Produced by students in Communication courses
at Capital Community College
Interview with Dr. Steve Perry by Britteni Simpson | April 2011
You see him in person and think this is a man of integrity, a man of diligence, a man of dreams
and accomplishment. His confidence is apparent and his oral projection clear and precise.
You see the persona of a man that has met all his goals written on paper.
What you don’t see is the man coming from generations of poverty and single households all wrapped
into a deep-rooted mind set of defeat, and misled dreams. He grew in an area where success was only
a word that no one knew the true meaning. This was an area where the selling of drugs led to the
demise of some and the popularity of others. This was his home. A place he wanted to rise above. A
place he wouldn’t forget, but would grow from to make him into more than just a better man.
That urban environment shaped him into more than just a tough minded, dream seeker of a man. It
turned him into a goal driven person ready to set the stepping stones of accomplishments before him.
The word barriers of "if’s" and "won’t" were not a part of his vocabulary. It was a part of those who
believed he wouldn’t do what he set out to do first; write his first book, "The Windowpane."
My first meeting with Dr. Perry, I asked: What influenced you to write your first book? In a frank,
straight forward answer he replied, “Because someone told me I couldn’t.“ That answer not only caused
me to gaze up from my notebook to see the honesty of his answer through his eyes, but it gave me the
cold shiver of knowing that it was the most honest response that even I needed to crack a smirk at.
“She thought she was that much smarter than me which made me go on to write the book she told me I
couldn’t. Now I have five and she has none.” That drive coming from an environment of low success
rates is what has become of the well respected man.
When asked out of all five of his books, which was his most successful, it came to no shock as he
responded "Man Up" which was published in 2005. Perry says, " 'Man Up' was very successful because it drove me to
start my first company. Along with that I did the most to selling that book. I began Grinding selling
it in Barbour shops, hair salons and nail salons, I sold it everywhere except for funerals”.
One of the last questions I asked in our short time together was how did you benefit from writing the
book "Man Up?" And to no avail I felt the answer coming. “It gave me access to a lot of things, a lot
of people a lot of opportunities. It was my most successful book which was based off of the reality
of poverty and is based on the message of Marcus Garvey”.
That message which states, “the character of a man is defined by never depending upon others to do
for him what he ought to do for himself,” is fulfilled everyday by Dr. Perry. Many know him as a
CNN Education Contributor, author of "Man Up! Nobody Is Coming To Save You," (best-selling) and four
others. The man who did a national profile on CNN's "Black in America 2," Founder and Principal of
Capital Preparatory Magnet School, and motivational speaker. Yet to me, he is known as the man who
did not let his past mold his future, he let his speaking skills become apparent during his first
engagement at the age of fifteen, and from then on, his success is still an ongoing legacy, a legacy
I now cherish as I graduate this May from the school that accomplished a goal like no other: Sending
all its graduates to four year colleges. I will become a success story like he. Our only difference?
All my dreams may take a while longer to accomplish before I turn 26.
Journalism student Britteni Simpson talks with TV Production student Nikko Sevilla about her interview
of Capital Preparatory Magnet School prinicipal, Dr. Steve Perry.