An event that combines storytelling with live music with the purpose of spreading hope.
My name is Demetrius Johnson, but most people call me “D” or by my nickname “Deacon”. For the last six years my wife and I have hosted a live music storytelling event to not only entertain folks, but to do it with a hope-filled message. I am unapologetically a Jesus follower and believe people should be informed of the hope we have in him. I also enjoy good music, rocking with my peeps, and chilling at a nice lounge or bar. We figured, why can’t we just create a dope vibe for people to lounge, hear sensible music, be entertained, and do it with a purpose?
So, we started having The Soap Box; an event where music and storytelling collide with the purpose of spreading hope. We want to purchase a venue to host these events more frequently and become a staple outreach in the surrounding communities. Having our own place will not only allow us to produce more events, it will give us more freedom to share our platform and resources with aspiring artists, so they can hone their talents. We also, intend to use the space to partner with local school districts (specifically the career tech and fine arts programs) to help students receive community service hours and develop portfolios in the their respective areas (such as: graphic design; audio & light engineering; hospitality; etc.).
The concept began years ago after I’d recorded my first album. I decided to put together a setlist of my original songs, along with other popular tunes, and perform them at a local venue near my home. The purpose was to give listeners some of what they wanted to hear infused with what I believed they needed to hear, which was a message of hope. Conversely, that opportunity never happened. However, years later as I began to write songs again, the idea re-spawned and this time I named it. At that point in my life I had been asking myself, “what am I supposed to do with these songs, and all this experience from my life?” I had a lot to say, but no platform. And that’s when it hit me; I’ll create one. So now, after more than twenty events produced, we’ve entertained approximately five thousand viewers and attendees locally and through live streaming.
These past several years have been both exciting and frustrating at times. Mainly because we’ve had to rent different venues at times to host these events. This has been a major momentum killer because we weren’t able to establish consistency. Currently, we are without a venue due to a management change with the previous establishment we’ve rented from. That is why we need your help. The funds raised by this campaign will provide us with the startup costs including: the purchase of a venue so we can consistently offer The Soap Box, remodeling costs (to create the lounge vibe we want), licenses/permits, technology equipment, professional service fees (legal; finance), and payroll (to hire someone to manage operations) in order to produce more events at a consistent rate.
Our projected timeline post kickstarter campaign is as follows:
Dec 4, 2020 – Apply for commercial real-estate loan
Dec 7, 2020 – Hiring search for operations manager
Mar 4, 2021 – Property closing
Mar 5, 2021 – Begin remodeling
Apr 24, 2021 – First event
The budget is $144,618.24 to get things rolling.
I have an expression that says, “a person’s talent will entertain for a moment, but an inspiring story will resonate forever.” We all have a stories to tell, and I believe if we’re willing to share them they could ultimately help others. I genuinely care for people and have typically tried to share my faith in Jesus with them in a way that promotes love. So many people have lost their way and I just want to point them towards the light at the end of the tunnel.