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Easter services took on a new flavor for one Buffalo congregation Sunday morning, as rapper Bow Wow joined the Rev. Darius Pridgen on stage in Kleinhans Music Hall to urge youth to stay away from violence and guns and to focus instead on education.

Bow Wow, 26, a singer, actor and television host of BET’s “106 & Park” show, told the packed music hall about his own experiences growing up in the inner city with a single mother who worked two jobs and “preached education before everything.” He emphasized the importance of his upbringing in helping him to avoid crime or other urban trouble.

“I was once just like you. I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth,” said the rapper, a Columbus, Ohio, native whose father was “in and out” of his life because of alcohol.

“You’ve got to stay on the right path … It works. If you look at any of your heroes, they all started at the bottom. They all started in the inner city, but that doesn’t mean you have to be a statistic,” said Bow Wow, dressed entirely in black, with tattoos up and down his arms. “It doesn’t make you much of a man to have a gun.”

Capping the annual two-hour holiday service that Pridgen’s True Bethel Baptist Church holds in popular venues, Bow Wow stood on stage with the minister and spoke of “surrounding myself with the right people,” listening to them, and always staying positive.

“You’ve got to know right from wrong. That’s why you do see me always out of trouble and doing positive things,” he told the capacity crowd of more than 3,000, which filled both the lower and upper floors as well as an overflow room. “You gotta believe. You gotta listen to your parents and grandparents and go down that positive path.”

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article courtesy of BCNN1.com

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