By Tia Kalmon
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/The Loop) – Gangs and crime are a problem for Chattanooga, but one local rapper is trying to stop the violence through his organization, City Without Tears.
This organization was founded by Michael Kelly a year and a half ago. It now consists of a documentary, music video, a six-song EP album and a poem.
“I want to bring awareness, awareness of the numbness for the violence and injustice that’s been going on in the community and how people need to self-reflect,” Kelly said. “Actually the song in the project came from me actually self-reflecting and seeing what I can do, because I knew a lot of things had been going on and I didn’t want to be one of those people that was saying ‘that’s what you should do,’ or just being someone who talked. Since I’m an artist, music is so powerful, words just came out and that was the birth of City Without Tears.”
He wants this to be on the biggest scale possible, raising $20,000 to give back to the community to stop the violence. Kelly wants to take City Without Tears into the community to meet people, to make an impression on them, and to change the statistics to stop the crime.
“What drives me is the shape of the community and my own insecurities and ways that I want to be better because I’m not where I want to be as an individual,” Kelly said.
Kelly began City Without Tears when he saw loved ones in his life disappear because of violence in the city. It hit close to home for Kelly and now he has found inspiration in the mist of danger.
“Life is about your own journey and what you find in yourself and what you were put on this earth to do, to find your purpose,” Kelly said. “That’s a journey through ups and downs. It’s hard sometimes but I feel like that’s what inspires me so my music is real personal.”
Kelly goes by Big Mike Mic when he performs. Big Mike Mic performed at the Barking Legs Theater Friday, February 28th. He began his performance by making a juice out of only organic products, because he wanted to give the audience “an organic performance.”
“Everything is like an infection, if you don’t do something it’s going to get bigger and bigger,” Brian Kelly, Manager for Big Mike Mic, said. “And why be reactive when we can be more proactive.”
If you would like to donate to City Without Tears you can visit Kickstarter.com and search “City Without Tears.” For more information you can e-mail Brian Kelley at firstname.lastname@example.org or call, 423-903-4293.
Check out the video of the interview with Big Mike Mic uploaded to the Mocs News YouTube page!