May 24, 2010 â€“ Houston’s beloved rap legend Willie D (Geto Boys) is giving back to the communities that birthed him through the upcoming the Hip Hop Hope Tuesdays Summer Kickoff, his H.E.A.P. health fair, and Bless the Mic shows.
Refuting the stereotype that all street rappers are selfish thugs, Houston’s rap community will join forces on June 8 from 7 â€“ 9pm to kickoff the summer Hip Hop Hope Tuesday series at the Prince Complex (3000 Jensen Dr.) in the heart of the 5th Ward.
Hip Hop Hope Tuesdays (HHHT) is a free weekly youth service designed to uplift, enlighten, and encourage young people entrenched in urban rap music culture. It was launched on Easter weekend 2009 as a partnership between Houston’s Much Luvv Records and Rap-a-Lot Records.
The Prince Complex is owned by J. Prince who founded and runs Rap-A-Lot Records. Prince is from the 5th Ward and developed the non-profit youth center over a decade ago to offer a “Pathway to Empowerment.” Rap-A-Lot affiliated MCs including Willie D and 007 (5th Ward Boys) are scheduled to participate on the June 8 kickoff event. In addition, many of H-town’s Christian rappers will be in attendance.
The following weekend Willie D’s free H.E.A.P. (Health Education Awareness and Prevention) health fair will be held on Saturday, June 12 from 10am to 5pm at The D-Spot Community Center of Higher Dimension Church (9745 Bissonnet).
The event, in association with Higher Dimension Church, The City of Houston, Strapped for Life and other community organizations, will offer testing and screening for breast cancer, HIV/Aids, diabetes, obesity, hepatitis A&B and more. Live music performances and inflatable rides and games for kids will also play a part.
“It’ll be a big family day at the D-Spot,” Willie D said. “This work is so necessary. We just gotta have it,” Willie D said.
Like most of us, Willie D has a personal connection to issues of health. His mother died of breast cancer and he’s established a foundation to help fight against the disease.
Later that month, Willie D will be hosting two Bless the Mic events at The D-Spot. On Friday, June 25 the Hip Hop Showcase will take place from 6pm to 11pm and on Saturday, June 26 the Dance Showcase will be held from 12pm to 5pm. Both events are geared toward inspirational music and designed to provide a platform for local artists to enhance and improve the live performance aspects of their craft.
“Live performance is where people really see your heart,” Willie D said.
The Bless the Mic events offer competitors up to $2,000 in cash and prizes. Celebrities including Willie D will judge the performances and make their final decisions with input from the audience.
“I’ve had the big cars and the big tours. Now, I’m focused on my legacy. I understand I have some level of influence and want to use it for good,” Willie D said.
To keep up with Bless the Mic and Willie D’s other community building efforts, visit www.blessthemicshows.com.