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Gang members team up to steer kids away from crime; EX-BURGER BAR AND JOHNSON CREW RIVALS SET UP A YOUTUBE CHANNEL.

Byline: AMARDEEP BASSEY News Reporter

FORMER rival Birmingham street gang members have set up a You-Tube channel to dissuade a new generation from living a "gangster life."

Dats TV challenges the glamourised gangster image portrayed in Grime music and film by offering youths an alternative to being a "slave to the street life."

The channel's launch comes after Birmingham earned itself the unenviable title of Britain's "gun crime capital" with more than double the national average of incidents between 2015-16.

Joint Dats TV founder Simeon Moore, a former Johnson Crew gang member, said he quickly realised how easy it was to become desensitised to firearms.

Mr Moore, 36, said: "The first time you have a gun around you, you're probably scared, but keep it on you long enough, it becomes like nothing else, like wearing a watch." His former deadly rival and now project partner Dylan Duffas was a member of the Burger Bar gang when the pair became friends while filming the 2013 Birmingham gangland film One Mile Away. Mr Duffas said: "After we did the documentary, there was no gun violence in the city for 18 months. "But it was hard to keep the momentum up and there was a lack of support form the community.

"And we needed mentoring ourselves because we was fresh from the streets.

"We were like 'we want to do this we want to do the right thing, but how do we do this? "Now, it's a few kids involved and a few kids who have got access to guns and they are out there saying look at me... [they're] not career criminals. The culture the Burgers and Johnson Crew created is what the kids are looking to now. Those names are notorious and it up to us to say 'no, that ain't cool.'" ."

Dats TV challenges the "gangster narrative" which glamourises drug dealing and "life on the road" by providing an alternative message of peace and hope. Mr Moore said:"We want to tap into the creativity of some of these 'road men' as we call young street hoodlums.

"There's a lot of original natural talent out there and its a matter of channelling it into something productive and enjoyable.

"We want to help the youth to break into the music and arts industries where young black people are under-represented."

Dats TV Talks offers such guidance as well as tackling the underlying issues that drive gang warfare like revenge and respect.

"We have to address the underlying "gangster is sexy" mindset which is reinforced by the wider media.

"The kids listen to it and see the images, suck it up and it helps shape their opinion.

"But having lived that life our message is real.

"I've lost family to it. I've lost years off my life and a whole heap of friends.

"To me it's only losses. There's no winning on the streets."

Dats TV On Road sees the channel's presenters hit the streets of Birmingham with a camera to "engage with the youth."

Mr Moore said: "We did one in the city centre and it was really exciting to see the buzz we created and the interaction with young people.

"It's hard talking to some of them but we have to snap out of this generational gang cycle in the city."

| You can contact Dats TV on Twitter @DatsTv or subscribe to the You-Tube channel Dats Tv

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Former gang members Simeon Moore and Dylan Duffas

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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Apr 9, 2018
Words:576
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