FROST Illustrated •June 26 - July 2, 2013 www.frostillustrated.com
(See “Unity” p.9)
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EDITOR’S NOTE: The follow-ing is a piece outlining a path-way to stopping the violence incity streets, submitted by Brother Marcus McGee. Before present-ing the actual piece entitled “I once was you,” Frost Illustrated staff thought we also would pres-ent Brother McGee’s introductorynote to the letter that he sent us.
The enclosed story is from my personal experiences and themeans of the story is to uplift, notto tear anyone down. It is not in-tended for anyone to be forced ona religion. You must nd your ownrock to build your foundation on.But, build it for the greater goodof humanity. GOD intended for us to live a certain way and thatis through love. Our life is short-lived when we lean on our ownunderstanding. We have to get bet-ter, we must get better, to have a productive life in harmony.We are a peculiar people. We areunique, equipped with many tal-ents that we have to tap into. Havefaith in what you can do. Put thesame energy that you put into thestreets into something positive andmeaningful.There is too much violence go-ing on. I you have children or if you don’t have children, think about how you would want themto live. Get inspired to do better.Achieve greatness. Be somebody.Do not just be what society saysyou are—things like “a failure,”“no good,” never amount to ‘noth-ing,’” “thug,” “menace,” “prosti-tute,” etc. We have to overcomeour adversities. Get out of our comfort zone. We have to, becauseachievement comes from takingchances. We played suicide withour lives in the streets. So, why nottry? There are only two things thatwill happen from making wrongchoices: That’s getting killed or ending up in prison. You chooseyour destiny...
I once was you
How are you, ladies and gentle-men and boys and girls? I hopeeverything is well and you’re ingood spirits. Considering the cir-cumstances, I’m truly blessed to be alive.Before I get started, my nameis Marcus McGee. I’m born andraised in Fort Wayne. Everyonecalls me McGee in the streets. But,I no longer go by that name. I’ma born again Christian, so now I prefer Marcus because all thingsare new and old things are passedaway. I’m 34 years old, with four children.I’ve been in and out of prisonon drug charges since 2000. Alltogether, I have served 12 yearsso far, including my current sen-tence—which, God willing, will be over in October of this year! Ihope to be able to meet you guys.I’m not proud of what I’ve donein my past, but I can tell you this:It is what I have been through thathas shaped me into the man I amtoday. So, I’m sure if you are sit-ting here, you too are trying toovercome something or are goingto be the solution to the problemor both. I’m still in both categories because no one’s perfect.I once was you and stillam. I just reach out inways to better myself. Idon’t hold myself back from anything.I know I can do allthings, no matter whatthe situation—and youshould too. Never limityourself. And again, I’mnot saying I have it allgured out. But, I can tellyou my experience andwhat I do to be at peaceis part of my foundationthat I live on and that’s LOVE. Our purpose is to LOVE one another,even if we don’t want to. Our pur- pose is to serve GOD wholeheart-edly. Now, I’m not telling you to be-come a Christian but I’m tellingyou that if you want to live, thenyou must nd your rock to buildon. We can’t keep serving thestreets; I used to serve the streetsliterally. I lived for the streets andlook where it has gotten me. Theonly reason I am able to share mystory is because of GOD’S mercy.See, we have a mission on thisearth and it’s not a mission of vio-lence. It’s a mission of LOVE. Now men, I don’t want you tostart thinking like a proud man.I’m just being frank because wemen think that showing love or pouring our hearts out about whatwe believe is soft.And, oh, I’m sure you’re proudof being hardcore or a thug. Allof that is ne if you utilize it for the right reason. Use your energyfor your passions. It won’t happenover night. It takes time. Patienceis the key. Make goals and reachthem and don’t stop there—keep pushing. You have to because it’sa lifelong process. Like I said, Iwas once you, seeking answersthat I used to try to gure out onmy own. But, now I have turned toGOD for answers and surroundedmyself with positive people whohave the same interests.We can’t keep doing thesame old things, expect-ing different results. Itwon’t work. I know. I’ma witness to it.This is my third in-carceration from sellingdrugs. My life is on a dif-ferent path and all I haveis my word and I will tellyou I will help in anyway I can. Sacrices arewhat I’m willing to make.Don’t keep going downthe same path. Start newtoday.Seek knowledge, wisdom andunderstanding. Know who you are.Study yourself and don’t lean untoyour own understanding. Leanunto a spiritual understanding. Youmight say you don’t have a spiri-tual understanding and haven’tconnected yet. But, I would sayyou have because if you’re sittingin this gathering, then somethinghas awakened in you that is want-ing out of what you were or were becoming.We must become beacons of light shining in dark places. Iknow that each and everyone of you is unique. The reason I knowis because all that is in scriptureis true. I have studied myself andfound me. I was lost in darkness,not seeing what I had become andwhat I was doing until, one day, Isurrendered and gave my life over to GOD and accepted the LORDJESUS CHRIST as MY LORDand SAVIOR, who is the head of my life! I claim that what he sysis true and will work in my lifethrough his will.So, whatever it is you believe in,
Stop painting the city red:Change can, will happen
(See “McGee” p.9)
Voices of UnityJackson, Houstontribute ambitious
On June 29, Unity Performing Arts Foundation(UNITY) is scheduled to present what organizers say its biggest andmost innovative summer production ever. Many have asked: “Whatmakes this production so special?” This concert is a tribute to thelate Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston, entitled “Alive Again.”Imagine, an evening of electrifying singing, dancing and speech, all presented by talent from right here in Fort Wayne.The concert will feature Fort Wayne’s own World ChampionVoices of Unity Youth Choir under the direction of Marshall White,dancers from Sheekristyle Dance Studio as well as soloists including professional recording artists Wayne Starks, Niyoki Nero and MikkiWhite. Other soloists include UNITY alumni,Matt Grifn, Breaun Scott and many others.UNITY ofcials said the lives and music of Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston offer a grand window into the fruits of uncommontalent, perseverance and insight, as well as thestruggles to maintain balance in an often-dif-cult world.Marshall White, Voices of Unity music direc-tor and CEO of parent organization Unity Per-forming Arts Foundation, said, “Presenting a production that requires this level of artistic genius is a serious stretchfor youth, but it is not impossible with the collective energy and tal-ents of all who are involved.”The choir members were required to study biographies and watchdocumentaries on the lives of Michael Jackson and Whitney Houstonduring the planning of this tribute. Exposing the youth to their livesand to the power of their music helped drive home the importance for them to achieve artistic excellence for this concert.“It is our hope, as the organization moves forward, more peoplein the community will embrace our artistic programming and youthdevelopment platform and join us in our artistic goal of providingquality entertainment for the entire family. You will have the experi-ence of your life on the night of this concert. You will be mesmerizedwith the talent that exists in our great city,” said White.Veronica Townes, the creative coordinator for the production, said, “The Voices of Unitymembers and other local talent have investedmany hours of hard work and practice to presenta show that will honor the legacy of both art-ists. In order to breathe new life and restore afresh appreciation of teamwork and unity duringsuch a turbulent disconnected time in our owncommunity, these young people decided to dosomething fun and different. From
I Wanna Dance with Somebody
, I’m sure you willexperience something that reminds you of a happy and exciting timein your life. A time when you were happy just because.”Unity Performing Arts Foundation (UNITY), is a fully supportedcommunity arts organization founded in 2000 by Marshall White andseveral other members of the Fort Wayne community. UNITY is acomprehensive artistic concept that brings singing, dancing, creativewriting, drama, oratory, and instrumental music under one umbrella.UNITY has been very successful in lling a local artistic void,which has existed for years in the community. The organization hasnot only attracted many minorities but also youth from more than
Voices of Unity Youth Choir performs with Gospel star Kirk Frank-lin.