Written by: Sarah Chase
In 2001, Frederick Whitlow found himself in New Orleans working as a chaplain in a juvenile prison. At the prison he worked with boys serving time from nine to life to provide counseling services as well as religious services. Whitlow had already been to the prison to share the word of God in an unconventional way: rapping.
Whitlow rapped bible verses and the one that stuck the most was John eight, a story of a woman who was found in adultery, yet she had no accusers. Jesus ended up telling the woman to “go and sin no more.” A message that the people of New Orleans needed.
“Everybody was riding dirty in [New Orleans]. So, I said I am going to flip it. I started a series to help the kids start a positive lifestyle called No More Dirty and that is how it became. Every chapel service and every church service in the juvenile prison was called No More Dirty. We would chant ‘No More Dirty! No More Dirty’ and that was my way of saying you do not have to ride dirty,” Whitlow said.
After Katrina, Whitlow moved back to Huntsville, Alabama, but still had the passion of helping kids involved in trouble and poverty. Deciding to keep the message of his first idea, No More Dirty became a non-profit radio and TV organization set to inspire youth through “21st century interventions and past modern solutions.” Rather than just giving out a check, Whitlow wants his organization to be hands on in their purpose. He strives to do this best by hosting his No More Dirty live shows every Saturday at 2p.m.
“The mission is to transform lives by doing the work that nobody really wants to do. We want to do this so that people in poverty can not only be economically free, but debt free, and live a high quality life, not just a quality of life and that they really can be able to rebuild their family,” Whitlow said. “We want to help people see that poverty is just a situation to overcome, especially black and brown. We have been impacted so greatly the past 450 years and now we want to help our community get out of these situations.”
The No More Dirty sessions are an hour and half of laughter, singing, dancing, talking and most importantly interviewing the black and brown voices of Huntsville and Madison. The preparation for a show lasts throughout the week. On Sunday the team preps the set for Monday night, which is reserved to do the encore presentation for who they have on Saturday.
“Then we prep our guests on Tuesday, we try to have a meeting to make sure that everybody is on one accord. We then make sure our lights and everything is in tune. Then we actually prepare for Wednesday night where we do a TV show and that actually includes green-screening, lighting, camera shoots, and then a wardrobe change that is all black-owned. It takes about two hours to shoot and three to four hours to edit. We usually just work Monday, Wednesday and Friday,” Whitlow said.
The work is not only technical, but creative as well. Whitlow surrounds himself with his team that gives their insight. The content mostly comes from the issues that need to be addressed affecting the community. Whitlow and his team strive to work solution based rather than problem based.
“Content creation, of course, is inspiration, spiritual inspiration. It is usually what is happening in the moment. I have the best team in the world. We have DJ Sizahanz who gives a different perspective, Professor X, Dray Drummer, sister Dawes who is our prayer team person, but the content really comes from what is happening in our community and then how do we come up with a solution,” Whitlow said. “Even though there is a problem we start with the end game. Then we double back with the videos, dialogue and the concept.”
Whitlow has been able to change the lives of many, even the members of his team. Dray LaBorde, who is the co-host of the Bible, Beats and Bars session, recalls when he was younger and the effect Whitlow had on him.
“He had this movement, which was strictly Jesus going and to see him everywhere in the community doing these types of things, how he is mixing religious values to community problems that we have is really cool. It also correlates to my personal views on life, so it was a no brainer to just learn and glean from Minister Fred,” LaBorde said.
Whitlow’s movement continues to spread the word of God, but more importantly that a person really just needs a “foundational piece.” For Whitlow, religion has brought him through his past periods where he recalls having nothing and God brought him back.
“I have learned if I was willing to take the risk to believe God is bigger than any of my problems, he will show me how big He is,” Whitlow said. “You have to at least give somebody a chance to prove who they are. It is the Jesus platform. I do whatever he did and just flip it to today.”
No More Dirty has been around for seven and a half years. Whitlow has given his time to make sure that he continues to create change in his communities. Marcus Nelson, who is also known as DJ Sizahanz the producer, co-host and DJ for the Bible, Beats and Bars sessions, wants people to know just how much No More Dirty means to Fred.
“Fred has dedicated his life, I mean it is pretty obvious, but I can vouch that he has dedicated his life and well being for the betterment of the community,” Nelson said. “ He wants to see people better themselves, communities, families, black and brown and everybody else.”
Whitlow’s dedication will not end anytime soon as he has plans for the future of No More Dirty. He aspires it to be a company that provides wealth to black communities and families. He wants No More Dirty to keep giving a platform where the dreams of the young can come true. His overall plan is to make sure that those that do not have an example of what accomplishing a goal looks like, sees it at No More Dirty.
“I see No More Dirty as being that parent company that then actually develops and launches people into becoming executives, black excellence in whatever area of expertise. I am going to help young people do the same things adults are doing and do it within a two to five year range. So by the time you get to that adult age, by watching what we are doing with our smart programs, summer initiatives, the greatness project, they will already be able to do what it is they love and their content will be clean,” Whitlow said. “The goal is to provide internships for those 13 to18 and for me, I want to never have to lose the autonomy of creativity.”
Whitlow wants every listener to know, even if it is their first or 100th listen, that no pain nor hardship lasts forever. His message is that whatever his listeners do, they can be successful in it without doing it dirty.
“Whatever your toughest moment is, it is not your last moment,” Whitlow said. “You tuned into the number one show that is going to help you see that you can do this and that you can do it without using negative, illegal, immoral or unethical means. If you want to get this money, you do not have to sell drugs to get it. If you want to be a great artist, you do not have to do this or that to be it. You just have to do hard work, research, and be consistent with balance. Have time to rest, time for spiritual means and support. If you do not find those, hopefully our show or our platform in any form helps you find one of those 21st century interventions.”