Gangmember-Turned-Activist Shares Secrets of His Success in Autobiography
Beaverton, OR. September 9, 2013 –Many people measure success according to a person’s income or job title. They might also look at who you know, where you live or what kind of car you drive. By all accounts, David William Jackson, Jr., is a successful man. Under the alias O.G. One, he is a nationally recognized deejay and music producer. He is CEO of his own company and founder of a non-profit mentoring organization. His website features photos of him with celebrities such as Rihanna and Neyo. Jackson, however, uses a different yardstick to measure his success—one based on his faith in God and helping those in need.
When asked what one thing he is most proud of, Jackson said, “Still having a desire to believe in God.”
Looking at where Jackson is today, it is easy to dismiss his claim. After all, how hard is it to believe in God when the blessings are abundant and plentiful? Definitely not as difficult as it might be for a child raised in a physically and emotionally abusive environment or a young man caught up in gang violence. Yet there is where Jackson found—and held on to—his faith.
Jackson shares his life story in The Man Behind the Music: The Life & Times of David William “O.G.ONE” Jackson (Ellechor eBooks & Co., July 2014). Co-authored with Rochell D. Hart, Jackson’s autobiography is a candid message meant to inspire.
“I would like to believe that my one decision to better my life has inspired others, so I believe there are others like me, male and female, who need to know that they’re not alone,” Jackson said.
The son of a young and misguided single mother and loving but absent father, Jackson’s childhood was one of transient, impoverished chaos. His mother seemingly settled down after joining the Ecclesia Athletic Association, a religious organization founded by Eldridge Broussard, Jr., in the Watts area of Los Angeles. However, the media frenzy that erupted following the beating death of Broussard’s 8-year-old daughter depicted the group as a violent, oppressive cult. This exposé resulted in more than 50 children were removed from the group’s commune. Four members were charged and convicted of first-degree manslaughter for the young girl’s death—one of whom was Jackson’s own mother.
One of the few constants in Jackson’s life was music. Some of his first memories are of watching his musician father rehearse, listening to Motown classics with his grandmother and sitting in church services reverberating with soulful hymns. At Christmas and birthdays, Jackson’s father would gift him with some type of musical instrument, inspiring a deep and lifelong passion which would eventually lead Jackson on to success.
It was several years before Jackson finally severed ties with Ecclesia Athletic Association. Despite the manipulation and violence, the group gave members a sense of belonging and acceptance. When Jackson left the organization, he had few friends and even fewer options. He worked numerous menial jobs to try and make ends meet for himself and his young family. One of the first turning points in Jackson becoming the man he is today occurred when he applied for a job working with gang-affected youth. It was during these program events that Jackson began spinning records. When a local promoter invited him to deejay for a Run DMC and Naughty by Nature concert, he was in. Leveraging his contacts and budding reputation, Jackson sought out opportunities to produce music.
Always with an ear cocked for what God had to say about the direction his life should take, Jackson walked through the doors that opened and didn’t look back on the windows that closed. He simultaneously cultivated his career and continued his involvement with at-risk youth, racking up parallel lists of achievements. He has deejayed events for artists such as Jay-Z, Brian McKnight, Snoop Dogg and 50 Cent. His community activism encompasses motivational speaking, mentoring, fund raising, philanthropy and the establishment of his own non-profit organization.
The Man Behind the Music isn’t a “how to get rich quick” tale nor is it the candy-coated story of poor-boy-makes-good. However, Jackson does reveal the secrets of his success—knowledge he gained through his own struggles to believe in his self-worth and to find his purpose in life: “Someone believing in me when I didn’t know how to believe in myself. Surrounding myself will information and people that enhanced the belief that I was worthy of love and success, and lastly, making a very conscious choice of who and what I wanted to be and going after it.”
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