GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - To get the message across, sometimes you've got to have a beat.
There was plenty of it at Grace Temple Baptist Church on Friday. The volume was raised, along with the spirit in hopes that the message of love won't be overshadowed by the negative.
"We pray that it's not getting lost," said Lekesha Cotton, who organized the Gospel concert called Changed by Grace. "But given everything that's happening in the nation right now, it's so important that we remember to take a few moments in the month to remember him and to remember not just that I'm black and you're white but that we're all family."
Front and center was the Martin Luther King, Jr., Coast-Wide Mass Choir, and an ensemble of talent.
"It's very important that our children today know that Martin Luther King, what he did and what he stood for; that it should be a legacy that carries on with them also," said Joyce Battle, a member of the MLK Coast-wide Celebration Committee.
It's a legacy that's being grabbed up by teenager Marquise Taylor, who joined the choir for the first time.
"There's a lot of young people that's in the choir and knowing that they're here to experience a great thing," Marquise said. "It's like an awesome thing."
Celebration committee co-chair Allytra Perryman doesn't think political rhetoric can deafen the teachings of King.
"I don't think the message is lost, but we don't want the message to be silenced," Perryman said. "So, that is what this celebration is about. This is about celebrating the life. This is reigniting the flame that used to burn in the bellies of some of our civil rights leaders."
Click here for list of events during the month-long celebration of Dr. King.