Monday 23 September 2019

Ray BLK condemns politicians who ‘only focus on attracting votes’

The soul singer said parts of London have been abandoned.

Ray BLK has spoken of how she aims to tell youngsters from her home area that they can achieve anything (PA)
Ray BLK has spoken of how she aims to tell youngsters from her home area that they can achieve anything (PA)

By Laura Harding, PA Senior Entertainment Correspondent

Singer Ray BLK has accused politicians of neglecting people in deprived areas, saying “the Government is just concerned about money”.

The soul star, who is from Catford in south-east London, said there are frequent misconceptions about where she is from and the area is written off as “dangerous”.

She told the PA news agency: “I honestly think people don’t care about what doesn’t affect them directly.

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Ray BLK (Sam Dibley/YUAF)

“I feel like if you live in your comfortable house in your nice area where you feel really safe and you don’t have such financial struggles or don’t know people who are going through certain things, then it just goes over your head.

“You just see it as something on the news that you don’t relate to and I just feel like it’s not until you know somebody who is affected by a particular issue that you feel enough empathy to want to do something.

“I personally think that certain parties focus on what affects their party members or what will attract their type of voters, their demographic, and people who are not affected by these issues just don’t really care.

“Also with cuts I feel like the Government are just concerned about money and if something isn’t making money or if they feel like something is actually just taking away money and they don’t see it as beneficial, they are just not bothered about it.

“So many cuts have been made in the community that could have helped the community.”

The musician, real name Rita Ekwere, is working with the Young Urban Arts Foundation which helps vulnerable young people in London and around the UK.

She said: “There are so many areas in London which are struggling financially or where young people are acting out, I feel like they are so neglected, no-one is actually making time or making investments into these communities.

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Ray BLK (Sam Dibley/YUAF)

“It’s the people within the communities who are directly affected by these issues that are forced to deal with them and work on them.”

She added she considers herself to be “such a product of south London, whether that is my ability to defend myself, because that is just how we are in south London, or whether it’s my mannerisms or the way I speak”.

She continued: “I feel like I’m definitely a product of where I’ve come from and it’s made me such a strong person.

“In south-east London we are just built different, we are built really, really different.

“The girls are a lot more ballsy, some people might say loud mouth but it’s not, we just know how to speak up for ourselves because we have been forced to.”

Asked if there are misconceptions about her part of London, she said: “I think for a lot of people they just see it as ‘Ah it’s a place that is dangerous,’ particularly maybe where I’ve come from, they just see it as ‘oh a dangerous place’ and I just think anywhere can be dangerous to be honest, but I feel like there is so much culture here, it is so rich in culture and there is a real community as well.

“I think the reason why I got involved in the Urban Youth, and why I get involved in any sort of outreach I can do with young people, is because I feel like it is so important to go back and tell people about your journey, tell people who have come from where you have come from about your journey to where you are and just open their eyes a bit more.

“It’s so important to go into these areas and go into these schools and be a part of these foundations to tell people to broaden their horizons and show them ‘I come from where you come from, this is what I have been able to accomplish and there are so many more of us so don’t feel limited. I want you to know that you have options’.”

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