After George Zimmerman was found not guilty of murder and manslaughter in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, President Obama asked the nation to “respect the call for calm” and, among other things, to help “stem the tide of gun violence” in the U.S.
Wyclef Jean agreed, saying it starts within local communities. “We say to ourselves that we have so much gun violence in the communities, but we are not asking ourselves, who is the man behind the curtain? Who lifts the curtain, drops the guns and runs off?” he said on Wednesday’s “RapFix Live,” noting that while impoverished inner cities surely suffer from gun violence, its residents aren’t the economic force behind the distribution of arms.
“Economically, if you do the math, the youth never have that much money to purchase the amount of arms that you see in the ghetto automatically,” he argued.
While ‘Clef noted that the number of guns in the ghetto is indeed problematic, so is the mentality in the communities, he explained. “The first thing that we need to do is huddle as communities and talk how can we start showing each other more love as communities. How can we as sets, start respecting each other more in different sets?” he asked, recognizing the different and sometimes-opposing gang factions like Bloods and Crips. “How do we protect our communities in a non-violent way?”
Martin’s death had nothing to do with gang violence or black-on-black crime, and while many suspect there were racial motivations behind the tragic incident, a juror on the case told CNN reporter Anderson Cooper that she did not believe race played a role in the shooting.
Prodigy, also on Wednesday’s “RapFix,” said the responsibility to bring about change now falls on everyone, not just the African-American community. “Our people need to learn the laws — people, not just black people — need to learn the laws, learn the politics. Focus on what’s important,” he said.
The Mobb Deep rapper, who was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison on a gun charge back in 2007, stressed the importance of change, saying that it starts with the individual. “I could be more vocal about certain changes that need to be made, certain changes that I made in my life. ‘Starting with the man in the mirror,’ like Michael Jackson said,” he shared, referencing the King of Pop’s 1987 single. “If everybody does that, we’ll be a little step closer to a solution to this.”
Back in April, Snoop Lion, MTV and Jewelry for a Cause partnered to help take illegal guns off the street with the release of limited-edition “MTV x Caliber” bracelets , made in part from the steel of illegal guns acquired in police-sponsored buyback programs. The bracelets are engraved with the serial numbers of firearms that were returned via buyback programs in Newark, New Jersey, and are available for $40 on caliber.MTV.com. The proceeds from each sale will be donated to the Newark Police Department to help fund future gun buyback amnesty programs.