The movement is building: Poetic Justice

February 15, 2013 — Leave a comment

The movement is building…come on and join the incarnational movement to end gun violence and throw out the lifelines!!!

From …

A Pentecostal preacher sanctioned me to make my first Gangsta Rap record.

“Tick Tock” is the first of five songs I wrote and recorded for Lifelines to Healing’s upcoming soundtrack. All five tunes are composed, produced and engineered by Austin’s Galvin “g. LeDaris” McKinney.

To be clear, Lifelines to Healing is not a movie, but a movement focusing on American gun violence and mass incarceration. Our soundtrack contextualizes this movement led by National Director Michael McBride, easily one of the most impressive guys I’ve met.

Pastor MikeDivine Flow: Pastor Michael McBride

Pastor Mike — as he’s known at The Way Christian Center church in Berkeley, CA — is a San Francisco native with a contagious fervor for social justice in the name of Jesus.

Would a typical pastor commission a Hip Hop soundtrack for a nationwide inter-faith campaign to heal communities? It may be more likely that a preacher would rally against rap music instead of make a custom order.

For every G. Craige Lewis and Ivor Myers, there’s a Ralph Basui Watkins and a Mark Jefferson. This is further evidence that Hip Hop Grew Up.

“Every movement needs a soundtrack,” Mike would often say in our discussions that gradually led to a five-song plan. He referenced how music has helped raise consciousness in social justice movements like the Civil Rights Era, and beyond.

During a quick phone chat last fall, we outlined the soundtrack with six themes: gun violence, mass incarceration, loving your fellow man/woman, responsibility for kids, a cautionary tale and a tribute to women/mothers.

My challenge was to exceed the trite task of merely translating the Lifelines movement into song, and instead frame their work. Poor execution would produce tired tunes. Galvin and I wanted to make jams.

I grew up on soundtracks like Above the Rim, Juice and Menace II Society. This Lifelines to Healing assignment kept bringing Stanley Clarke’s “Boyz N The Hood Theme” to mind. Thankfully, I was invited to shadow Mike around the country and learn about the movement before I linked with g. and started writing.

vintage Eugene Rivers

On my first trip, Mike began a thorough orientation of Lifelines’ goals and strategies in Boston. I broke bread with the compelling Rev. Eugene Rivers [pictured above], who emphasized the importance of politics and money in effective social movements. Then we visited Providence, Rhode Island’s Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence to meet with Executive Director Teny Gross.

I’m not sure if it’s intentional, but Teny spits a nasty hook every ten minutes or so. His conversations with us were packed with short phrases that communicate whole paragraphs of perspective. I took plenty of notes, but one stuck with me the most. The personal nuclear bomb.


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