Trae tha Truth is a rapper. And a community leader. It's starting to get hard to decide which of those phrases should go first when you're talking about him.
Earlier this year, he released Street King, arguably the most imposing musical project any Houstonian has put out this year. It was his first proper album in more than three years, and the first since his feud with 97.9 The Box became national news (that ban is still in place, by the way).
It has largely been considered a success. And it appears now that it can do no better than be, at best, the second most important thing he does in 2011.
Trae, though his community service/nonprofit organization ABN (Angel By Nature), is opening an emergency children's shelter in Houston. No official press release has come out yet, but he spoke on it yesterday to Rocks Off. Some details and sound bites:
It's going to be on Dairy Ashford and Richmond. He picked that spot because there are no children's shelters in the city; they are all outside of Houston (Conroe, for example).
Quote: "I'm more happy for this than anything I've done. These kids are the world. It's bigger than me and it's bigger than the city. Not being funny, even if 97.9 said they wanted to help out, I'd welcome them with open arms. I have no hatred in my heart for anyone."
Note: This is entirely perceptible. You can actively hear how excited he is. His voice is always heavy as an anvil. But talking about this, it's a tad lighter. A small anvil, if you will.
The center will be an "emergency shelter," meaning kids will only be housed there for a few days. It will act as a holdover facility until they are taken properly by the CPS or whomever. It will open officially in November. There will be furniture, beds, TVs, computers, books and other learning essentials.
Quote: "I want them [the kids] to not be scared. I want them to know someone cares about them, and that whatever path they take, where ever God places them, we're here to support them."
Trae was inspired to do this by Marilyn Gambrell, the woman that founded the No More Victims organization, which he is already a part of. He said he gained an understanding of how the kids are moved from spot to spot and how uncomfortable and awful that is and that he felt the need to alleviate as much discomfort from their lives as possible.
Quote: "People were saying all I needed was mattresses and a TV and a table and they'd be happy. I'm not gonna have them in a raggedy ass shelter. If I wasn't comfortable having Houston or Jarred or D'Neeko [his sons] sit in there, why would I let other kids?"
The building is 3,000 square feet and will house anywhere from 20-30 kids. At the moment, they are finishing the build out. (Specifically, Texan Wire Wheels is currently helping them pay for the showers that are being built.)
Kids will range in age from newborn to 17 years old.
Layne Schmerin, this auspicious young man, is planning a big concert in Austin and 20 percent of the proceeds will go to the shelter.
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Quote: "The only bad thing is that it's an emergency shelter. They'll only be there a few days. Realistitcally, I can't adopt every kid. But this is a start. This is how we can help. I want them to feel comfortable when they're there. Sometimes they'll be placed with good families or new families that they don't know, but when they're there, i want them to know they are cared about."