Bobby "Tre9" and Amanda Herring hosted the Hip Hop Hop Tuesdays event
The Prince Complex gymnasium in the heart of Houston's 5th Ward that serves as the home of the weekly Hip Hop Hope Tuesday youth services was remarkably cooler than when the event celebrated its first 365 days of existence.
At last year’s affair, (with Rap-A-Lot Records and community center founder J. Prince, former Geto Boy Willie D, street king Trae tha Truth, and Street Flava TV in attendance) the heat was unbearable, the air conditioning quit working, and a fire alarm had been accidentally set off causing the crowd to disperse sooner than planned. But now, after two full years of dedication, there was more cool air and excitement than expected.
Much Luvv Records founder Bobby “Tre9″ Herring launched the first Hip Hop Hope event (before the regular Tuesday gatherings) in partnership with Rap-A-Lot on Easter weekend 2009. Now, it’s a weekly outreach of his Eyes On Me Ministries that focuses on uplifting, enlightening, and encouraging young people entrenched in urban rap music culture.
For the last two years J. Prince has offered his space to Eyes On Me for the events and made a brief appearance at Hip Hop Hope Tuesday's July 5 celebration. Speaking to and about Tre9, he said “I’m thankful to have a brother in Christ who loves the hood the way that I love the hood and loves all of Houston I believe.”
“I’d like him to know that I’m going to continue to support him. As long as God keeps blessing me, I’m going to continue to extend the love and the blessings that I have.”
After that, the audience was treated to some lighthearted videos, a short Bible lesson about overcoming fear, and a performance from rapper/singer bigAL from Monroe, Louisiana. It was followed by testimonies of the ministry’s impact from rappers CY, Von Won, and Gifted da Flamethrowa as well as pastor Ricky Bradshaw and J. Prince’s wife Mary.
“We hope that established churches see us as missionaries,” Tre9 said. “Instead of sending hundreds of thousands of dollars overseas to sometimes do field trips, we want them to see that we’re here, we’ve been here two years, and we need help.”
“This isn’t an operation that brings in $200 a month. We make it and God provides, but He’s the one who really does this.”
The night was also a celebration of Tre9’s 30-something birthday and Eyes On Me’s recent acquisition of a pre-owned, 22-person shuttle bus for transporting kids and parents to Hip Hop Hope Tuesdays and for use with the Feed a Friend homeless ministry they run every night in downtown Houston.
“Now we can go and pick up kids who can’t get here,” Tre9 said. “We know there’s a harvest field out here in 5th Ward. There are a lot of young people.”
“And we’re not trying to save them, because we know only Jesus can do that, but we are trying to present the Gospel to them. At least they’ll have that choice.”
The evening ended, as it always does, with an open mic freestyle rap session with the house DJ (in this case, Wiz from Praise 92.1).
Although it had considerably less mainstream rap star power than in 2010, Hip Hop Hope Tuesdays’ second anniversary celebration seemed to relay more of a spiritual impact and significance than the year before.
NOTE: Eyes On Me and Rap-A-Lot Records will be hosting and celebrating their Hip Hop Hope Family Fun Day at the Prince Complex on Saturday, August 6.