So much violence around the world, but Chicago aka “Chi-Raq” puts another meaning to it. With more than 2400 shootings and 500 murders before the end of last year, many of which were gang related, residents acknowledge that they are living day by day in what seems to be a never ending war zone. However, this is nothing new. Unfortunately, this is what may be considered normal but tragic to many Chicago or “Chi-raq” citizens.
Christmas Eve, Joshua “JayLoud” Davis, an aspiring artist from Chicago was shot and killed after an argument triggered by the hoodie he was wearing in support of his best friend and slain Chicago teen rapper Lil JoJo turned deadly. Police say the shootings are triggered by two rival gangs, the Gangster Disciples and Black Disciples. The death of Lil JoJo triggered national attention when rumors speculated newly signed Interscope artist Chief Keef and his crew were behind the killings. Although the case is still under investigation by local authorities, a Youtube Video has surfaced showing an argument between Lil JoJo and Lil Reese, a member of Chief Keef’s crew a short time before JoJo’s murder. Reese, who raps with the same neighborhood clique as Keef had been quoted as saying he would kill JoJo after the altercation. Following the incident he (JoJo) made a diss to Keef’s song “3Hunna” and named it “3HunnaK” and said it wasn’t a diss but a message. Some believe the “K” stood for killer, making the song “3Hunna Killer.” Weeks later, JoJo was murdered. Derrick Rose, also a chicago native and rumored Gangster Disciple member was said to have given funds to pay for the funeral.
Chicago has always had a violent past but it’s beginning to increase drastically. Handguns are banded within the city, but you can still find them on just about every street corner. Mayor Rahm Emanuel, along with Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy has been speaking about the violence that is increasing within the city and doing what they can to stop it.
Native Chicagoans such as Jennifer Hudson, and Dwayne Wade have been affected directly and have also spoken out against the violence. In 2008, Hudson lost her mother, brother and nephew. They were all shot by her former brother-in-law. Wade’s nephew was shot just last year in a shooting that left two dead.
“Growing up it’s almost impossible not to be exposed to gang violence, especially in the city,” explained Sidney Barker, a Chicago native. “I used sports as a way out. But sports are the easy way out. There’s not enough emphasis on education.” Kids may or may not have positive role models in their life and may be exposed to violence at a young age. Many kids unlike Sidney have used gangs as a way of life. They see flashy cars and money and want to be a part of that life not understanding what’s really behind it. They just want to be a part of it, and sometimes by any means necessary. There needs to be more positive role models to keep these kids off the streets and doing something positive with their lives.
One non-profit organization, “Kids off the Block,” started in 2003 by Diane Latiker, in Chicago’s Roseland neighborhood. She wanted to do something positive for her neighborhood. She opened her doors and invited kids, even those who were gang affiliated, to come inside. Skeptical at first, the idea was presented when her last child became a teen and she didn’t want her to be sucked into the gang life. She
offered her house to teens 24/7. Her dream was to help them with homework, feed them, and do what she could to keep them out of the streets. Latiker has helped more than 1500 children and was featured on CNN Heroes.
Another Chicago native, David Douglas, believes that music and the media have a strong influence on the youth. “I do believe there is a dire need for more positive role models in the world. The younger generation is so deeply influenced by things such as the media and hip hop that they don’t look to individuals who are inspiring and uplifting.”
Local Chicago rapper, Lil Mouse, has shocked many with his song “Get Smoked.” At thirteen, he raps about drugs, money,sex, and being affiliated with popular drug trafficking organization Black Mafia Family (BMF). As adults, it is a travesty that are youth are exposed to songs by their peers such as these. Songs and videos have a strong influence on our young people, and because their minds are like sponges what they see is what they’ll be. We have to do better.
Editor’s Note: As of 1.9.2013, It has been reported Chief Keef’s stepbrother has been shot and killed while visiting an uncle in a local Chicago neighborhood. Fame-Magazine will keep you updated as more details arise.