Mayor John Tory met with three prominent members of Toronto’s hip-hop community on Friday to discuss possible solutions for the recent spate of gun violence in the city.
Filmmaker Director X posted a message on Instagram saying he joined rapper Kardinal Offishall and producer Taj Critchlow to start talks they hope will lead to “solutions both long and short term.”
The music video and movie maker said it’s part of Tory’s outreach to a number of members of the local hip-hop community following a string of shootings that left three people dead and at least eight injured over the past week.
“I want the youth to know that there are people who truly care about their well-being and their future,” the director wrote in his post.
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Growing up my friends and I would travel downtown from Brampton to goto all ages parties. They were amazing and fun nights but we saw a lot of violence. Every weekend someone was getting injured or killed. It didn’t feel like anyone cared. No news stories about the violence. No community activists protested for us. We felt completely ignored and alone. That was then. I want the youth to know that there are people who truly care about their well being and their future. Today @tajtheblacklion organized a meeting with @kardinalo myself and @johntory the Mayor of Toronto to discuss the violence that is affecting our city. The Mayor has been speaking to other members of the hip hop community in the city who are all very concerned that the youth have a real chance at living a good life. We discussed solutions both long term and short term. I’d like to hear what you all have to say. What can we do?
The meeting followed recent efforts by members of the hip-hop community to crowdsource feedback on social media from their Toronto fans about recent events.
Kardinal has previously addressed the gun violence in his own social media posts, saying that a “lack of community funding and programming” has led to “desensitized youth with a lack of resources,” but he firmly denied it has anything to do with music.
“This is about a need for leadership to increase, this is about many things – but this is not about a correlation between rap and violence. Not today. No thanks,” he wrote in a July 1 post on Instagram.
A day earlier, two men associated with the local rap scene — 21-year-old Jahvante Smart, also known as Smoke Dawg, and 28-year-old Ernest Modekwe — had been killed in a shooting in the downtown area.
Those men were among the 11 people that were shot over a week’s span beginning on June 29. In one of the shootings, four people were injured in Toronto’s Kensington Market neighbourhood with one of them dying in hospital.
Kardinal expressed optimism about the initial meeting with Tory, noting that the mayor “read over every last comment.”