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Black Voices: Brian

Meet Brian aka Briz16, a rapper from Stoke Newington with many musical influences ranging from soul to jazz.

Briz16 looks up to J.Cole, bas, Kendrick. He has produced events and radio shows, and written play scripts. He says “He is not short. He’s petite” #Team16

How does it feel to be black in 2021?

I don’t really know how to answer that. People say I’m negative but I think it’s shit. It’s almost like being trapped sometimes (though I’m EXTREMELY proud of my blackness) I’m very aware of the possible consequences if I dress a certain way or go to certain areas. It’s even affected my relationships where I can’t be accepted by the other person’s family due to the horrific stereotypes. I’ve always strived to be the best I can be but regardless of the community work I’ve done and the things I’ve achieved I’ll always be regarded as a thug or a criminal. They almost want us to present ourselves as black people but it is because of my skin colour, who I am and where I come from that I can achieve and do ANYTHING.

How has social media affected the social issues you care about? Do you feel like it has brought about any meaningful change?

Social media is a big game of table tennis. People are so focused on where the ball is at that current comment be it BLM, Free Palestine or mental health. I also feel though things wouldn’t be as impactful without social media as it has the power of rallying everyone across the whole world but it also turns serious issues into buzzwords. It also gives everyone a voice which isn’t necessary as people use their voice to condemn others for not posting or participating, really everyone needs to mind their business and focus on why they are doing this, that and the third. They may even find they’re doing it for the wrong reasons.

How can we act now to consciously progress?

F*ck knows. The government isn’t helping. Someone was shot in the head in Peckham the other day for her beliefs; I don’t have a lot of hope at this moment.

What immediate changes would you like to see in your industry?

I don’t know a lot about the music industry yet as I’m on the cusp and not “in” it but any creative spaces that are white elitist that capitalise off black people to be shut down quicker than an illegal rave.

What long term growth do you want to see within your industry?

More safe creative spaces for black and people of all races. We are the engine and the heart beat. We should be capitalising. I’d like us to do a Tyler Perry and build our own table and use it to facilitate growth for the more impoverished. Getting black people in more powerful positions and them holding the door open for those who need to walk through it. That’s why we have to keep fighting.