The Game united gang members, politicians, rappers, police officers, activists and faith leaders Sunday in Los Angeles for an anti-violence summit, the Associated Press reports. Following several police killings and law enforcement shootings of African-American men, the unlikely congregation preached a message of positivity and unity.
The event, “Time to Unite: United Hoods + Gangs Nation,” gathered hundreds at a South Los Angeles community center. The meeting was reportedly supported by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and was attended by will.i.am, radio personality Big Boy and rappers Shorty, Problem and Bad Lucc. Though Snoop Dogg was billed as co-host, he did not attend.
The Game, born Jayceon Terrell Taylor, said he was inspired to lead the event after learning about the shooting death of a former gang member named Spanky, with whom he grew up in a nearby Compton foster care.
“It’s like a bus going through the city – a bus of love, a bus of positivity,” the Game told reporters. “We want to keep the doors open. We want everyone to get on the bus … It’s free admission. All you gotta do is get on the ride with us.”
Asked about the fatal shooting of three police officers Sunday morning in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the rapper called the deaths “a tragedy,” adding, “Of course, officers, civilians, any life loss is a major deterioration of us as a people.” Citing another reason for organizing the event, he said, “Because I have children I want to grow up in a better world than the one I can see with my own eyes.”
“From this day out, politicians, mayors, president of the United States – all them going to be held accountable, everybody,” he said from the stage. “But before we do that, we gotta hold ourselves accountable as people.”
Mayor Eric Garcetti and Police Chief Charlie Beck shook hands with the rapper outside the venue in a show of solidarity. Beck called the meeting a “great first step” toward reducing violence.