A Bayou City Bonanza to Help One Special Little Girl

Ask anyone who’s met someone special and they’ll tell you there was a single moment when they knew that person was incredible in that life-changing kind of way. It’s a moment Adam Kayode O. Gamble-Uguru easily recalled when discussing Honor Tinsley, the three-year-old who is the beneficiary of Saturday’s Bayou City Bonanza.

“She was singing Frozen and twirling around their hotel room on her hands like she hadn’t just been prodded by 20 physicians,” Gamble-Uguru says. “She was born with spina bifida and has been paralyzed waist-down from the womb, but this little girl is a genuine ray of sunshine. When her mother Lauren told us of their struggle to raise $15,000 for a service dog, I instantaneously knew where the profits of our upcoming event would go.”

Gamble-Uguru is CEO of Masterpiece Motives, the group behind Saturday’s all-day music and arts festival at Eastdown Warehouse. The ambitious event will include food, arts, crafts, live comedy and lots of music. Fat Tony headlines, and  Purple, A Fistful of Soul, We Were Wolves, Crimson Arrow and Cassette Tape will also perform. Ashley Franklin Music, The Wayward Sons, Kloanoa, HOUND, DJ Normul, DJ Trigg Biggum and Sam Oesch round out the music offerings. These artists are coming together for a one-of-a-kind event because Honor also had a moment where she met someone incredibly special. That's Luke, the puppy she chose as her service dog.

“Luke is a precious yellow Lab puppy that Honor has already fallen in love with," says Gamble-Uguru. "She keeps a picture of Luke beside her bed and sings his snapshot a song before bed every night. He’s begun training but is still a little pup and has a long way to go before he and Honor get to be best buds forever!”
Gamble-Uguru met the family by way of Jacy Guidry, his partner and Masterpiece Motives’ chief operating officer. Impressed by Honor’s “complete repudiation of any inability,” he got to work planning Saturday’s event. That was in November of last year.

Things were moving steadily, as planned. After all, Gamble-Uguru wasn’t exactly new to the experience of creating memorable benefit shows. His former business, Pushin’ The Limits, specialized in such events and was the foundation for Masterpiece Motives, which he describes as “a media enterprise with the prime objectives of educating urban youths through interactive arts and restoring Houston’s communities by nourishing all forms of artistic expression.”

When the planning encountered some unexpected setbacks, Gamble-Uguru had a life-altering decision to make, too.

“In April 2015, our smooth sailing encountered a bit of turbulence when we were forced to change venues and our original date," he says. "I blamed myself for not dedicating my undivided attention to a project I had already invested over half a year and my soul into, but constraints of previous employers kept me from going all in. After a month of deliberation, I resigned from my position and became devoted full-time to the progression of Masterpiece Motives. Then, our stars seemed to align as one connection led to another and we obtained vital resources, including a plethora of participants and vendors. Bayou City Bonanza has been life-changing in so many ways, primarily by introducing me to my true passion of helping others through radical creativity and head-on diversity.”

Able to devote his full attention to the event, he brought on sponsors like Lone Star Beer, The Little Black Book Magazine, Creative Minds Society Music Group and Xaver Jewels And, he found many amazing music acts willing to participate.

“I’m excited to see all of our performers get on stage and do their thing," says Gamble-Uguru. "Nonetheless, experiencing a charismatic performance from Fat Tony is definitely on my list of priorities. He has been a hometown hero for years and I’m proud to have him as one of Bayou City Bonanza’s headliners.

“Even though the infamous party trio, Purple, hailing from Beaumont, Texas, has toured internationally for some time and participated in quite a few major music festivals, they would get my vote for our sleeping-giant act," he adds. "But I’m sure that’ll change after they perform 'DMT' on the 25th. Just wait,” he continued. “Cassette Tape takes the humanitarian award hands down. After a brief conversation with their drummer, David Rios, the guys instantly took interest in Honor’s story and willingly offered assistance to our cause. Cassette Tape will forever hold a special place in our hearts, and I can guarantee they’ll be performing at future events. I had the chance to watch them perform at Texas Tequila & Margarita Festival a month ago and let me tell you, these guys know how to command a stage!”
Gamble-Uguru says his own philanthropic roots were planted by his mother Bridget, his grandmother, Ann and a friend, Nathan. The artists participating in Saturday’s event all share in the philosophy of paying it forward, he promises.

“All of our artists and performers were drawn to being involved with helping Honor in any way possible," he says. "Our contract has a mandatory charitable service clause which helps us in the selection process, and every participant was more than open to agreeing with that commitment. We have received countless offers ranging from volunteer requests to donations dedicated to a silent auction for Honor. We are tremendously grateful for the amount of support we’re generating from locals; it provides reassurance in a sense of humanity.”

“I have to spotlight Rafael Jimenez of Monster Rags," Gamble-Uguru continues. "His physical and sometimes financial investments in my endeavors have been a treasured component of success since the beginning of Pushin’ the Limits. And John Anthony Jamandre and Oscar Torres of Onolicious Shaved Ice Truck for providing free frozen treats and snowballs to beat the summer heat. Thanks to the incredible Joe Icet of Last Organic Outpost, the urban farm providing all of our fresh, organically grown fruits and vegetables for the event. Last but not least, Caitlin Caselli of Cici LaCirque for providing her performance-art services free of charge once she was informed of our fundraising efforts. All of these people and countless more have made this event more incredible than it would be otherwise.”

Gamble-Uguru is grateful for these benefactors and reminds anyone out there that they too can help with this worthy cause. All they have to do is show up and be entertained by the day's art and music.

“A portion of every ticket sold will go to getting Luke trained, so literally just by attending you can feel like you’ve made a huge difference in this young girl’s life.”

Bayou City Bonanza begins at noon Saturday, July 25, at Eastdown Warehouse, 850 McKee. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 the day of the event. See Facebook for more details.
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Jesse’s been writing for the Houston Press since 2013. His work has appeared elsewhere, notably on the desk of the English teacher of his high school girlfriend, Tish. The teacher recognized Jesse’s writing and gave Tish a failing grade for the essay. Tish and Jesse celebrated their 33rd anniversary as a couple in October.