Artists often use different mediums to reach their audiences and spark change. A few South Florida artists are using their talents to impact their communities beyond music.
“There are a lot of lost kids and lost adults … not enough truth going around right now,” said Blaze Carter, father of King Carter, a 6-year-old Northwest Miami-Dade boy who was shot and killed in 2016, about what keeps him motivated to interact with his community.
“Before the passing of my son I was [involved] in the community … before it hit my home,” Carter said. “I know what the world lacks right now. We lack love. We lack truth and honesty. There are a lot of people in power that do not really care. They are just worried about financials, the money.”
Carter, also known as a South Florida rap artist, has taken on the role of community leader. Last year, he helped to develop a community project, Save Our Kings. The program was designed to deter young people from taking part in gun violence. And he is not alone in his efforts.
Overtown native and rapper YD recently teamed with a visual artist named Wolf and youths from the neighborhood to paint a mural to inspire peace.
“Wolf is the guy that came to me,” YD said. “They wanted someone from the community to be [involved] with the project. I always felt that as a leader you have to give back something. Not money. It is not all about the money, it is all about knowledge.
“From my experiences, being from Overtown, the drugs, the gun violence, I saw a lot. I wanted to change the cycle. I wanted to change the reality of what these kids really see in the community. Like a lot of these kids do not believe that they can make it out of Overtown. I just wanted to give [youths] that hope, give them the possibility, give them that motivation, that sesame seed of faith that God says in the Bible. With my motivation, coming from where they come from, it will be relatable.”
The mural is located at 60 NW 17th Street near Dorsey Park. Moved by the untimely deaths of children like King and 8-year-old Jada Page, who was also shot and killed last year, local singer Ronnie VOP wrote a song to help to heal the void and to both inspire and motivate Miami youths.
“The inspiration behind ‘Set Me Free’ goes back to when I was a little kid,” VOP said. “When we lost 6-year-old King Carter, I just felt like someone needed to speak up. We have so many artists that are doing very great things, creating great music in the city, but no one is really creating a song to inspire these kids. ... We do not have a ‘We Are The World’ for today.”