Hip-hop mogul Michael “Blue” Williams has managed musicians for a living – famous ones like OutKast, Cee-Lo Green and Nas. Last month, Williams got a new idea, this one about making America’s cities safer. He wants to buy guns from people not so he can use them, but so he can take them out of circulation.
“The Beyonce show is coming to Brooklyn; the Jay-Z show is coming to Yankee Stadium. Our goal is to reach out to individuals who are in my industry, in my world and who I have an association with and get their support. I think we should all work together to help get guns off the streets.”
Gun buybacks are typically run by police and/or the cities that host them. You hand in a gun, and the authorities give you something of value, either a gift certificate or cash. But with a sign-off from the New York Police Department, this weekend Williams will host this city’s first private-sector gun buyback program. He’ll offer cash and mentorships, using his connections in the music industry and the broader community to make the deal attractive to people who might not otherwise want to take part. His pitch is that you haven’t got to get involved with the police, and you get a chance to improve your life in a lasting way.