North Omaha Group is Building Community One Meal, One Movie at a Time | national news


A preview of this month’s events in the Omaha Metro.

The nachos had been served, the picnic tables were cleared, so it was André Right’s turn to take the microphone.

On a Sunday evening Sept. 10, in the shadow of the Bryant Center at 24th and Burdette streets, the Christian rapper shared his story of grief and hope with those who gathered at the picnic tables in front of him.

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Like too many young black people, he had lost a loved one to gun violence. And, like too many people, he remembers that time in his teens when his future was so bleak, he contemplated suicide.

And then, he says, God provided an answer: Music and poetry. That’s what brought him, at age 30, to this playground in the heart of Omaha’s poorest neighborhoods, rapping about hope.

“Starting from scratch, but God did something about it,” he rapped to families and community members as he played several songs he had written.

The event is part of a 20-week family series called Untamed Summer Community Engagement. The series is hosted by Untamed, a core group organized by the Wells family: Sherman, Kachelle, and their daughter, Shamyla.

Sherman Wells says creating safe and free recreational opportunities — in neighborhoods — is key to supporting families in North Omaha.

The work is personal to Wells and his family.

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Andre Right, a Christian rapper, with his wife, Bunny, at their merchandise booth during a performance at the Bryant Center on Sunday.

“I come from two of the biggest families in Omaha, and if something (violent) happens, chances are we’re either the victim or the aggressor,” he said.

In the Sunday audience sat mothers and children, grandfathers and babies. There were those who had lost loved ones to gun violence and those who had survived attacks themselves.

Right said his shows aimed to change the public narrative about black life in Omaha. He and his wife, Bunny, are co-owners of music of blessed lifea company centered around its music, message, and related clothing line.

“It’s about positivity and hope,” he said. “It’s about showing people that we can love people, that we can do more than just kill and drug. It’s about bringing the community together.”

In addition to Sunday meals and entertainment, Untamed co-hosted Friday night movies at the Bryant Center with IslandChill402, a mobile slushy company owned by Shawnie Hernandez.

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Andre Right, a Christian rapper, performed at the Bryant Center on Sunday for the Untamed Summer Community Engagement series.

The movies, including titles like “Minions” and “American Son,” drew around 100 people.

Sunday night fixtures continue at the Bryant Center through Oct. 9. Next Sunday, Togolese musician Kusher Snazzy will perform. Sunday entertainment is free and takes place from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The series is funded by a $10,000 city return grant and the organizers’ personal funds, Wells said. Return grants come from sales taxes generated near the CHI Health Center in Omaha.

The Bryant Center is owned and operated by St. Benedict the Moor Catholic Church, the only black Catholic church in Nebraska.


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