“I truly believe at times when I’m working in my studio in my garage, that Tay is saying “keep going, keep working.”
– Jamahl Turner on being lead artist of the Moody Park Project.
Jamahl Turner & Art Fu Yung
At the age of 15, Jamahl Turner set foot in the city of Milwaukee for the very first time. He didn’t know it then, but he was about to embark on a journey that would lead him into the ears of residents across the city as a musician, and visually as an artist.
Born in Miami, FL, Turner’s childhood saw him call multiple cities home due to his father’s job as a sales manager for TV and radio stations. He lived in Miami, Chicago, and Pittsburgh, before finally landing in Milwaukee after his parent’s divorce resulted in him moving to the city with his mom and younger sister.
Tapping into music as a way to express himself, Turner began his rapping career in 2007, before releasing his first album in 2009 while forming the hip-hop group Pharaoh Mac & DMT. Becoming well known in the city as “King Pharaoh”, Turner spent the next 8 years dedicated to music before transitioning to art full time, launching his own company Art Fu Yung in 2017.
Accumulating a total of 14 years of work in the field of arts, Turner’s experience and vision made him the ideal selection to be lead artist of the Moody Park Project, where he’ll design and paint 3 basketball courts in the park in coordination with Activate Co and various Milwaukee Community Partners.
Honoring Quanita “Tay” Jackson
The project is being done in part to honor the life of 20-year-old Quanita “Tay” Jackson, who was shot and killed at the park on August 25th, 2019, just one day after she organized a basketball tournament there to promote peace in the community.
With that in mind, Turner has designed each basketball court to honor the life of Jackson and her legacy of service, while simultaneously providing kids who visit the park with hope and inspiration.
“This here is an opportunity to influence Milwaukee youth, to teach Milwaukee youth mental health awareness,” said Turner. “To teach them about manifestations-to tap in and shift their paradigm. By shifting their mindset they can truly become greatness. They don’t have to be victims of their surroundings. I don’t want them to feel like they’re stuck anymore.”
Moody Park consists of 3 basketball courts that geometrically form to create a triangle. Turner has designed each court to correlate with the other, beginning with the court in the bottom right corner of the triangle, which he has entitled The Genesis Court.
The main color concept of the Genesis Court is green, which symbolizes a green light: a starting point, a beginning of an action, and a recycling of energy.
“Green is about energy,” said Turner. “It references taking action in terms of going, recycling the energy, and making sure you’re putting it back to where it needs to be.”
“I call it the Genesis because this is where we all start and come from,” he continued. Our cornerstone: family, friends, and community is formed with a foundation. Can’t know where we our headed without being knowledgeable of where we come from; with that we progress.”
CALL TO ACTION COURT
From there he moves onto the next court, which he has entitled The call to action Court. This court is located in the bottom left corner of the triangle and is closest to Burleigh street, which is the direction where the stray bullet was shot from that struck and killed the late Quanita “Tay” Jackson.
The design of the court will pay homage to her memory, and the main color concept of it will be purple, which was Jackson’s favorite color. Purple symbolizes royalty, wisdom, and spirituality.
“That court is supposed to remind people of something like Wakanda,” said Turner. “When you come here, this is your homeland.”
Turner wanted to ensure he recognizes the loss of Tay Jackson in the design of the court, while also presenting a call to action in it as well, keeping the peace. The court will also include a runway on it called the Tayway.
“We become coherent with life, moving effortlessly in concert with all the surrounding elements,” said Turner. We learn from life events, to become the change that changes everything; to emulate the God within us and inspire.”
THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS
The final basketball court design is entitled Thoughts and Prayers. Located at the top of the triangle, this court represents an amassing of the two previous courts coming together. The main color concept of the court will be blue.
“If you wish to understand the universe; think this is the last court you need to take flight,” said Turner. “Coal under pressure forms diamonds. That’s why the court is blue to reassemble a new diamond. The mindset you had at day 1 created this person in you today.”
“With understanding and becoming one with the infinite mind we elevate,” he continued. “Our thoughts and prayers become well received, our trials and tribulations change our resilience and mindset, shifting paradigms from being victims to victorious. The gone are never forgotten, their emulated through our actions and our decisions-ultimately achieving salvation.”
The court will also include quotes by the late rapper Nipsey Hussle that will be strategically placed to spark inspiration in its readers. The goal is to also have quotes of encouragement around each basketball court that kids can read while they play.
“Imagine you just so happen to look down and there’s a quote by someone saying, don’t quit – keep going,” said Turner.
New Courts Coming July 2021
All three courts are expected to be completely repainted by July 17th, when they’ll be officially unveiled to the community.
“The thing I have learned over the course of this project is that I have an opportunity to inspire those who are 15 years old, that whatever you put your mind on you can do it,” said Turner. You can bring it to life, you can truly achieve greatness.”