It’s no secret the summer months inner city neighborhoods have historically correlated with increased incidents of crime. Nationally Syndicated Radio Host Papa Keith, in conjunction with 103.5 The Beat and Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jean Monestime, are hoping to set the tone for the summer in South Florida by creating awareness for gun violence with their third annual county-wide 24 Hour Cease Fire Campaign that will begin on Friday, June 14th at 7pm. In conjunction with the Cease Fire, Papa Keith will also host his third annual People Matter Music Fest that same weekend on Saturday, June 15th from 12noon-7pm at Gwen Cherry Parkin Liberty City. This annual festival is one that promotes unity, music, non-violence, and community engagement. The music fest is free and open to the public.
Papa Keith is no stranger to doing community work. Throughout his radio career, he has also been a prominent and passionate voice in the face of activism. His many year-round community pop-ups have gone into some communities where there tends to be a lack of resources and often a great deal of hopelessness. His PK4PM team has been able to provide free HIV Testing, free haircuts, food, and other services. We caught up with Papa Keith to find out where he gets his drive and inspiration from.
Tell us how People Matter Fest came about. How do you think that will help people?
People Matter Fest came about after years of being a part of community events where organizers were not successfully reaching young people. To me, they were creating events with guests they personally wanted to see versus providing a show that kids wanted to see. I also wanted to create an event that will work to end gun violence while also providing a first class Hip Hop music festival in Liberty City.
I think this festival will help people by showing them that they do in fact matter, that gun violence is something that needs to end and can end if we actually make real efforts to address the issue. This is a grassroots approach to solving this problem that the PK4PM team and I have created.
Where did you get the drive to continue even though things are hard?
My drive comes from my passion for seeing things change in the community, and the people are my drive. I genuinely care about the people in our inner-city communities and wanting to see their quality of life improve keeps me doing this work.
None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped you when things were tough? Can you share a story about that?
My wife– Jessica Walcott– is who I’m grateful for, and she’s helped me so much along the way. She’s my partner at home, and she is my right hand as we’ve created this foundation. I am a better person because of her. She’s seen me at lowest and highest points, and she’s been with me through it all. She’s a strong black woman, and I love her for that.
A story that recently sticks out in my mind is last year Jessica was running around the festival doing so much. She was handling volunteers, walked in our special guest Udonis Haslem, helped work the VIP section, helped vendors with any needs they had and so much more than that. She was going for like 18 hours straight. I was so proud of her and seeing her help me in this way showed me why I fell in love with her in the first place– it’s because she goes so hard working. This project is very much her passion as much as it is mine.
Also please know that I’m grateful for the entire PK4PM team. These people work for this festival free of charge, we start planning months in advance, and everyone does it with passion and love. I’m super grateful for them, and I could not do this without them.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
This platform of the People Matter Festival is how I’ve used my success to help the world.
You are a person of significant influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
This festival is the movement that I want to spark change in our community and eventually across the country.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Marcus Garvey has one of my favorite quotes of all time. It says, “If you have no confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life.” I love this quote because I always say having a knowledge of self is the first key to living a more fulfilled and enlightened life. I’m hoping that with the People Matter Fest we spark Knowledge of self as well to have young people to start valuing life in general.
Favorite book that you have read?
Honestly, I’m not that big of a reader lol. However, two books I’ve read in the past that I really enjoyed were “How not to get shot” by DL Hughley and the Autobiography of Malcolm X.
Instagram is my favorite because I really get to engage with my radio listeners.
If you weren’t a radio personality, what would you be doing?
This might sound weird or funny, but I wanted to be a Paramedic as a kid. I even started going to school for it after graduating high school, but I eventually, as you can see found my calling as a radio host. I have an affinity for gory things and seeing blood and broken flesh lol. I know it’s very different from radio, but it was something I felt like I would be good at. However, I see that being a radio jock has been very fulfilling, and I’m glad I’ve stuck with this all these years.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Instagram and Twitter @Papa_Keith and Papa Keith on Facebook and also follow @PeopleMatterFest on all social media platforms.