Pitbull: “How my Mom Saved my Life” – Full Article + Scans
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Pitbull: How My Mom Saved My Life
The global superstar shares how his mother’s tough love helped him turn away from drugs and realize his dreams.
At 17, after a day or hustling and dealing drugs on the sweaty streets of Miami, Pitbull came home to find that he was no longer welcomed there. “My mom goes to me, ‘I don’t want to see you until you figure out what you’re going to do. What you are out there doing, that is short money. You can’t even pay attorneys, and you’re going to end up in prison. I already lived this life with your father, but you are a grown man now, and you can make your own decisions,’” he remembers his mother, Alysha Acosta, saying before she kicked him out. “It wasn’t that she scolded and was punishing me. It was more like giving me freedom to make that choice, and it woke me up.”
From then on the rapper focused his business acumen on music, scoring his first record deal three years after that fateful conversation with his mom, who raised him on her own. Large-scale success can swiftly after. Following several hit-songs and albums, the son of two Cuban immagrants—who’s heritage made him a bit of an outsider on the world of hip-hop—expanded his empire, which today includes his own record label, perfume, vodka clothing line and restaurant chain. “One thing my mother taught me was that you have the freedom to control your own destiny,” says Pitbull, 34, who was born Armando Christian Peréz before choosing the dog breed as his professional name (he liked their tenacious nature). “In this country, you have the opportunity to become who you want to become, and do what you want to do with your life.”
Now that he’s known as Mr. Worldwide, he’s trying to inject more of that American-dream optimism in Miami’s Little Havana, the immagrant neighborhood he grew up in. In August 2013 he opened up SLAM (Sports Leadership and Management), a public charter school for sixth to twelfth graders. “It’s priceless to be able to motivate these young kids. I look at them and I see me,” he says of the students. “I’ve been there and done that and speak to them in a certain language, so that they go, ‘Oh, okay.’ To be able to be in that position, and change just one life, that is your ultimate turning a negative into a positive.”
At home, he’s trying to do the same for his six children. “The most important thing in being a father is leading by example,” says the rapper who is big on good manners, like opening car doors for women and saying thank you. They are lessons he learned from his mother, his most treasured muse. “That woman made me a man. She taught me how to survive, and I want to teach my kids that. Why? Because I don’t want them to feel like they’ve got to live in my shadow,” he says. “They’re going to be bigger, badder, stronger, smarter, but they have to understand their own worth. They say pressure bursts pipes or makes diamonds. My mom taught me how to make diamonds.”
Armando and Gloria Estefan were also featured in the magazine, where there was a pic of them at Festival People.
Check out scans from the mag below!