Walking in the shadow of fame and being showered with gifts and admiration was subject of an Oct. 21 sermon to a jam-packed prison chapel by Gabriel Cannon, the brother of superstar Nick Cannon, who said that worldly goods and special treatment did not bring him happiness.
Gabe Cannon told an audience of more than 300 in- mates, some sitting in folding chairs along the aisles, about his interview with Rapzilla. He said as Nick’s fame grew, he was “thrilled to just be identified” as his little brother.
Celebrity status, however, caused him to lose focus on his real self and “put on these outward things.”
As he tried keeping up an image of notoriety, he told himself, “Now I have to turn it up. I have to give you this expectation of who you think I am. I did this to the point where I lost myself.”
Today, Gabe Cannon says, he’s on a “new journey, one ordained by God.”
San Quentin residents, Kenneth “HQ” Hawkins and Calvin Johnson, invited Gabe to speak to Graced Out, the prison’s Youth Ministry.
“I’ve never been to a church like this in my life,” said Hawkins. “When I got here, I was holding back my tears because I felt the Holy Spirit.”
Hawkins said when Graced Out Ministries took him in, “it was a perfect fit.”
“I never fit in anywhere. My neighborhood was not full of White people, but I adapted,” Hawkins said. “The story of my life is never fitting in, but here at church and Graced Out, I fit in. We are all there on the same page.”
Scheduled to get out of prison two days after giving this interview, the 26-year-old Calvin Johnson said, “The whole youth ministry is preparing me to be a father to my five-year-old daughter. I will follow Christ and be the best father that I can be.”
Hawkins said that he wanted Gabe Cannon to experience Graced Out, too.
“I asked him if he’s willing to drive eight hours and give his testimony to a bunch of inmates and he said, ‘cool.’”
Incarcerated minister, Ferrari Moody gave a 10-minute sermon. Afterward, he asked for those who have not accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, to come forward.
“There were about 20 people inviting Christ into their lives,” said Hawkins.
Standing before the crowd, Gabe Cannon talked about Hawkins (“HQ”).
“When I talk to HQ, I was wondering: how is he calling from jail, to encourage me?” Gabe said. “He’s full of passion and love.” He added, in a joking manner, “and when you hear that you only have 30 seconds left on a call — I asked HQ, Don’t it piss you off? ‘No,’ he said—with love.”
Hawkins is scheduled to be released from San Quentin on Nov. 19. He has plans to return with Gabe Cannon for what he calls the “Graced Out Christian Rap Tour.”
“We would like to give concerts and testimonies at all the prisons,” Hawkins said. “The fact that it was at San Quentin is a perfect push. I know that it was God in all aspects.”