An Emotional Steve Harvey Tells Grads: 'Your Imagination is the Evidence of Things Not Seen'

By Mark Judge | May 20, 2016 | 11:19am EDT
Steve Harvey (AP Photo)

Popular TV personality Steve Harvey recently gave the commencement address at Alabama State University. Harvey, the host of "Family Feud" and "Little Big Shots," is three-time Daytime Emmy Award winner.

In his talk, Harvey, who is Christian, emphasized the imporance of imagination, calling it God's way of giving us "a preview of life's coming attractions." Harvey also talked about overcoming poverty and a stuttering problem through the power of imagination.

Below is a clip from the address. The entire talk can be viewed here.

See, I am a product of prayer. I’m a product of grace, mercy, forgiveness.

My mamma prayed for me all the time. So here I stand, a product of that… 

I’m also a product of my imagination. See, I imagined some of this. 

I was ten years old in 1968. I was 11, I was in a school and we had come off summer vacation. A teacher came into class and said “I want everybody to write their name on a piece of paper and write on that paper what you want to be when you grow up.”

So I wrote on my paper, “I want to be on TV.”

Now, what you don’t know about time is when I was growing up I had a severe stuttering condition. I couldn’t talk outside my house. For years I stuttered severely, laughed at.

What you don’t know about me is I flunked out of school. I’m telling it to you now. You also don’t know about me that I’ve lost everything I ever owned twice. I have lost it all and had to start over…

You may not know, but I’ve been homeless. I lived in a car for three years. I washed up behind bushes, man. Gas stations. Steve Harvey.

I didn’t have nothing. 

So when I wrote on the piece of paper, “I wanna be on TV,” I don’t know what all was going to happen to me. 

So when I wrote this on a piece of paper, the teacher had everybody stand up in the classroom, and she read their name and what they wanted to be.

She saved me for last. She called me to the front. I’m thinking, OK this is it. I’ve been in school six years, I ain’t never got a gold star, this is it…

So I headed up to the front. 

I can’t even tell you how wrong I was. That lady didn’t call me up to give me no gold star. She called me up there to humiliate me. To embarrass me.

First of all, she knew I stuttered severely. Why would you call me to the front of the class and you know I can’t talk?

She brought me up there, boy, and she lit in on me: “Why would you write something like this on a piece of paper? Who in this school ever been on TV? Who in this neighborhood ever been on TV? Who in your family ever been on TV? And look at you standing there, you can’t even talk. How they gonna put someone like you on TV?”

So every Christmas I send her a flat screen TV.  ‘Cause I don’t want her to miss me. I want her to see that little country boy out of Welch, West Virginia. The one that had a stuttering problem. The one that flunked out of school. I was telling you, you’ve got top I learn how to fall and win anyhow. I wanted her to see that little boy that lived in a car for three years, the one who had been through all those divorce, lost everything. I want her to see me.

I wasn’t bragging to her.  But I wanted her to see what God had done for me in spite of everything she said about me. “You ain’t ever going to be nothing.” You ain’t in my imagination, you can’t tell me nothing.

See, I did not know then what I know now. Imagination is everything. It’s the preview to life’s coming attraction…

Imagination is the section half of that scripture. Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. 

Your imagination is the evidence of things not seen.


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