I walked out of church on a Sunday afternoon and saw something that was going to change the course of my entire life. Under a black rubber coroner’s tarp was the form of a man, the toes of his nubuck blue Timberland boots pointing skyward. As we sang and shouted inside the church building, he pleaded for his life in the parking lot. I can still see the faces of the community members as they stand in front of me, distilled in time, staring with open mouths at the dead man’s bullet-riddled corpse.
I had not graduated from the seminary for a long time that day. Incidents like this changed the kind of minister I would become. Instead of being the pastor of a traditional church, I landed a position to help returning citizens to East Oakland as they sought to reintegrate into society. From there, I continued to serve the Net for 16 years, first as a case manager at Glide Church and later as Acting Minister of Compassionate Care at that church.
Over the years, I have received awards from MISSSEY (Motivating, Inspiring and Serving, Sexually Exploited Youth), Love Never Fails (a support group for victims of human trafficking) and the Adamika Village Stop Killing Our movement. Kids. I was also honored by Oakland City Council with a citation for my work in healing street-level violence in the city. Today, I am a founding board member and care manager, serving Oakland through the well-known grassroots organization, Homies Empowerment.
As the level of homicides in Oakland began to exceed last year’s numbers by 41%, I began to look for ways to reach young people who might be at risk of committing homicide or of committing homicide. be victims. One day, a thought struck me. What is the medium that has a truly dynamic influence on the young people of the city center? The answer, of course, is hip-hop.
As a young man living in New York, I got involved in the hip-hop movement. In the early days of hip hop, I recorded under the name “Incredible Mr. Freeze”. Today I am registering under the name OG Rev. Earlier this year, I recorded a song called “Hip-Hop Rebel” which featured Bay Area icon Mistah Fab.
To solve the homicide problem, I went into the studio with producer Moya Gotham to create a song called “When You Squeeze That Trigger”. The rhythm was on fire. The biggest hurdle would be finding a featured artist on the song who radiates the kind of credibility needed to capture the attention of the song’s target audience.
I contacted Sadat X from the revolutionary hip-hop group Brand Nubian. Sadat X is one of the most respected figures in the rap genre, having recorded with artists like Common and the WuTang Clan. Who can forget the raucous Notorious BIG Street anthem: “Come On” which starred Sadat X? I was more than thrilled when his management team answered me and told me he wanted to do the song. Recently the video and single “When You Squeeze That Trigger” came out.
Bringing music into the universe was just the start. Now here’s your part. If you could talk someone out of shooting the next Harriet Tubman, Cesar Chavez, or Malcolm X, would you?
Here is how you can tell the difference. Go to YouTube. Search for “OG Rev. Watch the “When You Press That Shutter” video. Leave a comment. Share the video. Subscribe to the channel. The small investment of your time will make the difference. You might be the one pushing this video right in front of someone’s eyes about to pull the trigger. Click on the link below. Change the world.
Reverend Harry Williams is a Bay Area activist / minister, author and hip-hop pioneer. For more information, visit: www.theogrev.com
Filed Under: Arts & Entertainment