As Chi-Raq continues to plague the streets of Chicago, Illinois and gun violence remains a severe nationwide problem, a new initiative has been introduced by community empowerment organization Chicago Ideas and a group of hip-hop artists — including Oscar-winner Common — that uses music to combat gun violence.
Rap and hip-hop are genres that typically receive criticisms for perpetuating drugs, gangs and gun violence but this new movement asks citizens to #PutTheGunsDown.
In the first half of 2015 more than 1,000 people were wounded by gunshots in Chicago, according to the the Chicago Tribune. By October, that number had swelled to 2,300 wounded, which is more than in New York and Los Angeles combined, People reports.
As a part of the movement, the group of rappers put together a music video and encouraged the public to add their own verses and draw on their personal experiences.
"I grew up on the South side," Common reportedly said. "I grew up amongst the black middle- to poor class people. There was definitely a lot of love in the community, but there was violence and gang culture in the community."
"With that, I've seen friends who died due to gun violence, and I've also seen friends who went on to pursue things in college and become doctors," he added.
The music video allows people who wouldn't otherwise have a public platform get their voices heard and send a plea for peace.
"We wanted to do our small part to give a platform to the activists, families and communities who are fighting against gun violence every day," said Jessica Malkin, executive director of Chicago Ideas. "At Chicago Ideas, we strive to build bridges, inspire action and amplify the voices that most need to be heard — and often are not."
This effort symbolizes a progression in the entertainment industry when musicians and celebrities call for action against violence instead of glorifying it.
Check Out The Video For "Put The Guns Down" Below:
Banner Photo Credit: Twitter @LeoBurnettChi