LOS ANGELES — In just a few short months of the show’s existence, the “Dub C & CJ Mac Show” has provided colorful and controversial guests, from moguls to musicians.
However, the duo could no longer ignore the impact of gun violence globally, and specifically in California.
Dub and Mac are joined on July 18 by CJ’s niece, Domo Jackson, who lost two of her kids’ fathers to gun violence, as well as “Broken By Violence” founder Ebony Antione, who also lost her husband to gun violence.
The round table highlights the issues, while discussing solutions.
Antoine and Jackson talk in depth about the struggles of those left after a senseless murder, and how “Broken By Violence” helped pick up the pieces.
CJ Mac and Dub C open up to Zenger about the emotional episode.
Zenger: There is always a lane for drama and having the hot names on your podcast, but you guys recently tackled a serious topic: gun violence. Why was this important for you?
CJ Mac: It’s very important because we grew up among this chaos, and I’ve seen it escalate. When I was younger, weapons were harder to find. Things were resolved differently. A man could have an argument or fight, and then live to see another day. Now, everything is so permanent, and I don’t think the message is clear enough. The youth think it’s OK for them to run and grab a gun, first instinct.
It’s important we cover these things with our audience. It’s our responsibility, being that we lived through this stuff, to speak on these things. We love the entertainment and fun side of our show, but it’s time to get serious, because this plague is affecting our community.
Dub C: It’s more important for us to do it than anybody, because we’re two artists who came from what they call “gangster rap.” We call it “reality rap.” They attach our music to violence and being aggressive. It’s on us to stand up and be the ones showing our audience we can speak on more than rap music. Our people like the kind of music we represent, and we have to start changing the way people think. We are looked at as the so-called “bad guys,” gangster rappers, so why not speak on it?
To me, that’s what separated Ice Cube, Public Enemy, Ice T. All of those guys made you look at things from a different perspective.
Zenger: Did maturity for you guys come with age, or was there an incident that made you view things differently?
CJ Mac: For me, it was the loss of life. Family members, whether it be to gun violence or the prison system. I was once an invincible young man, and you think, not me. Even though it’s happening all around you. Then I started losing people very close to me. These bullets are very real, and this time is very real. I’ve lived to see my friends finish sentences of 22 years in prison. My cousin just got home from doing 26 years on a 25-to-life sentence for having a gun under the car. I see the pain in other people’s eyes. Having my own children and being fearful for their lives. There was a time, if my phone rang after midnight, I was so afraid for my teenage boys.
Dub C: With me, I’ve always been conscious of self. Even during the times, I was making records. We always yelled, “keep it gangster,” because that’s the language the audience could relate to. We knew how to separate entertainment from reality. Our show is based on reality, it’s not a record. We have a platform where we can do things like this. We have lost so many loved ones to gun violence and gang activity. There is no more squaring up [fighting], even if you square up, you gotta get ready, because they’re coming back. We have to create dialogue and come up with some solutions to defuse the escalation.
Zenger: This episode has Ebony Antione, who is the founder of “Broken By Violence.” She lost her husband and kids’ father to gun violence. You also had Domo Jackson on, who is CJ’s niece. She lost two of her kids’ fathers to gun violence. It was a very powerful episode.
CJ Mac: It was a difficult decision to bring my niece on, because I knew it would be an emotional show. It was difficult to relive that. It was very painful for our family. Some 37 family members had just gone to Hawaii, and her husband talked to me so in depth about religion, changing, and understanding where not to be, and where he wanted to go with his life. For him to get cut down six days later was traumatic. It was her second child’s father in a row that was murdered.
After meeting Ebony on Instagram and following her program, I thought, my niece may need this.
People need to hear this story and hear about this organization. I wanted her to talk about it, instead of having it bottled up inside. That’s why I made the decision to bring her on along with Ebony, whose husband was killed in Northern California. There is less gang violence there, but there is still gun violence.
Zenger: Would either one of you sit with someone who killed one of your loved ones as part of the healing process?
CJ Mac: I could speak to someone if they were showing remorse, and they wanted to sit down and talk. It would be really difficult, and I don’t know how I would react. That person would have to be incarcerated because in the streets, it would be a different story. But I am the type of person that would want to challenge myself and have that conversation.
Dub C: Depending on the circumstances. I don’t know. Hot off the press, no. Maybe later down the line, yes. I may have a change of heart and want to sit down and ask these questions. You never know how you will react until you’re placed in that situation.
Zenger: The topic of responsible gun ownership is the key. Guns are like alcohol in many ways. Things you say while drunk, you probably wouldn’t say sober. Things you say with a gun on your side, may not be things you would say without. While we talk drink responsibly, the same should go for owning firearms.
CJ Mac: There needs to be a stronger checks system. It must be deeper than, do you have a criminal record? That means nothing. In California, deliberately spitting on someone is a criminal act.
A person should have to go through certain mental checks before he tries to get a gun. There should be a little more scrutiny before a gun gets passed out. Know who you are selling this weapon to, because it can be a weapon of destruction, just like it can be a weapon to protect your family. But you need to know exactly who you are handing this to.
Dub C: More background checks. Let’s be real, a person could be a model citizen, get that gun, use it to collect other guns, and one day just flip. Some of these recent cases, there were a lot of early signs of these individuals showing strange behavior before they made some things happen. We must take some of these social-media posts seriously. The solution in many cases is the punishment. It’s easier to get off of a gun charge and murder [here], than it is in other countries. I’m not one for banning guns. I think everybody has a right to bear arms, but it’s about responsibility. The punishments need to be more severe.
Zenger: Ebony educated me on the fact there is help out there for those left behind from individuals killed by gun violence, and her program is at the forefront of it. You don’t attend a funeral for the dead, you attend for the living. They are the ones picking up the pieces. It was refreshing to hear that there is mental, physical and financial help out there.
CJ Mac: It was important to have her on. It affected Dub and I deeply. It made us want to get involved in that movement. We want legislators to understand this. We need programs in place. We have therapy and resources for other problems to get people back on their feet. This is a serious problem causing destruction to entire families. I can speak for Dub and I, she woke us up from that end of the spectrum.
I know some victims of crime get a certain amount of money. But when you look at things like, my kids were playing football, now they can’t play anymore, because the bread winner was killed. Now, those kids may go down a destructive road. Dub and I want to get deeply involved and have conversations with the decision makers in our community to help victims suffering from this issue.
Dub C: If you don’t know better, you can’t do better. That’s why we gave Ebony our platform, so she can hopefully affect people the way that she affected us. It’s a powerful show. We weren’t as comfortable during this interview as others, because it’s an uncomfortable topic. We were dealing with people who are like family, and in CJ’s case, is his family… There is someone out there you can talk to, there are resources out there. After the funeral, sometimes we forget who needs help the most. And I’m not just talking monetarily. In some cases, it’s just conversation, asking how the kids are doing.
Ebony might not have everything you need, but there is hope.
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