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Music Exec Talks Mentorship For At Risk Youth

By// Lakeia Brown

Michael “Blue” Williams knows the power of music. The entertainment vet, who’s managed such artists as Cee Lo, recently launched Guns 4 Greatness, a mentoring program that encourages youths to exchange firearms for rewards like concert tickets. After recovering 115 weapons during a recent Brooklyn, NY event, Williams explains his overall mission.

What led you to start this program?
I was inspired by listening to NYC’s Police Commissioner Ray Kelly talk about his stop-and-frisk policy. He basically challenged those of us who didn’t agree with it to figure out a better way to help make the streets safer. I’d also been keeping up with the new gun violence laws and I realized they would affect our communities at a disproportionate rate.

How exactly does the trade-off work?
The idea is to get people to turn in their guns. If they do the work and go to the mentoring, I continue to provide incentives like tickets or headphones. It’s about getting kids to realize there are results and rewards for doing the work. It was never about tickets to concerts.

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