Moses Leviy, or Shyne as you may know him, was deported to Belize on
October 28th and made his first public comments at Wesley College on Monday
November 2nd. But since then Belize’s most famous deportee has kept a
low profile, shuttling quietly between his penthouse at the Renaissance Tower
and a San Pedro resort. But today Shyne was back in the spotlight. He traded
in his Harvard University gear for a crisp white guayabera. The occasion was
an event for youth week at the Hattieville Prison and 7News was there from start
to finish. Keith Swift has the story.
Keith Swift Reporting,
In the escort of four prison guards and two of his own security – at 10
am Shyne strode into the compound of the Hattieville Prison not as an inmate
but as an inspiration for an audience of 400 prisoners.
“Who would have ever thought that a young dude from Curassow Street
who used to dump faeces outside the back would make it to the highest level
in America culture. I made $30 million…I did records with Usher, Justin
Timberlake. I shot a video when I was in jail, not saying you guys should do
that but anything is possible. We talking about no, we ain’t going to
sit here and cry, you got to come up with a plan. That’s what I did.”
But Shyne or Moses Leviy says he didn’t come behind these prison walls
to preach. He said he came to talk to inmates, to impart the knowledge that
he knows firsthand of what’s it’s like to live behind prison walls.
“As I look into the audience I see myself. I see Shyne in everyone
of you. From the start of my life, the odds have been against me just like you.
I am not special. I didn’t have no family. I never saw my mother,
my mother was cleaning somebody else’s house and taking care of somebody
else’s kid. I didn’t have nobody but I didn’t let that stop
me. And even after selling millions of records and being Shyne they would have
been lined up for me. My last album was called Godfather Buried Alive. You why?
Because when you go to jail it is like you are dead. But still no excuses. I
didn’t make no excuses.
II sat down, I said okay yeah, this is what I am going to do. I understood
I made mistakes, I accepted responsibility for my mistakes. I didn’t blame
nobody else for my mistakes. It wasn’t my co-defendant’s fault that
I shot somebody in the club. I did that.
Over the last ten years instead of worrying abut what this one is doing
or what that one is doing, who is responsible for me being there, I took responsibility
and I spent the ten years planning what my future was going to be and you have
the same power to do that. I know you do because like I said I look into your
eyes and I see myself.
I could do it, if I could spend ten years which is like death row, I am
telling you because in the music business I can’t even remember who was
rapping ten years ago. So for me to be out here and for me to still be calling
A-Rod after he won the World Series, for me to still be moving and shaking,
calling Rihanna and finding out what she’s going to wear when she’s
coming to see me in Belize, that shows that you could do anything.”
After the speech he was then whisked off to the prison’s conference room
for a private meeting with prison management. They were later joined by accused
killers Arthur Young and Errol Haynes. That was closed to the press but after,
Shyne did return to the ceremony for a question and answer segment – though
as you can tell from his facial expression we weren’t welcome. Shyne left
after answering a few questions but his impression lingered.
Elwin Vacaro, Inmate – Wagner’s Youth Facility
“He gave me a good word of encouragement because he’s been through
a lot and he came to try help we because we are in a situation like which he
was in already. So he said to be your own boss and thing, you can’t put
the blame on nobody.”
Henry Cornejo, Inmate – Wagner’s Youth Facility
“He also said that people are the ones who change their own lives
because no one can change it for you and I really think that is a good message
and I could try to change my life as he did.”
Hiliare Sears, Inmate – Kolbe
“Me personally speaking, me of my understanding, I could relate to
what the man said and I could see myself in the man in the sense that I won’t
lean on self-pity, I won’t take that self-pity style and say I done deh
that jail and I done mess up, I don’t dh yah for a crime I done commit
and whatever and wallow in that pity. I will utilize that as a turning, like
in layman’s term, turning a stumbling block into a stepping stone.”
And if for only that realization – today’s visit may have been
About 400 inmates were present. 47 of those inmates were from the Wagner’s
Youth Facility at Kolbe.