Category Archives: Motivational Speakers

Sitting Down with the Man Behind the Movement: Yusha Assad

Yusha Assad, hip hop artist and educator
Yusha Assad, hip hop artist and educator

Saturday we at the Staccato Beat Magazine got the honor of sitting down with one of the people behind the With Great Care Movement, hip hop artist and positive thinker Yusha Assad.  His interview was deep and challenging, and I have decided to break it up into parts so we can soak up his words!!  Here’s the interview!! Li’el: What sort of drew you to hip hop and how do you want to draw others? Yusha Assad: I wanted to say it was first of all kind of like a natural connection.  As a youth I began the process of writing around 6 or 7 years old and I had entered into some young competitions for poetry.   But you know being introduced to hip hop as a youth and hearing it on the radio and seeing it on TV gave me an opportunity to apply the poems I was writing as a youth to music.  It was really fun. Content wise the music that captured me was the music that had more of a message that kind of spoke to the experiences I was having.  Of course, music at a really young age music is about fun, music is fun.  But as I got older and started to hit my teen years, experiencing different things in life, being able to hear the music that spoke to those moments was more important to me than just fun.  Essentially that type of music was fun for me. You know with music now how what I hope to do to draw people is essentially to do the same thing, to be able to create music that speaks to things that people are going through.  And not just struggles, fun experiences, troubling experiences, experiences of freedom.  Like those common human feelings and emotions that we have, how do we create music that taps into the fun of a person or the deep thought of a father or the struggles of a single mom, or the beauty of a husband and wife who have been married for fifty years.  How do we write about that, so it literally becomes the soundtrack for people? Li’el: What from your background makes you relate to others easily, and helps you to reach others? Assad: I mean I’ve lived so far a pretty balanced life.  I do come I would say a low-economic childhood.  Those experiences created a wealth of different opportunities.  Like the opportunities to go to the best schools were not always there.  So I have that understanding of what it feels like to be on the other side of education and being like dang I didn’t get the best education.  But at the time when growing up you don’t really know what you’re going through you don’t realize it until you see the other side of it.  Then you’re like dang I didn’t really have the best but I thought I did. And of course I’ve been to college, I’ve had love experiences, I’ve had loss opportunities and experiences in that manner.  I have a child as well so I can speak from the essence of fatherhood.  I think living a well-balanced life and speaking from the experiences I’ve had will allow me to relate to people as well.  But I’m also an educator, and then teaching my students and now I do adult education and being able to work with a plethora of people in the capacity that I have been giving my heart, time, energy, and knowledge I hear their stories as well.  It is important for me to write from their perspective to write their stories. I hope as I continue to grow in music that I don’t become like a studio rat, that I continue to live life so I have relevant content to write about. Li’el: And with your students, how do you attempt to relate to them? Assad: The biggest thing that I notice about my students is their aspirations.  A question someone asked me recently was if you were stranded on a desert island, what is the one thing you would bring with you, I wrote hope.  I would need hope.  Because with hope, with the will to survive I can make strategic moves towards surviving, but without hope everything I do is detrimental to my success.  And with my students, every song I write won’t be a student song, you know every song written won’t be a song I want your kids to hear.  Because I’m not just writing to children, I’m writing to people in general. But for me, the inspiration for my students is they get to see the person who walked with them, played ball with them, played Monopoly and taught them math, had those conversations about what does it mean to grow up in this world and be a strong man and a strong woman.  Even some of my students who are still with me now, most of my students who I taught it’s not a one year thing.  It goes on and on.  You know I still have a student s who is like a little brother. They get to see somebody who stood in front of them and say, “You know what I have this dream I’m going to go for it.”  If they can see me reach it, what is it for them to say that they can do it too. So it’s really just about making connections for my students and inspiring them through my work ethic not just my words.  It’s not just me standing in front of them saying “Go for your dreams”, they get to actually see me go for mine. For more information, and to check out Yusha Assad’s new single “Platt”, follow the links below:

Be sure to download “Platt” http://www.audiomack.com/album/yusha-assad/platton Tuesday, February 11th, 2014. View “Platt” teaser videohttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jcH8EI6YHs#t=14 Drop from Melanie Fionahttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ge4inCf1wNI Drop from Datwon Thomas VIBE Magazinehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XFJQ4ZZ81Cs

And for more information on how to support Yusha Assad, and ways to learn more and follow his movement follow these links:

  http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/with-great-care-the-music-and-the-movement?c=activity   For more information please visit www.yushaassadmusic.com and follow Yusha on Instagram and Twitter @yushaassadmusic.
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A Ministry Moment with: Minister Antwaun Gay! Part One

Antwaun Gay, brother of legendary recording artist Marvin Gaye!
Antwaun Gay, brother of legendary recording artist Marvin Gaye!

The other day I got a chance to interview with a very special person: Minister Antwaun Gay, the youngest brother of Grammy award-winning and exceptional artist Marvin Gaye!! Let’s dive in to Part One!

 

Li’el: What would you like your readers to know about you?  Also, what would you like your readers to know about what you do?  Occupational-wise and ministry-wise…

Minister Antwaun Gay:  First that I am a Christian and that I love the Lord.  Occupation-wise I work for the Department of Juvenile Justice for the Department of Education and I work at a prison with the residents or inmates that are from the ages of 18-21 from different backgrounds, majority men of color.   It’s a job that I have been doing on and off working in corrections and law enforcement for some years working with at risk youth and adults.  I have a passion and its part of my calling to be there known to teach but also to plant seeds with the hope that those will be saved and that lives will be changed.  Throughout the week, I’m there ready to give a word, ready.  Whether I’m in the gym or on the streets I’m always ready and prepared to minister the word.

Li’el:  I was reading some of your bio and to me your work and dedication to the youth in your community is inspiring – what are some of the challenges that you face in the particular way that you minister and the work that you do?

 

Minister Gay:  The challenges of working in the prison system is there are a lot of guys who are unbelievers.  And there are a lot of guys who grew up in the church and they have dealt with a lot of hypocrisy.  Also the philosophy of the world from rap, or rock or R&B or country that clashes with the views of God.  A lot of guys have hardened hearts and have grown up hard and they are quick to reject it.  They wonder where is God at in my situation.

 

Li’el: What are some of the biggest rewards?

Minister Gay: Some of the biggest rewards is to be able to minister the Word first by my lifestyle, by how I walk in front of them in Christ.  before I start preaching to them with my words.  Then when I am obedient to Christ and walking in the Spirit it can be seen.  Then sometimes they’ll generate the conversation and then it opes up the door for dialogue.  It also gives me a chance and to break myths of who Christians are.  Like Christians are weak, Christians don’t have fun, Christians have to be perfect.  And it gives me the opportunity that I have to pray and ask for forgiveness daily.  It gives me an opportunity to break down myths and just to see someone say I didn’t know that and then eventually give their life to Christ when they didn’t believe.  That’s just the bomb!

 

Keep checking back for more of this fantastic interview!!

Li’el