Tower Hamlets: Mark Your Grime

Mark Your Grime is an exciting four-day music project that aims to challenge the stigma around mental health, all through the genre of Grime.  

Hosted at the Spotlight Youth Space in Tower Hamlets as part of our Mark Your Mind campaign, the project brings together young people and Grime artists from across London. Under the mentorship of Ruff Sqwad members Slix and Prince Rapid, the young people involved have just finished three grime tracks that lyrically explore themes of mental health. 

Grime music talks about life 

Edweezey (Edward), Juber and Olumide, three of the young people who have been attending the workshop, got involved with the project because as regulars at the youth club already they wanted to find out more about mental health. Edweezey thinks that Grime music is a good way of talking about the issue: 

…Grime brings out anger…when you’re bringing out the anger it’s bringing out the things you want to say to the world. So it’s a good way to talk about mental health.

Juber goes on to add that "People who make Grime music talk about their life, personal stuff or hardships - the problems that they’re going through…If you want to make a song about life, Grime music is the best music you can use.” 

They are all finding the experience valuable and agree the project is a great way to learn and express their feelings about mental health. Olumide says: 

…In Citizenship and subjects like that sometimes they (mental health issues) just get a brief mention and you don’t develop a full understanding of certain things, so I feel that this is a great way to educate the youth about the issue.

Fun and interactive learning 

Slix and Prince Rapid of Ruff Sqwad both jumped at the chance of getting involved with the project because they saw it was a great opportunity to do something a bit different, and mental health is often wrongly seen as a taboo subject. 

Prince Rapid believes that Grime is the best route as it's a music genre that is marketed predominantly at young people. He says “Grime fans are from 12 to 21 (age range); I think it’s the right age group to get it into their minds that mental health is an issue that you might not know that you or one of your family or friends (have) because it might not be obvious to the human eye.  

This whole project makes you understand that there are ways which somebody can have mental health (issues) but it might not be obvious… (It could be) something simple like getting tired or always worried and having anxiety. So I think this (project) was a success because a lot of the people were able to understand and learn about the different forms of mental issues.

Slix says the Mark Your Grime workshop is a fun and interactive way of learning about mental health: “(It’s more valuable) being able to just be creative about it rather than it being something that’s given to you because you have to learn it.  

Also, given the kind - not complexity of it, I’ll say taboo - people don’t like talking about mental health and don’t know much about it, so I know a lot of young people from attending this week have learnt so much.

Arnaud, a team member from the Spotlight centre, would like to carry on implementing workshops like Mark Your Grime across the UK as it’s a great tool to get young people speaking about how they feel. 

Check out the tracks 

"Sometimes" - Edweezy, Bzerk, Tofi, Substance FEAT. Slix & Prince Rapid  

"So What" - Tofi, Lauren, Nicole and Timra FEAT. Slix & Prince Rapid  

"Need To Do" - Jubz FEAT. Slix & Prince Rapid   

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