On Friday, January 11th, Mayor Eric Adams called for social media companies to ban drill music videos from their platforms. Adams claims that he did not know what drill music was until his son sent him a few videos. Drill music is a subgenre of rap that is synonymous with ominous, bass-heavy instrumentals, and violent lyrics that often depict street life. “I had no idea what drilling rap was. My son sent me videos. It was alarming,” Adams said. The call to have drill banned from social media platforms was inspired by the mayor attending the funeral of 18-year-old Jayquan McKenley. McKenley was a drill rapper going by the alias Chii Wvttz, who was murdered in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.
The death of McKenley seemed to have touched a nerve with Mayor Adams who became emotional and teared up as he gave a speech on the young man’s life and untimely death. “The story of Jayquan breaks my heart. His story tests my spirit. We must do better for people like him” Adams said. He spoke strongly on how the city played a role in neglecting the youth with a finger firmly pointed at city agencies for their role in the betrayal. The mayor apologized to McKenley’s parents. McKenley grew up in South Bronx and had to move from one homeless shelter to another with his family, seeking accommodation. He had a cognitive disability and missed school for a long time without any intervention. The young man had been arrested a few times before he died.
Mayor Adams’ call for a drill social media ban is an idea he sees as being highly effective in preventing similar deaths in the community amongst young men. He compares his desire for the removal of drill music videos from social media to the Twitter ban that was handed to Donald Trump. “We pulled Trump off Twitter because of what he was spewing, yet we are allowing music displaying guns and violence. We allow this to stay on sites” he said. Adams intends on meeting the relevant parties at social media companies, to tell them to take drill music videos from their sites because they “have civic and corporate responsibility.” Adams also mentioned that he intends on meeting top hip-hop artists in order to discuss the violence supposedly promoted by drill.
New York City is currently experiencing a crime wave with multiple incidents of shootings, stabbings, and shoplifting. The NYPD reported that in January there had been an increase of 32% in gun violence compared to the same period last year. According to reports, Adams wants to reduce incidents of gun violence as they are some of the most prevalent altercations in the city. He seeks to ask for the toughening of bail laws and the prosecution of teenagers using guns since they are currently exempt from being charged in criminal court. According to reports, he also intends on meeting civil rights activists such as Al Sharpton and state NAACP president Hazel Dukes.