Dre Hilton imparts a positive message to youngsters when he performs at various schools, churches and youth organizations. But he is quick to point out that his young audiences are not the only ones who benefit from his shows.
“The kids keep me young; they are such a blessing to me,” explained the 31-year-old entertainer, who sang, danced and otherwise charmed the children during a January 31 return engagement at A.C. Moore Elementary School. “I always had a heart for the youth, and (his career path) must have been meant to be, because I never dreamed I’d be doing children’s music.”
Hilton, who also performs in a Motown-based show in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., grew up in St. Louis, the product of a Christian upbringing. He began his personal “children’s ministry” several years ago by volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters.
“It was deep in my heart to give something back to our youth,” he said after sharing high-fives, hugs and handshakes with students as they left his second show of the day. “I grew up in a very structured home and I was blessed to be privileged. My dad is a pastor, and I was brought up in a Christian home. I feel like if you are blessed to have a lot, then you should spend your life sharing or giving away what you have.”
He explained that it was a chance meeting at Pigeon Forge with ACMES Principal John Brantley that initially brought him to Atmore, where he first performed last year, also at the local school. (He also put on a show at Flomaton Elementary.) Therefore it was only fitting that he include A.C. Moore on the itinerary for his ongoing School Invasion Tour.
“Mr. Brantley came to the (Motown) show, and at the end of the show they always announce what else everybody (in the show) does,” he said. “When they announced that I do children’s music and travel to schools, he came up to me afterward and said that his kids would love to have me at their school and that they needed to see someone like me being positive, so he made it happen. Last year, after I was here, the kids messaged me on Facebook, wondering when I was coming back, so I had to get back down here.”
Brantley said this year’s show brought the same response from the 280 or so students who witnessed it.
“They loved it; they had a blast,” he said. “He writes all his songs; he implements character, expectation and behaviors into his program, and the students can identify with him.”
Hilton, whose videos can be viewed on YouTube, encouraged youngsters and adults to “check him out” and to contact him by email at drehilton.com or on Facebook. He added that he would continue to bring a positive message to children, wherever the need arises.
“I want to spread a message of hope to the youth,” he said. “I want to inspire kids to dream big and reach their goals. Anywhere the kids need some motivation, that’s what I’ve dedicated my life to.”