Yaves helps mobilize hundreds for prayer gathering

As the host of a successful radio show in Columbus, Joy 107.1, Christian hip-hop artist Yaves Ellis has a platform.

After the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philandro Castile grabbed national headlines this week, Yaves used his platform to help mobilize hundreds of people for a community prayer gathering.

It’s a community that, like countless others around the country, has been rocked by videos that surfaced online of police killing Sterling and Castile. This has made Yaves’s job in the radio booth difficult over the past few days.

“My goal is to keep people inspired, to give them hope,” Yaves told 10 TV in Columbus. “But when you look at those videos, there’s no inspiration in that. There’s no hope in that. … As a black man in America, I am angered, and I am also afraid because that could have easily been me.”

Yaves said in an interview with the local television station that, early in his life, his parents taught him to fear police — a fear that he says has been reinforced by personal experiences and incidents like the ones this week.

“Normally, as you grow up, there are certain things that don’t scare you anymore,” Yaves said. “You’re not afraid of the dark anymore. The bogeyman is not real to you. You can watch scary movies. That particular narrative never changes because as you get older, you’re exposed to it a lot more, you see it a lot more. You come in contact with them a lot more.

“Even me, being a pastor, somebody who is spiritually grounded, somebody who has faith, who knows that God is protecting me, there is still an overwhelming fear when I get pulled over,” he said. “I have a concealed carry permit, I abide by the law, but when I get pulled over, I feel as if I did something wrong.”

Yaves believes the problems of police-minority relations are deeply rooted, born of fear and misunderstanding on both sides.

“When it comes to our community, it’s about us re-teaching our children how to respond to law enforcement,” Yaves said. “It’s also about teaching law enforcement how to respond to the community the correct way, to understand that the issues and needs that are going on in our community may be different than where they grew up.”

David Daniels
David Daniels
David Daniels is a columnist at Rapzilla.com and the managing editor of LegacyDisciple.org. He has been published at Desiring God, The Gospel Coalition, Christianity Today, CCM Magazine, Bleacher Report, The Washington Times and HipHopDX.

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