Thursday, November 18, 2010
Former 5th Ward Boyz Gangsta Rapper Gives Back to Community Through This Weekend's Bless Fest 2010
This weekend, a former gangsta rapper who served time for armed robbery will demonstrate that he is a completely new man by giving back to the community through an event called Bless Fest. The activities will commence at 3pm on Sunday, November 21 at 10009 Homestead Road, Houston, TX 77016.
Andre “007” Barnes, known for his music career as a member of Rap-A-Lot Records’ 5th Ward Boyz group, has partnered with Impact Ministries to offer an afternoon of food, music, and various “blessings.” Residents in some of the neediest parts of Houston can register to win one month’s paid rent, one month’s paid light bill, one of 25 turkey baskets, and over 100 children’s toys.
“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care,” Barnes said. “Jesus met the needs of all who came in contact with him physically. So we don’t want to preach to you, we just want to bless you as God has blessed us.”
For Bless Fest 2010, Barnes has secured partners such as All Eyes On Me Inc., Fiesta, Kohl’s, Street Life Ministries, CFC Church, G Tech Solutions, and Blessings Christian Bookstore.
Andre “007” Barnes is a 5th Ward native whose story is a perfect example of how positive opportunities and role models can lead to dramatic life change.
In the mid-90’s 007 gained fame and notoriety as a founding member of the hard core gangsta rap crew the 5th Ward Boyz. Unlike many of today’s street rappers, 007 was never a “studio gangsta.” His lyrics reflected his actual life. That included a murder case for shooting and killing a man trying to steal his car (later ruled a justifiable homicide) and armed robbery as well as selling and abusing drugs.
Eventually greed consumed 007. After a European tour in the year 2000, he was caught robbing three banks and sentenced to more than four years in prison. Upon release he caught another case that earned him an additional 15 months behind bars.
It was there, in jail once again, that Andre Barnes had his “Road to Damascus” experience. Finally encountering and understanding the true grace of God through the sacrifice of His one and only son, Barnes began to change.
When he walked out of the yard this time around, it was with a renewed mind. Barnes pursued ministry, established Taking Back the Streets, and opened Blessings Christian Bookstore with his wife and family.
Now a new creature, 007 has returned to the mic with a much different message.
“I’m just trying to show young people that you don’t have to let street life consume and define you,” Barnes said.
Here's what 007 sounds like today: