http://cbs2chicago.com/local/Twista.youth.violence.2.1272473.htmlArtist Says He's Collaborating With Kanye West To Raise Money For Positive Activities
CHICAGO (CBS) Chicago rapper Twista is aiming a message of peace at Chicago students in an effort to change the lives of troubled teens.
Twista recently took a trip to Chicago's Roseland neighborhood to meet two of the teens involved in the fight that killed CPS student Derrion Albert in September. Carl Lowery and Eugene Bailey told the rapper about their efforts to put their lives back together after the incident.
For Lowery, it meant getting expelled from school last week.
"It's unfair," he said. "They're trying to make it seem like we weren't the victims when we really was."
For Bailey, it meant jail time. We talked to him just 24 hours after he was released and the murder charge against him was dropped. He said during the weeks in jail, he sat awake worrying about his slain friend.
"It wasn't really no sleep," Baily said. "Two or three hours of sleep and wake right back up. I was thinking no, this couldn't have happened."
The teens seemed happy to meet Twista, who was raised on the West Side and grew up with similar obstacles.
"I came up the same way you did," he said. "Public aid, drug problems in the family, you know, out there dealing with people selling drugs."
Twista says his life as a teenager made him want to change his path in life. He's used music as a vehicle for that change and wants teens to understand that the life entertainers often portray on stage is a kind of financial tool.
He says teens should use the tools they have to become successful the right way. A few weeks ago, the artist released a special mix "Save Our Students"
-- a collection of rap releases devoted to Chicago Public Schools students.
It's an effort to try to reach kids who are sometimes unwilling to listen to advice from ministers and other community leaders.
"You've got to kind of figure out a cool way to talk to the kids sometimes," Twista said.
In Roseland, students told us they realize they need alternatives to trouble.
"We need activities," Baily said. "Things to do like basketball, football. Activities that we can get together and get involved in."
And Twista pledges to meet the kids halfway. He says he's collaborating with Kanye West and other artists to raise money for activities for Chicago students.
Five Star Limo pitched in, providing limousine service for Twista's trip to Roseland. The company says it's one of many willing to commit resources for Chicago youth.
Meanwhile, Twista told us his next plan for his message of peace includes touring the country to visit youth centers.