Michael “Blue” Williams, head of Family Tree Entertainment, has proposed the city’s first private gun buyback program to the NYPD. Dubbed “Guns for Greatness,” the system provides NYC residents who return guns with mentoring programs and tickets to highly-anticipated concerts. Williams hopes to gain the support of Beyoncé and Jay-Z, who are both scheduled to headline big shows in the city this summer.
“The Beyoncé show is coming to Brooklyn; the Jay-Z show is coming to Yankee Stadium,” Williams told the NY Daily News. “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.”
Williams — who is partly responsible for the success of acts like Outkast and Cee-lo Green — is awaiting NYPD’s Commissioner Ray Kelly’s approval to move forward with Guns for Greatness. The mogul has already raised $75,000 toward the cause, and hopes to raise an additional $25,000. With the city’s youth at the center of the gun violence, they have become Williams’ main focus with the proposed program, which will aim to help black and Latino males between the ages 16 and 36.
“This program aims to provide young people with an opportunity to receive guidance and inspiration from committed mentors, an important option that will enable them to experience possibilities other than a life surrounded by gun violence and unnecessary shootings and killing,” Williams’ letter read.
The mentoring program will remain optional for those who turn in guns for money and tickets, Williams said.
“You can make a decision to take that money and walk back out, or you can make the choice to get a mentor,” said Williams. “In my perfect world, I’d love to have a gift package for signing up for the
mentorship program that is worth way more than $250. I think that when you’re dealing with younger people, you have to offer a little more to incentivize them.”
Though Beyonce and Jay-Z have not yet signed on to helped with Guns for Greatness, William’s has gained the support of the Hot 97 radio station, IHOP, and several record labels. The mogul hopes to launch the buyback program on March 23.