At the moment; it doesn’t take more than a cursory glance at most major news outlets in the U.K. to see two consistent themes. The first being the rise in knife crime and gang activity (particularly in London which recently surpassed New York’s murder rate) and the second being the blame for this falling at the doorsteps of musicians with lyrics that are said to “glamourise” the gang lifestyle.
Last Friday Hackney Wick FC enlisted some of the forerunners in the U.K. music scene to take part in a “United Against Knife Crime” football match alongside their sister charity The Wickers Charity. The profits going to the furthering of Hackney Wick FC’s services that they run in their community. Artists such as Dappy, Kojo Funds, Youngs Teflon, Margs, Don EE and more took to the field whilst other artists like Ghetts, Paigey Cakey and Ambush (who performed at half-time) were also in attendance showing support from the stands. More than just a football match and lovely family day out, this was an exhibition of artists setting their post-codes and individual disagreements aside to show uniformity against the knife crime pandemic that is sweeping across London.
To echo the point made by many of the artists I photographed at the event, no one necessarily believes a charity football match alone will end knife crime in London. There are too many socio-economic and cultural factors that need to be addressed. At the same time this event went some way to opening a dialogue, utilising the voices of some very influential artists and allowing the young people who look up to them to see that someone cares about what they’re going through. Which is a lot more effective than blaming society’s ills on song lyrics.
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Words + Photography: Martyn Ewoma // @martynewoma
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