Toronto Police Web Story by Writer/Photographer Kevin Masterman
"Rappers Preach Peace For Police"
'While most brothers street-fightin'
I'm spittin' truth in the booth, yo, it's the real writing
All these liquid youths think they walking man boots but they just
They just need to relax because the youths bite them
No more gun play up in the streets,
Man tink they bad just die from the da heat or lock up in a jail -- life
is so sweet
Don't take what you can't create
My brother, please
...Tune into TAVIS, they're not the enemy, Toronto Police
-Brad Lyko, Monk Street Sector Police enlisted the staccato freestyle of young Toronto rappers in a bid
to seek understanding in pursuit of peace on the streets.
The Toronto Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy (TAVIS), a program that
sees officers arrive in a neighbourhood to enforce the law and mobilize
community, is promoting its message of non-violence and community action
on public service announcements broadcast on Flow 93.5 in the coming
TAVIS coordinator Sgt. Jeff Pearson said police are reaching out through
the radio waves to reach all members of the communities they serve.
"The reason I would advertise an anti-violence strategy is that a lot of
people who live in the communities we police go home from work and lock
their doors," Pearson said. "We're doing a lot of great work in these
neighbourhoods and we need to them to come out into their community open
spaces. We need them to get out, get involved in their neighbourhood and
get to know their neighbourhood officer to make a safer community."
Pearson said hip hop artists reach youth in a way officers, despite
their best efforts to be relevant, can't grasp.
"I can put young people to sleep pretty quick," Pearson said. "What
better way to connect with youth that by using youth to get the message
out. They have ties to the community already and they're going to help
us spread the TAVIS message."
The Monk Street Sector, made up of Brad Lyko, Andrew Slowly and Shanks,
lent their voices to TAVIS to ensure a message of non-violence reaches
"A lot of young people who listen to hip hop music don't look at police
as their friend or someone they can talk to -- they usually look at them
as the enemy," Brad Lyko, 25, said. "A lot of hip hop music is negative
toward police. We're trying to be positive and show the police are not
the enemy and they do like hip hop music."
He said too often hip hop music is linked with violence by those who
listen and those who detest the art form.
"You can like hip hop music and the culture without being involved in
violence," Lyko said. "There is a different level to this music
Lyko said he isn't worried about having his name associated to police.
"People may call me a sellout but I have no problem with that its
positivity that I stand for and I have no problem promoting that with
the police," Lyko said.
For J.Staffz, 24-year-old rapper and producer Jabari Bowery, the message
is a personal one.
"I have a lot of friends that are in jail or getting in trouble for
doing the wrong things for the wrong reasons," Bowery said. "I want to
let people know that they have options."
He said being a public figure means he has a mandate to give back to the
"If you have that voice and a little bit of a following you have a
responsibility to help your community," Bowery said. "Music gives the
ability to tell a story through song."
Rapper Jordan Kelly, known as Jay Kellz, said that music is easy for
young people to relate to and a positive message needs play on the
"From a young age they're watching these gangster movies about killing
police that's stuck in their head right now," Kelly said. "They need to
get a message to them to do positive things."
For photos from the recording sessions click: http://Facebook.com/TorontoPolice
Video recorded and posted by Cst Scott Mills, Toronto Police Social Media Officer