By Dylan Deprey
Most people dance for fun. Others save it for special occasions. There are those who would rather step on a mouse trap then the dance floor, and then there are those who no matter what, just like to break it down.
Over the Summer, local social media groups went crazy as videos and pictures of a local man dancing shirtless in a cowboy hat near Teutonia and Locust popped up. Every day people inquired about him, most didn’t know his name or where he was from, but one could guarantee that at some point throughout the day, he would be out there on the corner busting a move.
Richard T. Love is the man behind the moves and he is more than the popping and locking, cowboy hat wearing street performer. He dances to praise, inspire and uplift his community.
“Basically, I’m trying to change the atmosphere and wake up these brothers and sisters around here,” Love said. “All this violence, the robbing, the stealing and the killing in my neighborhood, it wasn’t me. My style was more about stopping the violence and being a lover for the women and men of God.”
From physical abuse and bullying, to depression and attempts on his own life, Love said he has always had God and his faith behind him.
His mother, Daphne Gibson, had lost Love and his sister, Tina Love, to foster care, while she dealt with an abusive relationship. Love said it was during this time where he really became in tune with the Bible and church, despite a priest attempting to touch him.
While sitting near his house on 10th and Ring, he shouts Bible verses to the neighborhood. Neighbors gathered around, and children in a nearby park stopped riding their bikes to listen.
“He knows the Bible by heart, backwards and forth,” Tina Love said.
As Love and his sister were in the works for adoption, Gibson eventually got her children back, and they have lived with her ever since.
She said that even at a young age she saw her son taking interest in both dancing and the Bible, but never thought her son would be shot at, yelled at and even hit by a car while dancing near the busy intersection.
“He came home with holes in his body after getting hit by that car,” Gibson said. “The car drove off, but he came home and we healed it with God.”
Gibson said that as long as her son was out preaching to the streets rather than becoming a victim of the streets, he was changing peoples’ lives.
“I’ve had people, and even kids, telling me that he makes them so happy when they see him, and when he wasn’t there after he got hit, people were concerned because they missed him,” Gibson said.
Love said that his goals were pretty simple to preach in a church and out in the community, and get his mother her dream house.
He said that even after being a victim of a hit-and-run, he will dance until his legs won’t let him and preach until his voice is coarse because his destiny is to preach God’s word and uplift the community.
“I just pray to be heard and I’m there every day to make people happy, no matter whatever they were going through or whatever they are doing that’s bad, I’m here,” Love said.