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Motivational Speaker Wants V.I. to Keep Tourist Dollars Here

May 7 2009 – Commander Drew Brown is motivated – and wants to motivate Virgin Islanders using his 11 facts in life.
Brown sees the state of the economy and the opening up of Cuba to the tourist industry as a wake up call to the Virgin Islands.
Brown's four performances of "You Gotta Believe" opens Thursday at the Pistarckle Theater, targeting self-responsibility, growth, success and prosperity and how Virgin Islanders' attitudes play a huge part in not allowing Cuba to usurp the territory's share of the tourist industry.
"We are coming to a very important time and we are going to have to change our attitude about what we have to offer our tourists," Brown said. "Cuba is going to affect us extremely negatively if we don’t change our attitude. There are a lot of places with blue water and sand, but what tourists want are friendly faces and warm hearts. Cuba is going to do this and this is one of the reasons for my speech."
The state of the economy is another reason Brown wants to bring his message to Virgin Islanders.
Accepting self-responsibility is a cornerstone to Brown's philosophy.
"We're in an economic status that businesses are not hiring black or white or Asian or Hispanics — they are hiring the best for the job," Brown said. "We as Virgin Islanders are going to have to step up. The days of affirmative action are over. You can have bad jobs, bad schools, but the best protection or safety net in keeping a job is to work hard and work harder."
The 11 facts in life are based on Brown's life experiences and what he calls a "power greater than myself. I don’t preach religion but there is an omnipotent power greater than me that I rely on."
"We have to teach people to have purpose," Brown said. "If you have purpose in life you cannot be stopped. Forget about bad parents. If you have a bad parent you still have to graduate."
Brown's speeches have motivated the likes of Colin Powell, U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller and people in corporate boardrooms, high schools and the U.S. Naval Academy.
A highly decorated Navy pilot, Brown grew up motivated by the same influences that brought Muhammad Ali to three world heavyweight boxing championships. Brown's father, Drew "Bundini" Brown trained Ali.
Now a resident of St. Thomas for 20 years, Brown grew up in New York, joined the Navy and became an aviator with the "Black Panthers" attack squadron, the Navy's oldest attack squadron. Drew flew missions from the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-69). President George H. W. Bush awarded Brown the Meritorious Service Medal, the U.S. Supreme Court has awarded him the Freedom Foundation Medal, and the Congressional Black Caucus gave Brown its Male Achievement Award.
The performances will be filmed as part of a video that Brown aims to bring to Washington for use by the Obama Administration and the U.S. Department of Education.
Brown says his performances are for everyone. He encourages parents to bring their kids and their parents, employers should bring employees and vice versa.
"Come to be motivated or maybe spread the message," Brown said. "People should come to enjoy themselves – this is a fun event. It is not just motivation. Bring somebody who needs motivation and bring somebody who motivates. You are going to have a great time and you may hear something that is going to change the way you think about something.
"You Gotta Believe" opens Thursday at 7 p.m., and runs nightly through Sunday, May 10. Tickets are $20 and are available at the Red Hook Mail Center, V.I.P. Awards and Engraving in Wheatley Center and at the theater. For more information, contact Pistarckle Theater at 775-7877.

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