Chicago rapper Chief Keef has stirred up the emotions of local residents with his image being used in an anti-violence campaign around the popular Illinois city.
According to reports, the rapper, known for his violent lyrics, is featured in a positive movement out in Chi-town.
A picture of Keef on the 500campaign’s Instagram feed this has sparked a debate over whether the teen has a place in an anti-violence movement. Keef, who’s real name is Keith Cozart, is often under fire for his violent and misogynist lyrics, and in a case of life imitating art, is currently on probation for pointing a gun at a police officer in 2011 and was just released from jail earlier this month on a probation violation. Twenty-eight-year-old Bryant Cross created the campaign, which asks ordinary Chicagoans to email him their head shots so he can add the slogan “Angry Because Over 500 Youth Were Murdered in Chicago” and post it to the feed. More than 1,200 pictures have been posted over the past few weeks, but a couple of days ago he received a photo of the rapper driving a top-down convertible next to a girl. (NBC Chicago)
The campaign’s leader, Bryant Cross, has fully stood behind Keef’s image.
The person who sent the picture claims he had Keef’s blessing, so Cross added the slogan and posted the picture to the feed. The picture prompted an immediate backlash, with most comments criticizing the decision to post a picture of the controversial rapper. Cross decided to take the picture down, but a day later decided to re-post it, along with an explanation of why he decided it needs to be there. “Chief Keef and brothers like him are the ones we should be engaging,” Cross told NBCChicago.com. “If you can’t look at a photo and not be hostile — there’s no hope. We have to be able to engage everyone, not just the people we like.” Cross says he doesn’t feel like the picture mocks his movement, rather “strengthens” it. (NBC Chicago)
Last summer, fellow Chicago rapper Lupe Fiasco Keef scared him because of what he represented to their city.
“I don’t know too much about Rockie Fresh — Chief Keef scares me. Not him specifically, but just the culture that he represents, specifically in Chicago,” Lupe said when asked for his take on Chi-Town newcomers. “And I don’t speak this about any other city because I’m not from there. But like my family lives in Chicago. So my nephews, my cousins, my friends, and my peoples they all in those hoods that he represents. When you drive through Chicago the hoodlums, I don’t want to call Chief Keef a hoodlum, but ‘the’ hoodlums, the gangsters, and the ones you see killing each other — the murder rate in Chicago is skyrocketing and you see who’s doing it and perpetrating it, they all look like Chief Keef.” (#Rap Attack)
Mega producer Swizz Beatz recently spoke on artists like Keef being targeted and said neglecting the youth can lead to violence.
“I think it’s bigger than him. Chief Keef is just a name people can relate to because he’s in the entertainment business. But, I think the real reason is the youth, period, with nowhere to go, no plans, and they’re just resorting to living however they want to live. You go to a different country and they don’t have no support, no food, it’s the same thing. It’s just that we’re knowing about it more because there’s a celebrity name involved, but I wouldn’t even put that on him. This has been going on for years. They shut down the whole Cabrini-Green a long time ago. This been happening. But the key thing is how is it going to stop happening? Is it arts? Is it music? That’s the thing to figure out.” (Global Grind)