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Growing up my friends and I would travel downtown from Brampton to goto all ages parties. They were amazing and fun nights but we saw a lot of violence. Every weekend someone was getting injured or killed. It didn’t feel like anyone cared. No news stories about the violence. No community activists protested for us. We felt completely ignored and alone. That was then. I want the youth to know that there are people who truly care about their well being and their future. Today @tajtheblacklion organized a meeting with @kardinalo myself and @johntory the Mayor of Toronto to discuss the violence that is affecting our city. The Mayor has been speaking to other members of the hip hop community in the city who are all very concerned that the youth have a real chance at living a good life. We discussed solutions both long term and short term. I’d like to hear what you all have to say. What can we do?
Here’s what is happening in Toronto, and how they want to end it
On June 30, 21-year old Jahvante Smart, and 28-year old Ernest Modekwe were killed in a shooting outside Cube Nightclub on Queen Street West. Smart, a popular rapper known as Smoke Dawg, opened for Drake last year. Ernest was also in the local Hip Hop scene as a music brand manager. They were among the 11 people that were shot over a one-week span beginning on June 29. One of the shootings saw four people injured in Toronto’s Kensington Market neighbourhood. One of them died in the hospital.
“This is about a need for leadership to increase, this is about many things — but this is not about a correlation between rap and violence. Not today. No thanks,” Toronto rapper, Kardinal Offishall wrote in a July 1 post on Instagram.
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Took me a while to post about Canada Day today. Streets getting hot and we are losing people due to violence for no good reason in the city where I live. I performed for Indigenous Day but I don’t feel like we are near a respectable reconciliation with the Anishanaabe people of this land. The President Chump effect is trickling up north and many other negative things I could elaborate on. BUT-This evening, as I look at my kids and the life I am making for them, I have to thank my mom and dad for coming here from Jamaica and raising me in a land that has afforded us several opportunities. Although JA is the foundation, Canada gave birth to who I am and many others in my community. Canada has given us an education, health care, showed us about what multiculturalism can look like and, being so close to ‘Merica, made our skin tough 💪🏾! This country is still a great place to live and can provide the ability to elevate your standard of life to the clouds and beyond. There are several stories of people who came here with nothing and created empires. For all the people of Canada who came here and made or are striving to make a great life (we ALL came here except for the First Nations community FYI), I salute you and say Happy Canada Day. Let’s continue to make this a better place for allllll people to visit and live! 🇨🇦 🇨🇦🇨🇦🇨🇦🇨🇦🇨🇦
Kardinal is very positive on the first meeting with Tory.
“Sometimes we look at our officials and politicians as being out of touch with marginalized communities, but I will say that he is very much aware of the large task that is at hand and was very receptive to a lot of our ideas that were put forth,” he posted.
“Having lived in various neighbourhoods across the city, we were able to speak to him from the perspective of being residents but also as people of influence who wish to use our platforms to elevate the city and subsequently the country.”
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Today myself, together with @idirectorx and @tajtheblacklion had a vital meeting with our Mayor @johntory to discuss the state of Toronto, with regards to our youth, our communities and how to lead them. Last Night I made a post and asked all of you to make suggestions and comments as to how we can improve and make our city better. I am very happy to let you know that the mayor read over every last comment and commended everybody who participated. He for real for real saw what the city was saying through my IG and agreed with many of the sentiments. Sometimes we look at our officials and politicians as being out of touch with marginalized communities, but I will say that he is very much aware of the large task that is at hand and was very receptive to a lot of our ideas that were put forth. Big up to everyone who took the time to say what was on their minds and in their hearts, from all walks of life. Having lived in various neighbourhoods across the city, we were able to speak to him from the perspective of being residents but also as people of influence who wish to use our platforms to elevate the city and subsequently the country. There is no one solution that will cure the cancer that is spreading in our communities, but we definitely felt that we have the Mayor’s ear and we took the time to explain the importance of an empathetic outlook and how we’ve got to begin to bring communities together, as opposed to isolating them. It was a first meeting of several (I hope 🙏🏿), and I like the energy that came from today! We don’t wish to have our youts forgotten about or locked up and/or left to die! Neither does he. Action was the theme of the day and we, together with you guys, will be the conduit to creating the change that we wanna see. I am no social worker, professional educator or any of these amazing people that spend countless hours, days and years elevating our neighbourhoods-but I’m somebody “from the area” who has deep roots in the community and who cares. Continue to comment, make suggestions and share your stories. The stage is yours-let your voice be heard and let’s take this time to come together, contribute and make our neighbourhoods bless ✊
Toronto, there’s no one solution
Offishall says there’s no one solution to the problem happening in Toronto. There’s an “importance of an empathetic outlook” towards the community that brings people together, rather than isolate them.
Before Tory’s meeting with the hip hop trio, he had met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. They covered various issues, including gun violence. He said all three levels of government must work together to address gun crime.
“While we know this is a complex problem and there is no single, quick fix, I know that the prime minister is as committed to finding solutions and keeping people safe as I am and as are the women and men of the Toronto Police Service,” the mayor said in a statement. “The Prime Minister pledged in our meeting to doing everything possible to get federal funding to our city as quickly as possible to help us increase our efforts to stop gun and gang violence.”
Meanwhile, Kardinal hopes Friday was just the first of several meetings with Tory.
“I am no social worker, professional educator or any of these amazing people that spend countless hours, days and years elevating our neighbourhoods — but I’m somebody ‘from the area’ who has deep roots in the community and who cares,” he added, encouraging others to continue to make suggestions and share their own experiences in Toronto.
In 1987, hip hop pioneers KRS-One and Public Enemy formed the Stop the Violence Movement. They were reaching out to the hip hop community to end violence happening in their neighbourhoods. The movement was further inspired on the heels of the death of KRS-One’s bandmate and founding member of Boogie Down Productions, Scott La Rock. KRS-One brought many East Coast hip hop artists together to record a song about anti-violence. All proceeds went to the National Urban League. Along with the release came Overcoming Self-Destruction—the Making of the Self-Destruction Video VHS tape. “Self Destruction” debuted at #1 on the first week of Billboard’s Hot Rap Songs. It held the spot for five consecutive weeks.
Editors note: This might be another idea Kardinal and company would want to bring to the table on their next meeting with Tory.