Devine is a community activist and motivational speaker who was appointed by the mayor of Lexington to run the nonprofit group ONE Lexington. Devine’s nonprofit aims to address and prevent crime among youth in his community.
Devine has been hosting various mentoring groups for over 10 years in different schools across Lexington with kids who have been impacted by gun violence. The purpose of his mentoring sessions is to minister and support kids in underserved communities before they get into the cycle of violence themselves.
“A lot of young adults are acting out because of suppressed and untreated trauma,” he told JHud. “We’re taught as young boys, be tough… We’re taught that being a man is keeping our feelings inside when really being a man is being able to express yourself.”
Devine recently went viral with a video of him teaching young boys about emotional intelligence. The video earned over 10 million views!
In the video, Devine pours water into a cup and asks a group of young men to tell him when to stop. They start screaming “Stop!” as it gets full.
The lesson is a visual representation of what can happen if your cup overflows — you’re left with a big mess. Devine said the purpose of the lesson is to teach young men the importance of sharing their feelings and expressing emotion.
Devine says he sees himself in many of the young kids and families he helps. He was once a struggling single father and faced many challenges. He turned his life around and now uses his experience to mentor kids and young adults.
He started his career as an Emmy-winning hip-hop artist. “We can’t forget, hip-hop was created to be a voice to the voiceless,” he told Jennifer. “For me, it was a natural transition from hip-hop to activism. “I got tired of rapping about positive things and I wanted to go into the streets and do positive things.”
Devine was recently recognized by Lexington’s mayor, city council members, and a senator because their city had one of the biggest drops in homicide nationwide from the work he does.
Devine is a “proud girl dad” and said he is inspired and motivated by his daughters to make the world a better place for them.
In 2020, his oldest daughter, Kamaria, passed away in a single car crash due to bad weather. She was in the middle of writing a grant to start a freedom school. Devine said he strives every day to keep her memory and legacy alive by continuing his work in the community.
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Devine revealed that he and his wife are currently expecting a baby girl! Jennifer surprised Devine with a bundle of baby clothes and toys to help celebrate his good news. She also invited Devine’s wife to come to the upcoming Mother’s Day special of “The Jennifer Hudson Show.”
How You Can Support ONE Lexington
ONE Lexington is looking for help mentoring youth and incarcerated young adults, providing transportation, and leading after-school programs.
If you can help or if your organization can contribute financially to support neighborhood-specific programs and services, submit your information via the nonprofit’s website at lexingtonky.gov/one-lexington.