By Natalie Faas
On Thursday, Nov. 19, the Academic Talent Search program held a virtual event in which DJ Khaled spoke in detail about how he became successful, built his own brand and began a foundation to support the dreams of others.
The Canisius College Academic Talent Search Program hosts multiple speakers and events each semester in order to inspire, educate and give students “keys to success.”
According to the Canisius’ website: “The Talent Search Program is designed to identify qualified youths with potential for education at the postsecondary level and encourage them to complete secondary school and undertake a program of postsecondary education.”
The program services over 600 students in the Buffalo Community and has been around for over 10 years. It works with students grades 6–12 to identify students with academic potential and encourage them to pursue a postsecondary education.
Phillip Davis, a counselor in the Academic Talent Search program, spoke on the event and why they chose DJ Khaled as a guest speaker. “We did a virtual summer program, and we asked students about, you know, possible speakers, what kind of people they would be interested in hearing from, and he was one of the people that a lot of the students said they would love to hear from,” Davis explained.
DJ Khaled is a DJ, music artist, producer and songwriter who has won numerous awards for his talents, not only as a songwriter and performing artist, but also as a producer and record executive.
Khaled is also a New York Times best selling author for his book “The Keys,” which he wrote in 2016. His book outlines what he calls “the keys to success,” and it offers passionate guidance on how to achieve one’s goals.
Khaled started his career doing college radio and slowly grew until he began to DJ for large radio shows. Playing music and creating playlists to inspire people of all ages and all walks of life were increasingly important to him as his career continued to grow.
“My passion and ambition for playing music became contagious,” Khaled said.
As he spoke on growing his brand, Khaled often cited his parents and other artists as his support systems. His parents taught him not only how to support his dream through financial advice, but they also inspired him to pursue his dreams and keep working hard.
Roadblocks and challenges stood in Khaled’s way for nearly two decades as he pursued success, and there were plenty of people putting him down. Khaled said, “They held my shoulder and told me ‘No’ so many times, and I had to turn those into a positive ‘Yes.’”
In speaking about his dreams, Khaled articulated the importance of having a drive and staying focused. By keeping his goals straight and having strong ambitions helped him to build his brand, not only as an artist, but also as a producer and philanthropist.
Smart financial moves and hard work have made Khaled’s wealth a large part of who he is as a person. He is a businessman and shares his wealth with those less fortunate than him.
“I worked so hard, and it took me 20 years. When it happens, the blessings keep coming, and you have to be grateful,” Khaled said. “The more blessings I get, the more we do.”
The “We The Best Foundation” was started by Khaled to support the dreams of others. According to his website, the foundation’s mission statement is to “support non-profit organizations and individuals in underserved communities in efforts that aid them towards becoming the best version of themselves by making their dreams come true.”
Amidst a new album, new restaurants and multiple new products, Khaled’s biggest advice was to surround yourself with the correct people and to never stop pursuing your dreams. He also instructed that your goals should not be solely financial, rather, he encouraged hopefuls to focus on their dreams.
“Don’t chase the money — let the money chase you,” he aptly summarized.