People in our community and their giving spirit to others often go unnoticed as “Unspoken Heroes.” Our “Spoken Heroes” feature gives the community the opportunity to recognize these everyday heroes and their accomplishments. Without looking for something in return, these individuals are often only rewarded by knowing that others benefit from their efforts.
By Raymond Jackson
The first Spoken Hero of 2014 has made and continues to make many positive contributions to the Twin Cities area. He is the first nominee who is an up-and-coming musical artist whose main intent is to continue to be of service to their community.
R&B recording artist J. MOST was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He has lived in Minneapolis for 20 years and has spent the past decade promoting positive community-oriented event, while pursuing his music and debut LP.
Having spent his 20 years in Minnesota circulating between Minneapolis, St. Paul and Duluth, the MSR asked him what was it that kept him here. He responded, “My children, and I really like the opportunities that are here in the Twin Cities, a very diverse and very liberal place. It is also just very beautiful here. The winters are long, but they are beautiful, very beautiful! The educational opportunities are also just fabulous.”
He continued, “I have had the opportunity to attend a few colleges and universities, playing basketball before I ended up at St. Cloud State. I did not play basketball there, but after I had finished playing basketball [at a previous college], I wound up graduating with my Bachelors of Arts degree from St. Cloud State, and that’s where I got to be more familiar with the Twin Cities.”
J. MOST specializes in coordinating fundraisers, galas, banquets and festivals, while volunteering to provide help for a variety of causes. When asked to speak on some of those causes, he said, “To be specific, my commitment as a whole is to help to empower the community at large. Domestic violence is one area that National Empowerment Group and myself want to empower that population to survive.”
J. MOST is the executive director of the National Empowerment Group, who’s mission is “to provide educational, professional and personal development programs that help youth and adults reach their goals while providing the appropriate support,” according to their website. “What my organization and I have done is raise awareness to [domestic violence], as well as men’s health, multiple sclerosis, all cancer fighters, and the matriarchs of our community.”
We asked Jay to elaborate on the term, matriarchs of our community? He responded, “Our grandmothers, who are anywhere from the age of 75 to their early hundreds — the grandmothers that built this city, the grandmothers that were there from the start here in the Twin Cities when there were just a few of us around. And when I say few of us, I mean African Americans.
“We are a diverse organization, but from an African American and cultural standpoint, it was a lot of the African American women that were here, that really, really built this community.”
The MSR asked, “Who are you most aligned with as you proceed?”
“The National Empowerment Group, which I founded,” he answered. “We do a lot of the empowerment programs, such as, The Women’s Appreciation Annual Banquet. The salute to all cancer fighters, as well as, working in connection with HU-MAN, which is a men’s health initiative.”
He continued, “Now as a music artist, I do a lot of fundraisers and a lot to raise awareness, whether it is a strong weakness area or an area that just needs for the community to take notice. What I do is use my music to attract numbers and together take note and address these issues collectively and individually.
“I love doing all of this, with dance shows, dance competitions, and believe it or not, even cook-offs, which gives everyone opportunities to get involved. Some people cannot sing or dance, but love to cook…. We put together comprehensive programs catering to the everyday person’s strengths.”
J. MOST loves promoting, bringing communities together so everyone can get along and function as a unit. “I promote whatever it takes for us to come together and be as one, catering to a variety of ethnicities, age groups, and genders.
“Promoting is having the opportunity to meet so many different people and with that I realized that for people 45 years of age and up, there was a lack of programming here in the Twin Cities, especially from an entertainment perspective. I took on a challenge to myself to learn and teach dancing called Chicago 8 Count Stepping, which is growing large around the country.
“I just want to see people happy, I want to educate, I want to share my knowledge and my gifts and I want this upcoming four-day event [Minnesota Steppers All Star Bash] to be successful, the kind of success J MOST Music and The National Empowerment Group need to continue its mission of making communities healthier and safer places to live.”
For more information on the Minnesota Steppers All Star Bash, which begins on Thursday, March 20 and ends on Sunday, March 23, go to [email protected] or the website of command steppersmpls.org or call 612-237-5118. The events take place at The Knights of Columbus, 1114 American Blvd., Bloomington, and at Hilton Hotel, 3900 American Blvd., Bloomington.
Look for future stories on people in our community who are doing important work — caring for others. And look for a follow-up interview with our Spoken Heroes on KMOJ radio.
Raymond Jackson welcomes reader responses to [email protected]