Pusha T Pens Open Letter to Heart-Wrenching Viral Sensation Lil' J

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 11:  President of GOOD Music Pusha T attends 2017 Roc Nation Pre-Grammy Brunch at a private residence on February 11, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Roc Nation)

Pusha T Pens Open Letter to Heart-Wrenching Viral Sensation Lil' J

The rapper was moved by the 6-year-old's video on gun violence.

Published June 3, 2017

It took the heartbreaking words from 6-year-old St. Louis native Jeffrey "Lil' J" Laney to get the masses to pay attention to the alarming gun violence rates in the area. 

While the toddler's words resonated with thousands around the world — 200,000 and counting, to be exact — one person who was moved to do more was rapper Pusha T, who took the time to penn an open letter in response to Lil' J's plea.

In the toddler's video, which was posted to his mother's Facebook page on May 15, he explained the anxiety he'd experienced since his mother's 16-year-old cousin was shot to death in a drive-by while waiting outside of school back in April. 

Since its initial posting, the video has garnered more than 210,000 views, with one coming from King Push, himself.

The Bronx native spoke with Mic about just why Lil' J's words touched him.

"It sort of shocked me that a 6-year-old was so well-spoken about violence," he said. "Watching him try to get his point across and basically pleading with the world — I was like, 'You can't ignore this.'"

Following his own sentiment, the "Mercy" MC took to Instagram to publish a lengthy open letter addressed to Lil' J, and it covers all bases of how he felt.

"Hi my name is Terrence 'Pusha-T' Thornton. I saw your video and I'm really sorry that you are having to deal with people shooting guns and hurting others where you live," he started the letter. "A lot of people can't imagine how hard it is being a kid where you are from. If I were you, I would be scared too."

He went on to commend the now viral sensation for stepping up and spreading awareness.

"I thought it was very brave of you to speak up and try to help your family, friends, and community," he wrote. "There [are] a lot of 6yr olds all over the United States who are scared just like you and guess who their Super Hero is...YOU!!"

Read his letter, in full, below:

Thanks to @theshaderoom for introducing me to Lil J & his mom @leelee0381 >>>>>>>>>>>>>> Dear Lil J, Hi my name is Terrence "Pusha -T" Thornton. I saw your video and I'm really sorry that you are having to deal with people shooting guns and hurting others where you live. A lot of people can't imagine how hard it is being a kid where you are from, If I were you, I would be scared too. But I thought it was very brave of you to speak up and try to help your family, friends, and community. There a lot of 6yr olds all over the United States who are scared just like you and guess who their Super Hero is...YOU!! Your video really woke me up. You are a thoughtful and smart kid at such a young age already, I can tell. You spoke so clearly about something so terrible in gun violence and fear, which is something no child should be speaking about with so much knowledge. I would much rather you taught me how to play video games or build a car or about the latest comic book you read and if you think Spiderman really is better than Batman. I know I can’t solve all of your problems at once but hopefully this is a start. Hopefully other men in our communities saw your video and also realize that a 6 year old boy just challenged us all to do better. No matter where we are in life we have to look out for the youth. Since you like helping people I wanna help you. What I'm gonna do for you is make sure that you have the fun that every 6yr old should have this summer. I'm sending you, your cousins Janiya and Brandon to Six Flags Amusement Park in St Louis, I know you guys are gonna have the best time. When you arrive back, all of you will start summer camp at the Boys and Girls club. All summer long you will be learning, playing, and meeting new friends. I heard that you love Spider Man so I'm gonna make sure that you will be one of the first to see new Spider-Man movie next month!! I also sent some things to your house for the times you aren't away at camp. There are some games, books, an iPad and other toys to help you enjoy the summer and beyond. I can’t wait to hear about which books you liked better and which car was the fastest. I hope the package encourages you t

A post shared by Pusha T (@kingpush) on

In addition to the letter, Pusha T senT little Jeffrey a bunch of gifts to thank him for his words, including a trip to Six Flags, toys, an exclusive screening to Spider Men: Homecoming, an enrollment in a Boys and Girls Club summer camp, and a college fund.

Lil' J's mother took to Facebook to express her gratitude for the gifts, but was especially grateful for the college fund.

Take a look at Lil' J's video, below, and make sure you have your tissues at hand.

Written by Moriba Cummings

(Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Roc Nation)

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