Grammy-winning artist John Forte speaks to Danville youth

January 18th, 2011

Forte spread a message of personal and community change

9:34 p.m. EST, January 18, 2011

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Grammy-winning hip-hop artist John Forte was in Danville Tuesday evening, speaking to kids and community members about his life at the top and his dramatic fall to the bottom.

Forte is probably best know for his time with the Fugees in the 90’s. He also had success as a solo artist.

Most of the children in attendance Tuesday hadn’t ever heard of John Forte, the Fugees, Lauryn Hill or Wyclef Jean, but his cautionary message of music, drugs and eventually jail, resonated with his audience.

The John Forte of the 90’s–performing live with the Fugees, on stage, world tours, Grammy winning records–is a different John Forte from today.

“The music is a reflection of where I’ve been, who I am and perhaps where I am going,” said Forte.

He’s still a musician, but after spending eight years in prison for drug-related crimes, now, his music is used differently.

“My tale is a cautionary tale,” said Forte. “I don’t want to tell them how to live their lives, I want to tell them I how I lived my life and if they find some instruction in that then I think I’m doing my job.”

Forte spoke to the Danville Boys and Girls Club before selling out more than 500 tickets to a live performance in the evening.

Youth groups, community members and high schoolers attended to hear his message.

“Even though you may fall down, you can rise above it and be successful. It’s a positive thing for the children to see that,” said Maurice Dodson, a Danville resident who attended the music event with a group of 20 students from Martinsville.

“To me, it’s inspriring. It makes me want to tell my friends, drugs is not good and I think you should resolve to do something better,” said Danville teen Donta Goods.

“These are just life lessons I’ve had to experience, and I’m trying to impart it to anyone who will listen,” said Forte of his new mission.

The two events in Danville were sponsored by the Danville Regional Foundation.