On The Writer’s Block with AJ McQueen and Tray Briscoe

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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 Writer’s Block, a venue showcasing positive talent in Houston, launched April 4, 2014. This past Friday’s event was displayed on a national scale with sponsorship from P. Diddy’s Revolt TV and Rapzilla.com.

Although the Webster definition of writer’s block can be related to the overall purpose of the venue, The Writer’s Block is more like “a 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 “they can do all things”.

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 “stayed for a week with a highly Christian family. At the time, that wasn’t something AJ was into”. 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 “turning around and seeing what else he could do”. 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 weren’t the only obstacles they would have to overcome.

In trying to spread God’s word and a more positive message to the youth, a lot of no’s were received. “People focus more so on Christian than artist and are no longer interested”. However, they did not give up. They went on to become the recipients of the Service Achievement Award from the White House, features on BET’s 106 & Park, The Stellar Awards and many more. “You cannot take away what God inspired”.
McQueen and Briscoe are living proof of their belief that “God opens doors but He is not a magician, have a great work ethic, have the talent and a great business sense or team”. The Writer’s Block being a door opened by God, created from His vision and will be the start of a new movement. “It’s a movement, but also a business. This movement will change the world”.

The Writer’s Block has something for artists at every stage with components like “The Corner” to help those more up and coming, who may not be ready to get on the “block” 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.

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