"The impoverished youth of our nation have been lied to," Brandon Ricks, director of radio and music outreach for I Am Second, explains. "They're convinced the only way they can escape poverty is by selling dope, playing ball or making rap music. They’ve been enticed by the allure of materialism."
"It's our goal to change that mentality," he adds.
Enter Gene "No Malice" Thornton.
He wasn't always No Malice. Thornton used to be known by his rap name, Malice, when he was part of the duo The Clipse in the early 2000s. He played the game, rhyming about the drug life and street culture. He believed the lie, and it took him to the depths of despair. Despite his status with people like Pharrell Williams and Kanye West, something was missing.
“I was always frustrated, always angry and I didn’t know why," says Thornton. "If I’d never had money I would have thought my anger stemmed from being broke. But now I had money and tons of it and still was not fulfilled. I had a deep void in my life.”
That's when he changed everything. And that transformation is the subject of the new I Am Second documentary, "The End of Malice."
"This film addresses systemic issues in inner city communities that have been exacerbated by the glamorization of drug dealing and street life," Ricks says. "These toxic ideas have become far too prevalent in hip-hop culture and it is our ambition to change that."
Starting this week, friends, families, at-risk teens, inmates, and juvenile delinquents will have the opportunity to take a trip inside the mind of a coke-rap pioneer. The mind of someone who had everything the lie told him he needed, and then turned his back on it.
While "The End of Malice" will premier on RevoltTV on March 27, beginning this week I Am Second is partnering with Tugg to host screenings of the film in theaters all across the country (presented by Nature Nate's) — from New York City to Los Angeles.
A story for everyone
While the film will play in prisons, group homes, and community centers, those behind it say it's message is universal. Yes, It's intended to help facilitate conversations that will lead to restoration in our inner city and urban communities, but it doesn't stop there.
It's not only for those who have fought battles like Thornton's, says Casey See, executive director of I Am Second. It's for everyone:
"It doesn’t matter what size or shape or you are, what color you are, or what your economic background is. Everyone will find themselves in this film. This is a story of a man’s battle within himself to find truth, to find hope, and to find joy. We all find ourselves on that journey, and hearing Gene share it in such a vivid way is extremely powerful."
The film tour will hit 15 different cities all across the country, each followed by a live Q&A session with Ricks and the film's director, as well as No Malice himself.
We have not given up hope on the brokenness that exits in our communities, and neither should you. Will you join us in bringing healing and truth to a hurting and deceived generation?
Click here to see if "The End of Malice" will be in a theater near you.
(Photo source: I Am Second)