Quincy Jones on Cultural Diplomacy in China

On October 12 the USC Center on Public Diplomacy joined Mr. Quincy Jones and Adam Clayton Powell III in celebrating the 50th anniversary of a critical event in U.S. public diplomacy history: Dizzy Gillespie's 1956 State Department-funded world musical tour. The tour was considered a turning point in U.S. cultural outreach to the world. We will host a special event here at USC.

The below speech, which Quincy Jones delivered on May 26 in Beijing, is reprinted with permission of Quincy Jones with special thanks to Adam Clayton Powell III. The speech, which was delivered on Mr. Jones's first visit to the People's Republic of China, highlights the importance of Cultural Diplomacy and Mr. Jones's thoughts on the cultural reach of arts and entertainment exports across countries.

We are pleased to share it with you.

To access the speech in PDF format, click here.

Quincy Jones
Beijing University
Beijing, China
May 26, 2006

DA ZSA HAH-OW (3 times with gesture).
(Big house hello.)

(I) (am) (Quincy Jones.)

(Today) (I very) (honored)

(to come here.)

(My Chinese) (No good,)

(Now) (Switch and use English.)

(No problem).

I’ve been looking forward to sharing some thoughts and experiences with you today, in and out of music... and giving you a glimpse of my journey and evolution as an artist... and of some of the people who have touched my life. I’d also like to attempt to offer some bold visions for China’s future in the arts and entertainment.
I just celebrated my 73rd birthday. During the last 50 years, I’ve had the good fortune to travel all over the world, including Hong Kong since 1962. But this is the first time I’ve had the opportunity to visit the People’s Republic of China.
Seeing, feeling and experiencing your country and your culture has inspired and enriched me beyond my wildest imagination.
The arts and entertainment bring people together. They allow the ties between us to flourish and grow, even during times when differences between governments arise. The creative expressions of artists like my good friends and brothers Yo Yo Ma and Jackie Chan help build bridges between cultures, giving us a better and more peaceful understanding and appreciation of each other.

These first 73 years of my life have been an amazing journey. It began in 1933 in the biggest black ghetto in America, Chicago, Illinois... where I grew up during America’s worst economic depression.
During our summer vacations, my daddy used to drive me and my brother Lloyd down to stay at my grandmother’s in Louisville, Kentucky.
My grandmother, who was an incredible woman and a strong, coal-black ex-slave, lived in what was called “a shotgun shack”, with no electricity, no water and a coal stove. The high-tech security system in this neighborhood in 1939 was a bent rusty nail to lock the door.
Next to our home, hers looked like the Grand Hyatt. We were almost as poor as Ah-Q.
In those days, Chicago was the number 1 spawning ground for the most notorious gangsters in the country, black and white. Where we lived, there were gangs on every block.
My biggest role models were the Jones Boys, also black, but no relation... although my father, who was a master carpenter, worked for them. They invented the policy racket and many other illegal activities. They dominated the ‘hood until some powerful white gangsters “gently” persuaded them to get out of town fast and move down to Mexico.
My father got the message immediately and decided it was time for us to take a trip, too. This was during the middle of World War II, 1943, when I was 10 years old. He took my brother and I straight from the barber shop onto the first Trailway bus to the Pacific Northwest, then we took an hour ferry ride to the city of Bremerton, in the state of Washington in the northwest region of America... not Washington, D.C., our capital.
Bremerton was a little town that was located on the far outskirts of the city of Seattle. The bus stop in Bremerton ended at the bottom of a hill. From there, we walked an extra 5 kilometers up the hill.
Shortly after that, I met my new classmates... They were all white.
My father worked as a master carpenter in the Bremerton Navy shipyard, but I was still dreaming of becoming a thug. We were the first black kids in town and Chicago had provided us with all the training we needed to take over the turf.
One night, we broke into an armory – which was also our recreation center – to steal some food. We stuffed ourselves with lemon meringue pie and ice cream, which then led to a food fight. I was like the Monkey King, eating all of those peaches of immortality in Heaven.
Afterwards, we split up and I broke into an administration room... and in the dark, I spotted a little spinet piano.
I was about to leave, but for some reason, I didn’t... and I slowly walked over and stared at that piano, then I let my fingers slowly slide down to touch the keys.
This was the moment of truth for me – every cell in my body knew in a heartbeat that music would be the dream of my life forever. Food and water would feed my body, but music would nourish my mind, heart and soul.
I gave up gangs from that point forward and started channeling my life to music.

Our family eventually moved to Seattle – and when I was 14, I met an important mentor, who was then 16... my best friend, Ray Charles, the great jazz and rhythm & blues musician, who was also blind.
They made a wonderful movie about his life called Ray, which won an Academy Award Oscar for best actor. I was also depicted in it, and all those things happened and more.
Back then, there was no black literature, no tv, no Colin Powells or Muhammad Ali’s or Michael Jordans available to identify with.
All we had was the radio, but the black characters on the radio dramas, soap operas and comedies were either servants or whites imitating blacks. Radio was great for my imagination because I was able to use it to imagine the white characters as black role models.
The music and movie business came of age in the U.S., and began to thrive, in the 1920 and ‘30’s. But for black Americans, there were limited opportunities – not only in the entertainment industry... In every industry. It’s like we didn’t exist, so we had to figure out who we were going to be as black kids.
Ray and I used to talk and dream about the day when we’d be able to sit in a restaurant and order any food we wanted, and get on planes and fly anyplace we wanted to go to, and do records and symphonies and movies together and meet lots of JIER-MUR (women). And all those things happened, especially meeting JIER-MUR. We lived out each and every one of our dreams together.
Unfortunately, he died two years ago before I moved into my dream home. But I know he would have loved it because he knew it was a symbol of what the entertainment industry has done for my life and has allowed me to do for others. More about my dream home later.

When I was 19 years old, I was lucky enough to go to Europe as a trumpet player in Lionel Hampton’s great jazz big band. The first time I saw Paris opened my heart and mind and changed it from that one dimensional conflict of just black and white people.
I was perceived as a creative person, without regard to color. It gave me hope and inspiration. Traveling taught me that not one drop of my self-worth depends on your acceptance of me. I have to accept myself first.
In 1957, I moved to Paris for 3 months as a musical director for Barclay Records... and wound up staying for 5 years.
Four years later, I was living in New York when Frank Sinatra, one of the greatest American singers and entertainers, called me. He said he loved the arrangement I did on a tune on an album with the great Count Basie Orchestra... because it was in 4/4 rather than 3/4.
He asked if I’d like to do an album with him and Basie. Would I like to do an album with Frank Sinatra? Is the Pope a Catholic?
As fate would have it, the song he loved, “Fly Me to the Moon”, turned out to be the first music played by the astronauts landing on the moon.

The first album I produced for Michael Jackson was called Off the Wall. It was the biggest black album in history.
Our next album together was Thriller. Its impact exceeded our wildest expectations, selling 56-million copies – the biggest selling album in history.

My first film production was in 1985 when I turned the novel The Color Purple into a film. I got Steven Spielberg to direct it for only $192,000 rmb because it was just a $42-million rmb movie. He wound up making $280 million rmb in profits.
I also found two unknown actresses to play the leads... Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey. They each received $280,000 rmb for their roles. Today Oprah is worth 12 billion rmb. She’s so popular that she could run for President of the United States and get elected.
If you don’t know who she or Whoopi are, go online and find out. That would be like me not knowing who Hung Huang or Chen Lu Yu are.
The studio projected The Color Purple would only make $210 million rmb because it was a black film. But the mutual sense of love, trust and respect everyone shared – Yo guanshe, may guanshe... May guanshe, you guanshe – translated to a mega box office success of $1.8 billion rmb.
We received 11 Academy Award nominations, including ones for Best Actress for Whoopi and Best Supporting Actress for Oprah, Best Song, Music and Picture.
The seminal idea of the book became the foundation for another form of expression – the theatre. Last year, on the 20th anniversary of the movie, Oprah and I produced The Color Purple as a Broadway musical.
It has been playing to sold-out audiences every night... and just received 11 Tony nominations, the theatre equivalent of the Academy Awards.

A Rapper had never appeared on a tv series in America, but by 1989 I was convinced the time was right. Besides, I’d rather lose taking a chance than win playing it safe. But the network executives were afraid of a young Rapper I had in mind to star named Will Smith. Imagine Will Smith being dangerous. Pleeze!
   But they finally trusted me about him, the Fresh Prince of Bel Air got on the air and ran for six years. Will walked in the door as a $160,000 rmb a week ex-Rapper and walked out as a $160-million rmb a picture international movie star. And he just made $800 million rmb in profits from his last film, Hitch.

Collective creativity is the most powerful creativity on earth... it can also inspire people to come together and shine a light on something other than themselves.
In 1985, with hundreds of thousands in Ethiopia starving to death as a result of famine and civil war, I produced an all-star recording event “We Are the World,” featuring a chorus of 46 American music superstars.
The song raised $504-million rmb to feed the hungry in Ethiopia and our government followed our lead by spending $6.4-billion rmb more.

The only useful aspect of fame and celebrity is to use it to help somebody. Bono, the lead singer of the great Irish rock band U2, has said, “Celebrity is like currency... you have to know how to spend it.”
In 1999, I joined Bono and another Irish rock star, Bob Geldoff to take a shot at reducing the Third World debt.
Here we are – begging for 25 minutes at the Vatican with the Pope to help. He responded by reading a 4-page affirmation back to us. As a result of this Vatican visit, three days later Bolivia, Mozambique and the Ivory Coast received debt relief to the tune of 220 Billion rmb.
We couldn’t believe it. Here we are again – grinning like three foxes eating HIGH - CHIEN.

One of the greatest thrills of my life is having shared the planet with Nelson Mandela, and my 36-year friendship with him.
In 1999, through my Listen Up Foundation, we had a great opportunity to take 5 male and female at-risk gangbangers from South Central Los Angeles to visit South Africa.
We watched the spirit of African ooboontu take over their souls. Ooboontu, the African collective spirit that is bigger than any one individual. We saw it, we witnessed it transforming their lives. Now, they’re productive citizens in Los Angeles and trying to help other kids to a better life.

Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy wrote, “My peace of bread only belongs to me when I know everyone else has a piece... that no one has to starve while I eat.”
A few years ago, I was approached by a Palestinian named Hani Masri, who happened to be best friends with an Israeli named Yuri Savir, to be a third partner. I passionately accepted and we called the project We Are the Future.
It sets up child centers for kids from the most in-crisis, in-trouble cities in the world... and provides services in education, health, water purification, nutrition, information communications technology, sports and the arts.
As a serial father of 7 kids – 6 girls from 13-54 and one son – you can imagine how much being a part of this means to me.
Two years ago at the We Are the Future concert in Rome, I asked my daughter Kenya, who was 11 at the time, to share her thoughts about how she’d like to see the future in 2020.
That concert, featuring musical artists from all over the globe, entertained and inspired the 750,000 people in attendance... and showed that love sings louder than hate.

Music is as powerful a force and one of the most powerful cradles of spirituality that you’ll ever find in the universe. You can’t see it, you can’t touch it, you can’t taste it and you can’t smell it. But Tian knows, you can feel it. It can lift you up and it can fill you up. Always remember that melody comes straight from Tian.
The entire world in the last 90 years has accepted our music as their esperanto. It walked right by kabuki, bagpipes, Viennese waltzes and German lieder – and they adopted our American jazz and blues, a black American creation, as the music that most expresses their souls.
Jazz is the classical music of pop music. It’s the best balance there is between soul and science.

Hip-Hop has also been a big part of my life for a long time. It was introduced as the newest black musical baby on the Grammy-award winning album I recorded in 1989, called “Back on the Block”... which gave hip hop mainstream credibility.
Professor Adam Clayton Powell III has said recently “Technology is the New Jazz.”
From jazz, I learned to leave my mind open and have a curiosity... like in 1953, when I embraced a brand new musical invention – the first amplified bass guitar, called the Fender Bass.
Before the millennium, a number of us were asked what were the most important technological advances in our field during the 20th Century. My response was the Fender Bass.
Without it, there’d be no rock & roll or Motown. It’s the one technological breakthrough that changed American music forever... and affected music throughout the world.

In 1964, I found something else called the Moog synthesizer to write the theme song for a tv series... the first time the public ever heard one.
The synthesizer became one more color in my orchestral palette... not meant to substitute, but to enhance the orchestra. I also used it on my Oscar-nominated music for In Cold Blood.

Alan Kay, a distinguished computer scientist, who’s also a dear friend and a jazz musician, and Nicholas Negroponte, the founding director of MIT’s Media Laboratory, are co-developing 200-million wireless, web-enabled lap top computers for students around the world that will cost only $800 million rmb... and could be manufactured in China and help bring the next generation closer in communication, harmony and peace.

I’m privileged to have been schooled by many visionary business leaders... but none more so than Steve Ross, the founder & Chairman of Warners Communications... which is known today as Time/Warner.
Steve recognized my creativity, hard work, discipline, entrepreneurial, marketing and promotional skills. He also knew that bottom line, I create movies, music and other products that the consumer enjoys and values – and therefore, they’re willing to pay for them.
So Steve did something unprecedented back in the 1980’s – he joined forces with a black man, in a 50-50 joint venture multimedia company called Quincy Jones Entertainment. It was a historical move for a $50-billion company and reverberated throughout the country... because he also understood what 98 percent of corporate America didn’t get – the influence of black American culture on mainstream America.
This deal also enabled me to buy radio stations and start my own magazine about the hip hop culture called Vibe.
Quincy Jones Entertainment is still the model for every other black-owned entertainment business that seriously aspires to join forces with a major media company. Many of these businessmen & women have also branched out into the fashion industry.
Look at the results – hip hop has swept the planet... From Croatia to Chile to China, every young person, even down to 18-months old, wears their baseball cap backwards and listens to Rap.
I’m lucky to have Steve Ross’s son Mark still in my family and the President of my company... and I love and respect him like my own son.
The arts can also be a launching pad to produce leaders in business... and in other professional fields, such as politics. Former President Ronald Reagan, who was once a movie and television actor, is a prime example. So is California Governor, Arnold Schwarzenneger.

I was fortunate enough to gain the wisdom and insight way beyond the call of duty before I arrived here this morning from two genius friends who gave with love – John Sie, the man behind the technology and evolution of American television, and who also happens to be Chinese... and Chris Stamos, who with his brother Basil, grew up in China and speaks perfect Mandarin and Cantonese and is proud about the country he loves and believes in.
Creativity also creates wealth and progress. That’s why the entertainment industry is as big and as important a part of United States industry as high-tech and manufacturing, both for domestic consumption and export.
Look at the 2006 estimate for the U.S. entertainment industry in ren min bi:
Consumer Spending
Movies 320 billion rmb
Cable & Satellite TV 792 billion rmb
Subtotal 1.1 trillion rmb

Advertising & Fees
TV Channels 496 billion rmb
Radio 200 billion rmb
Subtotal 696 billion rmb
Music Industry 88 billion rmb
Total Entertainment Industry 1.9 trillion rmb

The 1.9 is equivalent to 6300 rmb per person in America. This compares to 12,000 per person for all of China’s GDP for its 1.3 billion people... more than half of the total economic output of China on a per capita basis!
The growth of the entertainment industry in America is nothing short of a miracle. Just 25 years ago, in 1981, the size of the total economic industry was only 42-billion rmb per year. That’s a whopping 16% per year compounded growth every year for the last 25 years!
Because I was able to tap into the public’s appreciation of music with records, movies, concerts and TV shows in an entrepreneurial way, I was the direct beneficiary of that explosive growth in the entertainment industry. I became very successful and accumulated wealth along the way. Today, I live in a dream house in Hollywood that I really couldn’t dream of when I was a kid in Seattle.
I know that in China you have the familiar saying, Have Food is Heavenly. In the American entertainment industry, we have a similar saying, Content is King.

China has been extraordinary in its economic growth for more than a decade. I recently read in the New York Times that China is at a crossroads... but from the bottom of my heart, I believe that the government will steer the ship of state in the right direction.
I am not trying to pai ma pi (hand motion of patting your ass), but it’s true – Your economic miracle and your technical advances are an unprecedented story in world history.
Your GDP has grown on an average of 10% per year for the last 15 years to almost $15 rmb trillion in 2005... and you’re becoming the manufacturing source for the world with export exceeding $5.6 trillion rmb in 2005. Your export is continuing to grow in 2006.
China's technological progress is also impressive with its high tech export enjoying the highest growth rate.
The fundamental reason for this stunning progress is because China is manufacturing goods that the world consumer enjoys and values... and therefore is willing to pay for.
These manufacturing goods can be called hard goods... because they’re physical products that you can touch and feel, like refrigerators or DVD players.
But that’s today. What is China’s next big economic wave? What is the next new, new thing?
As we look out 5 years, 10 years from now, China may not be able to sustain its torrid export growth pace, since it would have saturated the world's hard goods needs. We all know that nothing lasts forever.
Having witnessed, contributed and profited from the rapid growth of the entertainment industry in America... I'd like to make a bold suggestion:
China embark on a long range plan to develop soft goods as its next growth engine, both domestically and internationally.
It’s a win-win proposition, which will also bring peace and understanding around the world.
The entertainment industry is a soft goods business. You cannot physically touch it, like a hard good. A song, movie or television program only has value and enjoyment when you listen or watch it.
China has the opportunity to develop its soft goods industry better than the rest of the world – The United States included – for two very significant reasons...
First, it has the largest domestic audience in the world to market its soft goods, as a springboard to create a dominant export soft goods industry.
Second, as I mentioned before, Content is King. China has more than four thousand years of rich history, culture, legends, and stories to develop content. You have content you can mine for as long as the eye can see.
When you add those advantages to the vast creative and entrepreneurial pool of China to explore this rich field, I can predict that with the proper governmental focus, encouragement, and support, China's future soft goods will be the largest export to the rest of the world.
Chinese culture and entertainment will be as commonplace in the rest of the world, just as Chinese cuisine is continually enjoyed by all around the globe today.
This becomes a triple-win situation – economic growth for China, the world's deep understanding and appreciation for China’s culture and heritage... and world peace.
Jazz and movies have enjoyed success as they told the story of America around the world. Similarly, Chinese soft goods can tell the story of who you are as a nation and as a people.
I’m so inspired by these possibilities, that I just entered into a joint venture with “What a GUR-MUR” Chairman Liu Chang Lur and his Phoenix Television, similar to the one I entered into with Time/Warner. And also with his sweet daughter “2-Quarters”, and the man who we managed to match souls with in a nano-second, Alan Mandel. It’s one of my most exciting partnerships ever and my whole life has prepared me to realize it. We’re taking about movies, tv, records, book publishing and concerts.

However, like we all realize that hard goods are of value to consumers and must be protected until the consumer pays for them. We cannot just manufacture the goods and then let anyone take them without paying for them.
Soft goods are also of value to consumers and must be similarly protected. It's a bit more difficult and complex since the soft goods are not physical things, but rather intangible assets.
In order for this vision to become a reality, the government must have the will and the support to create new laws and regulations, and develop a comprehensive infrastructure to provide such protection to the creators of these soft goods.
This is a cornerstone for the entertainment industry, which has the protection of Intellectual Property at its core.
Imagine for a moment a young boy named Lee Ming from Hunan... or a young girl named Jong Ling from Shanghai. He or she could even be one of your sons or daughters or a relative or neighbor. Let’s say he or she composes a song that turns out to be a major hit in China... as popular as a song by Deng Li June or a hip hop tune by Jay Chou.
Then, the song becomes a hit worldwide. But all the other countries say, “We’re not going to pay you.” How would Lee Ming or Jong Ling feel? Would you think that’s fair? You may have the next Eminem or Mariah Carey and they’re not going to get paid?
The music you hear on the radio or that you download and is protected in America by BMI and ASCAP, came from part of a process of more than one person. There are singers, songwriters, musicians and engineers who also have to feed their families and send their kids to school. If they’re not getting their fair share, they won’t be able to do that.
The movie business involves even more people. It’s like an army – screenwriters, producers, directors, actors, film editors, sound editors, cinematographers and movie music composers. They also have families... and are human beings who have a right to get compensated for their work.
By protecting all of them, you’ll also become partners with other artists and industries worldwide.
It's a long road to reach this bold, but very important objective. I hope that this august group can study my proposal and give it some serious consideration.
If there is anything that I can assist China on this quest, it would be my honor and privilege.

Music is the only thing that affects the left and right brain simultaneously. That’s why it has so much power. It’s soul and science. It also has the ability to make people think and feel. Integrating music, and the arts, into the educational curriculum, produces better rounded and more productive students.
It can also be a spawning ground for future artists in China, just like school is for future engineers, doctors and lawyers. It will also help every province more readily identify the creative people within its community and encourage them.

There’s a parallel between jazz and education. Traditional Confucian education is based on memorization and learning. China has done very well using this traditional system... and I take my hat off to you for it.
At the same time, more and more Chinese are asking whether there are other ways of learning and understanding... and changing the world... more suited to the digital and innovative world that’s growing around us.
John Kao, in his book Jammin’, writes that symphony music is to industrial age learning as jazz is to post-industrial age learning. Think improv... less hierarchy... experimentation and playfulness, which by definition means jazz.
Dr. Ernest Wilson, a college professor in the U.S, recently brought a leading educator from China to his classroom. He sat in on Dr. Wilson’s software classes, certain that students can only learn by the teacher standing in front of the class lecturing and taking very few questions. But instead, he saw idea sharing... students being interactive with Dr. Wilson... students in small groups teaching and learning from each other, jamming like jazz trios and quartets, learning new ways to learn. It surprised him big time... and caused him to re-think his teaching methods.
China and the U.S. and other nations should add more jazz to their approach to education. And hip hop is an even further extension of this because it takes bits and pieces of what others have done and re-mixes it... re-mixing traditional and modern.
Imagine the power if the Chinese are able to combine the best of the Confucian system with the best of jazz/improv approach. This is something American students also need to learn. In fact, maybe we’re too much free style and not enough discipline.
Yo Yo Ma is an artistic example of applying the best of both styles. He can play his classical Bach’s Suite No. 1 for cello... then play his Obrigado Brazil, which is more improv and funky. The same goes for Astor Piazzola modern tangos from Argentina.
Inspired in the right way, I believe Rappers using positive content could revolutionize education... paving an educational dirt road into a superhighway as they communicate their message all over the planet.
I only wish that powerful governments today took people-to-people exchanges more seriously, not just to send out their propaganda messages once they have already made up their minds as they huddle in isolation from the world... But that they would learn to listen to other people and other cultures, understand their desires and differences, respect their differences and find peaceful ways for making the world a better place.
That’s the genius of music and art. Make music, not military campaign... like when we took 13 composers each from America, China and Sweden, and did a thing called Sonic Convergence.

Education in a world grown more multicultural and more diverse, must be built on mutual respect, and listening, and learning. After all, education is learning to listen.
More and more young people are playing multi-player online games. And you watch quick cuts of MTV, which film editor Marsha Lucas first introduced in the movie Star Wars. So it will become harder and harder to learn in the old ways that are slower and less interactive.
Smart nations should start taking advantage of learning through these new platforms, like using games to educate their people... such as the new games being developed in Los Angeles and elsewhere that teach skills, and also values.
There’s one game I must mention – the Darfur game. It’s a game about helping get food and medicine to people in need. These games don’t just have to be about violence and killing, like Grand Theft Auto. They can educate and enlighten students to help move the world closer to peace and harmony.

A career in music was my way out of poverty and a potential life of violence. For others, it’s been a vehicle to keep them away from drugs or gangs, or so many other things that can undermine. It gave us focus and stability, and hope. It gave us stature and status... and made us productive citizens, with something to give back to society – entertainment and joy... and of course, helped contribute to our economy.
The same could apply to many budding Chinese musicians and filmmakers today... who are looking for ways out of poverty or self-destructiveness.
Music has been my touchstone because it instilled in me the belief in myself, which is the rarest of gifts, like a hard and brilliant diamond held in the deepest recesses of the heart. When I saw the California blues combos that came to Seattle, or the 18-piece black bands, I saw a group of unified and dignified men acting as family... men like Bumps Blackwell, Clark Terry and Dr. Billy Taylor. There was no doubt that I wanted to be a lifetime member of this family.
Creativity stoked my belief that I could shape my world... that I could find a place in which to grow up.
Creativity can open your mind and stir your curiosity. It teaches you how much we all share in common... and to love and respect each other’s differences and religions. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam or whatever.
Tian’s gift to you is your talent. Your gift back to Tian is knowing and feeling it... soul and science.
If we all make regular deposits into our emotional bank accounts with courtesy, kindness, honesty, and by keeping our commitments to each other, then the account is high and the communication is easy.
But when those things are missing and the account becomes overdrawn, that’s when negativity sets in.
Always remember that excellence is not an act, it’s a habit. Everything you do should be with excellence.
It’s wonderful seeing all of you out there this afternoon and sharing my journey from Chicago to being in this great city. Those are my roots and my fruits... and you’ve given me much more than I can ever give you because you let me be myself and I thank you for it.
Right before I was leaving for China, Frank Sinatra’s daughter Tina happened to call me and said, “Anything you want to do with my father’s music and likeness in China, you can do it. You’ll be our emissary.”
Thinking as a family, I’m asking the same of you... be an emissary. To the rest of the world, China is invisible. But I know and you know that the Dragon is awakening! The fine and magical wonder of 4000 years of art and culture is what the world is waiting for... and I can’t wait to sing it to the world.
I am deeply honored to be given the opportunity to speak to you today. I will never forget it. I’d like to respectfully and humbly ask you to do something that will mean a lot to me... I’d like you to give yourselves the biggest round of applause that you’ve ever given in your whole lives. C’mon, you deserve it. You make a difference in this world. Give up the props! It’s for you!

There’s not an area of entertainment or soft goods or technology or business or medicine that we can’t succeed in together. We’ve got the know-how, the connections, the economic and technical support... and most importantly, limitless creativity and spirit. We’ve got it all together because the collective is stronger than anything. Together, we can be the future. We’ve got everything it takes to fly all the way to the moon! So let’s go for it.
(One world,) (One dream!)

When life begins to seem like too much, we should take a moment to let the soul catch up with the body. Go out and find a song you love, a poem that touches your heart, and take the time to let the whisper of Heaven’s (Tian’s) voice come into your mind. Everyday that you wake up and are still above the ground, that should be the only reason you need to be happy.
I did have one condition to come here... So I’m asking you to please stand up. Now, reach out and hold each other’s hands. Reach out and touch the person next to you.
And if you will please repeat these words after me:
On this day...
I will mend a quarrel.
I will search out a forgotten friend.
I will dismiss a suspicion, and replace it with a trust.
I write a letter or an e-mail or an SMS message to someone who I miss.
I will encourage a young person who has lost faith and hope.
I will keep a promise.
I will forget an old grudge.
I will fight for a principle.
I will express my gratitude to Heaven (Tian) every day.
I will tell someone I love them.
And tell them again, and again, and again.
And again. And again. And again.
My wish is that you will all walk out of here and smell a brand new flavor of air. Let your mind open up. It’s a brand new day.

There’s a beautiful ancient expression in Egypt – Boo-zhou-doo-kam, an ancient expression of respect. Boo-zhou-doo-kam, which means, in your presence, the reflection of you on me makes me feel like a better person. Your light gives me life.
So I say to you, Boo-zhou-doo-kam.

In closing, I just want you all to remember to:
Observe it. Figure it out. Put it to the soul and science test. Be ruthlessly creative, curious and force yourself to be interested in everything. Then, say to yourselves, I can do that. I know I can do that. I’m going to do that. If you can see it, you can be it. So when it rains, get wet. Go for it.
Tian Bless you.

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