Words to Change Lives
I have spent a career working with young people through gang intervention programs, and I fully understand the essence of their survival being anchored in our ability to communicate with them.
Upon listening to this CD by Rayvon Walker entitled "Rock Your Swag", I immediately recognized the value and the effectiveness a CD of this nature could bring for young people to break the chains of bondage that breeds through unhealthy family behaviors.
The first and the most notable component of the CD is that it provided an entertaining presentation in a style that personally took me back to a group that spoke to my heart, "the last poets."
The presentation style is one that will cross generations with an easy listening style that entreats its audience to listen. It is not intrusive or overbearing, it just calmly transforms you into a peaceful state of mind that makes you listen to the words while the beat of the music massages your need to move and be active.
The message, oh yes the message. That is what excited me most about this CD. In the message, I recognized the avenues of escape that empowered my life. It's something to hear your life unfold before you, and when I listen to this CD, it caused me to revisit my life and evaluate things in my life that drove me beyond the walls of poverty, and the pathway to destruction that faced me every day as a child.
Not only did it talk about the keys to keep yourself strong, but it provided illustrations of the power contained in utilizing one's imagination, to not only envision life beyond a destructive lifestyle, but to actually create it for yourself.
It amazes me that we often talk about how destructive behavior in families can be the defining composition of a child's future. While working with gang intervention programs, and with criminal behavior within poverty-stricken families, we found far too often the patterns of young boys following the fathers, uncles, or older brothers into the same prisons. What is revealed in this CD provided tools and remedies to break these chains.
When one can envision what is right even in the epoch of being held captive by what is wrong, power is given to that individual. It was profoundly explained to me in this CD. "When I can see what my father could be, or should be, instead of what he has become because of his situation," beautiful words of acknowledgment. And through it all he empowered himself by seeing what his father could, or should be. For me, it carries forward knowledge of what should be done, instead of duplicating the negative behavior I am exposed to. It tells a young person that the future can be brighter by mentally and emotionally detaching themselves from the negative surroundings, and mentally creating what they know is the right way. In essence, it converts negative behavior into a teacher instead of my Jailer.
The behaviors you will then pass on to future generations are the ones you know to be right, you are no longer the sponge for negative behavior. I know this to be true because it helped me to define my life.
Each song on the CD has a different message. They describe a scenario and then walk you through the tools needed to, be strong and be successful. His words allow you to define life and not let life defined you.
One thing that you notice when working with young people involved in gangs or selling drugs is that they are oblivious to the future. They see destruction and expect to follow that path. They don't envision preparing for the future, their future is today. This CD penetrates the destruction they are witnessing and tells them they can control their destiny. It tells them to dream again because their life does make a difference.
The most important part of the CD is that it is not only for young people, it provides enlightening stories across generations. Of course I am a realist. I understand that not all of young people will understand or grasp the words contained in this CD. But I fully believe these are the words that I young people need to hear, and one thing I know about working with young people is that you might never know how effective your message has been, but you do need to deliver it just the same. Every day young people who are now adults stop me on the street thanking me for coming to the Juvenile Center and speaking to them because it made a difference. I never would have known, but it revealed to me the importance of forwarding the message.
I congratulate and give gratitude to Rayvon Walker for providing this tool of communication and education for our community in such an entertaining way. When so much of today's music speaks to lifestyles that breaks down the value of structure, it's a pleasant surprise to find a CD that promotes and overcoming spirit and a methodology for breaking the chains of destruction. Our young people need a break.
Ron Wallace, Publisher of The Perspective Magazine