WOW! Call it a whirlwind eight months. If you're a fan of music check out TEAM WC on iTunes! The motto "we can, west coast" and we came out of the Wednesday's Child adoption program on Fox 11 News. In fact, one song, "faith in TRUTH" was written for young America. It's for anyone who's felt alone, walked alone. It was dedicated to the Wednesday's reunion 2013.
The developing concept of TEAM WC is to empower the kids from foster care after they've been adopted. I know their wounds can be felt for years, perhaps a lifetime. I know they might need a little extra encouragement and a reminder that they matter. TEAM WC is nothing official, nor sponsored. Just a concept and a love for the kids, even if they are all grown up, or almost there.
My project over the past eight months has been to work with Jamal, a 21-year old aspiring hip hop artist. He started writing as a boy in foster care as way to tackle the hurt and hopes. Even though he was found by a forever family around ten years old he still can't forget his past and wrestled with it throughout his teen years. Even his mom will say "he put us through hell." Susan also adds "he knows there's nothing he can do that will push us away." Mom is a teacher. Dad, Maurice, is retired military and a former police officer. They adopted four more kids after Jamal.
Under the concept of TEAM WC, I asked one of our donors if he would produce Jamal. Kirk Martin of Take Flite Entertainment took him on and produced a dance tune called "Foxy lil Lady" and the R&B song titled "faith in TRUTH."
In a twist, Jamal is writing a new chapter in his story. He considers himself a lyricist first and calls his style conscious hip hop. He's known in his OC neighborhood as Nexus. With that name legally taken he raps under the name Nasty Nexus. Jamal doesn't want to be a role model and if you look at his social network postings you'll see evidence of that. He's a rapper and wants to express exactly how he feels. His rap can be raw and parental advisory. Dad, Maurice, admits he doesn't always like the lyrics but adds being in the military "I fought for him to have the right" to speak freely. With children still at home Maurice adds "if I can't let the little ones listen to it, then it's not MY style." Jamal is now at a point where he's chosen to go more in the direction of rap music for adults. He accepts some won't like it. "I know my parents wish I was more like Will Smith" he tells me.
While Jamal is taking off on his own and doing it his way he beams while reflecting on the work with TEAM WC. He's played black tie benefits and at the Staples Center at half-time at a WNBA Sparks game. November is National Adoption month. A video is in the works that takes us back to Jamal's sweet side. He says "I love working with Wednesday's Child. I am a Wednesday's Child." His dad too grins brightly at the thought of Jamal being willing to tell his story through song. "The fact that he's willing to do that, to take a stand, it makes a father proud."
(Special thanks to Lotis and Sean McNabb for vocals on the songs and photographer Emily Gummig)