2001-Today: Social Activism, Old Layout
McCray now works as a social activist. His most rewarding work involves speaking with Philadelphia’s youth about his own life story. He uses his status as a Philadelphia legend to teach children and teenagers about the danger of drugs, vandalism, and a life spent in and out of incarceration. He not only has an important relationship with the internationally acclaimed Mural Arts Program, but he also created his own organization, Graff-X.
The Mural Arts Program
Taggers had long shown that there was potential for creative expression amidst the turmoil of inner-city Philadelphia. The work of Jane Golden and the Mural Arts Program transferred the raw talent of the graffiti writers into organized community projects that brought beauty to the city streets. Golden and Cornbread have a friendship that blossomed into a partnership. In the spring of 2013, taggers, who had traditionally respected the murals, began tagging on the mural walls. Golden came to McCray, asking for his help, and together they organized a summit to facilitate a conversation between current graffiti writers and the Mural Arts Program. McCray continues to act as an important link between the graffiti world and the established art community.
In recent years, McCray has made it his mission to keep the community of ex-graffiti writers connected to each other and in touch with their legacy. He founded the non-profit Graff-X, which consists of former graffiti writers working together to improve Philadelphia’s inner city. Graff-X strives to do constructive work for the community as a way to make up for the destruction that the graffiti movement brought to the city. It involves everything from charitable shoe drives to talking to current graffiti writers about ways that they can help their communities. Dr. Cool #1 is a member and says that that the group focuses on “anything we can do to be proud of what we’re doing instead of what we done [sic] back then.” He adds, “We’re trying to give a little bit back now.”