DES MOINES – It’s a group that caught our eye: an unlikely mix teaming up for an important cause.
Will Keeps has an incredible story. He had a rough childhood, and as a teen, he was left for dead on the streets of Chicago, beaten up by a group of about 30 people.
“Stabbed in the chest, gun pointed to my head, was jammed, got hit in the head with an aluminum bat,” said Keeps. “They left me for dead, man. They left me to bleed to death.”
Now his musical gifts are being used to bring people together to tackle the issues of violence.
“I’m trying to hit every angle,” said Keeps. “I sing the gospel, I sing the inspiring song, and I will get street with you.”
His latest work, “We Fight” collaborated with local schools and the Des Moines Police Department, as a way to promote unity.
“I’m ready to start saying these names of all the bad cops, the bad blacks, the bad whites, the bad whoever,” said Keeps. “I’m done with people saying everybody.”
Keeps’ “Wakeup Iowa” video caught the attention of the police chief Dana Wingert.
“This seemed like an interesting way to further that outreach, and Will’s heart is in the right place and obviously, he’s very, very talented,” said Wingert.
Keeps says he met Wingert about five years ago, when their daughters played sports together, and after a five minute acting crash course, Wingert was ready to help his old friend deliver the message.
“It’s sad, it’s tragic, it’s pointless, and it has lasting impact on communities and families and that’s kind of the message in the video.,” said Wingert.
“This dude is going to make a huge difference, and I’m so proud of him that he’s thinking outside the box,” added Keeps.
And as he looks back on who he was, Keeps wants his story to show others it can get better.
“You can come up out of anything. If I can do it, you could do it,” said Keeps.
Keeps’ goal is for the story and ideas of collaboration to gain traction across the state of Iowa, and eventually across the country. Look for his “We Fight” video to premiere on March 1. You can check out his website by clicking here.