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Cities

A New Orleans musician started a 'guns-for-trumpets' program and it's already a huge hit

A New Orleans musician started a 'guns-for-trumpets' program and it's already a huge hit
via Cafe Lena / Twitter

Three children were shot in an incident in New Orleans' Seventh Ward on July 13. One of the children, a nine-year-old boy, died from a bullet to the head.

The disturbing news horrified jazz trumpeter, New Orleans resident and father, Shamarr Allen. "I thought how easy it could have been for that to be my own son," he said.

The news inspired Allen to save the lives of at-risk New Orleans children the same way that he was able to lift himself out of a dire situation.


"What saved me and redirected my path was a trumpet, the music, and culture of the city that it connected me with," he wrote. "It showed me that success, connections, and differences can be managed through self-expression."

Allen had some spare trumpets lying around so he created a guns-for-trumpets exchange.

"To all the youth in New Orleans, Bring me a gun and I'll give you a trumpet no questions asked," Allen posted on social media. "People don't understand that these kids are trying and wanting to do other things," Allen told NPR. "But there's just nothing for them to do."

He wanted the children and their families to feel safe about the exchange so he reached out to New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, who connected him to Shaun Ferguson, the chief of police.

"I said 'Listen, I have a different connection with these kids because I grew up like them, I know what they're going through,' " Allen said. "They aren't bad kids, they're just dealt into bad circumstances."

The police agreed to liquidate the guns Allen collects without asking who gave them to him.

For the first exchange, Allen received a fully-loaded gun form a young girl. "I would never suspect that she would have [a gun]. And she was the most excited about getting [a trumpet]," Allen says.

He then put her in contact with local musicians for lessons.

After Allen gave away four instruments he reached out to fellow musicians to donate theirs and created a GoFundMe page for funding to expand the program. The campaign is called My Trumpet is My Weapon.

"The trumpet became a weapon that really saved my life, so I figured it may be able to have the same impact for another young person from New Orleans," he wrote on the GoFundMe website.

In just 13 days days, the program has received over $36,000 in donations.

"The trumpet was the first thing that showed me, 'Oh I really don't have to be here. It's really a whole other world out here,' " Allen said.

He hopes the instruments will do the same for other children in New Orleans.

"So if I can create those little opportunities for one or two or three of them, they can actually bring that back to their neighborhood and do it all over again," he said.

Pedro Pascal and Bowen Yang can't keep a straight face as Ego Nwodim tries to cut her steak.

Most episodes of “Saturday Night Live” are scheduled so the funnier bits go first and the riskier, oddball sketches appear towards the end, in case they have to be cut for time. But on the February 4 episode featuring host Pedro Pascal (“The Mandalorian,” “The Last of Us”), the final sketch, “Lisa from Temecula,” was probably the most memorable of the night.

That’s high praise because it was a strong episode, with a funny “Last of Us” parody featuring the Super Mario Brothers and a sketch where Pascal played a protective mother.

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Pop Culture

Keanu Reeves shocks a small-town pub by stopping in for a pint and taking photos with the staff

“So today we had a surprise visitor for lunch. What a lovely man he was, too."

Keanu Reeves in São Paulo, Brazil, 2019.

Keanu Reeves has a reputation as one of Hollywood’s nicest celebrities. Recently, he cheered up an 80-year-old fan who had a crush on him by calling her on the phone. He’s also bought an ice cream cone for a fan to give an autograph on the receipt and crashed a wedding to take photos with the bride and groom.

He’s also an incredible humanitarian who gave up a big chunk of his money from "The Matrix" to a cancer charity.

The “John Wick” star was his usual gracious self over the weekend when on Saturday, February 4, he and a friend walked into The Robin Hood pub in Tring, Hertfordshire, about 30 miles outside of London.

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The far-right is calling this viral Grammy performance 'Satanic.' Don't fall for it.

Sam Smith and Kim Petras' performance of "Unholy" left some calling it a satanic ritual.

K.G/Youtube

Sam Smith and Kim Petras performing "Unholy" at the Grammy Awards.

Depending on which corners of social media you call home, few happenings from the 2023 Grammy awards were as divisive as Sam Smith and Kim Petras’ performance of the song “Unholy.” Was it a historic moment of inclusion or a historic display of a Satanic ritual broadcast to the world?

On the one hand, the pair made music history. After winning the Grammy Award for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, Smith became the first non-binary artist to win the category, along with Petra who became the first trans woman to win the category.

However, not everyone was a fan of their live hell-themed performance, featuring Smith clad in red leather and sporting a top hat with devil horns and Petras dancing in a cage surrounded by dominatrixes.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz took to Twitter to call the act “evil,” and his fury was quickly echoed by other conservative influencers who declared it an example of mainstream devil worship.

“Don’t fight the culture wars, they say. Meanwhile demons are teaching your kids to worship Satan. I could throw up.” wrote conservative political commentator Liz Wheeler.

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Saturday Night Live/Youtube

"It's a me."

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And now, thanks to one epic “Saturday Night Live” skit, fans are clamoring to see Pascal take on a new role—a brooding, hardened, princess smuggling Mario.

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Celebrity

Philadelphia Eagles player is bringing his pregnant wife’s OBGYN to the Super Bowl, just in case

Kylie McDevitt's OBGYN is packing a bag to join the NFL star's wife, just in case baby Kelce decides to see the game too.

Philadelphia Eagles player is bringing his pregnant wife's OBGYN to the Super Bowl

Having a baby is an intimate, vulnerable experience, so people get pretty attached to their healthcare providers. I've met women who have planned an induction to have their baby with their preferred doctor and not whoever would be on call if they went into labor naturally. So it may not be a surprise to birthing people that Kylie McDevitt, Philadelphia Eagles player, Jason Kelce's wife, isn't taking any chances when she travels to Arizona for the Super Bowl.

Kelce made headlines with his brother Travis recently when it was revealed that the Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs would be facing off for the Super Bowl, making the pair the first brothers to compete against each other for a ring. It seems that McDevitt didn't want to miss the history-making moment, even though she'll be two weeks shy of the standard 40 weeks of pregnancy.

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Photo by alevision.co on Unsplash/ @camerconstewart_uk/Instagram

"Sometimes it pays to learn a language!"

It feels safe to assume that if money were no object, people would always choose to travel business class over economy. After all, who doesn’t want a fast check-in, fancy food and drink choices and more of that sweet, spacious legroom?

However, at anywhere between four to ten times the price of a regular economy ticket, this style of traveling remains a fantasy for many who simply can’t afford it.

Luckily, thanks to one man’s clever travel hack, that fantasy might be more achievable than we realize.

Cameron Stewart, a British photojournalist and camera operator, recently shared how he was able to score business class tickets at a fraction of the price, simply by switching the website language from English to Spanish.
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