Be Somebody... or Be Somebody's Fool!

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Be Somebody... or Be Somebody's Fool! is a 1984 motivational video hosted by Mr. T and distributed by MCA Home Video. The production draws strongly on new wave and R&B culture of the mid-1980s to appeal to children to respect elders, avoid peer pressure, and build self-confidence. It features a showcase of emerging talent, including Ice-T, Martika, Fergie, Janice Kawaye, Tammy Townsend, Bumper Robinson, Shanice, and New Edition with Bobby Brown. The video has led to a proliferation of video clips that are circulated on the Internet.

The project was produced by Topper Carew, a sitcom writer who had worked alongside Mr. T as a producer and writer on the feature film D.C. Cab. Mr. T returned to motivational roles for the 2006 television series I Pity the Fool.

A companion book by St. Martin's Press and a soundtrack album by MCA Records were also released in conjunction with the video.


Be Somebody touches upon about a dozen key points:

  • Shyness - A young actress asserts herself by using her temper.
  • Roots - Mr. T says "Ya can't know where you're going if ya don't know where you're from" and explains the symbolism of his gold chains.
  • Anger - Mr. T tells children to use their anger, not lose it, but fails to fully employ this when a fly continues to bother him.
  • Frustration - Throughout the video, Mr. T tries to play the cello, eventually succeeding.
  • Styling - Mr. T encourages youngsters to dress up and express themselves.
  • Peer pressure - A group of children on a pier take beer and cigarettes from the garbage, while nearby, Mr. T shakes his head and New Edition sings a song disdaining peer pressure.
  • Recouping - When a child trips on the sidewalk, "Dr. T" shows how one can preserve their dignity after an "absoludicrous" mistake by playing it off as a break dance move.
  • Creating - A group of teenagers breakdance and encourage Mr. T to try some moves.
  • Treat Your Mother Right - Mr. T sings Treat Your Mother Right, a segment that was widely circulated on the Internet in 2005 and 2006.
  • Workout - Mr. T encourages lazy children at a bus stop to use a boom box as a free weight and balance a bag of popcorn on their heads.
  • I Am Somebody/Rapping - Mr. T raps "I Am Somebody", as well as offering a few guidelines of rap.
  • Friendship - Mr. T gives his definition of "friendship", while a girl sings a song about it.
  • Mr. T's Tale - Mr. T tells his version of Romeo and Juliet and gives a pro-reading message.
  • Daydreaming - Mr. T explains how having dreams and goals contributes to success.

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