The beef got serious at the 1993 Jack the Rapper convention in Atlanta when friends from my crew got into a bloody brawl with members of the Death Row Records entourage. Fast-forward 25 years and there’s no more bad blood. In fact, Snoop and I are on the same page when it comes to helping the youth in our neighborhoods.
In 2005, the Long Beach, California, native launched the Snoop Youth Football League that takes in approximately 1,300 kids from the Los Angeles area. For more than 25 years, I’ve run the Liberty City Optimist Club, providing a safe place for children from the neighborhood where I grew up to play sports, get tutoring, and prepare for productive lives.
Last year, Adidas brought us together for a home-and-away series between Snoop’s league and the Liberty City Warriors. Snoop and his kids flew down to Miami and we put on an exhibition game at Charles Hadley Park. On Friday, the Warriors, along with coaches and family, fly out to Southern California for the rematch.
This is a great opportunity for the kids in the Optimist Club program. About 95 percent of them have never been on an airplane, let alone traveled more than 3,000 miles cross-country. When I was a kid, I never imagined New York and Atlanta were real places because I only saw the cities on television. The children will meet boys and girls and maybe even form new friendships that could last their entire lives. Plus, they get to meet Snoop Dogg and other hip-hop celebrities.
The goal is to inspire the kids to do the right thing. At the same time, the adults who volunteer for Liberty City Optimists pray the ones who don’t make it to the NFL don’t do the wrong things. While there are many success stories, some kids end up on the streets or in prison, if not dead, before they reach adulthood.
We want to show them the world is a book they can write. We want to get them out of their environment to see what life is like outside Miami. These kids face a sad reality. It wouldn’t surprise me if some of the parents and coaches get a call over the weekend about someone in the neighborhood being shot and killed.
And by linking up with Snoop, we teach the kids that all that beefing is nothing but bullshit.
Stay tuned for the Uncle Luke podcast debuting in January 2019.