Justin Fenton, Baltimore Sun, June 28, 2016
Popular Baltimore dirt bike rider Chino Braxton remembers joining with other local celebrities–including rappers Young Moose and Lor Scoota–to deliver a message of perseverance after the death of Freddie Gray. At four west-side high schools, they talked to student assemblies about overcoming challenges and achieving goals.
A year later, Young Moose is in jail awaiting trial on gun charges. Braxton survived two bullets to the head in February. And on Saturday, Scoota–real name Tyriece Watson–was gunned down as he left a peace rally, a death that is sending shock waves through the community.
Braxton, 19, was friends with the 23-year-old Watson and said the rapper’s death has shaken him, even more so than his own shooting. He is now convinced he needs to leave Baltimore to pursue his dreams.
Since Watson’s death, Braxton and other young black men have been speaking out on Twitter about their exasperation with Baltimore’s violence and their desire to leave.
“Tired of trying to keep it real. I’m gone son!” wrote Gervonta Davis, a boxer who shared the stage at the high schools last spring.
Tate Kobang, widely considered to be one of the city’s top rappers, posted, “Honestly, I done all I can do for and in Baltimore. Word of advice . . . when the opportunity to leave presents itself take it. Goodbye.”
And Braxton wrote that he didn’t know “why it took me so long to realize it was time for me to go.”
City Councilman Nick Mosby, who represents West Baltimore, helped pull together a panel featuring the trio in hopes of inspiring young people in West Baltimore who were struggling in the aftermath of the riots following Gray’s death. Research last year showed Baltimore’s poorest children face the worst prospects in the nation for escaping poverty.
“It was a critical situation, and we wanted to get to our young people with a positive message,” Mosby said. “What better way than through someone that they look up to?”
Watson was driving Saturday evening after leaving a peace event at Morgan State University. In what police believe was a targeted attack, a gunman stepped into the roadway as Watson was eastbound on Moravia Road at Harford Road and opened fire.