ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Some local artists are using the power of music to address the rise in crime in the Capital Region this year. Mario Johnson, also known as DJ Hollyw8d, is usually behind his turntables. He and a few others created a new pop-up event called “More Music Less Violence.”
The title speaks for itself. “It’s really important to build in the community and have people come together especially because music is a universal language,” says Mario. “Using music to push a positive message into the environment and for the next generation to come.”
Sunday’s event gave a safe and fun place for the community to jam out. It also gave the spotlight to local artists and performers. They were able to use their creativity and vocals to make a difference. “It’s to promote the unity, community, and sense of safety within the community,” says local singer Alyssa Demarest.
The event was held in the Ground Up Cafe, a local coffee spot in Albany’s Pine Hills Neighborhood. “It was a challenge to have it here on the corner of Hudson and Quail. A lot of times, people don’t have good connotations with this area, but we want to overcome that. We want to overcome the stigma, ‘Oh, this is a bad area. Nothing good goes on here,’ to, ‘Good things do happen here,’” says Jessica Sherman, one of the organizers for More Music Less Violence.
All ages sang for the same purpose. There was a loud round of applause for 8-year-old Iveilah Dutton. She has been singing since she was a baby. “It makes me happy,” says Iveilah.
She also sings to make her mom proud. “She sang at her cousin’s funeral and I try to hold back my tears, so that kind of discouraged her—but now she’s 8 and she’s back to singing in front of people,” says Iveilah’s mom, Bernette Riley.
Many people at the event said this was something the community needed. The organizers plan to hold monthly events.