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Local talent search redirects violence with creativity

Put Down the Guns Pick Up the Mic
Posted at 9:11 PM, Dec 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-14 23:44:36-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — A first-of-its-kind event intended to inspire local artists while influencing the people around them took place Saturday in Kansas City, Missouri.

Put Down the Guns, Pick Up the Mic was a talent search with the goal of reducing the Kansas City's violence.

Organizer Joseph Macklin told 41 Action News the event was created to redirect violence with creativity.

"I want to do this more and more and more and more," Macklin said. "there's a lot of creative people, and they just want to be creative and they want to express themselves. So, we have to give opportunity and more resources for that."

More than 60 contestants signed up to perform Saturday at the Arts Tech Event Space, 1522 Holmes Street in Kansas City.

"Put down the guns, pick up a mic, you know, care about the person to your left and your right,"contestant Raymond Lucas said.

Lucas is a spoken-word artist and was one contestant who said he did not hesitate to sign up after hearing of the event.

"As long as I can say something in my time limit, that can spark an idea in anybody's mind that will counter the negative, you know, and keep them in a positive light, you know?" Lucas said. "My name is Raymond, but I go by Ray and that means a narrow beam of light, what I chose to be in any room I walk in."

It was a small stage for performers, but Macklin said he hoped it would be a big platform to help get Kansas City back on the right track.

"I want to give hope," Macklin said, "hope like, we want to invest in you. We want you to know your community is willing to invest in you. We want you to know that we love you and we care for you, and this is our way of giving back in any way we can."

So far this year, there have been more than 140 homicides in Kansas City alone.

"I can sit and complain about it all day if I want to, but that's not going to help the solution, or give any solutions," Macklin said. "So, I'm like, how can I come back? How can I give back? How can I let them know like I'm here, and create opportunities?"

Put Down the Guns KC is a way to lift people up, and challenge them to be better.

"I can't say what the problem is, but I know I've got plenty of solutions," Lucas said.