On Thursday morning, December 31, 2009, Richard “s/ave” Douglas (36) went to be with the Lord Jesus Christ. He died in his sleep at his home in Houston, Texas from an epileptic seizure. While he had battled the condition for many years, this was an unexpected occurrence and a complete shock to his friends and family.
Born on March 27, 1973, s/ave was a devoted follower of Jesus and passionate fan of hip hop music. In the mid-90’s he was on staff at Grapetree Records and served as editor of Heaven’s Hip Hop Magazine – one of the first true attempts at Christian rap journalism and a lifeline for fans of the faith-based music in the pre-Internet age. He penned the “Real Criticisms” column and initiated an “Unsigned Acts” issue that spotlighted future Christian rap figures such as Nuwine, Future Shock, and Raphi Henley (aka Shames Worthy).
After moving to Houston, s/ave started the ONEMIND newsletter in 1995 out of his one-bedroom apartment and continued to cover the genre. As the one-sheet garnered more readers, it grew to into ONEMIND Magazine and featured the writings of James “Bad Luck” Parry, Excelsius, Jelani Greenidge, Kenneth “Bus” Falls and Sketch the Journalist.
As the world wide web boomed and ushered in the Information Age, s/ave adapted his magazine to an online forum. OM95.com continued to bring album reviews, news, and analysis to the Christian hip hop culture. Its vibrant message board continued to build community until the launch of DaSouth.com.
That site was created to be unified banner site for gospel rappers in the Gulf Coast area. The concept was that artists would forgo forging their own web identities and adopt the DaSouth.com name.
After several years, the ties that bound began to fray as artists joined but also kept an individual URL on the side. It became harder to sell and get buy-in for the idea and eventually the site withered away to a simple, yet lively, message board. s/ave also found his passions steadily shifting away from the Christian rap community to a group nearly as underground.
“Deaf culture,” s/ave explained. “I left the world of hip hop to serve the people who didn’t hear it.”
s/ave enrolled in college level American Sign Language classes and began to get involved in deaf church ministries and stage plays. This left little time to maintain DaSouth.com.
However, he knew of a local Christian rapper and business owner who was an emerging leader in both his city and the movement as a whole. In 2008 s/ave handed over ownership of DaSouth.com to Bobby “Tre9” Herring. (Learn more about the history of DaSouth.com from Sketch the Journalist’s blog.)
Since then, s/ave served as an educator for deaf and special needs children in the Cy-Fair Independent School District.
He is survived by his wife Theresa “Tee” Douglas.
For monetary gifts, make all financial contributions payable to Theresa Douglas at the address below:
7640 Lone Meadow Ct.
Houston, TX 77095
Rich Douglas will be deeply missed and we will forever remember him for his great contributions to Christian hip hop ministry and journalism. A full story on the life of s/ave will be provided soon by Sketch the Journalist who was a personal friend of our beloved brother.
Memorial details for Richard “s/ave” Douglas
Sunday, January 3rd
5pm – 8pm
Earthman Resthaven Funeral Home
13102 North Freeway
Houston, TX 77060-1097
Monday, January 4th
Cy-Fair Christian Church
9730 Grant Rd
Houston, TX 77070-4512
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the Texas School for the Deaf. A bank account will be established, January 2 when US banks resume normal business after the New Year’s holiday.