A little over Two weeks ago, Houston native and Stellar Award winner, Jabari Johnson, lead praise and worship at the official homegoing celebration of George Floyd.
From the beginning of the wrongful death surfacing the internet, Johnson felt passionate about using his voice and platform to speak against police brutality.
“If I gotta be one of the few Christian artists that will step up, say that this is wrong and not only talk about it but actually do something about it- I’m wit it!”
Not only did Jabari show his stance in the current political matter by singing at the services for George Floyd, he also participated in local marches in his city (Houston) and used his influence to continue spreading awareness surrounding racial injustices African Americans continue to face every day.
“We were actually shot with tear gas and let me tell you something, that stuff hurts! I don’t think people understand. But, that’s what I went out there for… I just felt like I had to be there because we heard about Trayvon Martin getting killed, then we saw so many other people lose their life. Then this George Floyd situation just hit me right in the chest because he’s from Houston and I’m from Houston.”
When Jabari was asked to lead praise and worship he was honored. His goal was to sing songs that comforted the family and celebrated Floyd’s life.
“After that I had to take a couple of days off. That’s an experience I wish I didn’t have to go through… We sent him home the right way, great service. But, the truth of the matter is George Floyd should still be alive today… If I could turn back the hands of time, that’s something I wish I did not have to do.”
Jabari expressed his feelings on singing at the funeral services. He felt the experience was numbing and fulfilling at the same time. However, having involvement in protests, current news circulating around, to then seeing Floyd’s body lying in the casket, Jabari took some time for himself to regroup.
“I saw him leave this earth. I saw him take his last breath in a video and then we actually had to go there, sing at the service and see his body… I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t get real for me until I walk up there and saw his body I thought “Man, this is terrible.”
Currently, he is the lead guitarist at The Potter’s House in Dallas under the leadership of Bishop T.D. Jakes.
“It’s a great experience being at the church. Bishop Jakes is a great leader. It’s fun sitting there learning how to be a better man in business and everything.
After years of playing and writing music, in 2015, Jabari released “You Are Holy,” “More of You” and “You’re Good” in 2016.
He’s got a list full of gospel greats who’ve inspired him over the course of his career. Some he’s had the opportunity to meet and work with on a personal level.
“John P. Kee, Shirley Cesar, Carlton Pearson and big-name quartet groups such as Canton Spirituals, Lee Williams and the Spiritual QCs, etc… They really shaped my career, really my sound! I also had the chance to work with Canton Spirituals when I was 12 along with Keith Wonderboy Johnson.”
Additionally, he’s worked with other heavy hitters like Tye Tribet, John P. Kee, and Kirk Franklin.
In 2019, Johnson’s most noted single, “Have Your Way,” won a Stellar Award for Best New Artist. His win was a surprise to him and close friends. Till this day he makes sure to shine his award monthly.
“I didn’t think I was going to win because Phil Thompson was on the ballot, too. My song hasn’t even hit a million views on YouTube and his song is almost at 10! It was an honor.”