In 2005 Khalid Bey ran a Democratic Party primary race challenging incumbent Tom Seals for the 4th Common Council District seat. He lost, but he says he learned a lot about issues in the community, and about how so many of them seem to linger. But he also learned about efforts by many people to deal with those issues, even when, at times, they seem insurmountable. "You know what the issues are," he reflects now. "You know what people are attempting to do to improve their communities. Ultimately, to satisfy the situation, you have to find a middle ground."
He says his life lessons have taught him to seek the middle ground in everything. Born here, he grew up in Central Village and on the city's southside. He attended Virginia State University from 1990 to '94, without getting a degree because he stopped playing sports and money became an issue. Coming back to town he gained stature as a rap artist, and landed a big, very big contract with SONY, although, he notes, it was marketability rather than music that cemented the deal.
After a decade of touring in pursuit of an entertainment career, including headlining a Billboard-BET conference in New York City and a couple of video shots on the black network, he left the music industry. In an attempt to reduce tensions in the local conflict between youth on the city's east and south sides, he formed and produced a group called the Ruffians. Their potential was realized at a CD release party at a club on neutral turf. "We had people from every side of town," he recalls, "and it was flawless. It even mended some old conflicts."
That experience is an example of the perspective he wants to bring to the city's legislative deliberations.
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