Three days ago, grime artist Skepta held a charity gig in the wake of Government cutbacks on housing benefits, with the money going towards the young and homeless.
The non-profit event, held in Islington Assembly Hall, saw the British artist lash out at the Tory Government, with the help of worldwide stars in the media from ASAP Rocky to Idris Elba. Introducing the Tottenham-born musician, Elba also struck out against the Government’s new Universal Credit regulations that limit the housing benefits given to 18-21-year-olds; “Thats bullsh**” He argues in a now-viral video, “We have one of the strongest currencies in the world… thats bulsh**”.
Skepta himself said the concert was about “love”, and even though the Mercury-Award winning artist now counts Drake among his musical collaborators, he still hasn’t forgotten his British roots, “Everyone should give back” he says, “everyone”. Shelter, the charity involved in the gig said it raised more than £30,000, a huge investment for the lives of the young and homeless.
But this isn’t the first time the 34-year-old’s given back, in April 2015, he performed at a free gig in Shoreditch, to the delight of at least a hundred fans in defiance of a police policy that allowed them to shut down grime concerts. But Skepta isn’t the first and doesn’t seem to be the last home-grown artist giving back to the community.
Labelled the “sound of protest” by The Guardian, British Grime has seen a surge in its influence, no longer limited to a fan-base of a few thousand, the genre, and the artists have gone worldwide. Just recently, Skepta, Stormzy and political activist/MC Mic Righteous spoke out and condemned the Syrian Air Strikes on twitter. Stereotyped and limited to hoodie-wearing ASBO teenagers, Grime artists have pushed and broken barriers to become a force to be reckoned with, arguing with politicians like David Cameron, grime is proving itself to be the voice of the people in the UK.
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