Rapper Quavo lost his nephew and fellow Migos member Takeoff to gun violence last year. The traumatic experience of witnessing Takeoff being gunned down is something he says he doesn’t want anyone else to experience.
The Grammy-nominated artist and philanthropist went to D.C. and joined forces with the Community Justice Action Fund to meet with members of Congress on Wednesday for a panel discussion on gun violence prevention, and he said that he wants his grief turned into action.
Quavo said Takeoff’s untimely death in 2022 is what led him to speak up. “I feel like your calling comes at the least expected times,” he said, according to USA Today, as he asked some of the nation’s leaders to join him in his effort to reduce gun violence in America.
Takeoff was killed in November while attending a private party in Houston. According to police, he was an innocent bystander caught in the middle of a dispute over a dice game.
“You don’t think nothing is going to happen,” Quavo added. “I need to step up to the plate and hit a home run. 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 spoke on a panel with Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock, Rep. Lucy McBath, whose activism was inspired by the shooting death of her teenage son, and Greg Jackson of the Community Justice Action Fund, which advocates for changes in public policy and works to train community members.
“We were really excited that Quavo reached out and his team reached out wanting to not just mourn and grieve but to take action on this issue and find a way to address gun violence as it impacts on black and brown communities specifically,” Jackson, who serves as executive director of Community Justice Action Fund, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The panel reportedly discussed effective community intervention strategies as well as gun violence in Quavo’s native Georgia and the power of art and culture in anti-gun violence advocacy.
Quavo also met privately Wednesday with Vice President Kamala Harris, along with other family members, including Takeoff’s mother and grandmother.
Quavo and his family established the Rocket Foundation in honor of Takeoff last year, and he pledged $2 million to invest in community violence mitigation. He hopes to establish more after-school programs in regions where community facilities have been closed and basketball goal rims have been removed.
“Together, with solutions that come straight from my heart and our neighborhoods, we can tackle this violence head-on and save lives,” said Takeoff.
One of the rapper’s key messages to lawmakers was to push for additional federal funding for violence prevention, expressing his support of the Break the Cycle of Violence Act, a bill presented by Democrats. This measure would allocate $6.5 billion in federal funds to youth workforce development and community violence reduction programs nationwide.
The U.S. House approved the bill in September 2022, but the congressional session ended in January without a Senate hearing. The bill was reintroduced in July, but with Republicans now in control of the House, movement is uncertain.