BELLEVILLE, Illinois (WAND) — A junior high school honor student at Belleville West is writing songs for a cause.
Briyan Jackson is 13 years old and he recently penned a rap song on his phone called “I Matter”
"And my dad helped me a little on it to make sure everything sounds right. It wasn't easy. At first, it went from all lives matter, black lives matter to then I said I was like 'Your individual self matters,' and that's how I came up with the title," said Jackson.
Jackson told KSKD News that he’s seen too many young people died from gun violence.
In May, his brother's friend, 14-year-old Jaylon McKenzie, once called a football phenom, was at a party in Venice, Illinois. Police say a fight broke out. Bullets flew.
Jaylon, caught in the crossfire, was killed.
Just two months after the death of Jaylon, a family friend was killed in North St. Louis County. He was also 14 years old.
"They're too young to be falling to gun violence. Both crimes made me sad, but then I wanted to do something about it," said Jackson.
The Belleville students in taking a stand, behind the microphone at his family’s music studio. He hopes his words will be heard and the bad guys will put down their guns.
"I am very proud of him," said Brandon Jackson, Briyan's dad.
The young rapper wants to share his song with other schools, churches and communities.
"I think it can make difference especially if people listen closely to the words," said Briyan.