On The Writerâ€™s Block with AJ McQueen and Tray Briscoe
Written By: Gabby Turner of Houston TREND
In a city most known for swangin and bangin and sippin syrup, AJ McQueen and Tray Briscoe collaborated to bring something a little different to the Houston art scene. The Writerâ€™s Block, a venue showcasing positive talent in Houston, launched April 4, 2014. This past Fridayâ€™s event was displayed on a national scale with sponsorship from P. Diddyâ€™s Revolt TV and Rapzilla.com.
Although the Webster definition of writerâ€™s block can be related to the overall purpose of the venue, The Writerâ€™s Block is more like â€œa neighborhood, a platform to give artists a voice (from spoken word to music) to promote God-consciousness through the arts and help artists overcome issues. The writers own the block, meaning with God â€œthey can do all thingsâ€.
No stranger to overcoming issues, Motivational Speaker, Poet, Musician, and Author AJ McQueen, a native of St. Louis, grew up in a dysfunctional household with a lack of support. Seeing the road McQueen was going down, his mother sent him away to Houston for a summer to keep him out of trouble. He â€œstayed for a week with a highly Christian family. At the time, that wasnâ€™t something AJ was intoâ€. McQueen returned to St. Louis and to the same activity. He was later shot and that was the moment that changed his life. McQueen recalls â€œturning around and seeing what else he could doâ€. He began focusing on God and praying. Not seeing immediate change, he persisted and positive things began to happen for him.
Tray Briscoe, President of Still Trill Christians, can also attest to God saving his life. Growing up in Houston, he sold drugs and was in even in a clique. On the basketball team, Briscoe was a teammate to a son of a pastor. He often received words of encouragement and invitations to church from the pastor as he continued to sell drugs and walk down the wrong path. One day he decided to attend church and it sparked a desire to change, but those werenâ€™t the only obstacles they would have to overcome.
In trying to spread Godâ€™s word and a more positive message to the youth, a lot of noâ€™s were received. â€œPeople focus more so on Christian than artist and are no longer interestedâ€. However, they did not give up. They went on to become the recipients of the Service Achievement Award from the White House, features on BETâ€™s 106 & Park, The Stellar Awards and many more. â€œYou cannot take away what God inspiredâ€.
McQueen and Briscoe are living proof of their belief that â€œGod opens doors but He is not a magician, have a great work ethic, have the talent and a great business sense or teamâ€. The Writerâ€™s Block being a door opened by God, created from His vision and will be the start of a new movement. â€œItâ€™s a movement, but also a business. This movement will change the worldâ€.
The Writerâ€™s Block has something for artists at every stage with components like â€œThe Cornerâ€ to help those more up and coming, who may not be ready to get on the â€œblockâ€ display their talent and get a following. The site has also been launched for the showcase, www.Onthewritersblock.com, which was designed to help get the word out about the movement offering news, a top ten list, events in your city, virtual writing sessions and artists or poets of the month. The showcase will be the first Friday of every month from 8pm to 11pm, at St. John North West 8787 North Rosslyn, Houston, Texas 77088. Tickets cost $10 when purchased on the website and $15 at the door.