My 5 Minutes with the President

Tyson wants to discuss music, violence with Obama


There are many things we associate with Mike Tyson: heavyweight boxing champion; lispy gentle voice; Evander Holyfield ear biter; cameo man in “The Hangover” flicks and pigeon racer, among other things. Most recently, the tribal-tatted celebrity ventured into the world of Broadway, teaming up with director Spike Lee for his one-man show, “Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth,” at New York City’s Longacre Theatre. 

“I’m very vulnerable, and I’m just telling you who I am and where I’m from and how this happened,” Tyson says of his show, an unadulterated confessional about his ups and downs, both professionally and personally.  Tyson also leads a charity, Mike Tyson Cares, to help fund centers that provide for the comprehensive needs of children from broken homes, including healthcare assistance; shelter; school assistance; mentoring and job placement assistance.

{mosads}ROBIN BRONK: If you had five minutes in the Oval Office with President Obama, what would you discuss with him? What issue would you like him to know about?

MIKE TYSON: I would like to talk to him about the violence in our country and how the root of it needs to be addressed from adolescence. I believe bullying is a topic that must be taken seriously because this is at the core of many of our propensities to be violent. Many of us harbor so much hate and resentment inward. 

RB: If you could ask the president one question, what would that be?

MT: What is his favorite book? A man’s favorite book says a lot about the man. I’m really curious what kind of books our president is drawn to.

RB: What piece of advice would you give President Obama for his second term in office?

MT: I don’t think it’s too wise for the president to take any advice from me. So, that would be my advice. Don’t listen to me.

RB: If you were going to send the president to one of your favorite places in the United States for one day, where would that be? Why?

MT: I recently went to The Umstead Hotel in Durham, N.C., on a stop for my one-man show, “Undisputed Truth.” This place was an unexpected treasure. I told my wife I wanted to come back on vacation. It’s just a really serene place off the beaten path. It has a great family atmosphere and is very low-key. Knowing he is a family man, and out of respect for his privacy, I would suggest this place.

RB: What CD/piece of music would you recommend that the president add to his collection? Why?

MT: Geez, I listen to the same stuff on my iPod all of the time. I could use some new material. It would be nice if the president could recommend some music to me. Why? He’s a pretty hip guy. I’m sure his recommendation would be a lot better than mine.

RB: Would you ever consider a political career?

MT: Never say never. I’m surprising myself every day. Ten years ago, I would have told you “You’re crazy!” if you would have predicted me acting in my own one-man show. But I’ve evolved into this guy that loves to act and doesn’t take himself too seriously these days. 

Robin Bronk is CEO of The Creative Coalition — the leading national, nonprofit, nonpartisan public advocacy organization of the entertainment industry. Bronk is a frequent speaker on the role of the entertainment industry in public advocacy campaigns and represents The Creative Coalition and its legislative agenda before members of Congress and the White House. She produced the feature film “Poliwood,” airing on Showtime, and edited the recently published book Art & Soul. Bronk pens this weekly column with assistance from Risa Kotek.


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