Friday, April 17, 2009
Recap: Rap-A-Lot/Much Luvv Records Outreach
All photos and text by Sketch the Journalist
“This place used to be junkyard,” Uncle Lloyd said. “But here we are ten years later and, not only is it a place for recreation, but we also believe it is a place for re-creation.”
Lloyd Prince was talking about the Prince Complex, the non-profit youth center he co-founded over a decade ago with Rap-A-Lot Records CEO James J. Prince.
Tre9 presents Uncle Lloyd & Mrs. Prince with a token of appreciation
Located in the heart of the infamous 5th Ward Houston neighborhood he once called home, the organization is designed to be a safe haven for “at-risk” youth and offers after-school basketball and boxing activities along with various community outreach programs for students and seniors.
The complex was celebrated on April 11, 2009 with a Hip Hop Hope Family Fun Day. The event was co-sponsored by Rap-A-Lot and Much Luvv Records along with Copperfield Church and several other service organizations. Its afternoon featured performances by Christian hip hop artists, grocery distribution, inflatable games, basketball skill competitions, free food, and special appearances by well known rappers Gravy (aka Jamal Woolard from the Notorious B.I.G. biopic) and Bun B (of UGK).
On stage, Gravy told the crowd he was there to hang out all day, sign autographs, take pics, and talk to people about anything
Bun B gets interviewed by former 5th Ward Boy (and new Christian MC) 007
Approximately 400 people attended the event between the hours of noon and 4pm. Five pallets of food from Target Hunger resulted in bags of groceries for more than 250 needy families and 19 people received free HIV tests from organizations like FUUSA (Families Under Urban & Social Attack.)
Christian rappers The W.A.R.R.I.O.R.S. drove over three hours from Austin just to perform a ten minute set and participate in the outreach.
Early morning setup for the grocery distribution
Victorious (The W.A.R.R.I.O.R.S.), Gifted (Much Luvv Records), 007 (5th Ward Boyz), & DJ D-Lite (DaSouth.com Radio)
“More people need to begin to show the love of God [in ways like this],” group member Victorious said. “The simple fact of the matter is we’ve got prophesying down, we’ve got preaching down, we’ve got taking offerings down… but this love thing is something we’re really suffering with and not enough people are walking in the true ‘agape’ love of God.
“Jesus said you will know my disciples, my followers, by the love they have for one another. So that’s why when a guy like [Much Luvv CEO] Tre9 calls and invites us out, we’re there to support.”
The slam dunk contest was pretty ill.
Bun either really didn't like a dunk or saw me with the camera and decided to play along.
Neither Gravy nor Bun B performed at the event, but both did take the microphone to encourage attendees and play “celebrity judge” during the slam dunk competition held in the Prince Complex gymnasium.
The fact that this day fell on Easter weekend held special significance for many of the Christians in attendance.
Volunteers from Copperfield Church did a variety of jobs, including face (and hand) painting.
The Prince Complex provided the chairs and venue.
“We will always recognize God’s place in our lives and that Jesus’ resurrection makes all of this possible,” Uncle Lloyd said from the stage. “Our family name of Prince may be on the building, but we set out to make an impact in the name of the Prince of Peace.”
The inaugural Hip Hop Hope Family Fun Day began and ended with a group prayer led by Much Luvv’s Bobby “Tre9” Herring. He spearheaded the partnership with Rap-A-Lot and expressed his appreciation for the support of all of the event’s sponsors.
Colcutz & WE brought their "Worship Experience" to the event.
White tees for the volunteers also commemorated the day.
“I think we’ve opened a door to a great relationship with the Prince Complex and its 5th Ward community,” Herring said. “I look forward to doing more outreaches with them throughout the year and starting a weekly Bible study there this summer.”
007, Von Won, & Tre9 perform "Rise to the Top"
Bun B takes in the final presentations and prayer.
J Xavier in a fresh "Run DC" Barak Obama tee.
The crowd gathers for the 3-point and slam dunk competitions. DaSouth.com was an event sponsor.
Issac White kilt (with a "t") the dunk comp. Vince Carter arm-in-the-hoop and errythang.
The M5 Mobile Ministry truck provided the stage & sound.
Houston holy hip hop mainstays Ras & Soulfruit
The W.A.R.R.I.O.R.S. drove down from Austin to be involved.
Videographer Orlando Briones, Gravy, & Sketch