Rapper The Game hosted an anti-violence rally Sunday, featuring entertainers, activists, community members, and preachers from the Nation of Islam. The event, titled "Time To Unite: United Hoods + Gangs Nation," drew an overflow crowd, the Associated Press reported.
Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck shook hands with The Game and said the event was a step in the right direction, especially in light of the news earlier in the day that six law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge had been shot (three fatally).
Sunday's gathering discussed how to curb violence as the nation reels from both police shootings of African-American men and the shooting of law enforcement officers. The Game, whose legal name is Jayceon Terrell Taylor, said he wanted men to discuss how they could be better role models and reflect on their influence on the young people in the community.
Men need to have a "much-needed conversation" about their influence on young people and how to serve as better role models, The Game wrote on Instagram, where he has 6.6 million followers.
"Your life should mean more to you," he told the crowd, as the Los Angeles Times reported. "Your life should mean more to you than what you're showing."
He said he wanted the community to be safer for his daughter, and fought tears while describing how an old friend he grew up with in foster care was killed in a gang-related incident.
Held at a community center in south Los Angeles, the event drew a variety of influential attendees, including performer will.i.am. Gang members and anti-gang activists sat side-by-side, as the Associated Press reported, and speakers and screens were set up for those unable to get into the event.
Nation of Islam Minister Tony Muhammad helped plan the event. When he asked the crowd how many of them had lost a loved one to gang violence, hundreds raised their hands, according to the Times.
"Come on black community, it's time for us to stand up and unite," he said.
Attendees said they wanted to see change in the community. Dom Black, a 22-year-old resident of a surrounding neighborhood, said he had been beat up and shot at and wanted to see a shift in the community.
"I came out here because I feel like the change starts inside," he told reporters.
The Sunday follows a July 8 march to Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) headquarters organized by The Game and fellow rapper Snoop Dogg, accompanied by about 50 men.
"The mission is to reintroduce our community to the LAPD ... just to get some understanding and dialogue," he told the Los Angeles Times. "We're the ones they’re going to be dealing with, we're the ones that are going to be pulled over. … We're here on peace."
Snoop Dogg, whose legal name is Calvin Broadus, was scheduled to co-host the Sunday event but was not in attendance.
The July 8 march led to a meeting that same day with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, LAPD Chief Beck and other police officials. After that meeting, Beck said the group had come to a consensus that all were upset by the events of that past week – the videos of police shootings in Minneapolis and Baton Rouge, and the shooting of police officers in Dallas.
"We are all furious about what has happened to this conversation – that there is no dialogue, that is it becoming a screaming contest from opposite sides of the room," Beck said at the time. "It can't be that. The way to solve problems is to sit down, to look them in the eye and work it out."