Creativity was my way out of the violence that surrounded me. It’s deprivation, not music, that devastates communities I grew up in Thornton Heath, south-east London. Although raised by a good family in a close community, I was exposed to violence and violent crime throughout my childhood and young adult life. I’ve seen people beaten and stabbed and shot. In 2011, I was involved in an incident where my mum was shot in front of me and my stepfather was shot and killed. I myself spent several years committing crimes, running from the police and, at one point, I went to jail. Although I now appreciate this is far from normal, we didn’t know that almost daily violence wasn’t the norm for most young British kids. I believe that we – me and my community – suffer from the trauma of what we experienced, to this day.
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