My Beloved Memphis

I grew up in Memphis, a predominantly Black city.
I live in Orange Mound, a predominantly Black neighborhood.
My neighbor two doors down is a Black policewoman.
My church is multiracial, with leaders who are Black.
My boss is a Black woman whom I respect.
I’ve been gifted with dear Black friends throughout my life.

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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and 50 Years Later

Early morning, April four
Shot rings out in the Memphis sky
Free at last, they took your life
They could not take your pride

Those are the words of Bono in the U2 song, “Pride,” remembering what happened to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Continue reading

Midtown Is Memphis…or Not

midtown is memphis

Memphis is a city that I believe is truly on the rise. I don’t say this simply because the Bluff City is my hometown. Some great things are truly taking place in the city. For starters, there has been and continues to be a lot of renewal and renovation – from downtown to midtown to crosstown to Binghampton, the city is in a bit of a renaissance. Not only that, but CNN (#10) and WalletHub (#7) rank Memphis as one of the top 10 cities in the U.S. to start a business. Nobody would have thought this could become reality some 25 years ago.

And don’t get me started on the the opportunities that exist in this city through music, education, and sports. Matter of fact, I believe if this city is going to continue to find not just stability, but proven success, health, and growth, much of it will need to be connected to the areas of music, education, and sports. There are others. But these 3 have a proven track record for success in this city.

In all, there’s lots of good stuff on the horizon!

That wasn’t always the story.

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Crosstown: Breaking Ground

Sears Crosstown Building Memphis

This coming Saturday, February 21, there is a pretty special event taking place in the Crosstown area of Memphis. It’s centered on the renovation project of the old Sears Crosstown Building. The city has seen a renaissance across many neighborhoods and areas of the city for the past 10-15 years. This will continue the restoration of our city – a city that is rated #5 to start a new business.

Work began a couple of months ago on the building, but the groundbreaking ceremony is this Saturday. The renovation project has the vision of seeing this 1.5 million square foot facility (yes, 1.5 million!) become a “new ‘urban village,’ complete with housing, restaurant and retail businesses, health clinics, and even a charter high school.”

See this short, 6-minute video below. It shares some of the concepts behind the project. Continue reading

Continuing This Dream…In Memphis & Beyond

Visible Music College 2 campuses

I’ve been back just a few weeks within the Visible Music College community, and it’s been busy re-adapting to a new role as well as teaching new classes. But it’s been great to once again walk alongside close friends while also making new connections in God with staff and students as we build this dream God has given Ken Steorts.

It still amazes me to think how this was birthed in August 2000 in a small catfish restaurant/warehouse space in Lakeland, TN. I was there ripping up old carpet, cleaning grease out of the catfish restaurant part of the building, removing old ceiling tiles and other fun things. But just 2 and a half years ago, the college moved into downtown Memphis in an historic building (check out this article to capture a bit of the building’s architectural genius). And it’s just recently launched a branch teaching site in the greater Chicago area. Not to mention the record label, Madison Line Records, and the community-based Visible Community Music School.

There are a lot of passion and gifts invested in Memphis, young people and even the world. Continue reading