Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

With Music I'll Make a Better Life for My Son and This Generation; Scene&Heard as the Standard Launches Its Christmas Appeal in Aid of the Damilola Trust, Campaigning Pop Diva Ms Dynamite Talks Music, Guns and Politics

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

With Music I'll Make a Better Life for My Son and This Generation; Scene&Heard as the Standard Launches Its Christmas Appeal in Aid of the Damilola Trust, Campaigning Pop Diva Ms Dynamite Talks Music, Guns and Politics

Article excerpt

'BLAMING music like hip hop for gun crime is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. Do I think that people who listen to negative music all day stagnate their growth in terms of self-confidence and how they perceive themselves? Yes.

Do I think it can make them pick up a gun and go and shoot someone? No way.

Music, especially hip hop, is a very powerful tool and if it could be used in a more positive way there would be a big change in the world.

That's why I feel I have a responsibility to young people. Not just because they are the people who buy my records and have put me where I am, but because they're the future. Before you know it, young people are going to be the ones in control.

And I think it's best to equip them with positivity, so that we can start to make the world a nicer place. That kind of responsibility fuels my creativity. Because there's so much negativity, it means that there are so many subjects for me to talk about.

I know there are a billion girls out there who can sing better than I can and write just as well as me. But people want to hear what I've got to say, because it's something different; it's hope, it's faith. I'm saying you can succeed. But it's not about telling people what to do or acting as though you're better than them. It's about showing an alternative to what's already out there.

Hip hop is not even just black music, it is street music. But what comes with it is a stereotype that has created a fear of black people - and giving it a label like "gangsta rap" merely reinforces that stereotype.

I think there are many factors in the causes of gun crime. For me the main factor is poverty, because high gun crime exists where people are poor.

Everyone knows that. And when the Government makes accusations about hip hop and gangsta rap - pinpointing particular artists - it is aware of the fact that the real problem is poverty - and while that is the Government's responsibility it just brushes it off by blaming the music.

I'm also aware of the fact that the system continuously fails young black boys and yet nothing has been done. We've got to give these boys selfesteem, the same respect, the same treatment, the same education and the same time that everyone else gets - and then they will come out of school with a much higher standard of education. But then to add the factor of "let's blame this whole problem on their music" as well ... it's just a vicious circle.

However, I do think the one thing we artists can be guilty of is that we believe we have to look a certain way, to have that "gangsta" image to sell.

But that image doesn't have to be used in such a negative way. Rap doesn't have to be made to look like such a macho thing - "I'm the big , bad what eve r because I'm still here and I survived. …

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