“Somebody needs what you have to give. It may not be your money; it may be your time. It may be your listening ear. It may be your arms to encourage. It may be your smile to uplift. Who knows? Maybe just like that little baby, putting your arm around somebody and letting him or her know that you care can help begin to heal that person’s heart. Maybe you can give a rescuing hug.”
CHICAGO -- Sankofa translates in English to “reach back and get it” (san—to return; ko—to go; fa—to look, to seek and take) and is often symbolized as a bird with its head turned backward taking an egg off its back or as a stylized heart shape. It is often associated with the following proverb: “It is not wrong to go back for that which you have forgotten.” This symbol has also been adopted as an important symbol in an African-American and African diaspora context to represent the need to reflect on the past to build a successful future. Born as Farley Keith Williams in 1962, Farley got his start in the music industry in the very early 1980's; not long after that, he established himself as a notable musician, producing a number of tracks.
As Farley, commonly referred to as Farley Jackmaster Funk, began to reflect on his past trials and tribulations along with his current successes, he began to say, “Aw, shucks.” Everything old is and can be new again. With so many youngsters being shot daily and killed on a regular basis, Farley has been in deep conversation with many of the Chicago-area notables about joining forces and reaching out to the youth of today by taking his message to the street.
For Farley, the beat is on, and his plan is to deliver a strong message to the youth of today is summed up as follows: “Bang, bang, there is much more to life than being in a gang.” In 1990, he became a born-again Christian, at which point he grew tired of making house music and began producing hip-hop. However, he returned to house music by the mid-1990's, and by the late 1990's, he began to enjoy a fair amount of success as a global touring DJ. Farley is making a commitment to go forward by looking back.
Farley commits to the Joel Olsten preaching, “Each of us is a miracle waiting to happen to someone.” The Farley “Jackmaster” Funk just attended a ceremony in which his very own street sign was dedicated to him in Chicago at the intersection of Michigan Ave. and 14th St. Thirty years of house music, funk, rap and DJ’ing have Farley convinced that if “love can’t turn around” some of this youth-on-youth violence and the senseless taking of innocence lives, nothing will.
“The universe is big; it’s vast and complicated, and ridiculous. In addition, sometimes, very rarely, impossible things just happen and we call them miracles.” That is the premise that Jackmaster Farley will use to get this conversation started utilizing the Sankofa method.
“If you’ll dare to take your mind off your troubles, get your mind off your own needs, and, instead, seek to be a blessing to other people, God will do more for you than you could even ask or think.”
The best is yet to come as DJ/rapper Farley, Larry Burse of Da Master Touch and Pastor Ferlander N. Lewis of New Mount Olive Baptist Church of Harvey get this stop-the-violence, save-our-youth campaign underway,“This means saving the life of one young person at a time.”