MEMPHIS, Tenn. — With the rise in crime among youth, a town hall discussion was held Saturday featuring Memphis rapper NLE Choppa.
The event was organized by a local group, Black Men Crowned, who hosted the event in partnership with the 20-year-old rapper. Over the course of three hours, there were multiple discussions surrounding topics impacting youth from mental health to crimes.
“All of these conversations are needed to because a lot of times parents don’t know the conversation to have or sometimes kids don’t want to have the conversation,” NLE Choppa said.
This is second year in a row that the event was held. Dozens of children, parents and community leaders were in attendance for the town hall in search answers to ongoing problems.
“One problem for me is trying to express my feelings,” an attendee said.
The event was geared toward allowing youth to be vulnerable and express themselves. They were given advice from NLE Choppa and other panelists.
“All of these conversations are needed, because a lot of times parents don’t know the conversation to have or sometimes kids don’t want to have the conversation with parents,” Choppa said. “So, you need an influence. A person with influence to tell [you] what’s wrong and what’s right.”
The event comes at a time where the city of Memphis is dealing with a surge of crime involving youth. One of the most common crimes is auto theft. Memphis Police told WREG there have been at least 3,300 reported auto thefts this year.
In most cases, MPD says they are in search of weapons. Given the current trajectory, officials from the department were in attendance to speak the youth and parents.
“The kids are dealing with a lot of things in their lives, but parent must protect that child, if you don’t protect them, there’s to be somebody out with ill will, Deputy Chief Paul Wright said.
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NLE Choppa is hoping to make the town hall a monthly event and bring it across the city. The Memphis native believes it’s important to invest in youth while they are young to prevent them from going down the wrong path.
“This what I love doing,” NLE Choppa said. “Music cool, doing shows is cute, the jewelry and stuff it’s cool but who life can I save? Who can I touch? Who can walk up 20 years from now be like, ‘Yo that talk we had in that church that day change my life.’