News: T.I. Unloads Criminal Past W/ Open Letter, "Now Is The Time For Me To Lead By Example"

Monday, May 11, 2009 11:03AM

Written by Cyrus Langhorne

Preparing for his anti-gun speech today (May 11) in New York City, T.I. has written an open-letter that discloses his past mistakes and determination to make a positive change in the lives of others.

The "King of the South" also reflected on his upcoming prison sentence.

"In a few weeks, I will begin a one-year prison sentence for being in the possession of illegal firearms," Tip wrote. "Where I come from, having a gun is just part of everyday life. But, through this painful process of going to court and being convicted, I realized that I had to make a change. I made some bad decisions. I broke the law and will accept my punishment. With deep reflection about where my life was headed, I have begun the process of redemption, and decided that before I go to prison, I want to speak to young people about responsibility as a lifestyle. I hope that through my mistakes, young people can begin to learn, as I did, that we have to put our guns down and start to give our guns back. It pains me inside to hear about so many of our people dying because of gun violence...Now is the time for me to lead by example." (Global Grind)

Tip will be joined alongside other figures in his speech against violence.

He will utilize his non-profit K.I.N.G. foundation next week to hold an anti-gun and violence rally in Harlem, NY. Assisting the Atlanta native's endeavor are Reverend Al Sharpton, Russell Simmons and Kevin Liles. Announced as 'Responsibility is a Lifestyle: it's Time to Bury Da Beef,' the involved groups plan to initiate a 'call to action to engage elected officials, community organizers, artists, and every American citizen to accept responsibility to build safer communities.' (Top 40 Charts)

The rapper previously partnered with former U.S. congressman Andrew Young to star in his anti-weapons documentary, Walking With Guns last year.

Young chronicles Tip's journey across the country in the hour long documentary as he visits a New York rehabilitation hospital to speak with paralyzed victims of gun violence, offer guidance to young people about crime and travel with a former gang member who has since become a social activist. (Associated Press)

He has also stressed for people in his local communities to utilize Crime Stoppers by starring in a Public Service Announcement last fall.

"Hey, what's happening y'all? Some people call me Tip, but this is about another kind of tip that could help our mothers, our sisters, our brothers and our fathers to help get the perpetrators who commit crimes against them off the streets," T.I. said in the video. "All you gotta do is call Crimestoppers Atlanta. Tips can be anonymous and there's even a reward." (WSB-TV)

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