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Hip-hop artists met with Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner Tuesday in a private meeting to talk about stopping the violence. The initiative, called “Hope for Houston,” is the first of its kind. The private meeting at City Hall was a “no holding back” exchange of ideas on how to make a better Houston.

“We don’t have all the answers, we might not have any of the answers, but at least we are acknowledging there is a serious problem. We don’t want to wait until there’s riots in the streets,” rapper Paul Wall said.

No cameras were allowed inside but the artists say they support the mayor and his efforts.

“There are people in Denver Harbor, in Magnolia Place, in Fifth Ward, Sunnyside, South Park, northeast Houston that are hurting and they want to be seen and they want to be listened to,” Turner said.

It’s not just about ending the violence, but also about more economic opportunities and the fight for justice.

“It’s not just people in the hood that need to be held accountable for their actions. It’s the people in law enforcement that needs to be held accountable for their actions,” hip-hop artist Willie D of the Geto Boys said. “It’s very important that people understand when we say black lives matter, we’re not saying that blue lives do not matter.”

Some of the artists have been touched directly by recent violence so now they are using their collective voice to call for peace.

The artists are also using their spending power. After their meeting, many went to Unity National Bank to open accounts because it is the only Black-owned bank in the state of Texas. It’s a sign of unity they hope other hip-hop artists will copy.

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