Dagenham gospel artist Guvna B promotes positive message for young people
The release of a compilation album aimed at an audience deemed to have been the main force behind the riots could not be more timely.
Grime, which fuses UK garage with hip hop, is often associated with gang culture but Chadwell Heath’s MOBO award-winning Guvna B, 21, is trying to promote a more positive message.
The Post caught up with him at the launch of his latest project, Next Ting 140, which showcased up-and- coming grime artists in Islington.
Guvna B, whose real name is Isaac Borquaye, said his mother suggested to cancel the gig as she feared it might be targeted by troublemakers. But Isaac, of Bennett Road, believes there is no better time to spread his message.
He said: “I wish that some of the looters would come – it’s a very positive vibe.
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“You know the saying of wolf in sheepskins – we’re like sheep in wolfskins. The venue is a bit filthy and dark but we have got a great message.”
When the looting spread through London and other towns and cities, the courts reacted by handing down longer than usual prison terms to rioters and looters.
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Isaac said: “I think it’s ridiculous. I don’t blame the government for everything but we have politicians that have looted expenses who get four months in jail and kids who have looted shops who get four years.
“You can’t just pick on the youth. It’s a national problem and it says something about the UK’s morals.
“Fair enough, we want to teach everyone a lesson but you need to go to the root of the problem.
“When they come out of prison they are just going to reoffend.”
Isaac dragged himself out of a gang environment through Christianity.
He said: “I’m not a Bible basher but I speak from religion first.
“I have got this faith and if I kept it for myself, it would be like a crime.”
But he does believe that people can turn their lives around without religion.
He said: “As long as you believe in something – believe in yourself or your career or your family – that’s a good place to start. We want show that you can come from an estate and make something out of yourself.”