The arts have always had a special place in the soul and culture of Washington, DC. Go to any quadrant of the city and you will find an outlet for artists to perform, to be heard, or seen. Add to that our rich history of activism through artistic expression and we can include a new hip hop track called “Gunz Down D.C.”It features the voices of young people who talk about their frustrations with the killings in the nation’s capital.
To date, there have been more than 100 murders in the city for this year. As citizens, we have mourned with parents and children at least twice a week since the year began. The heaviness of that toll is unbearable.
The production of the song was made possible by the D.C. Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS). According to the Post article, “Linda Harllee Harper, deputy director for DYRS, said the idea for the song and the accompanying #GunzDown campaign grew out of conversations with young people who said they couldn’t put their weapons down until others did first.
The young group of seven rappers who produced this song have all grown up in parts of this city where gun violence is common. “It’s out of control now,” they said. They want to spread a message of hope and healing.
According to an article in the Washington Post, for the group, “the stakes are not political. They are real, and they are high.”
One of the participants, Lynndon Ferrell is 23 years old. He has a four-year-old son who he calls his “heart.” He cries when he talks about his son and credits him for helping Lynndon change his priorities. Gone are the days when he was more concerned with making sure his son had all of the best and newest things. Now Lynndon prioritizes ensuring his son knows his colors and can pronounce his words correctly.
When speaking about the recent killing of 10-year old, Lynndon said, “We can all agree, enough is enough,” he said. “That could have been anybody’s child.”
No truer words could have been spoken.