William Holmes aka “Will Keeps” is from Chicago, Illinois. He was born into a life where at age 7 he was sexually abused by his step father. At that time, his home was no longer a place that was safe and secure, a place where he no longer called “home”. Due to the sexual abuse, Will was left feeling confused, sad, angry and searching for answers over the next several years. In Will’s journey to find answers, he learned that what he really wanted was a loving father and mother that would protect him and love him unconditionally. Just like many other young teenage boys in similar situations, they did find that love in their own home so they look for that love and protection in the form of a gang. Will found his “love” and “protection” with The Blackstones gang in Chicago. At an early age of 13, Will found himself living a lifestyle of gang member. This lifestyle went from feeling powerful, cared for and protected to almost losing his life and seeing others die.
At age 15, he witnessed his friend being murdered by a rival gang and when the gun was pointed to his to his head, the gun jammed. Will was then beaten almost to death. The gang cut him with knives and beat him with a baseball bat. Will was left for dead. Gratefully, Will survived and this was the beginning of his journey to saving others lives.
Will moved to Des Moines in his 20’s and began a new life where he wanted to focus on his future and how he wanted to be remembered. He wanted to make a change for others so they don’t have to go through life without feeling cared for, loved, or being in a home where they can feel safe. His legacy started when he started giving back to his community and to youth who are faced with similar situations that he was in. He began mentoring youth on a daily basis as a team member of the ManUp Iowa program for at risk youth. Will found that his true God given abilities were helping others and empowering them to go down a better path…one he wishes he would have had the opportunity to go down when he was younger.
Will is busy inspiring at risk youth in the Des Moines Public Schools, motivating through speaking events, and performing his empowering songs. Among the songs that he has released over the last several years, his hit song “Wake Up Iowa” is the song that means the most to him and the song he spent the most time on. Wake Up Iowa sends a message to people that violence and hate is not the Iowa way and instead we need to learn from other cities mistakes so we don’t end up being ravaged by violence and crime.
Many leaders around the city and state are becoming familiar with Will and his music, as well as his passion for helping youth and his overall huge heart and amazing spirit. He has been in the press countless times for his movement and is the first to ever have city officials in his music video. Will has strong relationships and has been in collaboration with Governor Kim Reynolds, Police Chief Dana Wingert, and Pastor Al Perez.
In a world where violence and hate is far too common, it takes individuals like William Holmes to help rid the world of these atrocities. One thing is for sure, however, Will cannot continue his mission of empowering youth to make positive life choices through music, sports, education or whatever their dreams may be without all of our help! The help of a community that owes it to all of our children to create a world where youth do not have to grow up like Will did. It’s also on our community to maintain that world for future generations to come and support good doers like Will. At the end of the day, you can tell when someone has a good heart and is doing things for the right reasons and this is William Holmes aka Will Keeps legacy.