Jeff's Open Road

  • INTERVIEWED BY:

    San Jose Team

  • INTERVIEW LOCATION:

    New York, NY

  • AIRED ON:

    Public Television: Season 4

  • ON DVD:

JEFF JOHNSON

Social & Political Activist/TV Personality
BET

“So often, we confine ourselves to this little box of ‘doctor,’ ‘lawyer,’ ‘engineer,’ ‘teacher,’ ‘businessperson’...free yourselves.”

INTERESTS:

Politics Television

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Acceptance Choices Education Family Individualism Success Transitions Pressure

FOUNDATION:

Upholding a cause I believe in

TAGS:

athletics, black student union, changing your mind, control, education, expectations, logic, olympics, parents, politics, quitting, running, scholarship, thinking out of the box, track, track running, unconventional path, unique, validation

BIOGRAPHY:

  • Says the people who become successful are the ones who “throw the manual away” rather than following it.
  • For most of his life, all he wanted to do was run; was an All-American track star, got a full scholarship to run in college.
  • While in college, the president of the Black Student Union (BSU) saw something in Jeff, invited him to join.
  • His track coach discouraged him from spending so much time with the BSU, so Jeff quit the team.
  • His father told him he was a “quitter,” told him that he wouldn’t be financially supporting him anymore.
  • A year later, after Jeff became president of the BSU, he invited his father to see his work; his dad apologized for not supporting his decision.
  • Says his father’s apology was “validation” because he wasn’t living his dad’s life, he was living his own life.
  • Thinks too many young people give up their calling to satisfy the obligations they feel they owe their parents or their peers.

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