This was a huge weekend for me! The Elements had the opportunity to perform a song that we wrote at the request of Dr. Alveda King for Naomi King and representatives of the A.D. King Foundation. It was a GREAT honor. I have a feeling that this will turn in to more of a partnership between the King Family and the Elements... Stay tuned. This year I have been praying and trying to focus on using the music to really make a difference. Funny how praying, working, and doing makes things happen... Don't give up on your dreams patrons!
Read Below and enjoy! (Facebook users please click my blog link for all the pictures!)
Mrs. Naomi King receives 2009 HOPE worldwide Living Legacy Award
by Tony Martin - Tuesday, 24 February 2009
On Sunday, February 22, 2009, Mike Patterson, Senior Evangelist, The Greater Atlanta Church of Christ, presented the HOPE Worldwide 2009 Living Legacy Award to Mrs. Naomi Barber Ruth King.
On Sunday, February 22nd, several churches in our fellowship, from Boston to LA, Baltimore to Dallas, NY to Columbia, SC, Chicago to Stone Mountain, Georgia, and our host church, the Greater Atlanta Church of Christ, joined together to honor living matriarch, Mrs. Naomi Ruth Barber King, sister-in-law of the late Martin Luther King Jr., and widow to Dr A. D. King, brother to Martin Luther King Jr., both slain during the civil rights movement.
After hearing a recording of the song, "The Dream Realized…"Dr. Alveda King, niece to Dr. Martin Luther King, offered her enthusiastic endorsement; She said, "…the lyrics are compelling, the melody is moving …" Dr. King invited, 16-year-old Robert Quintin, Jr., of the Greater Baltimore Church of Christ, to come and perform for members of the King family, in Atlanta. Hip-Hop rap ensemble, the Elements; and John Lakin and Youth on a Mission were also featured performers in the new urban contemporary anthem. "The Dream Realized," was inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King's famous "A Knock at midnight" speech, given in 1967. The song was written in collaboration with Tony Martin, Greater Baltimore Church and The Elements, disciples from Columbia, SC.
Performance of the song was well received before a packed house of eager worshippers, who had come to pay tribute to the King family. Several artists, were on tap to lend their talents to this august celebration in appreciation for the King family, and for what they have done for this country, in fighting to secure civil rights for all Americans. Mrs. Naomi King was accompanied by her daughter, Dr. Alveda King- a staunch civil rights activist known for her pro-life activism- and Professor Babs Onaybanjo, President and CEO of the A. D. King Foundation.
The celebration was surreal, as we reflected the countless contributions made by the Mrs. Naomi King and the King family throughout the years, have made countless sacrifices in the community, the government, the streets, and most importantly, the church. The King family are a cornerstone in the African-American community. The result of Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream and sacrifice has witnessed the election of our nation’s 1st African American President. This event gave us all cause for pause, and reflects on MLK’s words: "I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made straight and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together. I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit together at the table of brotherhood.” The assembly of blacks and whites worshipping together in the birthplace of the civil rights movement is the realizations of a dream come true.
In addition to these performances, SPEECH, our brother in Christ, a two-time Grammy Award winner, did a stellar job preaching and performing. SPEECH used the story of Lazarus to prepare our hearts for communion. With many disciples and guest in attendance he challenged each of us to examine our spiritual lives and to make sure we are not allowing our grave clothes, "sin" from the past to hinder our spiritual growth. Later in the program he gave a soul stirring tribute to the King family by dedicating his arrangement of Bob Marley's Redemption Song. The family was grateful and encouraged; they told Les Johnson, "We never saw a worship service like this."Tamika Wilder (daughter of legendary R&B singer, Keith Wilder) and teen gospel choir, The Voices of the Spirit (VOS), brought the house to its feet with their soul stirring rendition of Fred Hammond’s “Jesus Be a Fence.” They are comprised of 13 very talented kids from Atlanta, ranging in age from 11 to 16. VOS desires is to touch people with not only their voices, but the lyrical content of every song they sing. They are competing in a Path Mark’s National Gospel choir competition in NY at the World Financial Center Feb 28th and working on recording their very own album to be released in 2009.
The Elements, a positive hip-hop group from Columbia, SC. reminded the audience during their performance, that security cannot be found in hip-hop, in fame, nor wealth, but it is “In God, and God alone we must put our trust.” Mrs. King waived her hands in approval of their infectious rap style that transcended race, culture, and generational gaps. It has been said, “The lessons of the past are ignored and obliterated in a contemporary antagonism known as the generation gap.” God’s word however communicated, through word or music is timeless.
Stellar Award Winner John Lakin and Youth on a Mission, of Columbia, South Carolina, performed their lively, foot-stomping, hand clapping song, “Testimony,” which got the audience up on their feet dancing and shouting their own testimony of thanks to God while singing to one another, “The Goodness of the Lord.” John, a gifted and prolific songwriter and worship leader, has lent his songwriting abilities to many notable gospel artists including Ricky Dillard, Bruce Parham and others. In 2005, John Lakin and Youth on a Mission released their debut album "Expressions of Worship....Live".
Phillip Watson and VOS gave a moving interpretation of one of the most famous freedom songs, made popular by the late gospel giant, Rev. James, Cleveland, and most recently, gospel music sensation, Mary Mary. “I don’t feel no ways tired.” For the past eighteen years, Phillip has sung with numerous choirs and ensembles, in prestigious venues such as The Kennedy Center, and the White House as well as overseas in Germany, and the United Kingdom.
Renowned gospel music director and member of the GACC, Jody Lewis performed, “I want to be ready” accompanied by the GACC choir. Lewis, known for his award winning vocal arrangement of music for part of the original soundtrack "Akeelah and the Bee," and for performing as a backing vocalist with music industry super-stars, like Josh Groban, Mariah Carey, and others.
On Sunday, February 22, 2009, Mike Patterson, presented the HOPE Worldwide 2009 Living Legacy Award to Mrs. Naomi Barber Ruth King. The Living Legacy Award was given birth in 2006 and was presented to Congresswoman Maxine Waters on April 19 of that same year. HOPE worldwide and the Metro Heights Los Angeles Church of Christ presented Congresswoman Waters with the award in recognition of her public service exceeding 30 years in the community and her dedication to those other than herself as a congresswoman. Her legacy will continue to be honored in her community, through her personal works with the church and through the contributions of HOPE Worldwide.
The Living Legacy Award was accompanied with a three hundred dollar donation to the A.D. King Foundation from the GACC, The Thompson Family and HOPE worldwide LA. Like any great story and legacy, persistence is key: persistence through time. It takes other great leaders to carry on this award: leaders like Mrs. Naomi Barber Ruth King and the King family. They represent a foundation of dedication, faith, justice, education, diligence, love, and sense of hard work that is unforeseen in today’s generation. Mrs. King is an example of what we should want our children to become. She is a product of love, married into greatness, and lives a life of high expectation for herself and those around her.