Last week, while in town for a meet and greet at the University of Delaware to promote his self-help book, How to Get Out of Your Own Way, singer, actor and author Tyrese Gibson stopped by a local elementary school to surprise a group of youngsters for their outstanding academic achievement. The school visit was part of Communities in Schools, an organization whose mission is to decrease the dropout rate in urban neighborhoods, of which the Watts, California, native is a member.
When the Fast Five star arrived after a two-hour drive from Washington D.C., he wanted to grab a caffeinated beverage at a store across the street from the school. What he discovered was a liquor store, one which sold only hard liquor. Tyrese told BET.com in an exclusive interview that seeing this store directly across the street deeply troubled him, saying, “I think the personalities and the energy that a liquor bank attracts should not be that close to innocent kids.”
So, when Gibson stopped by KISS 101.7 to promote his new album, Open Invitation, he couldn’t help but speak on the incident he just experienced. He says his comments were no rant, it was in fact genuine concern, telling listeners, “I think this whole thing of having liquor banks directly across the street from schools, ain’t cool man.” The station’s program director thought that Tyrese’s tone was condescending to listeners and asked that he vacate the building and two days later said that the singer’s music, once in heavy rotation, would be banned until he gave an on-air apology.
But Gibson, who “lost his childhood” to his mother’s alcohol abuse — she’s been sober for four years now — says, “I’m not going to apologize.” He goes on to say, “And I don’t care that they’re not playing my music, my position will never change.”
Always a man of his word, Tyrese is also promising fans that his new album is his greatest yet. Working with new songwriters and producers, the singer says he had 13 people working around the clock for three weeks in his Los Angeles area home recording the record. Tyrese gloats, “This is the best album of my R&B career. I didn’t go to seven or eight producers like I normally do, so you feel the spirit, the consistent energy from one song to the next. It’s all connected. It’s not one of those albums that’s going to let you down.
Open Invitation will be on sale November 1.