J-ROC and the Musical Legacy of Crane, Texas
On Saturday night in the Permian Basin, there will be something called a “Leadership Revival” at the Wagner Noel Performing Arts Center. Panel discussions, music, and interpretive dance.
The John Ben Shepperd Leadership Institute is in Odessa. It’s dedicated to serious civic issues. Their annual lecture series has featured presentations from political leaders such as Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee, Karl Rove, Mikhail Gorbachev…
Wait, what? That’s Dr. Robert Brescia, Executive Director of the Leadership Institute, in his office, talking about their upcoming event. On Saturday, they present a little-known West Texas native.
At this year’s Grammy Awards, J-Roc added two more trophies to his shelf. He co-wrote and co-produced the Best R&B Song, Pusher Love Girl, by Justin Timberlake, as well as Best Rap Collaboration for Holy Grail’with Jay-Z.
It began in this one-story grey-brick home on Crane Street in Crane Texas. But back, then there was no such thing as J-Roc.
Actually tell you the truth when he was here in school, we called him Leslie, because Leslie is his first name. His full name is Leslie Jerome Harmon.My name is Daniel Todd – this is my front yard of my house here in Crane. I am the band director at Crane High School. I've been the band director for the last 21 years.
Mr. Todd explains the rich legacy of the band program in Crane and – at a time when small school districts are cutting back - a current investment in the arts.
And at half-time at a Crane football game, there’s no rush to the concession stand.
After high school, J-Roc went to college in New Mexico. His first break was singing with Kirk Franklin a gospel star in Fort Worth. Now that he’s J-Roc and he’s running with Beyonce and Jay-Z, maybe he’s too big for the little brick house on Crane Street?
He not only gave a speech at his alma mater, but he also gave 16 thousand dollars in scholarships for students going into the arts. And that, according to Mr. Todd, is the gift that keeps giving.
It’s Wednesday night in Crane, which means it’s a church night for Daisy and Jackie Jeffrey. Prayer session, bible study, and then there’s singing. Gospel is the music they love. At their home you might even catch a country song. But one of J-Roc’s hits? Beyonce’s Drunk Lover? Justin Timberlake’s Suit and Tie?
Mrs. Jeffrey is still in touch with the boy she took in as her on. They talk every few days. J-Roc has won several Grammy Awards. But you get the sense, sitting on her couch, that Daisy has turned out more than a few winners.