Providence rap videos come under fire
Rap videos posted on YouTube are causing controversy in Providence.
Some of the videos show young men showing off guns, though it's not clear whether they are real or fake and partying, talking about violence, drugs and sex.
And other videos show the pain and emotions that lead to violence.
Scenes of rappers standing on the steps of the Rhode Island State House and around town, look a lot like what you see in mainstream rap videos.
The young men rap about sex and partying and playing around with guns.
Juan Carter runs the "Street workers" program at the Institute for Nonviolence in Providence.
He says the big concerns in these videos are the pain and emotion, and the events leading young people to engage in violence.
"They're very traumatized. It's not normal for a 16-year-old, in the richest country in the world, to have lost friends and to witness shootings," said Teny Gross.
Teny Gross runs the Institute for Nonviolence and says the community can take several messages from these videos.
He says the guns are serious, whether they're real or props, and people involved in violence should face charges.
But he also wants leaders and lawmakers to also consider how we got here. A message echoed by NAACP leaders at this week's press conference after several shootings in the city.
"We don't accept it for our children. But we've forced many communities who are stuck in that to tolerate that. We don't fund their after-school program, we say we don't have money, and this is what the end product is," said Gross.
Juan Carter of the Institute for Nonviolence said, " We stop, turning a blind eye to it and stop acting like we're not seeing what our kids are doing and get more in our kids' business."
Institute staff say people in Rhode Island need to take a close look at the videos and listen not just to what young people are saying but why they're communicating and carrying out a message of violence.
The Institute for Nonviolence says usually the rappers they see featured in these videos are involved in known conflicts around Providence.
They say sometimes it's just bravado, but a lot of times rivals will see this kind of thing as a legitimate threat.
Recent MusicVideos posted to YouTube from local rappers: