Inspiring People

Inspiring People - The Last Word

Interviewing people for our Inspiring People feature is fast becoming one of my favorite things to do. And my favorite question is a question that I ask everyone at the end of every interview:

A hundred years from now, what do you want to be remembered for?

Because I have enjoyed the answers to this question very much, I decided to include some of the answers together for you to enjoy as well.

Here is what the Inspiring People that I have talked to had to say:

Public Relations Guru

Just that I did the best with what I had and helped to transform people's lives. That's it!

HBO series THE WIRE's Marlo Stanfield

I would like to be remembered as a person that made the world a better place and just made the non-believers -


World famous fashion designer

Again, something quite simple. When someone looks at my life or looks at my work, I want to be remembered for bringing a little bit more beauty into a world that so desperately needs it -- especially today.

Founding President of the WNBA

To the extent that I have been able to be part of some exciting things in women's sports, I hope that those good things continue and I hope that a hundred years from now people look back and recognize the efforts of the many people that have been involved in that -- sort of that odyssey (laughs) if you will; The Women's Sports Odyssey. That includes me.

I would hope that my children's children's children will look back upon their ancestry with pride, the way I do. My mother's mother was an immigrant from Eastern Europe and I didn't know her really well. She passed away when I was about 12. She didn't speak much English so it was very hard for me to even communicate with her. But I greatly respect the decision she made to leave her country; leave a life of poverty to come to the United States to make a better life for herself. She came by herself. She was only a young teenager and had that not happened, God knows where I would have been.

And so, while I didn't know her that well, I greatly respect this amazing woman who made an important life decision that changed the lives of her family to come. And I am trying to communicate to the girls, that heritage, so that they can be proud of it. I hope that in turn they will pass that on to their own kids so that when they grow up they get a better feeling for who they are and what their ancestry is.

DR: And so what do you want to be remembered for?

VA: So, I would hope that my kid's kid's remember me as a strong woman and a woman who tried to help women move forward in a particular type of way, and mostly --

one who cared so much about the family.

If that can happen that is all I can hope for.

Mega Hit Rap music producer

A hundred years from now...I want to be remembered for trying to help God's people, which is everybody. I want to be remembered for trying to help people...who might not have that confidence, but all they need is that little spark.

DR: And it's the thing, J -- it's the thing that so many people don't have...

JP: Right.

DR: ...the thing that they don't get.

JP: I see people right now that are so talented. Dana listen! Talented grown folks! If {they}would just take your time and do XYZ!...They don't see their talent like you see their talent...Get out of your comfort zone and take a risk sometimes!

DR: So what do you want to be remembered for?

JP: Alright. Let me tighten up my answer. (laughs). I want to be remembered for -

helping people bring their dreams to reality.

Writer and award-winning movie producer

I think I want to be remembered for uniting people of all backgrounds. I think that if there were an underlying theme in my life and in my work it's that I hope to help people see how much more we have in common than we have differences. I think that if we could all work in that direction, pretty much every evil and ill that is out there would be improved because it's all of the "isms"; the "schisms". It's nationalism, it's sexism, it's racism. It's prejudice against each other's religion...all of these things are what keep us from seeing our common humanity and really keep us in trouble. I guess that's the motivation of my work now, and I think the ideas that I have for future work as well....

...It's to have us bridge those divisions.

Daughter of legendary singer, Diana Ross, singer, songwriter

Now that makes me want to cry.

At my funeral, I would like the people there to remember the ways in which I helped them... What gives me the most pleasure in my life, is to feel that I have helped somebody; that I feel that I have been honest with them, that I feel that I have shared some of myself with them; that I have listened and experienced and received some of them, and that somehow by knowing me they felt that they were helped in some way.

DR: So what do you want to be remembered for?

RR: I want to be remembered as someone who helped others. I want to be remembered as being helpful.

Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist

Having been a good father, and having had the capacity to make someone's life happy.

DR: Anything else?

DT: Nope. That more than anything else...

Sundance Film Festival Award winning movie producer

Someone who made a difference. You are given a short time on earth in the great scheme of things and when I depart I want to have left my foot print; have made a difference in the lives of others.

DR: Anything else?

MS: I also want to have led --

a happy life.

Former Speech Writer to President Bill Clinton

Well "A", I don't think that I'll be remembered a hundred years from now, BUT -

I didn't set out to write a book about The Cork Boat but when I came back...people had said "Oh are you going to write a book?" and I said "Well if we go on a trip maybe I'll get a book out of it." And the journey was so incredible that I realized that if I didn't write it down, that a couple years from now I'd remember a few of the stories and then ten years, fifteen years down the line, it would be a warm memory...and what I was feeling is that, that incredible story would have disappeared entirely except for a couple of photographs.

Then I said "I have to write this down." And I wrote the story and now that it's a book, I know that maybe a hundred years from now it will be some rainy afternoon and somebody will be a little bit bored, maybe, and they will be looking at the bookshelf and they'll say "What's this book?" And they'll pull the book Cork Boat off the shelf. They'll sit down to read it and they'll think "Wow this is an incredible story!" And the story of The Cork Boat and what it symbolizes and the lessons that it carries, will live on. And I think that, the story will live on, matters.

DR: Anything else?

JP: Well I suppose that a hundred years from now it is entirely possible that I will have grandchildren - alive, and they will have fond memories of their grandfather...

Emmy Award nominated television producer

Now that's a tough one. With having said all of that, I don't know if I have discovered what it is I want to be remembered for and I don't know who I want to remember me. Do I want the world to remember me? Do I want a lineage of family that says "Ya know your great great grand dad was..." I wish I had a great exciting answer to that. I think as life is unfolding and I figure out what my true purpose and calling is, if I ever figure it out because it's not what I am doing now. What I am doing now is great and it's fun but it's a means to an end. My mind continues to be opened up. Even talking to you and Auguste and other people you come across, you realize that your world, your perspective is only your perspective. Your circumstances your experience is only your experience.

One thing that I have really prided myself on and I continue to do is broaden my ability to see the world from more than my perspective. That's a hard thing to do because that's all you know. All you know is how you react to stimuli. All you know is how hard or easy you think a thing is, but from somebody else's perspective, it could be all together different.

But to get back to the question about "What do I want to be remembered for a hundred years from now" I would love to, in some way, have a life well lived that leaves behind something that's worthy of note. Do I want to be Michael Jordan or do I want to be a Supreme Court Justice? I want it to be positive and I want it to be something that at least meant something to the people who are around at this point and if it turns out to be a legacy, that's terrific. I don't think that Rosa Parks thought that she would be remembered when she just said

"I'm tired man. I'm already back here in the Black section. You want to take this from me too? I'm not getting' up."

And now she is memorialized for that one simple act that didn't necessarily connect with anything else. I wish I knew and hopefully one day I will.

DR: Anything else?

NC: I have been on that side of the mike before and I have asked that question I don't know how many times and I have always been surprised that the other person didn't have something.

"Nope. I'm pretty much done."

I kind of feel that way myself. I can talk all day. Talking is not a problem for me...sharing whatever my feelings are on a subject. But when just given free flow, like freestyle, I got nothin' to say so I'll just wrap it up there.

Editor-in-Chief of Scribner, a Simon and Schuster Company

Oh, my books and my children.

DR: Your books and your children?

NG: My books and my children.

DR: Anything else?

NG: My books and my children.

Tony Award winning actor, director, writer and producer

I think I answered that earlier. That I was a good man. That I was a fair man and that I made a difference in the perception of my people and in the clarity of really who we are...I think that is the most important thing - that we each go out and make a difference in the stature of our people.

Critically acclaimed author

My books and what they said, what they told about life, the love that was in them and what I tried to do to leave the world at least a little bit better than the way I found it. That is what everybody who has a social conscious always says. But that is what I would love to be remembered for.

I would love to be remembered for having made some kind of a difference. I'd also love to be remembered for having made a million dollars so I could endow a scholarship fund. I mean that's what I would really love to be remembered for!

Assistant to the President and Director of Speechwriting for former President Bill Clinton

I want to be remembered as a person who lived a good life, who tried to use his gifts for good, to spread love and joy through the world.

I want to be remembered as an excellent writer.

I have this picture in my house of famous Black American writers and I would like to add my picture one day to that poster.

I'd just like to be remembered as a person who tried to be about healing and about love.

DR: Anything else?

TE: That's enough.

Thanks to everyone!

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