11 minute tracks? 'Yea it's like poetry'

Artists like Dave bravely challenge Mental Health stigmas while selling out arenas.

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As 2022 continues, we are beginning to see the rise and inclusion of more and more communities within the media and celebrity world. This year alone we have seen huge awards success of ethnic minority groups in the music and television industries.

Television has recently been a platform for young Black individuals to strive. We saw musician Big Zuu win two BAFTA awards for his show ‘Big Zuu’s Big Eats’, delivering an emotional speech on his team’s journey to success.

The same night, we were also gifted with the news that Doctor Who had chosen their first Black Doctor, Ncuti Gatwa, just years after their first female Doctor. He told BBC News: “It feels really amazing. It’s a true honour. This role is an institution and it’s so iconic.”

The UK’s music talent pool famously showcases a variety of individuals from different backgrounds, all of whom work hard to reach success. Young Black artists such as Dave and Stormzy recently sold out the O2 arena for their concerts.

We also see these artists collaborating to share success with newer stars, such as Giggs & Aitch and Stormzy & Knucks sharing success and bringing exposure to their respected journeys.

Looking beyond their end success, we understand that the popularity of artists is achieved due to their songs telling real and deep-felt stories.

A representation of this is popular musician, Dave, when in 2019, his album Psychodrama shared songs discussing various mental health issues, as well as his latest album We’re All Alone in This Together which spoke about the struggles of being an immigrant.

Both albums included tracks up to 11 minutes long, which were almost like poetry. His music obviously resonated with millions of people as Psychodrama became the best-selling album in 2019.

Mental health problems within BME communities are highly associated with stigma and shame. A report from BME Communities and Mental Well-Being in Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster “Caught Between Stigma and Inequality” wrote that “crazy” and “mad” are some of the disparaging terms used to refer to people with mental illness.

Considering this, Dave was very brave and courageous to bring these albums out. It’s opened the door for more conversations to be held surrounding the topic.

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