NEW ORLEANS - As the city gets ready to kick off Essence Fest, some big names were already in town Wednesday taking part in a rap concert against violence.
Master P and Mystikal, both New Orleans natives, were among those who performed at a concert Wednesday in Behrman Park.
“We come from these neighborhoods and we realize, you know, what we was able to grow up and change our lives, and we wants to help these kids in the community, all the crime that’s happening in New Orleans. We tell kids, stop the violence, put the guns down, pick up a book. Educate yourself,” said Percy “Master P” Miller.
Local rapper G.I. Peachez knows the impact of violence first hand. Her brother was rapper James Tapp, better known as rapper Soulja Slim. He was murdered in front of his New Orleans home in 2003.
Now, Peachez lives in the same home and raps in his memory.
“Dealing with what I dealt with, if I could help somebody and really change their mind about violence, put down the guns and come together and let's do music and let's enjoy culture and celebration,” said Peachez.
Organizers say a quarter of Wednesday’s proceeds will go to the Let the Kids Grow Foundation’s HOPE, which is aimed at giving kids positive activities.
It was created by organizer Mike Willis after his son was charged with murder.
“It's not really about my son. It's about all these kids, all these kids,” said Willis.
Willis's son, Kendall Harrison, was 17 when he was charged with murdering Algiers Good Samaritan Mike Ainsworth last year. He remains behind bars awaiting trial.
While Willis believes his son is innocent, he said the arrest inspired him to realize his dream of reaching out to the community to help curb crime.
“We got to take our community back. It's our community. And I don't think nobody is going to take you serious until you show them that you're going to take a stand,” said Willis.
Willis said the Foundation will help support after school activities for youth.