Rapper Silky Slim grew up Arthur Reed on the wrong side of the tracks in Baton Rouge, 75 miles west of New Orleans.
In the 1980’s, he founded a local gang called The Southside Wrecking Crews as he declared his own personal cataclysm on society.
By the age of 14, he found himself well acquainted with Louisiana’s justice system as he faced charges of attempted murder and aggravated assault.
In 2003, Silky Slim had one of those life-changing experiences.
He was the only survivor of a fatal car crash that took the lives of his fellow gang members.
It was on that day that he vowed to turn his life around.
Silky founded the organization Stop the Killing, Inc., an organization devoted to spreading the message of non-violence to America’s youth.
On Thursday, Silky told New Orleans Job Corps Center trainees that he has discovered that there is nothing more critical than education when it comes to creating the life of your dreams and avoiding the mistakes he made early in his youth.
Silky painted a vivid picture of life behind bars in Angola, the Louisiana State Penitentiary.
“The reason I came here is I see so many people call me after they have gotten in trouble,” said Silky. “My message is for you to stay out of trouble – crime prevention instead of fighting crime. It’s on all of you young people to do right.”
“You see people today that have very little respect for the rights and life of others and we become fearful of those people. And when you let somebody take over your community then you have clearly lost the game of life itself,” said Silky.
“My success is in knowing that I’m helping create a generation of youth that will realize that being a gangsta or a thug just isn’t the right thing.”
Silky’s pull-no-punches style clearly made an indelible impression of the trainees at New Orleans Job Corps.
“It definitely made me feel like prison or gang are the places I don’t want to be,” said student government president Matthew Gray. “We can pretend to be a gangsta and be tough out there but when young people get behind bars it’s a different story.”