THE BRONX (PIX11)—In an effort to educate young people, giving them the tools to combat ongoing violence plaguing their communities, an array of famous faces converged in the Bronx this past weekend with one common goal.
Called "Push For Peace," the positive show and festival was sponsored by New York hip hop station Hot 97 and brought out hip hop stars Maino and Prodigy of Mobb Deep, New York Giants Kareem McKenzie and Brandon Bing, as well as Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr.
Among the several events offered during Saturday's festival included a panel discussion where guest speakers spoke candidly about their own experiences with violence and how they overcame it.
Maino, whose own story of perseverance took him from a life of crime to headlining concerts, encouraged youngsters "to do better and be better."
When Hot 97 personality and the event's host Lisa Evers talked about how critics often blame hip hop artists for glamorizing violence in their music, Prodigy of Mobb Deep responded, saying he - like many artists - play the roles of storytellers, rapping about the real-life experiences that molded them into the people they are today.
"A lot of the violence in our music comes from the way we grew up ... we are just telling our story," the rapper, who has also spent time in prison, told the crowd of several dozen. "As I got older and matured, we have always tried to enhance the message, focusing on the positive while still spitting the truth."
In recent months, local communities have been coping with an increase in crime and senseless violence involving young people that routinely steal headlines.
Just last week, a group who had gathered to the mourn the death of a Bronx man who was shot and killed in cold blood outside his home in the Fordham section, were forced to run for cover after gunfire rang out once again.
During the melee, 22-year-old Jonathan Lewis, a friend of the man being mourned, was killed.
The event was held to raise awareness on such tragic incidents, empowering young people and offering them positive alternatives to a life of crime.