FAIRFIELD — The messages came via rap to a captive audience.
“Be the change you truly want to see, hit a 180,” gospel rapper Transparent told the youth.
“Bad company corrupts good character. Be careful who you hang around. You might to need to let them go . . . gotta let them go,” rapped R.E.I.G.N., whose moniker stands for Reaching Everyone in God’s Name.
The two artists were joined Friday evening by gospel rapper Sevin at the fourth annual concert at Solano County Juvenile Hall.
The event came from a shared vision between Transparent, aka Dwight Taylor Sr., and Wordsmith, aka David Derf. It has been picked up by other juvenile facilities in Northern California, Wordsmith said. His goal is to have it in nine juvenile detention facilities by next summer.
The young offenders were treated to a hot dog dinner, from San Jose’s Hitland Ministries, before the show.
“It’s all about the kids,” said Richard Watson, who supervises Solano County’s Juvenile Hall. “It gives them hope. It says, ‘Someone cares about me.’ ”
Those housed at Juvenile Hall also get positive messages from the performers, he said.
The concert is one of the rare events when all of those incarcerated at Juvenile Hall come together. The last time Watson could remember that occurring was when Fairfield’s own gold medal Olympian Keshia Baker visited.
Transparent wanted the youths to hear the message, “If you do the same thing, you get the same result.”
“No one says, ‘When I get to be 14 or 15, I want to be in juvenile hall so I can see Transparent,’ “ he told the young offenders.
R.E.I.G.N., whose given name is Ashlei Williams, spoke to the girls and encouraged them to value themselves. “Be strong, be confident. Don’t disrespect yourself or others,” she said.
The youths also heard the testimony of Larry Bluford Jr. In the mid-1990s, he was one of Solano County’s most wanted. He spoke of spending six years in prison. Today, Bluford ministers to the homeless.
“You don’t want to go to prison,” he said. “It’s ugly. You have a country club right here.”
Chris Hansen, Solano County’s chief probation officer, dropped in during the event.
“We don’t want you back here,” he said, encouraging the youths to listen to the performers. “They are telling you this because they don’t want you to go through what they went through.”
“I believe in the youth,” Sevin said after the show. “What God did for me, he can do for them.”
Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.