In this 30-minute interview with Bishop Deshun Avery of the First Progressive Baptist Church in Lubbock sits down with Jay “Bama” Moore to talk about how Team Bama came to be, Bama’s passion for helping people alongside his diverse team of individuals in Lubbock, Texas.
A couple of key takeaways from the video:
Have you always been like that, or was it something from your upbringing? What drives you?
Growing up, I was the oldest of seven children; we were stairs, right behind each other. Being the oldest, I had to take care of everybody, make sure everybody was fed, everybody was getting ready for school when my mom was at work and my dad was not there. So I’ve always been the type of person who was a protector and provider. Giving has always been in my heart. Growing up, I wanted to be a preacher because a preacher is one of those people that’s really looked up to, but it didn’t go that way.
Now, every time my team and I pull up to a stop sign and see a homeless person, I pull over. The team already knows I’m turning back around to bless that homeless person with something because if I don’t, it stays on my heart. Sometimes giving them money isn’t what they want. Sometimes they just want someone to sit down and have a conversation with them. Sometimes that goes a long way, just sitting and having a conversation.
You guys are really growing in popularity here in Lubbock. People are excited to see you driving around, and when you show up, you and your team bring so much joy. Is that still what keeps you going?
Yeah, it’s the way I was brought up, the way I was taught. Christmas time and Thanksgiving, are all about giving. But what happened to the other ten months? I can’t stop. It’s like an addiction. It’s a high for me, helping people and giving to people. I ride with those masks on, and people say, “Man, how do you do it, to be so hot in those costumes?” I tell them, “Hey, put this on and just look at those kids smile.” You never know what someone may be going through, and they just need a little bit of encouragement, a little bit of something to lift them up, to help them forget about the problems that they’re going through. And that’s what drives me, and that drives my team.
What’s the significance of Beauty and The Beast?
The Beast started with a young lady here in Lubbock, whose husband, who has passed, always told her that she was his Beauty, and she would say, “He’s my Beast.” And so a friend of hers reached out to me and suggested we do something special for her. So one thing I do when I bring a rose is I always call before to get to know the person, and find out about their loved one. As she was telling me about her husband, I thought to myself, I’m going to surprise her. I’m going to do the Beast. I just started off as the Beast, not sure of what I was going to do, just thought to myself, whatever happens, happens. It became popular really quickly. KLBK covered it. It was around the time when people were losing loved ones. I watched the movie and learned about the rose. If the Beast didn’t find his true love before the last rose petal fell, he would forever stay a Beast. And I thought about death, and the rose. And one day, I went to give the lady a rose. When I got out of the car, I accidentally dropped the rose. I couldn’t see the bottom of the rose. I picked it up. The rose was upside down. And before I gave it to her I turned it right side up. God works in mysterious ways because when I turned it right side up, she just looked up and it clicked. And from then on, we have been giving people roses when they lose a loved one. And I have a laundry list of people that are calling and want the Beast to visit. I always try to do something better than the last time. And now we have Belle. She goes with me on rose deliveries.
Tell us more about your team. How many people are involved? How can you join?
Right now we have 26 members, including parents and their kids. We do not turn anybody away. It doesn’t matter your age or size, even if you have autism or a disability, we still take you in because life throws us all kinds of challenges. We always encourage each other, we don’t care what race you are, we want you to join. We want you to be a part of the team because we’re growing.
I got a phone call a couple of months ago saying that we were national. And I was like, “Okay, what do you mean, national?” “We’re playing you here in Albuquerque.” Then I got a phone call a couple of weeks ago from someone saying, “You’re international now.” Again, I asked, “What do you mean?” “You’re in Germany.” Something that I started here, in Lubbock, Texas has gone on.