While standing on the same Oakland corner he once sold drugs on, Mistah F.A.B. realizes he’s all grown up these days.
Almost 10 years ago, Fab used to hustle right in “Ice City” on the infamous Market strip; 45th street and Market Avenue to be specific. Earlier this week though, the freestyle king gave back to his community, handing out over 500 turkeys and cooked Thanksgiving dinners to around 1,000 people.
Here F.A.B. discusses putting the function together and why it’s better to give hope than sell dope. —As told to Shaheem Reid
[Yesterday was] a huge day for the community. About four years ago is where this whole thing started. I began getting popular in the area. But at the same time, it was a lot of deaths in the city. If anybody is familiar with the city of Oakland, it’s been getting real crazy. Oakland has always been a wild city, but over the past few years, it’s been real crazy. I felt like with my power of influence and my popularity, I can do things to bring Heaven to the hood. Even if its just for one day. As of late, I’ve been realizing we should do this every month.
So all this year, every month I’ve been doing a event for an act of philanthropy, but more so an act of community organizing. I’ve come from a long list of Black Panthers and people who have organized in the community. I’m familiar with that movement. I just felt like in these time, we’ve got to adapt those ideologies of our ancestors and start bridging the gaps of the collapses of communications between generations. I led to the delinquency and destruction of my neighborhood, [now] I’m working ten times harder towards the reconstruction of my neighborhood.
[Yesterday was] an amazing day. The Mayor of Oakland [came] out to this Turkey giveaway. We’ve been in conjunction with her. Some of my previous events she’s come out and supported. She was amazed by the following, the grass roots following. She was like, “I didn’t hear about it, but there are thousands of people out here.” No radio, nothing like that to promote my previous stuff. That got her hip to me. She did her research and saw that I’ve been organizing community events for a long time. Man, it’s dope to get the respect from the Mayor and some of the counsel members from Oakland, CA. The Super Intendent of the city gave us permit with two days notice. It’s dope.
There is power in what we can do now with the social media and popularity. What would have taken civil right leaders back in the day six months to organize, we can do that in six tweets or a Facebook post or a tag. Just like today, they put up a bogus “Too Short’s dead up in Twitter.” Man, about 100 people called me in 10 seconds. ‘Shorts dead?’ If anybody knows, you’ll know. It’s crazy what social media can do for good or bad. If you learn to utilize it to implement positivity, it can override the negative aspect of it.
We have to stand on the frontline and show people that there’s nothing wrong with these acts of philanthropy. We’re not doing this to promote our achievements, we’re doing this to inspire others to do the same thing.