As cars pulled up in front of Zoom Bar and young people began congregating in the parking lot, it was obvious something was going on that night.
Inside, it was dark and noisy as DJs set up their equipment, singers and rappers checked the mics for feedback, and dancers ran around changing into their performance attire.
The coordinator of the event, known by her stage name Myzz Layce, was hard to catch while trying to correct some technical difficulties the sound crew ran into.
“The reason why I started this event was because I was sick of what I was seeing on the news and in everyday life — people dying through senseless acts of violence, talented young men going to jail over gun violence — I was tired of seeing that,” Layce said. “I was thinking of a way to send my message out in a positive way where people can relate. Who doesn’t think music brings peace?
“That’s how the name also came up. My main message is, ‘If you have talent, why waste it?’ So this event is to show youth they should work towards their talent instead of doing senseless things.”
East Metro Youth Services is a children’s mental health centre serving east Toronto since 1974 with locations all over Scarborough.
“They run programs at their locations and they help a lot of kids,” Layce said. “I work for them, I see what they do and I decided to help them out because they help everybody out.”
As the first act took the stage, the crowd, mostly teens and young adults, gathered by the dance floor and around the bar. Photographers positioned themselves around the stage as the music blared and the show began.
Chukwuemeka Eke, also known as Chuxx, performed two songs that got the crowd going. Born and raised in Nigeria, the 22-year-old rapper has been doing this for four years and has been a Toronto resident for three.
Up next were 23-year-old Richard (Chippster) Chippy and 21-year-old Jermal (J.L. Vocalz) Humphrey. Humphrey sang an original track while Chippy performed original choreography. Then they switched it up as Chippy grabbed a mic and rapped alongside Humphrey’s vocals.
Humphrey worked with Layce to help create the event. Showing there are many ways to direct anger is the point of the Music Brings Peace show, he said.
“Direct it to something you’re good at, such as music,” Humphrey said. “It’s also a chance for aspiring artists to get a chance to network.”