I was also a Dj playing many of the fraternity and sorority parties. So it went from there to me having my own radio show. The first show that I that got paid for was in Baltimore…

BE-Style: How does it feel to hold Atlanta on your shoulders?

FS: Oh, it feels good. It’s been a long road but it’s a very comfortable situation to say the least.

BE-Style: What’s your take on new forms of media such as BE Magazine, Twitter, and Facebook?

FS: I think it’s an interesting challenge to the old forms. I don’t think they will eliminate what radio brings. I just think gives people different choices and they have more control over their content.

BE-Style: Can you express how important it is for Afro-American celebrities to be conscious of their images and impact on society when going about their daily lives, i.e. Serena Williams, Mike Vick, and Tiger Woods?

FS: It’s an unfortunate situation to be in and we live in a different world than we did years ago. People now have access to information much faster and the it’s much harder to protect one’s image now than it used to be years ago. If you took a picture back then, it would take a week to a month before it got out. But now with the use of camera phones and the Internet, it’s a question of protection your privacy and hop to keep your private life private. I never believe that a lot of these artist, entertainers, and musician were good, bad or better than another, it is just a matter of whether they get caught or not.

BE-Style: A lot of them are thrust into being role models and they are just doing something they are passionate about….

FS: That in and of itself, is true. Wanda, my co-host, and I are of different opinions. She is of the opinion, which is a fair opinion, that celebrities ask for their stardom. I don’t necessary believe that. There are some entertainers that don’t ask to be famous, they just like what they do and become a part of pulp culture. And because people like what they do as well doesn’t mean that you asked for the fame. I think it is very difficult to handle what comes with the fame. What I have realized is that these people don’t really have someone to really handle the “risk.” I truly believe that some people do not have to right handlers around him, i.e. Kayne West. No one was there to tell him, not to walk on stage during an awards ceremony. There are so many persons have “yes men” around them. This can lead to someone being very destructive to their own careers.

BE-Style: What do you think of the current state of music? And who do you think will carry the touch now that Michael Jackson has passed?

FS: It’s interesting because I think the difference is that Michael Jackson became iconic here in the United States before he became iconic in the rest of the world. The international recognition elevated the image of who he was to everyone. The world is a lot smaller now and the exchange of information is a lot quicker. I understand what Kayne is saying when he says that he is the “Next King of Pop” because his music is worldly appreciated. But I don’t think that there is anyone that can capture the world like that with his or her music. I don’t think that the hip-hop as an art form can do it. Unfortunately, hip-hop represents too much negative to be respected by lots of people. It makes the art form look too easy and people don’t respect easy. With respect to Michael Jackson, he sings, dances, and was an amazing performing. There are very few artists that do both these days. I don’t knock hip-hop. I love hip-hop. But I don’t think that we will have artist to achieve Michael’s status until hip-hop is transformed. You’re not supposed to rap over your own track. Take Jay-Z for instance, he is transforming hip-hop into showmanship. If we have more artist that respect the artform and be true to it, then maybe we will have another iconic entertainer.  

BE-Style: What inspired you to start the Frank Ski Kids Foundation?

FS: I started the foundation with the intent to be the foundation the attracted celebrities with the means to donate money to an organization and the monies go to where it is supposed to go. Unfortunately, there are only a hand full of all the non-profits here in Atlanta that are operating for that which they were started. I wanted to form an organization with my wife the athletes could donate money to for a cause. To form a foundation that is certified and recognized by government as a properly operating non-profit. The problem I found was that most athletes that are black don’t give money unless it’s back to their own foundation. If you notice, most of the persons on my list are big philanthropic people that give lots of money. For example, Sean Combs doing the marathon in New York City, Ludracis was just given an award for having one of the best celebrity run foundations, and Kevin Liles has a couple of foundations anchored in Baltimore. He has built a football stadium in his community. These are the kinds of people that you want linked to your organization. So that when people see their names, they know that you are not playing. You
’ve come together to raise some money. We get the likes of Shakespeare, Shawn Garrett, and Devyne Stephens to show up and they respect the efforts of philanthropy by donating $5,000 to $10,000.

BE-Style: What is your overall goal for this year with the Wine Tasting & Live Auction?

FS: Our goals are to be more personal by having an event like this and get the check writers all in one room and have them to start writing the checks. This has been successful for us. It also allows me to go to those that I’ve helped and say, “Hey I could use you help this time.” 

BE-Style: What have you learned by starting the foundation and impacting the lives of children? Has this changed you at all?

FS: It really has changed me by making me aware of how blessed I am. I never felt like I missed out anything from my childhood. So every aspect on which the foundation was created is a direct reflection of what my wife and I went through. I never played organized youth sports because my father could never afford to pay for me to play. However, did play in the community in the yards of friends and in parks and my wife was a cheerleader since the age of 5. For us to know that there are parks closing because of funding, it gives us a cause to continue to try to make a change in the lives of students by offering the opportunities afforded to them by our foundation. It’s good to know that this Sunday a team will get a $10,000 check for their park and recreation programs. This will give hundreds of kids a place to go.

BE-Style: Does any story stick out in your mind of a child that has been directly impacted by your efforts?

FS: At the event on Sunday, we started last year by giving a Mentorship Award to those that have inspired or influenced. We also started giving an award to students that became leaders after they went through our foundation. This year Blake Sims will be receiving the reward. He is a high school quarterback for Gainesville High School. If you were to Google his name you would find of he and T.I. on his tour bus and page after page of his accomplishments thus far. Just to give you an idea of his talents. They are calling him the little Michael Vick. Blake Sims is now going to be signing with the University of Alabama. He made his choice to be a football quarterback after his mom called me to tell me their family story. They wanted him to go to a football camp headed up by Michael Vick. This was the first year that Michael Vick was in the NFL. Our foundation sent Blake to this camp. What he saw in that camp challenged him to return home with an idea of what he wanted to do. He told his mother that he had found what he was going to do with the rest of his life. His parents were poor and he told them, after the camp, that they would never have to work another day in the lives. That young man is playing football because of the Frank Ski Foundation. We also have a student at Auburn in the space program. Then Elizabeth Oppong has received a full scholarship at Phillips Exeter Academy in Andover, the school attended by President Bush and Mark Zuckerburg, the creator of Facebook.

BE-Style: Do you find it hard to continue raising funds in these economic times?

FS: A lot of non-profits have folded this year so it has been a very difficult time. Most people aren’t doing any work this year because they are trying to hold on to what they have. Corporate giving of monies and services are really down this year as well. 

BE-Style:What are tips that you would give to someone that is not financially wealthy but would still like to make a difference in the life of a child?

FS: Interesting enough, charity is viewed in two ways. It’s viewed as donating and/or services. You know all through the bible, there are acts of charity that didn’t involve money. We’re experiencing unemployment at an all time high and thousands of people don’t have jobs. I tend to ask them, “What are you doing with you free time?” I believe they should be at a shelter helping out or volunteering their free time. If you are a parent and out of work, you should be at your child’s school volunteering or attending PTA meetings. You have all the time in the world. So a lot of parents that claim not to have time to go check on their child at school should have no excuse now.  

BE-Style: As you continue with your philanthropic efforts, what are your hopes for the Frank Ski Kids Foundation to BEcome?

FS: I would love to some how turn the foundation into a school. I am not worried about students like Elizabeth Oppong who took her experience with us and turned it into a full scholarship at one of the best private schools in the country. On the other hand I am worried about the kids that have to go into the public schools systems. Think about this for a second. It’s probably virtually impossible to say about public schools but if you went to Pace Academy or Westminster and you’re in somebody’s science class or marine biology class, it’s a good chance that your teacher has been around the world in their area of study. But in the public schools and in the hood, I can’t say that. It’s very unlikely that your teacher has been to the Amazon or Costa Rica. At Pace Academy you know that the teachers have been aboard because they make sure the kids have that experience. The students can’t get out of high school without this type of experience. I spoke with someone yesterday, as a matter of fact, at the Philharmonic Orchestra in London. And they said this class of Afro-American students dressed in blazers and ties were in the Orchestra Hall. It was the students from the Ron Clark Academy, here in Atlanta. (Note: Oprah Winfrey recently sent a check for $1.5 million to the Ron
Clark Academy) My things is this, if you are student at 12 or 13 and you are introduced to all the different cultures and being able to travel abroad. Imagine how competitive that now makes our students as they go off to college and prepare to be tomorrow’s leaders.

Special thanks to Michelle Marron @ 360 Media (http://www.360media.net) , Jenika Thomas – Business Manager, & Ben Rose Photography

For more information on the Frank Ski Kids Foundation:



About the author

Jason Dinsmore has written 1330 articles for BE Entertained Magazine

J.Write is the Owner/Editor-In-Chief of BE Entertained Magazine. He's previously written for The Source, Dapper, DOWN, Break, & Full Blast Magazines. He's also contributed to a numBEr of blogs across the U.S.

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