With gun violence still running rampant, music executive Michael "Blue" Williams has come up with an idea to get firearms off the streets of New York City. The head of Family Tree Entertainment has pitched a proposal aimed at offering mentoring and a little celebrity man power, in exchange for people turning in weapons.
Williams is still waiting approval from Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, who's behind the idea, but wants to look further into the proposal before giving a final go-ahead. “We want to get as many guns off the streets, and if this works, we'd like to support it,” Kelly said.
If approved, Williams will call on the likes of Beyoncé for help. “The Beyoncé show is coming to Brooklyn; the Jay-Z show is coming to Yankee Stadium. Our goal is to reach out to individuals who are in my industry, in my world and who I have an association with and get their support,” he explained. “I think we should all work together to help get guns off the streets.”
The notion came to him after the death of longtime friend and business partner, Chris Lighty, who shot himself in front of his Bronx home, last summer.
Having guided the careers of several big names, including Outkast and Cee Lo Green, Williams is hoping to kick off his latest project, dubbed "Guns for Greatness," next month. Given his longstanding career in entertainment, he hopes to reach the demographic of young Hip-Hop fans, some of whom contribute to gun violence in the state. Like similar programs around the nation, gun holders will be allowed to drop their weapons off with no questions asked.
Bey is slated to perform at the Brooklyn Barclays Arena in August, following her husband, Jay-Z's tour stop with Justin Timberlake , which will invade Yankee Stadium in July. Williams is looking to reach out to both of the Carters for tickets to aid his cause. He's also raised $75,000 of his $100,000 goal, but according to Kelly, if the gun drive is green lit, there are certain precautions that need to be taken. “You need police officers present. You'd need the expertise,” Kelly explained.
With the likes of Hot 97, the International House of Pancakes, Polo Grounds Music, Primary Wave Music, and other brands in support, Williams has inspired those around him. “He doesn't have to do this,” noted former federal prosecutor, Kenneth Thompson, who signed Williams' proposal which was sent to Kelly. “He's doing this because it's the right thing to do.”
"Guns for Greatness" is set to launch March 23.
Photo: Black Enterprise