Musicians raise cash for Grenfell Tower families with west London fundraiser

By Lola Mosanya
Newsbeat reporter

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Image source, Zek Snaps/ Zekaria Al-Bostani

Up and coming DJs and grime and UK rap artists have come together to raise cash for families affected by the Grenfell Tower fire.

The government has now given out more than £200,000 of emergency funds to people affected by the blaze.

But some residents have criticised the government, saying they haven't done enough.

Billed as West London Stand Tall, the fundraiser was organised by friends Cosmo and Seshie.

Newsbeat went along to find out why these artists are using music to show their support.

Both 21-year-old events manager Seshie and 23-year-old rapper Cosmo have a background in music.

Image source, Zek Snaps/ Zekaria Al-Bostani
Image caption,
Seshie (left) organised the fundraiser alongside his friend Cosmo

"I do events and people come together from all areas," Seshie told Newsbeat.

"As a person that does something of that nature - I felt it was right for me to do something that gets people to come together and show our support by donating whatever we can."

Through the event, held at Meanwhile Gardens Skate Park in Paddington, they say they hoped to highlight the vibrant lives that were lost in the fire - even down to how they promoted the event.

"We didn't even realise how impacting the flyer was until we put it out and the feedback was incredible," Cosmo said.

"Every image that has been used to publicise it [Grenfell Tower] has been depressing," Seshie added.

"You show what's happened but you have to give people hope - this was a place where people lived and shared their lives and it burned down which was a tragedy - but we also have to show the good times."

Everyone that came down to the skate park was asked to donate items of food or clothing, or make a cash donation of any amount.

Image source, Zek Snaps/ Zekaria Al Bostani
Image caption,
Cosmo (second right) is a rapper from west London

Cosmo says that he feels efforts now need to turn to raising as much money as possible.

"We aim to raise funds more than anything," he said. "I did try to urge it into people's minds that maybe funds would help more."

They told us how they managed to collect 50 bags full of clothing and food donations and raise more than £2,000 to help victims.

"We've lost so much as a community but we've come back as strong - as youth we're standing together - we have a voice too," Cosmo said.

Image source, Newsbeat
Image caption,
Lava Laroux - a 19-year-old rapper - performed at the event

"My mum is Karen Buck MP of Westminster North and she was previously of Kensington North.

"She used to walk up and down in Grenfell Tower knocking on doors and canvassing every day and I've always learnt from my mum to stay strong in circumstances like this."

Seshie told Newsbeat: "It's gone from just us to the whole community - it went on social media and people were hitting me up like, 'Yo, I want to help.'"

We also spoke to some of the young performers and people that came down to the fundraiser.

"I'm Lava Laroux. I'm 19 and I'm a musician. I've just come off stage and I'm really glad I played because there are so many local people here.

Image source, Newsbeat
Image caption,
Friends Keon and Rikki attended the fundraiser in west London

"The west London community has always been really tight, especially among ethnic minorities. So it's really nice to see youngers, olders and musicians come together," she said.

Rikki and her friend Keon told us how they were overwhelmed throughout the event.

"It was just nice to see a group of young people, especially those who shouldn't have the resources to pull something like this off come together and make the event happen," said 21-year-old Keon.

"It's really nice - everyone's not forgetting why they're here but they're still having fun and keeping spirits up," added Rikki, an illustrator from north-west London.

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