Guernsey Press

Quavo steps up advocacy against gun violence after nephew Takeoff’s death

Takeoff’s death in 2022 was the latest in a string of fatal shootings in recent years that involved hip-hop stars.

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Migos rapper Quavo, who witnessed his nephew Takeoff being gunned down last year, is expected to speak about combating gun violence during the Congressional Black Caucus legislative conference in Washington on Wednesday.

He met privately with political figures including Vice President Kamala Harris.

The Grammy-nominated musician said Takeoff’s death in 2022 convinced him to speak up.

“I feel like your calling comes at the least expected times,” said Quavo, who also honoured his nephew with their Migos bandmate Offset during the BET Awards earlier this summer.

Police say Takeoff was an innocent bystander who was shot outside a Houston bowling alley after a disagreement over a lucrative dice game led to gunfire.

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Takeoff, left, and Quavo, of Migos, at the ESPY Awards in Los Angeles in 2019 (Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP/PA)

“You don’t think nothing is going to happen,” Quavo continued. “I need to step up to the plate and hit a homerun.

“I have to do something about it, so it won’t happen to the masses — especially in our culture. I don’t want this to happen to the next person. I want to knock down these percentages.”

Quavo will join a panel discussion on Wednesday alongside Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock, Representative Lucy McBath — whose activism was propelled after the shooting death of her teenage son — and Greg Jackson of the Community Justice Action Fund.

It will be a solutions-oriented conversation on community intervention strategies, the battle with gun violence and the power in advocacy.

“We need to do better with the control of guns,” Quavo said. “We need to figure out how do we keep these types of incidents from happening to people going anywhere and thinking they can hurt somebody where it shouldn’t happen.”

“And how do you keep them out of the hands of people that make bad decisions?” he said. “I’m kind of in a half-and-half place. Even police have guns.

“Unfortunately, some of the people in our culture and loved ones have been lost to police brutality. It’s all about choices and how we can put a filter on who can use these guns.”

Mr Jackson said Quavo’s voice could make a difference. He applauded the rapper for sitting down with members of Congress, offering his firsthand insights and putting the pressure on them for change.

“His voice and commitment around community violence intervention could provide more resources for those who are most at risk,” said Mr Jackson, whose Community Justice organisation hosted Quavo for a day of advocacy.

They are both pushing for passing of the Break the Cycle of Violence Act, which would provide a 6.5 billion dollar (£5.2 billion) federal grant to communities to curb gun violence, create prevention programmes, job training and workforce development for youths.

Mr Jackson, who was shot in 2013, said combating gun violence has become personal for him.

“It’s what we need,” he said. “With gun violence, in order to change it, we have to change the behaviour just as aggressively as we focus on safety and ownership and access. But we can’t change behaviour if our communities don’t have the resources they need, and our youth is being overlooked and forgotten.”

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Quavo poses for a portrait at the White House in Washington on Wednesday (Stephanie Scarbrough/AP/PA)

Quavo says it is imperative to keep the youth busy with productive activities in a safe environment. He’s already approached some in the hip-hop community for support including rapper Meek Mill, who’s been active with criminal justice reform.

But Quavo say he knows he needs more political backing to streamline much-needed resources to the less fortunate.

“I feel like after going to the White House, I need resources,” he said. “I need a bag of goodies, so I can take back and say ‘Here, this is for the culture’.

“We have that extension cord. We are plugged into that type of environment. I don’t think no one else in our stature is that connected. In order for things to change, we need resources.”

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