Swizz Beatz attributes the dilemma occurring in the Chicago urban community to a myriad of problems, including drugs, the high unemployment rate and poor education.
“This is a cycle that has been going on, Swizz Beatz told VladTV. “You wanna know why it’s going on? There’s not enough money for the proper education and it’s not enough money for the proper schools, so people can have something to occupy themselves with… enough art schools, music schools… and that’s why I’m into trying to get that stuff going because what else are they supposed to do.”
In a controversial measure this year, mayor Rahm Emmanuel slashed education funds for Chicago Public Schools, which led to the closing of 54 schools.
It was the largest mass closing by a school district in U.S. history, according to Reuters.
This decision drew the ire of Chicago-bred Hip Hop group L.E.P. Bogus Boys.
“After ragman emmanuel changesthe police emergency polices hen closing schools do we really want to vote 4 him again he aint s---
“Education should never be compromised let’s get ragman emmanuel out as mayor next term he super bogus,” the “Commas” rappers wrote.
Chicagoan Asean Johnson, a 9-year-old student at Marcus Garvey Elementary, took mayor Rahm Emanuel to task this past summer over the impending school closings during a rally.
Johnson says the closings will put thousands of children in harm’s way.
“Rahm Emanuel thinks that we are all toys,” Johnson said. “He think he can just come into our schools and move all our kids all over gang lines and say, ‘Oh… let’s take this school out. We don’t care about these kids.’ But there are kids in there. They need safety. Rahm Emanuel is not caring about our schools. He is not caring about our safety. He is only caring about his kids. He is only caring about what he needs. He don’t care about nobody else, but himself.
“They need safety,” he continued. “They need protection. You should be investing in the schools, not closing them. You should be supporting these schools, not closing them.”
The “Money In the Bank” artist went on to say economic problems supersedes education.
“It’s bigger than the schools. It’s the economy,” Swizz Beatz explained. “How you gon focus in school when your mother is sitting at home starving or your mother on drugs with a abusive boyfriend. These kids be dealing with those type of things. I deal with kids, so I know what really go on in their lives.”
Chicago has one of the nation’s highest African American unemployment rates. In 2011, African American unemployment in Chicago ranked third highest in the country, according to a report by the Economic Policy Institute.
Huge disparities continue to exist between black and whites as it did pre-Civil Rights era.
The poverty rate amongst African Americans in Chicago stands at 34.1 percent, more than triple that of Whites, according to statistics compiled by Chicago Reader. For Whites, the poverty rate is 10.9 percent.
The unemployment rate for African Americans in Chicago is 19.5 percent, more than double that of Whites, which is 8.1 percent.
Swizz says there should be more curriculum in schools focused on the arts, so children may express themselves.
“I just wish there was more focus going towards the school system cause a lot of people from the hood have a hard time expressing themselves,” he said. “That’s why we can express ourselves through music… art, videography, photography… the arts.”
Swizz says despite the urban community’s hardships, one should be able to rise above their circumstances.
“It’s a rough situation, but through all them rough situations, there’s always opportunities,” he said. “Sometimes, people use being in situations as a crutch and that’s not cool. It’s teamwork. It’s starts off with you waking up in the morning and coming up with your goal and meeting whatever options…you gotta meet it half way.
“People sitting, ‘I’m twisting. I’m f*cked up.’ Ight, but you look healthy to me. You got shoes and socks on your feet. You ain’t doing bad as them kids I seen over there. You ain’t that bad, but what are you doing with the little bit of paper you’re getting. Are drinking it? Are you tricking it” Or are you putting it towards getting yourself to the next level. A lot of people, they don’t want to graduate. A lot of people are really comfortable with smoking, chicks, drinking, being fresh. Don’t got no crib, still living with their mother. A lot of people are nervous to go out there and face this world that we call America. It’s a lot of excuses that go down in the hood, too. If you not disabled, and you’re young and healthy, there’s a way to get it. I’m an example of that, Jay is an example of that, our whole industry is an example of that.
“My whole crib was this sleeping on the floor. I ain’t know nobody had no labels, I ain’t know nobody. It came from hard work, dedication, and keep pushing…then maintaining. But a lot of people lost out of the gate because they mentally lost. Once you mentally locked, then it’s hard for you to get out. You gotta get out your own way. Everybody worrying about everyone else. Focus sometimes on you. Design you. Design your character. Design who you are as a man or a female. Design yourself before you talk about somebody else. Design you. Be a perfect design you can be. It’ll take you your entire lifetime because you’ll never be perfect. But focus on designing you and start with yourself.”
Watch Swizz Beatz Vlad TV interview
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