Mistah F.A.B. uses Thug Therapy to inspire men in Richmond

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Mistah F.A.B. uses Thug Therapy to inspire men in Richmond
Mistah F.A.B. (Photos by Mike Kinney)

By Mike Kinney

Oakland rap legend and entrepreneur Mistah F.A.B. brought his Thug Therapy course to over 100 men in Richmond Thursday.

He’s aiming to use his personal struggles with mental health to help other men become positive contributors in their communities, particularly those impacted by the justice system.

Also a community organizer, activist and author, Stanley “Mistah F.A.B.” Cox penned the book, T.H.U.G. Therapy Journal, an interactive journal to help men set goals and plan their lives accordingly. On Thursday, he brought that book and message to CoBiz Richmond on Macdonald Avenue for an event in partnership with the local group Men’s Holding Space.

About half the men in attendance were formerly incarcerated individuals who are now trying to make amends for past offenses. Mistah F.A.B. walked in wearing a sweatshirt that read “The Devil made it easy for you” on the front and “So God made it hard for you” on the back. He challenged men who may be unwilling to acknowledge their past traumas to consider alternative steps that provide a pathway toward building community.

The event included discussion circles that enabled participants to tell their stories and talk about issues concerning them. Youth were challenged to spend the next 20 years doing things that are positive rather than spending that time in prison.

 “We all grew up in a survival mode and now we need to heal,” Mistah F.A.B. said. “Our bones and bodies carry trauma.”

All attendees received a free copy of Mistah F.A.B.’s book.

The rapper doesn’t consider himself a role model, but a “real model.”

“Things happen in life and I want to keep evolving as a real person,” he said.

Men’s Holding Space was brought to CoBiz Richmond during the COVID pandemic in partnership with Motivated to Help Others, Fierce Advocates, and 1 Hundred Years Enterprise Foundation. The latter organization is run by Lejon Fahim Reese, Dante Gaines, and Patrick Hamza Scott. These men entered the prison pipeline as teenagers and collectively spent 100 years incarcerated. They are on a mission to serve the community they once hurt, through storytelling, mentorship, workshops, and community engagement.

1 Hundred Years Enterprise is based out of CoBiz, a high-tech coworking space and business incubator. CoBiz was a project of eQuip Richmond, the economic revitalization initiative funded by Chevron Richmond that provides members with access to state-of-the-art facilities and expert incubator services and resources.