Born and raised in Liberty City, Florida, hip hop artist and community activist Santonio Carter known as Blaze Carter spent much of last year in the national public spotlight after losing his 6 year old son, King Carter, to senseless gun violence in Miami. From that moment on people from all walks of life began taking notice to his music, his ability to shine a light on the many meaningless killings of youth in the South Florida area, and his ability to make an impact on the lives of youth in his community.
Discovering his love for music at the ripe age of 9, Blaze Carter began his musical career writing poems and music about the simple things, like staying in school and saying no to drugs. After building enough courage to show off his talents, he entered into a talent show at his elementary school where he won first place. From that moment on, he knew that he was destined for greatness in music game. From getting signed to his uncle’s record label at the age of 13 to selling over 50,000 copies of his first album by the age of 14, Blaze Carter quickly began popularity as a teenage rapper who was a force to be reckoned with.
Who is Blaze Carter?
I am a God-fearing man. I am a father to my son as well as a father to many of these fatherless kids living in my community. I am an artist. I am a community activist. I am the voice that can be heard bringing awareness to the many issues affecting my community while encouraging my neighbors and their children to keep pushing through. I use my voice to speak up for the community. I not only speak up for those who are less fortunate, but I speak up for the pastors, the gang bangers, the kids, and the politicians. I can relate to all of them and they can relate to me.
How did you regain your strength to continue pursuing your career as an artist after your son’s death?
Before my son was taken from me, I was doing a lot of positive work in the community. After his death the only thing that changed was I had more eyes on me watching my movements. And honestly it took everything in me to not give up. I grind so hard with my music because I wanted to be able to create a better life for my children. So when my son was taken from me, I just wanted to give it all up. Throughout my career I have worked with such amazing artists at Trina, Trick Daddy, Uncle Luke, Betty Wright, Rick Ross and so many others. My music was my son’s light. Once I remembered that, there was no stopping me.
With everything that has happened, how has it been using your voice to create change in the community?
The response has been great. My son’s death will not be in vain. I spend my time visiting foster homes, youth detention facilities, preschools, elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools. My daily efforts are focused on empowering and uplifting the youth in my community so that they can live in a better tomorrow. My wife and I event started an organization called “Save Our Kings and Queens” where we go any and everywhere we can to simply do whatever it is that needs to be done.
What words of encouragement do you have for parents who have lost their child due to senseless crimes?
You have to trust God in that difficult moment of your child leaving you too soon. You have to come to the understanding that God will never leave or forsake you. I believe that when our children die, they go to Heaven. Their souls are pure and without sin. Technically you can’t lose something or someone if you know where it is. Some people live for 90 years without really living for a purpose. But think about the death of a child. Your child. It can’t help but to wake you up so that you can begin standing up against the corruption that is going on. Never allow your child’s name to die. It is your responsibility to stand up and fight.
What can we expect from Blaze Carter next?
I recently dropped Volume 1 & 2 of a new mixtape series I have been working on for some time. I am currently in the studio working on Volume 3. I am also working on a few movies and stage plays. To be honest I am all over the place. One of my proudest endeavors is that my son has two trade schools named after him, the King Carter Academies, which gives kids the opportunity to be hands on and while making sure they are ready for what the world holds.