Often times family members of such respected public figures have a hard time living up to the family name. Sometimes people are in search of their own identity or may feel like that cannot compete with the legacy set out before them. Well, that is not the case for BB King’s grandson Chris King who is making a name for himself and continuing the legacy of his grandfather. We had the opportunity to interview Mr. King where he speaks about being inspired by BB King, his work with child sex trafficking and the “Gentleman’s Course”.
You live in the third busiest hub for child sex trafficking. Tell us what goes on in Tampa?
Yes, Florida is ranked third in the nation for human trafficking. That can consist of Child sex trafficking, prostitution, child labor trafficking, among many other situations. In Tampa, I’ve run across cases such as kidnapping and youth being sold into sex trafficking rings. I’ve met survivors that have fled from other states seeking a safe haven and fresh start, youth being violated by family members, teachers running children sex trafficking rings out of their homes. I literally mean the list is long. Tampa is a tourist market but it truly has a dark side if you’re not careful.
Why do they call you “The Gentleman of Tampa”? They call me the Gentleman of Tampa from my natural ability to treat people with kindness, brighten up any environment I’m in, the way I treat people even when they are wrong, the humanitarian and philanthropic deeds toward the community, my mission to help and watch other succeed. I am able to highlight the good people are doing. The media shows so much bad but who is highlighting the positive elements our youth are doing in the community. Those kids deserve their stories being heard. I am a voice for those that are silenced and giving them a platform to shout their lives up high. Not just giving them a voice but a bullhorn, a satellite to show the world that people truly need help. Being human and wanting people to be humane. There’s so much anger being taught today, I choose to educate kindness and manners. Something that has been missing in the education system. They say there isn’t time, well I find it so I’ll give it. Was there something specific that happened that forced you to make it your goal to stop human trafficking by teaching human rights, respect, and moral values? No. I didn’t have any traumatic experience(s) to encourage me to highlight this cause. It was just simply introduced to me and I fell in love with what it stood for and being able to learn from it myself and educate myself on human rights. To see truly what it means and the history behind it. We as a people have gotten so far away from what our fathers and mothers stood for. Dr. Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Malcolm X, BB King, Eleanor Roosevelt and many more. These men and women stood in the gap for this future and look at where we are today still fighting. Still trying to believe, still seeking a covering. Equality isn’t available yet. We still have a long way to go. I simply just saw a need and I was able to facilitate and execute. How has your Grandfather, B.B. King, inspired you in your purpose? My grandfather was my mentor and my guide, he truly was a man that taught and inspired all at once. He gave me many speeches on how to be a man but more so how to treat people and be treated. The standard one should have for themselves regardless of what other people do. Having self-worth without influence. May he R.I.P, he is never forgotten but he lives within me and through me. I am part of his legacy, so I must love and carry myself as such if he was still living and that tour bus was still rolling. That man would call me anywhere in the world and tell me if I was doing wrong, not to scold me, but he saw so much greatness in me to carry his name with the same respect and pride that he stood for. The Life of a King, only if they knew. What is the most important thing you have learned from your grandfather? The most important thing I’ve learned from my grandfather was the knowledge you learn nobody can take away from you. You are your own worst enemy. Too many people stan