(3-Part) BIOGRAPHY- (Music/Apparel, Community & Mentorship)
Music & Clothing Business:
Twice Thou (M. Antonio Ennis) began as a successful hip-hop artist with the internationally known and notorious rap groups The Almighty RSO who later changed their name to The Undisputed MadeMen.
He's been signed to (7) major record deals with labels-Tommy Boy, Epic, Virgin, Def Jam, Restless/BMG, RCA and Interscope. He's written hooks for and recorded hit songs with platinum artists Faith Evans, Dionne Warwick, Montell Jordan, Monifah, Monica, Pink and has also featured on songs with Ray J, Master P, Big Pun, Mase, Mobb Deep, Nas, Dogg Pound, Tha Eastsidaz, Scarface, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, M.O.P, Gang Starr, Eightball & MJG, Queen Pen, Foxy Brown, Total, The Lox, Teddy Riley and Tupac Shakur’s group Outlawz among many others.
His hits “One In Tha Chamba” and “You Could Be My Boo” have made it onto Billboards Hot Rap Singles Chart at #15 and #5, respectively.
His CORI-friendly clothing business (Antonio Ansaldi Clothing Company-circa 1996) employs local at-risk youth and sponsors social causes. Since the retail store Grand Opening in 2001, he's given back to the community through events like his annual Thanksgiving Turkey Giveaways and the Aids Awareness campaign that encourages youth to practice safe sex.
In 2004, he wrote a hip-hop song titled "I Play Dirty" that influenced over 800 local high school students to get diagnosed for HIV/AIDS.
The first year in business he received the prestigious Small Business of the Year Award from DBEDC/Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation. His brand consistently develops compelling new designs that have generated a
world-wide customer base and has been featured in blockbuster films like Paramount Picture's “Shaft” starring Samuel L. Jackson and “Save the Last Dance”/ Julia Stiles, Warner Bros. “Exit Wounds”/ Steven Seagal & DMX and “Torque”/ Ice Cube & Martin Henderson, plus countless independent movies, sitcoms, videos, reality tv & award shows.
His clientele list of satisfied celebrity customers include Mariah Carey, Britney Spears, Mike Tyson, Roy Jones Jr., Pedro Martinez, Manny Ramirez, Willie McGinest, Trick Daddy, 50 CENT, Snoop Dogg, Ludacris and JaRule just to name a few, as it literally reads like a "whose who" of the hip-hop, professional sports and entertainment industries.
When the economy crashed in 2007 it financially affected his walk-in customer base. In 2009, after 10 years of service in his resident community he closed his flagship boutique, an iconic retail outlet that only stocked Antonio Ansaldi products and local private labels, it was also the birthplace of the now infamous "Stop Snitchin" t-shirt which generated international headlines and viral social media controversy.
As business slowed down and two of his tenants eventually lost their jobs, he soon fell behind on his mortgage.
As did millions of homeowners in America, he'd find out he was a victim of Bank of America's predatory loan practices that targeted communities of color.
In April 2011, he went to the non-profit organization City Life/Vida Urbana (www.clvu.org) as a homeowner in foreclosure
seeking help and found a support system like no other. After becoming intrigued with City Life's ‘Sword & Shield’ method of fighting back against big bank foreclosures and corporate landlords displacement of low-income residents among many other social injustices, he soon began to volunteer his time whenever members were needed for direct actions.
While being involved with the movement for only 5 months he made his story public and became the poster-child for the Right to the City (www.RightToTheCity.org) sponsored national campaign boycotting Bank of America. He helped organize 3,500 social activists on September 30, 2011 in what would turn out to be the biggest protest in history against Bank of America at their headquarters in Boston, MA.
Empowered and refreshed by the movement, he started to write songs about the big banking crisis and subsequently recorded a full-length album titled “The Bank Attack” (http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/twicethou) and an inspirational music video by the same name (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Phh6Ea8t9eQ).
His leadership qualities, commitment to fighting for social change and the numerous rallies that he MC'd as a volunteer prompted City Life to offer him employment in November 2011 to be the Canvassing Coordinator and a Community Organizer.
As an organizer with the grassroots City Life/Vida Urbana, he brings an amplified hip-hop voice to the movement with a special interest to motivate & edify the youth. He coordinates multiple Canvass Teams and sends them out to knock on doors to let families facing foreclosure or eviction know that they don't have to move out just because the bank sent a 'Notice to Evict or Foreclose'. Only a judge can evict you.
He reassures misinformed families that, "You didn't do anything wrong, you were targeted for being a homeowner in a community of color. Your mortgage is underwater because the principal balance is twice the amount of what your home is actually worth. A loan modification with Principal Reduction would fix that, but you gotta stand up & fight back! I did and I got my house out of foreclosure and back in my control"
Mentorship: 4PEACE [The music group & Arts Foundation]
Antonio is a founding member of the anti-gun, drugs, gangs & violence group 4PEACE. An unlikely partnership formed in 2005 with his life long enemy and fellow hip-hop pioneer, Edward "Edo G" Anderson at the height of record level homicides and violence on the streets of Boston, MA. “We’re living proof of solutions to the problem”, says Edo.G.
“We used to be enemies that didn’t like each other at all, our crews had beef and when we crossed paths violence usually popped off. It was a cycle of violence for many years”, says Twice Thou.
Time and maturity has healed the wounds of their past. They’ve put their differences aside for the betterment of the children in their community. Their anthem “Start Peace” and music video filmed in the Suffolk County House of Correction at South Bay with blessings from then-Sheriff Andrea J. Cabral helped to disseminate positive dialogue and images of peace to 'impact player' inmates who were then able to quell the violence between feuding gang members on the streets at a crucial time.
They continue to be highly-regarded keynote speakers at jails, juvenile detention centers, high schools, colleges and
community centers for using their real-life story to help change young lives.
“I'm glad we were able to grow into men and see how life changes because I never thought one my worst enemies would turn out to be one of my best friends”, says Twice Thou.
They've worked alongside the US Dept. of Justice/Project Safe Neighborhoods, Stop Handgun Violence, federal prosecutors & judges, parole officers, state police, district attorneys, FBI, DEA and US Marshals to screen-write, produce, direct and edit (4) award winning anti-violence mini-movies they've dubbed “info-dramas”. The 30 minute films were developed to educate gang involved teens about federal law vs state law and they're used extensively across the country in many judicial systems for young men & women facing federal jail time, probation or parole.
The 'based on actual events' and true 'real-life stories' that set the stage for the “info-dramas”- Mandatory Sentence,
Sting Operation, Life Choices “Thug Life”? (Derrek's Story) & The 5k Motion are also used to train law enforcement.
Mandatory Sentence won the 2007 Best Anti-Violence Initiative Award out of 3,000 entries nationwide.
For more in-depth info: View the 4PEACE EPK (Electronic Press Kit) @ www.vimeo.com/3394399
As a father of 6 girls, business owner, homeowner, lyricist, mentor, community organizer and self-proclaimed "Recording Activist" , he has a renewed focus to stimulate and activize the youth with words of hope to make better life choices for social change with leadership through visual art, education, entertainment, fashion design and music.
His record companies, The Ennis Group and his non-profit The Buyback Initiative/Music Group's objective is to purchase tenant/former owner occupied foreclosed properties from banks then sell back to the former owner at the real market value.
They plan to redevelop occupied foreclosed homes into permanently affordable housing and put them on a community land trust to safeguard struggling families from the threat of eviction and keep them in their homes. To enhance the scope of this pilot-project, TBI/MG aspires to partner with private funders.
Portions of the proceeds from "The Bank Attack" project (live performance, cd/merchandise sales) are donated to The Buyback Initiative/Music Group and City Life/Vida Urbana.
(Your purchase of "The Bank Attack" CD is a direct investment into The Buyback Initiative/Music Group's mission to purchase tenant/former owner occupied foreclosed properties from banks then sell back to the former owner at the real market value to help families stay in their homes)