ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — St. Pete singer and songwriter, Tanya LaReese, has just released a music video about the everyday struggles she has seen in her own community.
“I said I want to do a video, I want to do something inspirational, I want to do something positive,” said LaReese.
In the video, “God Give Us Peace,” LaReese sings about serious issues like prostitution, homelessness, drugs and gun violence.
“We can overcome all this if you just trust in God and just have peace, I believe that,” said LaReese.
Acting in the video are St. Pete residents who have experienced these dilemmas personally.
“You have to talk about it first, so we got this first step out of the way, we are talking about it, now its time to show action,” said Dontrail Jackson.
Jackson spent time in prison for dealing drugs in this very neighborhood before turning his life around. He wanted to be in the video to inspire others.
“You know you might go down a path where you think there is no return, there always is, there’s a choice, a choice you make,” said Jackson.
In the video a young man is shot and killed. It’s a scenario that hits close to home for another actor, Tamika Samuel, who lost her own teenage son to gun violence.
“It was a hard pill to swallow and it took me through some changes,” said Samuel. “I want the people to stop using guns to speak out, use their words and try to help each other as a community.”
Even LaReese’s own past includes run-ins with guns. Her husband was shot during an attempted robbery.
“I ran to tend to him and I’m trying to keep him awake and finally the ambulance came, we took him to the hospital,” said LaReese.
So far response to the video has been overwhelming, in the first week it had over 100,000 views, But the people responsible say the goal isn’t views or likes, it’s hope and it’s change.
“We need it right now and we need peace in this world with everything that's going on right now,” said LaReese.