BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Data shows the violent crime rate in Baton Rouge is 47%. That’s more than twice the national average. One local organization hopes to make a difference in the community by advocating against violence.
“You know, it’s been a part of me since I was probably 8 to 9 years old, to be honest with you,” said Nathan “King Gifted” Johnson, artist and member of Let It Slide.
Unfortunately, Nathan Johnson isn’t the only one. Many kids in metro Baton Rouge are involved in or exposed to crime and violence at a young age.
“I feel like violence has gotten worse because of the love. Because of the disconnect. A lot of the older people don’t want to deal with the young people. Because of the ignorance. Just because of the simple things that’s transpiring,” said Timothy Morgan, president of Let It Slide.
Let It Slide, an organization created in 2018 to help curb violence in impoverished neighborhoods wants to let people know that it’s okay to let stuff go.
“We need to do something to where it’s cool for the kids to not feel like they have to result to violence. Or to feel like they have to defend they self to protect they self,” said Morgan.
Morgan says lacking education and scarce resources can spark jealousy and hatred among each other, leading to higher crime rates.
In fact, Neighborhood Scout shows the crime rate per one thousand residents in the capital area is nearly 56 percent.
“If you don’t respect me, it’s easy to kill me. You don’t value me. You don’t love me, you know. So, if you respect me, you’ll think about what you’re about to do,” said Morgan.
Nathan Johnson, a rap artist who goes by “King Gifted,” says music is a huge part of Black culture.
Johnson says a lot of the destruction and danger is caused by the violent lyrics in songs.
“You’ve got to ask yourself… What is this going to bring to me in my direction? Strive to make sure the message is clear, it’s precise, and it’s also positive,” said Johnson.
Let It Slide is working to change the narratives in hip-hop and rap music by encouraging artists to not follow the trend of talking about shooting and killing each other.
“Help the young people realize that they can talk about positive things. And speak life into they’re into our souls. So, whatever we speak, that’s what it’s going be pretty much,” said Morgan.
Morgan says the best way to resolve the issue of crime is through love.
“So, if we can spread more love, give back where it’s needed, not just where we want to give back. And allow people to express how they feel and what they go through and us just be there. Sometimes just listening to people play a major part,” said Morgan.
Morgan says allowing people to be vulnerable creates an open space to talk about problems and resolve issues.
To bring peace to our communities, Let It Slide is launching its “Love is the Answer” tour this year. Some of the initiatives include food basket giveaways and clothing drives.
To promote positivity in music, Let It Slide is creating a music challenge. Artists can win $1,500 to $25,000.
Visit Let It Slide’s website to learn more about the program’s initiatives.