The city of Newark brought out legendary players of Hip-Hop and R&B for the 24 Hrs of Peace concert, hosted by the one and only Queen Latifah. The event was held on New Jersey’s Springfield Avenue from Friday, Sept. 2 until Saturday, Sept. 3.
The long-running road, between Blum and Bergen street, was shut down and filled with a variety of food stands, clothing vendors, and family-friendly activities. Attendees of all ages enjoyed the weekend of peace, love, unity, and fun as they danced to live music from some of their favorite acts of now and yesterday.
The event and showcase were held as part of Newark’s Peace Week, which aims to promote the de-escalation of violence and provide a platform to bring the community together. Organized by The City Of Newark, 24 Hrs Of Peace Inc., Office of Violence Prevention, and Brick City Peace Collective, the event’s stage boasted headliners including Fivio Foreign, Gherbo, Fabolous, Faith Evans, Rowdy Rebel, and 2Rare.
“Jersey is full of love,” Queen Latifah exclusively told VIBE during the event. “This is Newark at its best, Jersey at its best. You see our excellence, our talent, our love for one another, our sense of community and the fact that our mayor is doing an incredible job being a leader in this city.”
Grammy-nominated rapper Fivio Foreign added before hitting the stage, “It feels good, you know what I’m saying? I love giving back to any city, and I’m right there up the block. It always feels good.”
The annual event’s mission is to: “Foster peaceful conflict resolution in family and community. To see artistic expression as a stool for positive reinforcement. To offer at-risk communities 24 hours without violence, crime, or confrontation. To engage neighbors, houses of worship, and community organizations in fun and meaningful dialogue.”
24 Hrs of Peace has become an important tool that reinforces ideas of peace, conflict resolution, and unity. According to organizers of the event, crime decreased by 10 percent in Newark, N.J., following the weekend-long event in 2019.
“We say crime and violence is a public health issue. So if you treat it like public health, then there are different ways you deal with it,” Mayor Ras Baraka told VIBE. “There’s intervention. There’s treatment – and treatment, unfortunately, is usually arrest and police and the courts. Intervention is like these street teams and different organizations that go out here and try to create conflict resolution, so it doesn’t turn into that. There’s a whole educational component … same way we do COVID.”
He added, “You go to these communities, you tell people what it is, what they shouldn’t be doing, what they should be doing. You tell them how to stay away from COVID, how to be safe. And this is what this is a part of, the educational component of it. To change culture, to tell kids that it’s okay to love, to be peaceful, to shake each other’s hands, to say, ‘I’m sorry, [and] that I apologize.’ And to love yourself and your community and your family more than all of the other negativity that’s going on around you. If we make that okay, the kids make different decisions.”
Mayor Baraka was sure to swiftly de-escalate any confrontation that arose or seemed to go further than a discussion during this year’s event. He and the honorable Newark Police Department were on the grounds to ensure the safety of all attendees for the event’s entirety.
Hakim Green, Co-Founder of 24 Hrs of Peace, stated, “[24 Hrs of Peace] is showing the true meaning of hip-hop, which is peace, love, unity, safety, having fun. It’s using arts and culture as a way to raise the vibration; using arts and culture as a weapon, a tool, to fight against all those outside energies that want to mess us up. We organized the hip-hop community around nonviolence and raising peace. And that’s what it’s about – supporting the mayor, the honorable Ras Baraka’s initiative; violence is a public health issue.”
Other notable attendees and performers of the positive event included Grammy Award-winning producer and engineer Young Guru, Pam of the R&B group Total, Peter Gunz, actor Tobias Truvillion, hit-producer Stevie J, Lords Of The Underground legendary rapper Do It All, Newark’s own Unicorn151, J.1.da and much more.
Check out some photos from the event below.