Inspirational speakers and entertainers emceeone, a.k.a. Marcus Anthony Guinn, and Chance Rush, encouraged Native youth to mobilize and realize their power at the Youth Entrepreneurship Summits (YES!) in both 2015 and 2016.

Emceeone to Native Youth at YES!: What You Step Toward, You Attract

Kristin Butler

“What you step towards, you attract. What you attract will follow you and open opportunities for more,” emceeone, a.k.a. Marcus Anthony Guinn, told a crowd of roughly 200 Native high school and college-aged students at the Youth Entrepreneurship Summit (YES!) on Monday, November 14.  

RELATED: YES! Kicks Off Today, Inspires Native Youth to Pursue Entrepreneurship

Guinn — Osage, Potawatomi, Delaware and Puerto Rican — is a national speaker, recording artist, DJ, conference consultant, and youth advocate. He has three records on iTunes downloaded internationally.

Guinn energized and empowered youth attendees at the one-day YES! event, the second of its kind. (YES! debuted at RES New Mexico in November 2015.) YES! kicked off the Reservation Economic Summit (RES) New Mexico at Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino, on the Pueblo of Pojoaque, near Santa Fe, on Monday. (RES New Mexico, hosted by the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development, concludes today, November 17.) The National Center partnered with the United National Indian Tribal Youth (UNITY) to host YES! The nonprofits inked an MOU on March 21, 2016, at RES Las Vegas, to solidify their joint mission to educate and encourage the next generation of Indigenous entrepreneurs.

RELATED: YES! National Center Uplifts New Generation of Young Native Entrepreneurs With UNITY

Guinn’s message to youth was at once deep and simple. His words echoed the law of attraction — that our thoughts and belief systems shape our realities, and every choice we make and action we take ultimately guides us in a direction in which more opportunities for growth manifest.

“I stepped towards entertainment. If I step towards entertainment, I attract entertainment. It put me in positions where more opportunities presented themselves. If I stayed where I was, opportunities would have never happened,” Guinn said.

Recently, Guinn became the official DJ for Nike N7. Since its inception in 2009, the Nike N7 Fund has donated $4 million to Indigenous communities to help Natives stay active. “I’m thrilled to be a part of this movement,” Guinn said.

Guinn also referenced his acting gigs as ways he cultivated opportunity in his life. After a few commercial roles, Guinn received a call suggesting he try out for [actor] William H. Macy’s directorial debut Rudderless, starring Billy Crudup, Anton Yelchin and Felicity Huffman. The 2014 movie is about a grieving father on a downward spiral. “He loses his son traumatically in a school shooting,” Guinn said. The father later stumbles across a box of his recently deceased son’s demo tapes and lyrics, which inspires a new journey, a band of his own, and, ultimately, some catharsis.

“I like being a part of redemptive projects. Part of what I do is called ‘one innertainment’ — entertainment with the inner in mind,” Guinn said.

One Chance Leadership

Guinn has also harnessed the ability to be a magnet for business collaborators. His buddy and two-time All-American athlete Chance Rush, an enrolled member of the Three Affiliated Tribes of North Dakota, travels across North America to inspire, heal, motivate, and energize Native communities. The pair joined forces to found a fast-growing, national youth and adult leadership program called One Chance Leadership. (Connect with One Chance Leadership on Facebook.)

“I’m One. He’s Chance. You put that together, you get One Chance — One Chance Leadership. That’s a program we do across the country and the world,” Guinn said.

He summed up the One Chance philosophy: “This life that we live is our one chance to make an impact. One chance at a time. …There is always an opportunity for a good choice in life,” he said.

Following YES! 2016, Rush posted on Facebook:

It was an absolute honor to speak at the Youth Entrepreneur Summit presented by the NCAID at RES-New Mexico. Special thanks to Margo Gray & Cherie Thomas for inviting me and trusting me with these young bright leaders. Shout out once again to Marcus Anthony Guinn-emceeone for making me look good and it was an honor to work with Dyami Thomas. Very proud of this young man and look forward to seeing his promising future. When you are spiritual, honest, passionate, and willing……. God will open up doors like he did for me today. I don’t want to take away from any of the communities that God placed me at, but today was certainly another career highlight!


Guinn expounded more on the one chance concept:   

“Sometimes we get a little bit intimidated by one-chance scenarios. But there are certain times we only get one chance. This life you live is your one chance to make an impact. And you make an impact one choice at a time — positive or negative, one choice at a time.

“What’s today? Today is November 14, 2016. Right? We will never, ever get this day again. It’s kind of crazy to think about. This day that we share together, this is the only day that it will happen. It’s never happened before, and it will never happen again. This time that we share right now, this is our one chance ever.”

Guinn talked about how somedays, we forget to leverage our power, our one chance. “We wake up, uuugh, we go through our days. Instead of waking up and living on purpose,” he said.  

Belief System

While Guinn has achieved great success, challenges were stacked high against him. His grandma gave birth to his mom at 14. His mom in turn got pregnant with Guinn at 13. Guinn’s mother was a victim of early childhood sexual abuse, and attempted to cope with the pain through drug and alcohol addiction. She passed on in 1996, due to AIDS. She contracted an HIV infection from sharing heroin needles.

“My mom was declared unfit to raise me, and there were times that I felt helpless,” Guinn said. “So you might have seen the turntables, you might have seen the movies, you might have seen the N7s, you might have seen these different times in my life, you might have seen these different attributes, and thought, ah man, he can’t relate to this. We’re all, at some point in our lives, confronted with this — feeling helpless, feeling hopeless.

“Before you get into business, before you get into entrepreneurship, you got to first get started with yourself and how you overcome that,” Guinn said.

In short, the answer to attaining self-realization and self-power, is a belief system. “Success is rooted in your belief system,” Guinn told YES! attendees.

What is a belief system? “It’s kind of like your people’s court, your judge; it’s your vault where we store and process everything we think is right and everything we think is wrong. Everything you think is cool and uncool is stored and processed first in your beliefs. From your beliefs come these things: your feelings. From your feelings you’re going to get: actions. Those are going to turn into your: habits. And overtime, they’re going to develop your: personality, ultimately leading you to your: destiny.”

Destiny, to Guinn, is a weighted, vague word, like “inspiration with no context.” So Guinn broke it down in a language that resonated with him: destination points in life.  

He engaged the crowd in conversation about negative versus positive destination points, the latter involving milestones like graduation and law school.

He also explained the complicated ways we create our personal belief systems. Oftentimes, we sculpt our beliefs based off teachings from parents and previous generations, peers, strangers, media, or religion.

“Nothing on Earth is perfect. So if our belief systems come from a pool of people who have errors, and the ability to make incorrect statements — if we get false data from this place, we get false data in our belief systems. It trickles all the way down. Even ourselves, we’re not perfect. Even we interpret things wrong. We can tell ourselves stories sometimes,” he explained.

It’s subconscious self-sabotage, he said. “You create your own worst enemy. You trip yourself up,” he said. “We got to first look in the mirror and untie some of the lies we have in our belief system,” he said. “Let’s think about replacing some of those lies with some truth.”

Guinn shared three things he sees as powerful truths:

“This music industry that I’m a part of is a $14 billion industry. $14 billion is a huge pie,” he said.

But youth, under age 21, youth are part of a $18 billion industry. “This industry is bigger than Puff Daddy, Jay Z and all them combined. What is this industry? Underage consumption,” he said.

Guinn shared this anecdote to prove that the spending power of youth is recognized by large beer and alcohol consumer brands, yet their collective wealth is often ignored by society. “You know who doesn’t marginalize your age group, trivialize your age group? Anheuser Busch,” he said.

If youth put that access to wealth to good use, their power would be limitless, Guinn said.

Guinn also galvanized the crowd to take advantage of the present — to move toward positive action now. “You’re not the future. If you’re not the future, what are you? The present,” he said.

“Philosophically, your power isn’t later. Your power is right now,” Guinn said. “See, for too long, we stood before young people like this and told you, ‘You don’t matter, until some futuristic point on the horizon that statistically many of you in this room aren’t going to see.’”

The truth is, he stressed, society can’t wait for youth. They have the power now.

Next, Guinn talked about the power of smart phones, and the unprecedented leverage that youth have today to wield it to grow businesses, to build a platform, and to unite — on a global scale. “What you got in your pockets — is it a tool, or is it a toll?” he asked.

In sum, Guinn said, youth have three incredible assets at their disposal: 1) “Access. This is the first time in recorded history you have access to such wealth”; 2) “You have technology that’s unprecedented”; and 3) “You’re global! Right now.”

Every choice is a step, Guinn echoed throughout his speech. “And what you step towards, you attract,” he said.

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