New Orleans Musician Gives Trumpets to Kids in Exchange for Guns
The recent murder of a nine-year-old boy in New Orleans has many in the city shaken, including New Orleans musician, Shamarr Allen. After so much violence in the city, the musician came up with an idea to try to help. The New Orleans trumpeter is offering kids trumpets in exchange for their guns. Shamarr Allen told WVUE that he was motivated to start the program after the killing of the nine-year-old, Devante Bryant on Monday night. Allen said he has a nine-year-old son, and Allen said growing up in that environment when he was a child helps him understand what those kids are going through. Allen said the trumpet saved his life when he was 12 or 13 and started playing for tips in the French Quarter and he wants to give other kids that same opportunity.
Allen knew that he wanted to give these kids a trumpet for their gun, but he also wanted to make sure that if they gave up the gun, they didn’t get asked a ton of questions and feel scared that they would be turned into the police. Allen knew he needed to take that fear away from them in order for them to give up their guns. So Allen worked with the NOPD Superintendent Shaun Ferguson, to figure out a safe way to meet with the kids to swap the guns for the trumpets.
Allen posted a message on Instagram saying “Bring me a gun…I’ll give you a trumpet, no questions asked.” Allen says he started receiving responses within hours.
An online fundraiser that had a goal of $6,500 has raised more than $10,000 in less than a week. According to the GoFundMe page, “The Trumpet is My Weapon Gun Exchange Program” is raising money to purchase trumpets, which go for about $250 each.
Allen says many of his local musician friends have offered, along with himself, to give free virtual trumpet lessons to kids who get the trumpets.
Shamarr Allen says the program is working and he hopes to turn around some lives. Allen says if his idea can turn even one life around and keep one child away from violence, then it’s all worth it. And maybe one of those kids he helps will follow in his footsteps, making a name for himself on the stage.
Shamarr Allen is known for his skills on the trumpet and his New Orleans Saints anthem, “Hit the Sean Payton” that he released in 2018. The Saints players danced to it, emulating the same moves Coach Sean Payton showed off in the locker room after the Saints defeated the Carolina Panthers to win the team’s first playoff game since 2013. Allen said he was inspired to write the track after watching Payton’s celebratory moves during that post-game celebration.