Busta’s Person of the Week: From the streets of High Point to prison. Now Greg Commander is back in the streets with a new purpose.

Busta’s Person of the Week: From the streets of High Point to prison. Now Greg Commander is back in the streets with a new purpose.
December 02
10:45 2022

By Busta Brown

In 1987 Greg Commander’s mother, Maggie Commander, died from an aneurysm. “It was unexpected. I was only 17 and I lost my rock. She was my everything,” said the High Point native. Greg and his siblings turned to their father for guidance and financial support, but dad had already turned to drugs. 

“Shortly after my mom passed, we got a visit from the landlord. My father used the insurance to support his crack cocaine habit. I had to find a way to support my siblings and pay the bills.” His father eventually left Greg and his siblings to fend for themselves. 

One night, the 17-year-old was looking out of his window and saw a quick and easy solution to provide for his family. “I saw some hustlers and drug dealers, so I told them I needed some quick money.” Years later Greg became the leader of The Juice Crew. “People compared us to Nino Brown and CMB in the movie ‘New Jack City.’ At first it was all about the money. The Juice Crew ran High Point,” shared Commander. 

The next part of this story plays a major role in Greg’s new found relationship with God and building The Commander Peace Academy. Here we go! 

“I started off going back and forth to Winston-Salem to buy my drugs from a 10-year-old kid. I eventually learned how to flip what I bought,” said Greg. Years later, Greg Commander and the Juice Crew became the big dogs.

During the height of The Juice Crew’s success in the drug game, Greg experienced something most of us wouldn’t expect from someone who ran the mean streets of High Point. “I started feeling guilty because I started seeing people that I cared about using drugs. It broke my heart, Busta,” said an emotional Greg. But guilt didn’t pay the bills. “In order to survive in the streets and continue to provide for my siblings, I had to look beyond the guilt and do what I had to do,” said Greg.  

As he continued speaking about his past, I could hear the remorse in his voice and I saw the pain in his eyes. It was crystal clear this was a changed man. A man filled with the spirit of humility and a passion to empower our young Black men. He’s now a man of God. 

“We have to love our youth as Jesus loves us. Like Jesus, you have to sacrifice something to put yourself in a position to make sure these young Black men don’t make the same mistakes I made.” 

Greg Commander and The Juice Crew eventually met their fate. “I was young, so I didn’t know I was being watched by the feds. I did 18 of a 24-and-a-half-year sentence. It didn’t become real to me until all of my appeals were denied,” said Greg. 

While serving 16 of his 18-year sentence, Greg met someone who changed his life forever. “This young dude walked into my cell block and I gave him the top bunk. After he got situated, we started talking about what was going on in the streets. Most of the people in that prison were from Winston, High Point or Greensboro. So, I asked him where he was from and he said Winston-Salem. I told him the story about going to Winston-Salem to pick my drugs up. Turns out, that was the same 10-year-old kid I was getting my drugs from. That was 16 years ago, so he was now 26. As we were talking, I looked at him and thought about how many more kids are gonna get on this top or the bottom of this bunk after I leave. So, I spoke to God and said, I can’t do this anymore. This is crazy! This once 10-year-old kid is now 26 and is about to do 35 years in prison. He’s still in there now,” said Greg as he held back his tears. 

Commander and his crew ran the streets of High Point for years, so he lived a hard knock life. But that moment softened his heart and now God is his commander.

Greg served his 18 years and walked out of prison on fire to change the world he once knew. “I came out of prison in 2008 when things were at an all-time low. There were no jobs and I had no money. My brother introduced me to Hank Wall, who was the founder and executive director of BOTSO,” shared Greg. BOTSO is still one of the most successful youth nonprofits in High Point and Greensboro. Because of Hank Wall and his organization, thousands of young Black men became doctors, lawyers, judges, professional athletes, educators and more. 

“One day I went to Hank’s office and said I wanted to tell him my story and he loved my message. He saw something in me and took me under his wings. I started speaking and mentoring youth under BOTSO. Unfortunately, since 2021, the great warrior Hank Wall is now resting in peace after a job very well done here on earth. The world is better because of you, Big Bad Hank. You’re truly missed by so many.”

In 2016, Greg Commander had already begun following in his hero’s footsteps. He opened Commander Peace Academy. Proper Education Always Corrects Errors is the acronym for Peace. “I enjoyed speaking to youth, but I wanted to speak more openly and boldly with the youth. I didn’t want to be limited to what I needed to share. 

“The Commander Peace Academy educates young Black kids about what’s really out there in those streets. We meet them where they’re at without boundaries. The academy provides guidance and proper education. We teach youth how they can make it without hustling. In order to help them make a change, we have to love them like Jesus did. 

“We’re not afraid to put boots on the ground and do the muddy work for other organizations. Some organizations may be doing A, B, C and D, but can’t sympathize and go out where some of these young Blacks are and pull them out of the mud and clean them up. We teach them that there’s no retirement plans in drug dealing or hustling. So other organizations will call us because we’re all about partnership,” shared Greg. 

The Commander Peace Academy also has a boxing ring, but not to create the next Mike Tyson or Ali. “We use it to develop discipline, because if you don’t have that ‘I gotta change my attitude,’ you won’t prosper in anything you do. So, you don’t have to take that street hustling route,” said the once wanna-be fighter. 

I asked Greg if there is a scripture he lives by. “Romans 8:28 says that God uses all things for our good.” 

My Phenomenal Person of the Week is Greg Commander. For more info, call 336-991-3524, Facebook @gregcommand, or send email to

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