|The mural of the late legendary rappers hands on the|
East wall of the North Memphis Market.
Thursday, July 13, 2017
Tupac Shakur (or 2Pac), a West Coast rapper and actor, was gunned down on Sept. 7, 1996, in a drive-by shooting at an intersection in Las Vegas, Nevada. His fans still mourn his death.
The Notorious B.I.G. (or Biggie Smalls), an East Coast rapper, was killed in a drive-by shooting by an unknown assailant on March 9, 1997, in Los Angeles, Calif. His fans still mourn him too.
Aiesha Overton, a visual artist known as Naima Peace, was a little girl when both rappers died in the middle of an East Coast and West Coast feud that went awry and rocked the hip-hop world. She is one of their biggest fans.
“I’m the biggest 2Pac fan ever. I fell in love with his poetry, writing and music,” said Peace, 27. “I’m a Biggie fan, too. He was an inspiration. He had so much in his voice and was so genuine.”
Peace’s love and admiration for both men are reflected in a small mural she’s stenciled on the East wall of the North Memphis Market at the corner of Vollintine and Avalon in the historic Vollintine-Evergreen neighborhood.
The corner is a magnet for criminal activity and wanton violence. A man was recently killed and another one was wounded after a gunman opened fire and left behind a gruesome display of humanity.
The corner is infamous for such dastardly acts of violence. Peace drew her inspiration from 2Pac and Biggie, which she juxtaposed against each other in monochromatic colors and separated only by the gulf that divides them.
“I wanted to put the picture of them on the same mural because people feel they were worlds apart. But they were so similar,” Peace said. “When people see them, I want people to see them smiling and together.”
Violence, tension, struggle and peace are words the artist used to describe the rappers’ creative output of heartfelt music, which fueled their fans’ loyalty, respect, adulation and idolatry following their untimely deaths.
“People tried to separate them,” she said. “If 2Pac and Biggie can be on the same canvas, I feel peace is possible.”
Peace is an artist of impeccable talent, but it is her insight and search for peace in a violent world that motivates her and drives her into advocacy mode. In fact, “Naima means peace and feminine tranquility,” she said.
While peace is the operative word, the artist heads an organization called “Recycle Peace,” a creative consortium of artists working hand-in-hand to offer their services – whatever genre of art, whatever medium.
“We want to continue to push peace,” she said. “Peace is possible between people, between neighborhoods, between countries. There can be peace of mind, peace in all aspects.”
Before the artist made the decision to create art while advocating for peace, she studied civil engineering at the University of Memphis. “I’m two semesters shy of receiving my civil engineering degree,” she said.
Three years separate the time Peace left the U of M and the direction she’s headed in her career as an artist. She launched her first solo art exhibit two years ago at Crosstown Arts. The exhibit title: “The Product of Pac.”
“Each piece,” she pointed out, “was inspired by a poem from his book, ‘The Rose That Grew From Concrete,’” a posthumous album based on 2Pac’s poetry and writings. “I had about six or seven pieces.”
Peace has been exhibiting her art with other artists and as a featured artist since 2014. She is scheduled to be the featured artist at Crosstown Arts in August. The title of the exhibit has already been decided: “MadAir Skate Deck.”
“I want to do bigger and better pieces that transcend my art. And I want to think outside the box,” said Peace, noting that everything she’s created then and now has to mean something.
Peace graduated in 2008 from Germantown High School. A quiet spirit, she is adept at critical thinking, which she applies to the creative process. It is a luminous calm with spiritual overtones.
“I’m heavily influenced by my mom,” she said. “She is spiritual, which has been reiterated throughout my life. The older I get, I realize how important it is to maintain your own peace of mine.”
(Naima Peace can be reached at 901-826-9619 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Friday, July 7, 2017
|Medical Missionary Mamon Wilson discusses homeopathic (or natural) remedies with|
seminar participants at Breath Of Life Seventh Day Adventist Church. (Photos by Wiley Henry)
What Mamon Wilson has been able to accomplish with homeopathic medicine is beyond comprehension – particularly since he’s not a medical doctor or the conferee of a medical degree from a prestigious medical school.
What he is credentialed in is treating patients stricken with catastrophic diseases with holistic, natural and plant-based medicines derived from nature’s botanical garden: seeds, berries, roots, leaves, flowers, fruits, herbs, etc.
“I never had any schooling. [But] I’ve trained a lot of doctors and medical missionaries,” said Wilson, one of three facilitators focusing on the theme “Better Health & Body,” a seminar held nightly at Breath Of Life Seventh Day Adventist Church June 25-30.
“They think I’ve been to medical school. Everything I know came from the Holy Spirit,” added Wilson, a medical missionary who has wowed the medical establishment for 46 years with his insight and keen knowledge of natural remedies.
|From left: the Rev. Mark Hyde, the "Bible Patrol Man," and|
seminar facilitators Dr. Franco Taylor and Mason Wilson.
Wilson was at the podium that Monday and Tuesday night speaking forthrightly to an inquisitive audience eager to learn about alternative treatments to illnesses and diseases that he opines has confounded the best of medical doctors.
On Wednesday, Dr. Franco Taylor, a master herbalist and international health educator, followed Wilson, his mentor and teacher.
Clinel Walker, a life coach, medical missionary and chef trained at Wildwood Lifestyle Center in Wildwood, Ga., completed the seminar.
“Drugs don’t cure. Doctors manage diseases. They don’t cure diseases,” contends Wilson, then referencing Matthews 10:8: “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.”
Wilson is reputed worldwide. “I’m working everywhere now: India, Africa, South America, Europe. I’ve been to London I don’t know how many times,” he said. “I’m scheduled to go to New Zealand, Fiji Islands, Australia....”
A man with a huge tumor protruding from his face had practically given up hope until he heard about Wilson, who showed the audience the monstrosity during his PowerPoint presentation.
“The man wanted me to remove the tumor,” the missionary recalls. “I told him I didn’t have the experience. But he said he believed in me. He had faith.”
Because of the man’s faith, Wilson said the tumor was successfully removed. “My goal is to get people to live right, eat right, and the Holy Spirit will guide them in the right direction.”
“I believe it works,” said Gloria Singleton, attending the seminar with her younger sister, Vickie Fulton. “I started reading about herbs and plants 20 years ago trying to stay healthy the homeopathic way.”
Fulton, a firm believer herself, attended a month-long medical missionary training class last year at Wilson’s Centurion Ministry/Bible School of Health in Savannah, Tenn., an accredited school located approximately 116 miles from Memphis.
“I learned a lot about the healing process of the body,” said Fulton, a vegetarian who once struggled with body pain. “Mamon taught us to be in tune with our bodies. The healing is in nutritious foods.”
Singleton and Fulton relied on Mamon’s homeopathic remedies when their mother, Willie Bell Fulton, was gravely ill, bed-ridden, and told by doctors that she only had three days to live.
With Wilson’s guidance, Fulton said her mother defied the doctors’ prognosis and lived more than three weeks after her diet was changed and medicine bottles discarded.
“We were blessed that he helped us with Mom,” said Fulton, growing her own backyard vegetable garden and following Wilson’s prescribed homeopathic remedies for good health.
Wilson is making headway in the field of natural medicine. But there was a humble beginning. What inspired him was reading a book that was given to him called “The Ministry Of Healing.”
He once studied at the former Memphis Academy of Arts (now the Memphis College of Art) and obsessed with painting. But his career aspirations changed as he dove deeper into the art of healing.
The change didn’t come, however, until he left Memphis, his hometown, and moved to the mountains in East Tennessee at the onset of his ministry and lived five years in a rustic log cabin that he built from pine trees.
“There was no running water, no indoor toilet, nothing like that, just a wood stove,” he said. “It gave me five years’ time to appreciate nature, to learn about the trees, the bushes, herbs. I gained a new experience. The Holy Spirit was my teacher.”
While sojourning with nature, Wilson studied Indian herbal medicine, Russian folk medicine, tropical medicine, the Bible, and other books to fortify himself with knowledge and the Holy Spirit.
But he has not forgotten what drove him into homeopathy in the first place.
“My mother had lung cancer; she was a smoker. I asked the doctor if he could fix it. He said it couldn’t be fixed.”
Wilson was nine years old then and made a commitment to God that he would one day find a cure for cancer.
“God told me very clearly that, ‘I want you to take the most difficult cases in the world, because if you take the most difficult cases you’d have no competition.’”
Wilson complied and has since treated patients over the years with brain cancer, bone cancer, breast cancer, and prostrate cancer.
“God was with me every step,” he said.
(Mamon Wilson can be reached at Centurion Bible School of Health, P.O. Box 1302, Savannah, Tenn. 38372 or by telephone at 931-724-2246)