Who is Andrè Taylor? How pimp-turned-political activist got $150,000 from Seattle to be its ‘Street Czar’

As per Seattle Times, the position and the name was Taylor’s idea and it came to his mind as it was used to describe Barack Obama’s advisers

                            Who is Andrè Taylor? How pimp-turned-political activist got $150,000 from Seattle to be its ‘Street Czar’
Andrè Taylor (Getty Images)

Andrè Taylor’s first words to Seattle still ring in many ears. “I’m here to go to war,” he said at a heated news conference four years ago after the police shooting of his brother Che Taylor by Seattle Police Department on February 21, 2016. “I will be unrelenting to get justice for my little brother.” At the time, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) had accused cops of “cold-blooded murder” and his fierce ex-con brother vowed to go on a rampage.

Shortly after, Andrè and his wife, Athena Dingle, founded Not This Time! — a nonprofit community organization focused on reducing fatal police shootings — to engage with local community members, the families of those who have lost their loved ones, and those who work inside the system, to demand more police accountability and safer communities.

Now, Taylor who has been dubbed as “pimp-turned-political activist” signed a deal with the city on July 27, 2020, to work as its community liaison, according to the contract first published by PubliCola last week. Daily Mail reports that he will provide recommendations to the city on de-escalation, community engagement and alternatives to policing as part of the $12,500 a month deal. Reportedly, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan is aiming to improve relations between law enforcement and community members in the wake of multiple cop killings of Black men and women across America.

Seattle Street Czar

Embroiled in controversies over the Capitol Hill Organized Protest, Taylor said at a news conference with Durkan on June 22, “I feel like I cannot help the situation now because of the violence that will probably continue.” As per Seattle Times, the city then agreed to pay Taylor $12,500 per month for up to a year to serve as a “street czar” community liaison, according to the contract. His stint includes an office in Seattle's Municipal Tower.

When probed further, Durkan spokesperson Kelsey Nyland said in a statement: “Mayor Durkan believes that we have to make deep investments in the community — one of the key demands of the Black Lives Matter protests,” adding, “Not This Time was one of the many community organizations working with the City on Capitol Hill”, suggesting “the organization could help de-escalate the ongoing situation in and around Cal Anderson Park”. As per Seattle Times, the position and the name was Taylor’s idea and it came to his mind as it was used to describe Barack Obama’s special advisers.

Under a $100,000 contract, Not This Time! earlier worked with the city in 2019 to host “Conversation with the Streets” panels for young people of color. Explaining the city's stance, Nyland said, “The City sought a contract with Not This Time because of our existing working partnership … but also because of the organization’s lived experience with the criminal legal system, and their history of successful advocacy and activism on issues of policing and dismantling systemic racism.” Taylor then said, “Not too many people can go talk to gangbangers in their territory, and then go talk to the government in their territory.” As per KOMO News, he said has a “particular genius in a particular area” and can talk to gang members, pimps and prostitutes who won't sit down with anybody else.

Gorgeous Dre

With his troublesome past, the real question in many minds is: Who really was Andrè Taylor? Born on July 3, 1972, he was an escort hustler known as “Gorgeous Dre” and often bragged about the pimp he had been. As per a Las Vegas Sun report, he was raised by a pimp father and prostitute mother and carried his heritage as a badge of achievement. What's more, he even flaunted the rewards it got him: a $300,000 home with custom furnishings, a black Mercedes Benz and gold jewelry.

Back in 2000, he was prosecuted on federal charges involving prostituting minors across state lines and sentenced to more than five years in Las Vegas. At that time, an 18-year-old blonde gave detailed testimony to Justice of the Peace Doug Smith about how he was her pimp before his arrest. Not just that, his neighbors in the posh area of South Buffalo Drive complained to cops that women were seen being escorted in taxis to and from the house at all hours of the night, Las Vegas Sun reported. However, he served one year in prison and later surfaced as a guest lecturer for a UNLV Criminal Justice course – taught by his probation officer!

Apart from that, he also tried to don different hats in the entertainment industry. He attempted to market a CD titled 'The Big Pimp' and was the technical consultant for the production of the documentary 'American Pimp'. Taylor's life has been a rollercoaster of sorts. “From breaking laws to making laws!” Taylor once wrote on a YouTube video. One of his friends then replied: “From pimp to political activist.” A radical transformation, isn't it?

If you have a news scoop or an interesting story for us, please reach out at (323) 421-7514