I had never heard of Chili Most before this summer’s Interfaith Peacemakers series. Then, a friend in Zimbabwe urged us to include a story about this musician who is largely unknown in the U.S. I discovered that he has been around a long time and was born in Terre Haute, Indiana, not far from me in Detroit. This global connection reminds me of a Detroit musician, Rodriguez, who was the subject of an award-winning documentary Searching for Sugar Man. Rodriguez was a small-time 1970s musician who faded away quickly, and ending up working in construction and living at the edge of poverty. Meanwhile in South Africa his music became hugely popular and myths grew about what had happened to him. I don’t know that Chili Most is at Rodriquez’s legendary status in Zimbabwe, but he is known there perhaps more than here. So in a salute to globalism and how different doors of opportunity open—I give you Chili Most, as reviewed by Phillip Mudzidzi of Gweru, Zimbabwe.
Chili Most (born 1953)
By Guest Writer Phillip Mudzidzi of Gweru, Zimbabwe
I urge ministers worldwide to preach a sermon on “Stop The Violence/N’ Love With Love because God is Love.” Our goal is for every minister and clergy person, no matter the faith, to stand with oneness and unity allowing our collective voice to change the mindset of humanity, encouraging local leaders to engage people of all ages, races, genders, and religions to Stop The Violence.
Chili Most, calling on clergy in spring 2014
I am captivated by Chili Most’s passion for a violence-free world, using music and the radio as strategically far-reaching media for his message. Music and radio are able to reach people of all ages, all races, all genders, and all religions. He is unmistakably calling out: “Stop the Violence/N’ Love with Love because God is Love.” I encountered Chili Most thanks to the recommendation of my friends the Rev. James and Linda Ross Brown, who support my organization, Non Violent Conflict Transformation, and my own peace-making efforts in Zimbabwe and throughout the world.
Chili Most (born Rico Sweatt) works with his brother William Sweatt, also known as Z-Most. Chili Most grew up in the Terre Haute, Indiana, during the civil rights movement. This impressed on his young mind then that “one person” can make a difference. He began learning music at the tender age of 3 and formed a band at the age of 10. As a multi-talented boy, he also participated in sports, which resulted in a basketball scholarship and the opportunity to interact with people of various cultures, interests and dispositions. This later propelled him to consciously “fight for change” using his music and his studio, as well as his networks across the world.
Chili Most’s goal is to change the mindset of humanity. He strives for a violence-free world, joining hands with other peacemakers around the globe. In the past he and his brother Z released a single album entitled, “Fight for your Rights.” Even though his message includes “fighting,” they are clear about standing up for your rights in a nonviolent way. Chili Most draws his motivation from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who fought for equality of all races in the US and strongly believed in nonviolence as a strategy for peace. Chili Most is creatively practicing what Jesus taught at the Sermon on the Mount, especially in Matthew 5:38-44—that we should resist evil through peaceful alternatives, not counter violence with further violence. The nonviolent campaigns led by Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. King and other nonviolent peace activists are a cloud of witnesses that surround us from many communities around the globe; nonviolence is a powerful weapon to disarm the violence that kills so many every day.
In honor of Dr. King, Chili Most started the campaign “International Stop the Violence/N’ Love with Love” in 2012. He wrote two of his songs—“Stop the Violence” and “Fight for your Rights”—as a tribute to Dr. King. He is spreading his message in many forms. So far, he has taken part in more than 500 interviews with pastors and other peacemakers. He estimates that he has reached more than 200 million listeners around the world. His strategy in the spring of 2014 was to encourage as many pastors as possible to preach a message of nonviolence and love. Later, many of these sermons were recorded on CDs and DVDs and posted to Facebook and YouTube to reach as many people as possible.
Chili’s message is clear and simple in his song, “Stop the Violence.” He challenges people to choose peace, instead of losing our humanness, and reminds us that our children’s future is at stake. He further provokes us to think: “… love will always be stronger than hate.”
In his strong, clear voice he shouts, “… break this cycle of being self-hatred spiritual prisoners a curse we’ve yet to shake and understand.”
Rightly so, he is probing everybody to consider, “Remember the lack of education, jobs, and poverty’s the real enemy—and stop all the wars.”
Families in Africa and America are united in their desire to end the many forms of violence we see every day. I believe that, if we lead under the anointing of our Lord and Saviour, our nation and world will follow.
Amos 5:24 says: “Justice must flow like water, right actions like a stream that never dries up.”
About Guest Writer Phillip Mudzidzi
Rev. Phillip Mudzidzi is the Pastor of Providence Baptist Church in Guinea Fowl, Gweru, Zimbabwe. He is the founding Director of the Non Violent Conflict Transformation Initiative in Zimbabwe. He is a composer and musician, and his music encourage harmonious co-existence and service to God as a loving response to God’s call and response to human need.
Chili Most Videos & Links
Fight For Your Rights Music Video: