‘I need to step up to the plate’

Quavo is getting very serious about gun-violence prevention.

Less than a year after his nephew and former bandmate Takeoff was fatally shot in Houston, the “Walk It Talk It” rapper met with Vice President Kamala Harris and members of Congress this week to advocate against gun violence.

Takeoff, whose real name was Kirshnik Khari Ball, was shot multiple times on Nov. 1, 2022, outside a Houston bowling alley. Takeoff was “an innocent bystander” who was “in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Houston police said at the time. The 28-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene.

Quavo joined in on a panel put on by the Congressional Black Caucus to discuss the issue. He was accompanied by his sister and Takeoff’s mother, Titania Davenport.

Read more: Officials seek information after Migos rapper Takeoff, 28, dies in Houston shooting

“I feel like your calling comes at the least expected times … You don’t think nothing is going to happen,” he told the caucus. “I need to step up to the plate and hit a home run. I have to do something about it, so it won’t happen to the masses — especially in our culture. I don’t want this to happen to the next person. I want to knock down these percentages.”

Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga.; Rep. Lucy McBath, the Georgia Democrat who lost her son due to gun violence; and Greg Jackson of the Community Justice Action Fund were present at the panel that focused on community-led intervention strategies against gun violence.

“We need to do better with the control of guns,” Quavo continued. “We need to figure out how do we keep these types of incidents from happening to people going anywhere and thinking they can hurt somebody where it shouldn’t happen.”

The “Bad and Boujee” artist pondered two main questions: How do we use guns safely, and how do we keep them “out of the hands of people that make bad decisions.”

Read more: ‘My heart is shattered’: Band mates Offset and Quavo honor Migos rapper Takeoff

“I’m kind of in a half-and-half place. Even police have guns,” he said. “Unfortunately, some of the people in our culture and loved ones have been lost to police brutality. It’s all about choices and how we can put a filter on who can use these guns.”

Jackson praised Quavo for using his status as a cultural figure to put pressure on lawmakers to advocate for change on the issue.

“It’s what we need,” Jackson said. “With gun violence, in order to change it, we have to change the behavior just as aggressively as we focus on safety and ownership and access. But we can’t change behavior if our communities don’t have the resources they need, and our youth is being overlooked and forgotten.”

Read more: Takeoff’s mother sues Houston bowling alley where he was killed

Quavo in 2022 helped set up the Rocket Foundation, an organization centered around funding programs that are “saving lives through proven, community-based solutions to prevent gun violence.” The charitable body was founded in honor of Takeoff.

The thing Quavo most emphasized during his talk Wednesday was the need for more resources in underfunded communities.

“I feel like after going to the White House, I need resources,” he said. “I need a bag of goodies, so I can take back and say, ‘Here, this is for the culture.’ We have that extension cord. We are plugged into that type of environment. I don’t think no one else in our stature is that connected. In order for things to change, we need resources.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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